Tag Archives: david cameron

Cameron, the Queen and the Union

You get the impression that David Cameron would have responded to the outcome of the Scottish Referendum like an overexcited dog that cannot hear your voice.

His smug remarks that ‘it should never have come that close’, and that ‘the Queen purred’ at the news that Scotland would remain part of the United Kingdom, made me feel angry, sick and disillusioned.

Angry that the people of Scotland are now judged to have a settled will that making our own decisions is not in our best interests; sick that the Head of State took obvious delight in endorsing the outcome of the establishment’s relentless campaign of misrepresentation and fear; disillusioned by how easy it was for the Establishment to use its power to influence the democratic process to suits its own ends.

Had the majority of people voted against independence for the reason that they genuinely believed the Union was good for Scotland, and that its traditions and institutions were to be celebrated and preserved, then perhaps it would have been slightly easier to accept the result of the referendum and move on.

Post referendum polls make it clear that this was not the case. The majority of those who voted against independence were in the age group 55 plus; they claimed to have voted no because they were worried about the risks associated with such a significant constitutional change.

Most of the risks were exaggerated, the rest were simply made up.

To spook a country out of taking responsibility for its own affairs is not something for which a Prime Minister and Head of State should be indulging in self-congratulation. Particularly when it led to distasteful displays of victorious Nationalism in celebration of the British state.

The promise of significant new powers for Scotland is unlikely to amount to much, despite having a heavy bearing on the final outcome. Not only can the three main parties not agree on exactly which powers to transfer to the Scottish Parliament from Westminster, they have already started to throw other constitutional questions into the conversation to delay proceedings.

Cameron’s smugness should be tempered by the fact that almost half of the Scottish electorate voted for independence. That must send a very strong message to the party leaders in Westminster: the Union they firmly believe in does not work very well at all for a significant number of people in this country.

And if Her Majesty the Queen thinks she can purr like a cat in her luxurious palace whilst hundreds of thousands of children are growing up in abject poverty, then the Union has already used up eight of its nine lives. Independence is now inevitable for Scotland; it is just a matter of time.

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British Elitist Extremism

When Governments feel the need to offer definitions of certain socio-religious concepts, you immediately start to question their motivation for doing so. Which of their unpalatable, unfair or unethical policies are they about to justify by reference to one of their carefully crafted definitions?

For example, the Scottish Government made the mistake of trying to offer a ‘working definition of sectarianism in Scotland’ that looked more like a dodgy attempt to justify its unpopular and unnecessary legislation against Offensive Behaviour at Football matches:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0044/00440386.pdf

The United Kingdom Government is just as transparent. David Cameron recently tried to remind us that the United Kingdom is a Christian country. He now wants to encourage us to feel less bashful about promoting the traditional values that underpin British society, for which too many individuals living in this country appear to have lost respect. To that end, education must play a vital role.

Cameron’s argument quickly jumps to the astonishing conclusion that being too bashful about celebrating traditional British values creates the type of space which allows extremism to flourish. There is something seriously wrong with this way of thinking.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27853591

Extremism is defined by the UK Government in a 2013 publication, as ‘vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs’:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/263181/ETF_FINAL.pdf

The publication goes on to claim that extremism creates an environment for radicalising individuals and it can set them on the path to terrorism; extremist ideologies, including Islamist extremism, run counter to our traditional values and therefore must be tackled before they get a chance to take root. 

For example, we have been informed recently that there are around four or five hundred young British Muslims who have recently gone to fight in Syria, and who may commit acts of violence and terrorism on their return. That this poses a long term security threat to the United Kingdom means that tracking the activities of young British Muslims fighting in Syria is now a top priority for MI5.

In Cameron’s mind, it also means that the United Kingdom Government needs to find a way of blocking off the path to terrorism before it begins. This can be done through making it compulsory to teach British values in schools in England and Wales, and through so called counter-messaging agencies hammering home the importance of respect for democracy and the rule of law, particularly to those identified as being potentially vulnerable to radicalisation.

So the condensed version of Cameron’s argument is that unless we are more confident about promoting British values, we run the risk of terrorists growing up in our own streets and attacking our country from within. This is nonsense and Cameron knows it!

Apart from defining extremism in such a narrow way that it can only be avoided through teaching and reinforcing traditional British values at every opportunity, Cameron appears to link the decline in the latter with the rise in extremist religious ideologies that lead to terrorist activities, which is dangerously arrogant of him.  

