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Yet another reason why we need a fully sovereign Scottish government that has the power to remove these WMD from Scottish soil.
Typical Lib Dem, given a chance to really represent his country and make a difference ends up doing Westminster's bidding, be it the stillborn Calman proposals or the chance to repatriate the Crown Estates to Scotland - as Highland Lib Dem's have promised for years. Moore was only given the Scot Sec job because they had to find a Liberal to make up the numbers if the Tory coalition was to fly. As we have seen Moore has been promoted well above his natural pay grade and will be a prime candidate for the chop once the proverbial hits the fan.
Shirley-Anne has earned her spurs with the Edinburgh trams fiasco. Give her the job Alex.
The phoney war is over, time for all who have Scotland's best interests at heart to come together and make the case for full self government. Time to do ....
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2010 on Salmond on the referendum question at Go Lassie Go
Yousuf, Labour had years to deliver fiscal autonomy but had no intention of touching anything that smacked of 'autonomy'. Hence the stillborn Calman proposals. As far as cuts are concerned, I didn't hear a cheep from you when it was the Labour party both slashing the Scot Gov's budget & promising to make cuts that were 'deeper and tougher' than Margaret Thatcher's attack on Scotland. I suspect that if Labour had won the election & Darling had got his way you would be busy defending Labour cuts under the banner 'There Is No Alternative'.
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2010 on You're wrong Yousuf at Go Lassie Go
Delighted for you on a personal level Joan, but The Scotsman has become little more than a Labour mouthpiece, a disgrace to a paper that still has pretensions regarding its status as a national newspaper of record. Along with thousands of other folk I haven't bought the paper for years & will not be going back so long as the Scotsman continues on its present path.
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2010 on New column in The Scotsman today at Go Lassie Go
I am more than happy to be corrected, but are these issues not 'reserved matters'?
Toggle Commented Mar 18, 2010 on Who owns Scotland's seabed? at Go Lassie Go
Regarding Ms Millar's informative prog, the elephant in the room was Independence, or rather the lack of it. North Sea Oil was talked up as a Scottish industry that 'led the world' but not a cheep on the billions lost to Scotland as oil flowed South. And little to inform the casual viewer that the great renewables opportunity facing Scotland is worryingly dependent on the policy priorities of the Westminster govt - tax, capital investment, international cross border initiatives & so on. However, it is up to our national government to make the case again & again, & as posted earlier, this needs to be rapidly improved. I notice that Glen Campbell is hosting a debate tonight on BBC on 'Scotland's Green Feature' - perhaps this time we will get a serious debate rather than the usual X Factor guff that is our usual grim fare.
The Scottish government's push for renewables - and the massive potential that exists for Scotland to corner a large part of the global market in associated investment & jobs - is a perfect example of why we need to return sovereignty to this country. Personally, I would like to see the FM making a good deal more of this & ratcheting up the rhetoric on the north sea inter-connector as a crucial national interest threatened by England's prerogative. As Queen Bess said, "Prerogative is the choicest flower in my garden" - time that this C17th English monarch's prerogative, vital for a country then as now, was repatriated to Scotland's parliament. By the way, in the light of Glen Campbell's disgrace to BBC journalism on Newsnight Scotland last night isn't it an insult to the office of the FM and, by extension, the people of this country, that BBC Scotland (sic) ignored Scotland's input to the Copenhagen Conference, a vital international gathering and the first that Scotland has attended in her own right, albeit at sub-State level? No doubt Pacific Quay were under instruction to keep things reassuringly parochial.
Two brief points by way of reply: Nobody is arguing for the retention of Trident - certainly not Jim Sillars or myself for that matter. Nobody is preventing anti-Trident voters from walking towars us on this issue. But in truth the removal of Trident will not be overnight, giving the SNP a powerful bargaining tool both before & after a successful plebiscite. We should milk it for all it is worth. With regard to NATO we have to live in the world as it is, not in the world we would like it to be. We know that come the referendum there will be a cacophony of voices warning of the 'dangers' of 'splitting' from our 'allies' in a 'uncertain' world - so why adopt a naive macho 'bring it on' position that can only damage our prospects? Particularly as this can only be sorted one way or the other AFTER independence, by whichever Party/Parties form the government of Scotland. Bottom line, a anti-NATO line will harm the SNP's prospects which is why we need to ditch this sacred cow.
