Winning a de facto referendum is within our grasp

A major new poll for The National has found that a clear majority of voters would back pro-independence parties if the next UK General Election were to be used as a de facto independence referendum. In such a scenario total of 54.4% of voters would give their votes to either the SNP, the Scottish Greens, or Alba, bringing about a reversal of the 2014 independence referendum result, described at the time by the BBC as ‘decisive’.

I do not propose to rehash the arguments for engineering an early Holyrood election versus using a UK General Election as a de facto referendum, both options have their advantages and disadvantages, as I have already detailed at some length here : https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2022/11/29/holyrood-election-vs-uk-general-election-as-de-facto-referendum-the-pros-and-cons/

What this poll demonstrates is that using a UK General Election as a de facto referendum could be a winning strategy. The poll does not seem to ask about voting intention in an early Holyrood election fought as a de facto referendum, so it’s not possible to pass comment on whether that would win a majority for independence. The option of engineering an early Holyrood election is not amongst those being voted upon by SNP members at the party’s special conference in March, and so it is vanishingly unlikely to happen, no matter how much its advocates might wish it were otherwise.

The strategy being put to the SNP conference sees a three pronged attack on Westminster intransigence. Firstly to use the next UK General Election as a de facto independence referendum, should the SNP together with any other parties standing on a platform for independence win a majority of votes cast, this will be regarded as a mandate for independence and for the Scottish Government to open negotiations with Westminster to secure independence. Secondly, if the threshold of an absolute majority of votes cast is not met, but the SNP wins the election in terms of being the party with most seats and greatest vote share, this will be taken as a mandate for another independence referendum and the Scottish Government and the SNP will seek a transfer of powers to Holyrood in order to bring about the referendum. Thirdly, if Westminster continues to ignore Scottish democracy and refuses to facilitate another independence referendum, then the next scheduled Holyrood election will become a de facto independence referendum.

The significance of today’s poll is that it demonstrates that achieving a majority of votes cast for the pro independence parties at the next UK General Election may not be the insurmountable hurdle that some have feared. The poll found that the SNP alone could surpass the 50% threshold with 52% of votes cast, if replicated at a General Election this could see the SNP sweep the board.

The Conservatives poll especially badly in this poll, losing votes to both Labour and the frothing English nationalists of the Reform party and polling an embarrassing 12%. The Conservatives are looking at the very real possibility of a repeat of the UK General Election of 1997, when they were annihilated in Scotland and lost every one of their Scottish MPs. Indeed the Tories could be left to deal with even greater humiliation. In 1997 they polled 17.5% of votes cast in Scotland. This poll suggests that they will be lucky to come close to that next time round. They could be in for an electoral oblivion that would see the end of the Conservatives as a significant political force in Scotland for decades to come. It’s a punishment which would be richly deserved for a party which has treated Scotland and Scottish democracy with the utmost contempt and which has systematically trashed every promise and commitment which it made to the people of Scotland in 2014 in order to win that year’s independence referendum even as it hypocritically demands that the SNP ‘respects’ the result of the referendum, presumably by not asking the people of Scotland if they believe that the Better Together parties have fulfilled their end of the bargain that they struck with the electorate of Scotland.

It’s not democracy that the Conservatives want, it’s a permanent get out of jail free card. It’s up to all of us to ensure that they don’t get one. Although this opinion poll is very encouraging, the independence movement needs to cease its internal arguments about process, which do absolutely nothing to persuade undecided voters and soft noes why they should support democracy in Scotland. Democracy in this country can can only be secured by supporting independence.

After the SNP special conference in March the process will be clear, the focus must then be on co-ordinating efforts in order to maximise the pro-independence vote in the face of a largely hostile media. So it is welcome that senior figures in the SNP such as veteran MP Pete Wishart are calling for a cross movement and cross party Independence Convention to mobilise and co-ordinate the grass roots campaign and to establish a campaign headquarters and structure which will involve all pro independence political parties prepared to contest the General Election as a de facto independence referendum. This body, says Wishart, “Must be inclusive, consensual and community based.”

There remains a huge amount of work to do, but this is a very positive development. It would help to ensure that all pro independence parties and organisations are working toward the common goal of winning a mandate from the people of Scotland for independence even as they maintain their individual identities and points of view. If nothing else it could help bring about an end to the counter productive sniping which sees certain supposedly pro independence activists and groups devote the majority of their time and efforts to attacking others within the independence movement for ‘doing independence wrong.’  Instead we should be trying to reach out from within the confines of those who are convinced Yes voters in order to make arguments that can persuade those vital undecideds and soft No voters to support independence. The real enemies of independence are not other independence supporters, they are the Conservatives and their allies. It’s high time we took the fight to them.

______________________________________________________

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83 comments on “Winning a de facto referendum is within our grasp

  1. The average of 4 polls on this, including that wild outlier from Survation, is giving this:
    48% SNP
    3% Green
    1% Alba (est)
    = 52% Yes

    For a defacto iref held tomorrow, or at the next election / date unspecified. Out of the blue vote tomorrow, comes in lower.

    https://whatscotlandthinks.org/questions/how-would-you-vote-in-a-general-election-if-the-snp-treated-it-as-a-de-facto-referendum-campaigning-on-the-single-issue-of-independence/

  2. Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
    Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
    Welcome to your gory bed,
    Or to victory!

    Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
    See the front o’ battle lour;
    See approach proud Edward’s power—
    Chains and slavery!

    Wha will be a traitor knave?
    Wha can fill a coward’s grave!
    Wha sae base as be a slave?
    Let him turn and flee!

