The Scottish Dilemma



Talk about a cleft stick!

It has been a brilliant time for  a political wonk such as myself to be in Scotland.  I was here during the independence referendum and saw how the political temperature  was being whipped up to heights not seen here since the Jacvobite unpleasantness on the 1700s.

I have never been anywhere - apart from the USA - where flags have been so much in evidence.  Even I  fly a Saltire because it makes life easier with the separtists. - and almost 50 per cent of scots are separartists.

Now Scotland has voted to stay in the European Union while the UK as a whole (in effect the English) voted to leave.  However, it was the English who voted as a block.  Us English were deeply split. It was an unholy alliance between the home counties where I live and the workingclass areas of the UK. Strangely enough Londoners and the scottish voted the same way - to stick with the european union.

Now the poltical heat is being raised even more following the  Brexit vote. Scottish nationalists face the possibility of being dragged out of one union of 500 million people from which they have been major subsidy beneficiaries  by a referendum held in another Union of 60 million people - who also subsidise the scottish way of life. Who is more likely to keep the subsidies flowing - the English or the European Union.

Who can blame them for being angry and confused.

Some people here are very, very angry. Frighteningly angry if the phone ins are anything to go by.

I can understand why the Scottish people are in favour of being a member of the European Union - you can see the infrastructure benefits all over the place.  The roads up here are better than anything we have to offer in Buckinghamshire.  the public buildings are brilliant, they still have libraries, bridges are all free, the ferries subsidised.  I live in a very conservative part of the country who mostly voted out. However, the home counties alone did not have the power to remove the Uk from Europe.  The Home counties  were in an unholy alliance  with places in England which suffer the same problems as Scotland but have got nowhere near the amount of public spending splashed all over them..  My journey up the NE coast from the Humber to Scotland is a journey past mile after mile of urban decay - poverty is  everywhere. I do not see the same levels of poverty here in Scotland.

One of the things that made some scots stick with  England in the independence referndum was a fear of having to abandon the £1 and start using the Euro -  which is a currency designed and controlled by Germans for the benfit of Geremany.. It  is then inflicted  on the weaker economies of Greeks/Spanish/Portugese

That is good for Germans and v bad for many none german working class europeans.  Many scots recognise that financial union with Germany would be a really tough gig. They would be worse off and have to raise taxes to pay for many of the good things they currently take for granted.

The unhappy and confused locals should be confused and angry. I don't blamer them - but they do occasionally blame the English. Life is so much easier to blame the English. Simple knee jerk crypto politics. These are difficult times. They have my sympathy, but just balming all the english for all their problems is not really a solution.

The SNP are a one trick pony - all they want is for Scotland to be independent so when they should be talking to London they are shoutung from the fringes and talking about things that are unnaceptable - a word I have heard many, many times since being up here. Unnaceptable is a big unhelpful wordthat leaves little room for ableness.   The SNP are currently playing the angry blame the english card - but the leadership is pragmatic enough not to call a second independence referendum unless they can guarantee that they will win. To do  that  they would have to peruade the majority of scotas to abandon the Union with England and embrace the German designed  bag of mess that is the Euro - interesting times.

I  will now spend the coming rainy afternoon working on the boat electrics while listening to the endless radio phoine-ins dedicated to the Scottish Dilemma



This is about Dylan Winter's Blog.

23 Responses to “The Scottish Dilemma”

  1. 28 June, 2016 at 3:42 pmsimon leslie ellis says:

    Even long before all this nonsense, I once bought a VW Camper with an England Flag on the back (from another failed Euro campaign no doubt) and drove up to Scotland with the family on board. After crossing the boarder, I quickly noticed that more drivers than usual were getting annoyed by the pace of my driving and were aggressively overtaking and cutting-in just in front. In one case, an angry Scot on the same caravan park was so incensed that he came over to bollock me face to face for having impeded a group of cars on a single track road leading to the site. To which I replied “Didn’t you see the F### herd of sheep!” The herd of sheep was in fact a Ewe and her lamb trotting along completely oblivious to my gentle honks on the horn. I’m sure you can guess how I solved the problem, and it wasn’t be speeding up.

