Top Civil Servant – Sir Jeremy Heywood And David Cameron In Battle For Downing Street Supremacy

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December 2014:  No, Prime Minister: Britain’s top civil servant in Sir Humphrey-style bid to sabotage PM’s crackdown on his growing empire

 

Britain’s most powerful civil service mandarin is trying to ‘sabotage’ an attempt by David Cameron to restrict his growing empire, it was claimed last night.

Sir Jeremy Heywood was accused of a Sir Humphrey-style attempt to ‘dodge’ new rules that the Prime Minister decides who gets top civil service jobs.

 

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The row comes amid fears that the unelected official is now the most important person in the Cabinet after Mr Cameron and the Chancellor. Sir Jeremy, 52, has even been described by one ex-Tory aide as so powerful that he has the Prime Minister ‘by the balls’.

 

'Even you don't take that long to fix something.'

A former civil service aide to Tony Blair, said he was nicknamed ‘Sir Cover-up’ after preventing the Iraq War inquiry from seeing letters between Mr Blair and George W Bush in the run-up to the war.

Now the Cabinet Secretary, he is accused of a bid to thwart Mr Cameron’s efforts to reduce his and other top mandarins’ influence.

 

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Under reforms which were agreed two months ago, the Prime Minister will get the final say on appointing senior Government posts, instead of the Civil Service Commission. The move has been condemned by civil service unions, amid concern from Ministers that some top mandarins are blocking or obstructing Government policy.

 

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But Ministers privately claim that Sir Jeremy is already trying to get round that by ensuring his favoured candidate Melanie Dawes lands the coveted £190,000-a-year job as the next permanent secretary at the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Ms Dawes, 48, a former senior Treasury official, is currently the Cabinet Office’s director-general for economic and domestic affairs. One Minister privately said last night: ‘Sir Jeremy is making it very clear that she should get the job. Ms Dawes is very talented but if the many other able candidates think it’s a done deal, they won’t bother applying. No sooner do we adopt new rules taking the power of appointment away from top mandarins then they try to sabotage them.’

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Referring to the classic TV comedy series, the Minister added: ‘It’s classic “Yes Minister” tactics. Sir Humphrey will be proud of him – observe the rules in principle but work round them in practice.’

 

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A Cabinet Office spokeswoman last night denied any interference by Sir Jeremy in picking the new permanent secretary. She insisted the process was being carried out ‘externally’ by the Civil Service Commission, which will draw up the shortlist and present it to the Prime Minister. She added: ‘It’s not Sir Jeremy’s decision.’

Last night, sources close to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said he simply wanted the best person for the job. But one added: ‘I do think Eric would like the selection process to be in accordance with the new rules – and that means the Prime Minister having the final say. ’The new appointment will replace Sir Bob Kerslake, who is due to retire next February. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2863737/No-Prime-Minister-Britain-s-civil-servant-Sir-Humphrey-style-bid-sabotage-PM-s-crackdown-growing-empire.html

 

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Quentin Letts “The Spectator” wrote:

‘Sir J. Heywood is a backstairs Bertie, a smudger, a whisper-in-the-PM’s-ear sort who shrivels from public view. The worry for Conservatives, and the rest of us, is that this
shrewd murmurer, this eminence grease, has acquired unprecedented power over not only the Prime Minister but also Nick Clegg, Cabinet, the coalition and much of the rest of the state apparat. There is talk of Heywood obstructing secretaries of state, shafting Cameroons and organising Downing Street to his own convenience. We have gone beyond “Yes, Minister” and now have “Yes, Sir Jeremy”. Worryingly, no one seems more in hock to him than our soigné, someone-take-care-of-that PM.’

 

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The Tory Party will be subject to the will of the electorate in May 2015 – The brutality of their actions in the last 5 years will, if there is any justice result in their removal from office. But Sir Jeremy Heywood, assisted by a group of senior civil servants reporting to him will remain in post waiting to bend the knee to the next government. This is the same team that gloated about the role they discharged in the referendum campaign: devising, plotting, orchestrating and delivering against the Scottish electorate a sustained and vicious litany of lies forming part of a “campaign of fear” designed to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of Scots driving them to vote in favour of retaining the Union.

 

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In the last year I have posted articles providing information about Sir Jeremy Heywood and his involvement in the affairs of government much of which makes for diturbing reading. The civil service based at Whitehall is beyond the control of government and it’s power needs to be curtailed otherwise things will go from bad to worse. Errors attributable to Whitehall civil servants have cost the taxpayer in excess of £100 billion in the lifetime of the present government. The civil servants responsible have been punished with promotion in just about every case.

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Worth a read, over a few days:

https://caltonjock.com/2015/02/22/the-2015-general-election-a-must-read-before-voting-scotlands-voice-must-be-heard-and-acted-upon-by-westminster/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/12/20/sir-jeremy-heywood-the-special-advisers-a-racket-getting-the-taxpayer-to-fund-party-political-activities-lubricating-the-machine-for-free/
https://caltonjock.com/2015/01/22/chilcott-inquiry-delays-the-cover-up-the-machiavellian-influence-of-sir-jeremy-heywood/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/11/03/politics-scandals-cuts-destruction-and-chaos-yet-he-seems-to-thrive-on-it/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/11/03/sir-jeremy-heywood-new-civil-service-chief-executive-appointed-track-record-failure/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/11/03/sir-jeremy-heywood-warns-cuts-you-aint-seen-nuthin-yet/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/11/02/sir-jeremy-heywood-the-referendum-the-dirty-tricks-department-run-by-civil-servants/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/31/sir-jeremy-heywood-sell-off-of-bae-the-last-of-britains-great-british-defence-manufacturers/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/31/heywood-the-big-society-debacle-allegations-of-a-misuse-of-government-and-charitable-funds/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/31/sir-jeremy-heywood-pfizer-astrazeneca-takeover-bid-hang-on-david-ill-ask-the-wife/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-european-surveillance-drone-technology-introduction/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-adored-by-blair-brown-and-cameron-he-knows-just-where-the-bodies-are-buried/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-chinese-whispers-is-this-anyway-to-run-a-country/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-a-perfect-manifestation-of-everything-that-has-gone-so-very-wrong-with-the-british-civil-service/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-the-iraq-inquiry-other-controversies-are-his-hands-clean/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/29/sir-jeremy-heywood-edward-snowden-whistleblower-nsa-gchq-data-collection-surveillance-of-individuals-worldwide/

 

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Civil Service Mandarins Plot Against Scotland – Scottish Labour MP Sits On His Hands – Welsh MP Fights For Scotland Remember This Come The General Election

 

Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood was awarded a knighthood the day before he took up his postSir-Nicholas-MacPhersonScreen-Shot-2012-09-16-at-20.39.42

6 May 2014: Paul Flynn Welsh Labour MP walks out in protest against attack on Scottish independence

The entire two-hour-long Westminster Committee investigation into impartiality in the Civil Service was one long, concerted attempt to obliquely – and sometimes blatantly – attack the integrity of the Scottish independence referendum, the Scottish government, and Sir Peter Housden Head of Scotland’s civil service .

 

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The clip shows the astonishing – and humiliating – spectacle of Lindsay Roy, Scottish Labour MP, sitting silently while a Welsh Labour MP Paul Flynn, excoriates Sir Bob Kerslake for failing to censure Sir Nicholas Macpherson for ‘leaking’ his advice on currency union, and for attacking the Scottish independence referendum. Then walks out of the Committee.

 

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This is a UK Government that has lost control of a situation and the confidence of a country it never understood, and never tried to understand. As for the Scottish Labour Party – they are beneath contempt.

 

* The committe inquiry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EHDN7FMKJA

* A follow up interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51Pl1IalnNI
December 16-2014; Westminster Civil Service, “Devolved Countries Unit”, (Dirty Tricks) campaign team wins “special” Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Award

The three amigo’s who actually run the UK: Sir Jeremy Heywood, Sir Bob Kerslake and Sir Nicholas McPherson collaborated and plotted against Scotland marshalling the full resource of the civil service attacking the Scottish government and anyone in support of the “Yes” campaign. In the months after the referendum they expressed great satisfaction that their “Campaign of fear” had generated “fearties” in sufficient numbers so as to win the day for the Unionist coalition.

 

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An award, in recognition of the team’s outstanding achievement in making a difference on an issue of national significance, (the Referendum) was presented by the ”Cabinet Secretary and civil service head Sir Jeremy Heywood. The proud team commented afterwards;

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* Paul Doyle; “This award is not just for the Treasury, it’s for all the hard work that was done by all government departments on the Scotland agenda. The reality was in all my experience of the civil service, I have never seen the civil service pull together in the way they did behind supporting the UK government in maintaining the United Kingdom. It was a very special event for all of us.”

* William MacFarlane, Deputy Director at HM Treasury, (Budget and Tax Strategy); “As civil servants you don’t get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign. We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications. I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation. This being recognised [at the Civil Service Awards], makes me feel just incredibly proud.”

* Shannon Cochrane; “we’ve learned that it is possible for civil servants to work on things that are inherently political and quite difficult, and you’re very close to the line of what is appropriate, but it’s possible to find your way through and to make a difference.

 

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* Mario Pisani Deputy Director at HM Treasury, (Public Policy); “In the Treasury, everyone hates you. We don’t get thanks for anything. This is one occasion where we’ve worked with the rest of Whitehall. We all had something in common, we’re trying to save the Union here, and it came so close. We just kept it by the skin of our teeth. I actually cried when the result came in. After 10 years in the civil service, my proudest moment is tonight and receiving this award. As civil servants you don’t get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign. We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications. I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation. This being recognised [at the Civil Service Awards], makes me feel just incredibly proud.” http://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/news/hm-treasury-team-wins-special-civil-service-award

 

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*  ” Any mention of the team members in the New Year honours list would be the ultimate kick in the teeth. It was always my understanding that Civil Servants were strictly apolitical and deployment to duties such as described is forbidden. But Sir Jeremy Heywood simply ignores the rules as he sees fit.”
*  “As civil servants you don’t get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign…” Isn’t that an astonishing and revealing comment. The productions of HM Treasury and civil servants at the Scotland Office were critically remarked upon during the Scottish independence referendum. That was a democratic political process in which the civil service should not have been interfering. This episode can be reasonably construed as ultimately to be greatly damaging to any concept of the supposed ‘apolitical’ claims of the UK civil service. Ann Doyle is quoted as saying, “This award is not just for the Treasury, it’s for all the hard work that was done by all government departments on the Scotland agenda”. In the interests of transparency and democratic accountability would it not be essential to hear more from them.”

 

*  “I hope they enjoy their ‘forty pieces of silver’ They killed the hopes and aspirations of future generations to protect their jobs and not offend the landed gentry. Shame on them! – No impartiality whatsoever.”

 

*  “I’m not sure that this article could be any more offensive to Scottish civil servants if it tried. The UK civil service does not end at Whitehall.”

 

*  “For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign” So, not really evidence based policy making then?”

 

*  “So these are the ones we have to thank for how Scotland is now being treated , removing one of our safety lines Kinloss rescue for all the children who are below poverty line and wondering what sort of Christmas the other people enjoy , I personally hope they enjoy their award After all are we not better together now pensioners wondering why they are the lowest paid in Europe with heating bills higher than ever. I could go on for ever even mentioning Trident. If, as Westminster politicians state that the UK needs nuclear weapons they should be moved nearer to where those who received the award live. Let them sit on the threat. Have a Merry Christmas I know loads of children that won’t.”

 

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Chilcott Inquiry Delays – The Cover Up – The Machiavellian Influence Of Sir Jeremy Heywood

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1. It is likely Sir Jeremey Heywood, in his management persona follows the teachings of Machiavelli, in particular the edicts contained in , “The Prince”:

a. “The Prince who rises to power through his own skill and resource (his “virtue”) rather than luck tends to have a hard time rising to the top, but once he reaches the top he is very secure in his position. This is because he effectively crushes his opponents and earns great respect from everyone else. Because he is strong and more self-sufficient, he has to make fewer compromises with his allies.”

2. There is no doubt Sir Jeremey Heywood is the most powerful man in the United Kingdom. I have reported more on him than any other person. Is he above the law? It would appear this is the case. He is scheduled to appear before a parliamentary committee next week to answer questions about the Chilcott Inquiry delay and relatd matters. But will he provide answers. I doubt it. At his last appearance before a Commons Select Committe he stonewalled on each and every question. His role in the Referendum campaign was pivotal in ensuring a victory for, “The Establishment” which he and those reporting to him abandoned the “Civil Service Code” in pursuit of their own agenda.

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3. January 21 2015; Sir Jeremy Heywood a key Tony Blair aide for four years is under fire for his delaying tactics: Heywood is accused of defying vow to release all documents

a. The role played by the country’s top civil servant in delaying the Iraq Inquiry was in the spotlight last night. Sir Jeremy Heywood, who was responsible for negotiating which documents the panel can publish, will be grilled next week by a Commons committee.

b. Sir John Chilcot complained his inquiry was being stalled because the cabinet secretary was seeking to block the release of correspondence between Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George W Bush. Sir John had requested the declassification of 130 records of conversations, around 30 notes and papers from 200 Cabinet-level discussions.

