Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Scots go for broke – makes sense. The English discover they ‘love the United Kingdom’. Really? But what the hell: it’s the middle of the fence for me

Will they, won’t they? Well, apparently, according to Radio 4’s ‘flagship’ programme Today, even the Chinese are holding their breath about the outcome of the referendum on independence for Scotland due to be held on Thursday.

It has long been known that the Catalans are interested to see what the outcome will be, because, they might be reckoning, if the Scots can do it, so can we. So the government in Madrid is keeping its fingers crossed that the Scots Nats will not get the magic 50pc plus one which will be necessary to stick two fingers at the English and depart to cock up their affairs without any ‘foreign English’ interference. The Chinese, of course, who are as sympathetic to the expression of separatist sentiments as Count Dracula was to holy water are also as keen as Madrid that it will all end in tears for Alex Salmond.

Me? Well, a year or two ago sympathised with the sentiment of Scots who are fed up with centuries of condescension by England, or, more specifically the ‘Home Counties’ and are now within a midge’s dick of achieving that longed-for independence. But at the time I thought the wisest course of action would be to stick with the Union. I could not write that I’m no longer all that sure, but the truth is I really don’t care either way. On the one hand the desire for independence comes from the heart and, in a way, it makes no sense at all to listen to your head on the matter and, despite profound misgivings, vote to keep the Union.

If you want something that badly, and the SNP and its supporters do, I would have thought you just go for it and carry whatever consequences there might be.

As for those consequences, a great, great many financiers, businessmen, economists and the rest of every stripe have trotted out utterly convincing reasons why Yes/No is the way to go. As in most such matters at the end of the day you pays your money and you makes your choice. So the SNP has a legion of financiers, businessmen, economists and the rest who say ‘it will be fine, what with this that and t’other assets blah-di-blah…’ And the ‘Better Together’ gang has trotted out any number of financiers, businessmen, economists and the rest who insist it will all end in disaster, Scotland will go bankrupt, there will several outbreaks of the Black Death within minutes of the Yes victory being confirmed and more likely than not global warming will hit Scotland especially hard.’ And to both sides I say ‘pull the other one’.

Given that these pronouncements have come from the impassioned supporters of the one side or the other, I really don’t believe any of it is objective. Which, of course, make the warnings worse than useless.

The Nationalists have overall had the easier ride: they can afford to promise the earth, a golden dawn and jam tomorrow. Those who want to keep the status quo, on the other hand, are thrown back into the unenviable position of pointing out all the bad things they claim will happen if Scotland throws off the English yoke (which in Scot Nats’ minds is basically what it all comes down to).

So the Better Together gang have come across as a remarkably negative lot and I shall not be the first to observe that surely it would have made more sense to point out the advantages of sticking with the Union. But, no, that doesn’t seem to have occurred to them (and, to be honest, I can only think of one which is that bound together in a United Kingdom, Scotland and England are economically stronger than fighting the good fight alone).

Then there’s the odd sensation that although the referendum has been more than a year coming, England – that is the ‘Home Counties’ - don’t seem to have been taking it seriously whatsoever until the last month. Then they panicked. I can think of no better word. As for all the ‘concessions’ they have belatedly been making it strikes me as being about as useful as a homeowner who has discovered burglars trying to buy them off by informing them they can take half of what he’s got if they will leave the rest. Stupid or what?

As for the remarkably large amount of mawkish guff on the Better Together side along the lines of Cameron’s ‘I love the United Kingdom’ and ‘the Scots are our brothers’, forgive me if it doesn’t, from where I sit, all stink of rotting fish.

Anyone who wants you to believe that he or she ‘loves the United Kingdom’ is most certainly a nine-bob note and you would be well-advised to count the silver spoons before he or she departs the house. It’s bollocks. I love my two children above all else, then my family, both immediate and extended. That’s it. And if I

And unbiased view from the Home Counties. Or, perhaps, not. Who knows, who cares. As long as the exempt haggis from import duty, I'm happy

have any knowledge of the Scots psyche (and I believe I have at least a small insight) the reaction of those the Union bods want to win over with their Love The Union crap will most certainly be: Get to fuck you pretentious git!