  2. 28 June, 2016 at 3:46 pmRay Kite says:

    A point of view, and it makes sense. I can certainly vouch for the quality of Scottish roads – as compared to the third world surfaces we have down here in Buckinghamshire. Could it be that the Scots are supporting a few thousand less civil servants than the English – and therefore have a bit more cash available?

  3. 28 June, 2016 at 5:07 pmTed B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    With tempers running a bit “hot” at the moment, perhaps a large Saltaire courtesy-flag is a good idea.

    If cornered in a pub, you can always plead you’re Cornish, (homeport Falmouth) and really don’t follow London politics. Maybe buy a Cornish ensign to fly opposite the Saltaire on the port-side spreader halyard in the rigging.

    I used to fly my blue Battle of Bunker Hill flag, or my red New England “Pine Tree” flag, as a personal signal/house flag on the port spreader halyard.

    In Scotland is still it the Gin Pennant? or the Whisky Pennant??

  4. 28 June, 2016 at 5:21 pmRon G says:

    I live within that NE urban decay between the Humber and Scotland that you enjoy driving through, working for v low wages (although they have gone up by £20 take home over the last 10 years, oh joy) and you can bet your life we voted out. We see the EU as providing another layer of bent politicians when obviously we’d prefer to have just our own Westminster Del Boys, and up here public sector and unemployed get the goodies and freeload on pensions, caviar, champagne and free time. Granted it may be more convoluted than that…..
    But the point is that we have a Scottish factory near Glasgow, and they voted out as well, so it’s not all as clear cut as Scotland in, working class England out. There was a real low waged disenchantment beneath the middle-working class that’s been missed and could well have swung it. I expect the radio chatter won’t even go near that. But we’ll still have our competitions with the Scottish factory, kick the f out of each other then go get pissed together despite the efforts of management. Slagging off the English is just part of the tradition, not just knee-jerking politics, I expect there would previously have been some EU grant for that to enhance it as a cultural necessity, but I’m sure they’ll manage to keep the tradition going without or until their next vote.

  5. 28 June, 2016 at 5:47 pmjon sutton says:

    The Scots voted to be part of the UK……………. the UK has voted to leave the EU…… that’s democracy at work.
    We didn’t bitch for English independence when their socialist voters dumped a Labour government on the rest of us with the likes of bLiar and Mendaciouson.
    Only hope the dust settles soon and we get a reliable government to take things forward.
    At least our choices in UK are better than a Trump/Clinton choice

  6. 28 June, 2016 at 7:24 pmTed B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    Ouch!!, I resemble that remark. **le sigh**

    Trump v. Clinton is a sad commentary on my nation’s political system. But then with all the regulations and disclosure requirements — and the campaigns of personal destruction — no sensible person wants to be in politics anymore. My best friend was on his local small-town school-board, and the State-required financial disclosure requirements cost him a fortune every-year in legal fees to fill-out correctly and accurately. And it’s all then public knowledge. …And it’s not even a paid position, they’re no-partisan volunteers….it’s a K-8 school board.

    It used to be, “…I can live with one, but I prefer the other more”.
    Then it was, “…I can’t vote for that one, so I’ll hold my nose and vote for the other.”
    Now it’s like choosing between flesh-consuming bacteria or a brain-eating amoeba. **/aarrgh**

  7. 28 June, 2016 at 9:45 pmAndrew Wilkinson says:

    Dylan I think you should be careful not to listen to too many radio phone in’s, I had a 2 hour drive yesterday and felt some road rage coming on! I’d suggest downloading podcasts – Friday Night Comedy on BBC Radio 4 was great last week. Also the Desert Island Discs archive is a good source of fairly relaxing material.
    I voted IN as have most of my social circle in Barnsley, Yorkshire (honest) but I have made a point of shaking the hand of some friends who voted OUT and offering ‘no hard feelings’.
    Boris Johnson’s Dad on TV last Friday suggested we should spend this week playing cricket, (clearly mad) I’m taking my mind of things by making new washboards.

  8. 28 June, 2016 at 10:33 pmBG says:

    It’s like it always is…if the exit talks go nasty the Germans will get the blame. Greeks not paying taxes for decades and ruining their economy in the process, of course the Germans fault. The NHS… yes I guess the Germans are to blame here too. Maybe its a good thing the UK is taking matters in their own hands, I think its high time. To stay with football terms…you are trying to play with the big boys, but when it comes to it you wont even get past Iceland. I hope you guys pull together to sort your country out before it falls apart. The state its in is not the EU,s fault, you should blame your politicians. Maybe the sailing community can be good role model. We help each other when in need, no matter what nationality but that doesn’t mean we would all go and join the same sailing club.

