back to article One year to go: Can Scotland really declare gov IT independence?

In one year’s time, the people of Scotland will vote on whether to leave the United Kingdom. They will vote yes or no for numerous reasons … and the viability of Scotland’s government IT is not likely to be one of the most prominent. But the problems a newly-independent Scotland would have extracting its state-sector tech from …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data Centres?

    And where will all the new data centres to put all these new IT systems (and of course govt. IT projects never fail to deliver) be?

    My understanding is that there simply isn't much decent and secure private data centre space in Scotland currently. Govt. would no doubt prefer it's own data centres but then you are talking massive expense and lead times in building let alone the problem of having sufficient infrastructure and power available.

    No doubt rUK will be quite happy to continue to host all the data for a while, but perhaps at £10 per record per month. Nice money spinner maybe.

    There's always the cloud I suppose. :-)

    And to my mind if 40% of central government employed staff are working on rUK stuff then they either have to be offered relocation to rUK or made redundant. Scotland's proportion of government employees whether central or local government is already far too high.

    Bye bye Centre1.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Data Centres?

      It's the power that will be the killer. AFAIAA "Scotland" is wedded to the idea of subsidised (by the English) renewables. Presumably they're hoping that 2/2 will become a new paradigm in international business ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Data Centres?

      Wrong, look to the east coast my son!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Referendum

      The Scots get one

      The Irish get one

      The Welsh get one

      If the English were to get one......

      We'd get rid of the lot of you!

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: They don't want independance

      They just want the English to keep sending money North

      I'll happily continue to do that as long as I get whisky in exchange :)

    2. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: They don't want independance

      It's generally accepted that Scotland raises more taxes than its share of government spending.

      You're thinking of Borisstan.

      1. Chad H.

        Re: They don't want independance

        Generally accepted by SNP supporters perhaps...

      2. Babbit55

        Re: They don't want independance

        And what happens when you need to fund things like an IT infrastructure and military to name but 2.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They don't want independance

          > And what happens when you need to fund things like an IT infrastructure and military to name but 2.

          I suppose we could ask Slovenia, Macedonia, BiH, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Montenegro, or any of the other countries elsewhere in the world that have achieved independence in the last 20-odd years. Note that they have all become viable States so far, some of them being respected players in the IT and/or military fields.

          Or we could just wait a bit longer and ask the Catalans, maybe.

          I don't think anybody has said State building is an easy process, so what?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They don't want independance

        No. Scotland takes more than it gives.

        "In 2004-05, total expenditure for Scotland is estimated at £47.7 billion, or 9.7 per cent of

        the UK total. For reference, Scotland’s population share in 2004 was 8.5 per cent and its

        share of UK Gross Value Added (GVA, or GDP at basic prices) was 8.2 per cent."

        "In 2004-05, total receipts (excluding North Sea revenues) in Scotland are estimated at

        £36.4 billion, equivalent to 8.1 per cent of total UK receipts (excluding North Sea

        revenues)."

        Ref: Government Expenditure & Revenue in Scotland 2004-2005

        1. Chad H.

          Re: They don't want independance

          I see, and what percentage of national expenditure that isnt directly linked to scotland - defence and the like, is included in that figure?

        2. A 11

          Re: They don't want independance

          Why downvote AC? At least he gives sources unlike S4qFBxkFFg.

          This: http://fullfact.org/factchecks/public_spending_welfare_scotland_eu_uk-28892 and

          http://fullfact.org/factchecks/will_an_independent_scotland_be_better_off-28889

          give you both sides of the argument.

          In summary it depends how you count the North Sea oil revenue. The odds of Salmond getting to keep the 90% of it he claims in any negotiated settlement seem small to me so it'll probably work out about equal.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They don't want independance

            Actually 90% is only the figure after Blair decided to take 6000 Square Miles of Sea and attach it to England, as opposed to the Internationally legal way of doing things. The figure is higher

            However the No position seems to be "Do it and we'll punish you" hence the threat to bomb our airports etc

          2. R 11

            Re: They don't want independance

            Why downvote? Perhaps because he used figures that are almost a decade old, when much more recent ones are available:

            Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland 2011-12

            Wednesday, March 6, 2013

            ISBN: 9781782564171

            Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) is a National Statistics publication. It estimates the contribution of revenue raised in Scotland toward the goods and services provided for the benefit of Scotland. The estimates in this publication are consistent with the UK Public Sector Finances published in February 2013.

            Executive Summary

            The aim of GERS is to enhance public understanding of fiscal issues in Scotland. It estimates the contribution of revenue raised in Scotland towards the goods and services provided for the benefit of Scotland. The estimates in this publication are consistent with the UK Public Sector Finance Statistics for January 2013, published in February 2013.

            The key results for 2011-12 are as follows:

            In 2011-12, total Scottish non-North Sea public sector revenue was estimated at £46.3 billion, (8.2% of total UK non-North Sea revenue). Including a per capita share of North Sea revenue, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £47.2 billion (8.2% 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 £56.9 billion (9.9% of UK total public sector revenue).

            In 2011-12, total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the UK Government, Scottish Government and all other parts of the public sector, plus a per capita share of UK debt interest payments, was £64.5 billion. This is equivalent to 9.3% of total UK public sector expenditure.

            In 2011-12, the estimated current budget balance for the public sector in Scotland was a deficit of £14.0 billion (11.2% of GDP) excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £13.0 billion (10.2% of GDP) including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a deficit of £3.4 billion (2.3% of GDP) including an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue.

            In 2011-12, the UK as a whole ran a current budget deficit, including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, of £92.3 billion (6.0% of GDP).

            In 2011-12, Scotland’s estimated net fiscal balance was a deficit of £18.2 billion (14.6% of GDP) when excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £17.2 billion (13.5% of GDP) when including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a deficit of £7.6 billion (5.0% of GDP) when a geographical share of North Sea revenue is included.

            In 2011-12, the equivalent UK position including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, referred to in the UK Public Sector Accounts as ‘net borrowing’, was a deficit of £121.0 billion (or 7.9% of GDP).

          3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: They don't want independance

            "... it depends how you count the North Sea oil revenue."

            This is a vital point. However, possibly worth more over time is whether, when, and under what restrictions Scotland can become a member of the EU. The subsidies to paid to small, largely agricultural country will be significant. However, it might be cheaper to stay out, not get embroiled with the Euro whilst avoiding extra level of EU-facing bureaucracy dealing with ever-changing EU standards. Become a member of the Council of Europe to ensure Human Rights protection, by all means, but think very hard about the EU.

            In fact, that should probably be a second question on the referendum paper ...

            1. SolidSquid

              Re: They don't want independance

              Most likely Scotland will be permitted to enter the EU, as they've already fulfilled the criteria (since the UK already has) and nobody wants to deal with a country where the entire population has the right to all the benefits of EU membership (since there's no way to remove EU citizenship) while not having to contribute. What the timetable will be is another matter though, since there's a lot of political wrangling involved in gaining membership

              Also I'm pretty sure EU membership is supported by the majority in Scotland. It's actually one of the points raised by the independence movement, that if England has a referendum on EU membership we could end up dragged out of the EU regardless of what we want (since Scotland doesn't have a sufficient population to make much of an impact on these things)

  3. Frankee Llonnygog

    Well, if the Scots Gov can get this IT right

    Then we can outsource the remaining UK-lite IT to them.

    1. Velv Silver badge

      Re: Well, if the Scots Gov can get this IT right

      I like your thinking, Scotland's going to need some new industries when the oil runs out. But it's a very big IF

      Just google the #OmniTrambles that is Edinburgh Trams (although it was Edinburgh Council and not Scottish Government)

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Well, if the Scots Gov can get this IT right

        In the interests of fair and balanced discussion, you should also google the #omnishambles that was the Cambridge Misguided Busway.