Cameron’s arrogance also seems to have blinded him to the obvious, and this is one of the key reasons why Governments need to think twice before they tie themselves up in knots trying to control our thinking – by his own Government’s definition of the term, the United Kingdom has been harbouring more than its fair share of home grown extremists for generations, no doubt brought up to respect the fundamental and traditional British values that he insists are the solution to the rise of Islamist extremism in this country –

They are the self-serving, greedy Westminster MPs caught up in the parliamentary expenses scandal; the dishonest, profit-crazy City of London bankers found guilty of fixing LIBOR rates; the shameless South Yorkshire Police officers who altered witness statements to conceal their own failures at the Hillsborough stadium disaster; the UK Government’s Child Migrant Programme that sent 130,000 children from the UK to live in Australia and Canada on the basis of an ugly lie; its decision to illegally invade Iraq on the basis of another lie; the out of control British soldiers who committed the unjustified and unjustifiable killing of innocent Civil Rights marchers in Derry on Bloody Sunday; the British colonial forces who tortured Kenyans during the Mau Mau uprising.

Surely these actions show active opposition to democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs? It would appear to me that it is not just so-called Islamist extremism that runs counter to the fundamental British values that David Cameron apparently cherishes. We might want to refer to it as British Elitist extremism.

It is practiced by too many of the individuals who have been elected or otherwise to govern our country and appointed to manage our great institutions. It is their entitlement. And of course, despite the occasional apology to appease public outrage, British Elitist extremists would seem to operate without a social conscience and with impunity, because the United Kingdom Government would never define them as such.

   

     

 

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What’s So Anti-Scottish about Free Education?

A clear sign of Scottish Labour’s gradual drift towards Tory type thinking was posted yesterday in Johann Lamont’s speech to mark her first anniversary as leader of the party:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/lamont-calls-for-an-end-to-free-tuition-at-university.19706720

Her general point is the obvious one, which Cameron and Osborne have never tired of ramming home, that the policy of free universal services is unsustainable in the current economic climate.

Perhaps that is the case, but they always omit to say that the current economic climate includes horrendous sums of money wasted every year on unnecessary and illegal wars, and the vast amounts of revenue lost by turning a blind-eye to multinational organisations choosing not to pay their share in corporation tax. Not to mention the unforgivable betrayal of Scotland’s future that occurred when the decision was taken not to set up an Oil Fund.

Lamont develops her point by arguing that persisting with the unaffordable policy of free higher education has been made possible at the expense of significant cuts to the further education sector, which has in turn created huge inequalities between Colleges and Universities.

So whereas Lamont claims that the policy of free higher education in Scotland is being paid for by the college sector, others might feel justified in countering that claim with the reminder that there would have been no need to reduce spending on education at all, had successive Conservative and Labour governments in Westminster not chosen to squander substantial sums of money elsewhere.

The most troubling part of her position is the manner in which her argument progresses from the economic sustainability concern to an attack on the fairness of free education, when graduates are said to expect higher earnings over their lifetime compared to non-graduates. Free education is either fair or it isn’t, regardless how much money self-helping politicians have thrown to the wind.

And perhaps the most baffling part of her position is the contention that the Scottish Government’s policy of free education is anti-Scottish. It is difficult to understand exactly what this is supposed to mean. How can it be anti-Scottish to promote a principle that has been distinctively Scottish for generations?

In his St Andrew’s Day message, Alex Salmond commented:

“Scotland is proud of its history of invention and discovery. We actually invented quite a bit of the modern world, from the telephone, to television to penicillin to beta blockers. However, perhaps – actually certainly – our greatest invention of all, the one that made all of the others possible, was the invention of universal free education.”

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‘All the Truth in the World Adds up to One Big Lie’

By which criteria do we satisfy ourselves that we have reached the truth?

That a particular account of events is true is something that we too often take for granted, particularly when it is given to us ‘as the truth’ by those in positions of authority, leadership and power.

In an ideal world, of course, the role of police officers, politicians, bankers and journalists should be sufficient to confer a high degree of trust in their actions, automatically and without reservation; it should be sufficient to justify the naïve assumption that their motives are always entirely innocent and without agenda.

But we live in an imperfect society. It is one in which positions of authority are now widely regarded with suspicion and distrust. Our common outrage at the ugly catalogue of corruption and deceit that has been published in the form of apologies over the past couple of years – which includes several back copies from years gone by – has been testimony to that.

