January editorial from Scots Independent
As I have said, I will publish the Editorial from the preceding month’s Scots Independent.
Here is the Editorial from January; it does not seem dated, as the Unionists keep repeating their behaviour
Depreciate and deprecate
The Leveson Report is published on the day of writing. We had some repartee at First Minister’s Questions, calmly spiked by Alex Salmond’s proposal that as no one had actually seen the report it would be more sensible to have the debate next week. This very reasonable approach was somehow not to the liking of the ‘earnest concerned’ leader of the Liberal rump, who castigated Mr Salmond for not bringing the complete report to the Scottish Parliament! This naturally allowed Mr Salmond to comment that it was Mr Rennie’s boss, “I agree with Nick” who refused the Scottish Parliament the report, or something like that.
As far as I have been able to gather from the snippets I have come across, Lord Leveson exonerates Alex Salmond; he has done nothing wrong. This of course is totally unacceptable to the Unionists and we can expect howling for blood, criticisms, calls for resignations, and all the opposition’s usual contributions to reasoned debate. They are more concerned with Alex Salmond’s 5 meetings with Murdoch over 5 years, than with Gordon Brown’s 17 meetings in 2 years or David Cameron’s 18 meetings over the same timescale. Whether Mr Salmond’s appeal for a reasoned discussion will fly or not is up to the sourfaced opposition.
The root of this is Scottish Independence; the Unionists have lorded it over Scotland since the Treaty of Union, a false Union, as voting only existed in a limited way in 1707, and those Parliamentarians who voted, Lords mainly, were bribed. There was also an English army camped on Scotland’s border, in case the placemen did not vote the right way; the people rioted in the streets in protest against the Union.
This is the beloved Union today’s placemen – and women – are defending.
Actually, when I read and listen to all the attacks on Scotland, it would be easy to think “Ach well, we got it wrong. It will be too difficult, the other countries will never let us get away with it, and all this about the Royal Navy (what Royal Navy?), Trident, massive aircraft carriers (without planes) Sterling or the Euro, in the EU or out, and how could puny little Scotland survive in the big world? Let’s just all go home. The cause of Scottish independence cannot be right, because the Unionists say so – those honest impartial people!”
Except, except, all the bluster is because England will have great difficulty standing on her own two feet without Scotland backing her up. It is known that the UK financial situation is every bit as bad, if not worse, than Spain and Ireland, to name but two. What gives the UK her credit rating is the £1.5 trillion oil fields in the North Sea; we are her collateral, and faux concern for our wellbeing is England’s own concern. They also know that their seat on the UN Security Council is only there because “they” are a nuclear power; just very handy that the largest nuclear arsenal in Europe, if not the world, is 30 miles from Scotland’s largest centre of population, and strangely enough, 650 miles from London! Fancy that.
Going back to the oil for a minute, the McCrone Report should be getting another airing shortly. Remember what all that was about? Successive Tory and Labour governments knew 40 years ago that Scotland would have been a wealthy nation, but they kept it a secret. Now they have a new story, the oil is running out, and an independent Scotland would be too dependent on it and would face ruin! What they mean is that oil revenue has been allowing successive Westminster government to strut their stuff, and they do not want to do without it! And do not believe all the tosh that the oil is running out; there is more oil left than has been taken out, and more is being discovered as I write. The oil revenue which props up England is depreciated and deprecated in Scottish hands! Early this year I was speaking to men in the North East who worked on the rigs, and the comment was “You have no idea just how much oil there is!”
So the independence stakes are high and we can expect the methods to get dirtier, and more vicious, and are not concerned with Scotland’s welfare, but England’s, and that of their Scottish hangers –on.
I joined the SNP in 1966, long before oil was discovered, and was convinced then that independence would make Scotland thrive and prosper; all that oil did was to make our recovery from centuries of neglect quicker.
Claim and counter claim
One of the points I made last month was that having a fortnight’s holiday in Tenerife produced an added bonus I had not appreciated heretofore; well I had the bonus before but did not appreciate it. This was that for two full weeks I did not have to read a Herald headline; this made my breakfast much more enjoyable.
This thought came back to mind on Saturday past as I viewed the paper; “Bute House gas bills soar” on the front page repeated on another page as “Gas bills soar at official residence”, “Uncertainty claims over EU situation”, “New phase is promised in Referendum Campaign”, “May criticises nationalists over security plans after 2014 vote”, “MI 5 is spying on the SNP claims Whitehall veteran”, a big picture of Nicola looking concerned, an opinion piece by the Herald’s political editor “It won’t be as easy for us to go as it was for Togo”, but on another page George Reid resplendent in kilt receiving his knighthood from Buckingham Palace.
With regard to the first item this was raised by the Tories; no doubt we can expect to see a comparison with 10 Downing Street… if only.
Togo is among the countries listed as gaining independence since 1960 in a 15 month average; it should be noted that Togo gained its independence from France; if it had been the UK and it had oil then greedy Westminster would have hindered the process. Perhaps that is the game plan?
Shooting from the hip
It would seem from the events this week that there have been a few inaccurate soundbites loosed off; I think Nicola used the word ““arrogant”, at the first stage, while our last Secretary of State for Scotland tried gravitas , which made him sound ponderous. In any event, closer reading of the document, read by Derek Mackay – if not by David Mundell – disclosed some alarming gaffes by the Unionists, who had commissioned the report as their legal advice on independence. There is a bit of confusion as to the exact legal status of Scotland; according to the experts there was not such a thing as a Treaty of Union, but the takeover of Scotland and its incorporation into England. It grieves me, as it grieves most Scots if all the time we have been campaigning for Scottish Independence, we have been doing it as Englishmen and women. How does the Gilbert & Sullivan song go “for he might have been a Roossian, a French or Turk or Proossian, or perhaps Italian, but in spite of all temptations to belong to other nations, he remains an Englishman.” (HMS Pinafore).
The solitary Tory MP, David Mundell, seemed to agree with that assertion, which is perhaps where the arrogance bit comes in.
However, after the launch of the document, Professor James Crawford of the University of Cambridge, confirmed that Scotland would remain a part of the EU, as we comply with the “Acquis” now, and that we would negotiate from within the EU. In an interview on BBC Radio Scotland, he thought that an 18 month period between the Referendum and Independence Day was reasonable! So the legal advice, which Professor said was only an opinion, as there is no legal precedent for the case, is not really legal advice in the strict sense of the word as trumpeted by the Better Together campaign, but capable of interpretation.
Among the little gems coming out was the Unionists “You will be a totally new state with no rights to any of the assets of the rUK”. Somehow this brutal assertion dissipated when Nicola said “Great, you can keep all the National Debt then!”. You really couldn’t make it up. To misquote: “Gilbert & Sullivan! thou shouldst be living at this hour; England hath need of thee; she is a fen of stagnant waters.” (I know Wordsworth said “Milton”, but G&S had more the sense of the ridiculous).
Read somewhere about the 100 most powerful women in the UK; The Queen was No 1, Theresa May No 2. Do not know any other names apart from the fact that Nicola Sturgeon comes in at No 20. The list comes from Women’s Hour on the BBC, as far as I can gather.
Just shows how Anglo centric listeners are; Theresa May is the Tory Home Secretary, who wears very posh shoes, and whose Government has only one MP in Scotland. Cannot understand why a Cabinet Minister in an English Government whose writ does not run to law and order in Scotland could be 18 places above the dynamic Scottish MSP who is negotiating the return of independence to Scotland. The result of Nicola’s work will have a greater impact on the UK than her maj and the 18 others.
A Middle England triumph.