Helen Mead: I’m right behind you, Scotland!

Helen Mead: I’m right behind you, Scotland!

Helen Mead: I’m right behind you, Scotland!

First published in Latest

I’M getting a bit fed up with the Scottish independence debate.

They seem to do as they like anyway – scrapping tuition fees, passing new laws to help their old folk and the like. I hope they cut loose and get on with it.

But while we wait for the outcome, there’s another option, a far better one that nobody seems to have considered.

Instead of watching them leave us, why don’t we vote to join them? My mum suggested it, and I had to congratulate her on such a brilliant idea.

Scotland has a lot going for it. Their students don’t know how lucky they are not having to pay tuition fees. I’ve just filled in a fees form for my eldest daughter who is hopefully going to university this year, and it’s a terrifying document.

Seeing all those noughts lined up, on loan to a teenager who won’t start work for a few years – it’s enough to make you want to run to the Highlands and move into a rundown croft.

It’s not only young people who get a better deal in Scotland. In recent years the Scots have passed a raft of laws to help the elderly and give them more of a say in how they live their lives.

They’ve done this for people with mental health problems, too – in fact I read recently that, in many respects, the country leads the world with its mental health system.

Property laws are fairer too, making the underhand practice of gazumping – of which buyers in the UK live in fear – rare, and from next year stamp duty is being cut. It’s all good news and knocks spots off us underprivileged, poverty-stricken Englanders down here.

We should join them as soon as possible. Consider the additional evidence in favour: they’ve got more spectacular scenery than we have, their whisky is second-to-none, and they’ve got deep fried Mars Bars – that’s got to be a deal-breaker. Plus, and perhaps crucially, they have their own supply of oil. That’s surely got to sway most of our Government ministers.

Of course, with anything there are downsides. The Scots have got dour Andy Murray and his scary mum, my husband hasn’t got the legs for a kilt, and haggis doesn’t look in any way appealing, even with chips. But these drawbacks can be overlooked in the wider scheme of things.

I think the Scots get a far better deal, and it’s probably going to get even better once they sever ties with us.

We need to have our own referendum to join them. If I start a petition will anyone second it?

Comments (21)

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1:59pm Mon 10 Mar 14

vicn1956 says...

OK. But if Scotland stays with us they need to stop taking an unfair amount of our taxes.
OK. But if Scotland stays with us they need to stop taking an unfair amount of our taxes. vicn1956
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

I won't be able to see you again unless you agree to marriage. I have standards, romantic standards whatever side of the border crossing you think you are standing on.
I won't be able to see you again unless you agree to marriage. I have standards, romantic standards whatever side of the border crossing you think you are standing on. Romantical
  • Score: 0

3:13pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Anyone would feel sorry for your husband but I'm still wiling to take a chance on you, if you have a sudden change of heart.
Anyone would feel sorry for your husband but I'm still wiling to take a chance on you, if you have a sudden change of heart. Romantical
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Hopefully, your not a fascist bully who doesn't belive in freedom of speech.
Hopefully, your not a fascist bully who doesn't belive in freedom of speech. Romantical
  • Score: 0

3:19pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

The people with the money and the oil will do what is best for the people with the money and the oil. Independence has nothing to do with anything other than the administration which only a few will be a part of.Unless you are deluded enough to think the scottish people and the english people are two different people.
The people with the money and the oil will do what is best for the people with the money and the oil. Independence has nothing to do with anything other than the administration which only a few will be a part of.Unless you are deluded enough to think the scottish people and the english people are two different people. Romantical
  • Score: 1

3:20pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Nothing would surprise me.
Nothing would surprise me. Romantical
  • Score: 0

3:25pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Having the power, does not give anyone the right to be helpful.
Having the power, does not give anyone the right to be helpful. Romantical
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Marriage, or you can never see me again.
Marriage, or you can never see me again. Romantical
  • Score: 0

4:32pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

I'm a self made from a beautiful feeling. I don't know what you think your womanity is made of, but as long as I'm made out of a beautiful feeling whatever it is you are made out of could have some potential. Anything is a possiblity, either side right or left of the border but say no to Marriage, and you will never know, I've ever been here.
I'm a self made from a beautiful feeling. I don't know what you think your womanity is made of, but as long as I'm made out of a beautiful feeling whatever it is you are made out of could have some potential. Anything is a possiblity, either side right or left of the border but say no to Marriage, and you will never know, I've ever been here. Romantical
  • Score: 0

4:34pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

You've had long enough to think and emote over it.
You've had long enough to think and emote over it. Romantical
  • Score: 0

4:38pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Yes or No ?
Yes or No ? Romantical
  • Score: 0

7:27am Tue 11 Mar 14

Kevin, Colne says...

Helen,

Tuition fees were abolished by the Scottish parliament but in England and Wales they were later increased to £3000 by the Labour Government only with support of Scotland’s MPs. This was an outrage, but passed with little more than a murmur from the national commentariat.

It was yet another example of the political class putting party before people, of national newspapers and journalists failing in their duty to give the matter sufficient and prolonged exposure, and symptomatic of the disinterest of parents and grand-parents many of whom simply turned the page to read the next item in the paper, or picked-up the latest celebrity gossip magazine, or tuned-in to the next episode of Coronation Street, or went to buy a ticket for the National Lottery.

This jolted me in two ways. First my support for the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland evaporated and I became in favour of Home Rule for England.

