‘There’s a Breathless Hush in the Close Tonight’

Please forgive me for this. I trust that I am amongst friends?

I was born British. I don’t believe that I am either better or worse than anybody else for that. I’m just happy that it happened to happen. I’m a Briton of Scots provenance and a loyal subject of Her Majesty.

I would like to die in the same state but there is a torn-faced waste of space who is trying to deny me that possibility. Tonight, Sleekit Salmond is going head to head with Alistair Darling and live on TV in what has been billed as a ‘game-changer’ I hope that he falls flat on his jowls.

Just in case you don’t know the pome, I also hope that Mr Darling plays up big time tonight.

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night —
Ten to make and the match to win —
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play, and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote.
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

The sand of the desert is sodden red —
Red with the wreck of a square that broke;
The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the Regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England’s far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks —
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the School is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind —
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

73 thoughts on “‘There’s a Breathless Hush in the Close Tonight’”

  1. If Salmond can’t give solid answers to such issues as EU membership, Pound or Euro, Pensions and Welfare etc. he will lose credibility.
    For me, I still just can’t believe Scotland will ever decide to go it alone.

  2. I agree, Gaz, I cannot believe they would decide to go it alone either.

    I’m quite astonished to discover that the debate this evening is only available on STV, so we cannot watch it here, except on-line.

  3. I have just been watching some of it online Ara, but it keeps breaking up. The bit I saw showed Darling asking fundamental questions which were not answered and Salmond trying for cheap point scoring. I hope the Scottish public see the same.

  4. I would venture that if you are amongst friends anywhere, JM, you are here and thank you for highlighting this priceless piece.

    As far as my heart is concerned, I hope the feckless Scots vote ‘yes’, but my head tells me the canny traits of our Northron neighbours will vote ‘no’.

    In any event it makes no practical difference – if they vote ‘yes’ Holyrood gets even more devolved powers, as you would properly expect with independence, but if they vote ‘no’ Holyrood gets even more devolved powers, which you would not. Either way, JM’s favourite politician is on to a winner, more’s the pity as he will brazen it out and continue to present the bill to Westminster.

    I would personally like a referendum exclusively in England as to whether the existence of Holyrood should preclude any Scottish constituency MPs or peers from attending Westminster and, particularly, voting on English affairs. Don’t blame me, the wee Sleekit started it!


  5. Aye weel ,OZ.

    Walk in the park for my boy. Salmond huffed, puffed and blew himself away. Deep joy. His claque clapped and did their best but they lost. It was supposed to be a clear win for Mr Charisma but he had not expected Mr Common Sense to turn up as well. We really are Better Together.

    ‘Game-changer’ my left buttock. No is going to win and Sleekit is going to be be embarrassing history for us and for him.

    Proud to be Scots. Delighted to be United.

  6. Good for you, JM, but I still feel uneasy about the whole process, (for example, Araminta’s notice 8.46 pm that this important constitutional debate WHICH INVOLVES THE WHOLE UNITED KINGDOM is only available on Scottish TV I-Player, FFS). What are they scared of, apart from revealing after the event the mahoosive bill for the whole stramash, financed, whatever the outcome, by the UK taxpayer.


  7. OZ, I see thet STV blew it online! See what happens when they go it alone? 🙂

    JM, remember AH Clough: “If hopes are dupes, fears may be liars…..” Hang in there, not long now.

  8. G’day Janus. S’true, the only feed available outside the Borders crashed and thus Salmond being humiliated by another McPolitician I don’t like on the currency question was lost. Listen, Chubby, if you want to be independent get your own currency such as the grote (or Scrote in Scotland’s case) and don’t think you can continue to ride the gravy train on England’s coat tails. You prefer to be ruled by Brussels after ‘independence’ rather than from Westminster, then apply for membership just like Malta and Bulgaria. Claiming to cherry-pick which bits YOU decide to take should not be an option. Go it alone and we’ll tell you all the advantages you won’t get any more.

    Sheona!! More Frizz-Eaze please.


