Since I have been following the debate Better Together have a mantra of just saying the YES Campaign can’t answer the questions even when they do. Of course this approach is about seeding doubt and fear, and to make the YES Campaign look stupid, as well as, not having the answers. I started my little search for answers with Blair McDougalls podcast on the BBC in February of this year, and yes it was hard going.
First thing first he never really answered any questions, at all. The mantra appeared to be that it was up to the Scottish Government to answer all the questions, that the UK Government should not enter into any pre-vote negotiations, that the answers on the EU were clear (yeah ok). He stated that cuts to welfare are being used to pitch Scotland against the other parts of the UK without answering the question about Scotland getting governments it did not vote for. Apparently control over Health and Education is in Scotland’s hands, which it is to a degree, but no mention of the fact that we can’t actually decide how much we want to spend on it as we get pocket money. So no joy with Blair McDougall.
So onto the Better Together website, they will have all the answers. I looked under the+vecase, I assume that is supposed to mean the positive case. Anyway without just cutting and pasting the whole lot basically it says we have the BBC, the NHS, Pensions and real decision-making powers. It says it’s a tough world out there and we have the stability of the UK economy to keep us fine and dandy. For security apparently we have real clout within NATO, the UN Security Council and the EU and we have family who live in England. Ok not a lot of joy there then, where now. I know ‘ We Belong Together, the Case for a United kingdom ‘ by Alistair the home flipper Darling. I am not planning on going into tons of detail so here is the link if you want to read it yourself:
To start Alistair admits that we need growth, jobs and much needs to change. he’s not wrong there then. He also says that we will have better choices open to us to make changes within the UK, emmm don’t see how that works under governments we didn’t vote for. Apparently the onus is on the YES Campaign to answer the questions as to why we should go it alone, ok that’s fair enough.
Apparently there has always been devolution because there have been Scottish Institutions. Our mediaeval parliament 300 years ago was run by churches and the union gave us freedom of religion and our own legal system, oh and we negotiated it. The nationalist argument that we were absorbed by the bigger nation is a romantic fable. Being part of the Union means we share the risks and benefit from the opportunities in a home market and most of our exports go to England. But if we are in a union how can they be exports? He implies that Scotland might not be able to sell to England if we are independent. Bollocks if there ever were any.
On currency Alistair states that fiscal union without political union is undemocratic and unsustainable, so the EU is undemocratic and unsustainable. No matter your view on the EU I’m not sure that is a particularly strong argument there. Allegedly 56% of Scots want to keep the pound and stay in the UK but when you look at the question asked it’s hardly balanced and fair.
Political Union – Apparently we have a voice in the debates that impact on our well-being in a way which no other ‘ small ‘ nation has. A voice at least ten times louder than we would have on our own. Ok, what I would ask you to think about is the bedroom tax, the Iraq war, the sale of the Royal Mail, the renewal of trident, tax cuts to the rich, the changes to benefits like tax credits to name but a few. Alistair also states that Scotland has a seat at all the top tables, when did that happen. I can’t remember a Scottish First Minister representing Scotland at the UN, G8, EU, Security Council, G20 and we benefit from having 250 embassies. Now if you have ever had the misfortune to use a UK embassy you will know that they are as much help as a chocolate teapot. I had to use one once and they were actually no help what so ever and I did better at the French one.
We have been free of domestic wars in the UK as part of the Union, well duh but what about Northern Ireland. Apparently we fought alongside other people from the UK. he says very little about defence and no mention of Trident, mmm I wonder why.
Social Union, now that we know we are more secure and better off in the union apparently only a small minority see themselves as only Scottish. Given that for 300 years Scottish was actually rarely on anything you fill in is it any wonder, even today when do you get asked on any official documents if you are Scottish, bollocks again Darling. He goes on about the BBC and NHS again and apparently people feel they represent what it means to be British. I’m sure he means English esp given recent BBC findings about representation. More about economic risks and how he had to rescue Scottish banks, funny should that not be British banks. In conclusion the home flipper says he has set out why we should be a part of the union. He doesn’t really answer any questions in detail, he distorts the facts and tells us that we are too wee, too poor and too stupid.
I’m sorry this is a bit of a long blog today but I would really appreciate, if anyone actually reads my rubbish, if someone could tell me why I should vote no and I am better together because I just can’t find the answers anywhere. Please help me find the answers, my suspicion is that there are none.