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c. An agreement was finally struck last year but some of the content of the communications will be edited out when the report is published. Critics question whether Sir Jeremy was the right arbiter since he was principal private secretary to Mr Blair in Downing Street from 1999 to 2003, at the time when decisions to go to war were taken.

d. Sir Jeremy’s pivotal role was underlined in a letter from Sir John to David Cameron yesterday explaining the reasons for the further delay. ‘I am pleased to record that since I last wrote the inquiry has reached agreement with Sir Jeremy on the publication of 29 of Mr Blair’s notes to President Bush, subject to a very small number of essential redactions, alongside the inquiry’s final report. Agreement has also been reached on the detail of what material the inquiry will publish in relation to records of conversations between Mr Blair and President Bush, consistent with the principles agreed last year.’

e. Lord Owen, a Labour former foreign secretary, said: ‘When the inquiry was set up, the then prime minister made it quite clear that all British documents should be available. It’s not in my view the job of the cabinet secretary to defy the decision of the prime minister who set it up. I have never known a cabinet secretary to have such a veto. ‘We have in the past had cabinet secretaries who have not had anywhere near as much political engagement as Jeremy Heywood has had. ‘It seems to me that the cabinet secretary hasn’t had that independence of mind that is necessary. I can only say I am worried about it.’

f. Former Tory front bencher David Davis said: ‘The Prime Minister is absolutely right to say the inquiry should be impartial. We have to ask why it has taken so long, and particularly know more about the role of Sir Jeremy Heywood in the delays. ‘He was the principal private secretary of Tony Blair in the run-up to and through the start of the Iraq War. ‘Sir Jeremy was right in the middle of all these decisions. He should be summoned by Parliament to explain what his role was.’

g. Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the public administration committee, said he expected Sir Jeremy would be asked about the delays to the Chilcot report when he appears before MPs next week. ‘We have him coming in front of us and I have no doubt we will ask him one or two questions about it,’ said the Tory MP. ‘He is the conduit between the Government and the inquiry and has brokered the agreement about how the sensitive intelligence and US/UK correspondence would be dealt with. ‘However, he’s not accountable for the conduct of the inquiry itself any more than the Prime Minister. That’s down to Chilcot himself. If Chilcot had felt there was any agenda in dealing with Jeremy Heywood, then he would have absolutely hit the roof.’

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h. A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ‘The inquiry and Government agreed in the inquiry’s documents protocol that the cabinet secretary should be the final arbiter of declassification – that remains unchanged and has the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister’s full support. ‘At the outset the Government assured the inquiry of its full cooperation and it continues to do so.’

i. In the Hutton Inquiry, which was held into the death of David Kelly, it emerged that in a breach of Whitehall procedures, Sir Jeremy had not had minutes taken of four meetings involving ministers and senior officials that had taken place in the 48 hours before the weapons expert’s name was released. Nicknamed Sir Cover-up for preventing the inquiry from seeing the Blair-Bush material, Sir Jeremy’s influence is such that Mr Cameron is said to have once joked: ‘Remind me, Jeremy, do you work for me or do I work for you?’

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4. The men in the dock… and how they flourished – While Iraq remains in a state of tumult – with the murderous Islamic State in control of large swathes of the country – the British elite responsible for toppling Saddam Hussein are leading very comfortable lives indeed.

a. TONY BLAIR Prime Minister 1997-2007

The charge: Wildly exaggerated evidence that Saddam posed a deadly threat to Britain, while suppressing advice that war might be illegal. Duped the Cabinet, Parliament and public into backing an invasion he had already agreed privately with George Bush, having assured the president in 2002 that, if Saddam was to be toppled militarily, Britain would ‘be there’.

Where now? Has amassed vast personal wealth – estimated at between £20million and £100million – through speeches and the consultancy firm Tony Blair Associates, whose clients include some of the world’s most notorious despots.

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b. ALASTAIR CAMPBELL Blair’s spin doctor and director of communications 1997-2003

Charge: Pivotal role in making the case for war, including the production of the so-called ‘dodgy dossier’ in February 2003. The gravest charge is that he influenced Parliament’s joint intelligence committee and ‘beefed up’ unfounded claims that Saddam could fire weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.

Where now? He has enjoyed a lucrative career as an author and TV pundit. Now advising Ed Miliband on the 2015 election campaign.

c. SIR JOHN SCARLETT Chairman: Cabinet Office joint intelligence committee 2001-04

Charge: Described by Campbell as a ‘mate’, he is accused of allowing the PM and his spin doctor to influence the content of the key intelligence reports that led to war.

Where now? Blair named Sir John head of MI6 in 2004 – seen by many as a reward for his role in the buildup to the Iraq invasion. He was knighted in 2007. After stepping down from MI6 in 2009, he joined the board of Times Newspapers.

d. JACK STRAW Foreign Secretary from 2001-2006

Charge: Helped negotiate the November 2002 UN resolution giving Saddam a ‘final opportunity to disarm’ that Blair ultimately used to justify the invasion. Failed to secure a second resolution explicitly backing military action. He sent notes to the prime minister in March 2003, the month of the invasion, offering alternative courses, suggesting that Britain might back the US attack but not participate. Straw admitted to Chilcot that he could have brought the military juggernaut to a halt by resigning.

Where now? Remained in Cabinet until 2010. After retiring from frontbench politics he remained an MP and became a £30,000-a-year consultant to ED&F Man Holdings, a British commodities company.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace

e. LORD GOLDSMITH Attorney General 2001-2007

Charge: Provided the legal advice Blair relied upon to invade. His original memo to the PM on January 30, 2003, stated that UN Resolution 1441 did not sanction use of force and that a further resolution was needed. He then ‘materially’ changed his mind in March, only days before the war began, to state military action would be legal after all. He insisted it was ‘complete nonsense’ to claim he did so because of political pressure.

Where now? Quit on the day Blair left Number 10 and became head of European litigation at London office of Debevoise & Plimpton on a reported salary of £1million a year.

f. SIR JEREMY GREENSTOCK UK permanent representative to the UN 1998-2003

Charge: He was a key figure as the UK and US tried unsuccessfully to push for a second UN resolution explicitly authorising military action. Later told Chilcot the war was of ‘questionable legitimacy’ because of this failure but, crucially, he did not resign in protest.

Where now? In September 2003 he was made the UK’s special representative for Iraq as the ultimately disastrous reconstruction effort got under way. Later held a string of well-remunerated advisory roles, including at the oil giant BP.

g. SIR DAVID MANNING Blair’s chief foreign policy adviser

Charge: Attended meetings in June 2002 and January 2003 in which President Bush and the Labour prime minister drew up secret plans for the invasion. In July 2002, he hand-delivered to Condoleezza Rice, then US secretary of state, a personal letter from Mr Blair to Mr Bush described by critics as a ‘blank cheque’. Sir David also wrote a notorious secret memo after the January meeting which showed the US invasion of Iraq would go ahead with or without UN support.

Where now? Currently an aide to Prince William, he was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the new year honours list. Also served as ambassador to the US.

h. SIR JEREMY HEYWOOD Blair’s principal private secretary 1999-2003

Charge: His arrival in Downing Street coincided with the advent of so-called Blairite ‘sofa government,’ in which key decisions were taken by a small group of insiders. One of a handful of figures at Downing Street meeting at which it was decided to publicly name Dr Kelly.

Where now? After Iraq he took a senior post at the investment bank Morgan Stanley. Now the most powerful civil servant in Britain. Dubbed Sir Cover-up, he has been partly blamed for the Chilcot delays amid an interminable row over the release of crucial private letters between Blair and Bush.

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i. GORDON BROWN Chancellor 1997-2007

Charge: Played little role in making the case for invasion, but angered military top brass by chopping £1billion from the defence budget at the height of the war. Families of dead soldiers say they were sent into battle in 2003 with inadequate equipment. Brown told Chilcot he had never turned down a request for military equipment.

Where now? Set up Chilcot after becoming PM in 2007. Since 2010 election he has been paid tens of thousands in speaking fees but is adamant none of the money goes to him personally.

j. GEOFF HOON Defence Secretary 1999-2005

Charge: His job was to ensure the men he was sending into battle were properly equipped but admitted to Chilcot that troops lacked body armour because Blair ordered him and the head of the Armed Forces to avoid any visible preparations for war.

Where now? Left Parliament in disgrace in 2010 after being caught in a lobbying sting. The following year he landed a lucrative role with AgustaWestland, a defence firm given a £1.7billion MoD contract. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2920788/Jeremy-Heywood-accused-defying-vow-release-documents.html

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5. The Heywood reports:

https://caltonjock.com/2015/01/21/sir-jeremy-heywoods-dambuster-dirty-tricks-team-of-senior-civil-servants-drop-bombs-on-scotland-civil-service-code-doesnt-exist-for-this-lot/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-a-perfect-manifestation-of-everything-that-has-gone-so-very-wrong-with-the-british-civil-service/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-chinese-whispers-is-this-anyway-to-run-a-country/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/11/03/politics-scandals-cuts-destruction-and-chaos-yet-he-seems-to-thrive-on-it/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/11/03/sir-jeremy-heywood-new-civil-service-chief-executive-appointed-track-record-failure/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/11/03/sir-jeremy-heywood-warns-cuts-you-aint-seen-nuthin-yet/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/11/02/sir-jeremy-heywood-the-referendum-the-dirty-tricks-department-run-by-civil-servants/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/31/sir-jeremy-heywood-sell-off-of-bae-the-last-of-britains-great-british-defence-manufacturers/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/31/heywood-the-big-society-debacle-allegations-of-a-misuse-of-government-and-charitable-funds/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/31/sir-jeremy-heywood-pfizer-astrazeneca-takeover-bid-hang-on-david-ill-ask-the-wife/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-european-surveillance-drone-technology-introduction/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-adored-by-blair-brown-and-cameron-he-knows-just-where-the-bodies-are-buried/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-the-iraq-inquiry-other-controversies-are-his-hands-clean/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/29/sir-jeremy-heywood-edward-snowden-whistleblower-nsa-gchq-data-collection-surveillance-of-individuals-worldwide/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/12/18/sir-jeremy-heywood-the-puppet-master-relocation-of-scottish-banking-hq-to-england/

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Sir Jeremy Heywood – Politics, Scandals, Cuts, Destruction and Chaos – Yet He Seems to Thrive On It

December 23 2013: Politics, scandal, cuts, destruction and chaos. Would anyone working in the public sector actually recommend it anymore?

At the very top is, Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary. Will he be prepared to rap ministers’ knuckles or demand David Cameron corral special advisers when they use the machinery of state for party advantage?

Political pundits say the general election of 2015 will be dirty, putting permanent secretaries on their mettle. But the fact that since 2010 none of them have sought a, “direction” from ministers – an explicit order from a minister to pursue action about which they have financial or administrative doubts – suggests they might not erect much of a barrier against politicisation. Civil servants face trial by ordeal – keeping public business (and ministers) honest as politicking hots up, as grave doubts grow about Whitehall’s capacity and ethos. NHS managers will struggle to survive amid resource crisis and the chaos created by healthcare “reforms”. In town and county halls, despair may overcome executives contemplating impossible financial arithmetic while dealing with the latest example of government’s simultaneous bid to control and blame them.

Coalition government has proved a dark hour for council executives and their troubles will deepen. There is no sign of relenting in the pursuit by government of their pay and pensions. Their national organisations, Solace and the Local Government Association, are silent, pale shadows. Bright spots include imaginative rethinking of conurbation governance as councils in Manchester, Merseyside and London come together in new combinations and some shire districts rationalise services.

The professional bodies representing clinicians specialising in emergency medicine say hospitals can neither recruit nor retain staff to work in A&E. In the new year, the Trust Development Authority (the body supposed to help NHS trusts make the leap into foundation status) will report that attracting both managers and board members is increasingly difficult.

If all that paints a gloomy picture of 2014, don’t forget it is meant to be that way. Oliver Letwin, chief policy strategist for the government, embraces, “creative destruction”. Francis Maude says the Tories are deliberately demolishing the state. Justice secretary Chris Grayling and other ministers are powering ahead with the replacement of public by private provision. The calamity that is the NHS was willed by the authors of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

Which is not to say that a change of government at Westminster in 2015 would suddenly see dawn’s rosy fingers caressing public service management. The safest prediction for next year (and possibly several years after) is that things are going to get worse before they have any prospect of getting better.
http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2013/dec/23/doom-gloom-public-services

June 6 2014: Labour makes official complaint over use of Conservative slogan in Queen’s Speech

I am writing to express concerns that taxpayers’ money is being routinely used to promote the Conservative Party’s messages. It is, of course, the role of the Civil Service to communicate official government information to the public. However, it is vital that this work is clearly confined to non-party political activity. It would be completely inappropriate for the work of the Civil Service to be manipulated to support party political messaging. The Civil Service Code itself states that civil servants must not, “use official resources for party political purposes”. I believe there are serious questions to be asked as to whether the Code is currently being upheld. I therefore ask that you investigate urgently whether official government resources are being used to promote Conservative Party communications. In particular, I hope you will be able to answer the following questions:

Do you consider the slogan ‘long-term economic plan’ or ‘long-term plan’ to be government brands? If so, do you think it is appropriate for it to be used in the Conservative Party’s political and campaign communications materials?