  4. Andy Mc

    Sigint capability

    What makes you think the Scots would need to be able to intercept undersea cables to monitor terrorists? Independence would allow a break from the Westminster-driven foreign policy that has caused so many nutters to see the UK as a target...

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Sigint capability

      You are forgetting the likelihood that our puritanical overloards would be quite interested in spying on our activities. Look at how they enacted pr0n+ laws that tried, and in cases, succeeded in going beyond the stupid UK-wide changes that made drawing a dick on Bart Simpson a potential jail-and-sex-register crime.

    2. Maharg

      Re: Sigint capability

      Yep, the Scots live in total harmony with the world and each other, especially the ones in Glasgow that wear those striking green and white hooped tops and their dark blue friends, those guys can’t get enough of each other, and with their little cousin only a short ferry trip over the Irish sea I don’t see why Scotland will have to worry about terrorism or sectarian violence ever again.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

    I'd be putting the signs up by the A74/M74 and the A1/A68 welcoming the business that will most certainly flee from the new Scottish Socialist Republic that the SNP want to create north of the border.

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

      1. - It's "Carlisle".

      2. - If independence happens, the SNP will rather quickly lose the ability to be a dominant (if not single) issue party. Left-wing nationalists aren't the only type so realistically, you're probably looking at some sort of break-up in the medium term. (Especially as the pro-independence Labour/Tory supporters revert back to type once independence is "safe".) "Socialist" is a pretty lazy designation for the SNP in any case.

    2. Velv Silver badge

      Re: If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

      If you actually bothered to investigate the SNP manifesto, reductions in Corporation Tax are one of the major components to attract business to Scotland. So far from Newcastle and Carslile(sic) being open for business it'll be Hawick and Dumfries.

      Unless of course like so many in the UK you're utterly disgusted by the recent scandal of major corporations who head quarter in tax friendly states to reduce their liabilities...

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Velv Re: If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

        "....reductions in Corporation Tax are one of the major components to attract business to Scotland....." Apart from the massive difference between "in the manifesto" and "in practice", you failed to see that Scotland will be on its knees crawling to get into Europe - as a seperate state it will need to be in Brussels' good books to stay in or have to re-apply. That means the Scots will have to roll over and implement every little crazy tax scheme and every other economic disaster/policy the EU comes up with, including the Euro and the new tax on trading. Businesses that can will be heading south of the border in droves. The good news is that being another one of Brussels' PIIGs / Germany's bitches is that you will get EU some funding, which might replace a fraction of what the Scots will lose from the UK, but you'll have zero capability to dictate terms in the EU because you'll be just another PIIG. Enjoy!

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Velv If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

          It is PIIGS, not PIIGs. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain; and it will become the PIIGSS when Scotland joins them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Velv If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

            or GIPSIS

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @ "jonathanb"

            Interesting you should pick someone up on a capitalisation issue, you seem to have the same problem when trying to write your own name.

    3. Winkypop Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: If I were the councils of Carslile or Newcastle

      The A68 already has the vestiges of a decent wall running along side it.

      It wouldn't take too much to reconstruct.

      The "Irn (Bru) curtain" perhaps?

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    Shirley that's the "Polis, Fire and Ambulance services." :)

    And what a fine piece of "nuanced" commentary from the AC at 12:28

    "That mong Salmond doesn't have the first idea about running a country, he'd probably wet himself if independence was granted."

    Just a thought but any chance of the DWP studying how their Scottish centres do this amazing feat?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A downside?

    "DWP offices in Scotland...spend more than 40 per cent of their time processing English claims"

    So post-separation, there could be a 40% redundancies in those centres if all that English-related workload moves south of the border?

    1. John 110

      Re: A downside?

      "So post-separation, there could be a 40% redundancies in those centres if all that English-related workload moves south of the border?"

      And a corresponding shortfall in staff in an already overworked service down South.

      1. breakfast

        Re: A downside?

        Would probably need to be less than 40% as there would presumably be a jump in unemployment resulting from the redundancies.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: John 110 Re: A downside?

        Upvoted for pointing out the employment opportunities for the rUK in letting Scotland go. Of course, the jobs only went up north in the first place as a political sop, and I'm sure the Whitehall Civil Service will love to have more rUK staff in their fiefdoms. Maybe this time round Clegg and co will insist giving the jobs to the South West where their voter base is. If Labour ever manage to get themselves electable again they'll want to send the jobs to Wales, probably.

    2. Maharg

      Re: A downside?

      "DWP offices in Scotland...spend more than 40 per cent of their time processing English claims"

      Is that not due to one of the largest DWP call centres being located in Glasgow? Its a nationwide system, the one in Bristol gets callers from Scotland and Wales.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing magical about next year

    It's only the referendum that will be held next year. In the event of a Yes vote, the negotiations on how Scotland will implement its withdrawal from the UK will begin, and its likely, according to the pro-independence groups, that the first priority will be discussions on a constitution. What is unlikely is that rUK will claim the ball is theirs and immediately stop Scottish access to current UK systems, so there will be time for an orderly transition.

    Regarding replicating GCHQ, I spoke to my MSP about this, mainly concerned about the excesses we now know the unmanaged GCHQ indulges in, and his response was that we would need such functions in keeping with Scotland's requirements,. with the implication that Scotland was not that interested in starting wars around the world and may not need the same levels of paranoia. Interesting that this article somehow accepts a "need" for GCHQ to act in the way we now know it does and assumes this is for teh best...

    Re the anonymous comment above about data centre space, in my experience (a few years out of date) I do not believe any shortage to be true; in fact, just a little while ago, there was quite a severe excess in capacity and it was a buyers' market, but in the context of government spending that's unlikely to be an issue.

    The article raises an interesting aspect of the independence debate, but the political and social landscape in Scotland is increasingly differentiated in comparison with the rest of the UK, and it is inevitable that many things would be managed differently in the aftermath of a yes vote.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: ql Re: Nothing magical about next year

      "....Regarding replicating GCHQ...." Don't be silly, you will have to sign some form of defence co-operation treaty with the UK as part of the seccession agreement, even if you leave NATO. That means you will be shafted with some lovely little clause where we can carry on monitoring you from Cheltenham. Even if you manage to dodge the treaty clause, your telecoms all go via the UK so we can monitor you until you manage to build your own network and run your own international cables or satellite links. At whcih point MI6 will probably bug all your new systems and cables anyway. It's a bit like when your kids grow up and want a bit of privacy as teenagers, so you put a lock on their door but make sure you keep a spare key.

      "....about data centre space...." There should be plenty of data center space in Aberdeen now that the oil is running out and the oil companies will be leaving. All Salmond has to do is keep quibbling for a decade or so and he can have lots of vacant data centers to play with.

      1. R 11

        Re: ql Nothing magical about next year

        Oil companies are all leaving?

        You realise that the industry body Oil & Gas UK project 13.5 billion in North Sea oil investment in 2013, an all-time record?

        They also predict oil extraction to continue until at least 2050.

        Doesn't sound like folk are bringing down the shutters quite yet.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Nothing magical about next year

      It's important to realise that GCHQ didn't create itself. There's a genuine political and economic story behind how it came to be and how it grew so powerful, and Scottish interests are a large part of that story. Remember, it wasn't until Scotland was tied to England that the Empire got underway, and the whole show was largely driven by Scottish business ambitions.

      So to imagine that an independent Scotland would have no, or even reduced, need to interest itself in the affairs of other countries, including the secret intelligence thereof - is just fantasy.

  9. Velv Silver badge
    Coat

    As an IT Consultant in Edinburgh, Scottish Independence is my Pension Plan.

    Retire by 55.