Here are just a couple:

 

Hillsborough papers: Cameron apology over ‘double injustice’ –
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-19543964

Gordon Brown to apologise for UK’s role in child migrant scandal –
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/feb/24/gordon-brown-apology-child-migrants

David Cameron condemns Bloody Sunday killings and makes apology –
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/15/david-cameron-bloody-sunday-apology

Barclays apologizes for Libor scandal –
http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/27/investing/barclays-libor/index.htm

Rupert Murdoch ‘sorry’ in newspaper adverts –
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14170756

 

The list goes on and on. The worrying thing is that we are force-fed whichever version of events best suits the prevailing political agenda, usually created for those individuals who have the means and the money to sustain them, and which the rest of society is normally just expected to take as correct.

And most of the time we do, until something significant that could no longer be contained, or something very small that had been overlooked, finally makes its way to the surface and brings everything to a crashing halt.

We are led to believe that certain groups of individuals are decent, honest and upstanding, whilst others are not; we are led to think that certain historical troubles were caused and perpetuated by one particular religious or ethnic group, and courageously and rightfully managed down by another.

The despicable cover up of truth that we witnessed with the Hillsborough disaster, and the unforgiveable manner in which the people of Liverpool were treated and portrayed in the aftermath, must surely be one of the final nails in the coffin of this country’s utterly corrupt constitution.

This country has happily created its own version of the truth for centuries in order to conceal the sheer extent of the hatred, prejudice and contempt with which the elite minority regards even the rest of its own society.

Bob Dylan once wrote that ‘all the truth in the world adds up to one big lie’.

And I think it is fairly obvious how important that one big lie has been to successive Governments.

It is that without which they would not exist.

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Britain Delivered (Carefully Positioned Straws)

In his typically patronising and condescending style, David Cameron has declared today that the moral of the Olympic Games is that if you want to achieve great things, you have to work really hard to get them.

He is absolutely correct, of course. In the majority of cases working hard does lead to achievement. But it was a heck of a lot of money to spend just to discover one of the facts of life you learn in working class primary schools.

Cameron’s folly lies in the ridiculous way he tries to spin shaky economic justifications for conservative party politics out of the least likely threads.

Together with his daft pals he is hell bent on pursuing an ideological agenda that just does not fit with our current reality, regardless of the fake conviction with which he tries to sell it as the only economic option.

It is even more surprising that Cameron feels the need to use the Olympics as an argument in support of the Union. He sold the flag waving, trumpet blowing monarchical indulgence of the Jubilee as a perfect celebration of what it means to be British, despite many of us just not getting it.

And now he is suggesting that the Olympic Games have brought the four nations of the United Kingdom even closer together than before. Perhaps they did, but I would think that the coming together was on a purely sporting level, given the lack of independent alternatives, and for a limited period of time only.

When a Glaswegian feels naturally drawn to the sporting excellence of Jessica Ennis, or a Londoner feels an affinity with Chris Hoy, there is no political motivation or intent.

To try to construct one out of it is wholly inappropriate and is to admit that you are clutching at another one of your carefully positioned straws.

The incoherent, and at times inscrutable, closing ceremony hammered home the point to me that there are chunks of the United Kingdom that are utterly alien to each other.

It is a social union that looks and feels culturally fragmented, a political union that is based on the removal of autonomy, and an economic union that is so completely lop sided that it is only a matter of time before it topples over.

Britain delivered a great sporting event, according to Cameron. And I completely agree; but I would hesitate to believe in the economic and political fairy tales that he is trying to spin out of it.

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George and Dave Meet Bob, Singing To Himself, on Desolation Row

George: “Ah, Bob! We were down here looking for you last week, but couldn’t find you.”

Bob: “What Was It You Wanted?”

George: “Can I confide in you?”

Bob: “Tell Me.”

George: “I…we are really struggling with this economy thing. What’s the solution?”

Bob: “God Knows”

Dave: “The thing is, Bob, we can’t seem to find a way out of this bloody mess. And it’s all Labour’s fault. Smug bastards. Not the Tories. It wasn’t us. We didn’t spend all the artificially created money. We inherited this mess. So what do we do?”

[Dave looks desperately at George and then both look desperately at Bob]

Bob: “There must be some way out of here, said the joker to thief.”

George: “Excellent. But which one of us is the joker and which is the thief. What are you thinking?”