    Wha for Scotland’s king and law
    Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
    Freeman stand, or freeman fa’,
    Let him follow me!

    By oppression’s woes and pains!
    By your sons in servile chains!
    We will drain our dearest veins,
    But they shall be free!

    Lay the proud usurpers low!
    Tyrants fall in every foe!
    Liberty’s in every blow!—
    Let us do or die!

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      An update:

      Scots Wha Hae – Reprise
      Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
      Scots, wham Sturgeon has aften led,
      Welcome tae yer gory bed
      Or tae destiny.

      Now’s the day, an’ now’s the hour:
      Seize oor chance a’ last fir power.
      See the fearties start tae cower.
      Scotland will be free!

      Wha would be sae full of cack?
      An’ bend the knee tae yon Sunak?
      Wha sae base, a real cheap-jack?
      Let him turn an’ flee.

      Wha fir Scotland’s Pride an’ Aw’
      Freedom’s sword will strongly draw?
      Bondsman stand or Freeman fa’:
      Let him follow me.

      By th’ oppressive woes and pains,
      Of oor sons in servile chains,
      We will drain oor dearest veins
      But we shall be free!

      Lay Westminster oh so low.
      Traitors fall – like every foe.
      Liberty’s oors wi’ every blow!
      Let us vote fir SNP!
      ______

      [With acknowledgements]

    • Bob Lamont says:

      “Hey Tutti Taiti” is a very old tune and the backdrop to “Scots, wha hae”, known as “Marche des Soldats de Robert Bruce (Hymne de Sainte Jeanne d’Arc)” https://youtu.be/HLdoWQ1RNOY in France and variously revered by military bands across Europe.
      Scotland didn’t leave Europe when England chose to do so, we are forever embedded in their culture and history, lately known as “les emprisonnés”.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      Fareweel our ancient glory;
      Independence is the modern Story!

  3. Dr Jim says:

    Let’s hope that whatever strategy is arrived at brings the result we want and need for Scotland
    But also let us remember we are dealing with the most corrupt anti devolutionary anti independence racist fascist bunch of charlatans in *recorded* history, this is more than just an English dictatorship government, this is a monarchial self promoted replacement for the actual original monarchy with all the powers previously attributed to Kings and Queens before this sham of a UK parliament was ever devised and constructed

    Only today we saw and heard a demonstration of their contempt for Scotland on national BBC TV when Anne Widdecombe dismissed Scotland entirely when she said to SNPs David Linden “Let’s put Scotland aside and have a *grown up* conversation”
    Now Anne Widdecombe can call herself a current member of whatever political party takes her fancy at any given moment, but in essence she’s one of them, and when I say one of them I don’t necessarily mean just the Tories, because on this matter Labour and the Liberal Democrats are hand in glove with each other on retaining the power to own Scotland as an English possession to do their will with as they wish

    At PMQs one particular Tory MP asked of the PM why could they not put the Welsh government into special measures (much hilarity) except for the fact that they can if they so wish
    People can label this kind of comment from a Tory any way they like (sarcasm, jest, hatred even) but the fact that they can even ask this in a question to the PM in what’s supposed to be the UK parliament and it’s left unchallenged or ordered to be withdrawn by the speaker of the house shows the ever increasing boldness of anti Welsh and Scottish and an assuredness of their position as a dictator regime

    For those in Scotland who don’t agree with the SNP or Greens on this or that issue, in Scottish elections your vote still counts, but in UK elections as we know, it doesn’t
    The time is now to think about the future inability to disagree with anything a UK government can do to us, because if we do not take action and and divorce this farce every and any argument over this or that issue is meaningless because Scotland will have no voice and no choice, meaning even your vote in Scottish elections will cease to count

    No vote, no nothing, direct rule from London the way it used to be, I’m 74 years old so I remember it, you may not remember it but mark my words, you won’t want it, you really won’t

    • Golfnut says:

      Well said Dr Jim. Despotic rule, is that not what the glorious revolution was supposed to have removed. Their magna Carta and Bill of rights have been replaced by Henry the VIII laws with a procession of right wing lunatics in control of the imperial crown.

    • James Mills says:

      Sadly some in the Scottish (sic ) Labour Party still hanker for this arrangement – the Good Old Days of Westminster rule .

      And why shouldn’t they ?
      Many Labour apparatchiks have done well out of that system – the House of Lords is full of them !
      Labour Councils up and down the land have seen their election as a ”nice little earner” for them and their cronies !
      Scottish Labour MSPs are little better – beneficiaries of a corrupt party that rewards those who can demonstrate allegiance to ”doing as they are told !”

      Why do some people ( a diminishing number admittedly ) still cling to the idea that Labour , whether Scottish or UK will ride to their rescue and save them from the nasty Tories ?
      The actions of Starmer and Sarwar emphasise on a daily basis that THEY ARE NOT THE ANSWER !
      So many members of Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet are just that – a shadow of what used to be a Labour Party .
      And as for Scottish Labour – how many old time Labour members would have thought that THEIR party would sink so low as to electing a Millionaire , privately educated businessman , born with a silver spoon in his mouth as their leader ?

      That rumbling you hear is Keir Hardie et al birling in their graves !

      It’s long passed time for any decent Labour voter to accept the evidence of their eyes and ears – you don’t have a ‘Labour Party’ anymore .