  9. I was delighted to read about the outcome of this debate. Salmond’s “Och, it’ll be all right on the night” just didn’t work. He’s really in cloud-cuckoo land. I think he chose his referendum date badly too. After the Commonwealth Games and the commemorations of the start of WW1 Britain has been shown as a united country. If Salmond really wanted to rely on the Bannockburn factor, he should have chosen the actual date of the battle which was months before the Games and 4th August.

  10. Hi JM. As you know, genealogically speaking, I have a foot in both camps. I have as much Scottish blood as I have English. But I was born in England so perhaps my heart rests slightly south of the border.

    However, wearing my kilt, I can see benefits to both Yes and No arguments. But, I would like to know your thoughts on why England, should want the Union to continue. What is in it for England and the rest of the Union if Scotland continues to be a member and what what would those nations lose if Scotland became independent?

    To my mind, the most obvious advantage would be that Labour would struggle to win ever again without the Scottish vote, and that can only be a good thing. Scottish law makers would have no say on English concerns which differ considerably in many cases from those up north. England, with its much bigger economy, would continue to attract Scottish talent, but would not have the burden of supporting its weaker neighbour. As I understand it, though I stand to be corrected by anyone other than Mr Salmond, there is a net flow of tax revenue heading north each year. With an independent Scotland, the Union would hang onto those revenues.

    If it were not for a bit of historical sentimentalism, I would have thought that from an English perspective, it would be good riddance to Scotland. ‘You never loved us, anyway’.

    As an aside, I wonder who was responsible for insisting that the vote was limited to those actually living in Scotland. If the whole of the UK had its say, I suspect it would be a case of ‘So long and thanks for all the fish’.

    Of course sitting in beautifully warm and sunny Zimbabwe, the whole thing is entirely academic as far as I am concerned.

  11. Janus, I am not sure what you are getting at. I just want to know what reasons would England have to keep Scotland part of the Union. What do the English get out of it? Northern Ireland and Wales are very unlikely to want to leave, but if they did, how would that hurt England (not that it was part of my question)? By the way, I think you mean the United Kingdom rather than ‘GB’, assuming you include Northern Ireland as one of the ‘sub-nations’.

  12. I like the Union. It has stood the test of time. So many social and economic ties. Why change for reasons of sentiment?

    Wales and NI don’t want to leave.

  13. Hi Janus, I am not sure that you are actually reading what I have been saying. You are offering nothing more than sentiment (“I like the Union”) as a reason for the Union to stay in tact. I want to know practical reasons that extend beyond sentiment, which clearly is not shown by all. I agree, the Union is fine, as long as everybody wants to belong to it, but if the Scots want to go, what, apart from sentiment, is there that will cause the English to want them to stay. The UK does not have the status it had 300 or even 200 years ago. Then, Act(s) of Union helped make it the greatest power on earth. But those days are long gone and so I suspect are many of the reasons for unification, just as many of the reasons for colonising the world and building and maintaining an empire have faded away.

    I am not advocating the dissolution of the Union, I just want a Scotsman to tell me why an Englishman should want to retain it if the Scots do not want to be there, A party can be a lot of fun without serving any practical purpose, but if half the guests are not welcome, there ceases to be any reason to remain, other than perhaps to eat and drink as much as you can before leaving; which I suspect some disaffected people in Scotland are doing.

  14. I did not say ‘nationalist’, but when you start talking about social ties, national identity falls into that category. So I would argue that nationalist sentiment is very much one of the reasons you like the Union, whether you admit to it or not. It would seem from what you have said that you see yourself as British first. The breakaway Scots, see themselves as Scottish first.

    As for Economic ties, that raises a practical question and one I would like the answer to. What economic benefits are there to England and do they outweigh the negative flow of tax revenues? That and questions of that nature are what I was asking JM.

    Your other reason, ‘standing the test of time’ is not a practical one. You might just as well have said something similar about slavery or male-only suffrage or any number of institutions that ‘stood the test of time’ until they were destroyed, for the better (assuming that you believe that emancipation and female suffrage are good things). The status-quo needs to be examined from time to time, especially when people show signs of discontent. Consider the Monarchy, the Bank of England, hereditary peerages in the HoL.

