Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Text of Theresa May’s statement, Reactions

 

Britain’s Primer Minister Theresa May addresses the country after Britain’s election at Downing Street in London, Britain June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

June 9, 2017

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May made the following statement in Downing Street on Friday after she lost her majority in a national election:

I have just been to see Her Majesty, the Queen and I will now form a government. A government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.

This government will guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks that begin in just 10 days and to deliver on the will of the British people by taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

It will work to keep our nation safe and secure by delivering the change that I set out following the appalling attacks in Manchester and London.

Cracking down on the ideology of Islamist extremism and all those who support it. And giving the police and the authorities the powers they need to keep our country safe.

The government I lead will put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do. So that we will fulfil the promise of Brexit together and over the next five years build a country in which no one, and no community, is left behind.

A country in which prosperity and opportunity are shared right across this United Kingdom.

What the country needs more than ever is certainty. Having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist party has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons.

As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular. Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.

This will allow us to come together as a country and channel our energies towards a successful Brexit deal that works for everyone in this country, securing a new partnership with the EU which guarantees our long term prosperity.

That’s what people voted for last June, that’s what we will deliver, now let’s get to work.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Comments from Conservative party members:

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives on Number 10 Downing Street on the morning after Britain’s election in London, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority on Friday after a surprisingly poor election performance, throwing her future into doubt.

Below are comments from members of May’s Conservative Party on her position:

JACOB REES-MOGG, EUROSCEPTIC LAWMAKER

“I think Mrs May will have a good deal of support. She’s only been the leader for under a year, she got it without any opposition, an uncontested election with support up and down the country. I don’t think the Conservative Party is so fickle, or such a fair-weather friend as it would not continue to back the prime minister.”

ANNA SOUBRY, PRO-EUROPEAN LAWMAKER

“She’s in a very difficult place, she’s a remarkable and a very talented woman and she doesn’t shy from difficult decisions, but she now has to obviously consider her position.”

“Theresa did put her mark on this campaign, she takes responsibility as she always does, and I know she will, for the running of the campaign. It was tightly knit group, and it was her group that ran this campaign.”

“I’m afraid we ran a pretty dreadful campaign, that’s probably me being generous.”

“The change of heart on social care … it did not make her look the strong and stable prime minister and leader that she had said that she was. That was a very difficult and very serious blow in terms of her own credibility.”

IAIN DUNCAN SMITH, FORMER CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER

“I just want some stability. She is prime minister, she remains prime minister and the country has to come first.”

ED VAIZEY, FORMER CULTURE MINISTER

“I think she can hold on … going into a hung parliament, to lose our prime minister would be disastrous.”

“If she wants to stay on as leader I would support her.”

JOHN REDWOOD, EUROSCEPTIC LAWMAKER

“A very very strong mandate for our prime minister, and of course it should be the leader with the most seats in the House of Commons who can win the necessary votes, and Theresa May is in that position today.”

NICKY MORGAN, FORMER EDUCATION MINISTER

“Theresa May is obviously a competent, more than capable prime minister… but clearly there has been a misjudgement.”

“There are two things: having a government prepared to negotiate Brexit, which I think is what most people in this country now agree needs to happen, and what’s going to happen to the Conservative party, which is for us to deal with.”

(Reporting by William James, Georgina Prodhan and Paul Sandle, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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Trade experts on the election result, Brexit:

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) – Britain’s new government would be well advised to ask for more time to negotiate Brexit, trade experts said on Friday, as Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid to strengthen her bargaining position through a quick election victory fell flat.

Top trade lawyers at a conference in Geneva struggled to digest the election chaos, but said the vast amount of negotiating and the practical job of implementing a trade deal could not be done by the March, 2019 deadline.

“Listening to all of this, the one thing that I am speculating on as I hear it all is the desperate need, I feel, to buy time,” said Jennifer Hillman, formerly an appeals judge at the World Trade Organization and legal counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative.

May’s parliamentary majority was wiped out in a snap election she had called to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks, throwing Britain into political turmoil.

“It strikes me there’s no way, no way at all, that this can be done in the two-year time frame, even leaving aside the outcome of the elections,” Hillman said, citing Britain’s lack of experienced negotiators and regulators as part of the problem.

Veteran trade litigator Gary Horlick said every question about Brexit generated 10 more, and the need to replace thousands of existing agreements threw up vast practical and logistical issues, some of them relatively trivial.

“Transition is quite possible but someone has to check every single thing,” he told the conference, held by the Geneva Graduate Institute and Georgetown University Law Center.

“It’s really made for the KPMGs and PriceWaterHouses of the world.

“To illustrate the complexity… there is a British-French-Irish agreement on the free transit of race horses. If you have a race horse this is no small item. The race horse cannot be stuck in customs, believe me, these are very valuable animals.”

Holger Hestermeyer, an international dispute resolution expert at King’s College London who has advised a committee of Britain’s House of Lords on Brexit, said May had been wrong to think she needed a big majority in parliament to negotiate with the EU, and now faced a “very, very tough” situation.

“More time is needed,” he said.

“The two years is the transition period. If we would now have a transition period industry could rely on that. But they already have to plan for the worst-case scenario. That time frame is just not enough. I thing prolonging it is possible.

“I just see anyone in the UK having a hard time asking because there seems to be some hesitancy to be regarded as critical of Brexit.”

Isabelle Van Damme, a trade lawyer at Van Bael & Bellis who previously worked in chambers at the European Court of Justice, agreed.

“I think an extension is absolutely needed but it needs to be asked now and I don’t think there is political capital to do that right now in the United Kingdom,” she said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Related stories:

British Election Brings Mayhem, by Jonathan Manthorpe   Analysis

British voters have shown Prime Minister Theresa May the door. The implications of this drubbing for the Conservative government are profound, for May as Prime Minister,  but with much deeper implications for Britain.