What measures have been taken to ensure that none of the £290 million earmarked for external communications this year will be used to promote a political party’s message?

What processes have you put in place to ensure that public resources are used only for impartial and official government business?

What processes have you put in place to ensure the Conservative Party will not seek to use official government messaging for party political ends?

What communication has been had with the Conservative Party to ensure that this is the case?

In considering these questions, I would draw your attention to the fact that in 2009 the then Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude wrote to the then Cabinet Secretary seeking assurances that the work of civil servants was not being used inappropriately. He argued that “addressing this issue is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the work of the civil service”. This statement is as true now as it was then. It is essential that the public has clarity and confidence over the proper use of public funds and impartiality of the civil service and as such I look forward to your response. In light of the obvious public interest in this matter I am releasing a copy of this letter to the media. Michael Dugher MP, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office.

July 7 2014: Treasury has not signed off on Duncan Smith’s universal credit

The Treasury is keeping a very close eye on the universal credit development, the responsibility of work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, after it was criticised by the National Audit Office for its “weak management, ineffective control and poor governance”.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, said the Treasury and the Cabinet Office’s Major Projects Authority, “played a very, very clear role in bringing it to the attention” of Duncan Smith that the project was, “way off track” at the start of last year. However, he said it was a good example where the most senior people in Whitehall had, “intervened very strongly” to help sort it out. Heywood also admitted that Duncan Smith’s department had mishandled Atos contracts, which has been responsible for delays in the implementation of a new personal independence payment to the disabled. He said there was an issue about whether the department responsible was, “sufficiently alive to the emerging picture”. “That comes down, in my view, to; first of all, was there, before the thing became a project to start with, before it became announced as a priority of the government, was there a sufficiently hard-headed assessment done at the gateway stage? Secondly, there is the perennial problem of whether we had adequate timely real-time information as to what was going on,” he added.

Universal credit has the support of all the major parties but Labour has pledged to, “pause” and conduct a three-month review if it wins the general election. Chris Bryant, shadow minister for welfare reform, said it was, “more evidence of the chaos surrounding universal credit”. “It raises worrying questions about George Osborne’s refusal to endorse his government’s flagship welfare reform scheme,” he said. ‘It’s time for David Cameron to call in the National Audit Office as a matter of urgency to get to the bottom of the true extent of the chaos surrounding universal credit.” A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman insisted there was no contradiction between McVey’s claims and the admission from Kerslake. “Universal credit is on track to roll out safely and securely against the plan set out last year.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/07/treasury-not-signing-off-duncan-smith-universal-credit

July 31 2014: The hunt for a new BBC Trust boss has become a mess

Two more leading candidates have pulled out of the race to become the new head of the BBC Trust amid accusations that the process has descended into a “mess”. Sir Howard Stringer, the former Sony chief executive, and Michael Portillo, the former Conservative defence secretary, were both approached about the role but decided not to apply. A total of nine candidates have now pulled out including Lord Coe, the Olympics chief who had been the Prime Minister’s preferred choice, Dame Marjorie Scardino, the former chief executive of Pearson, and Sir Peter Bazalgette, chairman of the Arts Council. Despite the setbacks Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, will begin interviewing the remaining shortlisted candidates today. Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, believes that the shortlist remains “strong”. However Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, said that the job is “unattractive” because the trust is likely to be abolished under the royal charter review in 2016.

June 25 2014: David Cameron’s judgment in the dock after phone-hacking case – Labour claims he ignored warnings – Why was he not vetted

Miliband also raised again the issue of why Coulson was not given the highest security clearance – something that would have required him to be deep vetted, including a months long investigation into his private life. Cameron insisted that the initial decision not to seek the highest-level clearance for Coulson – in contrast to the six previous press secretaries – was made by the then Downing Street permanent secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. It has been previously reported that Sir Jeremy made the decision on the basis of cost saving, but Labour is to ask the commissioner for public appointments, Sir David Normington, to look into the procedure.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/25/1

June 9 2014: David Cameron no longer scares his ministers

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is damaged by an unspoken element in the public feud between Home Secretary Theresa May and Education Secretary Michael Gove. It is that his ministers do not fear him. Cameron’s continuing, baffling reliance on fingers-in-every-pie Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, is in evidence yet again. Heywood was asked by the PM to conduct a ‘review’ of the May-Gove spat — over whose department was to blame for Islamic extremism in schools. Afterwards, Heywood told Cameron he must take firm action against Gove and Ms Cunningham. This turns out to be Gove having to say sorry and Ms Cunningham getting the sack. Neither Gove nor Mrs May can be sacked. That would imperil Cameron’s own position. But the unfortunate Ms Cunningham is deemed dispensable.

Gove started the row by criticising Mrs May and counter-terrorism boss Charles Farr in remarks he made in private over lunch to cronies at The Times. Ms Cunningham, who is romantically involved with Farr and an often aggressive supporter of Mrs May, made public a private letter the Home Secretary wrote to Gove accusing him of failing to act on concerns about Islamic activity in schools. Leaking private communications between ministers is deemed to be very bad form. But why do ministers write complaining letters to each other if the intention is to keep their contents secret? They do so in order to put on record their grievances. So, if disagreements boil over — and there’s an inquiry into the matter — they can produce their letters as evidence. Ms Cunningham acted prematurely, that is all. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2652454/PETER-MCKAY-Why-Dave-no-longer-scares-ministers.html

March 5 2014: Patrick Rock arrest: Sir Jeremy Heywood’s reply to Labour letter

I will try to respond to your specific questions but, as you recognise, in doing so my overriding concern must be to avoid doing anything to prejudice or undermine an on-going police investigation. Downing Street became aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery on the evening of 12 February. I was immediately informed of the allegation and the Prime Minister was also briefed. Officials then contacted the NCA to seek advice on how to report suspected criminality. Our subsequent actions were driven by the overriding importance of not jeopardising either their investigation or the possibility of a prosecution.

Patrick Rock resigned on the evening of 12 February. His resignation was not made public as we judged it was inappropriate to make an announcement while the NCA investigations were continuing. A few hours later he was arrested. We also arranged for officers to come into Number 10 to have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant. There has been no contact from officials with Mr Rock since his arrest. Mr Rock was cleared to the standard SC level which was appropriate for the classification of material to which he needed to have access.

You ask a number of questions about a separate sexual harassment allegation. Let me start by saying that we regard our duty of confidentiality to staff who make complaints as extremely important. Confidentiality is essential if we are to ensure that people feel able to raise issues freely, and without fear of subsequently being identified. I am therefore not in a position to provide any information that might breach our duty of confidence or allow an individual to be identified.

On the specific questions you raise in relation to what you describe as “an allegation of sexual harassment”, again let me make clear that as you would expect we take any issue raised by staff about behaviour very seriously indeed. The complaint was acted upon immediately at a senior level and in accordance with Cabinet Office HR policy. The issue was resolved with the consent of, and in consultation with, the individual who raised the complaint. Both civil service and special adviser line managers were involved. I was briefed on the case and concluded that the matter had been dealt with appropriately. The Prime Minister was also made aware. You imply that the member of staff who raised the complaint was moved to another Government department against their wishes. This is completely untrue – no member of staff was moved as a result of the case. I am not aware of any other complaint about Patrick Rock’s behaviour while he was working at No 10

Sir Jeremy Heywood – New Civil Service Chief Executive Appointed – Track Record? Failure.

August 21 2014: New Civil Service CEO should report to PM, says think-tank founder

The new chief executive of the civil service will only have “sufficient authority” if he/she reports directly to the prime minister, rather than Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood,  John Healey, co-founder of new think-tank GovernUp, has said. November is the earmarked start date for the new CEO whose line manager will be Heywood, according to the job spec produced by the  cabinet Office last month. But, speaking in a joint CSW interview with think-tank co-founder CSW Nick Herbert MP , Healey MP said that, “unless they are in a position with sufficient authority”, the new person will struggle to exert enough influence in Whitehall. Asked what he means by “sufficient authority”, Healey said: “For me, it means reporting directly to the prime minister. It doesn’t mean reporting to some other civil servant.”

Healey said that he was, “sceptical” about whether creating a, “freshly designated post will make a sufficient difference”, adding that it will be hard to find both, “the skills to know how you can make big organisations that are disparate in their functions and structure perform, report and deliver better.” Herbert, who co-founded GovernUp with Healey 18 months ago to produce a range of radical ideas to reform government, was more optimistic about the new role. He described the new person, who must, according to the job ad, “demonstrate that he or she has had a successful career in the private sector”, as “a huge opportunity to bring in someone with real commercial acumen which is what Whitehall needs.”

The Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday, 18 August, that Whitehall is struggling to recruit anyone for the new post, “with several business leaders having turned down approaches from head-hunters less than three weeks from the closing date for applications” – 5 September. The FT quoted a “person familiar with the [recruitment] process” who said that the government has “drawn up a ‘plan B’ to appoint John Manzoni, a former BP senior executive and now the head of the Major Projects Authority, if a suitable candidate does not come forward”. Candidates who have been approached are, the FT reported, concerned that, “you sign up now and then six months later get a Miliband government.” http://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/news/new-ceo-should-report-pm-says-think-tank-founder

October 27 2014: Controversial former BP executive appointed to the top of the Civil Service

A former BP executive criticized for his role in the Texas oil refinery explosion which killed 15 people in 2005 is to become the first chief executive of the Civil Service. The controversy at BP arose when Mr Manzoni was blamed by an internal report for failing to heed, “serious warning signals” prior to the Texas explosion. Mr Manzoni ran about half of BP’s global operations before moving on to Talisman Energy, a company heavily involved in fracking in the US, which was fined over dozens of health and safety violations.

John Manzoni will be responsible for making savings across Whitehall in areas such as IT, procurement and contracts. For the past six months, he has been overseeing the Government’s watchdog scrutinizing major projects such as HS2 and the nuclear programme. He is due to start his new role as civil service chief on 13 October, with a salary of £190,000 a year. He will report not only to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, but also to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, and the Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude. Sir Jeremy admitted that the Civil Service still needed to be, “much better at doing commercial stuff”, such as contract management, which will be an early priority for the new chief executive.

Mr Manzoni’s role will be vital as the Civil Service attempts to find about £13 billion of extra cuts in the spending round after the general election. Mr Maude said he expected efficiency would have a “very big role” whoever was elected, and Mr Manzoni would be closely involved in delivering that. One of Mr Manzoni’s priorities will be to drive the expansion of the Government Digital Service that aims to transform the way in which people interact with government online. However, this has not been entirely smooth so far, with a website designed to allow people to renew their tax disk online crashing on its first day.

Yesterday’s announcement comes alongside a new progress report on Civil Service Reform. The report says that more people from outside the Civil Service will be brought in to fill skills gaps, with more training and support for existing civil servants. By April 2015, there will be a presumption that senior civil service appointments below permanent secretary level should be open to external candidates. Applicants for permanent secretary posts will be expected – and, after summer 2016, required – to have completed an appropriate business school leadership course, ensuring that leadership skills are prioritised.

Announcing the chief executive appointment, David Cameron said that Mr Manzoni’s private sector experience put him in the, “perfect position to accelerate the pace” of civil service reform. Sir Jeremy added: “We have all been impressed by John’s leadership of the Major Projects Authority.” Mr Manzoni was chosen after an external competition which some believed would result in a high-profile outsider being brought in to run the Civil Service. However, there was thought to be little interest in so called heavyweight business figures, and ministers decided to stick with someone who was a known quantity. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/controversial-former-bp-executive-rises-to-the-top-of-the-civil-service-9771334.html

Sir Jeremy Heywood – Warns – Cut’s You Aint Seen Nuthin Yet!!

