Should Catholics Vote for Scottish Independence?

Should Catholics Vote for Scottish Independence?

Should Catholics Vote for Scottish Independence?

The campaigns have devised their sound-bites, booked the billboards, posed for their team photos, and printed off millions of leaflets.

Today, the marathon run up to the referendum on Scottish independence marks one year to go until voters get a chance to have their say on the biggest decision the nation has ever faced.

First Minister Alex Salmond last night described it as a “once in a generation” event.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore went one further and described it as “once in a lifetime”. Both agreed that it was undeniably “historic”.

Click on photo to read entire Scotsman Newspaper article.

Today marks the beginning of the campaign to get our votes. So how should we vote on September 18th 2014 – should Catholics vote for Scottish independence? Are there any “Catholic” issues?

Comments (56)

  • catholicconvert1

    Catholics, or should I say good, obedient and not wisht washy Catholics, most certainly should not vote for Scottish Independence. Scotland will become a much more socially liberal, socialist and secular society, with a strong anti-religious streak. Then there’s the State Guardians, to protect every child, then there’s gay marriage. Once English influence is removed, with it’s less anti religious and more right wing influence, a Pandora’s box will be opened. Catholic education and social services will be targetted, along the lines of the adoption agencies.

    I saw Nicola Sturgeon on Newsnight yesterday, and I thought what a strange woman. Much of the things she say is garbled and nonsensical.

    September 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    she says. I don’t what to sound like the SNP.

    September 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm
  • editor

    Catholic Convert,

    I think I’m right in saying that you are English? Your response, then, is very interesting indeed. I saw part of the Newsnight programme last night but since I can’t make out the half of what Kirsty Wark says (and I keep asking myself how on earth, then, the poor English and Welsh can make her out) I gave up the ghost half way through. Might catch the rest of it later, though. I’d like to hear what you quote Nicola Sturgeon saying about the SNP, given that she is a leading member of the SNP! She is also the only politician to whom I’ve written (twice, on abortion) who didn’t have the courtesy to reply. Every other MP to whom I’ve written has at least had the good manners to acknowledge my concerns, albeit with inadequate responses: she, alone, didn’t even bother to answer. Unimpressive.

    I will definitely be voting “no” – I have no intention of rewarding the SNP for their appalling brass neck in ignoring the stated wishes of the Scottish people about same-sex marriage; an overwhelming majority responding to the Government consultation(s) emphatically and consistently said “no thanks” but the Scottish Government, led by the SNP, decided to go ahead anyway. I know all the parties are of the same godless view on this issue, and many others, but this is one clear way of telling the SNP that their decision to flout the will of the majority of the people on redefining marriage is not going to be rewarded by giving them more power, OR the pet item on their wish list – an independent Scotland.

    No way. No thanks.

    September 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    I am English. I come from Our Lady’s dowry. Why is my response particularly interesting? She talks nonsense because the Scottish government (funded largely by Westminster) spends more than it earns, but they keep banging on about oil revenue. Oil won’t last forever. What will happen when Westminster cuts the purse strings? Then they say Scottish finance will be tied to the Bank of England, who will then set interest rates. They will retain the pound. Hardly independent is it.

    Scotland voted to join the Union in the first place in 1707. The SNP talks as if England invaded. Hardly. Have they heard of bankruptcy following the Darien Scheme or the fact that Scottish constituencies were either huge or sparsely populated?

    September 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm
  • editor

    Catholic Convert,

    I said that your response (your views) on the question of Scottish independence is particularly interesting because you’re English (as opposed to being Scottish) – I’m sorry if I’m missing something, but I would have thought my meaning is quite plain. I am interested to hear what an English person or people think about Scottish independence. That’s all.

    September 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    I thought you were referring to my ability to understand what the debaters were saying, given that they speak with strong Scottish accents, and given that you started talking about Ms. Wark’s accent. Do you think the English are pro-Scottish independence or against it? To be frank, the English don’t really care. I want the union to stay intact.

    September 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm
  • awkwardcustomer

    Of course Catholics, and non-Catholics, should vote for Scottish independence. Unless the people of Scotland wish to remain as an appendage of England that is. As Nicola Sturgeon pointed out on Newsnight, elections would be held following a yes vote, with various parties calling for your vote. Yes there will be teething troubles, but the claim that Scotland couldn’t prosper as an independent country is ludicrous and insulting to the Scottish people.

    Remaining part of the UK means that Scotland will always be dependent on Westminster. There are plenty of other small independent nations in the world. Why can’t Scotland be one of them?

    September 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm
    • Lily


      I don’t happen to think that the best arguments are economic ones. The question is should Catholic vote yes, but Scotland has always been a very anti-Catholic country. I know that since the ecumenical movement has been on the go it doesn’t seem that way, but that’s because the ecumenical movement has led to a watered down Catholicism and that suits the Presbyterians fine. I think our schools would be under threat and there could be all sorts of discriminations if we were independent.

