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He later credited them as being the inspiration for his famed story of the boy who never grew up.
Four US Olympic swimmers who said they had been robbed in Rio de Janeiro were not victims of crime, the head of the city's civil police has said. In 1852, the freehold was secured and the smaller residence of Birkhall was gifted to Edward, Prince of Wales.
It was in the 1930s that George V lent Birkhall to the members of the family with whom it would become most associated: the Duke and Duchess of York, who redecorated the house and replanted the gardens.
It was after the King’s death in 1952 when The Queen Mother began, once more, to use Birkhall as a summer residence, that the small 18th-century house, dating from 1715, was enlarged and the plans that had been made by her and the Duke of York for the garden during the 1930s were brought to fruition. It’s not a large garden, and at its heart is the River Muick, a lively tributary of the Dee, which joins its parent river a mile to the north-east just outside Ballater. Not surprisingly, the garden at Birkhall is cultivated to be at its peak during the late summer months when The Prince likes to visit most.
Below the sloping lawn, the garden falls away rapidly, first to a terrace backed by a stone wall on which are trained espaliered fruit trees, and fronted by borders filled with red roses: Europeana, Le Mans and Bishop Elphinstone. The wide apron of garden below the terrace is in the shape of a bell and is even referred to as the Bell Garden.
The effect is breathtaking and complemented by the central finials of clipped yew- the central one dating back to The Queen Mother and others, throughout the garden, strategically placed by His Royal Highness to offer winter structure.
Where practical, anything not supplied to the kitchen from the garden is brought from Highgrove. Other borders are planted with cosmos and more roses, and the broad, curving border, backed by the garden’s curving beech hedge, is a dense combination of Telekia speciosa (a yellow daisy native to the mountains of southern Europe) and our own rosebay willowherb- a striking mixture of gold and shocking pink. Just a few yards from a towering lime tree (under whose branches in 1856 Florence Nightingale, a house guest, was greeted by an admiring Queen Victoria) is an enclosed lawn at whose end sits the heather-thatched Wendy house built for Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose and used by all subsequent royal children.
The red squirrels, the secret pathways, the ducks and the tiny strawberries, so pickable at the path’s edge, are reminders that this is a family garden. A winding path wends between the stumps, where hazelnuts are left for the red squirrels that populate this part of Scotland. Beyond the stumpery, a bridge made out of a dead elm tree from Balmoral by two Prince’s Trust-supported entrepreneurs leads to an island in the River Muick.
The garden at Birkhall demonstrates to perfection his beliefs, his love of gardens, of wildlife and the countryside and, equally important, of Scotland. The Prince says: ‘My gardening style is to try to work with the spirit of the place and to have enough time to walk round and round until a vision of how it should be comes to me. There was only one hedge at Birkhall to begin with, so I put in some more for structure- I love topiary, anyway.
It’s a simple question but not one often asked, probably as most economics bloggers like myself get bogged down in numbers and over-complicate the issue. Data from the UK Government’s Office for National Statistics demonstrates in simple terms the distribution of personal wealth in the UK.
Clearly the further north you go the lower the distribution of wealthy households and this matches other research that shows overall lower average household wealth, and lower the average household income in the north. The second map (Eurostat Regional GDP per capita) shows clearly that, in terms of wealth per head, the Scottish central belt generates as much wealth as much of London and the South.
A month earlier, I made the same point on this blog when I wrote about Scotland’s economy going south. It is an accepted fact that every year for 30 years Scotland has generated more tax revenue per head for the UK treasury than the rest of the UK.  The latest figures taken from the Government Expenditure and Revenue Report Scotland (GERS) state that Scotland generated ?800 more in tax per person than the UK average.
Put simply, when the UK runs a surplus Scotland contributes more to the surplus, and when the UK runs a deficit Scotland has to pay more of the debt back than it is responsible for.
Instead of understanding and reacting to the root cause of the problem we now have a culture of scapegoating the poor, unemployed, disabled, infirm and especially immigrants rising to the top of a political agenda which is dominated by the London and south of England establishment. So let’s consider three key vulnerable groups that the Scottish Government could help if we did not give away so much of our budget every year around ?4.1bn drained away on debt interest last year year alone! Whilst according to The Times, 1 in 29 Londoners are dollar millionaires, 29% of Scots live in fuel poverty according to the latest research.