1. July 2 2013: Sir Jeremy Heywood, Britain’s most senior civil servant said, “Britain is in a 20 year battle to rebalance the economy, returning the country to financial health

a. Sir Jeremy Heywood also suggested that the cuts made to public services to date were not sufficient and that austerity measures would have to continue for “at least” another four years. The comments from the Cabinet Secretary will have a sobering effect on ministers, who were buoyed last week by the announcement from the Office of National Statistics that Britain had avoided a double-dip recession last year.

b. They will also be noted by all three major parties as they draw up their manifestos for the 2015 general election. Sir Jeremy said that the cuts pushed through by the Coalition did not go nearly far enough. He said that there was a “very long way to go” and added: “This is not a two-year project or a five-year project. This is a 10-year project, a 20-year generational battle to beef up the economy in ways that we have not seen for many, many decades.” Sir Jeremy, who is close to Prime Minister David Cameron, was making a speech to an audience of civil servants at Civil Service Live in West London.

c. Sir Jeremy told the civil servants: “There is a very, very long way to go. We were reminded only last week that the economy as a whole remains about 4 per cent below the size that it was in 2008. “Five years on from the bottom of the recession we have still not even near recovered all the output we lost in that terribly deep recession that we suffered in 2007-08. “Those are really daunting numbers that just show the size of the challenge; there is no alternative.” Sir Jeremy said that rebalancing the economy away from financial services and more in favour of manufacturing was “much easier said than done”. He made clear that the cuts introduced by Chancellor George Osborne had not gone far enough because the deficit was still rising.

d. He told his audience of about 200 Whitehall officials: “All the civil servants in the room will be well aware that the last three or four years have been tough. There have been years of austerity, years of pay freezes, of pay restraint; every part of government has been told by ministers — and rightly so — to hunt out waste and tackle inefficiencies. “But despite all these efforts we have made over the last three years … our debt/GDP ratio is still rising, debt interest payments are rising. “There is still an enormous amount of work to get that deficit down to a balanced level to get the debt/GDP level falling rather than rising.” Sir Jeremy praised the “remarkably smooth” spending round for 2015-16 which was unveiled by Mr Osborne last week but warned that austerity would go on until 2017, and possibly longer.

e. Despite his gloomy assessment, Sir Jeremy said that for Mark Carney, the new Bank of England Governor, it was a, “good time to join”. Describing the Canadian as “the world’s most impressive central banker”, he said that it showed Britain’s “self confidence” that it could have a “foreigner come to work in such an important symbol of the country as its central bank. He added: “We will give him every support he needs.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10156170/Twenty-years-to-fix-economy.html

2. September 26 2014: Britain faces five more years of cuts, head of civil service warns

a. Britain faces five more years of public sector cuts which are likely to prove “even harder” than those which have already been made, the outgoing head of the civil service has said. Sir Bob Kerslake, who stepped down as head of the home civil service as part of a Whitehall shake-up ordered by David Cameron in July warned that the, “easier savings” had already been made and staff are, “looking for some relief”. In an address at the Institute for Government, a think tank, he said: “The first five years have been challenging but the second five years are likely to prove even harder for three reasons. The easier savings have already been made. We are likely to be doing it against a background of a growing economy and greater competition for good staff. The sense of urgency that underpinned the first savings programme will be reduced.

b. Sir Bob, who will remain permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government until he retires at 60 in February, said the plan devised in 2012 when he took office was supposed to amount to, “radical change” and he felt the service had “excelled” in delivering it. He said: “I have gone on at length about these drivers because I think they provide the enduring reasons for change and reform that go beyond current individuals and even governments. “The civil service is not and never was broken. But if it wants to stay relevant and be the best it can be, it must continue to reform. “Let me move on to the question ‘How far have we got?’ In short, I think that a great deal has been delivered that the civil service should take great pride in.” Sir Bob was replaced as head of the home civil service by cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood.

Martin Carter commented: ‘The easier savings have already been made’ What rubbish:

i. 850 ‘Lords’, including another tranche of unheard-of Lib/Dem councillors recently given an undeserved sinecure for life?

ii. Councillors drawing millions of pounds a year in, “allowances” for merely being locally elected representatives with responsibility for ensuring even more highly paid council officers do their jobs properly (if only).

iii. Unsackable police and crime commissioners (and their cronies appointed as deputies from the political lists) drawing £70,000+ a year.

iv. Up to six layers of governance over the lives of every individual in the UK.

v. Vanity projects all over the UK, including loss-making entertainments activities and venues, hopeless transport schemes and spending on little performance areas in front of town halls and civic halls.

There is plenty of fat to keep trimming away at, without even beginning to impact on front line services. But as long as it’s paid politicians who are doing the cutting, the front line services will be chopped every time. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11122896/Britain-faces-five-more-years-of-cuts-head-of-civil-service-warns.html

Sir Jeremy Heywood – The Referendum – The Dirty Tricks Department Run By Civil Servants

1. June 14 2014; Queen ‘will not back the Union’ ahead of independence referendum

a. The Queen will not publicly back the Union ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum, Buckingham Palace has said. A number of news outlets have been anticipating a royal seal of approval for the Better Together campaign but their hopes appear to have been dashed by the palace. A report in Private Eye magazine claimed that Her Majesty had rebuffed attempts by David Cameron to get her to encourage a No vote in September. It said: “Two attempts to insert gentle references in support of the Union in speeches over the past year have been rebuffed by the palace, which suggested that Her Majesty’s ministers in Edinburgh might offer conflicting advice.

b. “Buckingham Palace has even set up a task-force, headed by private secretary Sir Christopher Geidt, to ensure her absolute neutrality is maintained.” A spokesman for Her Majesty said the report was “not true” — but confirmed the UK’s head of state would not be attempting to influence Scots’ choice at the ballot box in three months’ time. He said: “As far as we are concerned it’s just business as usual and there is no task-force.” Asked if requests had been made by the Prime Minister for an official backing of the Union, the spokesman said: “I think No. 10 completely understand the Queen is completely neutral on this question and I don’t recognise that description. “We have been very clear from the beginning, as have they, that the Queen thinks this is a matter for the people of Scotland and is above political affray.”

c. Under Scottish Government plans, the Queen would be retained as head of state should Scotland vote Yes on September 18. The Queen did appear to come out against devolution and independence in a Silver Jubilee Speech in 1977. She said then: “Perhaps this Jubilee is a time to remind ourselves of the benefits which union has conferred, at home and in our international dealings, on the inhabitants of all parts of this United Kingdom.”
http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/queen-will-not-back-the-union-ahead-of-independence-referendum-1.422113

2. September 12-2014; Scottish independence: UKIP leader Nigel Farage urges Queen to back No vote

a. Ukip leader Nigel Farage has called on the Queen to intervene in the Scottish independence referendum. Buckingham Palace issued a statement earlier this week saying the monarch was “above politics”. The palace said it was “categorically wrong” to suggest she would wish to influence the vote in next week’s referendum. But speaking on LBC radio, Mr Farage said it could be argued that the Queen had a responsibility to speak. The Ukip leader, who will be holding a rally in Glasgow later, said: “I completely understand her wanting to keep out of politics and she has done it brilliantly over 60 years. “But there are times where if the United Kingdom, over which she is the monarch, is threatened itself, it might be right for her to say something.
“Let’s say we got to this Sunday and it was still 50/50 in the polls, I personally think she should say something.” Mr Farage said there was a precedent for the Queen intervening because she addressed independence in her Silver Jubilee speech in 1977.

b. Queen Elizabeth II attends a Garden Party at Balmoral Castle in 2012 “She said very clearly I am the Queen of the entire United Kingdom,” he said. “So she said it before and it might be handy if she said it again.” Sources in Better Together, which is campaigning for a No campaign, dismissed Mr Farage’s call for the Queen to intervene as “absolutely preposterous”.

c. Earlier this week Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said the Queen “will be proud” to be the monarch of an independent Scotland. The palace later insisted the referendum was “a matter for the people of Scotland”. A spokesman said: “The sovereign’s constitutional impartiality is an established principle of our democracy and one which the Queen has demonstrated throughout her reign. “As such the monarch is above politics and those in political office have a duty to ensure that this remains the case. “Any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the current referendum campaign is categorically wrong.”

d. The BBC’s royal correspondent Peter Hunt said he understood that the comments were made in response to calls for the Queen to speak out in favour of the union and not in response to Mr Salmond’s remarks. Under the plans for independence outlined in the Scottish government’s white paper, the Queen would remain head of state. BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said sources in the Better Together campaign strongly criticised Mr Farage for suggesting the Queen should make a public statement of support for the union. They insisted it would not be appropriate for the Queen to become involved.
https://archive.today/nBsrw#selection-699.0-699.75

3. September 12 2014; Jeremy Heywood tells SNP BBC did not breach code

a. Scottish Independence. The head of the civil service Sir Jeremy Heywood has said there was no breach of the Ministerial Code in relation to BBC reporting of RBS’s headquarters moving to England. Sir Jeremy wrote to Alex Salmond to say no rules had been broken when the BBC reported that RBS had a contingency plan to move its legal office south of the border in the event of a Yes vote.

b. The senior civil servant was replying to Mr Salmond’s call for an investigation into the BBC’s reporting of the move. The First Minister reacted to news that Scotland’s five major banks were considering moving their legal-bases out of Scotland by claiming that the Treasury had briefed the BBC with “market sensitive information” about RBS before the markets opened.

c. Sir Jeremy’s letter said the Treasury had simply been confirming the position after reports appeared elsewhere in the media and there had been no breach of the Ministerial Code.
“This was not a UK Government announcement – it was simply a confirmation of the Treasury’s understanding of RBS’ contingency planning,” he wrote. “In response to …. informed media reports about RBS, the Treasury judged that it was important to set this out – at a time when the UK financial markets were closed – given their overarching responsibility for maintaining financial stability in the UK.”
http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/jeremy-heywood-tells-snp-bbc-did-not-breach-code-1-3539869

4. September 13-2014; Farage compares David Cameron to Edward II at Bannockburn

a. Mr Farage said: “From the beginning I was astonished that the Prime Minister allowed for the separatists to be given the Yes side of the referendum question. “Far better from his point of view, you would have thought, would have been to have asked the question “should Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom?” “And to keep the positive on his side. “But no, on this he blundered. But more fundamentally he blundered by not offering the Scottish people, the devo max option. “I have absolutely no doubt that if that had been on the ballot paper it would have secured a large majority of the votes. “However, arrogant as Edward II was at Bannockburn, Cameron has walked straight into this long planned ambush. “Now of course, he and the others in Better Together are offering the devo max option. “They’re not giving people directly the chance to vote for it and the Labour Party led by Ed Miliband has totally failed to connect, despite the fact that electorally they have the most to lose.”

b. Earlier Mr Farage risked invoking the wrath of Buckingham Palace when he called on the Queen to make a public statement in support of the Union if the campaign was still on a knife-edge by Sunday. The palace took the unprecedented step earlier this week of warning campaigners not to politicise the monarch but the Ukip leader pointed out that the Queen backed the Union in her 1977 Silver Jubilee speech and “it might be handy if she said it again”.
http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/nigel-farage-compares-david-cameron-to-edward-ii-at-bannockburn-1.573755

5. September 14-2014; Queen hopes Scottish independence voters will ‘think carefully about future’

a. The Queen has made a rare intervention on the political stage to express the hope that voters will “think very carefully about the future” before the Scottish independence referendum on Thursday. Speaking after the Sunday morning service at Crathie Kirk near her Balmoral estate in Scotland, the Queen told a well-wisher: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.” The remarks were interpreted by no campaigners as being helpful to their cause. British prime minister David Cameron will on Monday use his final visit to Scotland before the referendum to say that a yes vote will lead to a split “for ever”.

b. The Queen made her remarks after a well-wisher joked that they would not mention the referendum. The Queen, who remains above the political fray as a constitutional monarch, observed the proprieties of not endorsing either side in the referendum. But her remark was seen to tally with no campaigners claims that a vote for independence would lead to an irrevocable break with the UK. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “We never comment on private exchanges or conversations. We just reiterate what the Queen has always said: she maintains her constitutional impartiality. As the Queen has always said, this is a matter for the people of Scotland.”

c. But the Queen’s remarks, which were first disclosed by the Times’s Scottish political editor Lindsay McIntosh, were warmly welcomed in private by the pro-UK side, who are keen to impress on voters that they will make an irrevocable decision if they vote for independence. The prime minister will reinforce this point on Monday when he says: “This is a decision that could break up our family of nations and rip Scotland from the rest of the UK. And we must be very clear. There’s no going back from this. No rerun. “This is a once-and-for-all decision. If Scotland votes yes, the UK will split, and we will go our separate ways for ever.”

d. The remarks by the Queen came after the palace insisted last week that the monarch, who spends every summer at her Balmoral estate and whose mother was Scottish, was remaining above the fray in the referendum. This followed reports that the Queen was horrified by the prospect that her kingdom may be broken up.

e. Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, weighed in last week when he said it “might be handy” if the Queen intervened on behalf of the pro-UK side. Some campaigners for the union have pointed out that in 1977, the year of her silver jubilee, the Queen said in a speech in Westminster Hall: “I cannot forget that I was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

f. It has been stressed that the speech in 1977 was made in different circumstances when there was no devolution legislation before parliament. A proposal to establish a Scottish assembly was narrowly passed in a referendum in 1979. But it ultimately failed because the yes vote was below 40% of the overall electorate.

g. Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister, highlighted the significance of the monarchy when he moved on Sunday to reassure traditionalists when he said the “Queen and her successors” would remain as head of state in an independent Scotland. He told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1: “We want to see Her Majesty the Queen as Queen of the Scots. That is a fantastic title and a fantastic prospect.”
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/14/queen-scottish-independence-voters-think-carefully-referendum-balmoral

6. September 15-2014; David Cameron makes emotional plea to Scotland as independence vote looms

a. In an emotional speech on his last visit to Scotland before Thursday’s independence referendum, the prime minister warned that a yes vote would end the UK “for good, for ever” and would deprive the Scottish people of a shared currency and pooled pension arrangements. He also asked people not to mix up the temporary and the permanent, saying neither he nor the government would “be here forever”.