      Also, I agree that we should not reward the Scottish government with a yes vote when they have completely ignored our no vote in the gay marriage consultations.

      At the moment, I can’t see me voting yes. I’ll be interested to read the rest of the comments here, however – maybe they will change my mind on this.

      September 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm
      • awkwardcustomer


        England is a very anti-Catholic country. Catholic schools in England are under threat. And I cannot see that a yes vote is rewarding the Scottish government for gay marriage. A yes vote is a vote for independence. If there is a yes vote, elections will be held and there might, just might, at some point be a political party worth voting for because it stands for traditional values.

        September 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae


    Well, thank you for taking it upon yourself to speak for the the entire English people.

    Do you know I’m English? It is simply not true that “the English don’t really care”. A more accurate assertion would be that most English & Welsh are extremely un-informed about it. They don’t have a clue what’s going on. A lot would be heartbroken if the dissolution of the Union were thrust on them.

    A few strongly pro independence people I know, when you really get into what they believe, turn out not to be pro independence at all, but rather pro independence-lite/ devo-plus. The SNP I feel has played this ambiguity.

    Lets consider what true absolute sovereignty will entail:

    Scotland will have to establish an entirely new diplomatic corps independent of the UK, including the opening of consulates and a High Commission in in the remaining territory of the UK (mad). This will include applying for membership with NATO, the UN and it’s parallel bodies. Absurd things like extradition treaties might have to be negotiated with the UK. There are thousands of treaties and international conventions the UK is signatory to, and Scotland will have to re-negotiate these. This won’t be good for Scotland’s fish industry. Ever heard of the Cod Wars ? Cod is just the tip of the iceberg. Nobody seems to have thought of this.

    For complicated reasons some Scots are going to be done out of citizenship. And for complicated reasons, some non-Scots are going to be eligible for citizenship. Therefore, in a lot of cases, determining citizenship will have to be done on a one-to-one, discretionary basis. This is will be bureaucratic mayhem. There will be appeals within the system and recourse to the courts outside of the system. Again, nobody seems to have thought of this.

    The UK has a privileged place within the EU. We have negotiated our way to this through power and diplomacy. Scotland will not keep all the opt-outs and privileges that current new members don’t get. The EU has made it definitively clear that Scotland must reapply for membership. If Scotland wants to be in the EU, then it will not be able to keep the pound sterling. All new member states must accept the Euro. The UK has an opt-out which Scotland won’t inherit.

    The idea that Scotland would be an nuclear weapon free state is nonsense. I have heard people argue that independence will get rid of the nukes currently housed at HMNB Clyde. However, if Scotland remains part of NATO it will still be a nuclear state in the same way Germany, Italy and Turkey are weapons sharing states.

    September 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    I don’t mean no disrespect to you, but I fear that you can’t see the wood for the trees. Don’t you see what difficulties the Catholics and all religious communities will encounter? These are points which Editor and myself raised earlier. Scotland has gone from a staunchly Calvinist nation with a fanatical hatred for Catholicism, to an Atheistic Scotland with a less obvious hatred for Catholicism. Instead the Orange Order won’t be going around burning down Catholic homes or Churches, but secularists lead by their kingpin Alex Salmond, who claims to be ‘Christian’, will abolish Catholic schools and social services provided by the Church will wither up due to equalities legislation. Think about. Then Scotland will have to reapply for membership in a variety of international organisation as Miles said. Scotland wants to retain the British pound, with interest rates set by the Bank of England. Hardly independence is it? Scotland will have a very hard time of it. It will have to pay the EU for the privilege of trading with it, as do Switzerland and Norway. And the oil won’t last forever. Also how is Scotland an appendage? Look at all the Scottish mps who were in the Labour cabinet, and historic cabinets, not to mention the number of Scottish mps in Westminster for both English and Scottish constituencies. Scotland voted to join the Union. Read my posts above. You talk as if England invaded. Are you willing to put the Church on the line?


    As for the English being uninterested or not caring, that’s the impression one gets by watching the news and TV programmes. There may be English people who, like yourself, are in favour of the union, and those who are for it. You are right that people are misinformed. I would say that the SNP is misinforming Scottish people. I don’t see why the English aren’t getting a vote on it. It’s their country that being broken up as well. This will open a can of worms. Why then, should Flanders or the Basques not get independence from Belgium or Spain/ France?

    September 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm
    • awkwardcustomer

      Catholic Convert,

      In your previous post you described the English influence as being “less anti-religious and more right wing”…. a statement which took my breath away, especially as you fear that I’m the one who “can’t see the wood for the trees”. Having lived in the south of England for over 30 years, I can only say that I think you are dreaming. The Conservative Party (so-called) is no longer conservative, and England is ferociously anti-Catholic in particular and anti-Christian in general. Everything that you fear might happen in an SNP run Scotland is happening in England and the situation will continue to get worse for Catholics here.

