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Theodore Dalrymple
Scotland’s Choice « Back to Story

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Still Scottish, Always British—Quis separabit? June 23, 2012 at 6:26 AM
Dr Daniels rarely disappoints, but this article does (indeed, it is a first for me). The results from the various British elections are available on the web and they make interesting reading: in 2010 the Scottish separatists got only 19.94% of the vote cast and 12.73% of the electorate. Even the 2011 devolved election saw only 22.85% of Scotland’s electorate vote for separatists. In other words, 77–87% of Scotland’s electorate are, to a greater or lesser degree, comfortable with the Union (and whilst English separatism is sadly on the rise, they still only managed to capture 0.19% of England’s electorate—like many minorities, their strident vocalism is in inverse proportion to their popularity). On that note, there are more Union Jacks visible in Edinburgh’s Princes Street than from Waterloo Bridge—which includes the Union Jack above the Palace of Westminster.

Tom, Salmond is a political mediocrity at best; that he is not shown for the talentless waste of space he is, is only because the rest of our political establishment (including the political journalists) are such awful wastes of oxygen themselves.
You really are an ignorant numpty,aren't you! You obviously don't have the foggiest idea about these issues and I wonder if you actually know where Scotland is. You achieve something most of the Unionists here can't even manage and that's to make a factual error in virtually every sentence you've written. I assume you went to the Daily Mail School of Unionist Propaganda and Bullshit! SAOR ALBA!
@Tom Gallagher

An interesting point of view. Of course, the other main party in Scotland is Labour, which is also a "big state" party. In the present phase of history, this outlook seems to be what Scottish voters want.

I think that independence offers the best chance for those who wish to offer Scotland an alternative. Without the Union, "big state" politics will become less attractive to Scots, because it will no longer constitute voting for a bigger share of (mostly) English taxpayers' money. With freedom to make their own decisions, England will no longer be useful as a political scapegoat, and people will be forced to question whether a "sense of victimhood" should have any place in national politics.

Also, the moment independence is granted, the SNP will lose the reason for its existence.

Just as the Scottish Conservatives recently came close to voting themselves out of existence, the English Labour Party should have died in the 1980s. It is not healthy to have political parties that are kept on life support by connections to their counterparts in a neighbouring country.

If these issues arise because we tend to identify ourselves as English or Scottish, then we have a much bigger problem in our relations with the EU. The much reported Scottish dislike for being ruled by Margaret Thatcher must surely pale into insignificance compared with the problems now faced by Greece.

The British Union was successful when the benefits of our Empire flowed to both England and Scotland. The European Union was successful when the member states were all reconstructing after the Second World War. It is much more difficult to run a Union during the hard times, if the tribal differences between its peoples remain.
The Scottish National Party is a classic fringe party which has hit the jackpot because it has one first-rate leader and a set of opponents who are permanently out for lunch.
I'm surprised that a normally hard-headed writer like Theodore Dalrymple has written such an indulgent article about what its rise could do for Scotland.
Modesty prevents me from drawing attention to the book and the author which tried to pinpoint the shortcomings of this party of liberators but in essence it argued the following:

The SNP is 'a big state' party dominated by managers, lawyers and career politicians who are unlikely to set the people free and promote individualism any time soon.

Alex Salmond, its crafty populist leader, is adept at exploiting the sense of victimhood in the Scottish psyche (mainly directed against England) which is a recipe for national passivity.

He is trying (not without success) to talk world figures into supporting his separatist ambitions. They range from the leaders of China and the Gulf states whose sovereign wealth funds he thinks allow Scotland to blossom Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch with whom he recently had a cordial meeting.

Scotland might indeed go places if its nationalism was based on national self-sufficiency, unleashing creative energies at home and challenging the welfare dependency which blights cities like Glasgow. But Salmond has more in common with the tin pot socialist barons like Arthur Scargill who challenged Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s than with the founding fathers of the USA. Of course, it might be his hour because nobody is currently articulating a persuasive case for preserving the union.
Theodore Dalrymple, if he visits Scotland, will immediately be struck by the windmills that litter the countryside. They have been imposed on reluctant rural-dwellers in a bid to achieve energy self-sufficiency through renewables. It's as madcap a venture as Enver Hoxha's bid to preserve socialism in Albania forever by erecting concrete pillboxes all over the rural landscape.

Alex Salmond wants a version of 'independence' that will enable Scotland to be a province of the EU. He has no time for people who are independent in thought and judgment. It is sad that a writer of Theodore Dalrymple's stature is prepared to write so charitably about such a retrograde development.
Socialist leaders are the most corrupt. They insulate themselves from the havoc they create, namely egalitarian poverty.

Dalrymple, as always, is a great read. His perception that bankrupt Ireland is still enjoying a higher living standard than its creditors is off the mark. High unemployment, mortgage arrears, businesses shutting down, far fewer foreign holidays are signs that many families are 'on their uppers'. A small point maybe, but not for those who have been hit.
Ingoldby you're the idiot that can't face reality when clear facts are presented to you – GERS report being one; RBS being bailed out by the US Federal Reserve being two; oil running out being three (the UK Government has being saying that since 1974!) and last but not least your inability to accept that more 90% of RBS business in the UK was in England. What an idiot you are!

What about Fortis and Dexia that were bailed out by multiple countries? Hell even RBS and HBOS were bailed out to the tune of $600 billion by the US Federal Reserve. International convention (if you even know the term, and going on your posts you don’t) dictates that when banks which operate in more than one country get into these sort of conditions the bailout is shared in proportion to the area of activities of those banks. You just don’t get it, because your head is stuck up your arse!

You and simple Theodore here are ones doing the most bitching and whining! People in glass houses should not throw stones springs to mind. Your claims that production is falling faster than new discoveries is a simple lie you have just made up right now! The field west of the Shetland Islands (not Orkney as I previously said) is estimated to be the second largest field discovered around Scottish shores – so how do you like them apples!
^^ Hard factual proof – something you can’t bring to the table because you are making it up as you go along you whining little Englander!

On a side note, you keep referring to England like it is the only other country in this union; again your ignorance is breathtaking! What are you even doing reading such an esteemed publication like the City Journal?! You are a complete simpleton who – like a broken record – is just repeating the same lies and misinformation regurgitated by the right wing press, with no apparent research done by yourself. I bet you are one of those types that believe everything the Daily Mail writes! 10000000570804785780748072 different ways of getting cancer!
Let the Scots go. They can keep the oil - and the debts run up by the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Scots businessmen and politicians are canny when they are on their own turf, but when they gain leverage over much larger English businesses or government, they behave like children with the keys to a sweet shop. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, like Bonnie Prince Charlie, were unable to resist the lure of governing England.

If the Scots don't vote for divorce, the English will, and it will be better for both of us. And no, the Scots won't be using Sterling as their currency, because they would only whine when they want a different interest rate from England. Independence, not "devolution max", will bring the blessings of freedom to the Scots, and also the principal curse - they will no longer be able to blame their misfortunes on anyone else.
Dear oh dear Scotsman, you just can't face reality can you?

The Royal Banl of SCOTLAND is a Scottish bank. The fact that it does a lot of business in England doesn't alter that fact. The Icelandic banks did a lot of business in England too, when they went down they dragged Iceland down with them, not England.

If Scotland had been independent then the Scots would have been soley responsible for the liabilities of £45 billion. Instead, you spongers and whingers just turned to the English taxpayer, yet again.....

Your oil revenues are falling, your new discoveries aren't keeping up with the decline of output. Your banks are kept alive with English money.

Scotland is basically one big dole scrounger of a 'nation'. Living off English cash, all the while bitching and moaning about how awful the evil English are.

Bugger off and pay your own bills for once. You Scots have bitched, whined and insulted the English for long enough. Just get on with it, you're like a malodorous teenager who is always threatening to live home but never actually does.

Just DO it, bugger off.
Scotland is a nice country but, historically, there must have been a reason why the English ultimately got the upper hand over it. I should venture, administrative skills. Let the Scots march off into the twilight ("free" - now, eat that!) along with that obnoxious perennial prick Salmond. If they have the guts, that is. The crybabies will come down to London, anyway, to enliven the scene so nothing picturesque gets lost in the end.
So even though you have been made to look like a fool Ingoldby, you still come back for more!

Have you not heard about the new oil field west of the Orkney Islands? Even David Cameron has admitted that the current fields in the North Sea east of Scotland, won't run out for another 30 years, and that is just what is currently being drilled.

