Posts Tagged 'Scotland'

Scottish campaign interventions show us more of what an EU Referendum will look like

The Scottish independence campaign has, in the last two weeks in particular, shown us the extent to which prestige will be amalgamated with fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the effort to influence and persude voters to back the political class’ preferred outcome.

Despite the President of the United States having previously pledged to stay out of the Scottish independence debate, he could not resist chipping in with his comment that the US has a deep interest in making sure one of the closest allies the country has remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner. To what extent the US will work to ‘make sure’ the Kingdom stays united remains to be seen.

Now His Holiness Pope Francis has passed opinion, reported in the Telegraph, with regard to the independence movements in Catalonia and Scotland, suggesting the case for independence in Scotland is not clear and may not be just:

Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases. Scotland, Padania, Catalunya.

There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyse it case by case.

If His Holiness has a desire for unity, he should stick to matters ecumenical.  The Scots people were never asked to vote on union.  Their voice on union or independence has never been heard.  Yet outsiders are trying to push them in a particular direction – and not because it would be in the interest of Scots themselves.

The independence debate in Scotland is a matter for Scots, not for American Presidents, their Secretaries of State, the Vicar of Rome or the Swedish Foreign Minister. It is about a country’s people deciding, to an extent, the nature of their governance and how their country will be organised. It is a matter of democracy, such as it exists.

If the ‘yes’ campaign wins the referendum, what the Scots do with their restored national self determination is up to them.  If they choose to retain that self determination and represent themselves in the world, using their own voice and promoting their own interests, that is for them to establish.  If they regain ultimate decision making authority over their country, yet then choose to give it away again to the European Union, that too is a matter for them.  It is wrong for politicians and religious leaders from elsewhere in the world to seek to exert influence over the Scots’ decision.

This interference gives us a flavour of what we should expect if the Conservatives win the general election next year and a referendum on our membership of the EU is held in 2017.

Leaders of EU countries and the US in particular will be joined by religious figures and politically motivated industrialists from a variety of corporations and nations to spread FUD about what they believe about the implications for our economy if British independence is restored.  They will be joined by media cronies doing the bidding of their owners, who are in bed with the political class.

There will be no fair or impartial hearing for the ‘out’ side.  Only the most extreme, divisive or deluded figures will be invited to speak, so they push voters to the ‘in’ side due to their conspiratorial or frankly idiotic views, or lightweight claims that fall apart under the most cursory scrutiny and examination.

To win a referendum campaign the ‘out’ side must not rely on the normal channels, such as the media.  The message that a referendum is exclusively about who should run Britain, needs to be spread face to face directly to voters in cities, towns and villages throughout the country.  It is only then that the positive vision for a successful and independent Britain – as set out in FLEXCIT – can be heard and explained to counter the FUD which will flood the airwaves and print media to paint a false picture of economic armageddon should we free ourselves from the EU.

The ‘out’ side can win the referendum in the face of overwhelming dishonesty and misrepresentation, but it will need to unite around common strategy so the electorate receives a consistent and clear message.  Witterings from Witney has already started putting out feelers, with limited success.  The problem though is that some entities – which despite being nominally against EU membership have done nothing to develop or promote a strategy for getting out – will use the referendum campaign as a career move, with one eye firmly on individual prospects to become MPs or prominent figures in political circles.

There is still time to address this. But whether the individuals involved will set aside their own personal agendas, in order to help secure the exit from the EU they claim to want, remains to be seen.

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Scottish independence campaign being used as a guinea pig for EU referendum campaign

For some people this may be a statement of the bleeding obvious, but listening to BBC Radio 4 Today this morning, it seems the media is using the Scottish independence campaign to test out which arguments should be made and lines taken in any future EU referendum campaign (whenever that might be).

Professor John Curtice, wearing his ScotCen Social Research hat, has told the BBC that:

Voters want to hear about the economic and financial consequences of the choice that they make, and it is on the outcome of that debate that the result of the referendum is likely to turn.

This is hardly as surprise when the questions asked focus on economic rather than political matters.

A write up of the story on BBC Online also extracts specific questions that focus on voting intentions based on whether Scots will be £500 better or worse off after independence, or whether the Scottish economy will be better or worse. There is no report on the all-important political factors, which is what the independence debate (and the EU debate for that matter) is all about.