      You seem to be certain that an independent Scotland will be governed by the SNP. But the SNP have said that elections will be held with, you know, political parties and stuff. Because the SNP are voicing preferences for certain ways of doing things doesn’t mean that these preferences are set in stone. The different political parties standing in an independent Scotland’s elections will each have their say.

      I am familiar with the history of the Union. But that Union now means being tied to a country, England, which is busy dismantling all traces of its Christian heritage and traditions. Imagine a scenario, in the perhaps not too distant future, in which the people of Scotland decided that they wanted to reverse this madness. As part of the Union they would have no chance of changing course, whereas as an independent country they could. I have no sympathy with the SNP’s social engineering policies. But these policies are no different from what is happening in England. To have any chance of reversing them in Scotland, vote yes for independence and then agitate for a political party supportive of traditional views. If not, remain tied to England as it descends further and further into madness.

      Oh, and most people I come across here in the south of England think that Scotland is an irrelevance and would be quite happy to see Scotland go its own way since, in their opinion, everything that was once great about Britain comes from England.

      September 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm
      • Eileenanne

        If your last paragraph is true, why do you think the UK parties, and especially David Cameron, are vociferous in support of the Union? Do you think they really want Scotland to stay, or do you think they are trying to goad us into voting for independence? If they want us to stay, do you think it’s because we need them or because they need us?

        September 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm
      • awkwardcustomer

        I’ve been away, sorry that I couldn’t reply sooner.

        I expect that the LibLabCon party doesn’t want the bother of redefining Britain, which they would have to do if Scotland votes for independence. Scottish independence would surely get the English asking questions about their own identity as a country and would go against the EU project of merging all nation states into one European federation. Strong, independent nation states are anathema to globalists and internationalists whose aim is to weaken national and cultural indentities.

        September 23, 2013 at 11:15 pm
  • Eileenanne

    Being Catholic is irrelevant to the referendum. There will be Catholics among those who say “Yes”, among those who say “No” and among those who don’t know or don’t care. Unless we know or have strong reason to believe, that Independence will affect such matters as abortion law, “same-sex marriage” or other important moral issues, each of us will make up our mind for our own reasons.
    Even if some parties promise change – for better or worse – on moral issues post independence, or if we stay in the Union, we should remember that one of the first things to happen will be a general election and who knows what kind of governmenet the Scottish people would choose then? Alex Salmond is inclined to talk as if his party would automatically be in power. It might be, but it might not. Votes should therefore be cast on the basis of the PRINCIPLE of whether independence would be a good thing, not on the basis of the benefits promised by one side or the dire prophecies of the other. In the end, I think many if not most votes will be cast emotionally. Very few people have any way of knowing whether Scotland would be better of economically or any other way if we choose independence, so we might as well just go with our gut feelings.

    One thing that bothers me is that there is no way of voting for independence outwith the EU. At a time when votes are being picked up in England by parties who are anti-EU, maybe Scotland should at least be able to consider the possibility that independence could be a get-out-of-Europe-free card, but that option isn’t on offer. It’s a choice between Scotland staying in the UK or Scotland staying in the EU, no voice for those who would like a truly independent Scotland.

    September 18, 2013 at 10:06 pm
    • awkwardcustomer


      Agree totally. This is a vote about Scottish independence. A no vote should be a vote against independence and not some kind of payback for gay marriage.

      On the EU matter, in an independent Scotland it is surely possible that a political party would emerge with the mandate to keep Scotland out of the European Union. But a Scotland tied to England would never be able to achieve this, since the LibLabCon party is committed to EU membership and will not countenance UK withdrawal, no matter how hard Ukip tries.

      September 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm
      • editor

        Awkward Customer,

        “A no vote should be a vote against independence and not some kind of payback for gay marriage”

        So, what are you saying? We should consider economic and other perceived advantages before sending a message that we really do feel kinda miffed at the scandal of redefining marriage – with all that that means in official documents, teaching resources, freedom of speech etc?

        Keep Christ out of the public square, in other words.

        No thanks.

        September 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm
      • awkwardcustomer

        Westminster has redefined marriage too. You can send all the messages to the SNP you like but as long as Scotland remains part of the UK and the EU, gay marriage will remain. Only as an independent nation can Scotland hope to break free of this agenda.

        September 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm
      • editor

        You miss the point. The Scottish Government assured us that they would not flout the consultation results. The overwhelming majority of Scots used the ridiculously complicated consultation form to say “no thanks”. Despite the Government doing everything in its power to make it difficult for people to respond (the complex form with questions so tricky the Church has to issue guidance answers is but one example) – despite that fact, more people responded to the same-sex consultation than had responded to any other survey, including the non-smoking consultation.

        And the Government went back on its word and promised to introduce same sex marriage anyway.

        In simple English – they cannot be trusted. They lie. Why on EARTH would anyone vote for them to have even more power when they are so contemptuous of the electorate.

        No thanks, awkward customer. Sorry, but if I have my way, you won’t get rid of us that easily!

        September 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm
      • awkwardcustomer

        But you’re not voting for the SNP. You’re voting for, or against, Scottish independence. And if there’s a yes vote, there will be elections in which other parties will stand.