Secondly, I convened a family conference with myself – I use this technique because it ensures that my decisions are always unanimous, as Mrs Slocombe would have said – to devise a plan of action to minimize the damage to the family. In passing I should say that I know from reading one of your previous columns that you and I have divergent views on this issue – in fact we are diametrically opposed – and we’ve ploughed very different furrows. In fact, I would not be surprised to find that our views on university education may differ as well, but that's a story for another day.

Unfortunately unlike the current set of parents with children now entering university we had very little time to prepare for the impact of tuition fees, and the situation was made harder when fees were increased to £3000; although in relation to the current fee this was an absolute bargain. Quite frankly the current fee of £9000 is a burden beyond my comprehension.

Of course, on top of this is the cost of accommodation, if they are studying away from home; and living expenses. We worked on the basis of 3 x 3. £3000 for fees, £3000 to cover accommodation and £3000 for subsistence and other living, including course text books etc. That came to £9000 per annum, and under the current regime it is £15000 a year. That’s big money, and after three years it becomes really big money.

After my children left university I planned to make a film titled ‘Two Graduations and a Bankruptcy’. In this tale I was the bankrupt!

Tuition fees have been part of the landscape for the best part of a decade and a half, which means that parents have opportunity to make preparations; but for many this is either impossible or extremely difficult as there is precious little money left to put aside.

New parents, existing parents and students need good, honest, straight-forward advice. Unfortunately, and from my experience, I have concluded that this is very hard to find.

Kevin
Helen, Tuition fees were abolished by the Scottish parliament but in England and Wales they were later increased to £3000 by the Labour Government only with support of Scotland’s MPs. This was an outrage, but passed with little more than a murmur from the national commentariat. It was yet another example of the political class putting party before people, of national newspapers and journalists failing in their duty to give the matter sufficient and prolonged exposure, and symptomatic of the disinterest of parents and grand-parents many of whom simply turned the page to read the next item in the paper, or picked-up the latest celebrity gossip magazine, or tuned-in to the next episode of Coronation Street, or went to buy a ticket for the National Lottery. This jolted me in two ways. First my support for the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland evaporated and I became in favour of Home Rule for England. Secondly, I convened a family conference with myself – I use this technique because it ensures that my decisions are always unanimous, as Mrs Slocombe would have said – to devise a plan of action to minimize the damage to the family. In passing I should say that I know from reading one of your previous columns that you and I have divergent views on this issue – in fact we are diametrically opposed – and we’ve ploughed very different furrows. In fact, I would not be surprised to find that our views on university education may differ as well, but that's a story for another day. Unfortunately unlike the current set of parents with children now entering university we had very little time to prepare for the impact of tuition fees, and the situation was made harder when fees were increased to £3000; although in relation to the current fee this was an absolute bargain. Quite frankly the current fee of £9000 is a burden beyond my comprehension. Of course, on top of this is the cost of accommodation, if they are studying away from home; and living expenses. We worked on the basis of 3 x 3. £3000 for fees, £3000 to cover accommodation and £3000 for subsistence and other living, including course text books etc. That came to £9000 per annum, and under the current regime it is £15000 a year. That’s big money, and after three years it becomes really big money. After my children left university I planned to make a film titled ‘Two Graduations and a Bankruptcy’. In this tale I was the bankrupt! Tuition fees have been part of the landscape for the best part of a decade and a half, which means that parents have opportunity to make preparations; but for many this is either impossible or extremely difficult as there is precious little money left to put aside. New parents, existing parents and students need good, honest, straight-forward advice. Unfortunately, and from my experience, I have concluded that this is very hard to find. Kevin Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

11:48am Tue 11 Mar 14

Romantical says...

So that's a 'yes' then.
So that's a 'yes' then. Romantical
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Romantical says...

You could make anyones story believable and to me, that's just another unbelievable thing about you. I must be taxing your reading skills with the stuff I write, so its understandable your fed up. I might be weak and need you but, I try.

Call me pregnant with the feeling that answers ever question for you if you want to, but if it isn't Romantic, you just haven't ploughed anything yet.

Will you meet me in Carlisle on Monday afternoon to discuss all the colours, technicalities and finer points and details over tea and biscuits there ?
You could make anyones story believable and to me, that's just another unbelievable thing about you. I must be taxing your reading skills with the stuff I write, so its understandable your fed up. I might be weak and need you but, I try. Call me pregnant with the feeling that answers ever question for you if you want to, but if it isn't Romantic, you just haven't ploughed anything yet. Will you meet me in Carlisle on Monday afternoon to discuss all the colours, technicalities and finer points and details over tea and biscuits there ? Romantical
  • Score: 0

1:53pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Six more days for consulting friends and family, nearests and dearests should be enough.
Six more days for consulting friends and family, nearests and dearests should be enough. Romantical
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Without Romance, there really isn't that much for a man to get educated about - is my view of education.
Without Romance, there really isn't that much for a man to get educated about - is my view of education. Romantical
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Romantical says...

It might jolt your husband to know, I've been waiting for you for a decade and a half.
It might jolt your husband to know, I've been waiting for you for a decade and a half. Romantical
  • Score: 0

3:56pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Or fifteen years, if he's still rational.
Or fifteen years, if he's still rational. Romantical
  • Score: 0

4:09pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Because you are worth it, doesn't sound very unfair to me.
Because you are worth it, doesn't sound very unfair to me. Romantical
  • Score: 0

11:22am Wed 12 Mar 14

Romantical says...

You need to be there by 3pm. Same place.
You need to be there by 3pm. Same place. Romantical
  • Score: 0

11:35am Wed 12 Mar 14

Romantical says...

Bring your own pen.
Bring your own pen. Romantical
  • Score: 0

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