Bob: “Wasn’t thinking of anything specific, like in a dream, when someone wakes up and screams.”

Dave: “You are confusing us now Bob. Keep it simple. We just want to know, is it really, really, really bad; is the economy completely f**ked?”

Bob: “Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?”

George: “Yes! For goodness sake Bob, that’s exactly the question. We just want to know, have we reached our darkest hour yet?”

Bob: “Well, it’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”

George: “Ok, then, so I need to know Bob, what is the biggest problem with our economy? I can’t seem to work it out.”

Bob: “Everything Is Broken.”

Dave: “Spiffing…but that’s always been the case. That’s how this good old country works. And my chum George’s job is to make people think we’ve jolly well fixed it. He’s like the ‘Jokerman’…do you see what I did there?”

[Bob just stares into the vacuum of his eyes]

George: “Ok, anyway, I will lose my prestigious position and my nice little political perks if I can’t make it look like I’ve fixed this, quick smart. Dave will shuffle me around to a stupid little position, with very little power, just to keep the snipers happy. Can you help me with that?”

Bob: “Deep in my heart I know there is no help that I can bring.”

George: “Of course you can, Bob. You must have the answer.”

Bob: “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”

George: “And then there is also the problem of Vince Cable. He wants my job. How do I deal with him and make it look like I’m fixing the economy at the same time. What would you do?”

Bob: “I’d have paid off the traitor and killed him much later, but that’s just the way that I am.”

George: “I can’t do that, Bob. Dave and I are trying to build a big society to fool people into feeling good about the country and not notice what is really happening. They haven’t noticed yet, have they? People feel good, don’t they? We’ve had Royal Weddings, Jubilee celebrations, Wimbledon, and now we’re giving them the Olympics.”

Bob: “There’s a whole lot of people suffering tonight, from the disease of conceit.”

George: “Yeah, well, that’s Labour’s fault. And they have got the audacity to tell me to slow down my austerity measures. But I won’t. I am too proud to admit I’ve got it wrong. Why should I go back on that? I believe the plan is working. And so does Dave.”

Bob: “Well, there ain’t no going back when your foot of pride come down.”

George: “Yes, that’s it, Bob! No going back. You are a genius. I will keep pressing on with austerity. It is a credible plan and it will eventually work. I really believe that.

Bob: “If you really believe that, you know you’ve got nothing to win and nothing to lose.”

George: “Exactly, it’s no longer a gamble. It is a certainty to work. Thank you, Bob. I will think about you when I am making some nice tax avoidance deals with the famous, rich and wealthy, if you know what I mean…”

Bob: “Don’t think twice, it’s alright.”

[Bob finishes his drink, gets up from the table, singing ‘OK boys I’ll see you tomorrow’]

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The Despicable Art of the Politician

George Osborne suggested last year that there were only six weeks to save the Euro. You have to wonder what his motives were:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2041201/George-Osbornes-eurozone-crisis-warning-6-weeks-save-euro.html

You have to wonder whether he was trying to make a subtle contribution to the pessimistic outlook attaching itself to the single currency, in order to hurry along a particular political agenda.

Particularly when both Osborne and Cameron recently criticised those who were guilty of open speculation about the Eurozone and its potential break up.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18059355

Politicians, intertwined with their media friends and public relations experts, are highly skilled at engineering situations that serve the ends of some of the world’s most powerful and wealthiest individuals. And that is quite sickening, but real.

It makes you cynical. It makes you question the underlying motives of politicians – the democratically elected puppets who pretend to be there to serve us, whilst their strings are being pulled by others behind the scene.

Thinking about the Eurozone crisis, you begin to wonder whether the countries that would have been damaged most by its break-up – UK, USA, Germany and others – understood that the only permanent solution, and one which would have benefitted their own economies anyway, would have been greater fiscal and political union.

A highly contentious issue for many countries and probably not wanted. But to plant the seed that there were only weeks to save the Euro, and indulge in the open speculation that they subsequently criticised, suggests that, for whatever reason, political union was perhaps the underlying motive.

After all, the ratings agencies, the men in dark suits, who ultimately control the interest rates that countries are required to pay on their debts, are perfectly positioned to nudge the figures up or down to engineer a crisis in the sovereign bond markets.

Given everything we know about politics, power and corruption, how easy would it be to create the perfect storm? How easy would it be to create the conditions which would either lead to global economic disaster – which nobody in their right mind would opt for – or a new political arrangement heralded as solving the crisis, but which actually served the elite particularly well?