        I don’t understand the confusion here. Could it be you, Editor, who is missing the point?

        September 24, 2013 at 1:23 am
      • Lily


        It’s you whose missing the point. It would be a huge coup for the SNP if we voted YES.

        I’m really amazed anyway that you think it’s no big deal that they brazenly ignored the results of the consultations – there was actually more than one. The SNP are all over the news up here today promising “the same or better” pensions after independence and we’re supposed to believe them after they ignored our wishes in the marriage referendum. Some hope!

        The argument that there will be elections after a YES vote so we can vote for other parties is a non-starter. They’re all as bad as each other

        So far I haven’t met a single person in my circle who is planning to vote for independence. I’m definitely voting no.

        September 24, 2013 at 1:43 am
      • awkwardcustomer

        I don’t think it’s no big deal that the SNP “brazenly ignored the results of the consultations”. I ‘m just surprised that anyone thinks that remaining within the UK would make the situation any better. The LibLabCon party (they’re all the same) is firmly wedded to gay marriage and the anti-family agenda. So is the EU and, what’s more, the whole cabal is firmly globalist and international, believing in the dismantling of nation states and the establishment of an atheistic, post-Christian world. Their vision requires the complete destruction of traditional values and cultures, and they will not stop until they have achieved this.

        Remain in the UK if you like. But Scotland will never escape this agenda if the vote is no. Gay marriage was pushed by the EU and the EU gets what it wants. Scotland’s only hope of reclaiming sanity is to leave the UK initially and the EU eventually. There will be elections if the vote is yes and I agree that a party promoting traditional values will have a hard time making its case. But there’s just a chance, albeit a small one, that they might succeed. But remain part of the UK and that chance falls to zero. In my book, a small chance is better than no chance at all. England is finished. If Scotland wants to go down the drain with it, then that’s your choice.

        September 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm
      • editor

        “I ‘m just surprised that anyone thinks that remaining within the UK would make the situation any better”

        I DON’T think that, not at all. But – I repeat – I am not going to reward the SNP for their brazenness over the consultation. If things are just as bad south of the border, then what on earth is the point of – literally – going from bad to worse!

        September 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm
      • awkwardcustomer

        Because breaking free of the UK at least gives Scotland the chance of halting the downward spiral. Remain in the UK and things will definitely go from bad to worse. The SNP’s brazenness over the consultation is nothing compared to the brazenness of the LibLabCon party as they impose their EU inspired agenda to make the UK a region of an atheist, European, totalitarian state.

        Independence is the only chance that Scotland has of avoiding this nightmare.

        September 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    There is a streak of anti-Catholicism in England, but it is not as pronounced as it is in Scotland. England never had the Orange Order of to the same degree. The Order was in Liverpool and other cities, but never as embedded. Also, the English State Church (I use the term loosely) never demanded a ban to Catholic and/ or Irish immigration, because apparently Irish Catholics were drunken and promiscuous. The Church of Scotland said the Irish were a threat to the Scottish race. The Scottish leadership who are members of this Church are anti-religious and anti-Catholic. The Catholic Church never upheld this type, or to my knowledge, any other type of discrimination. Also, Salmond introduced gay marriage legislation before England. Also, organised religion is more powerful in England, just look at the response to the law given by the CofE and the Catholics. Nearly a million people signed the C4M petition, myself included. Your bizarre statement about England dismantling its Christian heritage dumbfounded me. Is Scotland not doing the same? If I was Scottish, which unfortunately I am not, I would not vote for independence because of the reasons which I gave in an earlier post, not because of a vendetta against gay marriage. What will happen to free tuition fees, free prescriptions and free everything when England stops funding you? It will be a diplomatic nightmare trying to rejoin NATO, the EU, the UN, not to mention trade treaties, the fish industry, the sustainability of oil. The Scottish will wake up with a bump when they have to start paying for prescriptions. Scotland is not an appendage. It has its own parliament. Scotland has more control over England. After all Scottish MPs can vote on English affairs but not vice versa.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:05 am
    • editor

      Catholic Convert,

      I agree with what you say about bigotry north and south of the border. I lived in England for twenty years and never encountered any bigotry at all. Attitudes towards Catholicism ranged from indifferentism to apparently genuine interest.

      September 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm
    • awkwardcustomer

      You ask, “What will happen to free tuition fees, free prescriptions and free everything when England stops funding you?”

      So, England funds Scotland does it? I don’t think so.

      You claim that renegotiating treaties will be an diplomatic nightmare. Really. I think you underestimate the abilities of the Scottish people.

      And as for the Mid-Lothian question. The English won’t put up with that forever, and why should they?

      September 23, 2013 at 11:21 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    That’s exactly right. I have no fear when I tell people that I am converting to Catholicism. The majority as you say, don’t care much, whereas a minority do politely ask why and sometimes ask about Church teachings. Never have I been insulted. I think it’s because Anglicanism is closer to Catholicism in it’s structure, and to an extent the broad nature of it’s beliefs. You get some Anglicans who believe in the real presence/ transubstantiation, and venerate Mary. Presbyterians on the otherhand are a different kettle of fish. There is no broadness in those two examples.