    Move somewhere sunny.

    I'm not actually in favour of it, but got to look for the positive side. (and most of the people I speak to are against Independence)

    Coat icon - mines the one with the Government backed funding.

  10. davenewman

    Hydopowered data centres

    Given that the cheapest electricity comes from Scottish hydropower, it makes sense to put more data centres in Scotland, and export less electricity to England.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Hydopowered data centres

      And also, saying as it is bl**dy freezing up there most of the time, you don't need to spend so much money on cooling.

  11. Pete Spicer

    I don't really care whether Scotland gets independence or not. My concern is that if they go 'independent', independence should mean total independence - no money from England at all except for things we actually buy from them. No bailouts, no handouts, nothing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tick, v good

      "independence should mean total independence"

      Absolutely 100% correct. While they still rely on us for stuff like the Civil Service and the Bank of England, it's not independence at all, just sporran waving. And, Alex will always have someone to blame for the cock up they'll make of it. If they decide they want out, fine by me, but it should be a complete and utter separation. Rebuild the wall.

      1. AbelSoul

        Re: Sporran waving

        > Rebuild the wall.

        If it keeps the likes of you out of Scotland I'll reluctantly agree to it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tick, v good

        In the interest of fairness, the rest of the UK should also be voting to decide if they wish to continue being saddled with, and heavily subsidising the Scots.

        Barnett formula?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tick, v good

          The Barnwtt formula only goes to money spent, not calculated on tax raised.

          at present Scotland gets £1200 more per head than UK average.

          It pays into the Exchequer £1700 per head.

          And that is by Treasury fiddled figures where money spent on , eg, the Crossrail Project includes mobey spent on behalf of Scotland

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tick, v good

            Some clarification:

            "Total public spending per head in Scotland last year was £10,212, compared to £8,588 in England"

            That's £1624 (18.9%) more per head.

            "Although poorer than Scotland, Wales received £9,829 per person."

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8730055/Government-spending-gap-between-England-and-Scotland-widens.html

            Nice for the Scots with their free prescriptions, etc, but why should the rest of of the UK subsidise them without a say in the referendum?

        2. WeeGordy
          FAIL

          Re: Tick, v good

          Gawd. The "rest of the UK should get a vote" argument. Nope. So wrong it's a wrong place on the wrong side of wrongsville.

          I'm Scottish by birth, but I love the country so much I live in England. The only people who should have a say in what happens in Scotland are the people who live there. White, black, brown, yellow, green, blue or fucking purple, it's those who live there who should determine their own fate. So I don't get a vote in the Scottish Referendum, and that's quite right.

          What do you know about Scotland barring haggis, tartan, whisky and oil? Thought so. Fuck all, really.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Tick, v good

            @ WeeGordy

            "Gawd. The "rest of the UK should get a vote" argument. Nope. So wrong it's a wrong place on the wrong side of wrongsville."

            Not really. The scots may want rid of the UK but the UK may want rid of the scots. I dont think scotland should try to break away because I believe we work well together. But if the scots get to choose if they want to be part of the UK then surely the UK has the right to decide if they want to tolerate the scots who seem to be having a bitch and a moan.

            I hope their is very little support for independence in scotland. But if the vote was close then I think the UK should get to chooseif we are willing to put up with them.

      3. BongoJoe

        Re: Tick, v good

        Rebuild the wall?

        I am not sure that the good burghers of Newcastle would want to be in Scotland.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tick, v good

          Actually, I think you may find there are some burghers of Newcsatle who would prefer to be part of an Independent Scotland rather than some far-flung outpost of Londonshire, or Boristan, as someone said so eloquently earlier. I must remember that one for later use........

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tick, v good

            >That is close to the reasoning behind so many of us Englishmen being in favour of Scottish independence, only in our case it's about getting away from the nasty little Scottish racists. 300+ years of putting up with racism being directed at us, and out country, by Scottish adults,

            You're absolutely right. Scotland's one of the few countries in the Western world where widespread racism and bigotry is generally accepted. I left when I was in my early 20s and have been in London for 15-odd years. I still have the accent and the only people who have ever batted an eyelid are Scots, mostly with friendly banter (where are you from ? etc.) My siblings are now both down here, and one of my friends, who's staying with me at the moment, is seriously considering it.

            That said, most Scots, whether pro- or anti- independence aren't bad at all Yes, you might get the odd joke but that's just banter and there's nothing wrong with that. Most Scots are also fine with the UK and just have some bad memories of Thatcher et al but do realise that it wasn't just Scotland that was shafted in the 80s.

            The SNP just want independence so they can force their views and prejudice down the throats of their countrymen, rather than have the Westminster classes force their views and prejudice down everyone's throats.

            Basically what I'm saying is politicians are cunts.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Tick, v good

              The YES Campaign is cross party, SNP, Greens, SSP, there are even Labour & Lib Dem Indy organisations.

              As to racism. The SNP has English members, MPs, Ministers, MSPs. it has Asian members, MSPs & Minsters, it evenhas a French MSP.

              You want to see racism & intolerance in this campaign, look to the NO campaign. Look to any BTL comments when Scottish politics get UK coverage, this thread is mildcompared to the Mail, Telegraph or Guardian. Look to the NO campaign, who are on their side. BNP. Orange Order. Not organisations who are regarded as beacons of acceptance

      4. SolidSquid

        Re: Tick, v good

        The only thing that Scotland relies on the Bank of England for is coinage, since we don't have a mint anymore. Outside of that we print our own notes and the banks that do so are required to own (as customers) English currency in pounds sterling to use much like the old gold/silver standards. And as pointed out in the article, some parts of the civil service in England are actually dependent on Scotland.

        And while the separation might take a few years to actually process, complete independence is what's being aimed for anyway. Not sure why you seem to be implying this isn't the case

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tick, v good

          I believe that the SNP current plan is for an independent scotland to keep sterling. This being the case, the Bank of England would act as 'lender of last resort'. The BoE would set interest rates and stuff. I've certainly not heard anyone suggest that the BoE be replaced by the BoGB, thus sharing the load. If this were the case that would effectively mean that sterling was a foreign currency for the rUK, and the bond markets and others would crap themselves. Not gonna happen. So, either independent scotland stick with the bank of england and UKP and blame it for all their problems, or they have proper independence, a separate currency, and behave like a real sovereign nation. Which I thought was what the SNP wanted for all these years. Innit?

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      "I don't really care whether Scotland gets independence or not. My concern is that if they go 'independent', independence should mean total independence - no money from England at all except for things we actually buy from them. No bailouts, no handouts, nothing."

      A fine and noble sentiment.

      So you're OK with the next generation British Nuclear Deterrent sitting a whole lot closer to your front door then?

      Of course there may also be a few "Re-location expenses" involved as well. But what price good defense and a seat on the UN Security Council, eh?

      Excellent

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Johnie Thicko

        ".....So you're OK with the next generation British Nuclear Deterrent sitting a whole lot closer to your front door then?...." Yes, it makes bugger all difference. If there is a period of tension when a nuke strike is likely the subs will be out at sea (probably hiding under the polar icecap). And if there is an accident then it's effects would still be felt in the rUK even if it happened in Scotland. By the way, how many accidents have there been and how many fatalities in RN nuke subs compared to boring old UK power stations?

        I'm sure the other ports in the rUK would welcome the added employment. HMNB Portsmouth has been assured continuity for the next forty years by being selected as the base for the two new carriers, I expect Clegg and the Lib Dems would love to deliver some job security to HMNB Devonport, which is the nuke refueling port, and would welcome the abandonment of the plan to move the Trafalgar class attack sub fleet to HMNB Clyde in Scotland. After all, if we're splitting you off completely, why would we keep any rUK forces north of the border? Which would leave the Scots with a large and expensive naval base at Faslane, plus many Army and RAF bases, with no income to run them. Maybe you could hire them out to the Yanks?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Johnie Thicko

          MOD ruled out Portsmouth as having too many people living within a radius of the base

          The fact that there are more people in that same radius from Faslane doesn't matter to MOD

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        @ John Smith 19

        "So you're OK with the next generation British Nuclear Deterrent sitting a whole lot closer to your front door then?"

