I offered to go to Glasgow for the IndyRefDebate, Salmond vs Darling next Monday, this time on BBC, so there shouldn’t be any transmission cock-ups. To help my cause I submitted the killer question, but they must have plenty of white British semi-retired males so I can’t ask it in person. I want it asked by someone, however. It goes like this:
A YES vote would give Alex Salmond carte blanche to negotiate what he can and what he thinks ‘best for Scotland’; a favourite expression of his. Whatever he has in eighteen months he wants to present as the country’s ‘independence’. But negotiations are negotiations; despite his best intentions and endeavours he cannot determine the outcome, and it is likely that he will fall well short of what he has led us to expect. What plans does he have to check with us that we like the pig as it emerges from the poke?
Independence would not be achieved in one vote next month. Independence would be the outcome of dozens of Acts of Parliament and thousands of business and network decisions over which the political world has no control. The SNP has given no indication of who would conduct the negotiations from the Scottish side. You would expect Salmond to state categorically that he would immediately form some sort of body to be drawn from all walks of life and all political parties. But as things stand, the SNP alone would go ahead, and try to achieve what is ‘best for Scotland’. The job is far bigger than that – it’s an outrage that he’s got this far without mapping out the first few steps. And he has no way of knowing who Scotland will be negotiating with: in less than twelve months from now there will be a different government in London, with different priorities. And what if even people who voted YES think that we have a poor deal? Is there any comeback? No.
An ex-Governor of the BBC yesterday indicated that an independent Scotland can forget about being tuned in. An oil expert and industry leader, who submitted a piece of work the SNP liked very much a few months ago, has today said that the SNP is over-stating future oil revenues from the North Sea. The SNP response? ‘there are other experts with other views’. Let me, with all due modesty, refer you to a passage in my previous blog We’re aw Jock Tamson’s bairns: You’ve got to hand it to the SNP. Every considered opinion, every weighted judgement, every sober fact, every piece of academic research that doesn’t point in their direction is turned on its head and trumpeted as all the more reason for voting for independence. Problems and difficulties with their proposals are waved aside: according to the SNP all will be well and those who even mention the problems are scaremongering and somehow saying NO to Scotland. It’s dirty and it’s scary.
Well, you won’t see me on your screens from the comfort of your sitting-room, but let’ see if the killer question will be asked. And if it’s answered properly I will finish my book. And if it isn’t I will finish my book. Bloody politicians, making life too interesting…