Around the web

This is my short list of stuff on the web that confirms why I believe No Thanks! is the best response to the SNP’s decision to hold an independence referendum. It’s a mixed bag of sites, blogs, pages and other bits and pieces. It all avoids the histrionics of much of the Yes campaign, although you’ll find plenty of emotion here. Most of it is positive stuff countering the Yes lie that those wanting the UK to stay together have nothing but negative arguments and fear to offer. And it all helps explain why I feel the way I do. Enjoy.

I may add to the list in the weeks running up to the referendum. If you have any suggestions for a worthwhile addition, let me know.

Nationalism: a dangerous delusion

This is a single post from Tom Morton’s Beatcroft blog in which the broadcaster, writer, musician and Shetland polymath sets out his arguments against separation. A sample

Nationalism [is] based on emotive concepts such as ‘the right of a nation to establish its own destiny’. Braveheart words with the bruising echo of boots on faces. Nationalism is about flags and tunes, swelling hearts and marching feet. All the rest is stolen. Ideas ripped off for the sake of achieving an end whose entire moral worth, in Scotland, seems to be based on the reactive notion that ‘We’re better than the English.’

The sixty-odd comments he’s provoked are worth browsing. Most of them, on both sides, are reasoned, and the wilder voices of nationalism (think Wings) have stayed away. Morton is so self-evidently a decent guy that I suspect they either don’t know how to respond or know that the usual intemperate rant will be counter-productive.

The referendum songbook

Another Tom Morton effort, which is why it’s second on my list. A site that does what it says on the tin. He aims to post one song a week and they’re also on YouTube. Some have a hard edge, as you’ll hear


Let’s stay together – behind-the-scenes

Hot off the press, another YouTube video, this time a bunch of  mainly English people say #Let’sStayTogether. I agree. What a surprise.


Notes from North Britain

The tongue in cheek title of Professor Adam Tomkins’ continuing analysis of the fallacies of, especially, the Scottish Government’s claims about independence. Always calm, always reasoned, nationalists don’t like him because he’s so difficult to refute. Witness the stooshie in the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee when SNP MSP Willie Coffey and chair Christina McKelvie contrived to stop his expert evidence in mid-flow.

There’s plenty of good stuff in Tomkins’ blog. Try starting with his Unanswered questions of the Scottish Government. They were unanswered in May. Most if not all of them still are.

Brian Wilson

No, not the Beach Boy, but former Labour politician and founding editor of the West Highland Free Press. Wilson writes regularly in The Scotsman newspaper and, a badge of honour for me, has been traduced by the Wings over Scotland web site (prop. the self-styled Rev Stuart Campbell of the fair town of Bath), who described him as ‘a horrible little man.’ They always go hardest for the ones they know are most effective.

It’s difficult to pick out one item from Wilson’s copious output, and I’m not sure it’s all online. Here’s one where he had a blast at the Minister for Public Health’s comparison of life expectancy in part of Glasgow with a suburb of London

herein lies the kernel of why Nationalism is such an unpleasant and deceptive creed. To recognise the inequalities within Scotland involves both challenge and responsibility. In contrast, pretending that the difference which matters is between the poorest places in Scotland and the richest places in England is a grotesque caricature, intended to encourage prejudice and gross misunderstanding. And also, of course, to evade responsibility.

It’s a polemic but a good one based on facts.

George Galloway

OK, he’s not to everyone’s taste and he spends plenty of time on other issues (like Palestine). But he knows how to speak in public. And he does it with passion and humour, unlike the nearest equivalent (sorry, George) I can think of on the Yes side, the perennially angry Tommy Sheridan.

Here he is on Audiboo at a debate in Edinburgh arguing a powerful case for staying together

I know which side I’m on … just say ‘No.’

chokka blog

‘A series of ramblings from the bleeding edge’ by entrepreneur Kevin Hague. He majors on business and economic issues and is especially concerned for the future of companies like his that do business UK-wide from Scotland. His forensic analysis of the membership and claims of the pro-Yes lobby group Business for Scotland is a joy to behold. At the time of writing he’s trying to pull together his ‘Case in summary’ for staying in the UK:

For too long, the referendum debate has been presented as one side representing Scotland and the other side representing Britain.  In fact, the real debate is between two Scottish visions of Scotland’s future – the nationalist one based on the breaking of all political links with the UK and our vision based on a strong Scottish parliament backed up by a system of pooling and sharing risks and resources across the UK.

Lily of St Leonard’s

This is a little more local to the North East, where I’ve lived for many years. The anonymous ‘Effie Deans’ (think Walter Scott) posts ‘some thoughts on the Scottish independence referendum’ regularly on her Lily of St Leonard’s blog. I sympathised with something she wrote back in January

Normally I don’t receive many replies on my blog, which is fine, as I don’t really have time to engage in endless debates with people who have already made up their minds.

That’s from her post Expressing uncertainty is not scaremongering, a reasoned and fair piece that’s well worth a read, and did generate some comment.

Nothing is so tedious as the national sport of grievance-seeking

Yes campaigners often complain (in my view wrongly) about the negativity of those who want Scotland to stay together with the rest of the UK. But they carry a heavy burden of negativity themselves as this article by Alex Massie in The Spectator, hung on comment and coverage about the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, says

… it is a belief widely held on the pro-Yes side of the independence debate that Scotland suffers from a crisis of confidence. Low self-esteem holds the country back and we’re all too easily persuaded we cannot do anything right.

The article is a useful corrective to that view.

Norman Harper

Almost at the end now, and more a wistful footnote than anything else.

North East loon and author Norman Harper does not, as far as I can see, write much about independence. I’ve enjoyed his Press & Journal columns over the years and he keeps me up to date on many things North East in his ‘Author’s view from North-east Scotland.’

Back in April Norman wrote a rather poignant post called Aunt Ruth would be hopping mad. It didn’t do much more than document a case of bureaucratic insensitivity by the SNP. I expect examples of such things could be find in most organisations but this was one particular organisation and it was about his late aunt. You’ll have to read the post to find out why he concludes

If this is how the SNP treats its friends, heaven help the rest of us.

John Curtice

Finally, and for something completely different, the estimable Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University and the Scottish Centre for Social Research. The Centre carries out the regular Scottish Social Attitudes Survey and much beside. A psephologist, Curtice also summarises and explains all current referendum-related opinion polls on his What Scotland thinks blog.

The good prof is objective and neutral and I cite him because his work provides information that can help subject the many false claims that fly around the independence referendum debate to a forensic examination. As an example you can check what I wrote on my other blog on the question of How many people in Scotland want rid of Trident? Someone on Twitter claimed ‘the majority.’ It’s not true.

I expect I shall be returning to Professor Curtice’s work, and other sources of objective statistics, before the independence campaign runs its course.


3 Responses to Around the web

  1. Tam says:

    1st class, well presented, however, I did not need persuading ,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim says:

    Is there any nightmare scenario in which you could see your self supporting a independent Scotland?
    eg EDL majority in Westminster with a aggressive religious/ethnic exclusion policy? With a Labour or Conservative majority in the Scottish Parliament attempting to seeking independence?


    • Roger White says:

      I’m not sure why you ask but let me reverse the scenario. Could you see your self opposing Scotland remaining in the UK if Holyrood had a National Front-style government that insisted everyone spoke Gaelic and English people should be deported? The point is that extreme possibilities are highly unlikely and not worth using to argue a point. If you want to know why I believe we’re better off as part of Britain there’s plenty of evidence in my blog. Feel free to browse it. Thanks.


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