Sunday, February 10, 2013

I-I-I-I wouldn't change a thi-ing

From the BBC -

Writing before the launch of the Westminster government's document, Mr Cameron pledged that his government would put the "facts" about Scottish independence to the public.

He said: "As one of Scotland's two governments, the UK government has a duty to help inform people with hard facts."

Great. Well, let's get cracking with this hard fact - Scotland has just one government of its own. The clue is in the now legally-recognised title "The Scottish Government". Scotland is part of the UK, which has its own government - but that's a different point. The European Commission is also a de facto government in all but name - what credibility do you think José Manuel Barroso would have if he came to Edinburgh and said "speaking on behalf of one of Scotland's three governments..."?

"So we'll be providing expert-based analysis to explain Scotland's place within the UK and how it might change with separation - and our first paper is published tomorrow."

Yes, David, do explain to us how Scotland's "place within the UK" might "change" after independence. Could be interesting.

"We don't shy away from putting facts and evidence before the Scottish people. This must not be a leap in the dark, but a decision made in the light of day."

Ah, so you're finally going to tell us about this Top Secret Devo Plus plan that you may or may not be kind enough to implement if we vote No? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. Facts and evidence to inform the electorate's choice are great up to a point, but you can have way too much of a good thing.

"Our ancestors explored the world together and our grandfathers went into battle together as do our kith and kin today - and this leaves deep, unbreakable bonds between the peoples of these islands."

Empire nostalgia may or may not be the most promising argument against independence in the second decade of the 21st Century. And "kith and kin"? Perhaps not the most fortunate choice of phrase, given how widely-associated it is with the armed forces' reluctance to fight their racist "kith and kin" in Rhodesia in 1965.

"I have no time for those who say there is no way Scotland could go it alone," he said.

Does that include British Prime Ministers who sneer that "if you had an independent Scotland, you wouldn't be flying planes, you'd be the seat of your pants!!!!"? I presume it must do, and I trust Mr Cameron has slapped himself down pretty firmly for that one.

He pointed out that Scotland had its own government and parliament in Edinburgh, with power over areas such as health and education.

"Scots can take all of these decisions and more to meet the specific needs of Scotland," Mr Cameron said.

And more? Well, let's consider the decisions Scots can't take to meet the specific needs of Scotland. We can't choose to stay out of London's illegal wars. We can't get inhuman weapons of mass destruction off the Clyde. We can't represent ourselves in Europe (we're "represented" by Cameron and Hague instead). We can't set our own policy on welfare payments. We can't set our own immigration policy. We can't frame our own laws on abortion and gun control. We can't tear up the unequal extradition treaty with the US. We can't decide our own broadcasting and energy policies.

We know from polling evidence that Scots want to take all these decisions for themselves. And oddly enough, the majority of them could - in theory - be taken by Scots within the context of the UK, if only Westminster would devolve those powers to us. But it seems the computer says no. Presumably we should draw the obvious conclusion in next year's referendum? For Scots to take decisions to meet the specific needs of Scotland, in most cases independence will be required.

Unless, of course, we hear about that Top Secret Devo Plus plan before the referendum. But that would be silly.


  1. I love it when Cameron sounds off about independence. The guy can't help sounding patronising, even without the plummy tones, in his writing, he manages to talk down to us.

    I'm certain that he converts far more to independence than the other way around.

    Did Alex Salmond not, at one time, rejoice every time Mrs Thatcher set foot on Scottish soil, because of the boost the SNP would shortly receive in the polls.

    I'll bet Cameron's prattling gives the First Minister a glow no less rosy that his predecessor's did.

    I enjoyed the "flying by the seat of your pants" jibe...

  2. "Welfare payments"? What happened to good old social security? Or are we all American now?

  3. My humble apologies. Although strictly speaking I've always been American!