UK Election a Debacle, Brexit Looms, by David Milliken and Kate Holton   Report

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would lead a minority government backed by a small Northern Irish party after she lost an election gamble days before the start of talks on Britain’s departure from the European Union.

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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UK Election a Debacle, Brexit Looms

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By David Milliken and Kate Holton 
June 9, 2017

Britain’s Primer Minister Theresa May addresses the country after Britain’s election at Downing Street in London, Britain June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would lead a minority government backed by a small Northern Irish party after she lost an election gamble days before the start of talks on Britain’s departure from the European Union.

May called the snap election confident her Conservative Party would increase its majority and strengthen her hand in the Brexit talks. Instead, Thursday’s vote damaged her authority and made her negotiating position more vulnerable to criticism.

“I’m sorry for all those candidates and hard working party workers who weren’t successful,” May said on Friday after a surprise resurgence by the main opposition Labour Party under its leftwing leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“As I reflect on the results I will reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward.”

With 649 of 650 seats declared, the Conservatives had won 318 seats, the Labour Party had 261 seats, followed by the pro-independence Scottish National Party on 34.

May now risks more opposition to her Brexit plans from inside and outside her party, though a party source said the leading the Conservatives was seen as too much of a poisoned chalice for her to face an immediate challenge.

“She’s staying, for now,” the source told Reuters.

Just after noon, May was driven the short distance from her official Downing Street residence to Buckingham Palace to ask Queen Elizabeth for permission to form a government – a formality under the British system.

Her office said later that the key finance, foreign, Brexit, interior and defence ministers would remain unchanged. Further announcements were expected on Saturday.

The socially conservative, pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 seats are enough to give the right-wing Conservatives a fragile but workable majority, which May said would allow her to negotiate a successful exit from the EU.

“Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom,” May said.

The pound hit an eight-week low against the dollar and its lowest levels in seven months versus the euro before recovering slightly after May said she would form a government backed by her “friends” in the DUP. <GBP=D3> <EURGBP=D3>

BREXIT TIMELINE

However, DUP leader Arlene Foster’s initial comments were non-committal: “The prime minister has spoken with me this morning and we will enter discussions with the Conservatives to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge.”

It was not immediately clear what the DUP’s demands might be and one DUP lawmaker suggested support might come vote by vote.

British business, already struggling with the uncertainties of the two-year Brexit negotiating process, urged party leaders to work together.

“The last thing business leaders need is a parliament in paralysis, and the consequences for British businesses and for the UK as an investment destination would be severe,” said Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors business lobby.

May said Brexit talks would begin on June 19 as scheduled, though the election result meant it was unclear whether her plan to take Britain out of the bloc’s single market and customs union could still be pursued.

EU leaders expressed fears that May’s shock loss of her majority would raise the risk of negotiations failing.

“Do your best to avoid a ‘no deal’ as result of ‘no negotiations’,” Donald Tusk, leader of the EU’s ruling council, wrote in a tweet.

NEGOTIATION RISKS

“We need a government that can act,” EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “With a weak negotiating partner, there’s a danger that the (Brexit) negotiations will turn out badly for both sides.”

There was little sympathy for May from some Europeans.

“Yet another own goal, after Cameron now May, will make already complex negotiations even more complicated,” tweeted Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian premier who is the European Parliament’s point man for the Brexit process.

May’s predecessor David Cameron sought to silence eurosceptic fellow Conservatives by calling the referendum on EU membership, expecting Britons to vote to remain. The result ended his career and shocked Europe.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said the election outcome could mean a less radical split between Britain and the EU.

Ruth Davidson, leader of Conservatives in Scotland, where the party did well, said the results showed that the Conservatives should prioritise good trade relations with the European Union.

“We must in my view seek to deliver an open Brexit, not a closed one, which puts our country’s economic growth first,” Davidson said. Other Conservatives have emphasised the importance of migration controls, something the EU says is incompatible with open trade.

RESURGENT LABOUR

Labour’s Corbyn, revelling in a storming campaign trail performance after pundits had pronounced his Labour Party all but dead, said May should step down and that he wanted to form a minority government.

“The mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence,” he said. “I would have thought that’s enough to go, actually, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all of the people of this country.”

May unexpectedly called the snap election seven weeks ago, three years early, polls predicting she would massively increase the slim majority she had inherited from Cameron.

Her campaign unravelled after a policy U-turn on care for the elderly, while Corbyn’s old-school socialist platform and more impassioned campaigning style won wider support than anyone had foreseen, notably from young voters, say analysts.

Late in the campaign, Britain was hit by two Islamist militant attacks that killed 30 people in Manchester and London, temporarily shifting the focus onto security issues.

That did not help May, who had overseen cuts in police numbers during six years in her previous job as interior minister.

Copyright Reuters 2017

(Additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Elizabeth Piper, William Schomberg, Andy Bruce, Kylie MacLellan, Costas Pitas, William James and Michael Urquhart in London, Elisabeth O’Leary in Edinburgh, Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Writing by Angus MacSwan and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Related stories:

British Election Brings Mayhem, by Jonathan Manthorpe   Analysis

British voters have shown Prime Minister Theresa May the door. The implications of this drubbing for the Conservative government are profound, for May as Prime Minister,  but with much deeper implications for Britain.

Text of Theresa May’s statement, Reactions   Fact Box

Prime Minister Theresa May made the following statement in Downing Street on Friday after she lost her majority in a national election…

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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British Election Brings Mayhem

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives on Number 10 Downing Street on the morning after Britain’s election in London, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

JONATHAN MANTHORPE: International Affairs
June 9, 2017

British voters have shown Prime Minister Theresa May the door.

