Sunday, 30 October 2011

There is an advert at the moment for Jamie Oliver's new series "Tasty Britannia". The Nats should watch these adverts for they demonstrate how easy it would be  for the "unionists"  to win an Independence Referendum. As Jamie boasts that he will go round the country sampling regional and national cuisine, we, in Scotland all sit and watch this silently insisting that when he comes here he will find our curries are a match for anybody's. Nobody for a moment thinks we should tell him to f off to his own country.

For we don't for even five seconds think of Jamie Oliver, cheeky Essex chappie  that he undoubtedly is,.... we do not for five seconds think of him as an evil English oppressor.

There has been a lot of talk as to who might lead the "No" campaign. Various cosmopolitan Scotsmen are suggested: Billy Connolly; Lorraine Kelly; Euan McGregor. That would be daft. Popular sentiment insists that "proper" Scottish people would live here and be as miserable as the rest of us.

No, the No campaign should be led by an English person. Obviously not just any English person. The likes of Sir Clive Woodward or Nick Faldo would clearly be a mistake.  As would, I regret to inform my Tory readers, either Nick Clegg or David Cameron.

I myself quite fancy Alesha Dixon.

Anyway, getting back to the politics, my number one choice would be Peter Kay. Let's see even Eck try to persuade us that we are living under his yoke, or indeed the yoke of anybody he's ever met. Or that we should look forward to regarding him as a foreigner.

Now, I'm just an amateur, with no access to current private polling or focus group work. Yet even I can put this idea together since the end of tonight's Downton Abbey, (A programme which, being about English Toffs, the STV hierarchy once thought would be of no interest to Scots).

The problem about the current political situation in Scotland is that the SNP, in a desperate attempt to keep together the coalition that delivers even a 34% vote for Independence can't do anything bold at all. And yet aware that this sort of vote is the best they can do without any sort of coherent opposition, they can't even  move forward on the National question.

So the result is atrophy. Not atrophy on the constitution. Atrophy on any sort of public policy initiative.

I keep banging on that there is not going to be a referendum. I simply cannot conceive of the circumstance in which it would advantage the governing Party to hold one they would lose.

But something has to happen. An unelectable opposition facing a stalemated Government is a recipe for disaster. That's not my opinion as a member of the Labour Party. It is my opinion as a resident of Scotland.


  1. Perhaps the 'No' campaign is just postponing the announcement of a 'leader/face' to represent it, until such times as it can come up with even one reason why we should retain the union, and why it is still pertinent to 21st Century Scotland...

    Ian, feel free to quote the Yougov 36%, with its inherent weighting for Newspaper readership, but be very wary of ignoring the trends...

    Just saying

  2. Better Alesha Dixon than Jamie Oliver for sure. Have you been in his place on George Square? Meh. I'm not going to advertise my favourite Italian restaurants, but there are quite a lot of places doing much better food at lower prices.

    Your optimism on the referendum nearly matches mine, except of course that I'll be cheering for the other side. And more than just cheering I think.

    Inevitably one of us will have to be disappointed, and it seems like right now you're not having much luck where politics is concerned. Nothing personal, but I'd like that state of affairs to continue for a bit longer. My only worry is that as a lifelong SNP supporter I'd quickly get over a defeat, whereas you as a Labour man might find it a bit harder.

    Anyway to get back to the point, I thought Rory Stewart - Tory MP for Penrith - was quite effective on Newsnight (in May?) when making an emotional appeal to what Lincoln called "the mystic chords of memory" in his first inaugural address. If emotional appeals didn't work nobody would bother to make them. There's even philosophical support for making them as David Hume, whose tercentary year this is, said that "reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions".

    Mind you, if I think about it Lincoln's speech didn't actually stop the South seceding, so perhaps there is room for improvement here.

  3. Why do Unionists spend so much time identifying foreigners? What does that word mean in 21stC Europe? I contend that it means very little.

    I don't think of people in Rouen or Rotterdam or Roscommon as foreign to me but I do think we need structures of government independent from each other to build the best societies we can - pooling sovereignty at the EU level to be able to partner with, and compete against, global capital, powerful corporations and huge nation states.

    Should we vote for independence, the following day a person from Rochdale will be no more or less foreign to me - we'll just both live in states with a better constitution. We'll all stronger.