  9. 28 June, 2016 at 10:36 pmGlenn Webster says:

    I think for viewing on here you should not be one sided, you are too sympathetic to other areas, now we have the freedom to be our own people again. I am disheartened by your comments.

  10. 28 June, 2016 at 11:20 pmJames McSweeney says:


  11. 28 June, 2016 at 11:37 pmjon sutton says:

    Maybe it’s time that we had a ‘none of the above’ box to tick and have the vote counted. Not sure how to make that trigger a reasonable outcome, I’m a plumber, not a constitional expert.
    My gut feeling is that anyone who actively seeks office de-facto proves themselves unfit for that office……………… how about a system that nominates individuals out of a hat (like jury service) for a lower house, then the public can vote for the best performers to elevate to an upper house?
    Anyone in the US of A interested in renting one of our minor Royals to act as POTUS?!?!

  12. 29 June, 2016 at 10:51 amDavid Cunningham says:

    An alternative view point
    Credit: The New Statesman
    Enough of the Scottish subsidy myth – Scotland pays its way in the Union
    Scotland pays its way in the Union – it’s time the London commentariat acknowledged that.

    The notion that Scottish public services are subsidised by English taxpayers has become so commonplace in UK politics that not even David Dimbleby, the supposedly neutral presenter of BBC Question Time, thinks twice about repeating it. During an exchange on a recent show with Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson about her decision to vote as a Scottish MP to impose tuition fees on English students, Dimbleby said, “You voted for England to have fees, whereas Scotland, as we know, with the amount of money that comes from England, doesn’t need to have them.”
    This view is based on the discrepancy between levels of public spending per head of the population in Scotland and England. According to the Treasury’s latest Public Expenditure Statistics, Scots gets an average of £10,212 spent on them every year by the UK government, compared with around £8,588 — £1,624 less — for people in England.

    In line with narrative of the Scottish welfare subsidy, the extra cash allows Scotland to provide its students with free higher education, its elderly with free personal care and concessionary travel, and its sick with free prescription medication, while their English equivalents are forced to go without.
    This so-called “Union dividend” is also used by many London-based journalists and politicians — many of whom would describe themselves as social democrats — who argue that current levels of public expenditure in Scotland would be unsustainable were it to break away and become an independent country.
    Yet, if the London commentariat took the time to examine the figures a little more closely, they would discover what a large number people north of the border already know: not only does Scotland more than pay its way in the Union, but its overall fiscal position would actually be stronger as a fully sovereign nation.
    Let’s tackle the subsidy charge first. Scots represent 8.4 per cent of the UK’s total population, but they generate 9.4 per cent of its annual revenues in tax — equivalent to £1,000 extra per person. The remaining £624 is easily accounted for by decades of UK government under-spending in Scotland on defence and on other items which are not routinely broken down by region, such as foreign office services.
    Second, there’s the claim that Scotland’s “bloated” welfare state could not be sustained outside the Union. This is nonsense. Including its per capita share of revenues from North Sea oil and gas production, Scotland’s public expenditure probably does not exceed the OECD average and is almost certainly lower than that of the Scandinavian social democracies. The fact that the Treasury cynically refuses to class those revenues as part of Scotland’s overall annual economic output inflates the level of public sector expenditure as a proportion of GDP relative to that of the private sector.
    Finally, one of the most common — and least well-considered — claims made by supporters of the Union is that the 2008 global financial meltdown shattered the economic case for independence. How, they argue, would the economy of tiny, independent Scotland have been able to cope with the burden of debt needed to rescue its financial sector from collapse? It wouldn’t, of course, but according to George Walker, professor of financial regulation and policy at the University of Glasgow, Scotland would only have had to take on a proportion of the total cost of the bail-out based on the subsidiaries and business operations of HBOS and RBS in Scotland. This would probably amount to no more than 5 per cent.
    For the sake of argument, nationalists might also wish to note that Scotland’s 2009 – 2010 deficit was, at 6.8 per cent of GDP, a full 3 per cent lower than England’s, and that the likely defence expenditure of an independent Scotland would, at around $1.8bn per year in line with Nordic average, be roughly £1bn less than what the UK currently spends on its behalf.
    But why should Unionists let the economic facts ruin the image they have built up of Scotland as a nation of selfish, indulged welfare “mendicants”?The subsidy myth is too politically useful to be simply abandoned. Of course, if they ever do come to terms with the reality that Scotland could survive on its own – and even prosper – it will probably be too late anyway.