      • Dr Jim says:

        The Labour party had to change to being Tories from the time of Tony Blair or they would have died out in England as well as Scotland

        People in Scotland and Wales have to accept the inevitable fact that England is a right wing country and because they as the majority population under the current voting system get what they vote for and Scotland Wales and the North of Ireland get what England votes for

        No Gordon Brown lies and federal waffle is ever going to change that
        England demands exclusion from the rest of the world while simultaneously demanding a controlling interest in the rest of the world, and guess what? the rest of the world has told them to get stuffed, but that *get stuffed* includes Scotland Wales and the North of Ireland also, even though we none of our three countries want what England demands, nor do we vote for it

        Scotland Wales and the North of Ireland are paying the price of England’s intransigence towards co-operation, they refuse to play nice with others, so let’s leave them to play with themselves

        I think there’s a name for that but I couldn’t possibly, eh well hmm

  4. Mair polling…

    https://archive.is/MZny7

    Scottish NHS crisis is Westminster’s fault, poll finds Scots think

    Seems Dougie Ross doing his best big up problems in the NHS every week is being highly effective! Keep it up man!

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Oh do please try to be fair, Dross has his hands full with udders and three jobs – HMS James Cook provides the amplification and endless repeats, Tsunami Baillie and Disaster Gulhane do the daily duet of “Yousaf must be fired’, and the State of Secretary for Flounce in Scotland delegates to his underthings at the Scotland Office, RN-SubLt failed Bowie and “I got Offord a peerage” to fill in the detail, then sighs, “decisions”…

  5. Alba Laddie says:

    The Labour for Independence movement must be brought into this convention mooted by Wishart.

    Even publicly approaching them would be enough to embarrass Starmer, Sarwar, Murray et al (notwithstanding not being able to mark their collective necks with a blowtorch).

    • I do think it’s time for Labour for indy to stand up and be counted. 1/3 of Labour voters back indy.

    • Dr Jim says:

      It’s a strange dichotomy at all that there’s a *Labour* for independence in Scotland ?when you consider there’s no such thing as a Scottish Labour party, there’s only an unregistered bunch of British nationalists calling themselves Labour to fool Scottish voters, but who are actually following the orders of the real Labour party in England

      Perhaps *ex Labour* for independence? might be a thought to ponder for those folks, then ask themselves why they’re paying their subs to support Tories like Sir Keir Starmer and his English party who are dead against Scotland being allowed the freedom to vote on whatever subject that we want to vote on, then totally disrespecting Scotland’s vote on Brexit, yet then respecting the thing he calls the British people’s vote on the same thing, which as we know is the English people’s vote

      • Dr Jim says:

        Starmer just cannot keep galloping around the British isles on different coloured rented horses claiming he loves them all equally in each country he gallops into

        • Bruce MacDougall says:

          What worries me about using a GE for gaining self determination is that Westminster controls the Electoral Commission and could add a 100,000 votes or more into the ballot. Even for a referendum with Postal Votes. We are dealing with a corrupt and devious opponent, intent on maintaining the status quo. As such I would prefer using the UN with the Vienna Convention and the International Court of Justice to force Westminster to heel. I don’t believe that there’s any way a fair and honest ballot of kind can now be held in the UK.

      • Scottish Social Democrats for Independence. Dr Jim?
        There is no Labour Party anywhere on these isles. Blair and Brown destroyed it. That’s why Blair’s worth £70 million now.

  6. Ken says:

    General Election – SNP – FPTP. Or split the vote.

  7. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Happy Burns Night – to you

    Happy St Dwynwen’s Day – to me.

    Eh – wassat?

    https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofWales/St-Dwynwens-Day/

  8. yesindyref2 says:

    Yes it’s within grasp, and it needs simple arguments about key issues to help allay fears. Here’s one from a guest on a usually highly critical blog:

    https://peterabell.scot/2023/01/24/any-fears-over-the-state-pension-are-unfounded/

    Lord, to account who dares thee call,
    Or e’er dispute thy pleasure?
    Else why, within so thick a wall,
    Enclose so poor a treasure?

  9. yesindyref2 says:

    Sorry, the Burns has nothing to do with the article.

    The blog on the ither hand …

  10. Capella says:

    Here Stuarts once in glory reigned,
    And laws for Scotland’s weal ordained;
    But now unroof’d their palace stands,
    Their sceptre’s sway’d by other hands;
    Fallen indeed, and to the earth
    Whence groveling reptiles take their birth.
    The injured Stuart line is gone,
    A race outlandish fills their throne;
    An idiot race, to honour lost;
    Who know them best despise them most.

    Of an Inn at Stirling, on seeing the Royal Palace in ruin.
    1787

    Happy Burns Night everybody.

  11. Hamish100 says:

    BBC radio 4 stating on “world tonight” over the controversy that the Scottish Government is remanding a convicted rapist (women with male genetalia) to a womens prison.

    It is not the Scottish Government, it is the Courts that determine such issues.

    More lies from the BBC

    • Legerwood says:

      And the Courts do so based on the Equalities Act 2010 not on whether they have a GRC or not.

      • Stop telling the truth like Sturgeon does! 🙂

        https://archive.is/Gppct

        The Equalities Act is, of course, a reserved matter which the Scottish Government can’t change.

        It also allows trans people to use the loos / changing rooms of their choice, whether they have a GRC or not. Another very inconvenient truth for some.

        It was learning these sort of facts which made me understand I was being lied to, and maliciously so, about the GRC reforms, by various opponents of them.

    • Dr Jim says:

      Ah the conflation tactic, two things that have nothing to do with each other become the same thing in BBC reporting

    • Capella says:

      It’s not the courts, it’s the Scottish Prison Service which is an executive agency of the Scottish government. Judges don’t decide where a prisoner is on remand.

