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10 May 2015


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Medicine Man

Col.: Politically speaking, there are certainly some parallels to be drawn between Quebec and Scotland. The Quebecois have formed the backbone of opposition to Harper's party in recent years and in general their particularist tendencies provide a reliable foil to federal overreach. Were they to depart, they would leave the rest of us to the tender mercies of whatever hair-brained scheme the Liberals and Conservatives embrace. I'm not sure separatism is in the air at the moment however. The Bloc Quebecois was demolished in Quebec last election in favor of the NDP. When given a viable left of center party to vote for that wasn't the Liberals, they switched en masse, to the surprise of many.

I do wonder what you're talking about regarding Protestanism. A great many of us Anglos are also Catholic.



"I do wonder what you're talking about regarding Protestanism. A great many of us Anglos are also Catholic." I am speaking of Canada in the 18th and 19th Centuries. pl

Norbert M Salamon

With respect Colonel, IMHO if England leaves the EU, the repercussions on the London financial district will be earth shattering.



That doesn't mean it could not happen. People vote, not banks. BTW, I am still waiting for the economic collapse of the US that you have been predicting for years. pl

The Beaver


Just have to watch out for PKP !
The Bloc Québécois is dead at the Federal level but not the Parti Québécois and having a so-called businessman (though he just inherited from daddy) at the helm, will get all those voters from Hérouxville to the Saguenay. That's what is scary

Nuevo Lorenz

The above threat of economic collapse that Establishment England foisted on the world during the YES/NO referendum is now totally irrelevant as Scotland has repudiated Great Britain for all practical purposes. I note you said if "England" leaves the EU. That is preciously the argument that the Scots are making, it's not a United Kingdom it's England and three secondary territories with marginal say in their own governing. The BBC stereotype of backward Scotland is over and if you care to listen Nicola Sturgeon and the newest SNP heroine Mhairi Black speak Scots not London English, it's right there on YouTube if you doubt me. Don't look for the SNP to support any English adventures in the Middle East and finally I am reasonably assured that as my friends and relatives in Scotland would say they don't give a *ook (rhymes with spook) about the London Financial District.

C Webb

The general feeling seems to be wait and see what happens next.

Cameron: There will not be another Scotland referendum

"But time, and steadily hardening Scottish self-confidence are on the SNP’s side. By 2017, opinion may have radicalised still further. Then a head-on collision over Europe might see those 56 men and women leave the green benches, head back to Edinburgh, and proclaim a sovereign Scotland under the Saltire. "

Plan will be to be consolidate and prepare.


No, it wouldn't.


Yeah, but doesn't the Parti Québécois want the rest of Canada to pay for them after they secede? That ain't gonna' happen.


The only way we'll get an "economic collapse" is if they puT a Balanced Budget Amendment into the Constitution.



"... but doesn't the Parti Québécois want the rest of Canada to pay for them after they secede?" Some basis for that other than nastiness? pl

The Beaver


My point was : It is not the Bloc Québecois that will be responsible for separation but , at the provincial level, if and when there is a Parti Québécois' leader whose main aim is having yet another referendum on that subject. That's why the last leader did not even get elected during the last provincial election once she brought in Pierre Karl Péladeau and his first political cry for running was for a sovereign Québec.


You want a stunning election result? Alberta just tossed out the Progressive Conservatives and voted in the NDP last week. Imagine your surprise if Texas decided that the best people to run the state was the city council of San Francisco. That's how surprised Canada is right now.

Anyhow - implications for (1) keystone pipeline - Obama won't have to spike it, Alberta will likely do it for him (2) all the majors in the oil sands (3) Northern Gateway pipeline and (4) oil in Canada in general.


Tidewater comments on Scottish reasoning to All,

Some time back I did a quick workup on the possibilities of finding more oil and gas off of Scotland. Please let me make an essai--I like the word-- without that work at hand. I think it has to do with Scottish confidence that Scotland can go it alone. I am hastily ripping this out of sources like Rosalind Griffith, Shetland Times, September 17, 2013, and others. (This is, in part, from an interview with the Danish company, Dong Energy, chairman Brent Cheshire.) [Brent?] "The Laggan and Tormore fields are the future of the UK oil and gas industry." These particular fields are 125 kilometers north-west of Shetland. The water depth is 600 meters.(They can now work at these depths.) There is a belief that 17-20 percent of UK oil and gas is "locked" in the west of Scotland. The Shetland Gas Plant (SGP) is a 3.3 billion pound project. Cheshire said that that SGP will "unlock" the "gas cluster" in this area with Laggan-Tormore as a hub." Now I don't know what the 17-20 per cent estimate amounts to. But that's not entirely relevant in the larger scheme when you talking about such a large area potentially opening up, besides Laggan and Tormore. I mean the bottom area between the Faroes and the Shetlands.

