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Scottish Referendum debate: Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond, Wednesday September 10th, 1.45-2.45pm

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JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Sep-14 08:35:59

Hi all,

We're delighted to announce that Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling will both be joining us on Mumsnet this Wednesday at 1.45pm, to take part in a live debate in the lead-up to the Scottish Referendum on September 18th.

The decision with which Scottish voters are faced this month constitutes a significant moment in the history - and future - of Scotland and the UK. And with polls currently predicting a result that's too close to call, this final showdown between the two leaders could potentially prove decisive.

The debate will be conducted along typical Mumsnet webchat lines, but with each guest free to question and respond to the answers of the other. We know the referendum has been a topic of serious discussion on the site (we're currently on IndyRef thread number seven - and counting ...) so in order to ensure that the leaders answer your questions, we're restricting the ability to post to Mumsnetters who'd been members of the site for more than 24 hours before the launch of this thread. Otherwise, the usual guidelines apply.

Please join us on Wednesday at 1.45pm - and if you can't make it then, as ever, do post up any comments or questions in advance.

Thefishewife Wed 10-Sep-14 15:18:53

Also comparing the vote to apartide frankly is disgraceful

1- as if some how the English are oppressing the Scottish people
2- and in my view trivialising the struggle for black to be even allowed vote

SantanaLopez Wed 10-Sep-14 15:21:50

Santana, what, so no working class people get the grades to go to university?

I didn't say that. Some working class people do, but not enough! Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Strathy are populated almost entirely by middle class students, who always have gone to university and always will, even if they have to pay fees.

Redirecting this money into education in deprived areas at primary and secondary level would make a greater difference than paying for a 4 year Travel and Tourism course at the age of 18.

Thefishewife Wed 10-Sep-14 15:21:52

postertabulahrasa

You do have a voice I did not vote for the god awful SNP yet they have a say on ALL English matters

You voted your voice was heard you have the snp

Spiritedwolf Wed 10-Sep-14 15:23:12

Poor people have Council Tax Benefit, had free prescriptions anyway, and had access to grants for university. Meanwhile, as the SNP haven't given local councils or NHS boards the extra money to pay for these policies to benefit those who could afford to pay, they have had to make savings elsewhere, likely into the very services that poor people use.

I am not opposed to universalism in principal (and appreciate that the policies benefit the low paid who didn't qualify for free things before too), but it has to be properly funded otherwise you diminish the service to poorer people in order to give it to better off people for free.

In order to make higher education 'free' for students from middle class families, they've cut college places which disproportionally affect those from poorer households - often stopping them from accessing courses which could get them qualifications to get to university.

In addition, "free university education" sounds fabulous but the devil is in the detail. Did you know that because of the repayment terms a graduate on a lower salary in Scotland has to pay back much more of their student loans (for living costs) than English students who are also paying fees? We have to start repaying sooner and at a higher rate of interest.

Scotland's Free Tuition Scam

BardarbungaBardarbing Wed 10-Sep-14 15:24:00

Hear, hear Santana.

Spiritedwolf Wed 10-Sep-14 15:25:31

Sorry not the rate of interest, but the write off date is later.

tabulahrasa Wed 10-Sep-14 15:26:52

Thefishwife...I don't think Scottish MPs should vote on purely English matters, like education either - I'm not an SNP voter, though I do believe they abstain on votes that are purely English.

I do believe in decentralised government and think that large parts of England could benefit from it too.

My issue is that better together keep saying that it's about making your voice heard and affecting change within the whole UK, solidarity and various words like that...only the Scottish voice is too small to actually do anything.

Spiritedwolf Wed 10-Sep-14 15:27:50

Courses being 4 rather than 3 years has an impact on the cost (I know some universities are trialling squeezing 4 year courses into 3 years atm too which might help).

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:29:02

Surely the issue is independence, not SNP's policies.

AbbieHoffmansAfro Wed 10-Sep-14 15:29:54

It does annoy me that the referendum is generally presented as 'Scotland vs Westminster/London'.

I can quite understand Scottish people feeling alienated from and ill-served by London and Westminster. The fact is that Scotland has that in common with very large numbers of people in Cumbria, and Yorkshire, and Wales, and Cornwall, plus lots of points in between.