In some areas in Scotland more than 1 in 3 children grow up in poverty (1 in 5 across the nation as a whole).
According the UK Life Expectancy figures (see 3rd map), the impact of the unfair distribution of wealth under the Union combined with unemployment caused by deindustrialisation means that people who live in Scotland are dying earlier than those from the wealthiest parts of the UK. For example, the male life expectancy in Scotland is 75 versus 79 in the English south east. So as well as subsidising the rest of the UK during their working lives they do so again in death. Because people are living far longer in the heavily populated south east of England, the state pension age is already due to increase to 67 by 2028 and future rises in the state pension age would remain linked to improvements in life expectancy.  Asking your average Scottish man or woman to work seven years longer than his healthily life expectancy is asking a bit much. Note:  There are only three small areas of the UK where the average person is expected to live over 82 years(dark green on the map), they are Kensington, Westminster and Chelsea. David Cameron is fond of saying that we are STRONGER, SAFER, RICHER, and FAIRER … TOGETHER. But clearly that’s only if you live outside Scotland and particularly if you are from the South of England! How does a political and economic system that drains billions in revenues from Scotland and leaves the poor unable to heat their homes make us better together? We can build a Scotland which gets the best of both worlds from remaining in partnership with our friends across the British Isles in areas where we share mutual interests, but most importantly being able to shape our own economic future and maximise our own resources to benefit more Scots today and in generations to come through self-government. With a degree in business, marketing and economics, Gordon has worked as an economic development planning professional, and in marketing roles specialising in pricing modelling and promotional evaluation for global companies (including P&G).
Gordon benefits (not suffers) from dyslexia, and is a proponent of the emerging New Economics School. The North East of England was once wealthier than all of Scotland but that situation has now reversed.
Jareth, a word to the wise, engage brain before, typing comment, otherwise you’re liable to make yourself look stupid!! Essentially, we live in a mercantilist system: Scotland has provided beef, wool, whisky, coal, cannon fodder and oil to keep the revenues flowing to the imperial centre, and protecting those revenue flows to London has been crucial to the vested interests there. One aspect is new, though: the ease of exporting capital makes even London subject to capital leakages because of the expansion in offshore tax havens and the removal of government control over capital flows. Here is the lesson of history: the French Revolution, the October Revolution and Iraq all show the same processes at work.
It would appear that having Trident in Scotland would also contribute to lower life expectancy as well.
Interesting article and one that proves scotland can be independent and I thoroughly support it! I only wish that some english voters would take a second to see what exactly it is we want. It is so obvious that the majority of english voters would want the same thing for themselves.
As it stands, what we have can be likened to four fellas going down to the pub, but for some reason the bigger guy tells you what to drink, when to pee and what subjects to discuss.
Cap that with him loudly proclaiming that it is he alone who pays for the others, despite their having handed over all their cash before they left the house. BTW guys, corporate headquarters and production are not generally co-located … that was the 1800s!
So after reading your piece I surmise there are zero benefits to remaining in the union at all? I agree to a certain extent and have already written to Gordon on a slightly different tack, urging the need to promote more balance for an Independent Scotland. With ref to this article, one thing an independent Scotland will have to address is paying a a more competitive wage to young grads working in the financial services industry.


So much for the facts, but what of the moral and ethical nature of the present stage in Scottish constitutional (re-)specification? It is no secret that nationalists laud the potential for Scotland to be richer and a more vibrant polity inter alia if, and only if, she becomes an independent nation-state. In a nutshell, then, these economic arguments are unethical because they are premised on the fundamental idea of the betterment of Scotland, but (often unwittingly) at the cost of, in particular, her English, Welsh, and Northern Irish brothers and sisters.
To be clear, I don’t favour the UK as a “unit of loyalty” – there is no special case for the UK.
Contrast all this with the EU, which has always aimed towards pooling players to bring about mutual economic success. That Scotland on an international stage will both cause divisions, strutting and posturing for petty national gain, ignoring internationalism and mankind. All I can say to you is that I do not think you read the piece or digested it’s contents. You argue for a status quo that does diametrically the opposite of what you espouse, where is the greed and hubris? Why should we continue to support the union that leaves us in poverty and ill health, and distributes our wealth to the richest? You have been sold on the lie of brittish exceptionalism, the mother of parliaments, envy of the world, even Christ walked on these green and pleasant hills. Wake up the UK does all the things you hate and more, if you believe what you wrote and it is not nothing more than sophistry, vote yes… You know it makes sense! And I really appreciate that this site welcomes different voices to comment fully and people respond with cogent arguments not with petty dismissals.
Is that guy for real,he must be bushy black brows pr man,tell him next time to read the content and digest it,poor south we really must help them make more money while our own children cry because they are hungry,and the parents are working for company’s that chop and change there hours on a whim,oops they are based in the rich south.
We already have a colour leaflet on this and will be making it available to print off vial dropbox but a cheaper more simpler version is in the offing. Would independence mean that a greater than current percentage of GDP would be spent on benefits and the NHS.
Interesting article, it makes good reading and sheds more light than any of the MSP’s seem to babble on about at Holyrood. What the Donald Dewar who along with Blair readjusted the maritime border with England to try and rob Scotland of the Argyle oilfield and 6 others?
Mysister-in-law who lives in Donegal, Ireland, still gets her British widows pension through my deceased brother’s contributions,who was Scottish.
We all pay for our state pension throughout our working life, but it is not paid into a fund, the government uses this income in part to pay for ongoing state pensions. Mrs Rhodes provides a humorous and endearing insight into the Queen Mothera€™s personality. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Szamtalan kialakitasi mod letezik, melyeket kulon-kulon is alkalmazhatunk, de akar sikeresen otvozhetunk is. He visited it only once-preferring the more spacious accommodation to be found at nearby Abergeldie Castle-and in 1884, Queen Victoria bought back Birkhall for the accommodation of other members of her family and staff. Both were keen gardeners, the Duke being never happier than when clearing up woodland and relishing the physical work it involved. On The Queen Mother’s death in 2002, Birkhall passed to her grandson, Charles, Prince of Wales and Duke of Rothesay, and although the garden today bears many of his hallmarks, at its heart is the spirit of a native Scot who loved this part of the world and who felt, for Birkhall, a particular affection. Stand in front of the house-a neat, L-shaped, harlcoated building the colour of double cream -and the garden falls away in front of you, to be embraced by the surrounding woodland. Ann Bain and Suzie Graham, the gardeners, admit, with some embarrassment, that they didn’t start out as gardeners but as horse loggers. The plant is subjected to ‘the Chelsea chop’ in late May to delay its flowering, the foliage being scissored off at ground level with shears A Leyland cypress hedge that once acted as a windbreak at the eastern end of the house has been replaced with a rough stone wall, which now ends in an elegant harlcoated gazebo, a memorial to the Queen Mother. The orange-and-yellow roses that once grew here are gradually being replaced as their colour is favoured by neither The Prince nor The Duchess of Cornwall. As with the distinctive terracing, the Bell Garden was designed, reputedly, by Sir Dighton Probyn, Keeper of the Privy Purse to Edward VII and then Comptroller to Queen Alexandra until his death in 1924.
Willow-wand hurdles, 1ft high, retain smaller rectangular beds, replete with peas and beans, spinach and fennel, potatoes and fraises des bois, dahlias and sweet peas, beetroot and turnips, Sweet Williams and raspberries. Sedum Autumn Joy lines the beds and is a magnet for bees in this organic garden, where runner ducks toddle from their pond at the bottom of the garden to help with slug control.
UK, publisher of Country Life and other iconic brands about its goods and services, and those of its carefully selected third parties. First, health care costs in Scotland become higher than the rest of the UK and secondly Scots who pay the same percentage of their wages towards pensions all their working lives will get up to six years less pension. But then maybe that is why the No camp does not actually campaign on the economic and social record of the Westminster system but rather campaign against independence and, by extension, against the hopes and aspirations of those of us that see independence not as an end in itself but a means to an end whereby we build a stronger, safer, richer, fairer and all round better Scotland.
Gordon contributes articles to Business for Scotland, The National and The Huffington Post.
How you can argue at any point that parts of Scotland brings in fraction of the wealth that London and the South does is ludicrous! I hope you don’t mind if I use your article for a meeting we are having on Tuesday Sept 16th in our village hall providing as many facts about what Independence would mean to us as a NATION.