It is important to note that the Today piece included comments from four Scots voters – and only one of them said financial considerations were an important factor to him when it comes to voting on independence.  The other three didn’t focus on economics and instead spoke about variations on the theme of who decides how Scotland is run.  Once this segment had been played, the presenter then ignored the voter contributions and turned the discussion straight back to economics, disregarding what the voters had said; and Curtice himself then introduced identity as an issue rather than politics, to move the conversation further away from the central political dimension.

The feeling is of there being a clear agenda to frame the Scottish debate firmly in terms of economics, while doing everything possible to confine the politics to the wilderness.  While this mirrors the current approach taken to the EU debate by the Europhiles at places such as the Centre for European Reform and the Europlastics at places such as Open Europe, what it does is enable the power of the narrative to be tested on a live electorate and see how effectively the electorate can be manipulated into focusing on issues that are irrelevant to the concept of independence – namely who should run Scotland.

No matter whether one feels the Scots should be independent, or whether the union should be preserved as it is, all should be concerned that the crux of the independence issue is being airbrushed from the discourse by the media, which is taking its line from entities with vested interests in keeping all structures as they are – which suits the European Union perfectly.

A very Scottish independence referendum

There is a body of opinion in Scotland that wishes for that country to leave the United Kingdom and become a fully independent nation state, embodied by the Scottish National Party (SNP).

With the SNP having beaten Labour to form the devolved government in Holyrood, the notion of a referendum on Scottish independence has ceased to become a moot point and has become a genuine prospect.  As a result the independence issue in Scotland seems to be coming to life.  There is a feeling that as Scots have become used to their SNP devolved administration they are increasingly warming to the idea of full independence – or enhanced devolution at the very least.

Polls last year by YouGov and Ipsos-MORI showed a majority of Scots voters still opposed to independence, although support for independence was shown to be increasing.  In between those two polls, however, Scotland’s Herald newspaper commissioned a poll by TNS-BMRB that saw more respondants in favour of independence than against it.  Momentum is clearly with the pro-independence argument and it seems to be building.

We have long been subjected to the sight of the main three political parties uniting under a ‘consensus’ banner to oppose any idea that doesn’t suit their wishes.  The same thing is happening in respect of the issue of a Scottish independence referendum.  The main three parties want to lead a government of the United Kingdom (setting aside the EU elephant in the room).  The idea of English, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs running a government that does not encompass rule over Scotland doesn’t fit with their delusion of power.  What the Scottish people may want is neither here nor there, which is why Westminster is holding on tight to its legal authority over binding independence referenda by countries that form the United Kingdom.  And therein lies the problem.  That is why we are seeing non Scots holding forth in front of the media saying what the Scots can and can’t do, must and mustn’t do.

Polling data shows the desire for independence is growing, therefore the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are now pressing hard for a referendum in Scotland to be held sooner rather than later.  The aim is clear – force the SNP to hold the referendum now before momentum builds and more people swap to the independence side.  Understandably the SNP wants to wait until it thinks enough Scots will vote for independence.  The resulting bunfight is now in full swing.

The only people who should decide the future of Scotland are the Scots.  The only people who should decide the timing of the referendum in Scotland and the question(s) asked of the Scottish people are the Scots.  The Scots must be freed of the constraints imposed by Westminster and allowed to decide their future for themselves.

We are now witnessing hypocrisy writ large.  There are people who expressed outrage that Ireland’s Lisbon Treaty referendum was subject to heavy interference by the EU, but who are endorsing similar interference by the UK in Scotland’s independence debate.

The Scots must be free from interference to organise themselves, reap their own rewards and make their own mistakes.  The same must hold true for the English, Welsh and Northern Irish.  That is what democracy and self determination entail.

Never mind the irony that they might secure for themselves independent nation status only to surrender it to governance by the anti democratic European Union, or help bring about the EU’s regionalisation agenda.  Never mind that they may have misplaced assumptions about North Sea oil ownership and revenues.  Never mind the complex issues around fiscal and military (to name but two hugely important matters) separation from the UK.  The Scots must decide for themselves – and they must do so on their terms and at a time of their choosing.


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