Better Together

Better Together

If I appear ill informed please excuse me; I have just returned from a two week holiday in Tenerife and have been deprived of two weeks of Herald headlines. I also only saw occasional flashes of David Cameron and a smirking Nigel Farage, but I am a stoic so will not complain.

Better Together
I found it amusing to watch the performance of Mr Barosso, outgoing President of the European Community. It is not so long ago that he was fulminating about Scotland’s accession , or rather assimilation into the European Union. His pompous threats were music to the English Unionists’ ears, said Unionists including the No Campaign, as is fitting. He is now rather lamely criticising Mr Cameron for wanting to leave unless the rules are changed to suit the UK. Mr Cameron of course having banged on about Better Together as far as Scotland is concerned is now being told the UK is Better Together with Europe, and he does not accept that scenario. From being a highly principled and respected leader of the European Union, Mr Barosso is now being classed by the Tories as a jumped up Eurocrat. Added to the irony is that the Tory demand for restrictions on the free movement of people within the Community was opposed by Margaret Thatcher. It’s a funny old world.

So long as 100 of us remain alive… .
To complete the above quotation, “we will never submit to the dominion of the English, for we fight not for glory, nor for riches, nor for honours, but only and alone for freedom , which no good man yields save with his life”.

During the Referendum Campaign I came upon a patriotic Scot, who proudly wore tartan on every conceivable occasion, and said he had worn the kilt in half the countries around the globe. He asked me if I wore the kilt and ignored my response “Only when I was paid to do so”, because he was only interested in his own tale.

Anyway, I asked him if he was so proud of being a Scot, why was he quite happy to be ruled by the English? His indignant reply was “I am not ruled by the English”. I tried to make him think about 650 MPs at Westminster, with only 59 of them Scots, but he departed in a blaze of self created glory.

Post Referendum Thoughts
In the week of the referendum, we had David Cameron in Scotland wearing his Daily Record mask giving a speech carefully crafted by Gordon Brown, and making a solemn vow (new sincere word for promise) that he would move quickly and give more powers to Scotland. By 9 am on Friday 19th September he had scrapped that mask and donned his Daily Mail one spelling out the price of the vow.

He could not give more powers to Scotland unless he also placated England, so he proposed to remove the right to vote on English issues from Scottish MPs – so there! At one fell swoop he made Gordon Brown’s place in history, for no MP from a Scottish Constituency could ever become a Cabinet Minister, far less a Prime Minister, so that was Gordon Brown’s contribution to the history book.

Post Referendum Afterthoughts
Mr Cameron can quite happily come to terms with his decision; Scotland has 59 MPs, 41 Labour, 11 Liberals, 6 SNP and 1 Tory, which in itself makes it academic. Mr Miliband might be upset at losing 41 votes on many issues, Mr Clegg is not considered at all, and Cameron could not give a toss about the SNP. Cameron will only lose 1 voter in the House of Commons – David Mundell – and I imagine Mr Cameron chortling as he goes to bed every night.

However, it will not be long before some bright spark in the Tory/UKIP alliance will ask ‘ Look here, these Scottish chaps have a fine time of it; they come down here, travelling first class at our expense, and only do half the work our English chaps do. Surely their salaries should be cut to compensate for that. We do all the work but they get the same dough. It’s not fair’.

Their logic is irrefutable, and while the mills grind exceeding slow, they grind exceeding small. Many of our Scottish Unionist MPs are not very good, but they will positively bridle at being officially second class MPs. So where will they see their future then – and with what powers?

Nick the Thick
On the morning I returned from holiday I saw a front page article in the Herald about a briefing given by the leader of the Liberals. In it he compared Alex Salmond to the Japanese soldier who lived for 20 years in the jungle because he did not know the Second World War was over. There was also a letter from someone in the paper also saying the independence movement was finished, so just get on with life.

How naïve – I don’t know the politics of the letter writer, but he was of the Unionist persuasion; on the other hand Mr Clegg purports to lead a party thirled to the concept of federalism for over 100 years, so he should at least have some concept of principle! Sorry, that was an exaggeration; as an old Irish Nationalist said more than 100 years ago “When in power the Liberals forget their principles and the Tories remember their friends.”

Anyway, this is the message loud and clear. The Referendum was a campaign we did not win, but it was a great campaign and 1.6 million people voted Yes to independence – independence, not any wishy washy carve up of devo whatever you want to call it. There will be other campaigns and whether the Unionists like it or not they will continue until Scotland becomes fully independent and free. We are not going away any time soon, correction – we are not going away at all. Nothing has been settled.

Smith Commission
The first meeting of the Smith Commission took place on Wednesday 22nd October; Lord Smith is confident he will get broad agreement on more powers.

The Commission consists of : Scottish Government, Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP and Linda Fabiani MSP; Labour Iain Gray MSP and Greg McClymont MP, Liberals Michael Moore MP and Tavish Scott MSP, Greens Patrick Harvie MSP and Councillor Maggie Chapman, Conservatives Annabel Goldie and Glasgow University Professor Adam Tomkins.