      • Eilidh says:

        You are absolutely correct Capella. The Scottish government itself should never try to interfere in individual cases re where a prisoner is placed

        • Lawyers not involved in cases shouldn’t interfere either. These should know better. It’s highly unprofessional, and could end up causing problems for the prison service in terms of fair / equal handling of cases. The last thing they need is people giving prisoners reason to claim they’ve been singled out for unfair treatment in decisions made about where they are housed.

    • Tatu3 says:

      When a woman rapes a woman, and this does happen, where are they sent to prison?
      When a man rapes a man, and this does happen, where are they sent to prison?
      I presume all prisons have a system to cope with these cases. So the same system should, I imagine, be able to cope with transgender (either way) rapists?

      • Legerwood says:

        Yes the Prison Service does have such a risk assessment system and it is that system that is being applied in this case. It involves psychologists etc assessing amongst other things the risk the new prisoner poses to the rest of the population and vice versa

      • It’s as Legerwood says. The risk assessment isn’t just confined to sexual assault risk, but also violence. In addition, the risk the prisoner poses to themselves. All prisoners of both sexes are assessed equally before being put into their long term unit.

        Interestingly, Rape Crisis Scotland say, as far as they’re aware, that there has never been a case of transwoman jailed for rape. The Bryson case currently making headlines doesn’t change this as she self-identified as male – her birth sex – at the time of the crimes. Only after being charged and facing jail did she start claiming to be trans. Which is something the authorities will take into account too.

        As I understand it, there are only 6 transwomen currently housed in female jails across the UK. This would be about 3.5% of the total number of transwomen in the prison system. These will be considered low risk, having been e.g. jailed for non-violent crimes etc, and likely were already identifying as female when they carried out the crime they are in for.

        https://insidetime.org/only-six-trans-women-in-womens-prisons/

        They are far outweighed by transmen houses in female prisons. The idea that sex offenders just need to id as female and they’ll be quickly housed with vulnerable women is myth, just like the idea you need a GRC to use the ladies loos is.

      • Capella says:

        It is not possible in Scottish law for a woman to rape another women. The legal definition of rape is penetration by a penis without consent i.e a male offence.

        • This is of course simply a legal technicality; I guess a relic of a sexist bygone era. We all know women can ‘rape’ other women / men*, and even by penetration if they have the correct tools at their disposal. No get out of jail free here card for the ladies, unluckily for e.g. the women in this case!# I’m not sure what the technical charge name in Scotland is for this though (?).


          * https://archive.is/eWktE#selection-769.150-769.413
          # https://www.cps.gov.uk/mersey-cheshire/news/woman-jailed-life-rape-and-sexual-abuse-young-girl

          • Capella says:

            Legal definitions are not relics of bygone ages but a descriptions of reality. Some of us live in the reality based world. Rape carries the risk of pregnancy which is a lifelong burden on the victim.

            You are confusing rape and sexual assault, which men also carry out.

            • Yes, a woman raping a man carries a risk of him having a child of his brought into the world against his will, and vice versa. I don’t disagree with you here.

              Of course this happens without rape, e.g. a woman telling her partner she’s on the pill when she’s not so she can fall pregnant when he doesn’t want that. Or the child isn’t even her partners, and he only finds that out later…

              I thought I was clear here about how it works both ways. Sorry.

              I am very pro-equality, so always try to see things from the perspectives of both sexes.

            • Oh, and in the case I highlighted, if the girl concerned had been older and fell pregnant as result of the abuse, we would have a case where the women was found guilty of rape which led to another women falling pregnant!

              I’m sure such cases will exist where exactly that has happened. If one of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trafficked victims had fallen pregnant as a result of this…

              We’ve been conditioned to think only men can ‘rape’. It’s due to the sexism still inherent in society, and is holding back equality.

              • I honestly don’t get your point? Is it simple pedantry? 🙂

                It takes two to tango. The act of penetrative sex can be initiated and controlled by either partner. M on F rape may be defined differently in legal terms here in Scotland (which I’m perfectly aware of, hence my use of inverted commas for the reverse), but the act is identical in how traumatic it can be, and the outcomes (hence being classed this way by experts studying the subject*), including, as you raised, the issue of it giving rise to unwanted children for both female and male victims.

                Personally, as I believe strongly in equality between the sexes, I’d like to see the law clarified so both sexes face the same serious charge for the same act. I suspect this would help men who’ve been subject to such assault come forward, which is something they are not doing, even though data suggest it’s happening to them possibly as commonly as it happens to women*.

                I’m sure you’d agree here that everyone should be treated equally under the law. That’s absolute key to equality, including between the sexes.

                I say this as an 8 times victim of female sexual assault. Thankfully not serious, but on a few occasions really pretty disturbing, including being followed around persistently as the pervert concerned attempted to look under my kilt. F’n weirdo creep. A man going around doing that would have spent the night in the cells and potentially been put on the sex offenders register.

                Men can’t stop this though. What are they going to do? A woman might given a guy a good slap and everyone will tell him he deserved it / cheer her on. A guy tries that and he’ll end up in serious trouble, likely with the police called. Tell the bouncers maybe? They’ll laugh at him most likely, and say ‘be a man’ or even ‘Enjoy it!’.

                But if we change narrative and treat both sexes equally, we stop this happening to both. That’s what we all should want. Having different laws applying to different sexes is the opposite of equality. This goes without saying and we must do everything to avoid this if men and women are to be true equals in our society. In my family, even in the case of my grandparents, women and men are completely equal, and this has been instilled into me. I’ve never thought to see men and women as anything other than equals because of growing up with this. This extends to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and what is forming my views on issues around these.

