Carry On up the Union

Today the Scottish referendum debate has turned to pure comedy, as the preserve-the-status-quo political and media Establishment turn to blind panic and run about like headless chickens. All the Westminster leaders are belatedly running off to campaign, and stressing that You can vote No, because No will mean Yes in all but name. Though each party still seems to have its own flavour of NoMeansYes, so that’ll be another confused and horrible compromise agreement to thrash out, or alternatively no agreement and kick the issue into the long grass (and try to blame the Scots Nats).  They’ve even dragged the Royal Family in, with a well-crafted Denial that the Queen might plead for the Union, and a big Feelgood announcement from her grandson and his missus.

As I’ve said before, our constitution since Blair is hopelessly broken.  Disappointingly, none of his successors at Westminster show any inclination to fix it, so the only proposal on the table is Scottish independence.  That will leave both parties with some interesting problems, but I think much more political will to deal with them than has hitherto been in evidence.

There are of course some glaring problems in the Scots Nats programme.  I don’t think that’s actually a problem: a Yes vote is just the start of a process of negotiation in which everyone can drop their sillier and more outlandish ideas in pursuit of a mutually-acceptable agreement.  Unlike a No vote, which just gives the headless chickens a mandate to sink straight back into complacency.

Now it’s Jocks’ Choice.  Say Yes to independence, force the issue, end the bad marriage, and let’s be good friends, just as we are with other neighbours such as the Dutch or the Irish.  Endure short-term pain – for there will surely be quite a hiatus and disruption on both sides – for long-term gain.  Or say No, succumb to the bullying of the political class, and condemn us all to another generation of brokenness.

Posted on September 9, 2014, in uk. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Cameron’s speech today. Not the bard, but certainly echoes of this sceptred isle. Methinks he and his speechwriters had Harry at Agincourt in mind.

  2. I’ve been noting the recent developments with something between despair and incredulity.

    I wish I could endorse the ‘Yes’ vote, but I can’t help but think it’s a recipe for more trouble than anyone, not just the political establishment, wants to face. I also can’t help but remember that there’s a very long history, more than ten centuries’ worth, of the Scots and English actually fighting each other. That may all look very quaint and dated now, but then that’s what we thought about ‘being afraid of Russia’ in the mid-90s.

    Really, all I’m sure of at this point is that whichever side loses, will spend the next 20 years blaming the outcome for everything that goes wrong in Scotland – of which there will be a lot. I saw one comment that “it’ll stink up the place for a generation, and the closer the result, the bigger the stink” – I think that pretty much sums it up.

    The Salmon-man may have a lot to answer for. But then, he’s only playing the cards dealt to him by two generations of politicians – Thatcher, as well as Blair and Cameron.

  3. I’m inclined to agree with Vet’s comment in that, whichever way the vote goes, the outcome won’t be good. Vote for independence and you junk 300 years of generally successful collaboration, albeit with obvious imperfections, and you get Salmond-economics that make Brown, Osborne and co look positively prudent. Or vote “no” and you get a continuation of the discredited Barnett Formula and the other governance imbalances that have brought us to this point in the first place.

    Given the closeness of the polls, inevitably there will be a large, disgruntled population who voted the other way and, of course, there’s the 90% or so of the British electorate who are disenfranchised from the process entirely but will nonetheless have to endure the consequences. Sounds like a recipe for resentment, blame and finger pointing for years to come…

  1. Pingback: I, for one, welcome our new foreign masters | niq's soapbox

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