Today’s Scotsman has decided the issue for me. Accepting that Alex Salmond being named Politician of the Year is a Herald award, the fact that the Scotsman gives it a meagre four column inches at the bottom right of an inside page says it all. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer is a maxim that can be applied to media, but the enemy has to matter. The Scotsman no longer does – I had as soon watch Fox News as read it - and I can pick up their token Nationalist articles online. The Scotsman no longer matters to Scotland and it no longer matters to me. After all, for 85p I can buy a newspaper …
THE NEW COALITION
As if the benighted and incompetent Tory/LibDem coalition wasn’t bad enough, we now have a New Coalition, one that is even more damaging to the people of Scotland – The Labour/Tory/LibDem anti-independence Coalition. Scottish Labour MPs, terrified of losing their jobs, their perks - and perhaps their Party - after Scotland secures its freedom from the UK, are engaged in a sordid alliance with their ancient class enemies, the Tories (the LibDems are irrelevant) to frustrate the aspirations of Scots to conduct a fair referendum on how they see their country’s future.
This contemptible, self-serving alliance is led from the Labour side by Margaret Curran MP and Willie Bain MP, who have now accepted Shadow posts as Colonial Government apparatchiks, (I’m trying desperately to avoid giving them the name they richly deserve) mirroring the Scotland Office, a body set up to preserve the Union and maintain the Scots in subservience. This is what the thing that was once the People’s Party has come to …
|From Drop Box|
THE BENEFITS OF THE UNION ACCORDING TO MICHAEL MOORE
Scotland’s economic opportunities are larger
Scotland’s public finances are more robust
Scotland’s defence is stronger
Scotland’s influence on the international stage greater
Scotland’s welfare system more secure
Cultural and family ties (with the rest of the UK) are closer
(Michael Moore had to read from a crib sheet to offer even this meagre, self-serving little list at Scottish questions in the Commons on Wednesday: he referred to them as being just six of many reasons. Aye, right …)
I have the kind permission of Gerry Hassan to reproduce his eleven reasons for Scottish independence, quoted in a recent article by Gerry, a commentator who thinks deeply about Scotland, Scottish politics and Scotland’s place in the world.
Gerry Hassan's 11 reasons for Scottish independence.
Britain, according to academic Danny Dorling, is the fourth most unequal country in the rich world. The only more unequal places are the United States, Portugal and Singapore. British economic growth is increasingly about a narrow segment of society – primarily concentrated around London and the south east.
2. Britain, despite devolution, is one of the most centralised countries in western Europe. Then there is the travesty of Westminster governance, a critique of which was one of the main drivers behind Scottish devolution. Since the advent of the Scottish Parliament, Westminster has become even worse.
3. The nature and direction of English public services: the current English NHS Bill opens up health to parasite American and foreign private companies eager to get their hands on public health monies. This is an extension of New Labour public sector reform.
4. Then there is the character of British politics. There have been four periods of Labour government since 1945 and only one has succeeded in narrowing inequality: the Attlee government. The other three led by Wilson/Callaghan and Blair/Brown all presided over widening inequality.
5. The scale of poverty, health inequalities and dislocation in Scotland requires fundamental change: one in four children living in hardship, the worst life expectancy levels in western Europe. Doesn’t the union have to take some responsibility for this? Isn’t there at least the possibility independence could aid the transformational change we need to address this?
6. One wouldn’t argue for independence solely based on North Sea oil revenues, but a contrast between Norway and ourselves is salutary. The North Sea has oil reserves for the next 30 to 40 years; wouldn’t it be good to see some of its benefits directly benefit the Scottish people?
7. Foreign policy and international affairs (without reference to Iraq). The British state has for decades become a problem child in the world, a troublemaker in Europe, slavishly pro-American, a hawk on foreign adventures.
8. Defence: there is the controversy of the nuclearisation and militarisation of Scotland without the consent of its people.
9. Europe: Britain’s Euroscepticism shrinks its influence in the corridors of Brussels. An independent Scotland would be seen by France and Germany as a Euro enthusiast, and allow us direct representation on key Scottish interests: farming, fisheries, the oil industry and much more.
10. The Scottish public sphere has suffered in recent years with the atrophying of large parts of our mainstream media. Part of this is global economics and the internet, but part is the media regulatory framework. An independent Scotland would allow us to create an environment where our public broadcasting began to reflect and represent our culture.
11. Tory governments: for as long as Scots vote Conservative in such small numbers, whenever we have majority Tory governments at Westminster, there will be a crisis of legitimacy. Devolution hasn’t sorted this; it can’t because it is a political, not constitutional issue.