Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mr Brown, tear this wall down

From a familiar source we hear a familiar scare about independence - that it would lead to passport controls being set up on the English border. I suppose we should be duly grateful that Scottish Unionist at least resisted the temptation to indulge in the usual hyperbole about 'families being torn apart, your auntie in Scarborough being made a foreigner'. I may surprise you here, because I'm actually going to concede he has a point. It does now look perfectly conceivable that an independent Scotland would have border controls, largely because of the London government's extraordinary and inexplicable decision to rip up the decades-old and highly successful Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland. If London is going to insist on checking the passports of travellers from Ireland, it seems inevitable that the same would apply to travellers from an independent Scotland.

But what's slightly bizarre is Scottish Unionist's claim that the Scottish public would find the erecting of border posts 'distasteful'. I dare say they would - but let's examine this more closely. The SNP expressly does not want or see the need for border posts, while the London government expressly does. Who, in such circumstances, are the people actually 'erecting the border posts' and who should the public's 'distaste' about the matter be logically directed towards?

As any 'personal development' trainer will tell you, the fundamental principle about life is that you can only affect what you do, not what anyone else does - and consequently you can only be held responsible for your own actions, not for anyone else's. Scottish Unionist's attempt to blame the SNP for this is rather analogous to someone who self-harms after the break-up of a relationship - and then tells their ex-partner it was his or her fault for walking out on them.

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