Don’t Panic!

Fuck it. Panic.

Give them more powers. Okay. Done. What powers will we give them? I don’t know. Something that sounds like they’ll have more power. Oh, but give them a timetable. Everyone likes a timetable.

One might have thought that David Cameron’s late appearance into the fray might have been the ideal moment to spell out a viable alternative to the secessionist’s vision of the future. Not so.

For all we know, the new powers to be devolved following a ‘No’ vote is a promise that Alistair Darling will agree to wash oor windaes for a week and give us all his dinner money.

He did say that if we voted ‘Yes’ on Thursday, we would wake up the next day in a different country – he neglected to say if it would be warmer there – and inadvertently convinced a million or so Doctor Who fans to jump ship to Yes and experience what it must be like to be a Time Lord.

The Prime Minister of the ‘greatest country on earth’ (sorry, Barack) arrived empty handed, of course.

The would-be Liberators filling his own back benches cannot and will not countenance any further devolvement of power and are quite frankly already more than a little pissed that all this talk of new powers for the jocks has come about without so much as a nod in their direction or a thought to how they might sell the increased burden to their own constituents.

Here then was a man, backed into a corner by the inadequacies of his cohorts, fighting for his political life. And to be fair to him, he finally displayed the oratory skills that enabled a man of such limited political ability and imagination to gain his present post.

Certainly there was more passion than had been displayed heretofore. But there remained the same blind reliance on stick, over carrot. This was a speech manufactured for airplay. Pithy polemic, neatly packaged into manageable soundbites that can be aired ad nauseum over the next forty eight hours by a willing and increasingly superfluous media.

In the short time Cameron appeared in Aberdeen, he lurched from desperation to despair and finally to doolally with his bemoaning that there would be no more British Lions. A ‘fact’ that must have raised a few eyebrows in Wales and the already independent Republic of Ireland. Indeed, the only place where that threat would barely have registered is in Scotland where our continued inclusion in Lions squads owes more to courtesy than ability.

There is something pitiful in threatening democratic process in this way. It is inconceivable to my mind that the democratic wishes of a people would result in such a tidal wave of resentment and ill feeling.

For if we are truly Better Together, doesn’t it also stand to reason that in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote we continue to be so?

Nothing will better serve the economic outlook of both countries after Independence than a keen and fervent resolve to work together. And that is precisely what will happen. The threats will cease instantly in the event of ‘Yes’ as both sides clamour to calm market jitters and smooth the transition of both nations.

In Europe, new treaties have already been marked Scotland and are ready to be established. Fact.

But there is a more salient point which ought to be of most importance to those long suffering Labour supporters who have seen the great party of Hardie and Henderson reduced to its more palatable present persona. A Tory-Lite, if you will, that eschews every value upon which it was founded.

A vote for ‘Yes’ on Thursday will with one stroke of the pen ensure that neither Cameron or Salmond will govern Scotland again.

When Michael Collins signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, he did so with full knowledge of it’s consequences. Lord Birkenhead, who was Lord Chancellor at the time, reportedly remarked to Collins that in signing the Treaty he was signing his political death warrant to which Collins replied, “Lord Birkenhead, I’m signing my actual death warrant.”

Collins was ambushed and killed by anti-Treaty republicans at Béal na Bláth in August 1922.

Two years of perilous negotiations allied with the many difficult concessions that will have to be made will ensure that the SNP is not returned to government in 2016. This provides the greatest opportunity for Labour to reassert herself in Scotland and while a ‘Yes’ vote will increase the pressure on the hapless Milliband, Darling and Alexander, North of the border the party will be freed from the shackles of Westminster to pursue a mandate for stronger public services, increased social justice, equality and the protection of those most vulnerable in our society.

To do this, in the days that remain, those on the Yes side must continue to drive the narrative. Something that the SNP has failed to do thus far. The media would have us all believe that the issues facing us are questions over currency union, sterlingisation and pensions. This is a deliberate attempt to obfuscate the startling simplicity of what is really at stake.

Do we wish to shape this great nation of ours, or continue to be shaped?

Shall we be the architects of our children’s future, or do we condemn them to the consequences of our silence?

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2 comments
  1. James McIntyre said:

    Interesting piece, but utter nonsense re Salmond. I doubt the SNP will won big like they did in 2016, but they will do well enough to form a government. There’s no-one in labour untainted by this clusterfuck of a campaign to step up as a leader in time for 2016. First Minister Johann Lamont? There are labour members who will campaign to avoid that scenario. Kezia Dugdale? She’s a rising star certainly but again once tainted by prominence in this campaign. Perhaps one of the Westminster big beasts can stand, but who has come out of this with any credit?

    No, Labour in Scotland will recover after a Yes vote (if they don’t go bankrupt first) but not by 2016. I suspect a SNP/Green coalition and the Lib Dems to recover more quickly than Labour: they have the party structure sorted already, underlying support in the Highlands and some of them are mostly untainted by the more egregious aspects of this campaign (Charles Kennedy, for instance).

    Salmond will get his time as first First Minister of an independent Scotland, and he’ll deserve it.

  2. I am curious: in the event of a yes vote, how much of the transition has been thought out beforehand? As a person forced by fate to live in Texas, I’ve heard a LOT of fairly bold secessionist speech over the past decade that fails to take into account any of the logistics of that sort of action (such as the border crossing between Texas and Oklahoma, for instance, and the plight of people who commute across the state line to work). Granted, the Scottish position is much more legitimate than Texas’, but some of the issues are the same. If you live in Lamberton, say, but work in Berwick, do you suddenly need a work visa to keep your job? And, the Chancelor of the Exchequer’s threats aside, what of currency-related issues? Do you have to exchange currency to take a day-trip from Edinburgh to Newcastle?

    *This is not a criticism. I ask because I am genuinely curious.

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