Sunday, 29 January 2012

This is boring

No matter what one thinks of the decision not to hold an Independence Referendum until the Autumn of 2014, one thing is clear. We can't discuss nothing else until the event. There is simply not enough to be said.

The Sunday papers have a decent go. The Sunday Times has Michelle Moan threatening to relocate her business if Scotland becomes Independent. SoS has an interesting piece by Eddie Barnes on the Tories attitude to more powers, rather undermined however by Ruth Davidson's subsequent appearance on the Telly. The Herald has one of Eck's own economic advisers pouring scorn on his Corporation Tax plans.

Then we had the electronic media. While I continued to slumber, Eck on Andrew Marr and then The Politics show featuring the aforementioned Ms Davidson, somebody from the Civic Society Party and a particularly incoherent performance by Nicola in which she unsuccesfully attempted to maintain that in relation to "fiscal autonomy" within a Sterling zone, black could indeed be white.

Now I'm interested in this stuff  yet even I am getting bored. And yet there are something like another 130 Sundays until the vote.

The really concerning thing here is not just that even Groundhog Day did not attempt to maintain the joke that long but that Scotland simply cannot afford the abandonment of all other politics in the meantime.

Even if you take the most optimistic nationalist view, even a decisive Yes vote in 2014 will not see Scotland actually "Independent" within the next FIVE YEARS.

That's five more Christmases and Summer Holidays,  Children not yet conceived almost at the point of going to school. Marriages not yet celebrated having ended in Divorce.

And the way the world is changing continuing to change. The relentless expansion of the internet with all that means for traditional means of communication. The strategic changes to the European Union prompted by the Euro crisis. A possible explosion of some sort in the tinderbox which is the Middle East. The continued rise of the BRICS. Above all perhaps, an eventual resolution of the current economic crisis that leaves the First World either once again striving confidently forward or, almost as likely, resigned to, hopefully managed, decline.

Every Country, large and small, will be affected by these matters and will have to develop its own strategy for dealing with them. Even if Independence was the magic bullet, I repeat, even the Nationalists do not think we will be independent for at least five years.

So we can't spend the time between then and now simply contemplating our own constitutional navel.

Now that puts a particular obligation on my own Party.

During the last Parliament we had virtually nothing to say about policy. Wendy's plan for a left leaning think tank was one of the initiatives squashed by the arrival of her successor.

I hold out no real hope that the current leadership will take any direct initiative of this nature. Even the plan for the recruitment of a "Shadow Shadow Cabinet" of technocrats to advise the various Shadow Ministers in their policy areas appears to have already sunk without trace.

But there are those out there on the centre left who would be prepared to contribute to the development of policy and there are certainly, among some of our younger MPs and MSPs, those who see the neccessity of having something new to say. I suspect that they would not even have to look too far to find some funding.

So come on comrades, get on with it! Fortune favours the brave!


  1. Yes, it is all so boring. You are rather boring too. So, even though you tried to stop talking about Braveheart all the time, I think I'm too bored to read you any more.

  2. With respect, it is you guys who are banging on about independence far more than us.

    You were the ones who kept demanding to know the date of the referendum, the question etc. You are the ones who keep banging on about the great unanswered questions, will we be thrown out of the EU, will there be an electrified fence errected along the border with armed guards instructed to shoot to kill any Jocks who attempt to cross the wire, what will be the speed limit in an independent Scotland, who will win the Scottish Junior Cup in 2015 etc.

    It is not any part of the SNP's plans to bore people to death about this. I had always thought it was the unionists' cunning plan.

    You are quite correct - the world will continue to turn, events will continue to happen and there is a country still to be governed. Given that we have left a two and a half year run up time everyone should be able to discuss and decide their position on independence at the same time as doing and thinking other things.

    But I wonder what the opposition will go on at FMQs .....