When I was nursing in paediatrics I remember consultants talking about the increased cases in childhood leukemia and its relation to trident. As an English man it is perfect opening for an English government and allow us to finally take back control of our country!
That would make four independant countries, that chose to support each other as a ‘United Kingdom? I imagine Kensington is where many of the bankers who pay themselves ridiculous pots of cash come from. I have a similar degree to yourself and was always told to look at both sides of the argument. The reason Edinburgh is the secondary financial hub in the UK, is because companies can have a highly skilled and educated workforce in Edinburgh and pay them less!!!! In this piece, I argue that the debates over an independent Scotland’s ability to be economically self-sufficient and prosperous are unduly concerned with the facticity of competing claims, which obscures important ethical concerns. Scotland, it is claimed, would benefit from its oil-rich territory; and be able to compete in an aggressive international marketplace to attract corporations to invest their capital in Scotland and her people. I ask this question somewhat rhetorically, but with a weak sense of agnosticism – the burden of proof is now on proponents of the economic argument.
I think if you are to distill it down to a few words you are saying the scots should not vote for this as it is driven by hubris, greed and a sense of national exceptionalism.
Emellett bemutatjuk a stilus kialakitasahoz szukseges kiegeszitoket is legyen az noveny, szerszam, vagy disztargy.A kertkultura a kertunk kialakitasanak es berendezesenek kulonfele stilusait mutatja be.
The young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose spent many happy holidays here until, on the Duke’s accession as George VI, the King and Queen occupied Balmoral and Princess Elizabeth, Prince Philip and their own children stayed at Birkhall during the late summer months. Keen for a career change, they became additional gardeners at Birkhall one day a week eight years ago.
It’s divided up into a series of beds and is, in effect, a formal kitchen garden, but is planted up in an unpretentious style with, at its centre, twin borders flanking the bisecting gravel path. Fruit, vegetables and flowers grow here in profusion with the aim of supplying the house during royal residence. Now, a cob summer house sits at it centre-a 60th birthday gift-and woodland plants and shrubs carpet the ground. At the moment, it leads to a bare field, soon to become an arboretum celebrating The Prince’s 65th birthday and to mark the birth of his grandson.
You have to be careful about the amount of statuary you put in and having too many objects.


There is no reason why our child poverty rates should be so much higher than many other European countries.  In Denmark and Norway less than 10% of children live in poverty. It leaves our nation’s families comparatively poorer despite the fact that we generate more tax revenue per head that the rest of the UK. Currently Scotland due to the decline in oil revenue is around ten billion sterling in the red although it had been in surplus prior to the oil price decline. I am very impressed with the the way you answered many questions people will regarding the effects of an Independent Scotland.
This, I believe will result in better relations between the two countries based on mutual respect and support. But this then means, ipso facto, the disadvantaged people of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland will have less financial means to distribute and enjoy such benefits. The question we must ask is whether or not we, as Scottish people, want it to be a defining characteristic of our ethos, culture, and personhood that we benefit at the direct cost to other people. Yet even the EU may end up betraying its own principles by threatening to become a settled, territorially limited polity that perpetuates the race to the bottom, albeit at a larger scale.
That we would drive our fraternal brothers in the rest of the UK into poverty and we should support them lest they fall into dire poverty and can no longer compete with a wealthier region. We sell more places in parliment than we elect, we laud ex Defence ministers getting vast directorships in the very companies they procure from, and it is so normal we don’t notice. It would be useful to have this printed as a leaflet, so us grass-roots foot-soldiers could hand it out & put it through letter boxes!
Forgive my naivety in this, but there is nobody who has any presence and sense of leadership to us since the likes of Donald Dewar.
Same for the many Irish citizens who worked in the UK Civil Service or who paid UK contributions.
The sound of the Muick fills the air, wherever you wander, embroidered, in summer, with the screaming of swifts overhead. When the previous head gardener left, they took on the job full-time and, with guidance from the Prince’s Head Gardener at Highgrove, Debs Goodenough, have maintained the gardens at Birkhall in fine order ever since.
