"Let the others come after us. We welcome the chase. It is healthy for us.
We will never hide from it. Never fear."
- William Struth

Voting No Saved the Nation

Written by: NineteenSeventyTwo
Saturday, 24th January 2015

It’s hardly a secret that many VB members were campaigning for a No vote in September 2014, and that our membership are passionate unionists.

I don’t doubt that many No voters approached the polls with just their patriotism guiding their choice, however, it does a huge disservice to all No voters to ignore the fact that many made that choice because the alternative was unthinkable.

Long term observers of this site will remember an early banner and stickers promoting the site with the tagline, “Scottish and British”, which illustrated perfectly that most unionists in Scotland are proud not just of our British nationhood, but in our Scottish identity and heritage.

That should never be forgotten. We will not be silenced or sidelined as Scots, and nor will we allow nationalists to claim Scotland and the Saltire as its own.

As Robert Burns famously wrote, “We are aw Jock Tamson’s Bairns”.

Personally, I was always a firm No voter for a number of reasons that somehow got lost in the noise as the country debated and discussed the Referendum.

The reasons for voting No far outweighed anything that the Nationalists could offer, although the No campaign failed miserably to nail down the facts, or to capture the imagination of the Scottish people, in the kind of majority that many would have expected when the referendum was first agreed.

While No campaigners were quick to thank Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown for their contributions, it is clear that without Brown’s late intervention, Yes’s campaign may well have prevailed, even if many No supporters believe the promises made by Brown go too far towards irreversible division.

Looking at the key topics again in the cold light of day, it is even more astonishing now than it was 4 months ago, that the SNP came so close.

To remind ourselves of what were arguably the top 10 areas, it is astonishing that 37% of all eligible voters in Scotland either didn’t understand the consequences of a Yes vote on the nation, or didn’t care, as they believed themselves to be in a no-lose position.

While I don’t intend to give a comprehensive run down on the full set of arguments for each of these, it is most certainly worth summarising.

  • Currency - Our currency underpins everything we do every day as a nation and as a people. This is why Alastair Darling and Blair McDougall continued to press the SNP on this issue. Where Darling became unstuck was during the second television debate with Alex Salmond where Salmond prepared a waffle answer that caught Darling on the hop, while still deftly avoiding actually what an Independent Scotland would have done with no currency union. The insistence that the UK Government would come to the party, and that the fall back is that we would adopt the £ anyway was laughable, and a better politician wouldn’t have become frustrated and shouted, but would calmly have torn him to shreds. Fact is despite 80 years of planning for Independence, there was no plan for how to deal with its most important issue – currency. Being pegged to someone elses currency while you operate independently with zero influence on policy is financial madness. To add insult to injury, when Banks, businesses and Retail warned about the consequences of them having to adopt to either differing currencies, or differing values, they were attacked, bullied and accused of lying, despite of being self evident that they would need to adapt their businesses or move their headquarters to survive, and adhere to EU legislation.NHS – A fairly low priority item for the


  • Healthcare - Nationalists in the White Paper, became a hot topic for Yes late in the campaign when they were still struggling to convince voters. Ironically, while calling the No campaign’s challenges to various ambiguous promises ”Project Fear”, The Yes campaign jumped head on in to a campaign praying on everyone’s worst fears, that you become ill with no private healthcare and no national health service, and get hit with a massive bill. While even the least subtle of Yessers didn’t spell it out in this fashion, there was no doubt whatsoever that the objective of making this the number one topic, both diverted attention away from the currency, and prayed on peoples’ worst fears, wrongly. The truth is that not only is the NHS devolved to Holyrood, but that there was opinion within the NHS that Independence would have a significantly negative impact, and also that the SNP was mismanaging a fully devolved responsibility and trying to lay blame at Westminster



Strangely, both the Tories and Labour are promising 1000 additional nurses in Scotland if they win the election, but the SNP aren’t.
Perhaps those still sporting the NHS for Yes stickers on their cars should make a beeline for their car right now.

  • Pensions - When the referendum result was announced, and followed within days by questionable polling data pointing to more pensioners voting No than other age groups, many Yes supporters attacked the aged, and accused them of being scared off by Better Together scare tactics on pensions. In a quite shameful attack on the aged, they completely ignored that pensioners have equal rights to anyone else in Scotland and also ignored the real issues with pensions, namely that there was a huge black hole of £417M a year of pension payments over and above the Scottish share of pension contributions as a result of membership of the UK. There were no provisions within the SNPs White Paper for this. The less visible aspect was that there are currently 600,000 jobs in Scotland for UK Wide companies, where workers in Scotland are paying in to a pooled UK fund, which in many cases are largely funded by larger worker populations elsewhere in the UK. There was no contingency set out for businesses to calculate and ringfence pensions for workers in Scotland or workers who frequently work on both sides of the border. These were only the short term issues, with age differential between Scotland and the rUK projected to increase which would have made issues worse.


