Our old favourite Chekov is at it again - despite the pivotal stage the political process in Northern Ireland has reached, the UUP/Tory blogger has chosen this moment to return to Nat-bashing of the Scottish variety, leaping on a report commissioned by the Scotland Office that purports to show that Scotland has received a £76 billion 'devolution dividend'. Chekov characterises the SNP's response to the report in the following terms -
"If you believe the government’s figures then you are ‘doing Scotland down’, hence you are not a good Scotsman. It’s the type of reductionist, identity based politics we’re accustomed to in Northern Ireland."
Actually, the principal way I would describe anyone who believes the Scotland Office figures is "credulous". But Chekov is not a Scotsman, and yet I have no hesitation in saying that he most certainly is doing Scotland down. How else can you characterise the sneering tone he employs upon encountering any suggestion that Scotland could stand on its own two feet economically - "sense of entitlement to dwindling oilfields", "saved from collapse by the British taxpayer"?
The bottom line is that if you have to rely on undermining Scotland's confidence in its own economic self-sufficiency to quite that scathing degree, it's an implicit acknowledgement that the alternative arguments for the union are wearing a bit thin. Chekov seems to instinctively register this point at the end of his post, when he goes through the motions of essentially saying "other pro-union arguments are also available" -
"Of course economics only form part of the pro-Union case. The Conservative reaction to this story is the most pertinent, from a unionist perspective - “People know Scotland is better off socially, culturally, financially and politically as part of Britain”."
Well, if the Tory reaction is the most 'pertinent', it's certainly not the one that's actually resonating among the Scottish electorate. Scotland-as-part-of-Britain is socially, culturally, politically and financially superior to Scotland-as-a-nation...and this from a man who claims to disdain identity politics? Perhaps this would be an appropriate night of the year to invite the gloriously un-self-aware British Nationalist Chekov to ponder the immortal words -
"Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion."
I think it's an observation I've made before, but Chekov on the subject of Scottish politics is essentially AM2 without the laughs.