If there were any lingering doubts over whether the Scottish Government would be better placed than the United Kingdom Government to be the ultimate decision maker with respect to Scotland, I think the release of Government files from 1984 should help to draw that particular debate to a close.
To my mind, it is not just a question of which set of politicians would be more skilled at managing Scotland’s economy and more understanding of the circumstances and problems that are unique to Scotland; it is also a question of general trustworthiness, and whether there is any credibility at all in the stories that can be heard echoing around the gilded halls of Westminster.
The United Kingdom Government has form. A series of apologies for despicable lies, appalling policies and immoral practices, some of which were covered up, whilst others were simply spun in more appealing directions, has left the honesty and integrity of the politicians and ministers in whom we have entrusted our country over the years in serious doubt. I listed a couple of them in an earlier post:
There is also the additional question of whether the common thread running through the years has been Westminster’s inability to reconcile its obligation to act in the best interest of all of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom simultaneously, with its relentless drive to keep pace with the real super powers of the modern world.
(For example, weapons of mass destruction are kept in Scottish waters, not because it is in Scotland’s best interest that they are there, but because it suits the United Kingdom Government’s global agenda, and Faslane is sufficiently far away from the more densely populated areas in South East England that fewer lives would be endangered should something go wrong!)
It is a miscalculated ambition. It is an inconsistent proposition. Westminster simply cannot relinquish its supremacy without dismantling the United Kingdom as we currently understand it and the relentless drive to salvage something resembling global power and status from the wreckage of its glorious empire has never left the psyche of its politicians schooled in this way of thinking.
Consequently, the motives behind some of the decisions taken in the name of national interest are frequently buried in the tangled mess of conflicting local responsibilities (which are also completely at odds with each other across different parts of the United Kingdom and rarely understood) and global ambitions, with the economic and social damage more likely to sit locally than anywhere else.
The choice Scotland faces in September this year is the choice between which Government is best placed to serve the interests of Scotland and get the best out of our people and our natural resources.
It is essential that trustworthiness figures at the heart of that debate, but trustworthiness is rarely a defining characteristic of a Government that is more interested in concealing its real decisions behind lies, spin and propaganda, in order that it can retain its absolute authority from a distance over local affairs it understands very little about, whilst recklessly pursuing its global ambitions with impunity, using our wealth and in our name.
The United Kingdom Government was not designed to get the best out of Scotland in the first place. There is little to be gained by pretending otherwise now. In the event that the union survives the referendum in September, it would be very interesting to see the reaction of those who had been persuaded by the propaganda and spin of the Better Together Campaign when the 2014 Government files are made public in 2044.