                We are all Jock Tamson’s Bairns!

                Anyhoo, a new threat awaits! 🙂

                * https://archive.is/eWktE#selection-765.0-769.413

                The results were surprising. For example, the CDC’s nationally representative data revealed that over one year, men and women were equally likely to experience nonconsensual sex, and most male victims reported female perpetrators. Over their lifetime, 79 percent of men who were “made to penetrate” someone else (a form of rape, in the view of most researchers) reported female perpetrators. Likewise, most men who experienced sexual coercion and unwanted sexual contact had female perpetrators.

    • raineach says:

      To be fair Radio 4 [ie BBC England] gave Nicola plenty of room to explain the procedure and has repeated that interview since. The people of England are better informed about Scotland by the BBC than we are

  12. Alex Clark says:

    Shona Robison has written again to Union Jack after his refusal to discuss the issues raised in her first letter about the UK Gov’s lack of cooperation and his refusal to appear before two Holywood committees.

    https://www.gov.scot/publications/gender-recognition-letter-to-the-secretary-of-state-for-scotland-24-january-2023/

  13. Golfnut says:

    Anybody have a copy of the DWP letter from indyref1 confirming that the UK would continue to pay pensions to any d independent Scotland.

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      Here’s a start, Golfnut. (Excuse the reference to BBC):

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-27309215

      Scottish independence: Pensions ‘secure’ post-Yes, says UK minister

      7 May 2014

      Older people would be entitled to current levels of state pension in an independent Scotland, according to the UK pensions minister.

      Steve Webb told a Westminster committee those who had “accumulated rights” would be entitled to the money.

      However, he said there were still questions over which government would pay the money.

      SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said the comments confirmed that pensions would be secure in an independent Scotland.

      Asked by Labour MP Ian Davidson at the Scottish affairs committee whether people could be assured that their pensions would be secure if Scotland votes for independence in September’s referendum, Mr Webb answered: “Yes, they have accumulated rights into the UK system, under the UK system’s rules.”

      He added that the money would be paid out at the pension age decided by the UK government, rather than any future Scottish government.

      He said: “Take a Scottish person who works all their life and then retires to France… they still have an accumulated pension right in respect of the National Insurance they have paid in when they were part of the United Kingdom.”

      Asked whether citizenship would matter, Mr Webb told MPs on Tuesday: “Citizenship is irrelevant. It is what you have put into the UK National Insurance system prior to separation. Answer [for example] 35 years, that builds up to a continued UK pension under continuing UK rules. They are entitled to that money. The question is, who is paying for it, and how is that [cost] split?”

      […]

      ____________________________________

      https://www.believeinscotland.org/does-independence-put-our-pensions-at-risk/

      Does independence put our pensions at risk?

      […]

      Meanwhile, there is also the case of the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) response to the same question, known also as the ‘DWP letter.’ According to the initial response to the question, a letter which is now notoriously difficult to find online, at least in good quality, ‘the UK state pension would continue to be paid to people living in an independent Scotland.’ In particular, according to an article about the issue on the BBC’s website, the letter, written in the name of a pension customer service advisor on 4th January 2013, stated:

      “If Scotland does become independent, this will have no effect on your state pension – you will continue to receive it just as you do at present.”

      As the same article adds, ‘in a subsequent statement, a DWP spokesman said’:

      “We will look into this specific letter in case any misleading information was inadvertently given out.

      “However, what is absolutely clear is that it will be the responsibility of an independent Scottish government, not the UK government, to make arrangement for pensions for citizens of an independent Scotland.

      “There can be no guarantee that it will be at the same level as it is now.”

      […]

      • Welsh_Siôn says:

        See also:

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-24286056

        Scottish independence: Pension body’s letter ‘gave yes vote assurance’

        26 September 2013

        The UK state pension would continue to be paid to people living in an independent Scotland, the pension agency has said.

        The comments came in a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions, which was quoted by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

        However, the DWP later said it was looking into whether its content was misleading.

        The letter was sent to one of Mr Salmond’s constituents.

        Written in the name of a pension service customer adviser and dated 4 January, 2013, it stated: “If Scotland does become independent, this will have no effect on your state pension – you will continue to receive it just as you do at present.”

        […]

    • jfngw says:

      It would seem obvious to me, if England want to claim to be the UK successor state then they own the responsibility for paying pensions accrued in that state. They can’t pick and choose, although they will try as we have seen with Brexit, which bit of the successor state they retain. ‘We want the UN bit and as much of Scotland’s resources as we can grab but we don’t want the deficit bits’.

      It’s always been the English establishments way, just look at the greed and corruption within the current Westminster administration.

      • Golfnut says:

        If an American citizen or indeed any country came to the UK, worked for 10yrs paying NI and then returned home, that individual would receive a pension commensurate to their contributions when they reached UK pensions age.

        • jfngw says:

          That’s true but not the point I’m making. If the UK ceases to exist and the countries all in effect became ‘new’ individual countries then you could argue the pension, and other debt, responsibility would be divided. But England wants to retain the UK status and keep all the rights of the former UK, taking these rights in effect takes on all the debt associated with the UK, Scotland should have none.

      • yesindyref2 says:

        It’s not debt, it’s a benefit.

    • Golfnut says:

      Westminster double speak in full view. ‘Yes we’re liable, but…..’
      Pensions are paid to every individual making NI contributions, commensurate to the level of contribution over time. UK citizens living abroad and foreign nationals who have left the country are entitled to their pension. The same would apply to Scotland without any contribution from the SG. The question is will Scotland as a continuing state inherit that liability as it would inherit the BOE, Trident, a share of all UK assets and actual debt.