Her gamble to call an early election in the expectation of strengthening her Conservative majority in parliament – and thus her clout in upcoming negotiations on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union – failed dramatically.

When the final votes were tallied in the dawn hours of Friday morning the Tories were reduced to a minority of 319 seats in the 650-seat house. May said on Friday she will seek to continue in government, probably with the support of the 10 elected members of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, traditional allies of the Tories.

The implications of this drubbing for the Conservative government are profound. For May herself, the writing is on the wall. If she does not choose to quit the party leadership and premiership herself, it is a matter of months at the most before the Tory caucus settles on a slate of candidates to supplant her.

For Britain, the results have much deeper implications. The Westminster government is due to start talks in 10 days time with Brussels on the terms of departure from the EU. Key issues are how much Britain is forced to repay the EU in exit fees, what transitional arrangements will be put in place during the two to three years of the exit process, and what, if any, agreements can be reached on future free-trade arrangements.

The election result has weakened dramatically the bargaining position of the British negotiators. Whether the process can keep to the envisaged two-to-three year exit time table and how painful the extraction is now heavily dependant on the generosity, if any is on offer, of the remaining 27 EU members.

Theresa May called the election saying she needed a “strong and stable” majority in parliament with which to confront Brussels. The reality was that she and her advisers saw the Tories had about a 20 point lead in the polls over the main opposition Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn. He, with his unreconstructed left-wing views and apparent lack of anything approaching charisma, was widely dismissed as “unelectable.”

May, much to the chagrin of many Tories, called an unnecessary snap election, and she has paid the price.

Corbyn proved to be an effective campaigner, especially among young voters. Labour produced a manifesto that spoke to widespread disenchantment among voters at the grinding austerity measures pursued by successive Conservative governments.

There was also a common determination among people who voted in last year’s referendum against leaving the EU. In that vote, 52 per cent voted to leave and 48 per cent remain. Among those remainers is widespread belief and anger that they have been forgotten as the exit process starts. They are upset that Theresa May has opted for a so-called “hard Brexit.” This appears to mean no attempts would be made to forge agreements with Brussels on such things as migration, easy movement of labour and free trade before Britain leaves. In tandem with that is anger that the May government has been secretive about its plans and details of the current talks with Brussels.

If the Conservatives hang on to government, the whole atmosphere around the dealings with Brussels will change. The Labour Party is going to have much more influence on the process, simply because of its added authority in the House of Commons. This is likely to result in much more open debate about the negotiations and negotiating positions as they go along.

The election was clearly a referendum on Theresa May’s leadership, but it was also a reaction to last year’s “Brexit” referendum.

Both the Conservatives and Labour picked up notably larger numbers of votes than they did in the last general election in 2015. But Labour picked up many more than the Tories, and this translated into 26 more seats. A major factor in both parties’ growth in support was the virtual disappearance of the United Kingdom Independence Party, whose highly effective campaigning against the EU spooked former Tory prime minister David Cameron to call the referendum last year.

It had been expected that the Tories would gain most from the disappearance of Ukip. However, in Britain’s rust belt, the ravaged old industrial areas of the Midlands and northern England, many traditional Labour voters opted for Brexit in the referendum, believing that free immigration under the EU had robbed them of their jobs. With Ukip gone, these people returned to the traditional Labour Party loyalty.

Also, many young people who neglected to vote in the referendum and who felt cheated out of their future by the decision to leave the EU, came out to vote this time. They seem to have gone mainly for Labour.

A notable sidebar to the election was the near collapse of the Scottish National Party. It lost 21 seats, with the Conservatives picking up 12, Labour six and the Liberal Democrats three. In the referendum Scotland voted heavily to remain in the EU, and the victory for Brexit led SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to demand another vote on Scottish independence. With this result, the prospects of another independence referendum for Scotland have disappeared, for the moment.

The Conservatives now have a major problem picking likely candidates to succeed Theresa May. Several high-profile ministers lost their seats in Thursday’s election and there are thus four names on the slate at the moment.

There’s the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who performed well in the campaign, particularly in TV debates. David Davis, the minister responsible for negotiating Brexit, is another. Then there’s the Defence Minister Michael Fallon, who is a smooth performer, but perhaps a bit too smooth. Finally, there is Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who campaigned for Brexit, and who could probably have won the leadership in the wake of Cameron’s resignation last year had he stood.

Far from bringing stability and certainty to the British political scene and the Brexit process, this election has produced massive uncertainty. Not least of those questions is who will be Prime Minister in a few weeks or months time.

Copyright Jonathan Manthorpe 2017

Contact Jonathan Manthorpe, including for queries about syndication/republishing: jonathan.manthorpe@gmail.com

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, and Labour Party candidate Emily Thornberry gesture at a counting centre for Britain’s general election in London, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Related stories:

UK Election a Debacle, Brexit Looms, by David Milliken and Kate Holton   Report

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would lead a minority government backed by a small Northern Irish party after she lost an election gamble days before the start of talks on Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Text of Theresa May’s statement, Reactions   Fact Box

Prime Minister Theresa May made the following statement in Downing Street on Friday after she lost her majority in a national election…

Jonathan Manthorpe is the author of “Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan.” Return to his column page.