  • Education - The SNP’s record on education during their tenure has been absolutely shameful. Rather than use tax raising powers to fund Free University places, they self-funded University places by sacrificing 160,000 places at Further Education colleges for those most in need of education to access the job market. A much vaunted addition of free hours to pre-school childcare amounted to ten minutes a day. The latest policy to be implemented is free school meals for all children in the years P1 to P3 at a cost of £57M a year. It’s the kind of flat policy that the Scottish Government is making its own, even if it is copying the Tory/Lib Dem coalition. This is no new provision of meals for the neediest children, as they have always had free meals. The new provision for all means that even children from the richest parents will benefit. This is being implemented at a time when councils are cutting services within education, with Administration staff and teaching assistants’ posts being reduced. As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch.


  • Jobs - Along with the Currency, jobs are the lifeblood of the country. In the SNPs White Paper on Independence there was no concrete and funded pledge on jobs. On the contrary, the uncertainty of Independence had Banks and many UK wide businesses with HQs in Scotland considering moving their operations to where the vast majority of their business was/is. In the financial sector alone, hundreds of thousands of jobs would have been lost. I’ll get to the Defence sector below. Despite what some would have you believe, business is the lifeblood of the country. Even the most left leaning of workers understands that you need to generate wealth to fund welfare. With no business and no jobs there can be no welfare. It’s not rocket science. The warning calls from Business leaders referenced many of the main topics outlined here, but the message was simple. Independence was and is a real risk to many medium to large scale businesses – and that means a risk to jobs.


  • Defence - I’ll stick with the facts here only. Thousands of jobs in Scotland are dependent on the UK MOD, at Faslane, Rosyth, at the Clyde Shipyards, and at scores of Manufacturers, suppliers and highly technical engineering firms. Scotland, Scots and Scottish firms are leading on innovation, enhancing our reputation on the world stage within a highly complex industry. Many of those in this sector are amongst the most talented people in the country. There are two main points to discuss here; what orders can be (and have been) secured within the UK, and what orders would be placed by an Independent Scotland. Work is ongoing in Rosyth on two aircraft carriers for the UK MOD at a cost of approximately £6Bn. This contract alone has kept the Clyde yards and Rosyth open. Since the Referendum, BAE has secured a further £348M contract at the Clyde yards, to act as a springboard for the anticipated order for the UK Type 26 Global Combat Ship, which will be worth several billion to the Scottish Economy. The SNPs only commitment to the Shipyards prior to the referendum was to state that an Independent Scotland would need Ships too. There was no commitment to any order. As Scotland does not have the intellectual property to any design it would have needed to have ordered “off the shelf” and would likely have only been able to place an order similar in size to the current infill OPV contract being worked on in Glasgow. After that the doors would have closed. For good. At Faslane, a £2.6Bn contract has secured 1500 jobs. The SNPs plan was to move the Nuclear subs out, but base Scotland’s defence forces there, deftly avoiding confronting the reality that an Engineer or accountant is not a soldier, and would have been made redundant. Presumably Babcock would have had to fund that.


  • Oil - Oil was to be the backbone of an Independent Scotland, giving the country 30 years to build the economy elsewhere, with Oil not only being the basis for Scotland’s immediate fortunes, but the insurance underpinning 30 years of investment in infrastructure and jobs to prepare for the inevitable redundancy of oil production in the north sea. Oil underpinned a large volume of the costed proposals in the SNP White Paper, and all costed on Brent being sold at $110 a barrel. With Brent now heading south of $50 towards $45, it appears that by voting No we have dodged a bullet, where the concerns we have about UK led austerity, are miniscule in comparison to what we would have faced alone. The stark truth on Oil is detailed here http://www.scotsman.com/news/peter-jones-cheaper-oil-means-vanishing-jobs-1-3628855. Of most concern is the prospect that there is little to suggest that the price can recover and then stabilise any time soon. Note that the White Paper estimated Oil values at $110.


  • Welfare - While the Con-Dem coalition cannot be trusted on Welfare, with the recent breakdown of Income tax useage being questionable, the welfare topic was also a hot topic in Scotland. Here, it was rebranded Social Justice, and tugged at the heart strings with the common sight of Scotland’s poor using food banks as their main source of food in order to survive. So, this was used to tell us how Westminster were to blame for this, and only Independence would solve it. Problem is, without job or wealth creation to either take people directly out of poverty, or an increase in taxes raised to fund Social Justice it’s just noise, and insulting noise at that. Those taken in by this sham, whether champions of social justice, or probable recipients, should feel aggrieved at being used and abused to further an agenda that did not care one iota for improving conditions for the needy.

Related to welfare is also the SNP’s State Guardian plan, whereby the Government is intending to have a named guardian for every child in the country, up until the age of 18. Yes, you read that right. You are deemed responsible enough to vote at 16, but not responsible enough to look after yourself! You couldn’t make it up.