b. A Guardian/ICM poll shows that 63% of voters in England and Wales objected to the post-independence currency union sought by Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister. Most people in Scotland, previous polls have shown, want a deal on sterling. Cameron, whose voice was close to breaking, spelled out what he believed would be the costs of independence. “It is my duty to be clear about the likely consequences of a yes vote. Independence would not be a trial separation. It would be a painful divorce,” he said. He said he would be “utterly heartbroken” by a yes vote and listed the benefits of UK membership that the people of Scotland would lose, including a shared currency, armed forces built up over centuries and pension funds that would be sliced up “at some cost”. Independence would mean Scotland’s border with England – and the sea routes to Northern Ireland – would become international frontiers, Cameron said, and that more than half of Scottish mortgages would suddenly be provided by banks in a foreign country.

c. “We want you to stay,” he said. “Head and heart and soul, we want you to stay. Please don’t mix up the temporary and the permanent. Please don’t think: ‘I’m frustrated with politics right now, so I’ll walk out the door and never come back.’ “If you don’t like me – I won’t be here forever. If you don’t like this government – it won’t last forever. But if you leave the UK – that will be forever,” he said.

d. In the short term, Cameron has to decide whether to recall parliament in the event of a yes vote, as early as the weekend or next Monday, a move that would disrupt Labour’s annual conference in Manchester. Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, said Cameron’s speech “was the same litany of empty threats and empty promises we have come to expect from the no campaign – and he is the prime minister who has been orchestrating the campaign of ridiculous scaremongering being directed against Scotland”. A yes vote would give Scotland its “one opportunity” to ensure it had job creation powers, Jenkins said, and end government by parties that Scottish voters did not elect, which presided over a vast increase in food banks and new nuclear weapons systems its politicians had rejected. “Instead of believing the word of a Tory prime minister on a very few more powers, the people of Scotland can get all the powers we need to build a better, fairer country by believing in ourselves and voting yes,” he said.

e. Cameron’s comments came as Ed Miliband prepared for a return visit to central Scotland on Tuesday when the Labour leader is expected to try to woo back disillusioned Labour voters who have largely driven a late surge in support for independence.
Taking the opposite tack to Cameron, his ally in the Better Together campaign, Miliband said he believed the yes campaign had delivered a clear message to UK parties that change was needed. He insisted Labour would be the best vehicle for unseating the Tories in 2015 and delivering more progressive policies. “The will of the people of Scotland for economic and political change has been heard and we will deliver,” he is expected to tell a rally. Contrasting his offer with “a future of separation and risk” offered by an irreversible yes vote, Miliband added: “I ask the people of Scotland to lead that change of our whole British constitution.”

f. That message risked being undermined by a Guardian ICM poll which showed Labour’s support has dipped by three points to 35% across the UK, bringing the Tories to within two points at 33%. The findings are likely to increase voter anxieties in Scotland that Labour could fail to beat the Tories next May. Miliband’s offers of further significant tax and welfare powers for Holyrood were challenged by one of Scotland’s leading campaigners for greater devolution. Writing for the Guardian, Ben Thomson, founder of campaign group Devo Plus, said he was close to voting yes to independence because he was so disappointed by the failure of the UK parties to make an ambitious, concrete offer for greater tax powers, beyond a promise to agree new powers next year.

g. In a further push by the no campaign, all three UK leaders – Cameron, Miliband and Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader – signed a front page pledge in the Daily Record newspaper entitled “the vow”. It promised they would give the Scottish parliament a legal guarantee of its independence from Westminster and to protect the Treasury’s funding system, known as the Barnett formula. Along with a “categoric” statement that Holyrood had the final say on Scottish health service spending, both are major new commitments, pushed for by the paper after it accused the three leaders last week of making weak promises on devolution.

h. Giving Holyrood its own legal standing instead of having its power gifted to it and controlled by Westminster under Labour’s original devolution settlement in 1998 was a key demand of Gordon Brown, the former Labour prime minister, earlier this year. The Scottish National party has repeatedly claimed that English and Welsh politicians would force Scotland to accept cuts or the loss of the Barnett formula if there was a no vote, accusing Westminster parties of being fickle.

i. Miliband is due to spend the rest of the week in Scotland, making a series of speeches in central Scotland and campaigning into polling day on Thursday, as Labour attempts to persuade its core vote to back the UK and to vote heavily in the referendum. Brown sought to bolster that offensive by insisting that his party’s plans to increase the tax powers and legal status of the Scottish parliament were “locked-in by a triple guarantee”. Brown said the three guarantees were that Holyrood would be given legal protection from meddling by Westminster, as well as extra powers; there would be a “clear statement of purpose for the UK guaranteeing fairness”; and a guarantee that Holyrood had the freedom to spend more on the NHS, using its new powers to set income tax rates.

j. On Monday the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international thinktank, warned that a yes vote was a potential risk to the global economy, the eurozone and emerging markets. Arguing that the UK was an important member of the group of rich countries, its secretary general, Angel Gurria, said: “We clearly believe that better together is perhaps the way to go.”

k. Property website Zoopla said a flood of homes being put up for sale in the event of a yes vote could lead to a repeat of a 17.5% fall in Scottish house prices, which took place during the financial crisis of 2008.

l. Albert Edwards, strategist at French bank Société Générale, questioned whether a yes vote could have wider implications across Europe. “The obvious market conclusion is for a weaker sterling – but a proper old fashioned crisis is plausible. But maybe that is too parochial a vision. The sequence of events which might flow from a yes vote may be as unpredictable and as uncontrollable as those of the late 1980s in eastern Europe, which led to the ultimate demise of the USSR,” said Edwards.

m. The White House reaffirmed on Monday its belief that it would be better for Scotland to stay in the UK. Press spokesman, Josh Earnest, repeated what President Obama said in Brussels earlier this year. “The president said that from the outside the US has a deep interest in ensuring that one of the closest allies that we’ll ever have remains strong, robust and united and an effective partner with the US. This is a decision for the people of Scotland to make; we certainly respect the right of the individual Scots to make a decision along these lines, but as the president said, we have an interest [pause] in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united,” Earnest said.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/15/david-cameron-emotional-plea-scotland-independence

7. September 18-2014; The British state is an imperial behemoth that can only look on in panic as Scots scramble for the lifeboats

a. In Scottish city centres right now, you’re rarely out of sight of a yes badge. The vibe was summed up by an Edinburgh cabbie: “We’re being invited to run our country. It’s very exciting. Maybe we can show how things can be done differently”. It’s not just him. Polls have shown the yes vote surging. It’s worth noting how remarkable this is. The only UK party supporting independence is the Greens. Of all of the local Scottish and British papers, only the Sunday Herald backs yes. The official story has long been that it’s only a few angry men in kilts who care about this.

b. But in the internet age, officials don’t get to write the stories any more. There were always people who had little time for flags, tartanry and shortbread, but who wanted to escape a political system that has made Britain one of Europe’s most unequal counties. And it is these people – a better organised and vastly more powerful version of the Occupy movement – that the Westminster parties and their media partners failed to consider.

c. It’s this movement that has mobilised thousands to come together at meetings and online to imagine and plan out a better country; which has spurred them into activism, often for the first time in their lives; which has laughed together at the arrogance of disconnected rulers; and which has learned together as it has gone along. It’s this movement that attracted my cabbie to the first, then second, then third political meetings of his life – all in the past month.

d. These people created their own media and founded their own organisations. They are young, energetic, enthusiastic, funny. They looked the British state straight in the eye and saw through its illusions. The hierarchies of a steeply unequal country reward loyalty and elite connections while punishing independence of mind. No wonder kids from “the regions” are running rings around the “gurus” of a floundering establishment.

e. It isn’t just about activist groups. Visiting one of Edinburgh’s gurdwaras with Scots Asians for Yes, the people I met were typical. Some were undecided; some were no. Most were yes. And what distinguished the yeses was this: they were discussing how to persuade relatives and friends. They collected data-filled booklets to talk through with their families. They had become Google and Twitter aficionados, digging out and sharing information that debunks the horror stories our politicians use to frighten us away from any notion that another world is possible. With social media, Paul Mason once wrote, “truth moves faster than lies, and propaganda becomes flammable”.

f. It’s against this self-organised network that the British state is flagging. Research from Edinburgh University shows that the more information people have, the more likely they are to vote yes. In the face of mass peer-to-peer education, the puffed-up power of elites melts away: polls show most Scots no longer believe what Westminster MPs say. As David Cameron and George Osborne and Ed Miliband huff and puff and woo and cajole the people of Scotland, more and more simply look these politicians up and down, shrug, and say: “You have no power over us any more.”

g. It’s their own fault. Westminster’s parties have made conventional politics so bland that people barely pay attention. To win elections they have got used to flashing simplistic messages in front of our eyes – we don’t notice or care that we’re being patronised. And because they destroyed their pesky grassroots, they failed to spot that the referendum isn’t an election. People are paying attention, are thirsty for information, and don’t take kindly to their leaders treating them like idiots or trying to bully them.

h. Yet as the polls narrow, they offer a timetable to nowhere and fly from Downing Street a blue and white symbol of their utter failure to understand what’s happening. In a sense, this gets to the core of what the referendum is about. Because the vote on independence isn’t just about escaping Westminster’s supercharged neoliberalism – though it offers that chance too. There’s also a different story of the modern age here: the network v the hierarchy. Do Scots want to huddle behind the clumsy, centralised British bureaucracy, or join the network of nations? Now the age of empires is over, do we want to stay on a Titanic, which once brutally ruled the waves? Or is it time to join Europe’s flotilla of more human-sized countries, more responsive to each of our needs, but capable of huddling together in a storm?

i. The British state was built for a previous era, to run a vast and violent empire built at a time when centralisation brought power. In the roaring flames of the second world war it was softened enough to be bent a little towards justice. But that was a blip. Those days are gone.

j. The rebellion in Scotland right now is against a rapidly centralising state in an age when information is diffuse and people have the capacity to organise themselves more than ever. It’s against an elitist structure in an age of mass education. It’s against a system built to keep us out. And there’s a simple way to tell, whatever the result, that yes voters have history on their side: look at the pathetic campaign mustered by the British state to defend itself. Watch Westminster’s wide-eyed panic as a widely predicted surge in the polls emerges. And ask yourself – would a functional state have failed to see this coming?
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/scotland-yes-campaign-voting-british-state

8. September 19-2014; Scottish referendum: David Cameron and the Queen seek to ease tensions

a. David Cameron and the Queen will hope to calm tensions after the heated Scottish referendum campaign when they make conciliatory statements on Friday after the formal declaration of the result. The prime minister is planning to make an early appearance in Downing Street to outline a package of constitutional reforms, amid increasing confidence in No 10 during the early hours of Friday that the pro-UK side would prevail. Cameron is expected to use the occasion to show that the coalition is committed to delivering the pledge, outlined by the leaders of the three main UK parties in the final days of the campaign, to deepen Scotland’s devolution settlement.

b. But Michael Gove, the Scottish-born Tory chief whip, made clear early this morning that the prime minister would present a balanced package to ensure that voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland do not feel they have lost out. Gove even suggested that Scottish MPs may be banned from voting on English-only matters at Westminster as government sources said that the Barnett formula, which guarantees extra public spending in Scotland, would be part of the changes.

c. The Queen, who is understood to have watched the referendum debate with close interest, is planning to issue a written statement in the afternoon. It is understood that the monarch, who was praised by both sides during the campaign, believes that it is important to send a message of reconciliation after the heated debates. In a rare intervention on the political stage the Queen said last weekend that she hoped voters would think “very carefully” before voting. Her remarks, delivered outside Crathie Kirk near her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire after the Sunday morning service, were interpreted by the no camp as a helpful intervention.

d. The prime minister wants to move quickly to show he will stand by his word as he confirms the timetable to devolve greater powers, over taxation and welfare, to the Scottish parliament. Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg issued a joint pledge after Gordon Brown warned the main UK party leaders that they needed to make a dramatic intervention to fight a late surge to the SNP.

e. Cameron is facing calls from Tory MPs to balance the powers for Holyrood by denying Scottish MPs the right to vote on English-only matters at Westminster and to reform the favourable funding arrangements for Scotland in the Barnett formula. Claire Perry, the rail minister, became the first Conservative frontbencher to speak out when she warned against “promises of financial party bags”.

f. Gove, who has been canvassing opinion among Tory MPs, indicated that the prime minister is heeding the concerns of Perry and scores of backbenches. The chief whip told the BBC: “If, as seems likely, there is a no vote then the prime minister will be saying more not just about the need to make sure that the interests of Scotland are protected but how we bring the whole UK together and what the means for Northern Ireland, Wales and England. The critical thing is there needs to be change in order to ensure that Westminster works better for the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

g. Gove ruled out the idea of an English parliament. But he suggested that the West Lothian question, which asks why Scottish MPs are entitled to vote on education and health in England while English MPs are unable to influence such matters in Scotland. He indicated that this could involve denying Scottish MPs to ability to vote on such areas.

