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Showing posts with label Scotland-US. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland-US. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

What awaits Scotland after a No vote

This was my hasty (I was on my way to hospital ) reply to an article criticising the No campaign - Aren’t we already losing Scotland

I’ve left un-edited (but re-formatted and typo-corrected) In the cold light of today, James Forsyth’s comment weren’t exactly “touting” devo max and more powers – his piece was bit more considered than that – but it gave me the opportunity to say what I wanted. US opinion matters!

Comments [One comment]

  • Peter Curran says:

    December 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    James Forsyth’s comment touts the “jam tomorrow” of more powers to the Scottish Parliament after a No vote, delivered through one of the many variants discussed in the run up to the Edinburgh Agreement on the referendum – devo max, devo plus, devo something or other.

    The realities of the situation are these -

    The only mechanism by which more powers can be delivered, now or after a No vote, is The Scotland Act. It has already delivered a dribble of powers after the Calman Commission. The Scotland Act leaves absolute control with the Westminster Parliament over Scotland’s devolved powers: it created the devolved Parliament, it has the power to vary its powers by adding to them or subtracting them. It has the power to end devolution and dissolve the Parliament by vote in which non-Scottish MPs massively outnumber the 59 Scots.

  • In other words, until and unless it votes for full independence, Scotland is wholly dependent on the grace and favour of the British Parliament for its Parliament and any powers it has.

  • There are powerful voices in the Commons and the unelectd Lords who have always bitterly opposed the creation of a Scottish Parliament, regarding devolution as the thin edge of a wedge that would end the Union. There are a growing number of voices in England, notably the local authorities who bitterly resent what they see as Scotland privileged status in the Barnett Formula

  • There are strong voices, encapsulated by The West Lothian Question – coined by a Scot, Tam Dalyell – that questions the ability of Scots MPs to influence English legislation on purely English matters by their votes in Westminster, while English MPs cannot influence devolved matter in the Scottish Parliament. There are moves to reduce the number of Scottish MPs in Westminster. There is growing resentment in England and Wales about what they see as Scotland’s privileged position under devolution.

  • To grant more powers to Scotland after a No vote, or even promise them before one would be greeted with outrage by the English electorate and the Welsh Labour voters. It would be political suicide in the 2015 UK general election for any party that promised or committed such powers.

  • The Scottish electorate do not trust the UK on promises of more powers after a No vote in a referendum, because they have already reneged on just such a promise in 1979 after a referendum – they have form!

    But the decisive argument for Scots is that, had the UK Parliament and government any intentions to consider or grant more powers, they would not have opposed the second question in the Scottish referendum addressing the wish for devo max within UK revealed in poll after poll.

    Alex Salmond and the SNP government were willing to consider such a question and option, offering a middle road between independence and the status quo. The resolute opposition to the 2nd question – a deal breaker for the Edinburgh Agreement – by David Cameron and all the UK Better Together parties – told the Scottish electorate all they needed to know – that a No vote, far from producing more powers, was almost certain to produce a clawback of powers and a £4 billion reduction in the Barnett Formula.

    The Scottish electorate know that a No vote, in addition to attracting the astonishment and thinly veiled contempt of the world for a nation that rejected its chance to be independent, would result in either devo zero or devo minus.

    Only independence will deliver to Scotland and the Scottish people the freedom they need to determine their future in this uncertain world and the challenging times ahead.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Scottish voices in US press

Here’s my response to Denise Mina, who wrote an odd little article for The New York Times, reprinted on Scotland-US today

I’ll pick up Denise Mina’s odd little phrase “without unpacking the issues”, because it encapsulates her approach, and that of some who claim to be undecided. She seems ‘undecided’, not as many genuinely are, because they are struggling to evaluate the arguments, but because she doesn’t want to be confused by the facts – and there is an abundance of facts available on the reasons why Scotland should be independent, and precious few arguments on why it should stay with the UK.

  • Here are a few of them -

    1. The United Kingdom, described by one eminent British historian as a “dysfunctional dynastic conglomerate” is an anachronism in the modern world, where independent nations are the norm, not the exception. It is the rapidly failing rump of The British Empire, which having lost all its subject countries except Wales and Scotland (Northern Ireland is not a country but a province)now desperately seeks to posture on the international stage by maintaining the 4th largest defence budget in the world and nuclear weapons of mass destruction (based in Scotland, within 20 miles of the country’s largest sector of population, against the will of the people of Scotland)and involving itself in ruinous foreign wars – one illegal (Iraq)and one profoundly misconceived (Afghanistan)

    2. The UK, far from being “the most successful political union the world has seen”, the phrase used by its defenders, has been a brutal, exploitative colonial empire abroad, and a grossly unequal society at home – currently the 4th most unequal country in the Western world in its wealth distribution.

    3. Scotland has rarely had the governments it voted for over the last sixty years – the so-called democratic deficit, and when it got a Labour Government for 13 years, they wrecked the economy,a process now being compounded by an inept right-wing coalition

    4. The UK currently has a critical problem of child poverty and food banks – the shameful 2013 equivalent of the soup kitchens of the US in the 1930s – are growing across the country, as are the queues of people waiting for handouts to feed their families.

    5. Scotland, resource-rich- would be the 8th wealthiest country in the world if independent.

    6. For every one of the last 30 years,Scotland has generated more tax per head than the UK as a whole.

    7. Scotland contributes more to UK in tax revenues than it receives back from UK.

    8. Scotland has 25% of Europe’s off shore tidal and wind energy potential.

    9. Scotland has the largest oil and gas reserves in the UK. Despite that, our oil revenues have been stolen from us since 1979 by UK, and used to bail out Thatcher’s failing economy, to build the M25 motorway around the city state of London, to fund the Falkland’s War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War and to fatten the already bloated bank balances of the powerful in the South East of England.

    10. The UK Coalition Government is currently engaged in a domestic war on the poor, sick and vulnerable of the United Kingdom, blaming them for the gross economic mismanagement of the UK economy for the last 30 years. It is drifting steadily to the right, and the electorate of England and Wales despair, because all three major parties seem committed to the same right-wing agenda. Democratic values are under attack daily, and a new populist party of the Right, racist and insular, UKIP, seeks to isolate UK from Europe and attempts to demonise immigrants. UKIP in contrast has been comprehensively rejected in disgust by the Scottish people, and its leader sent packing in ignominy when he peddled his wares in Scotland.

    I suggest Denise Mina tries to understand the passion for justice and equity that is gripping the people of Scotland, gets to grip with some facts, evaluates the arguments and decides where she stands – or alternatively, gets out of the way of those who are intent on transforming Scotland into a modern 21st century socially democratic independent nation.