 

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Manthorpe B&WJonathan Manthorpe is a founding columnist with Facts and Opinions and is the author of the journal’s International Affairs column. He is the author of “Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan,” and has been a foreign correspondent and international affairs columnist for nearly 40 years. Manthorpe’s  nomadic career began in the late 1970s as European Bureau Chief for The Toronto Star, the job that took Ernest Hemingway to Europe in the 1920s. In the mid-1980s Manthorpe became European Correspondent for Southam News. In the following years Manthorpe was sent by Southam News, the internal news agency for Canada’s largest group of metropolitan daily newspapers, to be the correspondent in Africa and then Asia. Between postings Manthorpe spent a few years based in Ottawa focusing on intelligence and military affairs, and the United Nations. Since 1998 Manthorpe has been based in Vancouver, but has travelled frequently on assignment to Asia, Europe and Latin America.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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Which Brexit forecast is trustworthy?

By Nauro Campos, Brunel University London 
May 28, 2016

It seems that not a day goes by without another Brexit economic forecast – whether it is one from the Treasury, the OECD or Economists for Brexit. Some say it will cost Britain to leave; others say it will be beneficial to the UK economy.

If a report favours remain, the leave side is quick to criticise it as fear mongering and politically motivated. If it favours Brexit, the remain side is fast to tarnish it as unscientific and politically motivated. So who should we trust? Can we trust any of them at all?

Most of the forecasts estimate what UK income levels would be in 2020 and in 2030. For the sake of comparison, there are three main types of forecasts and we can refer to them by their average headline effects: plus 4%, zero effect and minus 7%.

At one extreme, Economists for Brexit predict that the main economic consequence of Brexit is that UK incomes in 2030 will be about 4% higher.

In the middle, there are various studies that suggest that UK incomes by 2030 will be will be unaffected. In this light, Brexit and/or the UK membership in the EU is pretty much immaterial.

At the other end, various studies (including the Treasury, the LSE, the OECD, and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research reports) indicate substantial losses to the UK economy, of about 7% by 2030.

To be more precise, the Treasury, LSE, OECD and National Institute predict short-term income losses of about 3.6%, 2.6%, 3.3% and 2.3%, respectively, and long-term losses of about 6.2%, 7.5%, 5.1% and 7.8% respectively. The Bank of England and the IMF have spoken about the potential costs of Brexit but have not presented forecasts.

Mind that such apparently small figures can be misleading: as Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman notes in this context “2% is a lot”. Plus, these latter group of estimates are also in line with the net benefits the UK historically enjoyed from its membership in the EU which are estimated to be around 8.6% in its first ten years.

Transparency and grounding

So what is the essential difference between all these forecasts? Clearly, there is only one that predicts a positive effect. In the middle ground there are a number of slightly older studies mostly authored by think tanks. Supporting the view that Brexit would entail substantial economic losses, there are quite a few studies.

These forecasts differ in two fundamental ways. They differ in the transparency of their method and the grounding of their key assumptions.

To trust a forecast, it is necessary to know how it is made. If estimates cannot be replicated and if you do not know how to arrive at a certain figure, you have far less reason to trust it. It can be an imaginary or subjective number that an “expert” or a politician likes to think is a good approximation to the future.

It is abundantly clear that studies in the “minus 7%” group are superior to the others in this regard. They provide extensive details of how their figures are arrived at so that, everything else being the same, one can trust them more.

Reasonable assumptions

The second factor that helps make a forecast more trustworthy is the quality of the assumptions it uses. Are these realistic? Are the numbers being used as inputs into the modelling confirmed by previous research? Do they fall within what most people believe is a reasonable range of values?

The three groups of forecasts vary significantly in this regard and a most illustrative example is how the costs of regulation and EU membership are treated. The “minus 7%” group often assumes these to be very small. The “zero effect” studies tend to set the costs of regulation at about the same size of the benefits from EU integration, such that they cancel each other out. This yields a small range of values and may look balanced and serious, but when you consider that these figures do not often come with methodological details, you better be suspicious.

The “plus 4%” study uses costs of regulation that are absurdly large, of the order of 6% of the UK’s GDP. The problem is, in the real world, these figures are much smaller – less than a sixth of this is a self-professed “conservative” estimate of Economists for Brexit. Clearly, the larger the costs assigned to EU regulation, the better the Brexit option looks. But this is not grounded in the bulk of research and how they arrive at these large costs is unclear. So this lack of transparency impedes proper judgement of the quality of this assumption.

Argument won

Predicting the future of human actions (and interactions and expectations) is not easy. The leave campaign likes to single out the forecasts made at the time the UK was considering joining the euro. What is seldom mentioned is that nobody at the time of the eurozone’s formation expected those within the monetary union to allow large chunks of their currency trade to take place outside of the eurozone. Thanks to a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the UK’s membership of the EU is a key reason why euro clearing houses remain in the UK.

The verdict from forecasts that use reasonable assumptions and are transparent about their methodologies is clear: Brexit will make the UK permanently poorer. They draw on lessons from history – including the benefits brought in 1973 when the UK joined the EU – and use the available information to conclude that the expected economic losses from Brexit will be indeed substantial.

But, though the economic argument has been won, this does not mean it will be heeded. The debate is clearly moving on to issues of sovereignty and migration, and, if the past is any guide, is likely to become rather more unpleasant.

Creative CommonsThe Conversation

Nauro Campos is a Professor of Economics and Finance, Brunel University LondonThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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Scotland Decided: what the experts say

In its independence referendum, Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom by 55 versus 45 per cent. An expert panel looks at what happened, and where it leaves the UK and Scotland.

 

Thistle. © Deborah Jones 2014

Scottish thistle. © Deborah Jones 2014

Neil Blain, Professor of Communications, University of Stirling

The main problem was the currency. The doubt over the currency led to doubt about quite a few other things that were connected with it. One of the things it’s done is persuaded a lot of people that we are inextricably entangled with the union and can’t do without it.

But I do think it’s remarkable that Yes polled 45%, given the onslaught, particularly from a media that was almost entirely hostile and given the offer of more powers at the last minute.