h. The indication from Gove that No 10 is prepared to restrict the voting rights of Scottish MPs may spark a coalition row after Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, ruled out the proposal on Wednesday. Labour, which holds 41 of the 59 Scottish seats at Westminster, will be opposed to tinkering with the Barnett formula.

i. It is understood that the prime minister will move to reassure Tory MPs who are alarmed at the favourable funding arrangements for Scotland enshrined in the Barnett formula which ensures that an extra £1,200 per head of public money is spent per head in Scotland. Many Tory MPs were alarmed when the joint guarantee by Cameron and the other UK leaders appeared to guarantee the Barnett Formula. But the commitment was carefully worded to guarantee “the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources”.

j. It is understood that this means that devolving greater tax raising powers to the Scottish parliament will lead to a claw back in the Scottish block grant which is underpinned by the Barnett Formula.

k. A command paper setting out the reforms will be published within the next few months. This will be followed by draft clauses on a proposed bill in the new year that will be formally introduced to parliament after the UK general election next May. Conservative backbenchers lined up to demand separate powers for English MPs shortly after the polls closed, underlining the pressure on Cameron to act. Many are angry at what they see as their leader’s complacency that forced him to offer “bribes” to the Scots to stay in the last day of the campaign. Led by former cabinet minister John Redwood, up to 100 MPs could be prepared to veto the Scottish devolution package if England is not given what they consider to be an equal deal.

l. Their core demands are that Cameron must address the West Lothian question – why Scottish MPs are allowed to vote on English-only issues – and the Barnett formula – the Treasury mechanism that divides up funding between the four nations of the union. They are unlikely to be placated if the prime minister simply says he will implement the McKay Commission, which recommended a greater say for English MPs on English issues without banning Scottish MPs from voting on any legislation.

m. One of the new voices to pile pressure on Cameron was Boris Johnson, the London mayor and candidate for Uxbridge, who said Scottish MPs should no longer have a say on legislation that just affects England. He told Sky News: “Let’s not give any more sauce to the goose until we’ve given some sauce to the gander.”

n. Liam Fox, a former Tory defence minister, also said the West Lothian question and the funding settlement between all UK nations would become “unavoidable” . Others to raise concerns included transport minister Claire Perry, Conor Burns, Andrew Percy, and Michael Fabricant. From Labour, Diane Abbott, a former shadow minister, and John Denham, a close adviser to Miliband, said it would have to be considered.

o. Others senior figures in Labour, including Jim Murphy, the shadow development secretary, expressed reluctance to ban Scottish MPs from voting on English issues. Allowing this to happen would put any Labour prime minister dependent on Scottish MPs for a majority in a very difficult position. For example, Scottish MPs would potentially not be able to vote for a budget, after tax powers have been devolved.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/19/scotland-independence-david-cameron-queen-address-tension

9. September 19-2014; Scotland votes no: the union has survived, but the questions for the left are profound

a. Like the battle of Waterloo, the battle for Scotland was a damn close-run thing. The effects of Thursday’s no vote are enormous – though not as massive as the consequences of a yes would have been. The vote against independence means, above all, that the 307-year Union survives. It therefore means that the UK remains a G7 economic power and a member of the UN security council. It means Scotland will get more devolution. It means David Cameron will not be forced out. It means any Ed Miliband-led government elected next May has the chance to serve a full term, not find itself without a majority in 2016, when the Scots would have left. It means the pollsters got it right, Madrid will sleep a little more easily, and it means the banks will open on Friday morning as usual.

b. But the battlefield is still full of resonant lessons. The win, though close, was decisive. It looks like a 54%-46% or thereabouts. That’s not as good as it looked like being a couple of months ago. But it’s a lot more decisive than the recent polls had hinted. Second, it was women who saved the union. In the polls, men were decisively in favour of yes. The yes campaign was in some sense a guy thing. Men wanted to make a break with the Scotland they inhabit. Women didn’t. Third, this was to a significant degree a class vote too. Richer Scotland stuck with the union — so no did very well in a lot of traditonal SNP areas. Poorer Scotland, Labour Scotland, slipped towards yes, handing Glasgow, Dundee and North Lanarkshire to the independence camp. Gordon Brown stopped the slippage from becoming a rout, perhaps, but the questions for Labour — and for left politics more broadly — are profound.

c. For Scots, the no vote means relief for some, despair for others, both on the grand scale. For those who dreamed that a yes vote would take Scots on a journey to a land of milk, oil and honey, the mood this morning will be grim. Something that thousands of Scots wanted to be wonderful or merely just to witness has disappeared. The anticlimax will be cruel and crushing. For others, the majority, there will be thankfulness above all but uneasiness too. Thursday’s vote exposed a Scotland divided down the middle and against itself. Healing that hurt will not be easy or quick. It’s time to put away all flags.

d. The immediate political question now suddenly moves to London. Gordon Brown promised last week that work will start on Friday on drawing up the terms of a new devolution settlement. That may be a promise too far after the red-eyed adrenalin-pumping exhaustion of the past few days. But the deal needs to be on the table by the end of next month. It will not be easy to reconcile all the interests – Scots, English, Welsh, Northern Irish and local. But it is an epochal opportunity. The plan, like the banks, is too big to fail.

e. Alex Salmond and the SNP are not going anywhere. They will still govern Scotland until 2016. There will be speculation about Salmond’s position, and the SNP will need to decide whether to run in 2016 on a second referendum pledge. More immediately, the SNP will have to decide whether to go all-out win to more Westminster seats in the 2015 general election, in order to hold the next government’s feet to the fire over the promised devo-max settlement. Independence campaigners will feel gutted this morning. But they came within a whisker of ending the United Kingdom on Thursday. One day, perhaps soon, they will surely be back. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/19/scottish-independence-union-survived-put-away-flags

10. September 25-2014; Cameron to Apologise to Queen for gaffe

a. David Cameron is to make an unprecedented apology in person to the Queen, after being caught privately describing her as “purring” in pleasure at the result of the Scottish referendum result. A chastened Prime Minister admitted he was “very embarrassed” and “extremely sorry” over the gaffe, which came as he chatted with billionaire media tycoon Michael Bloomberg in New York. Downing Street has already contacted Buckingham Palace to offer the PM’s apologies and it is understood that Mr Cameron will say sorry in person when he next meets Her Majesty for one of his regular audiences.

b. The Prime Minister came under fire after being picked up by a TV microphone on Tuesday telling former New York mayor Bloomberg of the relief he felt at not having to inform the Queen that Scotland had left the United Kingdom. As the pair arrived for a press photo-opportunity, the PM smiled broadly as he recalled how he was able to tell her it was “all right” after the referendum resulted in a victory for the No camp. “The definition of relief, if you are Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is ringing up Her Majesty the Queen and saying ‘Your Majesty, it is all right, it’s okay’,” he said. “That was something. She purred down the line.”

c. The comments were condemned as “crass and incompetent” by SNP MSP Dennis Robertson, though Buckingham Palace declined to comment. Speaking to reporters in New York, Mr Cameron was asked whether he regretted the comment and whether he would apologise. He replied: “Yes and yes.” And he added: “Look, I’m very embarrassed by this. I’m extremely sorry about it. “It was a private conversation, but clearly a private conversation that I shouldn’t have had and won’t have again. “My office has already been in touch with the Palace to make that clear and I will do so as well.”
http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/pm-to-apologise-for-queen-gaffe-1.593841

11. September 28-2014; Cameron red-faced over Purrgate

a. David Cameron today vowed “never again” to discuss his conversations with the Queen after being challenged whether he was ashamed to have been overheard saying she had “purred” when told the result of the Scottish independence referendum. The Prime Minister told the BBC One Andrew Marr programme he regretted the exchange between himself and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, which was overheard by TV cameras at the United Nations this week. Mr Cameron said: “(It is) one of those moments when you look back and kick yourself very hard. “It was not a conversation I should have had, I am extremely sorry and very embarrassed about it. “I have made my apologies and I think I’ll probably be making some more.” Asked if he felt ashamed, the Prime Minister added: ” I’m very sorry about it… I’m not going to ever discuss my conversations with the Palace ever again.”

b. Downing Street has already contacted Buckingham Palace to offer the Prime Minister’s apologies and it is understood that Mr Cameron will say sorry in person when he next meets Her Majesty for one of his regular audiences. As the Prime Minister and Mr Bloomberg arrived for a press photo-opportunity, Mr Cameron smiled broadly as he recalled how he was able to tell the Queen it was “all right” after the referendum resulted in a victory for the No camp. “The definition of relief, if you are Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is ringing up Her Majesty the Queen and saying ‘Your Majesty, it is all right, it’s okay’,” Mr Cameron said. “That was something. She purred down the line.”
http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/pm-reveals-fresh-talk-with-queen-1.603248

12. September 30-2014; PM ‘reveals fresh talk with Queen’

a. David Cameron has reportedly breached royal protocol once again by sharing another private conversation he had with the Queen on a visit to Chequers. It has been claimed he told Tory MPs gathered at his country retreat last week to discuss English devolution about a time the monarch had to be corrected by his curator. She apparently said the original of the Anthony van Dyck painting they were viewing – described as A Family Group – was in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. The awkward moment – when she was informed her version was a copy – was said to have unfolded during a tour of the stately home with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in February, their first visit in almost two decades.

b. The faux-pas, revealed in the Evening Standard, could see Mr Cameron forced to make a second apology in a week after he was recorded saying the Queen had “purred” down the phone to him when he called with the Scottish independence result. And to add to his embarrassment, an art historian has since claimed the Queen was in fact right. Bendor Grosvenor, who writes the blog Art History News, says he has consulted the index of a catalogue of van Dyck works which indicates the Prime Minister’s residence only has copies of the group pictures that match the description of the piece apparently discussed.

c. He went on: “The Queen – who knows her art – was absolutely right. The two group portraits by van Dyck that would match the description given here of A Family Group are the so-called ‘Great Piece’ of Charles I and Henrietta Maria with Charles II and Princess Mary, and The Five Eldest Children of Charles I. “Both are in the Royal Collection. Chequers has a copy of part of the former – with just Henrietta Maria and Princess Mary – and a full-scale copy of the latter. “These are both listed in the 2004 Van Dyck catalogue raisonne as copies.

d. “If the curator at Chequers really did not know that van Dyck’s original was indeed in the Royal Collection, they should be sent to the Tower. Equally, if the PM was making the story up as a good yarn, he should be sent to the Tower too. “There are two genuine van Dycks at Chequers, small head and shoulders portraits of Charles I and Henrietta Maria.” Asked what advice he had for Mr Cameron, Mr Grosvenor quipped: “Perhaps he needs a new curator.”

e. Ukip leader Nigel Farage told the newspaper: “I’m pleased the Tower of London moat is being filled with ceramic poppies at the moment to commemorate First World War soldiers. “But if the prime minister makes any more comments like this we should start to think about using the inside of the Tower as well.” On Sunday, the Prime Minister told The Andrew Marr Show that he regretted being recorded telling former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg that the Queen had “purred” down the line to him. He has indicated he will say sorry in person when he next meets the Queen for one of his regular audiences. Downing Street refused to comment on the latest matter, saying it was a “private conversation”.

f. Mr Cameron made the first gaffe during a private conversation with US media tycoon Michael Bloomberg during a visit to New York last week, which was overheard by television cameras. Asked whether he had given his apologies to the Queen about that incident yet, Mr Cameron told ITV1’s Good Morning Britain: “My office has already registered that very strongly with the Palace and I will do so in person when we next have our audience. “But I think I have probably said enough about those audiences, so I won’t say any more.” In an interview with Channel 4 News, Mr Cameron was asked whether his description of the Queen “purring” was demeaning to women in general and the monarch in particular. He replied: “I deeply regret that entire conversation. It was a private conversation but nonetheless it’s a conversation I shouldn’t have had. “I’ve said what I’m going to say about that. I regret it, I’m sorry about it, it won’t happen again.”
http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/pm-reveals-fresh-talk-with-queen-1.603248

13. October 24 2014: Revealed: Treasury’s RBS email leak came from Westminster ‘referendum dirty tricks’ department

a. The UK Treasury has been accused of running a, “political dirty tricks department” spinning against Scottish independence after it emerged sensitive information about Royal Bank of Scotland plans to leave the country in the event of a Yes vote was leaked by a civil servant in charge of, “referendum communications” within the department. The email, sent to journalists the week before the referendum, stated RBS had plans to move its base to London in the event of independence, triggering headlines viewed as a blow to the Yes campaign.

b. It was issued while the RBS board was meeting to discuss the matter, and before the bank had made a statement to the financial markets – a breach of trading rules. First Minister Alex Salmond demanded a criminal investigation into the matter, while Edinburgh financier and Independent Midlothian councillor Peter de Vink, an RBS shareholder, also asked the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and police to investigate.

c. The Sunday Herald has now obtained a copy of the email, which shows it was sent by a civil servant who is head of Scottish Referendum Communications at the Treasury. City of London Police are also now probing the complaint by de Vink and are in the process of contacting, “relevant individuals and organizations”. SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie MP yesterday said the fact the email had been sent by the head of Scottish Referendum Communications was an, “extraordinary revelation”. He said: “The previous claims by the Cabinet Secretary [Sir Jeremy Heywood] that the Treasury was, “promoting financial stability” in revealing RBS plans has been totally blown apart by the revelation that it was actually a pro-active email from an official in a so-called, “Scottish referendum unit” and released while the RBS board was actually in session.