    September 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm
  • crofterlady

    Well, our whole family, a large one at that, will be voting NO. Scotland is not a Catholic friendly society. It’s not even a Christian friendly one. We’d prefer to be a little fish in a big pond than a big one in a small pond. I wouldn’t trust the SNP with walking my dog. Their complete arrogance in the gay marriage issue is enough evidence of the lack of respect the majority would get if they were in power.

    September 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm
  • Vianney

    Catholic Convert, you seem to be trying to claim that England is more religious than Scotland which is not so. Church attendance is higher in Scotland than in England and your claim that organised religion is more powerful in England is nonsense. The Church of England is hardly ever mentioned on news programs while in Scotland the Kirk, and more so the Catholic Church, is regularly mentioned.

    Regarding a couple of your remarks: “What will happen when Westminster cuts the purse strings?”
    Sadly, like so many English people, you believe the old chestnut that England subsides the rest of Britain which is not so. The four countries in the UK contribute to the Exchequer and then receive an amount back. It is not English money they receive but their own money coming back to them and in Scotland’s case she regularly contributes more than she gets. In 2010 the amount we got was only 20% of what we had contributed. What happened to the other 80%? A few years ago the Westminster Government commissioned a report (the McCrone Report )into how Scotland and England would fare as Independent countries. What it said was that an independent Scotland would be “embarrassing wealthy” and would be the third wealthiest country in Europe and seventh wealthiest in the world. England didn’t even make the top twenty. Leaving aside the oil (and Westminster’s many lies about it) Scotland is a very wealthy country with many natural resources and whiskey alone brings £150 per second to the Exchequer. Far from England subsidising anyone it is in fact the subsidised part of Britain.

    “Scotland voted to join the Union in the first place in 1707. The SNP talks as if England invaded. Hardly. Have they heard of bankruptcy following the Darien Schemeor the fact that Scottish constituencies were either huge or sparsely populated? ”

    Scotland did not vote for the union, there were riots in the streets on the day the act was signed and the members of Parliament couldn’t get into the Parliament chamber because of the riotiers and had to gather in the cellar of the Tolbooth jail. Afterwards the people of Edinburgh would spit at the building as they past and after the building was demolished they would spit at the place where it stood, and to this day if you pass the spot you can still see people spit on the spot. As for the Darien scheme, because of documents that have come to light in recent years historians now believe the whole thing was deliberately set up by the King and the English Government in an attempt to deliberately bankrupt Scotland and force her into union. The reason behind it was because Scotland was friends with and traded with most of Europe while England, as usual, fought with them.
    Haven’t a clue what the size and population of constituencies have to do with anything.

    September 20, 2013 at 12:43 am
  • catholicconvert1

    You still seem to be missing the fact that Scotland has become a very secular nation. Religion is more powerful in England due to the fact that the bishops of the church of England, not to mention the Chief Rabbi sit in the House of Lords, as have several other clergy such as Donald Soper, the Methodist minister and Timothy Beaumont, an Anglican priest. Also, Cardinal Hume and O’Connor were offered seats but the Holy See refused. Somebody mentioned earlier about an independent Scotland creating a conservative party to restore Christian values. Are you willing to take that risk? I doubt that will happen.

    As for the Darien Scheme, the English parliament did try to impeach the Company of Scotland Trading to force English funders of the Darien Scheme to withdraw, but William Paterson raised £400,000 within Scotland. They settled in Panama in 1698 and named the settlement New Caledonia. The colony of New Edinburgh was devastated by disease and the weather (hurricanes) and also embargoes by the Spanish. The second colony of 1699 fared no better and was besieged by the Spanish Governor General Pimiento, with no help from the English. In 1700, all the colonists returned. In 1707 with the Act of Union, England paid off Scotland’s debts of £398,000. Why should England have helped Scotland? Scotland has often allied with the French in the ‘Auld Alliance’. After the last Stuart died, who could have succeeded? The Kirk and it’s Calvinist subjects would not have supported James III and VIII after Queen Anne, because he was a Catholic. Scotland was still under a native Scottish sovereign until 1714 under Anne and after the 1707 Act of Union. After that both England and Scotland were under a foreign Sovereign under George I. Members of Scotland’s parliament voted for the Union because they were heavily in debt due to the Darien Scheme, and desired compensation.

    September 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm
    • Vianney

      Just because there are Anglican “bishops” in the House of Lords does not make religion more powerful in England. Governments at Westminster don’t give a damn what the Church of England says, it’s nothing more than a Micky Mouse church and nobody takes it seriously.