Only a few well positioned individuals ever stand to gain from the political manoeuvring that takes place behind the scenes. We watch the pantomime play out in front of us. We get drawn into it. We live it. We cheer when we see the ‘hero’ triumph, and we boo when the ‘villain’ of the piece turns up.

And when things look like they are taking a dip, when our enthusiasm falters, there is always a large event of national importance conjured up to get everyone back on side. It is just like freshening up the cardboard scenery on the stage.

The pantomime is played out by very clever actors, masters in the art of deflection and distraction. We are all trained to clap and boo in unison, it is programmed into us – we are all in this together, after all.

And in politics, the villain of the piece is very rarely the character we are encouraged to boo with theatrical gusto. We are just made to think that way because it suits the underlying plot.

It is the despicable art of the politician, honed through years of working the circuit, playing the game and taking the standing ovation when it all appears to come together in the end.

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Your Pocket Money Is Getting Cut

Today is the 8th of May, 2015.

It’s a cold morning, with a cruel nip in the air. It doesn’t feel like spring at all.

Something doesn’t feel right. But that’s Scotland for you.

We have just woken up to the news that David Cameron has secured a second consecutive term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This time the Tories didn’t need to create an unelected coalition; the Liberal Democrats lost all credibility last time around, and Labour persisted with Miliband. Enough said.

Yet somehow, despite the fact that the UK economy continued to trundle along with almost zero growth, dipping in and out of recession; despite the fact that the public sector was decimated; and despite the fact that they promised us another five years of austerity, the Tories managed to return to Government, full of bluster, nonsense and spin.

And sadly, with a once in a lifetime opportunity to change things, the people of Scotland stood back and let it all happen. Despite having an opportunity to change its future for the better, to take responsibility for its own affairs, Scotland decided to retain the status quo.

It was too afraid to do otherwise.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s Oil and Gas industry has continued to churn out significant tax revenues for the UK Government. It has been vital to its highly prized AAA credit rating. It has funded a couple of wars and helped pay for large UK infrastructure projects.

Projections are still looking good for the coming thirty years and beyond.

Our Renewable Energy industry has continued to develop and is now starting to show signs of making a substantial economic impact, whilst securing our energy supplies for future generations, long after our oil and gas supplies have been fully exploited.

Our Food and Drinks industry has continued to make significant returns in overseas markets and our Life Sciences industry is working towards its 2020 targets of doubling its output from its 2010 levels.

Excellent.

But the penny has now dropped.

It has become glaringly obvious that Scotland never was a nation that survived thanks to a generous subsidy from the UK Government. That was a cleverly constructed myth. You can get statistics to tell you anything. That’s why politicians love them. And we are easily duped by them. That’s why politicians love us.

It has become glaringly obvious that our incredible natural resources, our academic rigour and our entrepreneurial spirit were all more than capable of helping us build a successful, prosperous and independent country.

We just had to believe it.

But at least we have got the Trident nuclear deterrent programme to protect us and bring much needed employment to Scotland. At least we have got a strong military to take us into illegal wars, whether we want it or not. It’s a dirty game, but hey, it keeps us in business.

At least we have got another country making our most important decisions for us, so that we will never have to think too hard about anything ever again; particularly all the things that are just too big for us to cope with on our own.

Now that we’ve turned our back on change, we can sleep-walk into the future. Like dutiful little children who will never grow up, because we don’t have to. But at least we can say, unlike three hundred years ago, this is what we voted for in 2014. So what happens next?

Independence? Forget it.

What about Devo-Max then? Don’t make me laugh. That was never on the cards.

Oh and by the way, kiddies, your pocket money is getting cut.

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An Embarrassing Milestone

Despite being the only individual convicted for the Lockerbie Bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds in 2009 by the Scottish Government.

Megrahi was released from prison almost 1000 days ago because he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer. But he has been kept alive by medication available in Libya, which is not available in the UK.

According to David Cameron, the Scottish Government’s decision to release Megrahi has therefore turned out to be the wrong decision, and an insult to the families of the 270 people murdered. And the Scottish Conservative Party Chief Whip, John Lamont, has weighed in to call it an ‘embarrassing milestone’ for the Scottish Government.

Many will agree with these comments. But opinion is divided. Some might consider these comments to be a rather crass attempt to deflect attention away from many of the unsavoury deals that are made in the complex game of international politics. Megrahi’s case is no different.