d. “It seems that the London Treasury had a political dirty tricks department operating throughout the referendum campaign. However, the huge problem they now face is the increasing likelihood that this particular trick was not just dirty but illegal.” Hosie added: “I will now table a series of Parliamentary questions on this issue to add to the proper and comprehensive investigations which must now take place.”

e. The Treasury email was sent to journalists at 10.16pm on September 10, around 25 minutes before the RBS board meeting on the issue had finished. It contained a response to a statement issued by Lloyds Banking Group which stated it had contingency plans to establish “new legal entities” in England in the event of a Yes vote. But it also gave a quote from a “Treasury source” which said: “As you would expect, RBS have also been in touch with us and have similar plans to base themselves in London.” The following day, RBS issued a statement to the markets which confirmed its intention to, “redomicile” in the event of a Yes vote, but added it would intend to retain a, “significant level of its operations and employment in Scotland”.

f. RBS chief Ross McEwan also issued a letter to staff in the morning saying the business was based in Scotland because of the, “skills and knowledge of our people, and the sound business environment”. It added, “So far, I see no reason why this would change should we implement our contingency plans … I know many of you will have already heard about this first in the media. My apologies for that, on this occasion this was unavoidable.”

g. Heywood, head of the civil service, subsequently rejected demands by Salmond that the matter be investigated. He stated the Treasury email had been issued following a newspaper report, which quoted an RBS source as stating that the bank would follow Lloyds in its plans to move its registered HQ out of Scotland in the event of a Yes vote.

i. In a response to Salmond, he claimed it was, “simply a confirmation of the Treasury’s understanding of RBS’ contingency planning”. He added, “The Treasury judged that it was important to set this out – at a time when the UK financial markets were closed – given their overarching responsibility for maintaining financial stability in the UK.”

j. Salmond subsequently wrote to the head of the FCA, the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, and the Commissioner of Police for the City of London urging action over the alleged leaking of market-sensitive information. He stated the grounds for his belief a criminal offence may have been committed, including: that decisions of such a substantial nature should be a matter for the bank to report “openly and transparently” to markets; and that there had been improper disclosure of market-sensitive information, which is “tantamount to insider dealing”. He also raised concerns the action by the Treasury would have potentially created uncertainty if its information had differed from the position taken by the RBS board when its meeting had concluded.

k. De Vink, who filed complaints on the potential leaking of market sensitive information two days after the Treasury email was sent, said he has now been contacted by City of London Police and invited to attend an interview next month. He said: “They have asked would you come in and talk to us, which is what I am going to do in November. “I told them while it is a political issue, that doesn’t take away that what happened was absolutely unacceptable.” De Vink also criticised the FCA for a lack of response, describing its attitude as “lackadaisical”. “I find it incredible that these things are allowed to happen,” he added, “If anyone else would have done that they would have had the book thrown at them and quite understandably.”

l. The Sunday Herald asked the FCA if the complaints were being investigated. A spokeswoman said it was unable to comment on individual complaints. A spokesman for City of London Police confirmed it had received the letter from de Vink and added: “We are now speaking to the relevant individuals and organisations.” The Treasury claimed the person who sent the email was a “junior civil servant”, despite his position as head of Scottish Referendum Communications.

m. In a previous role he was press officer to former financial secretary to the Treasury, Greg Clark. The Treasury also refused to give any details of who approved the email being sent out. Last night, a spokesman for the Treasury said: “As is a matter of public record, the Cabinet Secretary has written to the former [sic] First Minister on this matter, and rejected any suggestion of improper actions by civil servants.”

n. Jim McKay commented. Heywood stated the Treasury email had been issued following a newspaper report, which quoted an RBS source. He must have reference for that report? Newspaper, date and edition. And what RBS source? Smoke and mirrors. He’s lying.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/revealed-treasurys-rbs-email-leak-came-from-westminster-referendum-dirty-tricks-depar.25688878

14. December 16-2014; Westminster Civil Service, “Devolved Countries Unit”, (Dirty Tricks) campaign team wins “special” Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Award

a. The award, in recognition of the team’s outstanding achievement in making a difference on an issue of national significance, (the Referendum) was presented by the ”Cabinet Secretary and civil service head Sir Jeremy Heywood. The proud team commented afterwards;

i. Paul Doyle; “This award is not just for the Treasury, it’s for all the hard work that was done by all government departments on the Scotland agenda. The reality was in all my experience of the civil service, I have never seen the civil service pull together in the way they did behind supporting the UK government in maintaining the United Kingdom. It was a very special event for all of us.”

ii. William MacFarlane, Deputy Director at HM Treasury, (Budget and Tax Strategy); “As civil servants you don’t get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign. We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications. I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation. This being recognised [at the Civil Service Awards], makes me feel just incredibly proud.”

iii. Shannon Cochrane; “we’ve learned that it is possible for civil servants to work on things that are inherently political and quite difficult, and you’re very close to the line of what is appropriate, but it’s possible to find your way through and to make a difference.

iv. Mario Pisani Deputy Director at HM Treasury, (Public Policy); “In the Treasury, everyone hates you. We don’t get thanks for anything. This is one occasion where we’ve worked with the rest of Whitehall. We all had something in common, we’re trying to save the Union here, and it came so close. We just kept it by the skin of our teeth. I actually cried when the result came in. After 10 years in the civil service, my proudest moment is tonight and receiving this award. As civil servants you don’t get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign. We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications. I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation. This being recognised [at the Civil Service Awards], makes me feel just incredibly proud.”
http://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/news/hm-treasury-team-wins-special-civil-service-award

b. Comment; Any mention of the team members in the New Year honours list would be the ultimate kick in the teeth. It was always my understanding that Civil Servants were strictly apolitical and deployment to duties such as described is forbidden. But Sir Jeremy Heywood simply ignores the rules as he sees fit.
http://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/news/hm-treasury-team-wins-special-civil-service-award

15. Scottish independence: Queen was asked to intervene amid yes vote fears. Amid No 10 meltdown, cabinet secretary and monarch’s private secretary crafted words that voters should ‘think very carefully’

a. Senior figures in Whitehall and Downing Street became so fearful that the Scottish independence referendum could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom that the Queen was asked to make a rare public intervention in the final days of the campaign.

b. Britain’s most senior civil servant and the Queen’s private secretary crafted a carefully worded intervention by the monarch, as No 10 experienced what one senior official described as “meltdown” in the closing stages of the campaign after polls showed growing support for a yes vote.

c. The discussions between Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, and Sir Christopher Geidt for the palace, led the Queen to issue an appeal to the people of Scotland four days before the referendum in September to “think very carefully” before casting their vote.

d. The delicate negotiations in the run-up to the intervention by the Queen, which were described by one senior Whitehall source as a warning to voters that they were facing “a decision filled with foreboding”, are revealed by the Guardian on the final day of a two-part series about the Scottish referendum campaign.

e. The Queen, who has been scrupulous during her 62-year reign in observing the impartiality expected of a constitutional monarch, intervened publicly on 14 September. Speaking after Sunday service outside Crathie Kirk near her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, the Queen told a wellwisher: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.”

f. She spoke out after senior Whitehall figures, who were apprised of David Cameron’s concerns that the yes camp was developing an ominous momentum in the final period of the campaign, suggested to the palace that an intervention by the Queen would be helpful.

g. The suggestion was made during the last few weeks of the referendum after a You Gov/Times poll on Tuesday 2 September reported a six-point fall in support for the pro-UK side in a month. Key figures in Downing Street and Whitehall, led by the prime minister and the cabinet secretary, assessed all the options they could deploy to halt what appeared to be the yes side’s momentum.

h. Cameron discussed the referendum with the Queen a week before her public intervention when he travelled to Balmoral with his wife, Samantha, for their annual visit. On that trip, there was a particular focus on the referendum when the campaign was electrified by the publication of another poll, a Sunday Times/You Gov survey on 7 September, the final day of the prime minister’s Balmoral visit, which gave the yes side its first lead – by 51% to 49%.

i. The Whitehall source added that the referendum was discussed during Cameron’s Balmoral stay. “I don’t think it was frosty. I think there might have been the odd humorous comment over the porridge about supposing he had some work to do next week.”

j. The prime minister is said to have talked about the Queen’s humour on the occasion to friends. There was also a suggestion that the atmosphere had, at times, been frosty. You could imagine the chilly atmosphere at the breakfast table, the prime minister is said to have remarked to friends afterwards.

k. Discussions about interventions by the monarch are by convention a matter for the cabinet secretary and palace officials. This explains why the contacts in the run-up to the Queen’s public comments took place between Heywood and Geidt, described by the Whitehall source as the two key figures at the heart of Britain’s “deep state”.

l. The two men are understood to have initially discussed the wisdom of a public intervention by the monarch, who is scrupulously impartial. Once it became clear that the Queen was minded to speak out, Geidt and Heywood then needed to fashion language which, while broadly neutral, would leave nobody in any doubt about her support for the union.

m. There was a determination to ensure she did not cross a line, as some said she did when she spoke of the benefits of the UK in her silver jubilee address to a joint session of parliament in 1977. In remarks which were seen as an attempt by the Labour government of Jim Callaghan to warn of the dangers posed by the Scottish National party after it had won 11 seats in the October 1974 general election, she said: “I cannot forget that I was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Perhaps this jubilee is a time to remind ourselves of the benefits which union has conferred, at home and in our international dealings, on the inhabitants of all parts of this United Kingdom.”

n. The Whitehall source said the Queen’s intervention was carefully calibrated. “She knew exactly what she was doing, which is, there are two possible responses on the referendum. [They are] either: one, you buy into this is a fantastic festival of democracy, or two, you suggest this is a decision filled with foreboding. So by saying I hope people will think carefully you imply the second. So if they’d said: ‘What do you think of the referendum ma’am?’ and she’d said: ‘Oh it’s lovely’, that would be very different. Without her taking a side, it cast just the right element of doubt over the nature of the decision.”

o. The final day of the Guardian’s Scotland referendum series also highlights Gordon Brown’s pivotal role in helping to save the UK in the final period of campaigning. Cameron and George Osborne were so nervous about a yes vote, which would have thrown his premiership into a potentially fatal crisis, that camp beds were laid on for senior officials in Downing Street on the night of the referendum count.

p. The dominance of the referendum explains why a relieved Cameron told the former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, in an overheard conversation days after the referendum, that the Queen had “purred down the line” when he told her the result.

q. Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the discussions between Geidt and Heywood. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on discussions between the Queen’s private secretary and civil servants.” A Downing Street spokesman said: “No comment.”

r. A palace spokesman said of the prime minister’s discussions with the Queen at Balmoral: “As is the convention, we do not comment on conversations between the prime minister and the Queen.” A Downing Street spokesman said: “We do not discuss the prime minister’s conversations with Her Majesty the Queen.”
https://archive.today/Sr5Ul

16. Comments submitted by the public

16 December 2014; So she’s not neutral then. She willingly took part in a PR campaign to influence a democratic vote. I would have some respect if she had just come out and said it, but the way it was stage-managed, to make it look as if she just happened to say it as she was meeting a member of the public, leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

16 December 2014; The Queen’s neutrality is a bit of a con, really. She gets time with the PM every week to provide ‘guidance’ – in effect, she’s the only lobbyist with a codified constitutional position.

16 December 2014; I find it depressing we’ll end up seeing more monarchical interventions.

16 December 2014; So she’s not neutral then. Only fools ever thought she was. Ever heard of a monarch in favour of breaking up their kingdom? The ‘No’s’ were shafted, fooled by their ‘betters’ and conned by the lying Unionist politicians. We warned you. but you fell for it anyway.

17 December 2014; You can tell by her expression in that photo what a lowlife cretin she thinks Dave is. She probably envies her predecessor, of the same christian name, who could (and very probably would) have ordered him taken to the tower to be beheaded.

16 December 2014; Iain Glasgow blatant fraud

16 December 2014; If I were a Scot I’d want another ballot. Pronto!

16 December 2014; A Constitutional Monarch? Lying bastards.

16 December 2014; Next time we include an independent Republic on the manifesto – ditch the anachronism and make a modern state for the 21st century.

16 December 2014; I agree. Constitutionally this is a game-changer. The Queen intervened in politics at the behest of the ruling party. Republic of Scotland, anyone?

16 December 2014; As the queen represents Wales, leeks are obligatory.

16 December 2014; So the sniveling toerag Cameron got the Queen, Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling to save his ungrateful butt – Then he repaid them by revealing private conversations with the Queen and immediately screwing over Brown and Darling in order to advance his feeble position. The bloke is devoid of a moral compass.

16 December 2014; I look at Cameron and I see a walking void, not just sans morality, but sans vision, sans hope, sans thought. He’s a grasping, hungry nothing clad in a suit. There’s not even a will to power there, he lacks the blood-lust of a true Tory that at least marks them out as living creatures.