Within these borders, The Queen Mother planted the bright pink Phlox Windsor; the Prince has replaced these with a striking mixture of purple and pink clary -Salvia horminum-planted out in late May each year and forming a magic carpet by July and on through the summer. They’re a favourite of The Duchess, who uses them in flower arrangements for the house. Here, hostas, gunneras and an assortment of ferns enjoy the damp atmosphere and muck-enriched earth beneath the canopy of overhanging trees. The gardeners know not to cut back any low branches because ‘The Prince really doesn’t like that.
It’s difficult to think of a better way of commemorating the efforts of a royal prince who has done so much for gardening and the landscape and whose passion in life has been to foster a greater responsibility for the natural world.
You lot had your chance to leave the Uk and you didn’t so sit back stop moaning and get on with it!
I suppose Scotland subsidises the free university Tuition fees that England and Wales enjoy? First, it must be accepted that any economic gains from oil are currently enjoyed by the UK and its constituents. For the more free-market-capitalist-oriented, this also, ipso facto, means less industry, capital and jobs in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Drop the nationalist nomenclature, it is the lives and welfare of other people that are at stake.
Even now, it can (and has) been criticised for failing to develop EU-level welfare protection. Birkhall is 600ft above sea level and occupies a south-facing slope with the towering mountain of Lochnagar in the far distance.
I urge that these ethical concerns should be taken seriously by even the most patriotic or nationalist sentiments, because the referendum – as part of the continuous (re-)evolution of Scotland and Scottish identity – threatens to defame the Scottish people with hubris and greed. But if an independent Scotland takes full ownership of this resource, then its fruits will no longer benefit the remainder of the UK. So, in the event of Scottish independence, yet another player would come to the table, and one which, if the nationalists are correct, will come at the expense of the other players (other nation-states), or at least try to. Indeed, Habermas has urged the need for a comprehensive EU Constitution so as to reach that end. Finally, I show how this argument relates to the more general thesis of global cosmopolitanism, as opposed to defending it as a special case for the UK. The implicit logic in these propositions is a better quality of life for the Scottish people. When Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, it was not out of hubris or greed, it was out of theological and ideological oppression.
On the contrary, the underlying premise of the argument extols the virtue of breaking down sovereign barriers between states – the process of EU integration exemplifying such cosmopolitan trends.
If Scotland does get the oil, then there will more jobs for Scottish people, and there will be a greater yield in tax revenues to contribute to the welfare of the Scottish people.
In terms of attracting business, whether or not the hoards of corporations that flock to Scotland after independence come from rUK or not, they will inevitably come from another nation-state, whose people will lose out in terms of jobs and tax revenue.
Indeed, the Republic of Ireland and her people can consequently be defined as Roman Catholic and republican (qua anti-monarchy). This proposition is admittedly idealistic, utopian, and, if it does happen, it is generations away. If Scotland attracts new businesses to her shores, then, again, more jobs and a greater tax yield. But it is the right direction to move in – it decreases the number of players, and may inspire similar economic covenants to be acted upon elsewhere.
I’ve spoken to my niece about what she and her friends are being shown and taught about the vote and how much they actually know, and its frightening. Whether you are a free-market capitalist (“right wing”) or a socialist (“left wing”), you can accept that logic.
The Scottish case perhaps once could be said to resist unionist sentiments on the basis of oppression.
One reason you can be in favour of independence because of consequential economic benefits.
But, in spite of relatively trivial trends in UK general elections, a move for independence at this stage in Scottish constitutional re-specification could be seen as introducing a covenant premised on greed.
The right wing ideology would celebrate the purported influx of corporate capital, and the jobs that would come with it. This is not to say that there are not any good (ethically speaking) reasons for independence. The left wing ideology would welcome the higher yield of tax for the benefit of the most disadvantaged constituencies of Scottish society.
There may indeed be some symmetrical positive-sum economic benefits of independence, to the extent that regional economies may be able to achieve this through careful planning and economic co-ordination – although, again, the burden would be on proponents of such arguments to come forward and defend against, or differentiate from, the unethical asymmetric arguments.
There are also valid arguments about identity and self-government that do not turn on, and do not advocate, strong forms of economic self-preference. Nevertheless, we must think carefully about how we will be defined as a people if we do not sufficiently address the unethical economic argument.



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