        I dont see why this would be a problem? Is anyone really going to care that our nuclear subs park in england not scotland? I do assume that scotland would still hide behind the nukes if they were ever threatened though. As any sensible country does

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Of course there may also be a few "Re-location expenses" involved as well. But what price good defense and a seat on the UN Security Council, eh?

        Good point, we'll need to lead line the new wall in case Scotland ever gets nuked by a country/terror group who want to threaten us without attacking us, but who worry about invoking a retalitory attack from all NATO countries.

      4. MrXavia

        "So you're OK with the next generation British Nuclear Deterrent sitting a whole lot closer to your front door then?"

        Hell yes I would be, a sub based nuclear deterrent is the best solution at present.

        Seriously though, devolution has been a mess, not just scotland but Wales & NI, how can making each nation slightly more/less independent than the other be sensible? surely ALL the members of the UK should have been given the same local powers (i.e. NI/Scotland/England/Wales be equal in that respect)? their own local assembly/parliament/ room where their ministers talk crap and decide on local issues

        then a central parliament where the same group discuss and plan the country wide policies? anything that has clear divides based on member state should be a local issue... With the simple exceptions of Health, Education, Defence and Tax

        Those 4 should always be a national policy, and simply put the policy should be Free Education, Free Healthcare, Defence is important but must be balanced with threats, and Taxes should be as low as possible while paying for the country and avoiding national debt.

    3. Spiff66

      If it means getting away from morons like you then I'm all for independence. Learn some facts before spouting tripe. We pay more per head into the uk than you do. You'll find plenty of English and other banks involved in any bailouts. So go shove your money up your ass.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If it means getting away from morons like you then I'm all for independence. Learn some facts before spouting tripe.

        That is close to the reasoning behind so many of us Englishmen being in favour of Scottish independence, only in our case it's about getting away from the nasty little Scottish racists. 300+ years of putting up with racism being directed at us, and out country, by Scottish adults, who indoctrinate that characteristic into their children is enough.

        We pay more per head into the uk than you do.

        Counting the tax paid by non-Scottish companies is a fools game, after independence those companies will still be paying their taxes to the treasury of the countries they're based in.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think Scotland's data centres would cope, post independence

    A task that might be carried out by four to six racks of servers at the moment, will likely be carried out by one to two racks of servers, a few years down the line. Nothing beats a nice bit of footprint reduction.

  13. Stephen Channell
    Pint

    It's just a question of price..

    and if they don't have provisional contracts in place, they'll just have to cough up what the vendors ask, and whatever licencing fee Westminster will charge the vendors but that is "small beer" compared to all the other systems that will need to be developed..

    GCHQ will be one thing they'll not have to worry about... after freeing the Lockably bomber, there's not much change of them "sharing" US intelligence.

    The biggest change though is likely to be the end of {RBS, BOS, Clydesdale} issued Scottish Sterling notes before they're forced (by Spain) to join the Euro when joining the EU...

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: It's just a question of price..

      Most people in Scotland probably favour remaining the EU, but not at any price. Any signs of Spain getting uppity in that area would probably lead to opinions changing quite quickly.

      One can even imagine it being the perfect excuse for investigating alternative options (e.g. in EEA, but not EU, or any of the various other possible permutations of international organisation). This is especially true if Scotland votes for independence from the UK, followed by England/Wales and their (hopefully large) share of NI voting to leave the EU.

      1. Stephen Channell
        Joke

        Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

        If Scotland chooses to leave the UK, it will be a decision for all the EU members whether they chose to let Scotland in on a fast-path (the treaties do not make provision), and Spain has already said it will object (mainly because of Catalonia, but also for economic reasons).. IF Scotland applied, it would have to take the Euro (thanks to the Treaty Mr Thatcher sent Linda Chalker to sign).

        I'll take a bet from anyone who thinks the EU countries will allow Scotland to join the EEA (they have a choice), just because they don't want the euro... and outside the EEA the UK would be obliged to implement border controls.

        "remaining the EU, but not at any price"... I think you'll find the price is really rather high.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

          The UK has already part opted-out of Schengen, it's already got border controls.

          Spain isn't in a position to bully people, at the moment it's only following orders from Brussels, so if Spain starts stamping its feet and making life difficult for Scotland or the rest of the UK, it's because someone in Brussels is pulling the strings.

          1. Velv Silver badge

            Re: Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

            @Dan55 "The UK has already part opted-out of Schengen, it's already got border controls."

            I think the comment meant Scotland would need to implement Border controls with England. Schengen agreement is mandatory for any new state joinging the EU, so again, would Scotland need to secure the border with England, or is that one practicality too far.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

              spain can implement it between themselves and a neighbour - admittedly not a very big neighbour and not a very long border.

              still the views at a as-yet-theoretical manned crossing in the Borders are probably nicer than sweltering in a Mediterranean sandpit waiting to enter or leave the Rock.

          2. Stephen Channell
            Joke

            "isn't in a position to bully" ... ho ho ho

            Sorry, did I say Spain.. I meant Italy (with Lombardi), or was that France/Spain with the Basque country, or was it Belgium with Wallonia/Flanders or Germany with Norderstedt.

            Try getting out of Kaliningrad without a visa! it's not about Schengen, its about illegal immigrants getting into Europe.

            Poor wee Alex Salmon.. worst time in 300 years to go for independance

            1. Britt Johnston
              Devil

              Independance from Britain..

              may get much easier, when Britain decides to leave EU.Then Scotland could apply to become Very West Germany, for instance, join Schengen, Tax intra-day trading, and generally behave like responsible Europeans.

              This could easily come about before Scotland even have a timetable for their referendum.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

          "If Scotland chooses to leave the UK, it will be a decision for all the EU members whether they chose to let Scotland in on a fast-path (the treaties do not make provision), "

          Good point. The whole EU system is not designed for countries breaking up and bits doing a 3 pt turn out of the EU (or back in).

          "and Spain has already said it will object (mainly because of Catalonia, but also for economic reasons).."

          I'd heard this. The Spanish are not messing about either. There is also the ongoing issue of the Basque country. You can bet a few Spanish diplomats will be having words with their English counterparts to ensure the "right outcome" on this and express their displeasure if it does not happen.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

            Actually the Spanish have said no such thing. Their position is that there is no comparison between the UK & Spain. Spain is held to be indivisible, whereas the UK was formed by treaties by nation states.

            So the Spanish position is that there is no problem, because the two situations are not the same

            1. Heathroi

              Re: Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

              Why is Spain held to be indivisible? Just because two nobs merged their family 'firms' centuries ago. doesn't mean the descendants of the subjects of the king and queen of Castile and Aragon must be held by that.

              and as for Border stuff, just don't bother, let people come and go as they like the way they do now.

              1. Rukario

                Re: Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

                > Why is Spain held to be indivisible?

                Section 2 of the 1978 Spanish Constitution:

                The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.

                1. Dan 55 Silver badge
                  Megaphone

                  Re: Independant Scotland outside the EU... ha ha ha

                  That's the same constitution that brings you article 15 (banning torture vs. bullfighting), article 33 (right to private property and inheritance yet land-grab laws and huge inheritance taxes), article 35 (the right to work in a nation with 27% unemployment), article 39 (family protection yet working hours are probably amongst the longest in Europe) and article 47 (the right to a "decent dwelling" during the housing bubble where prices were sky high and build quality was/is terrible). So let's not read too much into that.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    INDEPENDENCE

                    If you are too stupid to spell it correctly when it's written right there in front of you, then your opinion about it is of negligible value.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The way I see it...