If further powers for Edinburgh now become entangled with the question of devolution for England, the debate could go on until 2050. It’s important that Scottish politicians try to preserve the separate argument here, though if I’m hearing David Cameron correctly that’s going to be difficult. Whatever the make-up of the next Westminster parliament, I don’t see how it can be bound by any pledges which are made just now.

One of the signals I would be looking for in the next day or two is where the press stands. The Scottish media may get behind the pledges in a similar way to what happened in the 1990s. But at my more pessimistic, I still think we could be heading for the long grass. I would love to believe that nothing will be the same again, but another part of me says, “in your dreams”. There are a lot of people in the Labour and Conservative parties who for different reasons don’t want a federal England. If the Scottish question is closely associated with that, it would get in the way.

Nicola McEwen, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Edinburgh

Although the referendum produced a clear victory for the No campaign, the UK government and the UK parties may want to reflect on what is an historically significant level of support for independence. As much as 45% of the population did not give their consent to the union. That should make politicians sit up and take notice, and should ensure that the issue of Scotland’s constitutional future continues to be the subject of debate.

It’s perfectly possible for the UK government to fulfill the campaign promise to give Scotland more powers. But if that was to happen in the timescale set out in the campaign, it would likely mean a set of proposals that looked more like the Labour party devolution commission’s more modest proposals than the more ambitious Conservative or Lib Dem proposals – it’s easier to settle on the lowest common denominator. It would be extraordinarily difficult for Labour’s internal party politics to go much further.

Of course now that the SNP government seems set to be involved in these discussions too, we can expect them to push for a more extensive set of devolved powers. The SNP will not abandon its commitment to independence, but we will see the party revert back to a more gradualist strategy, in keeping with its recent political history, trying to push the UK parties further down the road of Scottish self-government.

The debate over Scotland’s place within the UK won’t go away. It’s perfectly feasible that there will be another constitutional referendum in my lifetime, but I think it would emerge in a different way: not as a result of a top-down initiative – a political opportunity created by an election victory – but more because there is popular demand for a referendum from the bottom-up. The first minister, Alex Salmond, talked about this referendum being a once-in-a-generation opportunity. I don’t expect the SNP to put another referendum in their manifesto in 2016.

It’s interesting to see how quickly the debate has moved on to thinking about the English question. We know from the “Future of England” survey that there is growing discontent in England with the way it is governed, and in particular of the fact that Scottish MPs can continue to vote on areas like health and education, despite these responsibilities being devolved to Scotland. Indeed, there appears to be a greater sense of grievance about the way that England is governed than there was in Scotland before the referendum.

Paul Cairney, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Stirling

The referendum didn’t go wrong. It was as good if not better than expected. It was 60-40 in favour of No for such a long time, so 45% Yes seems OK to me.

I think 45% is a good number because it’s not so close that people are bitter about how indecisive it was, but it’s also powerful enough to make progress, especially since the three major UK parties got together and said they would hand over extra powers to Scotland and keep the Barnett formula.

That has to be part of the explanation for the gap between Yes and No. There is some sort of onus on the UK parties to deliver what they were talking about now.

Saying that, I don’t think the extra powers to Scotland will be that extensive. It will be more income tax, more powers over welfare, and they will emphasise that we’re getting more responsibility.

Barnett will be tricky. The thing about it is that the UK government kept it over the years because no one talked about it, but it becomes harder now that it’s the focus of attention. They have to satisfy two audiences, one in England and one in Scotland. The problem for the English audience is that Barnett is supposed to help economic disparities to converge, but there has been no difference in the gap in per-capita spend since the 1970s. That means there is a strong argument to get rid of it.

But Barnett means that the two governments don’t have to negotiate spending every year, which keeps it out of the public spotlight. I think they’ll do whatever they can to keep it, even if they have to rename it. It’s the least worst option for holding everything together. Otherwise it becomes a broken promise to Scotland that stores up potential tensions, so it’s going to be very difficult.

What does 45% mean for Scottish independence? You can’t have another referendum for at least ten years. Five years would be long enough to find out if the maximum devolution that Scotland gets is adequate in people’s eyes. That then gives you the opportunity to put it back on your manifesto again.

But remember that the only reason the referendum happened is because the SNP has a majority in the parliament. So you’ll need to have a majority of pro-independence parties if it’s to happen again. That’s the main obstacle.

Arthur Midwinter, Visiting Professor of Politics, University of Edinburgh

My view all along was that it would come down to whether people felt they would be better off or not. Even though there was that wobble in the middle, it came back to that in the end.

The Yes campaign never made a coherent economic case. There were too many big guns against them. I know the campaign wasn’t just the SNP, but really it was Salmond and Sturgeon against the world. The bankers and business and the bulk of academics didn’t believe their figures.

I never understood why the vote narrowed a few weeks ago. I always thought there would be many people that would vote No that would not tell pollsters if they were asked. One side was very noisy and one side was very quiet. It’s what you call the silent majority. I didn’t have a single neighbour in Falkirk who said they were going to vote Yes.

Brown was just magnificent these past few days. Is he going to run the show now over extending powers? He certainly made the difference. I don’t know if he saved the union, but the poll figures certainly suggested that either side could have won. Brown made the case for more devolution in a much more coherent way than anybody had until that point.

I would love to see Brown standing for the Scottish parliament. Whether he will or not, I don’t know. His whole life has been politics. Brown against Salmond would be exciting, that’s for sure.

But there is the issue that it doesn’t make sense to devolve a lot more powers. If your working assumption is that it’s an integrated economy, devo max is just not possible. Labour originally wanted to devolve all income tax control, but all the advice in the Calman consultation was that it wasn’t possible.