      You claim that England paid off Scotland’s debts of £398,000. This is not so, The amount you mention is the bribe paid to those Members of Parliament who voted for the union. Those who were “bought and sold for English gold” as the bard put it. At the union England demanded that Scotland stop trading with other European nations and instead could have access to England’s trading partners outwith Europe on condition that Scotland (which had no national debt) help pay off England’s national debt of £18 million. A bankrupt, poor nation, as we are led to believe we were, could not have done this.

      September 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm
  • Nicky

    I think the whole independence campaign is a waste of time and money. The majority will not vote for it, if the polls are to be believed. The way Salmond kept putting off the date of the referendum shows that he knows his goose is cooked.

    As others have said, when the Scottish Government were so cavalier in their attitude to the same-sex marriage consultation, ignoring the majority view, why should we trust them with running the country, unfettered by Westminster?

    September 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm
    • Eileenanne

      I think we should keep quiet about the Scottish Government ignoring the consutation on “Same-sex marriage”. If it were to be re-run, those in favour would probably be better at getting their supporters to say their piece and I would almost guarantee a different result. Would we be saying then that the the government should go with majority opinion? Or would we say that wrong is wrong no matter how many people vote in favour? I think the latter. We cannot shout “Do what the people want!” only when the people want what we want.

      September 24, 2013 at 10:24 am
      • editor


        With respect, that is a very odd way of looking at the issue. What difference would it make if the same sex marriage club are better at getting their message across in any consultation re-run – they are getting their way anyway despite the fact that most people do not want marriage to be re-defined. They have the Government’s ear, not the majority and THAT is the point. It’s not about establishing a general principle that moral decisions are decided by majority vote. Not at all. It’s about the fact that when the majority are right thinking on an issue like this, and the Government ignore that majority consultation result, they are not to be trusted. That it happens to fall into the category of “undemocratic” is, in this instance, a bonus for us. Far from keeping quiet about it, we should shout it from the rooftops.

        I repeat: far from keeping quiet about the Scottish Government’s entirely undemocratic behaviour over this issue, we should continue to keep it in the public domain. Any judge in any court will tell you that once they catch a witness out in a lie, they don’t believe anything else they say.

        That’s my position re the Scottish Government. I believe NOTHING they say as a result of their lies before, during and after the same-sex marriage consultation.

        September 24, 2013 at 11:38 am
      • Eileenanne

        It’s not about establishing a general principle that moral decisions are decided by majority vote.

        Isn’t that exactly what it would do? What would we say in the (admittedly unlikely) event that the government ran a consultation on whether to repeal the abortion act and the majority said “no change”? Would we say the government should act on what the majority wants then? Or would we quote St Augustine who said “Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” /b>

        September 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm
      • editor

        No it is not. As I’ve just replied to awkward customer, I am not going to reward the SNP for their brazenness in ignoring the overwhelming results of the referendum. That is my position and it is not going to change. Things are the same in England, bad government. So why move from bad to worse? No thanks.

        September 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm
      • Eileenanne

        There has not been a referendum.
        There is a big dfference between a referendum and a consulation exercise. This was a consultation exercise and not binding on the government. Consultation exercises are undertaken often – when schools are suggested for closure, new roads to be built, new rail links planned etc.. Referenda are rather rarer and after them the will of the people (who vote) must prevail.. I can only remember three referenda since I have been a voter.

        September 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm
      • editor

        Slip of the keyboard, Eileenanne. I meant consultation. I’m sure I wrote “consultation” in previous posts. Listen, if you think any sane government would ignore the overwhelming majority vote in a matter as grave as redefining marriage, whether in a consultation exercise or in a referendum, that’s fine. They are not getting my vote on ANYTHING, independence included.

        September 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm
  • gabriel syme

    No right thinking Scottish Catholic should vote for independence, in my opinion. I thought it was highly irresponsible for Peter Kearney to recently indicate he is going to vote for the SNP. He must be off his head.

    Scottish politicians have a very domineering, nannying approach to things. They want to completely dictate what we think and what we do, at the same time as claiming to respect public opinion. Additionally, they have no real understanding of religious faith whatsoever (but then who could blame them on this point, given the utter tripe the reformation has presented as Christianity in recent centuries?)

    Scotland is hostile to Catholics, mainly because this hostility is all many people have in lieu of having an identity of their own. Hostility to Catholicism is how these people understand themselves. After the reformation, a new Scottish identity was hastily cobbled together based on Protestantism. This identity has already fallen to bits and the instinctive resentment of Catholics is all people are left with.

    This perverse and hollow “negative identity” is a phenomenon I have not encountered outwith Scotland. We also see it manifest via resentment of the English. Many Scots define themselves fully by what (who) they dislike, rather than by anything to do with themselves (such as a faith or culture).

    This hostility would only become worse in an independent Scotland, which would be a very repressive place to live, at the same time as masquerading as being a tolerant and open society.

    Although Protestantism in Scotland has been an abject failure, the same old anti-Catholic canards are now being taken up by the secular atheist crowd, (atheism is the logical result of protestantism), such is the poverty of many peoples Scottish identity.