Your ignorance of the Scottish economy seems to have been lifted right out the pages of some right wing nut rag like the Telegraph or Daily Mail; I can totally tell you're one of those readers!

You totally ignore my questions and assertions on RBS. This shows that you have no real basis for your argument, you can’t get passed the company name, you think just because it has Scotland in its title, therefore it must be 100% Scottish and have very little to do with England. For someone who reads the City journal, you are some basket case if that is what you believe!

I show you Government statistics that PROVE Scotland puts in more to the UK economy than it receives, and you like a muppet think that because the expenditure is higher than the revenue, Scotland must be getting subsidised! You forget all these costly foreign excursions the British Army goes on or the billions spent on Trident. And you seem completely ignorant of the fact the UK Government has been running a budget deficit since 2002. You sir are an idiot, and an absolute joy for me to shoot down in flames!

Grotty? Have you ever been to Scotland?! We have some of the most beautiful, untouched wilderness in Europe. The Highlands are a wonderful place to travel around. Edinburgh – my home city has more listed buildings than any other city in the world and the entire city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site! It is the largest area of Georgian architecture left in the world.

Face it Ingoldby, you talk utter nonsense, where are your facts backed up with hard evidence? And why won’t you answer my questions on RBS? Is it because you secretly know I am right, and you can’t face up to the realisation that it was a UK Government with a light touch for regulation that allowed the UK Financial Services to get in to such a dire mess.

You’re an idiot Ingoldby; you have nothing to offer except your own whiney self pity and finger pointing at a more progressive and socially democratic country. And believe me when Scotland gains independence, it will be your rump UK Government that will be looking north for inspiration. Hell your Government already has – smoking ban and minimum pricing spring to mind!

Dream on? It is you who needs to dream on! What the hell am I meant to be dreaming on about? You’re the one WHO CAN’T READ SOURCES OF GOVERNMENT REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE you plonker!
Dream on Scotsman,

Your oil is running dry, your banks are broke and being kept going with mountains of English money. Your 'economy' is based on welfare payments, subsidised windmills and a layer of public sector employees doling out the English cash.

Your years of anti-Englist petulant whining and blaming everything that ever goes wrong in your grotty little corner on the English are going the finally result in the English calling your bluff.

Time to vote YES for independence and bugger off.

(and I just love how the Scots talk about the English in a way that if it were directed at blacks or Jews would be considered outrageous, but as soon as an Englishman responds, suddenly it's the English who are Xenophobia and 'Little Englanders'!)

Please, just piss off. Vote for independence and go, you've out stayed your welcome.
On the issue of RBS Ingoldby, how much of that 45,000 million do you think Scotland is liable for? Would it be based around GDP or per proportion of population?

Don't you realise that RBS has more employees in England than Scotland? Don't you realise that nearly 90% of their business interests are in England? Don't you realise that the US Government also bailed RBS out?

Seriously your little Englander mentality is making you look very xenophobic towards Scotland. Give it a break; it does not make you look big.
Oh Ingoldby you're going to wish you could delete your comments on here!

Expenditure and Revenue are 2 separate things! The UK Government is spending more because the UK is in DEFICIT.

Scotland received 9.3% of public expenditure which was 63,800 million. Scotland generated 9.6% of public revenue which stands at £53,100 million. Don't you get it? The UK Government spends more than it earns and has run a budget deficit since 2002.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear!

Hahaha we have an expression in Scotland for people like you, numpty. Seriously, don't try to argue points you clearly don't understand. Idiot!
And according to those figures, at their most generous, the per capita oil revenue for Scots is about £1600 per year.

Wow. You really need to actually read your own sources before posting........

Vote YES for Scottish Independence! Free England of the whinging Scots.
And of course, that's not counting the £45,000 millions spent bailing out the Royal Bank of SCOTLAND......
According to the Scottish government, Scotland is in deficit and subsidised by England.

You can't even read your own source properly.

Scotland gets £63,807 millions but only pays £53,128 millions. And that's at the MOST generous interpretation of the (declining) oil revenues.

That's your own source, Scotland is taking more than it is paying.

And to think that Scottish education used to be a byword for quality....

Please, piss off and take the high road to independence and stop sponging off the English.
hahaha go on Ingoldby prove otherwise?

Both the Scottish and UK Government accept and acknowledge that GERS is the most accurate representation of the Svccottish economy.