So I don’t know how negotiations will go, but I’m fairly confident that the agreement will end up being the Labour position from earlier this year with a few changes. That will make it difficult to navigate in Scotland, but it can be done if the country is governed differently. If the Conservatives had remained a one-nation party, they would still be doing much better in Scotland.

Karly Kehoe, Senior Lecturer in History, Glasgow Caledonian University

Westminster will have to look at this result and address the fact that 45% of people are unhappy. The three main UK-wide parties are now going to have to deliver on the promises they have made.

I was so impressed with the voter turnout. Approximately 84% is extraordinary. If I was the No campaign I would be grateful for the result, but not elated because it’s not an enormous victory. About 45% of people voted for independence – that’s a clear indication that something is seriously wrong.

Alex Salmond’s speech was very good, saying it’s important for the nation to come together, to recognise that this is what the people who live here want, and to focus on moving forward so that we can have the best society. You can feel very sad or you can think, right, now what do we do ensure we get the kind of society we want?

David McCausland, Head of Economics, University of Aberdeen

The United Kingdom has had a lucky escape. The economic effects of independence would have been damaging and irreversible. In the short term the increased uncertainty would have pushed up the cost of the borrowing, undermined trade, and reduced investment.

One of the biggest headaches avoided is the currency question. All of the possible configurations would have had a serious disruptive impact at least in the short term. The mismatch between spending ambitions and variable revenue streams may have led to permanent austerity.

So with the cloud of independence now lifted, what for the future? Increased powers over taxation and spending, and the retention of the Barnett formula, through which Westminster sets Scottish spending, have all been promised: devo max by proxy.

Scotland could therefore have come out quite well. But calls for political reform and a hardening of attitudes south of the border may eventually erode the influence of Scottish MPs in Westminster. And the political fallout may have a substantial impact, not just on the governing elite in Westminster, for whom polls in the last few weeks were a bit too close for comfort. But closer to home, also on Scottish Labour, and where they position themselves. In short, this was a close shave (though not as close as predicted), and a welcome outcome for Scotland’s economic future.

John McKendrick, Senior Lecturer, Glasgow Caledonian University

The turnout was phenomenal. That makes me optimistic. It got close for a nanosecond when Dundee came in followed by West Dunbartonshire, but then it slumped back to that familiar pattern. It was just a matter of time after that. You can look at it wryly and say it’s almost another one of those glorious Scottish defeats like the ones we get in football, where we pride ourselves on never quite getting there but celebrating coming close.

It was always going to be the case that the work starts now. The vote was only a constitutional matter at the end of the day. The issues that were there for the people of Scotland are still there. There is a cynical view that some of the offers might begin to unravel because after all, it was politics and not a firm policy commitment. There is certainty a degree of uncertainty there.

But I don’t think that Westminster or the Scottish government will be able to shirk the fact that they have to do more now. We can talk about devo max, but we’re also going to have to learn to do more with the tools that we have.

Gavin Phillipson, Professor of Constitutional Law at Durham University

After the night’s events and David Cameron’s statement this morning, the proposal that Scottish (and perhaps Welsh and Northern Irish) MPs should in some way be debarred from voting on legislation affecting only England has rapidly shot up the political agenda.

The “English votes for English laws” solution is attractive because of its simplicity: a single procedural change would effectively bring into being a new, but intermittently existing English parliament within the Westminster parliament; the latter would morph into the former whenever an “English bill” was being considered.

The problem with Scottish MPs’s presence in Westminster is that legislation that fails to command a majority among English MPs can sometimes still be passed with Scottish votes. This is precisely what happened with to two notoriously controversial pieces of legislation introduced by the Blair government: foundation hospitals and top-up university fees. Because of large Labour backbench rebellions, the then government needed the votes of Scottish MPs to get these policies through – even though neither would apply in Scotland.

Since much of the important work of Westminster consists of dealing with bills mainly or exclusively affecting England, this, it is said, would fatally undermine any government that depended on Scottish votes for its overall majority.

However, this problem has been overstated. The scenario would only really arise with the election of a Labour government (or Labour-led coalition) with a very small majority. More importantly, however, the objection is wrong in principle. If a government cannot muster a majority of English MPs for legislation that only concerns England, why should it be able to pass it?

In reality, all this objection amounts to is the observation that a Labour government with no majority among English MPs (which has only rarely happened) would no longer be able to impose legislation upon England without the support of a majority of its representatives. This sounds like an advantage rather than an objection.

There are obviously many practical problems to consider, but at least as a temporary and easily implemented measure, “English votes for English laws” could be a simple and economical solution to the West Lothian question.

Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government at Durham University

The referendum vote is a great result for Scotland and for the United Kingdom. It is easy to see the appeal of independence at first glance. Dissatisfaction with politics is high, and there are widespread calls for more consideration for local concerns.

One major problem for the independence campaign from the start was making a clear and compelling case for Scotland to go it alone in an increasingly interconnected world.

So while it may be popular to challenge immigration policy as the SNP have done, such matters can still often be impacted by other sovereign states: one country alone cannot dictate whether there are controls on either side of every border, for instance.

Or take defence and security: it may be popular to argue against retaining Trident in order to find savings to fund other programmes, but this raises issues about whether Scotland would be more secure as an independent country than it would as part of a united country sharing security services.

The Yes campaign failed for many reasons, but among them, it found out to its cost that launching a new independent country is far more difficult than its leaders might have thought (or wanted to think) in our globalised world.

Meryl Kenny, Lecturer in Government and Politics at University of Leicester

Thursday’s No vote – while closer than many commentators had initially anticipated at the start of the referendum campaign —was decisive. But it does not represent an end to the matter, nor does it represent a return to the constitutional status quo.

