Comment posted Launch of ‘Scotland Yes’ campaign contradictory, lacking information and out of touch by newsroom.
Ken – this adds up to nothing except decoys. It is unworthy to try to get away with the attempted put down of the ‘Air Conditioning’ jibe. Try matching the argument and if you can’t, then try harder. Cheap jibes in place of argument earn you no respect.
It does not matter a jot how many people say ‘This is the Daily Mail’ – itself an unworthy autopilot dismissal of one of the few papers to stand against Tony Blair’s disastrous regime while the acceptable face of crawling, The Guardian of that day, irretrievably lost its reputation for principled reporting. (Think Mary Ann Sieghart.)
Anyone actually reading the position we describe on the accelerating financial crisis in Europe should be able to see at once that we have researched this matter widely.
And anyone who doubts the validity of the situation we describe – or who prefers to dismiss it as trivial – should read the New York Times article of a few hours ago which we have linked in a response to a comment above from Anne Baird.
It is also irrational to suggest that just because no one has made much of a fist of a federalist argument to date, that this cannot be done.
Of course the issue of Scottish independence has been around for a very long time but it has been of a different order since 2007 because of the relative competence of the SNP in government.
We have recognised and welcomed that competence justly on an issue by issue basis which has, of course, not been universal.
Where you may have respected our analysis of this competence, you might therefore look more objectively at the substance of our criticisms. They are never unevidenced.
On the matter of our view of the tired routines of the ‘Scotland Yes’ launch – we have seen no evidence of the general population finding it surprising, refreshing or inspirational.
newsroom also commented
- Graeme: On the larger issue, the IMF has its own strategies which include keeping political power blocks onside. And all the G8 could say was that they all ‘wished’ to see Greece remain in the eurozone.
On the issue of infrastructural investment, it is naive in the extreme to imagine that independence will bring to Argyll (or to much of the west coast mainland north of Glasgow) the sort of investment you envisage – which would be a great game changer.
The devolved Scottish Government, which already has the powers to plan its own infrastructural investment and delivery, has virtually nothing for the west coast in its current future planning. There is not even a date for a permanent solution for the A83.
Independence would not necessarily bring much more money, it would bring the power to allocate our overall earned budget as we chose. But since the west coast is not a priority in the decision taking power already available, why would we suddenly become important in an independent Scotland?
- Dot – the situation analysis is the point.
Some who disagree with us on other issues may agree with us on this – and vice versa. Both changes of position are born of a partisan standpoint we work hard to avoid.
We genuinely call things as we see them, without fear or favour and we know that most folk find this confusing as they expect and understand the partisan.
We have to live with losing friends and gaining fleeting acquaintances as the cost of integrity.
Whether or not we are always ‘right’, we are always working to be honest, objective and evidenced in what we say. Never ignore the evidence. It’s all any of us have to hang on to.
- You talk of ‘a very wide gamut of alternative possibilities lying between collapse and fiscal union’.
This ‘very wide’ gamut amounts to one option – simply paying (even though we do not belong to the eurozone) to keep eurozone countries with heavy debt burdens afloat within a fiscal system that is structurally unable and will fail again. This would be weak and indefensibly costly short termism.
And the certitude to which you object is not opinion but the result of hard logic.
It may well be that the more stable economies, including Britain, simply decide to pay – very heavily, to avoid the crisis for the time being. However, predictably heavy internal resistance to such action in several states would probably prevent a fair degree of participation in this move. We would then be left with a situation where the states who did pay might as well have set fire to their contributions for all the impact they will have.
But let’s say that the more stable economies, including Britain, pay up in full with gritted teeth. That may stave off the collapse of the euro for a while but it will mean widespread recession in universally higher debt burdens to be paid off – and crippled markets to sell into.
And this leaves the eurozone still an unable fiscal area.
Do you seriously imagine that, in our lifetime, the member states of Europe will cede national sovereignty to the EU, as they would have to do to form an effective and manageable fiscal union?