    As an aside, one of the most popular reasons given by Americans in a poll, for not accepting Puerto Rico as the 51st US state, was that the extra star would ‘spoil’ the flag. That may be an apocryphal tale , but I would not put such sentimental nonsense past American voters just as I would not put sentiment past Scottish voters.

  15. I am English.
    There are many positive situations that have stood the test of time.
    I regard the Union as one of them.

  16. Given that this blog contained a poem, I wondered whether any of the Chariot’s resident poets might like to come up with something on the lines of “The Night before Christmas”.

    ‘Twas the night before referendum
    And all through the land
    Not a creature was stirring
    Not even Salmond …

    You can see why a proper poet is needed.

  17. In the bleak late summer
    Visceral winds made moan
    Must have been the Salmond
    Dropping like stone
    No was wailing, no, no, no
    No no no
    In the bleak late summer
    Not so long to go

  18. I never could see any valid economic reason for the English to wish to retain Scotland in the Union. I can only see emotive issues for some. Had the plebiscite been UK wide I suspect Scotland would have been ejected pretty summarily. Which is why it was never offered! It should have been.

    Wales has never wanted to leave the Union, it has been part and parcel of the UK for far longer than Scotland. The only people who wanted to leave are total nutters like the Sons of Glyndwr who are far happier burning holiday homes! Says it all really!!!

  19. Hi Sipu.

    To quote Cary Grant in ‘Bringing Up Baby’ as he repeatedly failed to meet up with Mr Peabody, ‘I’ll be with you in a minute.’

    It’s complicated but I really am trying to reply to you. My problem is that I am trying to condense 50+ years of active political life and all that I learned from my parents about their beliefs and the beliefs of their parents into that reply. Add my version of the realpolitik of the present and future of my country and said reply has already reached ‘War and Peace’ length..

    Whatever. You asked for it and I promise that I will give it to you once I trim it down.

    Just as a taster, I do not believe that the majority of Scots want to leave the Union.I also believe that the majority of the other nations of our country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland do not want us to leave either.

    We are a family and we can and will resolve our problems. In my opinion.

  20. Hi Sipu.

    Your remarks in quotes.

    ‘What is in it for England and the rest of the Union if Scotland continues to be a member and what would those nations lose if Scotland became independent?’

    We would lose our joint history for over 300 years. I realise that does not matter to you as you are happy to sun yourself in ‘beautifully warm and sunny Zimbabwe.’ I am delighted that you have moved on from your British roots and have reconciled yourself thereto.

    ‘Labour would struggle to win ever again without the Scottish vote, and that can only be a good thing.’ Serious and serial crap. Labour have usually won or lost British elections anyway. Having no Scottish votes would always have changed the percentage and majority but would only ever have changed the result once since 1945. It would, admittedly, have been a good thing if it had happened more often.

    ‘As I understand it, though I stand to be corrected by anyone other than Mr Salmond, there is a net flow of tax revenue heading north each year. With an independent Scotland, the Union would hang onto those revenues.’ That’ll be a bit of a ‘No’ then. Complicated. Parts of Scotland (eg Embra and Aberdeen) are net contributors to the UK. Parts of England are just not pulling their weight – I won’t name them because we are a family and these things happen.

    ‘If it were not for a bit of historical sentimentalism, I would have thought that from an English perspective, it would be good riddance to Scotland. ‘You never loved us, anyway’ ‘ – specious and offensive non-British sniping, in my opinion.

    ‘I wonder who was responsible for insisting that the vote was limited to those actually living in Scotland. If the whole of the UK had its say, I suspect it would be a case of ‘So long and thanks for all the fish’. Logic insisted. We had an election in Scotland where said vote was posited, The party who so posited won so they have to get their crack at asking their question in all fairness. Nobody has yet won a mandate for a similar vote in rUK although, of course, the Conservative Government for which I will be voting in 2015 will give us the EU ‘In/Out’ referendum in 2017.