    The "U" in U.K. helped put the "G" in G.B.

    Disunited will only accelerate downfall.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: The way I see it...

      The Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

      A bit later, the Kingdom of Great Britain merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

      The "U" refers to the union between the Kingdom of Great Britain and what is left of the Kingdom of Ireland - Northern Ireland. If Scotland were to leave the Union, which it won't, then we would have the United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland. Probably they would add Wales to the name to keep them happy. Great Britain would go, but the United Kingdom would not.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1

        Re: The way I see it...

        > Great Britain would go ...

        I see what you're getting at, but Great Britain is a geographical entity, rather than a political one. Great Britain is just the largest of the British Isles. Ireland (island of) is the second largest, and then there's a great many more: Wight, Man, Anglesey, Skye etc. You get the picture. So Great Britain will be around for geological ages.

        Which makes me think, what about Rockall, then? It's been declared UK territory, but is it Scottish, or not?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    who subsidises who?

    According to Treasury figures, Scotland has 8.9% of the UK population, and gets 9.3% of spending. so more per head tha anyone else (after London and NI)

    but those figures also say Scotland contributes 9.9% of tax income.

    This means Scotland subsidises the rest of you, and has for years. England, London in particular, is the subsidy junkie

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: who subsidises who?

      This argument is like two siblings arguing over who uses their credit cards less. Spending and tax income are two different things even though you've given both in percentages. The national debt is a third thing and subsidies everyone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: who subsidises who?

        The Scottish Government has a fixed income and no borrowing powers.

        The National Debt is being run higher by Westminster. The point is an Independant Scotland would be in a better position.

        back in the 70s McCrone's report Scotland, if Independant, would be embarrassed by how much money it had,a situation Norway is in. Instead it was pissed away by Westminster

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: who subsidises who?

      According to the figures on the Scottish government's own shit website (when it works), Scottish contributions to the UK's tax take was 8.1%, not 9.9%.

      That means the rest of the UK subsidise you I think.

      And have a look at public spending as a share of GDP:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/06/map_of_the_week_public_spendin.html

      50.3% for Scotland vs. 37% for London as an example.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: who subsidises who?

        I think you must have looked in the wrong place

        http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/03/1859

        he aim of GERS is to enhance public understanding of fiscal issues in Scotland. It estimates the contribution of revenue raised in Scotland towards the goods and services provided for the benefit of Scotland. The estimates in this publication are consistent with the UK Public Sector Finance Statistics for January 2013, published in February 2013.

        The key results for 2011-12 are as follows:

        In 2011-12, total Scottish non-North Sea public sector revenue was estimated at £46.3 billion, (8.2% of total UK non-North Sea revenue). Including a per capita share of North Sea revenue, total Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £47.2 billion (8.2% 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 £56.9 billion (9.9% of UK total public sector revenue).

        In 2011-12, total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the UK Government, Scottish Government and all other parts of the public sector, plus a per capita share of UK debt interest payments, was £64.5 billion. This is equivalent to 9.3% of total UK public sector expenditure.

        In 2011-12, the estimated current budget balance for the public sector in Scotland was a deficit of £14.0 billion (11.2% of GDP) excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £13.0 billion (10.2% of GDP) including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a deficit of £3.4 billion (2.3% of GDP) including an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue.

        In 2011-12, the UK as a whole ran a current budget deficit, including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, of £92.3 billion (6.0% of GDP).

        In 2011-12, Scotland’s estimated net fiscal balance was a deficit of £18.2 billion (14.6% of GDP) when excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £17.2 billion (13.5% of GDP) when including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a deficit of £7.6 billion (5.0% of GDP) when a geographical share of North Sea revenue is included.

        In 2011-12, the equivalent UK position including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, referred to in the UK Public Sector Accounts as ‘net borrowing’, was a deficit of £121.0 billion (or 7.9% of GDP).

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Steve Evans

    "lack overseas islands to house forward surveillance stations"...

    They could always try to set up an empire in Panama...

    Again...

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      The point about the remnants of Empire is an interesting one, and depends rather on whether Scottish independence is achieved through a secession or a repeal of the Acts of Union (1707 I think).

      If the former, the question doesn't arise, Scotland becomes a new country with only a tenuous connection with the pre-1707 Kingdom of Scotland, with none of the shared assets, liabilities, or international memberships.

      If it's the latter, you essentially revert to two countries called England (which had already had Wales for ages) and Scotland; everything, every liability, every asset that has been added since Union is up for grabs (e.g. "OK, if you take Northern Ireland, we'll let you keep Faslane until you get Spadeadam back up to scratch..."

      I've no idea if Montserrat, Ascension, Bermuda, Pitcairn, etc. had English or British flags planted, before or after 1707, but it's easy to imagine the sovereignty of the sunnier British islands being up for negotiation as well.

      (Having said that, it's probably more sensible for them all to vote who they're going with, NI included.)

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Joke

        "Having said that,." "..probably more sensible.." "..who they're going with, NI included..."

        Oh that's easy.

        Ulster says No.

        Always.

      2. P_0

        The point about the remnants of Empire is an interesting one, and depends rather on whether Scottish independence is achieved through a secession or a repeal of the Acts of Union (1707 I think).

        If the former, the question doesn't arise, Scotland becomes a new country with only a tenuous connection with the pre-1707 Kingdom of Scotland, with none of the shared assets, liabilities, or international memberships.

        If it's the latter, you essentially revert to two countries called England (which had already had Wales for ages) and Scotland; everything, every liability, every asset that has been added since Union is up for grabs (e.g. "OK, if you take Northern Ireland, we'll let you keep Faslane until you get Spadeadam back up to scratch..."

        Repealing the Acts of Union is largely irrelevent, meaning your latter possibility is not going to happen. The international norm and the international precedent is that the part of a country wishing to remove itself form the whole is NOT the successor state. East Timor, all of the Soviet Union being prime examples. The rump UK could lose its security council seat (though through what mechanism I don't know), and a few other seats, but will almost certainly be considered the successor state.

        Obviously there will be negotiations to divide up the debt. Scotland probably will take about 8~9% of it. North Sea oil and gas will be divided and Scotland will probably get about 90% or thereabouts. Although Salmond's oil fund idea will have to pass a gauntlet of oil companies, who won't want to invest heavily unless they get similar terms they get now.

        Scotland will face a big problem choosing the currency. They will almost certainly NOT get any seat on the BoE MPC or any such thing. Or if they did the BoE and rUK treasury will stitch it up to be a largely nominal seat. Scotland would be better off going with its own money in my opinion.

        I doubt very much that Scotland will be given automatic access as a member of the EU.

        I've no idea if Montserrat, Ascension, Bermuda, Pitcairn, etc. had English or British flags planted, before or after 1707, but it's easy to imagine the sovereignty of the sunnier British islands being up for negotiation as well.

        Most of these places would find life as independent nations tricky at best. I'm not sure what benefit they would get form switching from one nominal "mother country" to another. And I doubt a new Scotland would want to manage the foreign and defence affairs of, oh lets say the Falklands.

      3. Stephen Channell
        Coffee/keyboard

        Changing a countries name, is one of those things democracies like to have referendums for

        The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, would not be changing its name, and NO we'll not all be getting new UK passports to keep wee Alex happy.

        They'll be no repeal of the act of Union, or spending the next 50 years amending all the legislation to keep wee Alex happy.. and not a chance in hell wee Alex will skip on a debt share of Royal Bank of Scotland or Bank of Scotland.