    James Maxwell is a Scottish political journalist. He is based between Scotland and London.

  13. 29 June, 2016 at 11:03 amDavid Cunningham says:

    Dylan is doing a great job in advertising (fairly) the great place that Scotland is – grey rainy day and all! He should be employed by the Scottish Tourist Office and Visit Scotland to provide more of the stunning photos and videos which receive such great reviews in this blog with comments like ” I must plan a visit”. Please do plan a visit. I acknowledge we (The Scots) have our fair share of idiots who make lots of noise (empty vessels) and I regret the experience that Simon Leslie Ellis elluded to. I can also recall times when visiting many parts of beautiful England being declined service because I tendered a Scottish pound note and informed it was not legal currency, which it is. I look forward to many more enjoyable visits to my close neighbours to share rich experiences – independance or not!

    Keep up the great sailing

  14. 29 June, 2016 at 2:40 pmDave Barker says:

    Many years ago I decided that I would no longer get involved in political discussions. My left-wing friends accused me of being a reactionary tory and my right-wing friends accused me of being a radical lefty.
    But I always maintained that we should strive for democracy and, being English, fair play (note the word strive – we’ll never actually get true democracy because human traits such as self-interest get in the way).

    The European question is a dilemma for me. I don’t like the way the European Union is organised and I think it’s undemocratic – it’s more like some Utopian society dreamed up by H.G.Wells where a political elite control the lower orders. On the other hand, when one considers the recent brutal history of our continent and dangerous, brutal lunatics like Putin, a united Europe has to be the way to go. Of course someone always “pays the price”, but I see no sense in going back to smaller, squabbling communities none of which would carry much weight, politically or otherwise. So I voted to remain.

    Anyway, I thought this was all about sailing……………………………………?

  15. 29 June, 2016 at 7:10 pmTed B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    When Sailing, there can be only one Captain. But picking the Pub is a group effort.

  16. 29 June, 2016 at 7:45 pmDave says:

    Scotland is part of the UK and the UK voted to leave.

    The Eurocrats should now make that procedure as easy and painless as possible. Supposedly they serve the people of the E U and as we are part of the E U at the moment they work for us. Instead of sniping at England surly it would be better to ask the question, why has it come to this? I voted to stay but having watched how all the Euro politicians have behaved recently I/m glad the way it has gone. They really are a repulsive crowd and will most likely alienate even more people which could see a complete breakdown of Brussels. Mind you our politicians aren’t exactly shining.

  17. 29 June, 2016 at 11:33 pmPaul Mullings says:

    Politics…Bah Humbug, go sailing.

  18. 30 June, 2016 at 9:13 amowen says:

    I am sorry Dylan has experienced a bit of traditional prejudice, its just lazy thinking that a race can have traits which define them, but i guess we are all guilty of that. It brings you up short to be misunderstood or blamed for everything which goes wrong, I always feel a pang when people blame gypsies and travellers for thefts, cant imagine my Romany family nicking anything,, like outboards for example, does us all good to experience the other side of acceptable prejudice. Just a thought….

  19. 1 July, 2016 at 6:40 pmdylan winter says:

    it was only three people in the flesh – the rest were on radio scotland

  20. 1 July, 2016 at 11:17 pmJoost says:

    And don’t forget the Royal Charles,1667…

  21. 1 July, 2016 at 11:54 pmdylan winter says:

    the pain is with me still

  22. 6 July, 2016 at 7:22 pmSpencer lynn says:

    I dont go to Scotland any more.

  23. 20 July, 2016 at 11:29 pmStoo says:

    I’m on a round-britain-the-wrong-way trip, and was in Grimsby soon after Brexit. The northeast was screwed by the Thatcher government, and the results are still plain to see in places like Grimsby. But now they vote for more of the same with the free market economics of Brexit. It makes no sense.

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