    ‘Hi Janus, I am not sure that you are actually reading what I have been saying. You are offering nothing more than sentiment (“I like the Union”) as a reason for the Union to stay in tact. I want to know practical reasons that extend beyond sentiment, which clearly is not shown by all. I agree, the Union is fine, as long as everybody wants to belong to it, but if the Scots want to go, what, apart from sentiment, is there that will cause the English to want them to stay. The UK does not have the status it had 300 or even 200 years ago. Then, Act(s) of Union helped make it the greatest power on earth. But those days are long gone and so I suspect are many of the reasons for unification, just as many of the reasons for colonising the world and building and maintaining an empire have faded away.’

    Whatever your provenance, Sipu, you are clearly not British now. Absolutely your right but I don’t have to agree with your negative analysis of my country, past, present and, I still hope, future.

    Proud to be Scots and delighted to be United.

    And British.

  21. Evenin’ Mr Maxkie. I respect your considered stance, and a very cogent and hopeful one it is too, but whereas there are many fervent Scots who want a ‘Yes’ there are many English (and Welsh and Irish for that matter) who are sick and tired of being fleeced, harangued and kicked from pillar to post by your belligerent, irritating first minister.

    So, with tongue more of less in cheek, herewith for you, Sheona and Janus with apologies for dodgy scansion and poetic licence.

    Twas the night before voting
    And in most of the country
    People were asking,
    ‘‘Why cannot WE vote

    On whether WE want Scots
    To stay or to go?’’
    ‘Cos the Sleekit’s grandstanding,
    ‘’You’ve no right to know

    ‘’What us Scots are planning
    ‘’When the ‘Yes’ vote goes through.
    ‘’Your Queen’ll be our Queen
    ‘’And we’ll keep the pound

    ‘’And we’ll stay in Europe
    ‘’And NATO and all
    ‘’And keep all the cherries
    ‘’That we had before.

    ‘’This is our birthright
    ‘’We won’t let it go,
    ‘’But we’re not going to ask you,
    ‘’You’ve no right to know.

    ‘’We want independence,
    ‘’Well, up to a point.
    ‘’Like not losing the good bits
    ‘’And stay on your……nerves.’’


  22. Sorry, Sipu.

    I read my first reply and I realise that it does not answer your question or CO’s post. Oz’s fine pome has also flooded in as I composed.

    One of the democratic deficits in our country at the moment is that we have a Scottish Parliament and the English do not have their own. We had devolution from Day 1 of Union because we have always had our own law, education and religion and the legislation which was passed to regulate them only ever applied in Scotland. That legislation used to be passed in Westminster through the Scottish Grand Committee but now goes through Holyrood.

    Once we vote No, we will be given Devo Max with more powers being given to Holyrood, particularly tax raising powers. To spell it out, that means that Scotland will receive a smaller block grant from central funding. Our Holyrood politicians will have to justify asking us to pay more in tax or trim back their spending and they won’t be able to blame the evil Tories in Westminster any more if they can’t fund their excesses. Fiscal responsibility and less of a burden to taxpayers in the rest of the country – actually just to London and the South East as Wales, Northern Ireland and the rest of England also batten off them to a greater or lesser extent at the moment in tax revenue terms.

    Devo Max is going to come about as part of a constitutional review. It is obvious that part of that review is going to be the establishment of an English Parliament or, at the very least, an English Grand Committee where Scots and Ulster MPs wll be excluded from voting on purely English legislation. We are well on our way to becoming a Federal country with the UK Parliament dealing only with reserved powers such as Defence, International Treaties, nationality and security.

    The Unionist parties will not say it at the moment but it is clear that the future of Barnett formula will have to be part of that constitutional review as well.

    So, what’s in it for England? In my opinion, it’s the certainty of a fairer democratic and financial divide internally and the retention of our country’s present place in the world without any suggestion that rUK has been diminished by the loss of over 8% of its population and about 30% of its land mass. Better Together.

  23. Good morning JM. Thank you for your considered response. I note your tone.

    I am afraid that I remain unconvinced that there is any practical benefit to the people of England for retention of the Union. As you say, even after a No vote, more power will devolve to Scotland causing even greater financial, legal and cultural disparity. It is only an emotional attachment for an increasingly fading history that would make the majority of English voters wish to stay united.