The general sense I have is that there is a general skepticism abroad that the North Sea fields can last much longer, maybe five or six years, because they are pumped out. This is contradicted by oil profs like Alex Kemp and Sir Ian Woods. It's true that over the last forty years Britain's oil fields have pumped out 42 billion barrels of oil equivalent, and about twenty percent has flowed through Scotland, piped in to BP's Sullom Voe, which is on the Shetlands. This is one of Europe's biggest oil terminals, and it is not a refinery. Some experts say that Clair fields have considerable life left in them. The term "Brent" represents that part of the 67 per cent of North Sea oil fields that Scotland owns that lies in the eastern part of Scottish waters. Until deepwater technology improved--and it has improved amazingly--the deep water UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) to the WEST was relatively unexplored. Now it is starting to happen. Billions are being invested in UKCS exploration. And this does not even include what is going on off the Faroes. What I am saying is that the geology looks good. There's too much going on not for something big to be happening. There are too many oil companies involved. There is too much money. This is not tulip-mania.

So what I think is that in Scotland there is reasoned expectation that one of the biggest oil and natural gas discoveries ever made is going to be discovered soon in the UKCS, or western Faroes waters, or both. Scotland, the Shetlands, the Faroes, Denmark, maybe Norway, or all of them, are going to be sitting on a trillion dollars worth of energy. This optimistic vision drives the independence movement.

David Habakkuk

Nuevo Lorenz,

You refer to 'three secondary territories with marginal say in their own governing.'

If you consult the list of powers devolved to the Scottish Assembly, you will find: agriculture, forestry and fisheries, education and training, environment, health and social services, housing, law and order, local government, sport and the arts, tourism and economic development, many aspects of transport.

(See http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/visitandlearn/12506.aspx .)

All these matters are decided by the Scottish Assembly in Scotland.

In England, they are decided by a Parliament in which Scottish and Welsh MPs have full voting rights. It was the prospect of MPs elected by a mere 1.5 million Scots voters shaping key aspects of policy – like education, health and housing – in England in a coalition with Labour that is likely to have been a major factor in swinging opinion south of the Border behind the Tories.

Education provides a good illustration of the reasons why this situation causes ill feeling in England. Tuition fees for universities are a major financial burden for many English families, and are charged in full to English students in Scottish universities.

However, no tuition fees are charged in Scottish universities, not only to Scots but to students from other EU countries – the son of old friends of ours from Vienna is getting a free university education in Scotland.

David Habakkuk


'Scotland has grown increasingly impatient at the foibles of Westminster, more confident as a nation and society, and more assertive and calm in wanting more self-government.'

This assessment by the 'Irish Times' may be correct, but it may also – like parallel assessments of Ukraine – be in part an instance of the common fallacy that 'nations' are a kind of 'collective individual', with a 'general will' – rather than groups of individuals, with some common consciousness, but also divided both among and within themselves.

A key feature of the last election was that the SNP got 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland, on the basis of 50% of the vote. The 24.3% of the Scottish electorate who voted Labour, the 14.9% who vote Tory, and the 7.5% who voted LibDem are each represented by a single MP.

From another point of view, it was precisely the prospect that a vote for Labour would mean fewer than 1.5 million Scottish voters calling the tune on internal English affairs which, in my view, does much to explain the unexpected Tory victory.

As regards England, another interesting result of the electoral system was that UKIP, with almost 3.9 million votes – comfortably more than twice those of the SNP – has a single MP. So in the new parliament, each SNP MP will represent, on average, just under 26,000 Scots; the single UKIP member not far short of 4 million English people.

None of this changes the fact that the dynamics leading to Scottish independence are now very strong, with Scottish nationalism and English feeding off each other. And this is particularly so as both Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon produce a reaction of visceral dislike among a good few people in England. But then they also do among some Scots.


"... be in part an instance of the common fallacy that 'nations' are a kind of 'collective individual', with a 'general will' – rather than groups of individuals, with some common consciousness, but also divided both among and within themselves"

Well put. Thanks David.


PL wrote: "Actually, what IS the point of UK membership in the EU? Without participation in a common currency, what is the point?"