        The flag won't change either (St Patrick's Cross is still in there), funny thing: the union jack blue is Royal Blue (from the Navy), not the blue in the Scottish flag.. but we could use a different white if it helps

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Changing a countries name, is one of those things democracies like to have referendums for

          "but we could use a different white if it helps"

          With a hint of beige, perhaps?

    2. FanMan

      The ensuing ruination is what brought us staggering hauf deid into the Union in the first place. As well you know, my lad.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And like last time

      They can get torperdoed by Westminster, which forbade English merchants and colonies to trade with the Scots, stopped messages getting to stop the second Darien expedition, seized Scottish ships and massed troops on the border if the voes they had bought were not enough

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They have an excellent opportunity to do it well and efficiently however so in the longer term it *could* end up good. They have to do it on a smaller scale which might mean they can actually manage to do it properly and cost effectively. We shall see. If of course it happens (and I really couldn't give a wotsit either way).

  18. Goldmember

    The assumption here

    is that independence would mean complete severance, which would not be the case. There would still be shared service agreements, as used in N Ireland:

    "Northern Ireland’s Social Security Agency uses several DWP contracts and systems including its Central Payment System"

    The article acknowledges that sharing services such as the DWP would be essential for a time, and then could be phased out. But if both parties benefit from the shared services, why would they?

    To be honest though, looking at how well Scotland runs government IT, healthcare and education (and other common sense bye laws such as vehicle clamping and gazumping), if they did gain the independence many Scots want, I'd be tempted to pack up and move there (to Edinburgh, of course. Not Glasgow).

    1. Velv Silver badge

      Re: The assumption here

      Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, of course they leverage shared, they fall under UK Central Government.

      Eire on the other hand does not.

    2. Jonathan Richards 1

      Re: The assumption here

      There's an issue with data protection, as TFA alludes to. If an independent Scotland is outside both the EEA and the EU, then the Data Protection Act puts it, literally, beyond the pale for personal information belonging to rUK citizens [1], and such info currently held north of the border would have to be repatriated, pronto. If I was a Data Protection Compliance wonk, I'd think that it wasn't too soon to be making contingency plans. Saying "it'll never happen" won't be acceptable. Look at all the bloody effort we put into proving Y2K compliance.

      [1] That's a simplification, but not wrong

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: The assumption here @ Jonathan Richards 1

        Good points, but how many DP Compliance wonks think twice about sending data to the USA?

        Safe haven agreements are easy to draft and comply with, so I don't see the major problem.

  19. John 110

    Lot of interesting comments there

    It seems to me that a lot of the anti-scot commentards up there have missed the point that if Scots felt like valued and equal partners in the "United" Kingdom, then we wouldn't want independence. After all, it's a big step into the unknown, and only history will tell us whether it was off a cliff or into the promised land.

    Oh and I agree with the guy up there that pointed out that power for our data centres will be the least of our worries. Scottish generating capacity will give us plenty electricity with lots left over for Hadrian's electrified fence...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lot of interesting comments there

      "It seems to me that a lot of the anti-scot commentards up there have missed the point that if Scots felt like valued and equal partners in the "United" Kingdom, then we wouldn't want independence."

      Such as voting in englands affairs yet independently voting for your own? As per this article, using our technical infrastructure to manage your country? Go on. Which bit?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lot of interesting comments there

        Ever watched Scottish Questions in Westminster?

        chokka with MPs for nonScots MPs

        Westminster can vote on purely reserved Scottish matters against the wishes of the Scots right now

        as to infrastructure. It's UK infrastructure meaning that it is infrastructure that Scots, Welsh and Irish have paid for too. Of course your attitude that it us England's alone is kind of shared by the Treasury, which funds projects that onlybbenefit London, declare they are UK prohects, and shaft the rest of the UK, not just the Scots

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lot of interesting comments there

          as to infrastructure. It's UK infrastructure meaning that it is infrastructure that Scots, Welsh and Irish have paid for too. Of course your attitude that it us England's alone is kind of shared by the Treasury, which funds projects that onlybbenefit London, declare they are UK prohects, and shaft the rest of the UK, not just the Scots

          But according to the Scots the oil is Scotlands... how does that double standard work then?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lot of interesting comments there

            There is a fuck of a difference between Westminster spending money on London transport infrastructure, claiming it as a UK asset, therefore with no Barnett consequential, and Scotland getting the revenue from the oil off its coast.

            What the hell point did you think you were making?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Lot of interesting comments there

              They look the same to me.

              London's transport infrastructure developed with UK money.

              UK Oil exploration/exploitation developed with UK money.

              Presumably to you the difference in the geographical location of the assets is the problem?

              Lets see, do you have problems with vast sums of UK money being used to build your fellow countrymen their own parliament which serves the interests of no one other than Scotsmen? Or with the vast sums of UK money spent on building an equivilent for Welshmen? I'm guessing not... do feel free to correct me and prove your objections amount to more than simple racism against the English.

    2. Spiracle

      Re: Lot of interesting comments there

      " ...only history will tell us whether it was off a cliff or into the promised land."

      So instead of "Should Scotland be an independent country?" the question should be "Do you feel lucky?"

      At the moment despite hours of debate and acres of text and advertising nobody really knows anything and, should there be a yes vote, probably won't until about 2020 at the earliest.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: John 110 Re: Lot of interesting comments there

      ".....if Scots felt like valued and equal partners in the "United" Kingdom, then we wouldn't want independence....." It's more a case of the Scottish Nationalists wanting independence for independence's sake DESPITE having been treated as equal partners. After all, in amongst the millions of Scots that have taken up residence and employment in the rUK, we even let a few of your politicians have the PM job (Gordon Brown being the worst, closely followed by born-in-Scotland Tony Blair), so it's not like you can claim you are discriminated against. The majority of the "slights" the Nationalists whine on about happened centuries ago.

      ".....Oh and I agree with the guy up there that pointed out that power for our data centres will be the least of our worries...." Yeah, but all your (hydor-electric power) bases are belong to us, or at least not to you. Even Scottish Power (which is owned by Spanish utilities company Iberdrola) is regsitered on the UK Stock Exchange as a London-based company, so even after devolution, unless Salmond tries the silliness of nationalisation, electricity generation will not be under your control.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: John 110 Lot of interesting comments there @ Matt

        "... unless Salmond tries the silliness of nationalisation ..."

        Weeelllllllll, there you have hit on one of the things that puts Scottish independence into the "quite a good idea" category. Some things *should* be out of the market, or at least out of the hands of unaccountable bodies in foreign countries. Power generation is one of them, and having a government that isn't bound by ideology or treaty not to nationalise, or which will "bring the power home" some other way is extremely attractive to me.

        Out of interest, why are some people who are not in Scotland, and who, by their own argument, stand to be better off because of all the "leeching" done by the Scots, get so upset by this?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Pothead Re: John 110 Lot of interesting comments there @ Matt

          Nationalisation a good idea? I take it you missed how promising the peasants the life of Reilly funded by oil has been quite a hot topic with popularist politicians. In a decade you'll be blaming English saboteurs when your economy is crumbling and you keep getting power cuts.

          "....get so upset...." Upset? LOL, once again you are failing to realise when you are being laughed at.

    4. P_0

      Re: Lot of interesting comments there

      It seems to me that a lot of the anti-scot commentards up there have missed the point that if Scots felt like valued and equal partners in the "United" Kingdom, then we wouldn't want independence. After all, it's a big step into the unknown, and only history will tell us whether it was off a cliff or into the promised land.

      The last PM was Scottish. The second to last was Scottish educated. The last Chancellor was Scottish. The second in line to the throne was Scottish educated. Scotland has a disproportionate representation at Westminster.