    I am increasingly convinced that when societies reach the Byzantine levels that we see today in the Western world, Europe and the US, individual freedoms are lost and we become governed by the tyranny of the majority. Despite the despotic government of Zimbabwe, much of which is down to the perfidious nature of successive British governments, I reckon that I have more freedom here than I do in Britain. The United Kingdom once flourished, but the blossom has long faded. It would be better for all if each country went its own way and reinvented itself, which of course means leaving Europe as well.

    You refer to my Britishness or rather my lack thereof. My provenance is a fine one of which I am justifiably proud. As arrogant as it may sound, I am proud of what many of my ancestors achieved in helping make Britain what it once was and I am proud of the person I am and the values to which I subscribe. Conversely, I am deeply ashamed and saddened by what Britain has become.

    We can agree to differ.

  24. Just an idle thought. If only our politicians would/could debate with the knowledge, experience, erudition and objective passion of Mr Mackie and Sipu the voters (and all those denied that democratic right) might be better placed to make properly considered judgements. This is the Chariot at it’s very best: I’m enjoying it immensely and long may it continue.

    No pressure, like.


  25. Thank you for your poems, Janus and OZ, though I think there might be a typo at the start of line 6, Janus. “He” instead of “No” perhaps?

    Your phrase “ill-defined wish-list of hopes and demands?” seems to me to sum up Salmond’s campaign. It’s a bit surprising that, given the man’s a lawyer, he has very few definite ideas, appearing to rely on “it’ll be all right on the night”. Can he not understand that any scheme to keep the British pound with BoE as lender of last resort means Scotland will not really be independent?

    Like JM, I feel we’re better together, though I think the Lothian question must be resolved. That is totally unfair to England.

  26. Sipu, may I also ask what in Britain are you ashamed of – that Zimbabwe can offer? It beats me (and I expect, many others).

    Or do you not reply when asked about your principles?

  27. I have just read all of the comments. Phew, where to begin.

    Firstly, let me second the comment from Zangado. The level of discussion on here, regarding wit, humour and information, is polite and respectful at all times. As said “Chariot at it’s best” (although still a newcomer) and a pleasure to be here.

    Secondly, I have always been strongly in favour of keeping the Union, perhaps without fully analysing exactly why. Sipu has made me think. I am not aware enough in detail of the financial benefits of either stance, and couldn’t care very much about the political implications, so why am I strongly in favour of keeping Scotland?
    I can only come up with two main reasons.
    1) Because there are so many unanswered questions regarding currency, EU membership, Pensions, etc. I was hoping (rather naively) that Salmond would answer some of these points but was not surprised that he didn’t. He can’t, because he doesn’t have the answers. This was probably the main reason he lost the debate this week.

    2) Sentiment. I think Sipu is mostly correct on the point of sentiment.. For many of us it is the nationalist sentiment which drives our views. Where I disagree with Sipu (please correct me if I have misunderstood) is that you seem to treat ‘sentiment’ as something with little real value. The impression is “well if keeping the unions with Scotland is only for sentimental reasons, they might as well leave”. I would argue that sentiment is a very important driver in the way people live, love and follow their principles. It is a hugely essential factor.

    As far as I can see, these are still the main two reasons why I support better together, and they have not been altered by the comments above, welcome though they were to help me get my own ‘thought’ ducks in a row.

    3) Having lived in England until the age of 38 but in Germany from 1994 to 2002, Spain 2004-2005, and in France since 2011, I also feel quite disappointed, even sometimes ashamed with the way England has changed. When I walk through the streets of my old home town I see mostly fat, slovenly people, queues of half naked girls at the nightclubs with drinks in their hands, surveillance cameras on every corner, litter all over the place. It is dirty with loud, swearing youngsters spitting all over the place. It has gone down a lot since I was young. I never see this in any of the other countries I mentioned. I feel safe in most European cities, but not in my own hometown on a Saturday night. This is why I feel ashamed.