Record numbers of Scots turned out to vote in the referendum; the majority of them favour enhanced powers for the Scottish parliament, and almost half of them voted for full independence on the day. The outcome of the referendum, then, is still a vote for change, albeit change within the structure of the Union.

Indeed, this is what the No campaign promised in the end stages of the campaign – with the three main parties (pushed by Gordon Brown) committing to a fast-track timetable towards new powers for the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote.

David Cameron pledged to honour these commitments immediately after the referendum, promising draft legislation by the end of January 2015. Questions remain, however, as to whether he will deliver. There are significant differences between the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrat proposals for new powers – and it is difficult to see how they could be resolved in the short space of time offered.

Cameron will also probably face significant backbench opposition to further devolution. Worryingly, and in sharp contrast to the more inclusive processes that existed in the run-up to devolution in the 1990s, this expedited legislative timetable also leaves little to no scope for public consultation. That has prompted calls for a citizen-led UK-wide Constitutional Convention.

Questions also remain for Labour, and for the future of left politics more broadly. Much of the coverage of the independence referendum has reported on the debate through the lens of political nationalism, but this fails to acknowledge the numerical reality: there simply were not enough nationalist supporters to win a Yes vote on their own.

The relative closeness of the outcome, along with Yes victories in traditional Labour strongholds such as Glasgow, suggests that a significant proportion of Labour voters also voted for independence.

Meanwhile, as part of his proposals for a “new and fair” constitutional settlement, David Cameron has pledged that English matters will only be voted on by English MPs, a proposal that could effectively undermine a future Labour majority in the House of Commons.

Uncertainties remain, then, as to what lies next for Scotland and the UK – but all sides are agreed that the status quo is no longer an option.

The ConversationCreative Commons

The experts are: Paul Cairney, University of StirlingArthur Midwinter, University of EdinburghGavin Phillipson, Durham UniversityJohn H McKendrick, Glasgow Caledonian UniversityKarly Kehoe, Glasgow Caledonian UniversityMeryl Kenny, University of LeicesterNeil Blain, University of StirlingNicola McEwen, University of EdinburghThom Brooks, Durham University, and W David McCausland, University of Aberdeen

As an adviser to Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, Arthur was appointed chair of the party’s Welfare Commission, which is putting together a series of proposals for the future of Scotland.

Gavin Phillipson, John H McKendrick, Karly Kehoe, Meryl Kenny, Neil Blain, Nicola McEwen, Paul Cairney, Thom Brooks, and W David McCausland do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article. They also have no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

 

Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate, and rely on, your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work. Subscribe for free to Frontlines by entering your address in the form on the right of this page (we won’t share your address), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Britain’s New World

Alex Salmond official photo, supplied by the Scottish Parliament

Alex Salmond Photo from Scottish Parliament

Britain will never be the same. The day after Scots voted 55-45 to support the United Kingdom, on promises by unionists for a new range of Scottish powers, Prime Minister David Cameron set in motion a process to empower not just Scotland, but also Wales and Northern Island — and potentially to remake the British political system.

Meantime, First Minister Alex Salmond, who devoted his life to Scottish independence, shocked Scots by resigning, which he had earlier said he would not do if his Yes campaign for independence failed.

“For me as leader, my time is nearly over,” he told reporters in Edinburgh. “But for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die.”

United Kingdom prime minister David Cameron said he was “delighted” at the referendum result, and in a speech Friday rejected Salmond’s assertion that the campaign continues. “There can be no disputes, no re-runs – we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.”

Cameron appointed Lord Smith of Kelvin to oversee devolution in Scotland, and  William Hague to oversee plans for a system allowing more powers for citizens in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, developed at the same pace as Scottish devolution.

“Now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together, and to move forward,” said Cameron. “A vital part of that will be a balanced settlement – fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.”

Salmond  called on Britain’s leaders to honour that settlement, and the 11th-hour promises made in the last weeks of the campaign, promptly.

Wrote Salmond: “The unionist parties made vows late in the campaign to devolve more powers to Scotland. Scotland will expect these to be honoured in rapid course. Just as a reminder, we have been promised a second reading of a Scotland Bill by the 27th of March next year and not just the 1.6 million Scots who voted for independence will demand that that timetable is followed but all Scots who participated in this referendum will demand that that timetable is followed. “

 – Deborah Jones

 Continued ….

Photo by Moyan Brenn, Creative Commons via Flickr Kilchurn Castle, north of Glasgow, Scotland, in Loch Awe

Kilchurn Castle, north of Glasgow, Scotland, in Loch Awe. Photo by Moyan Brenn, Creative Commons via Flickr

Excerpts of Salmond’s blog post on the Scottish referendum site: 

It’s important to say that our referendum was an agreed and consented process and Scotland has by majority decided not at this stage to become an independent country. I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland.

But I think all of us in this campaign say that that 45 per cent, that 1.6 million votes, is a substantial vote for Scottish independence and the future of this country. Let us say something which I hope that unites all campaigns and all Scots. I think the process by which we have made our decision as a nation reflects enormous credit upon Scotland. A turnout of 86 per cent is one of the highest in the democratic world for any election or any referendum in history. This has been a triumph for the democratic process and for participation in politics.

For example, the initiative by which 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote has proved to be a resounding success. I suspect that no one will ever again dispute their right and ability to participate fully and responsibly in democratic elections.

So we now face the consequences of Scotland’s democratic decision. Firstly, Clause 30 of the Edinburgh Agreement is now in operation. On behalf of the Scottish Government I accept the results and I pledge to work constructively in the interest of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Secondly, the unionist parties made vows late in the campaign to devolve more powers to Scotland. Scotland will expect these to be honoured in rapid course. Just as a reminder, we have been promised a second reading of a Scotland Bill by the 27th of March next year and not just the 1.6 million Scots who voted for independence will demand that that timetable is followed but all Scots who participated in this referendum will demand that that timetable is followed.