Yes, there are many Unionist Scots all over Scotland, but I suspect that if Thursday’s vote shows us that they are in a majority, the only thing it will confirm is that when push came to shove, more Scots follow their head than their hearts. Money does matter to them, you know, and who can blame them. The notion of the ‘skinflint Scotsman’ is a myth. In fact I have met a great many remarkably generous Scots, more perhaps, than in England, and most certainly more than in the bloody ‘Home Counties’. But the notion that your average Scot is not quite as foolish with his money than your average English is not myth. As a rule they believe there are better things to do with our money than throw it away.

My brother and I were discussing all this the other night and we both agreed, however, that a genie is out of the bottle. There has been some violence in parts of Scotland and it was not pleasant. Sectarian violence is by no means unknown in Scotland and I do wonder just how well the losing side, whoever it is, whether Yes or No, will take to defeat.

As for what the outcome will be: I haven’t a clue.

. . .

If the Scots Nats win, the political fallout will be fascinating. The majority of the SNP is, I suspect, inclined to the Left. But there is a marked right-wing number of them two, united with the lefties only in the desire of independence. And it would be a mistake to write of ‘Tory’ Scots: the Conservative Party has been doing badly in general elections these past 30 years not because there is no conservative support or sentiment in Scotland, but because it is so unassailably identified with ‘the fucking English’.

In an independent Scotland I don’t doubt that the fortunes of a right-of-centre party would perk up quite a bit, though drawing its support mainly from the country areas. Then there’s the question of the 45 or so Labour MPs with Scottish constituencies whose days in the Commons would most certainly be numbered but upon whose membership of the Commons the British Labour party relies heavily to form a majority government. Seen in that light, it no-brainer to understand why, ironically, Labour have found themselves in the Unionist camp.

Another question which will have to be tackled is, given a Yes to independence vote on Thursday, which would mean the loss of all those constituencies (some of which are Lib Dem, by the way) in Scotland, what should be done about the British general election due in May 2015. Some have even suggested that it should be postponed until after Scotland is fully independent.

They fear a silly scenario such as: Labour, as some suspect, get a majority and form the government. Then, with independence, at a stroke they lose 45 of their MPs and perhaps even lose their majority. Would that mean another election. Certainly, because a minority government could carry in with a deficit of two or three, but 45 would prove to be impossible. Because of the possibility of this conundrum, there is even a suggestion – I think from the Tories – that next May’s election should be postponed in the event of the Scots voting for independence.

And they would certainly like that: faced with an Opposition which is, a stroke 45 MPs short, it would seem the Conservatives would be shoo-in to form proper government, crucially without those bloody awful Lib Dems. Tory heaven if the Scots vote to tell bloody English to piss off. Trouble is they can’t go for it, because they all ‘love the United Kingdom’ so much. Damn!

. . .

I find it very, very creepy that my movement around the web is so completely followed. This morning I was trying to sort out a mobile phone problem for my daughter. Her Sony Experia SP keeps freezing, even though he was apparently ‘repaired’ by her provider, O2, so I have lost faith in their ability to ‘repair’.

The solution I came up with was to by an unlocked phone on eBay (or one locked to O2) and she can use that until the contract (which I am paying for comes to an end). I was alerted to the fact that iPhone 4s are still available brand-new, but I also looked at other phones. And bugger me if not every page I look at which carries ads – news pages etc – has bloody ads for the very phones I was investigating. Yes, I knew it went on, but I don’t like it.

Ironically, Google, who provide this blogging service for free, are one of the worst offenders. You can’t take a dump these days without returning to your desktop or laptop to find you have inadvertently installed the bloody Google toolbar.

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