    I came back to the UK from 2002 -2011 (apart from a year in Spain) with my German wife. She had never lied in the UK before and I was dreading how she would find it. In 2011, when we left, she had a tear in her eye because she loves England so much. For the first couple of years she found it hard to accept the poor house quality, hooligans in the city, and many things that I mentioned above, but gradually found that she fely very ‘wohl’ living in England. At first she couldn’t explain it, but eventually realised that the English, in general are friendly, very empathic, witty and always ready to help one another. She often remarked that she went into perhaps a shoe shop and before she left knew the life story of the shop assistant. This never happens in Germany.

    So, this got me to thinking. Is the UK as bad as I had imagined? Has it really deteriorated? Or am I simply only seeing the bad things and trying to compare with my childhood memories? Or am I just using a form of self protection to convince myself that I am happier living abroad? I met a Spaniard in France, who was telling me how horrible life has become in Spain and he will never go back. I am moving permanently to Spain in October as it is my favourite country. Where’s the logic in that?

    So Sipu, I would ask you. Are your freedoms really better in Zimbabwe, or is it simply an impression that makes you feel more comfortable with your life?
    Like Janus, I can’t imagine that Zimbabwe is more free. (I have a very close friend with grandchildren in Zimbabwe. She tells me a very different story).

    Huh! I just realised that I am rambling on so I stop now 🙂

  28. Gazoopi – As you probably know, I am a Scouse, Lancastrian, Englander and am immensely proud of being all three. End of, ponto final, but let me explain where I am coming from. I remember my dear grandfather, who was a RFC fighter pilot in WW1, a RAF pilot thereafter and who died nearly half a century ago now, saying, ”The English are a nation you can push and push into a corner until all seems lost for them, but if you then make just one push too far then you’d better get out of the way because the repercussions will be violent, relentless and uncompromising”

    I think he was thinking of events such as Rorke’s Drift, Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain (he never said much about WW1) and to other non-military situations in his lifetime and I can empathise completely with his sentiments.

    Since then, the English has become a nation under siege. The Blair/Brown era opened our borders to unlimited immigration so we must pay more taxes to sustain the influx of potential Labour voters and accept multi-culturism to the detriment of our own indigenous roots; Our laws are set in Brussels by unelected trough-hoggers from Eire, Belgium and Luxembourg; the legal system is dominated by taxpayer-funded yooman rites lawyers and daily life is oppressed by politically correct dogma, council diktat and speed cameras. Any opposition is denounced as reactionary at best and racist at worst.

    In short, I don’t like some woman (If it is indeed a woman) walking though Bradford wearing a burqa any more than the Saudi religious police would welcome a brave woman walking through Riyadh in a bikini and a carrying a can of barley wine. In short I am expected to accept the former whereas the latter will incur 13th century retribution.

    So, after four years living in Brisbane followed by four months back in Blighty, I left and am now safely ensconced in Portugal for the remainder of my days.

    Relating to the above, I just don’t like Salmond honking about the terms HE and the McFascists (sorry, McNationalists ) will accept, that HE will keep the Queen and Sterling and take anything else beneficial to Scotland without the merest courtesy of asking Her Majesty whether or not she wishes to remain Queen of Jockland or the rest of the UK as to whether we want them to have the pound and the Barnet formula.

    I’m in the English corner and the hackles are in attack mode. Stand back.


  29. Ochone

    I’m beginning to think that I should have posted this on MyT. With a fair wind, I could have been a contender for a really serious total comments count, which is all that should matter if Lao alias Donald is to be believed.

    He’s wrong, of course, and OZ is right. We do quality and not quantity on the Chariot. We also manage to do coherent, argued, relevant and polite. Thanks to everybody for their contributions. I can’t agree completely with all of them but we all march to different drums and should always respect others’ viewpoints if we want to remain civilized. In my opinion.

    Except for Sheona at 9.54 am, of course, as she committed total keech in reference to Salmond. She wrtes – ‘ It’s a bit surprising that, given the man’s a lawyer………..’