16 December 2014; The final execrable product of the machine-production of politicans for the media age. A hologram reading lines scripted by committee. A golem running on tabloid instructions. A focus-grouped ghost.

16 December 2014; I thought it was a moral compass and then the fog cleared and there was just a middle digit pointing north.

16 December 2014; One of the (many) advantages of an independent Scotland is we could choose to ditch the Windsor benefit fraudsters and forge ahead as a new republic. That would be a grown-up country for the 21st century.

16 December 2014; errmmm – Salmond wanted to keep this anachronism.

16 December 2014; Only because he feared ditching them would be unpopular, for sentimental reasons. I would have gone for Yes with ditching the royals. I would have left NATO too, and established a Scottish currency or joined the euro. But then I wasn’t in charge of the campaign, Alex Salmond was. Maybe next time we will get it right. 2016?

16 December 2014; Y’mean he was bein’ dishonest ! Next you’ll be telling me his plans for Scotland’s economy was based on Scotch mist ! A Scottish currency – good idea if Scotland wanted true independence. Who’d have backed it though ? Join the Euro ? thought you wanted independence ?

16 December 2014; I wonder what the result would be of a referendum now

16 December 2014; I think there has been a moral victory for the yes, nationalists. The establishment is holding this country back

16 December 2014; I wonder what the result would be of a referendum now

16 December 2014; At least now the truth is coming out, kudos to the guardian for that, what little difference it makes now.

16 December 2014; Now repeat after me – “Oil revenue was always seen as a bonus….”

16 December 2014; Wow, who would have thought it? You mean a ‘well-wisher’ did not just happen to ask the queen that question and it wasn’t just coincidentally overheard by a reporter and it didn’t get reported on national news by accident? Well I never. What a great day for democracy.

16 December 2014; Buckingham Palace issued a statement which read: “The sovereign’s constitutional impartiality is an established principle of our democracy and one which the Queen has demonstrated throughout her reign. “As such, the monarch is above politics and those in political office have a duty to ensure this remains the case. “Any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the current referendum campaign is categorically wrong. Her Majesty is simply of the view this is a matter for the people of Scotland.” So …. the Palace lied……………….. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-29200359

16 December 2014; I was definitely on the side of no, but the fact the Queen’s neutrality was publicly breached was one of those moments where I genuinely questioned what the fuck this country is even about. It just goes to show what a fustercluck this government is. I see that Cameron’s been trying to position his party as competent and Labour as inviting chaos. What an absolute killer of a joke after the past five years of car-crashes, train-wrecks, blatant mismanagement and unforced errors. The irony of it is so thick and multilayered it’s like a gateaux of whipped double-fat bullshit and thick, moist slices of naked hypocrisy. Christ. It’s getting to the point where I look at our unelected, octogenarian hereditary monarch and go “could she really do a worse job than the clown-show we’ve got running things at the moment?”

16 December 2014; They are there to preserve their rule, as they are ‘superior’ to us oiks who actually make this country work.

16 December 2014; It’s obvious that the Queen & the rest of her family are right wing Tories, this article is wrong, she has not been “Scrupulous” about getting involved in political issues, in 1977 she spoke out against Scottish independence as well. Funny how she never spoke up for the miners, unemployed or homeless in the Eighties, only when it affects her selfish family. (Independence affects them, due to the vast amount of land they own in Scotland).

16 December 2014; Charles wanted to join the Labour party when he was at college, but was told he couldn’t.

16 December 2014; Yeah, too patronising…

16 December 2014; It’s not difficult to imagine which side of the referendum the Queen was on, really.

16 December 2014; Well it’d be a bit embarrassing to be the monarch who presided over the break up of one’s own country.

16 December 2014; She’s compromised now. The lid has been lifted on our so-called ‘benign’ monarchy. They still rule this country. This isn’t a democracy.

16 December 2014; All those ballot boxes are just a sham then?

16 December 2014; Most of them were – mainly the tampered ones..
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16 December 2014; No actually. The crooked leeches in the City of London bought our Political Class. The Self Proclaimed Talent. The biggest spongers of all. Royal Family is sideshow nowadays. Rather boring one in my book.

16 December 2014; You should think very carefully before lending credence to information provided by unattributable whitehall sources.

16 December 2014; Quite right, that’s Malcolm Rifkind’s job.

16 December 2014; There should be no ‘Queen’ in a modern democracy – anywhere, including those lauded elsewhere in Europe, imho.

16 December 2014; Your statement might be correct but for one point. There is NO modern democracy in the UK. So until there is, I’d prefer Elizabeth remain where she is.

16 December 2014; errmmm… if push came to shove how far do you think she would go to preserve any sort of democracy ? Not very – she must keep ‘the firm’ in business. I can see why, though.

16 December 2014; Another vow broken then. As if we didn’t know what side she was on. Protecting her real estate methinks!

16 December 2014; Amazing. Idiots ruin the country then ask the one person who is expected to shut up and not air her own opinion, to intervene. I bet she’s well impressed with her current prime minister.

16 December 2014; I admire the Queen but I am very disappointed if she allowed herself to be used in this way, There needs to be another vote in Scotland. Polling already shows Yes ahead, if there was to be a rerun now.

16 December 2014; I’m a yes voter and Scotland does not deserve another referendum. The Scots must now face the full onslaught of the austerity agenda that is coming their way maybe then in 10 years they’ll finally making the right choice. I’m am deeply ashamed of Scotland. I live here and I really wish didn’t at the moment.

17 December 2014; Are you being too harsh on yourself and others? Remember the propaganda and fear that Scotland was bombed with. To say ‘does not deserve’ fulfills that awful old saying that ‘the Scots are half in love with failure’. But only half were in love with that. And their regrets are coming out now. It won’t be 10 years.

16 December 2014; Here’s how it was reported at the time: A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “We never comment on private exchanges or conversations. We just reiterate what the Queen has always said: she maintains her constitutional impartiality. As the Queen has always said, this is a matter for the people of Scotland.” Except, of course, she did not. In fact she plotted with the government, PM and civil servants to do exactly the opposite and hoodwink the Scottish electorate into favouring a particular choice. All with the connivance and complicity of the media. Failing to remain constitutionally impartial surely forfeits the position of the monarchy as head of state. Republic now! If I were a Scot I’d want a second vote – they’ve been duped.

16 December 2014; It also shows the BBC complicit in the charade.

16 December 2014; Don’t worry Liz we are definitely listening carefully now, just check the polls….

16 December 2014; As a druid, I can’t see why asking voters to “think very carefully” is controversial. Her Madge was basically asking them not to vote frivolously – a trait well-known in the happy-go-lucky Scottish psyche.

16 December 2014; I reckon The Queen would still quite enjoy being the Queen of the two existing kingdoms of Great Britain, even if Scotland were an independent/separate place (delete independent/separate according to one´s preferred thoughts on Scotland´s constitutional debate). On 24 June 1953, following her coronation at Westminster Abbey, the crown was carried before Queen Elizabeth II in a procession from the Palace of Holyrood-house to the High Kirk of St Giles, Edinburgh, where the Honours of Scotland, including the crown, were presented to The Queen during a National Service of Thanksgiving. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_of_Scotland This Pathé News reel footage of the St Giles ceremony is quite remarkable as the Honours of Scotland are handed over and the Scottish Crown is offered to the Queen: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/scotland-welcomes-the-queen-1. Certainly reminds people the United Kingdom isn´t quite a “United Kingdom” as it sometimes seemed before the recent debate. And I´m sure the Queen knows this more than most since the crown has been present and represented at the Official Opening ceremonies of sessions of the Scottish Parliament since 1999.

16 December 2014; The Pathé reel is also interesting because the Queen, at the advice of the then government, wasn’t dressed for a coronation — lest it inflame nationalist sentiment.

16 December 2014; Now you mention him – should we tell him that Princess Margarita of Romania is 93rd in line to the throne? He’d do his nut.

16 December 2014; I am somehow bemused by the moral high ground the Guardian takes now. The Guardian made very clear that it opposes the separation. The Guardian threw down the gauntlet. It should have known that others did as well. So why the outrage that they did? The Guardian is equally responsible for the fact that the Scots were taken for a ride.

16 December 2014; As a Londoner, I no longer have any belief in the United Kingdom anymore. I’m for a united island but the political paradigm that currently holds it together is inherently right wing and malignant. This latest stunt by the Conservative Party is utter cowardice, as they refrained from such a bellicose vernacular over English sovereignty in the period running up to the referendum, because they knew it would serve to confirm the hatred that the Scots quite rightly have for the Tories. What Cameron wants to preserve England as a matriarchal state that would effectively negate and weaken any form of Left Wing Coalition that decided to form a government. It’s good ol fashioned gerrymandering , the same they used in Northern Ireland.

16 December 2014; Well said and entirely correct.It’s just a pity that they are being allowed to get away with this betrayal of Labour after saving Camerons political hide by campaigning to keep the Union intact. It just shows the Tories do not deserve any support by fair minded people.English votes for English people, a ruse to keep the Tories in, that’s what it’s all about. By announcing it against all advice to the contrary Cameron has fueled nationalism even more and guaranteed another referendum in the future just to get his rotten stinking Government another flip of the coin.

16 December 2014; Once a dictator, always a dictator. I always thought the Monarchy would save us from Presidents and Dictators who could do what they want, but unfortunately this current Coalition has changed my mind. Bring on the revolution.

16 December 2014; Given the Guardian’s pursuit of the publication of Prince Charles’ letters, I look forward to your editorial condemning the monarch’s intervention in party politics. We deserve an apology, not “no comment”.

16 December 2014; Reading the article, I think the Queen has intervened in Tory party political matters more than she should.

16 December 2014; “This is purely a matter for the Scots” said Cameron. …………And the Queen and the Treasury and the BBC and the MSM and every World Leader that Westminster could rope-in and some of their Lordships who stated that Independence would lead to the “forces of darkness” taking over the World and causing more children to die in the Third World/Africa and even Saint Bob Geldof giving his tuppence-worth. Yep……a matter “purely for the Scots”, right enough!

16 December 2014; I think the one that annoyed me the most, well aside from the prat who sprouted that Scottish Independence would mean the terrorists will win, was that fud Obama. Bet that particular fud couldn’t even find Scotland on a map, if we didn’t have the Nuke Boats here.

16 December 2014; The Queen didn’t need to voice her opinion on the referendum – she has the entire establishment in Britain, powerful allies and friends abroad and a not inconsiderable band of obsequious, subservient subjects at her disposal. Nonetheless, independence I feel will come in the next 10 years – I think we needed a kind of dress rehearsal to build up our confidence – but that is growing and consolidating gradually. And in time getting rid of the monarchy and all the inequality and elitism that it represents would please me a great deal.

16 December 2014; the ‘think carefully’ remark was carefully planned and thought about and not just an off the cuff remark.

16 December 2014; So the monarch did the one thing they are expressly forbidden to do. Become politically active.

16 December 2014; Wow, so the queen was part of a thing, a conspi.., no, a thing where powerful people agreed to try to stop Scots voting for the right to self-determination? It’s incredible. Next, someone will say that the media consp.., no, agreed to help spread fear and stifle the debate.

16 December 2014; Just relieved that Severin Carrell is there to keep us informed, the intrepid, investigative sort that he is! I have a queasy feeling that this is all heading to a Tory/UKIP coalition to coincide with the coronation of King Charles.

16 December 2014; The hoo-haw is around the fact that it only needed to swing the minds of 1% of the voters in the Scottish referendum, because the vote was that close. And although it is being officially admitted today, “the intervention” was effectively declared on Radio 4 on the day after the election. I remember one particular interviewee, I can’t remember his office, but in a very Toff accent, he was overjoyed at the Scottish Referendum “No” vote, and he was boasting about how wonderfully tactful had been the Queen’s finely delivered plea at that Sunday Church service. There was no question that this man was a monarchist and a unionist and that he thought the world had been saved from a fate worse than nuclear Armageddon. The manner of his boasting was so suggestive that political intervention had been manipulated! Well, the Queen doesn’t care. She’s practically retired anyway, and just more interested in collecting her pension. But if I had been part of the Scottish “Yes” campaign, I would be pissed at her Government.

16 December 2014; The Scots were cheated and I wish the Queen hadn’t been stained by this crap.

16 December 2014; The Scots were conned into voting ‘No’ by the British establishment, (including the monarchy), with the connivance of the Labour Party. They should be given another chance to decide their own destiny without interference, and be offered another referendum.

16 December 2014; We will have another referendum and this time we start with a support base of 45%+ not the 25% we did last time. I have spoken to dozens of No voters that regret their choice. Plus we know where our political classes went wrong last time and won’t make the same mistakes.

16 December 2014; The Queen should have absolutely no influence over politics – constitutional or otherwise, full stop. That sleazy politicians were prepared to grovel for help just further illustrates their depravity.

16 December 2014; Cameron and George Osborne were so nervous about a yes vote, which would have thrown his premiership into a potentially fatal crisis’ thus says it all Britain. … they don’t give a toss about Scotland or the union just their own brass necks.