  14. Ken says:

    Gov pensions are paid from current expenditure. ie the last year’s revenues and borrowing. £240 Billion was spent on UK pensions and benefits. 2019/20. UK Gov Accounts. (On the internet). A higher amount because of Covid. Scotland pays its own pensions and benefits. The monies go to Westminster from Scottish revenues and taxes. Then come back, The adminstrstion costs are nearly as much as the pay out. Increasing pensions would save the cost of administration of benefits. Pay for its self. £6Billion+ of taxes and revenues raised in Scotland pay for (UK) Gov pensions in Scotland. Increasing pensions would save on benefits and administration costs, Nearly as high as the payout.

    The UK (Gov) the lowest in Europe, A 1/4 of average earning, Most people care about their mother, They get the lowest pension in Europe, women were denied pension rights because they worked part/time. 1970/80s. Women outlive men five years. So many pensioners live in poverty in their old age. They can get ill so that increases costs. People in Scotland get personal care so they can stay in their own homes for longer. More beneficial and cost effective. Residential care more expensive. Hospital care £600+ a day. Pensions and care could be increased in Scotland if Independent, Scottish revenues and resources wasted by Westminster poor, bad decisions. Trident and illegal wars, Tax evasion £42Billion. £4Billion lost in Scotland. Brexit £Billions lost. HS2 & Hickley Point etc. £Billions wasted. Scotland has to pay for Westminster bureaucracy. £Billions. Scotland surplus in energy and nearer the source pays more. The list is endless. The Westminster waste. £Millionaires getting illegal access to public monies. Giving the Tories a cut. Total corruption. Starving people. .

  15. yesindyref2 says:

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/23276447.jeanette-findlay-lodges-complaint-tribunal-comments/

    Without making a specific comment about this instance about which I know nothing, there are still in this day and age Judges and Sheriffs in Scotland who are sexist and misogynistic – even towards the solicitors and advocates.

    It’s shocking that in 2023 this hasn’t been cleaned up.

  16. Ken says:

    The Prison Estate can more than accommodate 2 people. Too many people are in prison. The majority men,

    Women who cohabit (the majority) do not have equal rights. They do not get legal aid and are have to stay in abusive unhealthy places. Or lose the roof over their heads. Tge majority if women are abused in their own home by people that they know. They do not have equal rights and cannot get legal aid. Letting agencies illegally charge six months rent up front and deposit. That is why they cannot get away. Unequal rights, That needs changing,. Women do not get attacked in toilets. They get attacked in their own homes.

    Women get legal aid in England without losing their homes. The Law was recently changed. Legal aid has to be paid back in any case. Women are abused because they do not have equal rights, with other women or men.

  17. Dr Jim says:

    How will pensions work post independence? Well England will say they’ll not pay, then they’ll agree they will pay, then they decide to make a law after the event to say they won’t pay, the SG will take it to court and the new English law will say they made a law that says they won’t pay, the SG will threaten England with the withdrawal of something England needs, like electricity, then England will complain a lot and end up paying up their previously agreed international debt, with extreme prejudice and much English media complaint, public polls against paying accompanied by bitterness loathing and sarcasm about Scotland not having the money to pay UK owed pensions, because remember, we’re *benefitting* from the lowest pensions in Europe right now

    Sound about right?

  18. Any Jock Brit who dares to assert that my state pension will cease to be paid by the rUK is lying through their teeth. We all recall what prompted the YES side to demand clarity from DWP/Treasury following Archie MacPherson’s intimidating lie to a frail nonagenarian on her door step during the ’14 campaign.
    He towered over the frail old woman and threatened that if she voted YES her pension was in danger.
    Good old Erchie, darlin’ of the Fitba’ fraternity.
    what a great gtuy…not.
    My dearly missed brother had a UK pension and a Canadian pension…
    I paid in to a UK NI system, as did millions now retired to Spain, France, Canada New Zealand and Australia.
    I shall hound down any evil liar who attempts to terrify us old wrinklies with this evil lie.
    You may put your own interpretation on the phrase ‘hound down’.
    The poor old woman terrorised by MacPherson has in all likely passed now…disgusting.

    • Is the English government claiming it won’t, uniquely in the world, pay British passport holders their pensions in an indy Scotland again?

      That would certainly free up a lot of housing stock. Hell, 10% of our population is even English (born)! Maybe the threats against these from Westminster over their pensions is why so many English folk in Scotland are increasingly backing indy?

    • I lied about the old dearie’s age, of course. She was in her seventies.
      But his door step lies were met with outrage at the time.

      He was lying. He moaned that the woman’s pension was backed by 65 million UK citizens; under independence her pension would only be backed by 5 and half million Scots..how could we afford it? was his lie by omission
      Old Erchie was Douglas Alexander’s pet at the time.
      He appeared in a rally in Dundee at the time, reminding his audience of 1945 an the Labour transformation of society.
      New Labour destroyed the Labour Party in 1997, a fact which obviously escaped MacPherson.
      Dundee voted YES.
      He was, and is part of the Scotia Nostra Elite.
      That thousands of English born pensioners who had the good sense to retire to Scotland would lose their UK pensions was ridiculous, and MacPherson knew this.
      His job was to terrify pensioners into remaining serfs in England’s Golden Goose colony.
      There is a video somewher for all the Techs among you..

  19. It’s odd that Joanna Cherry talks about trans prisoner stats etc, but not about this.

    Doesn’t this mean we should eye her with suspicion over hetero women? Are lesbian women just ‘inherently more dangerous’? Maybe more ‘gatekeeping’ needed here for the loos at the local MacDonalds?

    https://archive.is/zUGxa

    ‘Overwhelming’ Number of Lesbians, Bisexual Women Incarcerated

    A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health includes startling findings about the overrepresentation of sexual minorities in prison.

    Or is it that, very troublingly, like ethnic minorities (black, Irish traveller…), bigotry / bias sees LGB folks more disadvantaged in life from the start, so more likely to end up on a path to crime, and/or more likely to be charged / imprisoned than their majority peers for exactly the same circumstances?

    (clue – the answer is of course yes)

    People playing with statistics in glass houses shouldn’t throw misleading stones around.

    Joanna, if you are reading this, just imagine the papers were full of stories like the above right now, but with these trying to imply lesbians were inherently a risk to our wives / children. How would you feel?

  20. yesindyref2 says:

    Page 43:

    Ensuring the pension system is fair, sustainable and protected for future generations.
    The State Pension is a pay-as-you-go system, where each generation of workers supports each generation of pensioners. The old age dependency ratio, which is a measure of the proportion of working age people to people over State Pension age, is projected to rise from 281 pensioners for every 1,000 people of working age in 2020 to 356 pensioners for every 1,000 people of working age by 2044. The 2014 Pensions Act requires government to review whether the rules determining the age at which State Pension is received are appropriate to ensure that the State Pension system remains sustainable, and affordable. A report must be published every six years. The last government Review was published in 2017. The gradual rise in State Pension age (SPa) to 66 will be complete by October 2020. Two further increases are in legislation:
    • from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028
    (Pensions Act, 2014)
    • from 67 to 68 between 2044 and 2046
    (Pensions Act, 2007

    and

    Around two-thirds of our benefit spending went to pensioners, with the State Pension, at £98.7 billion, accounting for more than half of all spending

    Click to access dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-2020.pdf

    As far as the basic state pension is concerned there is NO fund, it is paid for out of current consolidated taxation. Where additional payments have been made and funded, and for instance workplace pensions using the DWP, then and only there will there be a need for negotiations between Scotland and the rUK over the amount – and at that, probably part of the overall finances.

    As far as bank payments are concerned yes, the UK Gov will probably pay them during a transitional phase, but that bill will go to iScotland Gov.

    Seriously folks, do you really expect the rUK Gov and all its taxpayers to keep us in the custom we’d like to be stiled?

    For the basic UK State Pension, THERE IS NO FUND TO SHARE OUT.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      The State Pension is a pay-as-you-go system, where each generation of workers supports each generation of pensioners.

      The rUK is NOT going to pay our flaming pensions, no matter what some clerk at the DWP wrote years ago totally misunderstanding the question, even if he or she bothered reading it. It’s a flaming myth, and one which has the Unionists laugh laugh laugh all the way to another NO vote.

      • Then, why oh why, YIR2, are ‘we’ paying the pensions of ‘ex pats’ throughout the world right now?
        No one in their right mind is arguing that when we return to self determination that the ‘English’ government will renege its legal obligation to continue to pay may state pension. exclusively because I am Scottish.
        Are you seriously arguing this point?
        My contract was with the UK Government.
        I paid my dues.
        Are you really saying that English born retirees in Scotland would lose their UK pension?
        Really?
        Or is it because I had a go a fitba icon Macpherson?
        It is a nonsense to say that my pension is not from the UK, and shall continue to be honoured.
        What if I elect to retain a UK passport? Am I safe then?
        There are enough Project Fear and Alba eejits spouting this nonsense.
        Give it a rest.

  21. yesindyref2 says:

    Ex pats are still British Citizens, Jack, regardless of where they live, Spain, Australia, the moon, they’re still Brits.

    We as Scots might have dual nationality, but our primary nationality will be Scots. If we become expats in Spain or Mars, it’s the Scottish Government will continue to pay our state pension. same as if we stay here in Scotland.

    • My brother was a Canadian citizen. He received a UK pension based on his NI contributions earned during years working in Scotland before emigrating. As did dozens of his fellow Scots who were forced to leave our shores when England destoyed our industries from the ‘sixties onwards.

      In New Scotland, I can still opt to remain a ‘British citizen’.
      The CTA will extend to Scots, like the Irish, in New Scotland.
      You are just plainly and simply wrong.
      You know this of course; you’re just being a wee awkward pest.
      Next you’ll be saying that we don’t own 8.4% of the BoE assets. Or, that it’s not Scotland’s oil. Or that England can still keep their army navy and air force bases in Scotland whether we like it or not.
      What proportion of the £1683 trillion GVA buying power will transfer to New Scotland, YIR2?
      I sthis Alba’s official stance on pensions?
      Dun talkin’ about this.

      • yesindyref2 says:

        I’m completely right Jack, and you are absolutely wrong, wrong wrong. And one more, you’re WRONG.

        Blackford asserted the UK would pay and had to embarrass himself by admitting he got it wrong, wrong, wrong.

        Ivor McKee says it’s the Independent Scottish Government, anyone who has half a functioning brain cell says it’s the Scottish Government, the Scottish Government says it would be the Scottish Government, only gullible numskulls who do no research seriously think the English are going to work for the next 50 years, with 10% of ALL their taxes (NI, income, VAT, corporation …) going to us lucky Scots. Use your noddle!

        Google this and do some serious reading, it’s all there:

        scottish government independence who pays pensions

      • yesindyref2 says:

        Was there something you – or anyone – didn’t understand about this?