    Lawyer? Lawyer? May you be forgiven! Sheona. When he finally got to St Andrews University,he got a degree in Mediaeval History and (you will laugh at this) Economics.

    Gazoopi, it’s a pleasure to see you here and thank you for what you call your ramble. It’s Mrs M’s 65th tomorrow and I am seriously into pre-celebratory preparations but I will find time to comment on that and all the other comments in due time.

    As regards the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, I would just like Mr Salmond to know that it’s my country and I’m keeping it,

  30. Very enjoyable and good-tempered discourse. I wouldn’t have expected anything different of course.

    Thank you to all who contributed for an interesting read, and John for hosting this discussion.

  31. Mea culpa, JM. I read somewhere that wee Eck was a lawyer and was not interested enough to check out his academic credentials. I expect the Economics department at St Andrews is burying itself in one of the bunkers. His expertise does not extend to showing him that Scotland could end up like Panama which I believe uses the US$, but the US carries on without any thought for the effect its policies might have on Panama and why should it? Salmond would reduce Scotland to the level of a teenager who has left home but still expects his weekly pocket money. That’s not independence, Alec.

  32. Gazoopi: recently I returned to my home town in Germany after spending years living in the USA.
    It is no longer as safe here as it used to be — in the past, murder was almost unheard of and people did not always remember to lock their doors with no consequences. In the past few months there were two homicides in the Trier suburb I am presently living in (population: roughly 10,000) and not infrequent burglaries. People have little choice but to double-lock their doors now. Much of Trier is also not safe — we find it best to be indoors before dark. In Germany we have our own Chavs and they’re no better than those in the UK.

    Germany is in many ways more functional than the UK — the cost of life is still relatively lower, crime rates are still lower and in many places it is cleaner (although there are a number of filthy places in Germany as well). At the same time, Germany is so highly regulated and there are so many legal obligations that one can reasonably feel compelled to snap. Germans are also far more difficult as a group to deal with than Britons. As a result, I could well move to the UK in the near future for the purpose of gaining more career experience — at the moment on hold because my qualifications have to go through several government offices in Germany because… Well, no one can give a good reason except that “you have to”.

  33. I pressed “post comment” before finishing my third point…

    We tend to forget the bad and unpleasant things and are disappointed when they keep turning up.
    When we move abroad, we also only tend to remember the better things. As a result, seeing a more real picture of the place we used to call home can be shocking — not because the place is getting worse, but because reality and what we think it was or should be are at times very far apart. That said, in the past 10-15 years the world as a whole has seemingly gone to the dogs.

  34. I’ve followed this debate with some interest. I don’t know enough about Salmond’s view of an independent Scotland – but it might be worth remembering that the ‘sentiment’ regarding the union of the two countries for 350 years is actually a relatively ‘new’ sentiment. England and Scotland have a far longer history of being separate than they do of being united.

    Perhaps it is Salmond’s background in medieval history that has influenced his desire to return to the ‘good old days’ when the two countries were separate!

    Be careful, Mr Mackie who you insult here 🙂 I have a PhD (Econ) from the LSE – and my subject was definitely medieval…

    Having said that, I spent a lot of time with ‘real’ economists at the ANU – and I wouldn’t trust my cat’s bank account to any one of them. Full of theory, and not an ounce of common sense or knowledge of the real world!

  35. Thanks for the comments Christopher.
    I think that there is a lot in what you say. It pretty much agrees with my overall impressions.
    Going back rarely is a good experience.
    In Germany I lived 5 years around Berlin just after reunification and then 4 years just outside Munich. They were two very different places to live, of course, but I found both to be very safe.

  36. Inspired, Bearsy – a wonderful find. After your YouTube thingey had reverted to default, there was a clip of a lone piper playing ‘Flower of Scotland’ just for Christina, an anthem which is basically an anti-English rant. I shall spare delicate colleagues the nasties of giving a link, but just put me down as one of Proud Edward’s army.

    With my fur the way it is on this issue right now, I want a new English National Anthem which includes the line, ‘God save our gracious Queen. Let’s kick the **** out of the Jocks again.’ It seems apt..