  • Tax - When the particularly vile and abrasive Craig Murray stood for SNP candidacy following the referendum it looked like a match made in heaven. After all, Yessers were only too happy to see the former UK diplomat take out his scorn on the nation when it suited them, and were only too happy to promote his shameful anti British bile that No voters were “evil”. They didn’t reckon on him not being a conformist though, so when he was asked in his candidacy form if he would vote for the Bedroom tax if directed to by the party, he said no. His thanks for that was to be rejected. Either that means they intend to support the only party in Westminster who would vote for it (The Tories), or they wish to run a Dictatorship where your local SNP MP has no mind of his or her own and just does what he or she is told. Given that one of the candidates for Falkirk is former Conservative candidate Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, perhaps it’s both. In addition, the Scottish Parliament has had powers to raise the top rate of income tax on high earners for a number of years, and has neglected this opportunity for redistributing wealth. As Jim Murphy once said, they talk Left and act Right.

On the subject of the “Bedroom tax”, the SNP are currently running full page adverts in the press stating “The SNP will speak out against unfair policies like the bedroom tax”, however, for the vote on 4th September last year, four of their six MPs didn’t turn up to vote. Note that all of the Scottish Labour MPs turned up to vote.


  • Scottish Business - Despite months of propaganda about how good Independence would be for Scottish Business, the SNP Government has used its existing powers following the referendum to award its first major public contract to a foreign firm for the Scotrail franchise, and its second to Virgin and Stagecoach for the east coast rail franchise. Of course, Stagecoach is owned by SNP donor Brian Souter. Not only did the SNP govt choose a foreign firm and one firm owned by a major donor, but they rejected the nationalisation of the railways, and confirmed that they pay lip service to Scottish Working people, the unions, and concerns about the private sector delivering public services. It’s the kind of decision making that David Cameron would be proud of, but the decision was not made by him, but by the SNP Government. Left Wing indeed!

While the SNP Government and the Yes Campaign attacked “Westminster” on every topic it could, the SNP Government in Holyrood was underspending on its commitments to the Scottish people, to the tune of £444M. To put that in perspective, it would have paid for 14,279 additional nurses, or 119457 paramedics.

The underspend is dissected with aplomb here by Brian Wilson.


In addition, the SNP Government funded £26M on Gaelic road signs


Frankly, for every waste of tax-payers money by the chancers at Westminster, it seems that our own Government in Holyrood are hell bent on exceeding their stupidity.
Complaining for 6 months prior to a referendum about cuts from Westminster, while not spending what Westminster has supplied, is shameful, and is worth a public enquiry.

Was it just incompetence, or was there something more sinister behind it?

There is no excuse for it whatsoever, and any Yes voters who have lost out on public services should be at the front of the queue asking the questions.

Independence was a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Why then, do I understand completely why “Yes” became fashionable and desirable in the chattering classes, and also some areas of the working classes?

The simple fact is that for many Scots, the politicians who lead the Westminster parties are not representative of us.

People like David Cameron, George Osbourne and Nick Clegg are alien to the working classes in Scotland, although it is very parochial to suggest that working classes in Manchester, Liverpool or Newcastle don’t feel the same.

These politicians may mean well, even if we disagree on policy, but they have absolutely no idea how to connect to the ordinary working Scot

No one should be under any illusion that the working classes of London, Leeds or Leicester resent the Lords kicking up a fuss about the quality of their champagne.

For nationalists to criticise this but ignore Alex Salmond’s Limo, expenses and junkets is insulting to everyone, and indicative of a culture that paints a picture of championing integrity, while ignoring similar exploitation of public monies by SNP MPs or MSPs. Either abusing your position is wrong or it isn’t.


This picture that nationalists (and some northerners) paint that London is a right wing toff city to blame for the decline of the rest of the UK, is misleading, while there are 44 Labour MPs in Greater London. This is more than any other party.

While Jim Murphy was seen as fair game by the extremists associated to the Nats during his 100 days tour, his recent ascension to the Labour leadership has only magnified an intensely personal series of attacks with very little relevance to the future of Scotland, or the policies that are needed to improve “our lot”.

It is key that the Scottish electorate are not distracted from the real issues in 2015, what the 2015 General Election means, and what concrete and credible long term policies are available.

The SNP and many nationalists prioritise separation above everything else, and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

So, with Labour being the number one target of the SNP in the 2015 general election, that could result in a Tory majority, it should be absolutely clear that the “once in a lifetime” promise by Nicola Sturgeon was a lie, and that the SNP wish the Tories to win, to give leverage for another referendum, and if it means Tory policies and cuts lose people jobs and put more people in poverty, then they are willing to throw their own people under the bus to do so.

It’s time for all right thinking people in Scotland to do the right thing. Vote tactically and vote the SNP out of Westminster and out of Holyrood.



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