This is not my fault you can't handle the truth.
Paul Bethune, if you believe those figures I have a bridge to sell you.

Now please piss off up the high road and vote for independence.
Theodore or Anthony whatever you go by, you're a dinosaur old man. I am 26 years old and my country will be free in your lifetime.

As a journalist I expect you to know the most recent GERS report. I'll provide you a link anyway so you can see for yourself the rubbish that you write about Scotland being subsidised.

"In 2010-11, total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the UK Government, Scottish Government and all other tiers of the public sector, plus a per capita share of debt interest payments, was £63.8 billion. This is equivalent to 9.3 per cent of total UK public sector expenditure.

In 2010-11, total Scottish non-North Sea public sector revenue was estimated at £45.2 billion, (8.3 per cent of total UK non-North Sea revenue). Including a per capita share of North Sea revenue, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £45.9 billion (8.3 per cent of UK total public sector revenue). When an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue is included, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £53.1 billion (9.6 per cent of UK total public sector revenue)."

Do you read that you contemptible old git? Scotland has 8.3% of the population, contributes 9.6% of total UK public sector revenue, yet only recieves 9.3% back.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

As a London based Conservative Imperialist, it does not really surprise me that you would write such rubbish. But there is so much contempt and bitterness towards Scotland in this pathetic piece of journalistic rubbish that I felt obliged to speak out.

And your £2000 per head for oil revenues for Scotland, show us your reference on that then? Or did you just pull that figure, like subsidisation, from your arse?
The Scots whinge and whine against the English in a fashion that if it were directed against blacks or Jews would be considered utterly unacceptable.

They live off English money and constantly tell everyone that they are being robbed by the English. I wish they had got their independence BEFORE the English taxpayers had to bail out the Royal Bank of SCOTLAND at a cost of £45 billion.

Scots, please bugger off.
There are so many countries in Europe in need of a cold shower of economic reality that I doubt there is enough cold water. Only .03 percent are net taxpayers? They will drown in economic reality if they get their way.
Last month, Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party argued that the main problem of the government (not "government" in the sense of the party temporarily in power, the structure of UK government) faces widespread discontent in all of its regions. He cited poll results which implied that the main complaint is suspicion that some regions, including but not limited to Scotland, believe they're getting short-changed. Hence, Scottish secession would encourage reform in the remaining regions of the UK. Is this true? Do people in Wales and Liverpool think London and the South East benefit at their expense? If they do think that, are they correct?
Oliver Cromwell, the question of the currency for an independent Scotland is indeed a vexed one.

The best suggestion I have seen so far is that, by analogy with the Irish punt, it will be called the poon.
"The English (I speak grosso modo, of course) believe that the Scots live off of their English subsidies..."

" of..."? I am faced with a choice between two extreme unlikely possibilities.

1. An editor has interfered with Dr Dalrymple's exemplary English, and inserted the offending and redundant "of".

2. Dr Dalrymple himself has committed the solecism, perhaps in an attempt to sound more American.

Is nothing sacred?
Well done on getting quite so many of your own prejudices into a piece ostensibly about Scottish independence. However I thought that US publications were obsessed by fact-checking. What happened in your case?
When I was very young, I found great pleasure in driving a car at the playground. Never mind that it was up on blocks and that the steering wheel had no effect on the wheels. I was driving.

This must be what it is like to be a voter in Europe these days.
Very interesting. As someone who grew up in Canada we always thought the Scotch were as excellent as money managers, having built some of the major cities and institutions, as at military affairs. One can recognize the architecture in Canada: stone buildings with copper roofs, and turrets and towers. When I visited Edinburgh, it was like visiting Montreal.
Scotland on sterling? Not if the English get to vote. Scotland on the euro? Who'd buy the paper? Scotland on some invented currency printed by the Central Bank of Scotland? That's a short! And who would be president or king? How big the Scottish Air Force and Scottish Navy? What's on at the Scottish Embassy this week? Who's the Scottish cultural attache in Paris?
The whole thing is a joke and Cameron is right to call their bluff.
Given all of the Scottish scientists, engineers and inventors of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the Highland TIger should do quite well. Until they drown in the Brussels fllood.
Gilbert W. Chapman March 22, 2012 at 8:58 PM
One enlightened action by an independent government in Scotland would be to make Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" required reading for all high school students.