Comment posted Launch of ‘Scotland Yes’ campaign contradictory, lacking information and out of touch by newsroom.
Our research is obviously more substantial – try reading Business Week, Forbes, El Mundo, New York Times, FT…
The problem is the apparent inability to think beyond cliche.
Yes – ‘launches’ are often as you describe. But these are product and event launches. Asking a country to consider independence is rather more substantial than a new coffee or the latest car or mobile phone app.
And even if the ‘product launch’ approach were an appropriate mode, why go for the standard recipe? We hear so much about Scottish creativity and innovation. Well, where was any of it in evidence yesterday? This tired old predictable froth could not have been more disappointing or more astray of what was needed.
Scotland, Europe and the world are on the brink of an economic crisis at a level none of us have previously experienced. The New York Times has just said of the eurozone: ‘it’s increasingly evident that we’ve been witnessing an institutional failure of monumental proportions’. (Read the article.It is the best summary analysis we have read of where we all are just now: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/business/economy/in-the-euro-zone-a-lethal-vacuum-economic-view.html)
This is no time to be wearing blinkers or offering the soporific distractions of yesterday’s launch.
Scotland would have seemed a very different, grown up and believable place had the ‘intelligence’ behind yesterday’s event understood the gravity of the moment and taken an entirely different approach to it. That this was not done can only suggest either that the necessary perspectives, position setting and hypotheses are not in place – or that there is a view that Scots wouldn’t understand them but will buy candy floss at the drop of a Jocky-hat. Either is unacceptable.
Yesterday’s mismatch of a cliched event to a very specific moment in time and the inability to rise to meet the profound challenges of this time in relation to Scottish independence could not have been a more damaging failure or more clearly illustrative of an ossified mindset. No ‘new’ Scotland can come of this – and there is no value at all in independence if we cannot renew ourselves.
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- 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.
- 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.
Recent comments by newsroom
- Institute of Fiscal Studies economist looks at fiscal context of independent Scotland
The link to Mr Emmerson’s presentation has been given in the article above from the outset.
And – in genuine puzzlement – what precisely do you see as ‘spin’?
- Colonsay votes 60%-40% in favour of proposed Marine Harvest salmon farm
Freedom Foods is less and different than it seems.
This article is required reading for any understanding of this tricky situation:
- Institute of Fiscal Studies economist looks at fiscal context of independent Scotland
We would be be very happy to answer this question if we could.
But, as things stand, there is no substantive information and economic detail on exactly what economic strategy and its associated policies would be pursued for an independent Scotland.
The First Minister’s ‘Scotland’s Economy’ paper, recently launched, was profoundly disappointing in this respect and, in its lack of economic substance, replaced by ad-man puffery, was damaging to the campaign’s credibility.
We can assure you and anyone, that when such information becomes available – and we are sure it will because it must – we will not be prejudging it but will respond to it with open mind and goodwill and the necessary intelligent scrutiny.
We have WANTED and still want to see a coherent, joined up, strong, imaginative, challenging and achievable strategy and policies put forward for a specific future for Scotland – honestly described in unchallengeably accurate costs and benefits and carving out an identity for Scotland that is realistic and unique.
The extent to which all we are being offered is essentially the status quo with a new badge and a few costly goody bags to entice ‘Yes’ votes could not undermine the ‘independence’ prospectus more thoroughly.
No one can possibly believe that a change of this magnitude can be made without cost to all concerned.
It is necessary is to know the realistic costs, perceive the realistic benefits and decide if the price is worth paying.
We do not believe that the price need be too high or the benefits inconsequential – but as this campaign is being run, the price IS too high and the benefits insubstantial because, in any competent sense, the necessary thinking has not gone on.
What is being proposed is unrealistic, often unspecific and unproductively expensive into the future – and the easy answers are clearly both misleading and dishonest.
This won’t do and it won’t do it.
- White smoke rises from Councillor Duncan MacIntyre’s chimney as two-man College of Cardinals settle a deal
Short and sweet for short and sweet: don’t be simplistic.
No one could defend Councillor Robb’s sudden swerve last Thursday, leaving his loyal colleagues like flotsam and jetsam.
But that does not mean that he did not deserve the support he was given by his colleagues when he was given it.
Life is not a simple business.
- Russell to make parliamentary statement on rural schools today
In the circumstances of the destructions of the SNP councillors group in the last 12 months, you can hardly expect credibility elevating the importance of ‘collective’ action?
Being ‘collective’ when it suits one to harvest support from others it not what collectivity or collegiality is about.
And many in Argyll now know more than enough about your party, its councillors, its members, its structures and its wonderfully elastic ‘rules’.
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