The pro-independence campaign has majored on celebrity endorsements from the start of their campaign. Canny Scots just raised the odd eyebrow, as some of the celebrities weren’t even eligible to vote – and carried on making up their own minds about the matter.
Now the pro-union campaign is to hit the glitterball trail as well, with celebrities from our UK partner states to start telling us how much they love us and how badly they want us to stay.
This is, partly, a more bombproof tactic since these celebs will not have a vote anyway – but each will almost certainly be found to have some little hostage to fortune buried in their past which will be an embarrassment in the same blink of an eye in which the occasional soft-head will go all stargazy.
Who, in their right mind, would cast a vote one way or the other because a celeb from somewhere or other, from Los Angeles to London, Lesmahagow, Lampeter, Lurgan or Lymington Spa said so?
Will they be here with us if we go indy? Will they personally miss us? They’ll still be doing gigs and photoshoots in Scotland, indy or not. And they’ll still be sheltering their tax liabilities.
If Nelson Mandela had advised us to do what he did and work for change from within a form of union in South Africa, there would have been reason to listen to him.
But why on earth should anyone listen to a comedian, a footballer, a musician, a writer, a DJ, a film or TV ‘star’ or a model – whose experience and expertise is irrelevant – on whether to choose indy or the union?
This is all about us, about how we see our future and our responsibilities – however each of us would describe those responsibilities.
The current nonsense of pushing for a cage-fight between Alex Salmond and David Cameron and calling for the pro-union campaign to present a paper on what things will be like if Scotland stays in the union are empty publicity stunts trying to distract from the failure of the pro-independence Scottish Government to opt for an honest prospectus and put a defensible economic case for independence.
The Independence Referendum is a Scottish referendum, not a UK referendum. No one has a say in it except those resident in Scotland and registered to vote.
There is no place in this debate for the Prime Minister of the UK – nor should any Westminster politicians other than Scottish politicians of any party, who will have the right to vote, come here to try to persuade us to whatever is their individual or party view.
For the SNP – whose raison d’etre is independence and whose continuing wail is the abuse of external intervention – to shout ‘snub’ because the UK Prime Minister – rightly – will not debate on the issue, is a political contortion of some athleticism.
Let’s get the politics straight on the other cry of the moment – the demand for the pro-union campaign to say how the UK will be if Scotland chooses to stay in it.
Who has the authority to put this case – even if it were acceptable for the United Kingdom to enter a shoddy bidding round for hands supposedly grabbing in all directions from the borders northwards?
The White Paper on Scotland’s Future – rightly – came from the Scottish Government, not from the Yes campaign – because a campaign is in no position to make, or later to keep, promises.
Any counter paper on how the United Kingdom would be if Scotland chose to stay a member of it could equally come only from the UK Government, not from the pro-union campaign.
Scotland remains a member of that UK Government.
Since Scotland is debating within itself as to whether or not to go indy, with the majority Scottish Government backing indy – no proposition of this kind from the UK government could be properly put.
Any attempt to present what would be a partial case for the union masquerading as a UK position would – rightly – be met with screeches from the SNP [who had nevertheless demanded it] about perfidious Westminster disregarding Scotland again.
This is a nonsense notion and a potential ambush from which the pro-union campaign is wise to stay immovably away.
What the UK Government can do – and no current member nation could do other than welcome this – is, as we have already suggested, to announce that in the interests of the development of the union and regardless of the outcome of the Scottish Independence referendum, a standing UK constitutional conference would be established to sit for the first time in the summer of 2015.
Whether Scotland leaves or Scotland stays, in the aftermath of this turbulent time the United Kingdom will need to revise and redirect itself.
If Scotland were to choose to stay in the UK, it would expect – rightly – to be part of a collective decision as to how the union might be reshaped to fit a 21st century partnership; and would be an active and imaginative partner in such a standing conference.
There is no logic whatsoever in those campaigning for Scottish independence to insist on the rest of the UK just telling us now what the union will be like if Scotland stays in it – effectively demanding that Scotland should NOT be a party to reshaping the union.
The hard fact is that we have to vote on a known against an unknown – for the union as we currently know it or for a Scotland we cannot yet know.
To make the choice a fair one, we should choose between the economically unsupportable set of promises we have on a Scotland that might or might not be – against the union we know, with all its current faults and offences of which we are already well aware.
That offers us two varieties of risk – and that IS the reality of the decision we have to make.
We ought not to put ourselves in the position afterwards – whatever afterwards turns out to be – of blaming anyone for ‘persuading’ us.
This is OUR responsibility – and it is the most serious responsibility any of us will ever have.
Anyone may try to inform or mislead us as they will. This does not make them responsible for the outcome, only for the honesty or dishonesty of their means of persuasion.
The buck stops only with every one of us, with every vote and with every person who casts it.
Whatever any of us may emotionally respond to, indy or the union, this is the time to pause, take a deep breath and consider the reality of the options.