      I'm not for or against Scottish independence, but it's very disingenuous to claim Scots don't feel "valued and equal partners".

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lot of interesting comments there

      We Englishmen agree with this completely, We're against the vast majority of Government civil service jobs being located unfairly in Scotland and Wales, we demand our fair and equal share. We in the less well funded parts of England have had enough of watching everyone else get more funding than we do, and demand and equal share of funding as well.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lot of interesting comments there

      >It seems to me that a lot of the anti-scot commentards up there have missed the point that if Scots felt like >valued and equal partners in the "United" Kingdom, then we wouldn't want independence.

      We don't all want independence. I waver from one side to another but living in London it makes no difference as I don't get to vote.

      What a lot of Scotland doesn't realise is that there are six counties surrounding London. With maybe one or two exceptions, everyone outside those six is in exactly the same position as Scotland with respect to our London-centric nation. Scotland is no less an equal partner than Yorkshire, or Cornwall. Except Scotland gets its own parliament. Of course, Prescott tried that in the North and it was rejected. Perhaps they saw the incredible waste of money that was the parliament building and decided against. It's a nice building though. A couple of my friends work there and love it. Gravy train and all that.

  20. FanMan
    Happy

    Relax.

    Independence isn't going to happen.

    (Signed) A. Scot

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Relax.

      I agree, the majority of Scottish people are too clever for that

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doomsday

    :-) Smiley

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: Doomsday

      ":-) Smiley"

      That is not helpful.

      Amusing. Definitely.

      But not helpful.

  22. Anomalous Cowshed

    No offence to the Scots, and I mean it

    Good luck to them, they're great people, but it is also true that bullshit thrives even in Scotland, so:

    April 1, 2015. His Whiskeyness' Scottish Government yesterday introduced its new, revolutionary GazL computer system, which will eventually outrun the entire Scottish government.

    Unveiling the new wonder, which happens to be made in Africa, and is said to be highly sustainable, the Scottish Minister for Truth and Progress (SMTP), who had come suitably equipped with a dustpan and shovel to deal with unforeseen contingencies (known as 'incontinencies' in the Scottish New IT Sector), described it as "adaptable, secure and agile". "It runs faster than anything we've ever had up here in Scotland, and it has four legs, so if one fails, there's lots of backups. In tests carried out recently, it outran all civil servants and welfare claimants, so we're confident that it will do a great job, at a minimal cost."

    1. Rukario
      Headmaster

      Re: No offence to the Scots, and I mean it

      Whiskyness.

      Whiskeyness is Irish.

  23. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    English Independence

    When do we get a chance to vote?

    1. Spiracle

      Re: English Independence

      As Wales isn't mentioned in the Act of Union we'll be left with 'The United Kingdom of Northern Ireland' then.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Spiracle Re: English Independence

        "As Wales isn't mentioned in the Act of Union...." Maybe we can make it a condition of the devolution that the Scots have to take Wales as well?

        Only half-joking.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Spiracle English Independence

          No, I like Wales, lets keep the Welsh part of the UK,

          Just look who the welsh have given us, Catherine Jenkins, Tom Jones, Cerys Mathews just to name a few...

          Scotland on the other hand?

          They gave us Gordon Brown, that alone is worth building a new wall for!

    2. luxor

      Re: English Independence

      When England elects a party that wants independence.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU

    Since the UK as it was recognised when it joined the EU (or Common Market as was) would effectively cease to exist if Scotland left, why would either of the two new countries have any more right than the other to remain in the EU, both or neither as far as I can see.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: AC Re: EU

      "Since the UK as it was recognised when it joined the EU (or Common Market as was) would effectively cease to exist if Scotland left...." Wrong, Scotland is leaving the UK, the UK is not ceasing to exist.

    2. P_0

      Re: EU

      Since the UK as it was recognised when it joined the EU (or Common Market as was) would effectively cease to exist if Scotland left, why would either of the two new countries have any more right than the other to remain in the EU, both or neither as far as I can see.

      This is not true at all. There will be no "velvet divorce". The UK will cease to exist canard is an SNP favorite but flies in the face of international norms. rUK will carry on the UK's responsibilities to the treaties the UK signed. Just as Russia did for the Soviet Union. This is international precedent and no foreign government in its right mind will decide that the UK has been liquidated and everything is up for grabs. Maybe the Security Council seat can be raffled off.

      Whose benefit is it to see all these trade, defence, research treaties voided because 8% of a country decided to cleave itself from the whole?

      And absolutely no EU nation will decide (even if they could make that decision) that the rUK loses its place in the EU, since an awful lot of them have their own separatist movements.

      1. Andy Livingstone

        United Kingdom

        That came into existence under the Act of Union 1707. Independence will result in being "disunited". England can call itself anything it likes. Will also need to apply for membership of EU, NATO, and all the rest because the entity under which it took its place will cease to exist.

        As so many people worldwide believe that "England" is the name for this entire country they will probably be able to get away without taking any action till someone notices.

        There is no rUK whatever wishful thinkers might imagine. No UK at all at that stage. r or otherwise.

        1. P_0

          Re: United Kingdom

          That came into existence under the Act of Union 1707. Independence will result in being "disunited". England can call itself anything it likes. Will also need to apply for membership of EU, NATO, and all the rest because the entity under which it took its place will cease to exist.

          The Act of Union is not half as important as you may think. How a nation came together is not of so much importance during breakups. This is a historical fact. The Soviet Union "ceased to exist" once the Baltics declared independence. But Russia just became, legally speaking the USSR by another name as far as the international community was concerned. This is the precedent and the standard.

          You may have a logical and legalistic point that the UK will "cease to exist", but in reality it means nothing. The Act of Union is just a footnote in history.

          I guess the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ceased to exist after Irish independence? Nope, just a change of name and carry on as usual.

          But the Act of 1801 joined the kingdoms of Great Britain (England and Scotland) with that of Ireland.

          There is no rUK whatever wishful thinkers might imagine. No UK at all at that stage. r or otherwise.

          Wrong. Absolutely, hopelessly wrong. The name may change, but not much else.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

            Re: United Kingdom

            "The Soviet Union "ceased to exist" once the Baltics declared independence. But Russia just became, legally speaking the USSR by another name as far as the international community was concerned. This is the precedent and the standard."

            Please double-check that standard. 3 Baltic states separated from SU, they are not successors. SU dissolved few months later, leaving 11 successor states. Of those 11, Russia assumed most of the obligations and took over most of the international treaties, so it is now considered the main successor, but not exactly the same entity as former SU.

            Quite murky precedent, if I may say so. Certainly not repeatable.

  25. jason 7

    Am I the only one....

    ...that feels this is all just Alex Salmond on an ego trip?

    "Don't worry Ma, I'll get myself into the history books somehow!"

    (ooh looks like his mum has down-voted already!)

    1. __________

      Re: Am I the only one....

      If Alex Sammons was after a place in history, he went a funny way about it. His talent would have got him far in the main parties

  26. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Joke

    My solution.....

    Let the Scots have their resolution, then - at the last minute - just sell it to Larry Ellison!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: My solution.....

      "Let the Scots have their resolution, then - at the last minute - just sell it to Larry Ellison!"

      Thank you for flagging this as a "joke" Mattie.

      With you it can be difficult to tell.

  27. Heathroi

    I 'm going to make a simple suggestion. Don't have a spooks nest, taxmen or a dole office.

  28. Spanners Silver badge

    As a Scot "down south"

    I live not far from Birmingham & Coventry. Most of my friends & colleagues identify me as Scottish but I'm actually from Orkney - the most SNP hostile region in the UK.

    Unfortunately, I don't get a vote but I would vote against destroying the UK in this way.

    Couldn't we just have a vote to disown London? I'll vote yes for that! The rest of the UK has been sha* on my that place in fairly equal shares.