Even without Euro as currency an access to EU market gives certain advantages, otherwise neither Switzerland nor Norway, both are not members of the EU or use the Euro as currency, would pay an quite high economic and political price for this access.

So the minimum solution would be for UK to try to emulate these both countries. (I do not believe that UK would get the same good deal, but this is only a personal opinion).

The other aspect is, that the EU has a political momentum and here a "if you cant prevent a development, try to lead" would be one good reason to stay in the EU.

However, if the UK government believes, that the political influence of the EU is not a factor, then leaving is of course an option. OTOH staying in the EU and using the EU mainly for purely domestic political purpose is not very intelligent IMHO.


Off-topic, but I wanted to draw your attention to Seymour Hersh's article:
on the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Any insight, comments?

ex-PFC Chuck

Is data available as to what percentage of the popular vote the Tories got in each of the four entities that make up the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)? Raul Ilargi Meijer has a post up in which he suggests that many people in the three outlying entities won't accept a referendum vote to back away from the EU unless a majority in each entity supports it. He further predicts that one of the first fights Cameron faces will be whether the referendum is framed in such a way as to determine this.


Off topic, but the Lodnon Review of Books just published a piece by Seymour Hersch that alleges the U.S. Government lied about key aspects of the Bin Laden raid. This should generate a lot of discussion- esp from the intel community.



I haven't seen it mentioned here (and if it was, apologies), but it should be noted that part of what is responsible for the SNP winning so handily is that they went to the LEFT of Labour, which is kind of impressive in and of itself when you remember that Milliband was talking about instituting literal thoughtcrime laws against "Islamophobia" badthink.

Looking at the SNP's platform, I'd say they're less nationalist and much much much more socialist, wanting to invite the world to come in and soak up gimmedats and use the North Sea oil to fund everyone's Irn-Bru and fried Mars bars.

Maybe the Scots get a lot of mileage outta playing up the romantic highlander/border reaver angle, but it seems like everyone worth a damn left ages ago.

Medicine Man

Well, yes, Alberta did push the PC party out of power -- they are now the third party in the province -- but no, the NDP being in charge in Alberta doesn't mean any of the above are going to happen.

The NDP in Alberta is somewhat different from the party at a Federal level. They are in general supportive of resource extraction, as any party in Alberta has to be, but are talking about giving up on plans that are likely dead in the water, such as the Northern Gateway pipeline (there is almost no public support for the project in BC).

Alberta didn't oust the Progressive Conservatives because they all suddenly became Liberals. The PC party's focus on oil extraction has led the province into financial difficulties as a consequence of current low oil prices globally. The shrinking payoff from oil fracking coupled with its obvious consequences on traditional Albertan industry (ie. ranching) via land and water usage has left the PC party looking shortsighted and left votes, even pretty conservative ones, pretty fed up.


Sure. But it's not nastiness. Beaver said, "The Bloc Québécois is dead at the Federal level." And that's what killed it.

Slowly, over the years the federal government in Ottawa has been replicated in Hull, just over the river. Meaning in terms of buildings, and infrastructure. Canadians didn't have a problem with it until they discovered that those government buildings were to be the seat of the new Quebec national government, again, no problem with that, but then it came out that Quebec expected the rest of Canada to finance Quebec AFTER it became a separate nation: welfare, healthcare, education, roadways, Quebec national infrastructure, transfer payments, everything except governance.

And that's when the rest of Canada put their foot down. I don't remember if a law was passed, or it was simply public uproar, but les Québécois, the populace, caught on fast. They had been told something else, or had at least assumed it. The rest of Canada let them know: it. was. not. going. to. happen. They could continue to sell their hydroelectric to NYS to survive, but they weren’t going to get a dime from Canadian taxpayers.

I lived in Montreal during the first effort to secede decades ago—I was young, in between degrees, Montreal was party-central for North America--and every night during the election cycle some breathless volunteer would knock on my door before I went out to enumerate the value of seceding. (I speak French and I speak joual.) Tales straight out of Mother Goose. La-la-land stuff. I have no clue what they were being told, but it was truly off the wall. I came back to the US and didn’t follow it much, but an aunt I had in the Ottawa government who kept me apprised.



"Quebec expected the rest of Canada to finance Quebec AFTER it became a separate nation: welfare, healthcare, education, roadways, Quebec national infrastructure, transfer payments, everything except governance." Do you have any proof for the assertion that the French in Quebec intended to freeload on the rest of Canada after independence? Like little children, eh? You were in Montreal at McGill? Now, there is a place friendly to the French! pl

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