    There is a real and widespread delusion in Scotland about how the Catholic minority is treated and regarded – this can regularly and clearly be seen in the comments section of the Herald newspaper.

    In my opinion, Scottish society is very parochial, inward-looking and narrow minded. There is no real range or depth of thought or opinion in our society and an anti-intellectual one-track mindset tends to dominate. Difference – in identity or in opinion – is reliably met with deep suspicion, if not outright hostility, by many Scots.

    As it happens, I am a proud Briton and so would always support the UK based on identity reasons anyway, but the ugly nature of Scotlands relationship with Catholicism – and increasingly religion in general – would be more than enough to convince me that an independent Scotland would be a very bad idea indeed. (To say nothing of the host of other good arguments against dissolving the UK, not least the economic ones).

    September 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm
    • Nicky

      Gabriel Syme

      .”As it happens, I am a proud Briton and so would always support the UK based on identity”

      The local news yesterday was dominated by the 2011 census which found that most Scots identified as “Scottish only” and not “Scottish and British” etc which makes you part of a minority on this.

      I have to say I never felt “British” and that wouldn’t bother me at all, having a Scottish Passport instead of a British one would be a bonus, but I wouldn’t vote for indepdence on religious grounds. I do agree with you about Scotland being hostile to Catholics, to lesser or greater degrees depending on which part of Scotland you live in.

      September 28, 2013 at 11:47 am
      • gabriel syme

        Hi Nicky,

        Yes I admit I was surprised by that statistic you quote. I think that British identity has obviously loosened to a large degree in Scotland, with the rise of the European and Scottish Parliaments.

        Unfortunately, visible signs of British identity in Scotland tend to be associated often with ugly sentiments, such as Orange Walks or racist nationalist organisations (though these groups always have some overlap). This is obviously a problem when it comes to perceptions of Britishness.

        I can understand why some people might regard themselves as just “Scottish” and do not resent that; I still respect their identity but personally I feel they are missing out on a lot of their own history and heritage by overlooking Britain.

        The census data would suggest the SNP had more of a chance than I thought in the referendum; yet the Polls still generally show the yes camp losing.

        Maybe instead it is the case that the future UK will be more of a coalition of distinct nations, rather than one nation created from several, with a shared overarching identity.

        September 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm
      • editor

        Gabriel Syme,

        I never think of the UK as “one nation created from several” – I ALWAYS refer to “the countries of the UK” not to “Britain” . That the UK is made up of different countries (and six counties of Ireland!) means it is NOT “one nation”.

        Don’t get me wrong – I lived in England for twenty years and loved it, love the people and would happily have stayed there forever. There are a number of bishops – I’m told – who wish I’d done just that. The fact is, though, that England, Wales and Scotland are three separate countries and together they make up the UK (with, as I say, the crazy addition of six counties over the sea in Ireland.)

        I’m still not voting for independence – but that doesn’t prevent me seeing that Scotland is a separate country from England and Wales. And, of course, Ireland!

        September 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Gabriel Syme,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughtful post. This comment was especially interesting:

    ‘the same old anti-Catholic canards are now being taken up by the secular atheist crowd, (atheism is the logical result of protestantism).’

    The Scottish identity is largely based around anti-Catholicism, due to, as you said the collapse in Presbyterian ‘culture’, not to mention Anglophobia. Peter Viereck said ‘anti-Catholicism is the anti-Semitism of the Liberals’. Catholicism always has and always will be the sworn enemy of Liberalism, because not only is our Church countercultural, and unlike Protestants it refuses to compromise with with the prevailing mindset.

    The penultimate paragraph is true as well. Most of the Scots whom I have met personally have met that description, though not the learned members of this blog.

    I’m concerned about your comment about Scottish Protestantism being a failure. Hasn’t Protestantism everywhere been a failure?

    September 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm
    • gabriel syme


      You are right that Protestantism is a failure everywhere. I only mentioned Scotland specifically due to the context here.

      Its worth noting that Scottish Protestantism (in my opinion) will largely pass into history during this century – probably surviving, in extreme form, only on various hebridean islands etc. But in contrast, it seems to have a longer future yet in the USA for example.

      You may also be interested in the Scottish religious trends now being reported from the 2011 census. I posted some info and a link in the general discussion thread today. In the period 2001 – 2011, the Church of Scotland lost 400,000 affiliations (not actual ‘members’), whereas the Catholic Church grew modestly, by some 37,000 people.

      Theres probably more than meets the eye to these figures though, and I suspect the Catholic growth owes more to immigration than it does to the competence and energy of the Bishops.

