Friday, 17 January 2014


January, 2014, and it feels as if the  Scottish  Independence Debate has lost momentum. Is it the 'lull before the storm' -  or that shuffling, whispering interval you get half way through a pantomime, that  brief  interlude of  surreal  peace and calm before the frenzy of   'Oh yes we can ......' 'Oh no you can't.....'  starts up again?

What course  the independence debate  will take during the  the final 'act'  remains to be seen but, given that neither side has  any  verifiable  facts  to offer the info-hungry ranks of the undecided, it seems to me that - unless something happens to push voters one way or the other  -  the argument will get sillier and probably nastier.

The SNP  'White Paper'  might as well have been a colourful leaflet handed out in the street  for all the impact that it had. Did  the SNP  really believe that  any sane person was going to sit down and read through  what amounts  to a 670 page long election manifesto?  And now  they are demanding that the 'NO' camp reciprocate by publishing  their 'vision' for  the future of  Scotland,   trying to provoke a response which would turn the already rarefied  nature of the debate into a competition to see which side has the most fertile imagination.....
The Unionists,  for their part, seem intent on persuading the undecided  -  and probably a great many  'NO' voters as well  -  to vote 'YES'.  Apparently there's a plan afoot to 'lovebomb' Scotland with images of English celebrities pleading with  the Scots to  stay in the UK.  Maybe, come September, Gareth Malone will have the entire  population of England  singing  'Stay with me ...' in perfect harmony...... [More likely, it'll be David Beckham and Russell Grant  standing on Hadrian's wall, wearing kilts, singing 'Ye canna shove yer granny aff a bus...']  Who are these people?  And who do they represent?  From my experience, most [English] people don't care whether or not Scotland leaves the UK - and quite a few wish that the Scots would just get on with it.

Scottish independence is a perfectly reasonable proposition  and there might never be a better time for Scotland to set itself up as an independent country.The choice is clear and simple  but  months and months of claim and counter claim  will have  done more to baffle  the electorate  than enlighten them  - and there's  still eight months of  'the debate'  to  go.The trouble is, that, once you get beyond the basic premise,  i.e.  become independent or stay within the UK,  you're in the nether world of speculation . Faced with this situation, it seems likely to me that the 'YES' camp  will resort to that ancient Scottish tradition, namely: when all else fails, have a moan about the English.
Andrew Marr has warned about the potential for growing Anglophobia as the referendum approaches and  the fact that the SNP chose to hold the vote shortly after the 700th anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn suggests that they believe that there are 'YES' votes to be gained by playing the anti-English card.  [Imagine an in-out EU referendum  planned to coincide with the anniversary of  the battle of  Trafalgar, or D Day....].

Terms such as 'English colonialism',  'thirldom' ['thraldom'?], ' overlordship',  'fiefdom'   are bandied about on the internet and even Radio Scotland  as if they were relevant to Scotland's current situation -  and  Gordon Wilson - former leader of the SNP - has urged Alex Salmond to  direct his  campaign at 'the Southern cancer', 'the rapacious greed of Southern England...'.
The nationalists like to portray England  - especially the South - as right wing, upper class, racist etc. and I'm sure that, like every country, England has its  fair share of  fascists  and  bigots but nothing is ever as clear cut  as demagogues like Salmond would have us believe. Here are some 'FACTS' from the 2010 UK election results:

ENGLAND AS A WHOLE                                              SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
Conservative   39.6%       298 MP's                                  Conservative       49.9%     75   MP's  Labour             28.1%       191 MP's                                  Labour                 16.2%       4  MP's
Libdem            24.2%        43  MP's                                  Libdem                 26.2%        4  MP's
UKIP                 3.5%         ----------                                  UKIP                       4.1%       ----------
BNP                   2.1%        -----------                                  BNP                        0.7%       ----------
Green                  1.0%          1 MP                                     Green                      1.4%      1MP         

LONDON                                                                         CGDZYHY6PZHH
Labour             36.6%      38  MP's
Conservative    34.5%      28  MP's
Libdem             22.1%         7  MP's
UKIP                    1.7%       ---------

On these figures, it's clear that the South East of England is  a  Tory heartland   - though not  in any way  ultra right-wing -  but it's also clear that London, like Scotland,  would have elected a Labour administration  with an overall majority......[London also has a higher unemployment rate - 8.1% - than Scotland - 6.4% - even higher than Glasgow...]
Gordon Wilson also talks of Scotland having 'the moral support'  of the North of England  [ presumably in terms of left of centre voters].  Has  he never heard of  Tatton's Golden Triangle? or seen pictures  of Harrogate?
The national average for school-age children who attend private schools is 7%. In Edinburgh it's 25%.  
There are palm trees in  Plockton and icy winds in East Anglia.
A proportion of Scots will have benefitted from the Poll Tax,  a great many English people will have lost out because of it  [ myself included,  Poll Tax x 2 = 30% more than Rates,  despite my wife having no income.]
Nothing is ever black and white  -  vote 'YES' and free Scotland from the  REAL  tyrants:  distortion and myth....


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