If they stem the current collapse by paying genuinely massive bailouts, it is no more than playing for a time period in which no effective resolution will be reached.
It has to be better in the long run to accept now that the experiment has failed and deal with / pay for the consequences than to put it off and pay twice.
But we’re talking about embedded structural disability in the eurozone – and there is nothing of opinion in that.
Whichever route the economic crisis takes, it is unavoidable. The debt burdens are rising progressively.
- That seems to be the plan – but what canny Scot would jump blindfold, without a bungee cord, into the drop that is coming?
Why ask folk to make this jump when it is possible to lay out the major likely scenarios, their consequences and the optimum decisions that would be taken?
There is no rush other than an artificial one. 29 months may well be enough to get to a reasoned and open-eyed decision or it may not. But we have to take the time we need to get this decision right. There is none bigger.
While there are other issues, the economy is the crux.
Scotland has a huge public sector dependency in benefits, in employment and in procurement. We will have to move away from that whether or not we choose independence because we cannot come close to affording it.
But we cannot change by gear crash. We will need a managed, careful progress of change on this, whose direction of travel, strategy and means are all publicly known. That will mean changing attitudes to work and possibly to pay. It will be about priorities.
How, as an independent state, would we pay for the levels of responsibility that would be our starting point and which would reduce slowly? How would we do this in circumstances of economic depression, financial collapse and a credit stop?
How and where would we support and earn growth? How would we do so while retaining what we have left of sovereign ownership of our assets? In the developing Spanish financial crisis, to whom would Iberdrola and Ferrovial, for example, sell their Scottish assets? The same question applies to all other European corporate owners of Scottish assets? Who would have the money to buy what would have to be sold? BRIC. And what would that mean?
Other major issues are moral and visceral.
If we voted for it, which in these circumstances is impossible to see, how could we justify – in the midst of economic hardship and the reform of currencies and political affiliations – forcing the chaos and cost of our independence upon the other nations to whom we have been conjoined for so long? We have spilt more blood together in common cause than we have taken from each other in internal conflict.
Editorially, we do not believe that the end justifies the means but rather, as we keep saying, that the means validate the end. Nothing of enduring and stable good comes from a poor, cheap, rushed or deceptive foundation.
We have a great deal of thinking and foundation building to do – which will leave us better equipped than we are just now to decide on what we want to do and to make it work in acceptance of the cost.
Whatever we do will not be free of cost. What are we prepared to pay and what are we not prepared to pay for each of the options which may be open to us?
We have to ‘do the politics’ last.
- We have no idea what ‘AC’ is.
It should be obvious to everyone that we are our own masters and we work hard on evidence to come to reasoned views on the situations which we address.
It is of absolutely no account to us who agrees with us and who does not on any issue. All are free to say what they wish in making comments.
We are unmoved either by popularity or unpopularity. We care about evidence. We care about probity. We care about justice for all.
No one should look at anything we say as motivated by anything other than objective analysis and the value set described above.
We speak as we find. We find on evidence. We work hard to do an honest job. We would be no use to anyone if we did not. We campaign where we see the need but we would not attempt to persuade anyone of anything on an insecure prospectus.
For the record – again – we are editorially federalist but believe that an independent Scotland could be viable if the necessary conditions obtained. We do not see that those conditions obtain at present or that they can obtain for some time.
The big issue is, of course, the economic situation in which we exist and which we cannot control or shape.
But the independence proposition has been on the agenda since 2007. It has not taken anyone by surprise. There are other issues we would expect to have been substantially addressed by this stage and which have not been – and the presumed options – like federalism (which is not the same as devo max) remain undeveloped. This reflects badly on the UK Government which has been almost wholly adrift of the issues. Only the UK Government can open up the range of constitutional options, a matter which whatever the outcome, would be a healthy exercise for a culture that, as an entity, is in need of renewal.