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:30:05

And the idea of never having another Tory Government is for me the biggest reason to vote yes.

I don't like the nationalism that is being stirred up by both sides in this debate though.

RavenAlexanda Wed 10-Sep-14 15:32:20

10 September 2014
Update for shareholders, customers and advisers

On 18 September the Scottish people will vote on whether Scotland should be an independent country.

If there were to be a vote for independence we understand it would be at least 18 months before Scotland could become a separate country from the United Kingdom.

During this period of continued constitutional uncertainty we will provide regular updates to our customers, our advisers, our shareholders, our people and other stakeholders in our business. We will also take whatever action is required to protect our customers' interests and maintain our competitiveness in the markets in which we operate.

As we stated in February, and repeated at our half year results in August, there continues to be uncertainty around a range of issues material to Scotland's future in the event of Scotland separating from the United Kingdom. These include:

The currency that an independent Scotland would use
Whether agreement and ratification of an independent Scotland's membership to the European Union would be achieved by the assumed target date (currently 24 March 2016)
The shape and role of the monetary system going forward
The arrangements for financial services regulation and consumer protection in an independent Scotland
The approach to individual taxation, especially around savings and pensions.

In view of the uncertainty around Scotland's constitutional future, we have put in place precautionary measures which would help enable us to provide customers with continuity. This includes planning for new regulated companies in England to which we ^could^ transfer parts of our business ^if^ there was a need to do so.

This transfer of our business could potentially include pensions, investments and other long-term savings held by UK customers to ensure:

All transactions with customers outside of Scotland continue to be in Sterling (money paid in and money paid out)
All customers outside of Scotland continue to be part of the UK tax regime
All customers outside of Scotland continue to be covered by existing consumer protection and regulatory arrangements e.g. the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and Financial Conduct Authority
We will continue to serve our customers in Scotland and will consider what additional measures we may need to take on their behalf as a consequence of constitutional change once further clarity and certainty is received.

Standard Life will continue to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. There will be no change to the way in which share dividends are paid to shareholders.

If the referendum result is supportive of Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom, resulting in the devolution of further powers as seems likely, we will monitor any impact that this may have on our stakeholders and take whatever action we feel is required.

Standard Life has a long history in Scotland – a heritage of which we are very proud – and we hope that this continues but our responsibility is to protect the interests of our customers, our shareholders, our people and other stakeholders in our business.

The plans we have put in place will help to ensure continuity and peace of mind for all our stakeholder groups.

David Nish
Chief Executive
Standard Life plc

PamSco Wed 10-Sep-14 15:32:38

*femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:29:02
Surely the issue is independence, not SNP's policies.*

Alex Salmond clearly stated the Yes vote is his mandate to negotiate the White Paper proposals (BBC debate 2 weeks ago). The White Paper is an SNP manifesto. There is no Scottish election before AS's proposed independence day. This means we ARE voting for the SNP and Alex Salmond if we vote yes - which I won't be.

AS will be in the driving seat. It will be his agenda a country will be built on. This is wrong and undemocratic.

Roseformeplease Wed 10-Sep-14 15:33:13

Interestingly, my sidebar is now promoting an ebook on Independence, available as an ebook on Amazon.

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:35:17

I understand that the SNP will be negotiating issues such as assets and debts, and setting up any institutions needed. But actually the day to day policies that most of us care about, are decided by whichever Government is in power.

So yes, it is a vote for independence or not,not a vote for the SNP.

SantanaLopez Wed 10-Sep-14 15:35:44

Surely the issue is independence, not SNP's policies.

I think they are very closely tangled. We keep being promised a fairer country, and one of the examples of this is that tuition fees will be paid. So it is connected.

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:37:21

But whoever is voted into power in the future will make policy decisions such as tuition fees. Scotland could vote for the SNP and its policies, or for Labour and its policies.

RavenAlexanda Wed 10-Sep-14 15:37:54

Many of Scotland’s most successful businesses operate globally. They work across many countries. For them Scotland gaining full economic powers to improve economic growth is a positive or neutral step.