The very fact that Megrahi was convicted in the first place, despite crucial evidence apparently being withheld at the time, suggests that the need to find someone (anyone) to blame for the atrocity, was much more important than leaving the case unsolved.

Professor Robert Black, in an interview with The Scotsman newspaper in 2005, called it “the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years”.

Whether or not Megrahi was guilty, a scapegoat had to be found. But the fact that he was subsequently released on compassionate grounds is a reminder of how far this, and previous Governments, have been prepared to go to make deals that served their own private interests and agendas.

The Scottish Government claims to have made the decision according to the principles of Scots Law. If due process was followed, then fair enough. But whether the medical grounds for his release were sound is another question entirely.

Something doesn’t feel right about the whole situation.

The circumstances surrounding Megrahi’s release come dangerously close to either implying that a mistake was made in the original conviction, or that serious pressure was being exerted from other countries to ensure that, come what may, he was not left to die in a Scottish prison.

Either way, it was a huge gamble for the Scottish Government to take.

Despite Cameron’s public criticism of the decision, 1000 days later, I find it quite difficult to believe that the UK Government would not have intervened much earlier in the process, had it strongly opposed Megrahi’s release at the time.

It is just too convenient to argue that the decision was outside the jurisdiction of the UK Government and that it had no choice but to accept that it was a decision solely for the Scottish Government to make. I am sure that the UK Government would have found a way of blocking the move, had it so wished.

And now that the core assumption on which the gamble was predicated has not transpired, politicians throughout the country are lining up to criticise and ridicule the Scottish Government’s decision.

But the ‘embarrassing milestone’ is not so much that Megrahi has not yet died from his terminal illness.

The embarrassing milestone is that almost one quarter of a century later, the truth about this case has still not come out, for whatever reason, and the wider network of people behind the bombing have still not been brought to justice.

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Intellectually Dishonest Tactics

The use of intellectually dishonest tactics is not uncommon in political debate.

Our ability to recognise such tactics is usually proportionate to the degree of cynicism with which we generally regard the politicians in question.

As far as the issue of Scottish independence is concerned, we would do well to treat most of the arguments thrown at us, from either side, with a measure of cynicism and suspicion.

Of course this doesn’t prevent us from being emotionally committed to one side or the other throughout the process; we can’t help how we feel about our country and its place in the world.

It just means that we should treat any given argument with caution until we know exactly what political agenda lies behind it and exactly who has been driving it forward.

Whether it is to avoid the economic upheaval of breaking up the United Kingdom; or whether it is to secure a better deal for those whom remain, there have been some indications that the Unionist campaign could have been driven less by belief in the Union, and more by self-interest and political power.

The argument that Scotland would always be stronger within the United Kingdom, given its negative revenue and expenditure profile, will be submitted by the Unionist campaign to play a central role in the decision making process of those eligible to vote.

Whether it is correct or not, it will have a powerful effect. After all, who would want to find themselves worse off as a result of change?

The argument, that Scotland returns a surplus more often than not, and would continue to develop and grow with greater fiscal autonomy, will be submitted by the Independence campaign – whether it is correct or not.

And that argument will also have a powerful effect. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in a prosperous country with better employment opportunities and greater individual wealth?

But to return to the point about intellectually dishonest tactics, it is difficult not to feel that the Unionist campaign has been seriously undermined by a conversation that Peter Cruddas is said to have had with David Cameron recently, outlining why the UK Government ought to be seen to be defending the Union:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-17574289

To appear to support Scotland’s right to self-determination would be to encourage an expectation that the separation would be clean, straight forward and economically beneficial for everyone concerned.

It would set the tone that there would be an amicable split of assets, which is not a desirable outcome for the UK Government.

But to appear to defend the Union would be to put down the marker that independence would be contrary to the ethos, ambitions and wishes of the UK Government. It would put the latter in a good position to negotiate a stronger deal for the remaining countries.

It would set the tone that the UK Government would expect a significant portion of the shared assets by way of compensation, when the inevitable happens.

Naturally, David Cameron would deny that this reflects his position, whereas Alex Salmond would claim it is a perfect reflection of it. Untangling the various knots on both sides of this debate will never be easy.

It is difficult enough trying to weigh up economic facts and figures that purport to predict the future performance of a possible state of affairs.

It is even more difficult finding facts and figures that haven’t been spun in so many different directions by politicians employing intellectually dishonest tactics to suit their own selfish agenda.

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