Recent comments by newsroom
- First Minister’s choice not to condemn mob behaviour proves Farage point
Criticising behaviour – like Nimbyism [a worthy target], should not necessarily require tying it to a party or a group, although if there is good evidence why it belongs there, there is every reason to relate the two.
When you say: ‘Only in a very small number of occasions would I condone taking protest to the point of physical intimidation and I reserve that to some of the most significant ‘upheavals’ in modern times (examples being the fight against apartheid and the civil rights movement in the US) – even then there would be a line I, personally, couldn’t step over.’ – this is wholly understandable but using violence to protest against it is contradictory. I can never get playwright John Arden’s line out my head on this one: ‘You can’t cure the pox by further whoring.’
Civil disobedience is a very attractive and effective expression of disaffection but people are quite resistant to considering it.
- Arctic Convoy navies celebrated at Loch Ewe as surviving veterans receive Arctic Star medal
Email Jacky Brookes of the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum in Wester Ross: email@example.com (Russian Arctic Convoy Museum)
She will be glad to hear from you and of your father.
If you go to this webpage: http://www.veterans-uk.info/arctic_star_index.htm
- you will find an Application Form for the Arctic Star on it.
Alternatively, you can phone: 08457 800 900 and take it from there.
You will be able to get a posthumous medal for your father for his Arctic Convoy service – and although, painfully, he will never have known of it or seen it, he earned it and the medal will be very important to your family.
- First Minister’s choice not to condemn mob behaviour proves Farage point
We have people in Community Councils in Argyll who are on the record as not wanting ‘people of low incomes’ in their area. And those will be people of a variety of political persuasions. The socialist NIMBY is not a rare bird.
It is unsafe to give representational status to the fringe adherents of any cause – and that is why the cause itself – any cause – must be clear about what it finds acceptable and what it does not.
The need for the formal, official representative of a country to be clear on matters like this is even greater – and it sets the bar.
How would Mr Salmond react to the same treatment the mob offered Mr Farage in Edinburgh?
It was sudden and unexpected.
It began with an invasion of the pub he was in.
It was intimidating – the mob crowded tight in, creating a real pressure.
The shouting and the abuse was literally ‘in his face’.
There was no way through nor any offered.
It would be surprising if the First Minister were not to feel equally shaken by such an experience – and very surprising if he had effectively condoned it as gleefully afterwards.
Personally, I’m not afraid of much – but the pressure of shouting bodies, the level of unreason, the aggression – with no signals that this might not turn to physical aggression… I wouldn’t have run but I would have been worried for my safety and I would have had no certainty as to the outcome.
The police clearly had reason to take a quite extraordinary series of measures to protect Mr Farage.
One of these was locking him in a pub for his own safety.
That meant that they were uncertain of their ability to protect him against a violence they, who were present – clearly felt was a potential development.
I feel – on good evidence – that Tony Blair did more damage than anyone to the political life of this country, to its expectation of honesty in those who govern, to its essential democracy and to its security – and that he has blood on his hands: of untold thousands of innocent Iraqis, of Dr David Kelly, of those who died in London in the bombings of 7th July 2005. I feel the most profound contempt for him.[And Nigel Farage has nothing of this level of gravity on his record.]
But I would act to protect Blair were he to be the butt of anything like this – because I do not wish to be implicated either in what he has done or in any primitive lynch mob response to it.
The best punishment for the attention-seeking and egotistical Blair is to pay him no attention. He is not an homme serieux.
The best response to UKIP and MR Farage, if you are opposed to their politics, is not to vote for them.
- Walsh to lead all but Lib Dems, Conservatives and George Freeman
No – not speculation – otherwise we would have said so.
But this is not a done deal.
It has to go for approval to an SNP meeting tomorrow [Monday].
- SNP meeting on Monday may be testing time for mega-coalition proposal
We would read the political ambitions the same way as you [and there's nothing wrong with having them]. Nothing else has ever made sense of the decision to stand as a councillor, with all of the losses in earnings and authority that the decision will have involved.
But this was not the chosen route.
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