Where a handful have felt obliged because of a fiduciary legal duty to list even outlying risks in their annual reports – such as Alliance Trust, RBS or Standard Life – they have emphasised their neutrality and tended to refer not to the principle of independence. Instead they have emphasised the importance of the White Paper’s backing for maintaining the common market, a currency union and, in the case of the financial sector uniform, prudential regulation. All of which will remain after a Yes vote despite the scaremongering of the No Campaign.

There have been a handful of individuals with a history of opposition to Scotland’s democratic progress or with particular links to the Westminster establishment that have spoken out in a personal capacity. Shell UK, BAE, Thomas Cook and Weir Group are the only large-scale companies to take a corporate view. BAE says it would work with either outcome to deliver the best possible solution. Weir Group CEO’s Keith Cochrane’s long-standing personal views are well known and he’s entitled to put them forward. It doesn’t mean these views are shared by all shareholders.

In contrast, the likes of British Airways, Ryanair, Jupiter Investments, Stagecoach and Clyde Blowers CEOs have all expressed support for independence. However, the real story is how many are relaxed about the prospect. There is no doubt the Yes Campaign, and Business for Scotland in particular, has done a good job of getting its message across. When serious business people tackle the issues - as dozens of our spokespeople have – then that has neutralised much of the worst scaremongering.

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:38:16

Alex Salmond might be making this referendum into a vote for the SNP, but it is not. The vote is very simple - do you want an independent Scotland or not.

RavenAlexanda Wed 10-Sep-14 15:41:00

Standard Life Gerry Grimstone, Chair:

“We have been based in Scotland for 189 years and we are very proud of our heritage. Scotland has been a good place from which to run our business and to compete around the world. We very much hope that this can continue”, Standard Life annual report, 27 February 2014.

Standard Life Investments is also reported to have agreed a £75 million development deal at St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh. They described the deal as “a first class long term investment for our investors.” Business Insider, 17th February 2014. Standard Life also acquired Ignis Asset Management Ltd for £390 million as of 26th March 2014. Ignis is registered in Glasgow, where they employ the majority of their 360 staff. Another vote of confidence If you read the statement issued by Standard Life on independence it does not say anything about leaving Edinburgh in the event of a Yes vote. Instead, it talks about the potential need to restructure subsidiaries. but that’s only in the event of the No Campaign’s doomsday scenario of no common discussions through sensible negotiations. A UK Cabinet Minister told the Guardian earlier this year that his colleagues believe “of course there will be a currency union”. It is in the mutual economic interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK. This is independently established by world leading experts like Professor Leslie Young of Beijing University (through the Hunter Foundation), Professor Joe Stiglitz of Columbia University and Professor Jim Mirrlees of Cambridge University.

SantanaLopez Wed 10-Sep-14 15:41:04

And we have to question what independent Scotland will be like. Salmond leads the party who want independence, and his policies are therefore a valid topic to debate, especially when they are laid out in the White Paper.

jenny77 Wed 10-Sep-14 15:43:06

Where are the answers?

OOAOML Wed 10-Sep-14 15:44:59

femin

Nothing can guarantee that you never have another Tory government other than outlawing Tories. Then outlawing anyone with right-wing views who tries to set up a political party.

Raven many businesses do operate globally, including financial services. But there are rules about how the group is structured, which parts of the business are registered where, and what functions are where. These are not just rules set by WM or Holyrood, they are a web of rules set by multiple financial regulators.

Standard Life would have to move certain functions because of regulatory issues. They may have to move more because of customer sentiment (they have said that only about 10& of their customers are in Scotland). They may choose to move more or all functions for a range of reasons. Their announcement is worded in a very conservative way, but they are serious about it. Jobs will move - and it is likely to be the higher paid jobs. Companies registered in rUK will be paying corporation tax in rUK. Scotland can lower corporation tax, but for some companies this will not make a difference. They will have to be registered in rUK to continue doing business.

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:45:23

I am not denying that the SNP are promoting this vote as a vote for the SNP, but it is not.

Yes in the event of a vote for independence, the SNP will be in power until there is a general election. But at that point the SNP may lose the election.

I think it is very short sighted to vote on the basis of what you think of the SNP. It makes much more sense to vote on the basis of whether you think independence would be good for Scotland.

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:46:18

OOAML - The chances of a Tory Government in an independent Scotland are virtually nil. We all know that.

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