Sep 182014

Today the Scots decide. Everybody says things will never be the same, whichever way the vote goes. So, how can some good come out of this?

A ‘Yes’ vote, if it comes, looks like it will be by a narrow margin. This, surely would be a disaster, and no kind of birthday present for a nation founded on the need for its existence. If Alex Salmond, with years to make the case, can only convince a tiny majority of his ain folk to agree with him, he can hardly claim the mandate he needs to boss around the rest of the world.

There is a case for Scottish independence, or a least for greater Scotish autonomy, especially if it is made within a larger case for regional reform of the existing UK. But Salmond has not embraced this  – properly democratic – agenda, he has instead peddled a fantasy. Vote yes, he has said. so that ‘we can get the country we want’. How childish, how narrow, how wilfully dismissive of the existence of the rest of the world. So a country can be fixed with one scratch of the pencil? And what exactly is it that ‘we’ Scots want? The idea that international relations, the laws of economics and the realities of politics can be abolished with a scribble is quite risible. An independent Scotland will still contain its own range of rich and poor, and does he seriously contend that all the rich people will maintain a newly discovered, specifically Scottish social conscience? The border may have changed but the pre-existing social diversity of Scotland will remain, and tensions will be exacerbated, if anything, by the newly claustrophobic Scotland he will have created.

The intellectual mendacity of the Scot Nats has been on show for a long time, capped last night by Salmond’s assertion – his final rallying cry – that the Nats were still the underdogs. Does nobody get this? How can a nationalist party that truly represents the nation BE AN UNDERDOG?

Despite the many unfilled holes in Salmond’s prospectus, it has to be said that Better Together have run a lacklustre campaign, though admittedly they did have the difficult task of defending the status quo in the midst of a recession, and at a time when British politics is ornamented with its least inspiring leadership cadre ever.

Back to the question; how can some good come out of this?

A narrow win for ‘no’ followed by proper reform of the institutional structure of the UK. That’s how. What exactly thsi means can be worked out. This would help everyone, unlike Salmnond’s dream which would wreck the currency, give us two armies and navies where one would do, and condemn Scots, especially the poorer ones, to live in a grim world with no one left to blame.

An independent Salmond-topia might not be as bad as I fear. But it cannot possibly be as good as he has promised.


 Posted by at 1:02 pm

  2 Responses to “Best Case”

  1. A good argument which I basically agree with although I support Scottish independence. I have followed the No campaign closely because until about six weeks ago I was against independence, but they provided no convincing arguments. The exchange rate will suffer is one such argument. You do not lead your life to suit the exchange rate. Whether the exchange rate is high or low, there are both advantages and disadvantages, such as whether you are buying or selling goods. Most people like me who lived through the 1960’s think of it as a wonderful time, and do you know what? – I have no idea what the exchange rate was, what level the FTSE was at, and which companies were based north, or south, of the border. The exchange rate is easily fixed anyway, the bankers who adjusted the exchange rate a few years ago, to suit their own ends, are not in prison (where they should be) so get them to adjust it again.
    Salmond exaggerates to the point of mendacity, this is called being in politics – think of Mr. Blair.
    Salmond is playing on emotions. I don’t like that but that is politics, as anyone who listens to a Labour Party supporter will know.

    This is an emotional campaign about a new state, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia all made the change. However some are going to be swayed by the moronic Braveheart fallacy, some are also going to be swayed because they lack the courage for something new. Both sides have supporters who make their decisions for reasons I consider the wrong reasons but again that is democracy.

    Prime Minister Cameron allowed this vote I believe as a diversion to the real vote most people in the U.K. want, namely a referendum on EU membership. However Cameron being a politician, as Salmond is, know Scotland will vote no, but in a EU vote he was not sure.

    I hope Scotland votes yes, and then Catalunya, and then this outdated mode of government, of administrative areas getting larger and larger will end and we can return to more human sized countries.

    • A thoughtful and thorough response, Ian. If only the rest of the debate had been as balanced – or even as melancholy. Optimism is what democracy requires to work, but melancholy probably produces better decisions.

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