        The State Pension is a pay-as-you-go system, where each generation of workers supports each generation of pensioners.”

      • Capella says:

        Aren’t you both right? The UK is responsible for all the pensions already contracted. On independence, the Scottish Government will assume responsibility for all new pensions and the balance of the pensions for people already entitled to some UK pension. That’s my understanding.

    • Golfnut says:

      Your right of course yesindyref2 but only if Scotland is a joint continuing state. Succesor states inherit all liabilities. Remember pensions were used mercilessly to undermine the Yes movement
      by better together and UK gov did the usual smoke and mirrors ploy to keep people nervous, but the whole point of the Gallagher and Boyle legal opinion crap was to secure successor state status.
      They are playing games and it unfortunately has to be responded to at least until we find out how the SNP intend to take us out of the Union, then we might just be scaring the sh#t out of them.
      It’s not just expats, anyone who has worked in the UK and made NI contributions would receive a UK pension wherever they were If they had reached any of the required thresholds.

  22. As someone who works with risk assessment on a regular basis, I guess I didn’t think about your average person misunderstanding the concepts around this, not helped by those who seek to mislead them.

    Everyone should understand that individual risk – such as in the case of someone applying to work with children – is based on the individual, not the collective groups to which they belong. Statistics for the group very obviously do not represent the individual, and therefore cannot be used to gauge the risk the latter poses. Even if 60% of people of type X were criminals, the person applying may be from the other 40%, ergo posing zero risk. It doesn’t matter about the dangerous 60%, they don’t make individuals from the 40% more risky. This is before we get to probability and the fact that all the people applying could be from the safe 40% because the dangerous 60% are just not interested in that type of role. That or the 60% are exclusively over 30 and all applicants all happen to be under 29 or less. Or it could be, well, the bulk of the 60% are already in jail, so not applying! That’s where most of our repeat offenders are. This makes it particularly comical to quote incarceration numbers. These mean the number of dangerous people around is far less that they are as a % of the population! It’s why we put them there.

    All those sex offenders in jail mean they’re not applying for jobs in the met police. The number of sex offenders as a whole from prison stats does not equal the number walking around applying for things, quite obviously…

    In fact, assessment of risk in this way is not just statistically illiterate, it’s wholly illegal. It is the very definition of bigotry / prejudice to assign a risk to an individual based on group statistics.

    Saying or implying e.g. an individual man applying for a GRC presents more of a risk than an individual woman, while quoting relative incarceration rates as supporting evidence, not only shows someone ultimately doesn’t understand either statistics nor risk assessment, but is also breaking the law. It’s identical to e.g. suggesting a Muslim walking into the room must present more of a risk while waving around terrorism statistics.

    So be very wary of anyone doing this. They either have no idea what they are on about, or are, sadly, bigoted. Unfortunately we have both this and very dodgy statistics going around.

    I finish by note that GRCs do not give people any access to vulnerable people, nor do they let the holder into spaces they didn’t have legal access to previously. As a result, they are not based on criminal risk assessment. They are an individual medical assessment only currently. Which makes the ‘risk’ talk even more silly.

  23. Ken says:

    UK pensions in Scotland. The revenues are sent down to Westminster and then come back . From Scottish taxpayers monies. The pensions/benefits are pay from the monies sent to Westminster Treasury. Scotland raises £69Billioj. Get (approx)£30Billion back in the Block Grant. Some of the rest cones back in pensions/benefit payments. Approx £19Billion (ex Covid).£6Billion funded UK Gov pensions in Scotland. Total UK cost £78Billion. Scotland pension cost were £6Billion, (from Scottish funds) The rest of the UK was £72Billion. Higher pro rata because people in Scotland died sooner.

    The UK Gov might have to pay UK Gov civil servants pensions but it would taper off. Scotland would take over civil servants payments because they are working for the Scottish Gov. Ie they would collect NI pension contributions and take over pension payment rights. A transition. Forces pensions in Scotland would be pay out of the £4Billion Scotland already has to pay for (UK) Defence Bill. If pensions were raised the benefits bill would drop. Increased pensiobs would mean less need for benefits and the administration cost. UK pensions the lowest in Europe 1/4 of average income. Average income £30K. Healthier pensioners would mean less NHS funding. The majority of people are unwell in old age. Social care payment keeps people in their own homes. Cost effective. People are better off. .

  24. Ken says:

    Scotland already pays. (UK) Gov pensions/benefits in Scotland. From Scottish funds. Scottish revenues go down to Treasury and then come back. Scotland is responsible for (UK) Gov pensions in Scotland, An independent Scotland could raise pension payments and pay less in benefits. Rearrange the spending commitments. Westminster takes Scotland revenues and resources and makes spending decisions on Scottish funds. Decisions people in Scotland do not agree. No taxation without representation, Scotland outvoted 10 to 1.

  25. Ken says:

    The Barnett Formula. That is how it works, Westminster spends Scottish revenues and resources how it like. Except the Devolution decisions limited by insufficient powers.

    Brexit has cost Scotland £Billions. Monies which could have been spent raising pension payments in Scotland. Scotland has to pay for HS2, Hickley Point, Westminster bureaucracy HoL, Royals,illegal wars, financial fraud, tax evasion. All of which could be used in other ways in Scotland. Higher pensions, investment in infrastructure, investment in growth. Instead of being spent on projects etc, from which, Scotland does not benefit. Fuel and energy could be cheaper in Scotland. Scotland in surplus and nearer the source pays more. A tax on Scotland which limits growth, unfair and unequal,

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