I’ll be speaking to the Prime Minister shortly after this statement but can I return thirdly to the empowerment of so many Scots entering the political process for the very first time. It is something that is so valuable it has to be cherished, preserved and built upon…

Whatever else we can say about this referendum campaign, we have touched sections of the community who’ve never before been touched by politics. These sections of the community have touched us and touched the political process. I don’t think that will ever be allowed to go back to business as usual in politics again.

Excerpts of Cameron’s speech, posted on the UK government site:

So now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together, and to move forward. A vital part of that will be a balanced settlement – fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

Let us first remember why we had this debate – and why it was right to do so.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) was elected in Scotland in 2011 and promised a referendum on independence. We could have blocked that; we could have put it off, but just as with other big issues, it was right to take – not duck – the big decision. 

I am a passionate believer in our United Kingdom – I wanted more than anything for our United Kingdom to stay together.

But I am also a democrat. And it was right that we respected the SNP’s majority in Holyrood and gave the Scottish people their right to have their say…

Scotland voted for a stronger Scottish Parliament backed by the strength and security of the United Kingdom and I want to congratulate the No campaign for that – for showing people that our nations really are better together.

I also want to pay tribute to Yes Scotland for a well-fought campaign and to say to all those who did vote for independence: “we hear you”…

To those in Scotland sceptical of the constitutional promises made, let me say this we have delivered on devolution under this government, and we will do so again in the next Parliament.

The 3 pro-union parties have made commitments, clear commitments, on further powers for the Scottish Parliament. We will ensure that they are honoured in full. 

And I can announce today that Lord Smith of Kelvin – who so successfully led Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games – has agreed to oversee the process to take forward the devolution commitments, with powers over tax, spending and welfare all agreed by November and draft legislation published by January.

Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs. The rights of these voters need to be respected, preserved and enhanced as well.

It is absolutely right that a new and fair settlement for Scotland should be accompanied by a new and fair settlement that applies to all parts of our United Kingdom. In Wales, there are proposals to give the Welsh government and Assembly more powers. And I want Wales to be at the heart of the debate on how to make our United Kingdom work for all our nations. In Northern Ireland, we must work to ensure that the devolved institutions function effectively.

I have long believed that a crucial part missing from this national discussion is England. We have heard the voice of Scotland – and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard. The question of English votes for English laws – the so-called West Lothian question – requires a decisive answer.

So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland.

I hope that is going to take place on a cross-party basis. I have asked William Hague to draw up these plans. We will set up a Cabinet Committee right away and proposals will also be ready to the same timetable. I hope the Labour Party and other parties will contribute.

It is also important we have wider civic engagement about to improve governance in our United Kingdom, including how to empower our great cities. And we will say more about this in the coming days.

This referendum has been hard fought. It has stirred strong passions. It has electrified politics in Scotland, and caught the imagination of people across the whole of our United Kingdom.

It will be remembered as a powerful demonstration of the strength and vitality of our ancient democracy. Record numbers registered to vote and record numbers cast their vote. We can all be proud of that. It has reminded us how fortunate we are that we are able to settle these vital issues at the ballot box, peacefully and calmly.

“Now we must look forward, and turn this into the moment when everyone – whichever way they voted – comes together to build that better, brighter future for our entire United Kingdom.

Further reading on Facts and Opinions:

Scotland Votes, Frontlines blog post

Scotland Decided: what the experts say

An expert panel looks at what happened, and where it leaves the UK and Scotland.

ALEX SALMOND: The Independent Scot. By Murray Leith

If there’s one figure that anyone anywhere would associate with the Scottish referendum campaign it’s Alex Salmond, first minister of Scotland, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), and the man who could be responsible for the break-up of the United Kingdom. But who is he, where did this political whirlwind begin and where will it take the man and his party?

Scottish leader downplays difficulties of independence. By Jonathan Manthorpe, April 2014 (Subscription)

Scots  will vote in a referendum on September 18 on separation from the United Kingdom. But the division of assets and liabilities in the break-up of a country is complex and vexatious – and in the case of Scotland, these matters are particularly difficult. The latest polls in Scotland, with the undecided vote discounted, shows 52 percent of respondents support staying with the United Kingdom while 48 per cent want independence.

Further reading elsewhere:
Salmond to resign after Scotland rejects independence, Agence France-Presse 

Scotland’s pro-independence leader Alex Salmond said Friday he would resign after losing a referendum that left the United Kingdom intact but opened a Pandora’s box of demands for more autonomy across Britain.

Scotland is staying. London’s headaches are just starting, Christian Science Monitor 

British leaders are relieved by the Scots’ vote against independence. But devolving new powers to Scotland – and perhaps to England – may be a bigger challenge for Westminster than the referendum was.

Queen Accepts Scotland’s Apology (Satire), Borowitz Report, The New Yorker

In the aftermath of Scotland’s “no” vote in the referendum on becoming an independent country, Queen Elizabeth II, of Great Britain, took to the airwaves on Friday morning to inform the people of Scotland that she “graciously and wholeheartedly” accepted their apology. “Although the matter of independence has been settled, one question remains very much open,” she said in an address televised across Scotland. “And my answer to that question is this: yes, I forgive you.”

 

 

Facts and Opinions is a boutique for slow journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is sustained entirely by readers: we do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes.  Why? We appreciate, and rely on, your interest and support:  for $2.95 (the price of a cheap brew) you can subscribe to F&O for a month. If that breaks your budget, a one-day pass is $1. A subscription is required for most F&O original work. Subscribe for free to Frontlines by entering your address in the form on the right of this page (we won’t share your address), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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