      September 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm
      • Vianney

        “In the period 2001 – 2011, the Church of Scotland lost 400,000 affiliations (not actual ‘members’),”

        I recently heard a Church of Scotland lady say that the Kirk was “disappearing faster than snaw of a dyke.” Today in Edinburgh Kirk O Field church, the last remaining kirk in the South Side, closed it’s door. There are still 11 Masses every Sunday in the South Side chapels (one of them a Tridentine Mass in the best chapel of them all) but only a few years ago there were 20 Sunday Masses. Portobello’s three kirks are to amalgamate next year. Apparently there are more folk at one Mass in Portobello’s main chapel than at the five Protestant churches (three kirks plus the Baptists and the Piskies) put together.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:16 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    With regards to this 37,000 growth in the Catholic Church in Scotland, are they actually practising Catholics? I know of young Polish immigrants kneeling outside full Churches in prayerful devotion, so if they bring that here, then fantastic. I would be interested to know the number of Priests, Deacons and Seminarians in Scotland.

    September 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm
    • gabriel syme


      These are 2011 census figures so I expect its just a basic measure of self-identification with the Church. However, as I suspect the increase is largely down to inward immigration* (Poles etc) then I would guess that most of them would be practicing as they come from a more devout culture than our own.

      If such devout Catholics do have a positive impact on the habits of Scottish Church & Catholics, then that would be very welcome. But I tend to fear that the effect might occur the other way around, with the Scots talking the Poles into watch the Celtic game in the pub of a Sunday, rather than going to Mass.

      A problem (as I see it) is that many Poles go to Polish language Masses and so are to a large extent compartmentalised away from the wider Catholic community. Of course, if we had Latin, we would all – regardless of colour, mother tongue or nationality – just go to the same Mass, together, in the true sense of the being a genuine “universal community”.

      As for the figures you ask about, The latest Official Bishops Conference figures I saw for Scotland, from 2011 (same year as the Govt census) were:

      Priests: 712
      (includes all types of priests, including retired priests who are ~20% of the total and 9 chaplains assigned to British Forces)

      Permanent Deacons: 65

      Seminarians: 32
      (majority studying in Rome, with a few in England / Ireland).

      September 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Gabriel Syme,

    Did you mean Presbyterianism in the USA or general Protestantism? If so, the Episcopalians are the fastest declining denomination in the USA. Indeed in 1965 there were over 4 million members, whereas now there are only 1,612,827 members in good standing. It is declining at a rate of several hundred thousand a year, and will no longer exist by 2100. It is God’s will. The Reformation was a test. And we passed.

    September 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm
    • gabriel syme

      I meant protestantism in general in the US.

      I have heard of the Episcopalians plight there. I agree they will soon be gone. Its amazing that they will keep ploughing on down the same furrow, despite the resounding and clear failure of the denomination.

      Some of them “ported over” to the Church under Pope Benedict’s Ordinariate scheme, as in the UK. Most of the decline is most likely down to their people abandoning what they *think* is Christianity, rather than people leaving and finding the Catholic Church and true Christianity.

      September 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    A notable convert to Catholicism from Episcopalian is Dr Taylor Marshall, who is a traditionalist and a much sought after public speaker. He was an Episcopalian ‘priest’. I feel sorry for Anglicans, they want to please everyone, and just can’t. Nearly 100,000 converted to Catholicism last year. I wonder why Seminary students are so low in Scotland? There are 185 (2012) for England and Wales.

    September 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm
    • gabriel syme

      Seminary numbers are so low in Scotland for the same reason as everywhere – due to the damage of Vatican II, mainly in terms of its changes in liturgy and teachings. Having all of these topics properly nailed down and properly understood is essential, if the Holy Spirit is to be able to inspire many vocations in young men.

      At a novus ordo, the altar boys are more likely to be staring at the altar girls, or laughing at the priests clowning antics, than having a serious religious experience. (I was not an altar boy, but a friend in the neighbouring parish was. He said most of them only did it for the tips from weddings etc, and when he was new the priest even gave him advice on what to do if he wanted to be “really funny” and amuse the congregation during mass.)

      In contrast the traditional groups like SSPX, FSSP etc put the various Bishops Conferences wholly to shame, when their ordination rates are compared (pro-rata for size).

      Although neither is doing great, Scotland isn’t doing significantly worse than England-Wales – the number of Scottish seminarians is about 1/6 the amount of England-Wales, which is the same approximate difference in size between the general populations of these two entities (although of course the whole population is not Catholic in either place).

      September 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Tell me where I could view the stas for the SSPX and FSSP. I know they are over 500 Seminarians for the former, but this was years ago. I can’t wait for an SSPX SEminary to open in the UK. I’m discerning a vocation, but could never travel to Econe for 6 years.

    September 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm
    • Whistleblower

      Why couldn’t you travel to Econe?

      September 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm
    • gabriel syme

      FSSP global statistics (dated 1 Nov 2012):

      SSPX global statistics (dated 1 July 2013):

      These SSPX global statistics are hosted on a French website of the society.

      If the page comes up in the French language, there is a “choose language” box to change the language, at the top right hand corner underneath the picture of Pius X.

      September 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    Thanks for that. I found them last night, whilst surfing at 10.15 for SSPX stats, as you do. It really is astounding that the SSPX has such a large amount of seminarians, relative to it’s size, as an organisation. The same applies to the fssp. However, do you think it will continue?

    October 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm

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