Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Back to the future (or forward to the past)

Quite amusing to see a Scottish Labour spokesman (don't worry, it's not Baron George, he's always "a senior Labour MSP" - the only one in existence apparently) leap on Jim Sillars' suggestions for changes in the SNP's stance on defence and foreign affairs as representing "a split in the separatist movement". That's analogous to saying the fact that David Cameron and Gordon Brown can't bury their differences is tantamount to a split in the "unionist movement".

Sillars' prescription is a baffling mixture of some proposals that would arguably bring the SNP more into the 'mainstream' (in the sense that it would bring them into line with the grey uniformity of the three unionist parties on issues such as Trident and NATO), and others that would take the party straight to the lunatic fringe without passing Go. Why start talking up the possibility of a "Scottish pound linked to sterling" when the SNP has already accepted that sterling itself could be retained until euro membership is possible? I can only assume that Sillars hasn't even noticed that. And the notion that switching from the long-held "independence in Europe" pitch to a proposal to join EFTA would somehow represent a 'modernised' stance is, to put it kindly, a touch eccentric. It's EFTA that's an institution of the past, not the EU. Its membership presently stands at an almost embarrassing four - one of which is Liechtenstein. And if, as seems fairly likely, Iceland shortly jumps ship to join the EU (as so many other countries have done before it), people will surely start to ponder whether the organisation is even sustainable at all.

But then Mr Sillars is an 'out of the box' thinker who sees things that few of us do - generally because they aren't there. After all, this is the man who in 1996 confidently prophesied a Tory victory in the 1997 election.


  1. And, lest anyone forget called for A No/No vote in the 1999 referendum. Honest - go check!

    But that dont make him wrong on NATO.

  2. James (off topic)

    I seemed to have been dumped into purdah on PB. No idea why. Do they give a reason?

  3. Hi Oldnat, I'm probably too late to answer this, but I know that some people have been blocked by mistake in the past. Also, sometimes individual posts disappear into the ether for no apparent reason, so it might just be that.