As the fateful day approaches there has still been no serious comment on the aggressive and anti-English SNP stance with proponents and detractors of independence equally keeping quiet about the distasteful motivation which forms the crux of the independence argument. As it happens, an argument that may or may not underpin the SNP’s stream of promises that Scotland will be a nirvana of infinite riches and wealth for all.
Firstly and most obviously it is the oil, hitherto a shared resource of one country used for the benefit of all by a democratically elected government of that same one country. Whatever the estimates might be of available or future reserves it is clear that the industry generates significant tax revenues and the allocation of these is the first of the very large mammals in this increasingly cramped space. Sir Ian Wood suggests that the revenue will fall from the £12 billion in 2009 to £3.5 billion in 2019 and from then progressively become less and less. The SNP have chosen a much higher figure for obvious reasons though no estimate is really relevant to the underlying motivations lying behind the independence argument, which are anything but friendly.
Imagine an allotment with multiple owners operating as a co-operative. There is a well in one part of the land and everyone contributes then shares the resulting produce to the benefit of all. One day the person who happens to own the bit of land the well sits upon tells everyone else that he will no longer be sharing it as he feels he will be personally much better off by keeping it all to himself. The other owners are a bit taken aback by this act of selfishness and decide to appeal to this owner’s better nature. “What about us” they ask. “You, he says, I don’t care at all about you, in fact, I have never really liked you anyway. This is good for me and that’s all I care about”.
They persist by reminding him that they have fought for this land collectively more than once and at a time when there was no well and had they not acted together his little piece of land may well have been stolen by another person. “Don’t care, he responds”. “What happens if we need to pull together again”, they say. “We work much better as a team in all aspects and could better survive a drop in prices or really bad weather”. “No”, is the reply, “the past is the past, only today is important to me and I think I can be better off without you”.
Now, this little story doesn’t have an ending yet, in fact, it doesn’t have a beginning until Thursday this week and may not have even then, but the moral might well be ‘That which may be rosy today might not be so tomorrow and then you might need friends’. Between nations as well as between people most of us would want to interact with honesty and morality, with concern for all as opposed simply seeking a temporary advantage. Friends lost with acts of naked self interest may not so easily be won over again.
As for the other elephants they include, fishing waters, a part of the NATO nuclear defence and deterrent ring and a bizarre and incomprehensible threat that Scotland may not pay their share of the loan that all the owners agreed to. All of these things are missing from the ignorant and sanitised presentations of the reasons for this referendum. This isn’t about what’s good for Scotland it’s about what’s good for the SNP today. Tomorrow can take care of itself.
A truly neutral and friendly wish for self government would include the continued sharing of resources as has been the case for over 300 years, a continued role within NATO, playing their part for the future and continued close co-operation with the rest of the UK, but no; and the simple reason is that without these UK resources the case for an independently successful economy is much harder to make.
The simple truth is that taking for oneself the shared resources of the UK is the only way such independence could work economically but, to base the future of one’s descendents upon a transient phenomenon and with, what might well become, a less than helpful next door neighbour would seem to be a foolish act. Then again, there is no aphrodisiac like power and celebrity.
Back in the allotment the formerly elected spokesperson and the one before promise all kinds of benefits to the owner of the well in order to maintain the overall enterprise as a co-operative endeavour but they fail to consult any of the other owners about this. Some of the other owners, a significant majority, make the point that because he was elected last year doesn’t necessarily mean he will be next year, neither is it certain that the earlier spokesman will be either. There was a third person involved at some point but nobody takes him seriously because he sold his credibility some years before for a posh job.
Some of the other owners aren’t pleased, saying that their interests have, for far too long been second to those of the owner of the northern section of the allotment. Some are really annoyed at lots of things the present spokesperson and the one before have promised and not done or promised to do with no consultation. Fortunately one of the newer owners already very popular and the spokesperson for this co-operative with all the other co-operatives has said that he will seek fairness and justice for the majority of the owners in all negotiations and with all parties. Many see this as a refreshing departure from the ‘what’s in it for me’ brand of representation they have become tired of.
Dismissing for the moment this flawed referendum, that could see Scotland set adrift by virtue of a counting error or a majority within the known parameters of fraudulent electoral shenanigans, if Scotland decides to grab and run the disentangling of so many years integration will be time consuming, complex and acrimonious. How could it be otherwise?
If, on the other hand, they vote to remain a part of the UK can we trust the current political elite to represent the interests of England, clearly not, if the embarrassing rhetoric of the last week is anything to go by? The disenchantment of the English may see this arrogant and self absorbed elite drown under the weight of UKIP votes in 2015 when the electorate will be reminded just how they have been taken for granted and let down.
Photo by graham_alton