  37. Well, OZ, I’m not sure yet how many Jocks deserve it. Maybe a third, poll-wise.

    The rest seem capable of finding their trews! 🙂

  38. Thank you for that, OZ. Can I remind you that Flower of Scotland was written in memory of the Battle of Bannockburn when “proud Edward’s” army was defeated. But proud Edward was attempting to invade a sovereign state and subjugate it for no reason other than to extend his own power. And there were no politically correct bleeding hearts, no Polly Toynbees, around to wail that this was not right and he must stop doing it. Scotland was on its own, and that Anglo-Norman really got our backs up.

    “Flower of Scotland” has become an unofficial anthem of Scotland, probably because the English teams, rugby and football, appropriated “God save the Queen” as their own anthem, which it isn’t. It is the British national anthem. If Scots were daft enough to vote for Salmond’s ideas, then England could claim “God save the Queen” for itself, but until then it has to be shared. So consider “Flower of Scotland” or “Scotland the Brave” or any of the others as the equivalent of the Maori haka – ceremonial.

    I would hate to think of you at Bannockburn. Your fur would have been in an awfy tangle.

  39. Christopher, my fancy Apple device had a Yankee spell-checker that has mind of its own. Sometimes it just takes over. 😦

  40. Or rather, May the Farce be with you.

    Sheona – I know the background to ‘Flower of Scotland’ and had I been at Bannockburn there would have been blood and fur all over the place and, possibly, a history-changing result.


  41. Just musing. Is there an old statute or precedent in England or Scotland that can be used to convict the traitor Salmond for his heinous deeds?

  42. Just musing too, Janus. If not, the final scenes of Braveheart should give some guidance.


  43. Good choice, Christopher! York demonstrates the longevity of civilisation in England – with the help of the Romans of course. The Scots missed out on that experience and now might miss out on future progress.

  44. Currently on display in the Ritblatt gallery in the British Library is the manuscript of the young George III’s accession speech to Parliament. This includes the sentence “Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Britain”.[This sums up my feelings and if York can nominate a suitable tree …

  45. Janus: it is strange that you bring up the Romans. I went to the Cathedral of Lisbon today and by their cloister they have some Roman ruins. Very similar to those in Trier. The Romans were a lot of things, but artistically creative was not among them.

  46. Agreed. Btw, if we can show that A Salmond is an alien, the 1919 Act on sedition still applies. I must check his ancestry. 🙂

  47. Hi. fellow Charioteers.

    Thanks for all the comments,

    I am certain that you fully understand that JW and I as residents have been urged to vote our country out of existence. We are being assured by the Separatists that this will not be a problem and that we should do it because we Scots are morally superior and, in all ways, just generally better than the English.

    All that I ask you to try to understand is how much this vote matters to those of us who want to remain British. The time for banter and calls for rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall or even Oz’s call for kicking ”the **** out of the Scots again’ has passed. No humour at all left in those arguments for me.

    Proud to be Scots and delighted (and voting) to be United.

  48. My old mate, CI, would be delighted that I am making comment #69.

    My wolf cousin OZ didn’t pick me as a favourite Scot!

    My compatriot, JM, didn’t mention Sunday’s score.

    Salmond, my uneducated left foot.

  49. Haw JW

    How do you know it’s Comment #69?

    Any way up, Tommy Sheridan is blethering away on BBC Scotland as I write:-

    ‘I support Venezuela and Cuba and Palestine. I look forward to the day when an Independent Scotland expels the Israeli ambassador’ – ‘serial and sad scumbag loser.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I am personally proud to be Scots and delighted to be United.

    Good luck against Falkirk tomorrow. Bad news for you if you were still to be 3 points behind the mighty Jambo machine after 2 games.

  50. J-Man,

    I think I’m gonna cry…

    Thank you for the kind words, sniff, sniff. It goes without saying that apart from Brian Laudrup you are my favourite Dane.


    I commend your ongoing fight against the forces of Yes Darkness. More power to your pen/keyboard/voice. I’m fairly confident that the union will prevail and I am also proud to be British.
    “How do you know it’s Comment #69?”- I added them up.

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