    1. __________

      You;ve not been home in a while have you?

      http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/3201771

      The Isles think they should remain part of Scotland, last time anyone checked

      1. Spanners Silver badge

        Re: You;ve not been home in a while have you?

        In the event of a UK breakup, that would be called making the best of a bad situation.

        Just as it would (hopefully not will) be extreme stupidity to break up the UK, it would be further stupidity to break up things even worse.

        PS - for a more local view of Orkney opinion, try a local paper like www.orcadian.co.uk I imagine Shetland has theirs as well.

        1. Rukario

          Re: You;ve not been home in a while have you?

          @Spanners: I imagine Shetland has theirs as well.

          http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2013/09/18/robionson-islands-ready-to-explore-autonomy-question

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You;ve not been home in a while have you?

        The Isles think they should remain part of Scotland, last time anyone checked

        Like a Scottish publisher was going to ask questions which wouldn't give them the answer they wanted to be able to publish?

        You should look around a bit.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-22934024

        http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1a0ae64c-0f0a-11e3-ae66-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2fHxGVDdy

        http://www.theguardian.com/uk/scotland-blog/2012/mar/19/islanders-threaten-salmond-independence-plans

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9156220/SNP-admits-Shetland-and-Orkney-could-opt-out-of-independent-Scotland.html

        https://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Independence-for-Orkney-from-the-mainland/203963203022782

        http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/shetland-orkney-western-isles-councils-1958502

  29. arrbee

    If the Scots do vote for independence (unlikely IMO, especially once the FUD effort gets serious), I suspect the one thing most of us will envy them for is their independence from the malign economic influence that is London.

  30. graeme leggett

    Will they want their own super-duper computer/

    so they can have their own Met Office.

    (feel free to respond with joke about the weather _always_ being "character building" in Scotland)

    1. Stephen Booth

      Re: Will they want their own super-duper computer/

      Look at

      http://www.top500.org/site/49151

      and

      http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/pubs/tenders/Pages/archer.aspx

      You will find Edinburgh is a world leading supercomputer location.

      I'm still not in favour of independence though.

      Stephen

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Will they want their own super-duper computer/

      No need- the bit of seaweed works well!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (cough!)

    http://goo.gl/maps/8XUn7

  32. Joel 1

    Gchq has 3 disclosed locations?

    That must mean that GCHQ Scarborough must be über secret then. Just as well there are no road signs in case you miss the turning. Oh wait,

    http://goo.gl/maps/gSj7d - don't go to Streetview

    1. Jonathan Richards 1
      Joke

      Re: Gchq has 3 disclosed locations?

      Reminds me of one of my favourite road signs. [maps.google.co.uk]

      Visitors are permitted entry. I don't know about exit

  33. Rombizio

    Alba an Aigh

    Towering in gallant fame,

    Scotland my mountain hame,

    High may your proud standards gloriously wave,

    Land of my high endeavour,

    Land of the shining river,

    Land of my heart for ever,

    Scotland the brave.

  34. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe?

    Maybe Scotland has a duty to go independent?

    Maybe it has a duty to show the world (and not just its immediate neighbour) that there are alternative ways to run "a relatively democratic, law based system of governance"?

    And perhaps it is folly to try to foresee every event in advance?

  35. SolidSquid

    Good to see a balanced article on this which doesn't bring politics into it. As someone who's supposed to be voting on this next year, it would be nice if the other aspects of independence were given similar attention so that we could make a decently informed decision

  36. Gordon Stewart

    "After that, Scotland would need to buy IT without the huge economies of scale that DWP and HMRC have used in setting up their existing contracts."

    You mean we would no longer be able to purchase IT equipment for twice the price you can get it at PC World!?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oil

    I presume that the oil companies drew up contracts with the UK gov. around exploration/revenue/investment all that stuff, no doubt a few sweetners etc.

    So wont those contracts need to be renegotiated and if so, why would it be on the same terms ie the elusion that tax would instead of going into the UK coffers go directly into Scotlands coffers unchanged?

    Its pretty evident that large companies can just "loose" or offset their tax by moving money around to somewhere else, brand logo redesigns, development somewhere else etc..

    Finally, governments always promise stuff if you elect them, but when elected they dont deliver, oh its more expensive than though etc... and it doesnt happen.. so why the trust in the Yes campaign?

    1. Pav

      Re: Oil

      Nobody trusts Salmond. A vote for independence isn't vote for Salmond though.

      I don't see what people find so hard for people to understand why a nation of people would like to be governed from their own country instead of another one.

      There hasn't been many times that the vote for the Government in Westminister has been the same as the majority of votes in Scotland.

    2. P_0

      Re: Oil

      I presume that the oil companies drew up contracts with the UK gov. around exploration/revenue/investment all that stuff, no doubt a few sweetners etc.

      So wont those contracts need to be renegotiated and if so, why would it be on the same terms ie the elusion that tax would instead of going into the UK coffers go directly into Scotlands coffers unchanged?

      They will need to be renegotiated, but that will take time. To start with, Scotland would almost certainly keep everything as normal as possible, for the sake of stability and then start negotiating. However, this won't be as easy as SNP thinks to come back with a much better deal.

      The idea that Scotland could have a comparable oil fund (ala Norway) is unrealistic. North Sea oil's heyday is over and negotiating with large oil companies as a small government dependent on oil revenues is more difficult than as a larger government.

      Not only will the contracts have to be renegotiated but the fact that the rUK has such a large investment in the oil infrastructure, they would need to be part of the negotiations too.

      Of course, the above is just conjecture.

  38. Halfmad

    It's a bit of a silly argument to have on The Reg, it's not going to happen anyway. Truth is most Scots have kin in England, Wales and Ireland and frankly like being part of the UK. I personally think that'll show in next years vote.

  39. Magnus1975

    *Shrug*

    The Baltic states managed to break free and be very functionally countries despite that USSR was far more heavy handed ruler than UK ever was, and they are smaller countries than Scotland, and Scotland has a population similar to Denmark, Norway and Finland. I really can´t see the big problem.

    It is not going to be easy but I bet just not being mistaken for an englishman for 100th time might alone be worth it for many scottish people. ;-)

  40. All names Taken
    Alien

    Something about who subsidises who

    Hush now - don't let the english earthlings know this.

    They live under a misapprehension that they are free (all are wage slaves), that it is a democracy (they are free to give lumps of their hard earned incomes to non-essential but highly paid civil serventia), the best country in the world (poor fools), ...

    I could go on but it is better not to challenge such great and profound national self deceptions, illusions and hallucinations.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take A Break

    Personally, I think Scotland and England should just take a break. It will be like a full break-up, won't require a referendum and afterward both parties can decide whether or not they want the other one back.

  42. Monkeyman
    Windows

    Euro and Scotland

    The key here is that José Manuel Barroso has officially reponded to a Scottish MEP on the question of an Idependant Scotland automatically joining the European union. (The URL is too long, use your search engine of choice and look up "José Manuel Barroso response scotland")

    He basically said NO, and in follow up interviews he added that Scotland would have to, as a new member, join the Euro (i'm paraphrasing here...)

    This puts paid to the claims that Scotland could remain linked to the pound and casts a different light on the whole situation.

    I'll let you put your own interpreation on the icon.

  43. Enrico Vanni
    FAIL

    Soapy Salmond cannae count.

    There is only one thing to say about Alex Salmond and his utter incompetence when it comes to economic policy. Search 'arc of prosperity' (the way Soapy has tried to erase that little tidbit from history would make Orwell and Soviet Russia proud...)

  44. cheeryAllyjspurs

    I hear the term Little Englanders used a lot and oddly by Scots...Irony is a trait not lost on Scots eh.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019