At just over what ought to be the half way point of the SNP government, Jim Sillars characteristically trenchant views on the way forward for the independence movement are to be warmly welcomed. Sillars is right to argue that to win an independence referendum will require the SNP to reach out beyond its own support base & fashion a coalition from all political parties – and none. Indeed, the SNP is doing just that, but much remains to be done in presenting a compelling vision of an independent Scotland, of the difference that independence will make to the ordinary person in the street, both on a personal level and with regard to the nation as a whole. All too often, when canvassing members of the public as to their position on an independence referendum, the reply is “I don’t know”. And that can include SNP voters! The SNP government needs to hammer home relentlessly both the positives – what CAN and ought to be done with full sovereign powers – and negatives – the measures the SNP government wish to take for the benefit of Scotland but are prevented from carrying out thanks to the Westminster prerogative. With this in mind, I think Jim Sillars hits the nail on the head where he highlights the necessity for Scots – and the Scottish government – to think in terms of ‘Scottish State Interests’. By this Sillars means painting in black and white the vital interests of Scottish state interests, contrasted to the priorities of what in reality is the English State. Take the Scottish equation out of the ‘British’ State, and you are left with a predominantly English one. A State increasingly at odds with the national Scottish interest – borrowing, taxation (Sillars flags up the national imperative to utilise a radical tax regime to grow Scottish small & medium sized businesses & thereby tackle economic under-performance), public investment, international representation (e.g. Copenhagen), the list goes on. Time to stop looking to the Unionist past, time to envisage Scotland as one more independent State amongst many. Sillars goes on to chart Britain, England’s, decline, and to strangle the notion that the ‘big’ UK is a strength, exacerbating Scotland’s social and economic problems – all music to the nationalist ear, but not a note that has been played by the SNP for many long years. It strikes me that such a narrative would be an ideal vehicle for explaining why independence is Scotland’s future, why increased powers are vital and give people a clear vision of what Scotland can be compared to the tired and reactionary offerings of the Unionist parties. Predictably, the Unionist press, led by The Hootsmon, has picked up on Sillars views on the EU and NATO. Take away all the froth and twaddle however and there are some interesting points worthy of consideration. On Europe Sillars favours Scotland joining EFTA/EEA rather than the EU, on the basis that EFTA/EEA would enable Scotland to keep more of the sovereignty required to repair the damage left over from the bust UK. Personally, I do not buy it. Whilst there is a superficial attraction in winning over the Euro-sceptic vote and dumping the Common Fisheries Policy, having all the benefits of free European trade but with none of the shared EU obligations smacks of wanting to have your cake and eating it. If Jim Sillars position was as sagacious as he would have us believe, there would have been a stampede of the EU’s newest States into EFTA, rather than present reality where it looks like Iceland will be dumping EFTA, leaving a rump consisting of Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. And I cannot but help thinking Edinburgh’s competition in Frankfurt would be rubbing their hands in glee. No matter how it is viewed, EFTA countries are dependent on decisions taken without their input. On paper they may still be able to negotiate adaption’s to EU regulations but as a small 3 nation grouping ultimately if EU was so minded EFTA would trot along obligingly. Rather than this chimera Scotland’s best interests would be best served inside EU – and that’s even before the pound sterling is jacked in for the Euro. Jim Sillars is on much stronger ground with NATO. Whilst recognising that NATO is a totemic issue for many in the SNP, I have been arguing for years that this is the national movement’s one Achilles Heel. As Sillars points out, Scottish independence will not occur in a vacuum, with consequences for the US & European security that could blow the independence campaign out of the water if we allow it to. If present policy undermines the objective of a successful independence plebiscite it is incumbent upon the SNP to ditch it. At a time of change and flux it is vital that the SNP offers stability and trust, which will be severely compromised if NATO/England is dredging up dark images of isolation & terrorist threat. Indeed, being in NATO shoots the UK/English separatist hare whilst increasing our leverage as a new State awaiting recognition. The same goes for Faslane – the sub’s and infrastructure will not be able to be moved South for some time, an opportunity to utilise this bargaining chip (Sillars is calling for a formal leasing agreement) to smooth relations with the international community (and England) BEFORE THE REFERENDUM, increasing the SNP governments credibility & putting the whole defence issue onto the front foot for the SNP. Diplomatic contacts require to be made now – if the devolved Scottish government acts like a sovereign government, it bolsters its own position, reassures our neighbours and will increasingly be seen by the world as sovereign.
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Nov 22, 2009