It’s the hot topic of the moment (other than the wind and rain further south which we’re thankfully avoiding in these parts). First we had the promise of the love-bombing, then we have the stink-bombing. One promised an offensive of lurve, whilst the other is just plain offensive.
Let’s start with an excellent piece from Bella Caledonia, penned before the Chancellor came to town:
But of course the likely content of the speech was trailed for around 36 hours beforehand, and much spat about nothing followed. The greatest spat seemed to be between The Guardian and the BBC, squabbling over whose moles had the story first. Interesting though it is to see Labour’s propaganda machines at loggerheads with each other, time is better spent with Iain McWhirter, also before the speech itself:
I missed the speech, the curling being more entertaining. And of course we’d read it before it was delivered, dissected it, and listened to the BBC telling us what George was going to dictate to us. I suppose at least we should be thankful that he did actually come north and not deliver his sermon from a safe bunker in the south.
Mind you it does look as though he only made the trip to get that castle backdrop on our screens. No time to stay, no questions from the media, no discussions with anyone; quick back to the bunker – that went well…
But now we have the aftermath, and what George didn’t say. He didn’t say what most of the media have been spouting – ‘Ye cannae dae that’. For of course we, like any other country, can use sterling as our currency if we want, with or without consent. And he didn’t even say there will be no currency union, just gave us an analysis from the Treasury, the conditions, and what might happen if they are not met.
Now remember this comes from the Westminster government which long ago set out a stall of no pre-referendum negotiations, and of an Edinburgh Agreement signed by both sides. But now the gloves are off, the poker hands are raised, stakes high. And remember we own 8.4% of the Bank of England, the currency itself. Assets and Liabilities.
The tactics may be perplexing. Westminster, seeing the momentum of late, seek to drive more fear into the equation, perhaps taking the view that some in the Don’t Know camp can become firm No voters, as they do their utmost to keep Scotland’s riches flowing south. But it is more than likely that we’ll see more hackles rising, moves from the DKs to become hardened Yes votes, riled at southern dictat.
But the game is clearly now on, and that’s what all the fuss is about; bluff, double-bluff, stick or show – you don’t take our debt, we might block the EU – blah blah blah. But of course Scotland wants to take responsibility for some of the Treasury’s debt, and doesn’t want to be forced into using that as a negotiating tool. I hear that it was Mr Darling that got all the potential Chancellors after the 2015 Westminster election to sing from the same sheet. Labour and Tories Better Together. And ultimately the debt, which has nearly doubled from the amount Labour left behind, rests with the UK Treasury, whatever Scotland decides.
As usual the analysis and scrutiny, away from the unionist press and media, is best served with Wings, where Rev Stu is on form.
And another analysis worth a read comes from Robin McAlpine, this time without his Common Weal/Jimmy Reid Foundation hats.
It’s a fast moving scenario at the moment and I’ve yet to consider the late night interviews, the morning bulletins, and what everyone may have had to say.
As expected Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp at Business for Scotland is bang on the money. Read it. Understand.
Fortunately there are still some Labour members with principles. Let’s leave the last word for now with former First Minister Henry McLeish: