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By Gerry Hassan, The Scotsman, May 19th 2012

This week has seen important developments in the pro-union campaign.

First, we are not meant to call it that; the organisers have indicated that the word ‘union’ won’t play any part in the title of the campaign. Second, they have revealed that they will have lots of money, resources, and celebrities.

There have also been reflective pieces by Colin Kidd and Bill Jamieson in this paper [the Scotsman] which have added to public deliberations, the former in particular making a nuanced historical argument for the union.

Much of the tone of the Scottish independence discussion isn’t actually what most of us would consider a debate. There has been The Economist’s ‘Skintland’ cover, talk of Orkney and Shetland being loped off Scotland, and bizarrely, Lord Fraser, suggesting Scots airports could be bombed post-independence, then musing on how the whole breakup was somehow ‘inevitable’.

Some nationalists believe there is no positive case for the union. Unionist commentators such as Alan Cochrane claim that the positive case is ‘a nationalist trap’, assuming that there is a case to answer.

In the interests of democratic debate here are possible positive arguments for the union. First, the traditional argument. The UK punts above its weight in the world. In case you have forgotten the UK is a member of the UN Security Council, the G8, IMF, WTO and of course, there is ‘the special relationship’, that so-called force for good in the world. The least we say about the UK’s problematic relationship with the EU here the better.

Then there is the economic argument. The UK is the seventh wealthiest economy in the world, admittedly down from the fourth place of the Blair bubble era. It is still inarguably, despite the decline of manufacturing, one of the economic powerhouses of the world and a global centre for finance, banking and consultancy. Lets pass on the endemic, inter-generational inequality which skews where much of that wealth ends up.

Then there is the cultural legacy of Britain, from pop music to literature, the arts, fashion and style. This takes the reach of Britain far and wide in a form of post-modern cultural diplomacy which was misguidingly branded as ‘Cool Britannia’, but which earns billions of pounds in exports to the UK and much more in terms of kudos and reputation.

We have the story of the UK as a multi-national, multi-cultural state, overhyped by Gordon Brown et al, who had to insist it was the most successful such state ‘in human history’. Yet there is something about the hybrid, pluralist nature of the UK, recognised in the wonderful writings of that English radical and iconoclast Bernard Crick who chose Scotland as his home for the last 20 years of his life.

It is true that the whole ‘Britishness’ project reached a level of caricature under Broon, with the NHS (which has four distinct systems) rebranded as the Labour version of Whig Britain, when to most of us it is a free health service and the mark of what any civilised society should have.

Perhaps the least powerful argument for the union is the role of the UK as a redistributionist state. Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland, slamming Scottish independence in the Commons earlier this year, invoked Britain’s ‘generous welfare state’. Has he ever taken a look at our levels of unemployment benefits and compared them to our European neighbours? Obviously not.

The argument that Scotland is too poor and over-subsidised can’t be used except by the right-wing commentariat. The figures are contested, but we do know that Scotland is the richest part of the UK outside of London and the South East, the overheated hothouse of the British economy.

An interesting argument on the merits of the union versus independence would acknowledge that Scotland gains and loses by being part of the union, and would gain and lose by being independent.

Scotland gains from the pooling of resources in the union, from pensions to banking bailouts. We also lose by being in the union by not being able to decide some of these and other priorities. The same is true of independence, offering more autonomy, while having it constrained in an interdependent world. The debate might be posed as clear-cut by some, but it isn’t a zero sum game.

The positive case for the union will be trumpeted by the politics of fear. Twice before in recent times, the 1979 devolution referendum and 1999 Scottish Parliament Labour campaign, fear has been used to significant effect and worked. And in both cases in the long-term it eventually rebounded on those who used it.

Fear will be a force in the independence referendum, and on past evidence, will have an effect. It could even aid a pro-union verdict, but if it does, and people feel cheated or resentful, what it could do is, in the medium term, aid the forces of independence and weaken the pro-union argument.

Behind the current unionist absence of a positive case is a deep-seated loss of confidence and a belief that the nationalist case is unstoppable. Unionist forces don’t believe the polls that show they have a majority and feel they will have to pull out every dirty trick; already some Labour circles are talking of how to trash Alex Salmond’s reputation.

This week’s essay by Colin Kidd argued that Labour has historically represented an instrumental unionism, centred on fairness and redistribution, not the abstract ‘nation’. He saw this as a weakness, but it could be a strength if Labour articulated this vision powerfully enough.

Kidd is surely right to argue that Labour’s secondary unionism is the key to the outcome of the debate. It has at points been marginalised by Tory unionism across the UK, but if it put social justice and a different society first, it could speak powerfully to an agenda unclaimed by its opponents.

Some of the lack of empathy and understanding between the two camps of independence and the union doesn’t herald well for a reasoned debate and democracy. Most Scots don’t see themselves as part of these two tribes, yet they both claim to speak for all of us.

Unionism and nationalism are part of Scotland’s rich political tapestry. But they are not all we are. Unionism and nationalism on their own are not the answer for most Scots. Instead, this has to come from a real dialogue, posing choices which aren’t binary or black and white, and which accept the complexities we live with. If we do that we will aid the reinvigoration of our democracy, and enhance the chance that we might just make the right decision for the right reasons.


Courtesy of Gerry Hassan - http://gerryhassan.com

Comments  

 
# UpSpake 2012-05-21 06:36
Fear is a poor foundation on which to base an arguement. Whilst in the past it has worked, in the past there was no internet nor social networking as there is today. A different sort of future for Scotland is being formed and it is not just in the remit of the SNP to dictate.
They may think that they are the only show in town and as far as numbers are concerned but there is the other 2/3rds of the population out there who might embrace a different concept of independence to that expoused by Mr.Salmond.
Being a Labour supporter Gerry you must be in a bit of a quandry. Are you still a small 'u' Unionist or you a large 'P' patriot ?.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-05-21 07:42
Personal attack on the author removed - NNS Mod Team
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-21 09:59
Upspake
"They may think that they are the only show in town and as far as numbers are concerned but there is the other 2/3rds of the population out there who might embrace a different concept of independence to that expoused by Mr.Salmond."
A fair point and well made upspake but can we at least agree that it is mainly the unionist side of the argument which is disallowing 'the other 2/3rds of the population' the opportunity to have their voices heard.
 
 
# Angus 2012-05-21 07:16
Colin Kidd, another example of Labour's failure to put idealism into practise. Labour's past glory, the NHS creation, but time moves on
The arguements for union are not in the interests of the Scottish people, they are about the British state.
Scots should not face a barrage of fear mongering everytime we open a paper or switch on the TV.
 
 
# doctor_zaius 2012-05-21 07:22
Another call for a positive case. I look forward to hearing details. Any detail.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-05-21 20:25
I think you're in for a long wait doc, I fear you'll need the patience of Job waiting for a positive Union case.
 
 
# doctor_zaius 2012-05-21 22:35
I'm a patient man with a lot of patients to keep me busy. Failing a good answer, I may as well stick to 'plan A' and vote yes. 2 years to go ;-)
 
 
# Aplinal 2012-05-21 07:40
Quote:
Some nationalists believe there is no positive case for the union.


Well, THIS Nationalist has yet to hear one after five years of an SNP administration that has a clearly expressed policy to hold a referendum on Independence. So, in the last five years who has given a pro-dependency argument that holds water.

I am sorry, but wishy-washy nostalgia; unsubstantiated claims that "we are better together" (in what way?); fear-mongering; variations on the "too poor, too small, too stupid" argument; and a plethora of lies, distortions, misinformation, and propaganda do NOT make a compelling case.
 
 
# mealer 2012-05-21 07:43
Gerry,
so you say that two thirds of Scots sit somewhere between unionism and nationalism.Isn't it the unionists who have repeatedly ruled out giving them the chance to vote for a third option?
 
 
# alexmc8275 2012-05-21 07:48
Can no one tell me why we would be better remaining part of the uk. What exactly would we miss getting in an independant Scotland, that is only attainable by remaining as we are. There must be something we would miss.
 
 
# Harrbrian 2012-05-21 07:51
Suspect it is more about inertia than fear. Most people do not support radical change unless they think there is a crisis, and so the case for the union does not really have to be made: it is enough to point out the risks.

Following this logic, the case for Independence really does have to be extremely well made indeed, and it probably has to be along the lines of "good neighbours vs unhappy partners sharing an island".

My own view is that Westminster's monopoly of power is a slow motion trainwreck because monopolies always end in corruption and incompetence, so there is a crisis. But because it is firstly a drawn out, slow motion affair that started with Thatcher's centralision of power, and because it is secondly something which is temporarily disguised with every change of party and personnel, it is not widely recognised for what it is.

I worry that inertia will win, that the ruling elite will continue their dreams of Britain's role on the world stage, and that the UK will continue to be run with persisting inequality for the benefit of the city and the south east. Please prove me wrong.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-05-21 20:34
Hi Harrbrian,
You make a decent case for an anti-Westminster English party.
I don't believe it will be long before that slumbering giant wakes up in rUK post Scottish Independence being won.
 
 
# deepwater 2012-05-22 19:54
Harrbrian:

But there IS a crisis.
The UK is, very effectively, bankrupt.
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-21 07:57
Basing a relationship on fear is no relationship at all.
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-21 07:58
"Unionist forces don’t believe the polls that show they have a majority and feel they will have to pull out every dirty trick"

That's because polls don't show a majority against independence. Rather, they show the Yes versus No neck and neck in running averages (conservatively ~40%/40% for now). Those (~20%) 'unsures' like the idea of independence (otherwise they'd say No) and are far more likely to vote Yes on the day. Certainly, that is where their vote is shifting in polls slowly.

~62.5% Yes remains my prediction.
 
 
# alicmurray 2012-05-21 13:28
SS you always cheer me up thanks.
 
 
# RaboRuglen 2012-05-21 08:13
Hi there Gerry,

The Union began to dissolve after the Tory vote collapsed in Scotland and Labour ruled the roost, effectively disenfranchisin g Scotland from UK politics. There was then no incentive for the Tories to treat Scotland fairly as there was nothing further for them to lose by not doing so. Labour, secure in their Scottish supremacy, could ignore Scotland's needs to pursue their otherwise shaky political fortunes in the South of England. Result, the slow rise in Scottish Nationalism.

It was therefore the overwhelming success of your (Gerry's) preferred party in Scotlnd that caused the current problems for the Union exposing Labour for what they really are - undiluted, self-interested, troughers dependent on Scotland only for their meal-ticket without any care for the place at all - witness their disgraceful anti-Scottish antics in both the Scottish and Westminster parliaments over the past years and try and convince yourself otherwise.

The Unionists' only problem is that the Scots have found them out. Further, Unionist intransigence in bringing forward meaningful Devolution has led Scots to the obvious conclusion that there is no solution to their inequitable situation to be found other than through Independence.

There is no positive case for the Union, and from Scotland's point of view, probably never was. The bad faith exhibited by its protagonists towards Scotland merely emphasises that fact.

VOTE YES, and be rid of them.

Regards,
 
 
# snowthistle 2012-05-21 08:15
Do we really need to 'punt above our weight in the world'.
For me, that is quite a way down my list of priorities, so far down as to make it almost irrelevant.
 
 
# Holebender 2012-05-21 13:22
Almost? Completely irrelevant, I would say.

If the UK is "punting" above its weight that must surely mean others are only "punting" at or below their weight, which rather makes the UK a global bully, doesn't it? I've never liked bullies.
 
 
# Lamplighter 2012-05-21 08:23
Right now, people know where they are with the union and the current system of government - and what they, as individuals get from it. They may not be entirely happy with the status quo, but they know where they stand.

For a majority of the electorate to vote for independence a very clear case has to be made showing that pretty quickly there will be tangible improvements in their lives and lifestyles and that a step into the unknown is worth the risk - because folk do perceive that there is indeed a risk in leaving their comfort zone.

I believe that the risk is well worth taking and always try to convince others of that side of the argument - but at times it seems an uphill struggle. Nearly everyone will agree that there's a lot wrong with the current system but it seems that independence isn't being sold well enough at present to sway an awful lot of the 'not really persuaded' section of the community.

Let's hope the arguments for independence get better and stronger in the next few months...
 
 
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-21 09:16
Gerry wrote,Quote:
Some of the lack of empathy and understanding between the two camps of independence and the union doesn’t herald well for a reasoned debate and democracy.


In my opinion "Ugh it's all such a turn off for us undecideds, they're both as bad as each other" theme should be challenged.

The statements I hear from Alex Salmond at Holyrood when contrasted with Johann Lamont's are chalk and cheese.

There is no equivalence. The conduct of both parties over the introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol could scarcely have been more different.

Kenny MacAskill's handling of the release of Megrahi and Labour's handling again had no similarity whatsoever.

Why do we allow people to persist with this "they're all as bad as each other" theme when it's demonstrably just not true?
 
 
# macdoc 2012-05-21 15:29
Well said. Johann Lamont (speaking as a mother) brings up cases such as Declan Hainey, pensioners not getting blankets pulling the emotional strings of the politically ignorant. She continues to be rude and disrespectful of AS calling him wee eck, in bed with rich men, jokes about his girth etc. Repellent woman even makes Iain gray look semi competent. I couldn't belive that Labour would pick such an intellectually challenged battle axe. I think if the public saw her in action and in reasoned debate it would be the end of her.

And almost all the mud comes from the unionist side, its because if your arguments are rubbish you have to lower the tone to insults. North British Unionist politicains sit in one of these camps: British>>>Scottish, AntiScottish, or just plain ignorant.

You just have to read comments on the Daily Mail, Scotsman Telegraph to see the CyberBrits are far far worse than CyberScotnats. Yet we are the ones with much more to be angry about.
 
 
# doctor_zaius 2012-05-21 22:44
We have the better arguments, our numbers stack up. We know that intemperate arguments will alienate the wavering. We can afford to be civil (and should always try to be anyway, even when provoked). Our anger should inspire us to do better.

Most cyberunionists are in the opposite position, hence lashing out and no coherent arguments. Trolling and pedantry/semantics don't quite cut it!
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-21 10:09
Gerry
"Some of the lack of empathy and understanding between the two camps of independence and the union doesn’t herald well for a reasoned debate and democracy. Most Scots don’t see themselves as part of these two tribes, yet they both claim to speak for all of us"

One of my problems with this is that whilst I can agree that 'they both (tend to) claim to speak for all of us' what they are saying,ostensib ly on our behalf,is being filtered through the medium by which these messages are being transmitted to the people at large.
I make no apology for coming back to my biggest fear in this whole business and that is that the information is being skewed to such a degree by said media and the examples have been well rehearsed on so many occassioins that I don't feel a need to add them here.

So I can agree with your closing paragraph with the proviso that we can have a fair and open debate.

"Unionism and nationalism are part of Scotland’s rich political tapestry. But they are not all we are. Unionism and nationalism on their own are not the answer for most Scots. Instead, this has to come from a real dialogue, posing choices which aren’t binary or black and white, and which accept the complexities we live with. If we do that we will aid the reinvigoration of our democracy, and enhance the chance that we might just make the right decision for the right reasons."
I hope it can be so.
 
 
# Exile 2012-05-23 16:19
I think Gerry's just a wee bit TOO clever and fails to see the simple truth that the unionism v. nationalism 'debate' is not about two 'political tribes' (his metaphor de jour). It's a distillation of the forces of reaction and the forces of progress and democracy for Scotland. It's all very well to have debates about choices that 'aren't binary or black and white' once we have the powers and access to our own resources to make these debates more than pissing in the wind.

Vote YES and then start debating the finer points of how to run an independent Scotland.
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-21 10:39
Slightly O/T but if only we could have a reasonable debate along these lines.....

A really interesting read...

dhothersall.blogspot.co.uk/.../...

A little taster
(To be honest, though, it's hard to see any material arguments to constructively respond to in amongst the above - it's just vague, empty rhetoric of the sort Labour specialises in while it's trying to come up with a solid definable policy position on anything. Or perhaps more truthfully, to *avoid* coming up with any - it's hard to have your policies subjected to scrutiny and criticism if nobody knows what they are. Tuition fees? Dunno. Replacement for the Council Tax? Dunno, spent five years talking about it and then gave up. Council Tax up, down or frozen in the meantime? Dunno. Trident replacement? Dunno. Which additional powers should come to the Scottish Parliament? Dunno)

Well worth a read.
 
 
# NorthBrit 2012-05-21 12:17
I am astonished that you think that this is reasonable debate. It is an series of unsupported assertions made in a hysterical tone ("grotesque", "utterly", "betrayal", "selfish", "simply not true"). Stridency should not be a substitute for evidence.

I am coming from the BritNat side of this argument incidentally. The hopelessness of these arguments ought to help the nationalist cause, but the fear of ending up in a Scotland run by these people is much more powerful.
 
 
# Holebender 2012-05-21 13:28
That's an interesting perspective... if you vote for independence you might end up with the utterly useless Scottish Labour Party running the country. Now that really is an effective scare tactic!
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-21 13:33
That is what debate is,is it not? two opposing views being tested to destruction.
All I mean by 'reasonable' is that at least BOTH sides get the chance to state their views without constant interruptions (ala Mr robertson or Mr Campbell) whether you agree with the protagonists ,in this case, or not is academic. At least both points of view were being tested.
Neither of these two people are to my knowledge standing for election so I doubt if we will be run by either of them anytime soon.
 
 
# Angus 2012-05-21 15:40
That is written by Duncan Hothersall, he is a Labour party member, and I think he is the one who moderates their site. He is a staunch unionist and often deletes comments from nationalists that hit home.
 
 
# border reiver 2012-05-21 10:43
the unionist campaign has no vision for the future, it is mainly based on vested interests i.e. labours Scottish contingent of MPs to give them a majority in parliment, the Conservative parties dogma for privatisation to which Scotland will yield billions of pounds to their private partners also their pusruit of world power/influence. not to mention the golden ticket to the House of Lords. As for the Lib Dems who knows any more what they stand for. Not once has any of them put forward a positive vision for the future of our country such as infrastucture projects, which will be properly funded, welfare reforms with humanity, free educaction for our youth, a nuclear free armed force based on defence etc, the list is endless.
until they understand what is really important to the people of scotland the union is doomed
 
 
# redcliffe 2012-05-21 10:50
We know that the economic argument is important for many people, that is why you will not see any English owned titles saying, "Scotland would be richer if independent" over the next 2 years.
Negativity works, and the campaign will be negative as the positive case is limited and nuanced and based on history and dogma.

The solution is to state everyone will be a minimum of 1000 pounds a year better off, and will pay a lower rate of tax. GUARANTEED for EVERY YEAR from 2014.

Cheating over Barnett so London and even Cornwall gets more money on national projects and Scotland gets shafted, and not a word of dissent from the London parties' Scottish branches.

Play hardball and hit them.
Who will stand up for you when london wants even more, can you TRUST any of the Westminster parties and their puppy dog lackeys?
Anti Westminster though, not anti English is the key.

Cost the benefits from world experts get if agreed Scotland is better off, and then ask London to disprove it with FACTS.

Finally confirm what Soames said, in posters and in broadcasts that without oil and Scotland then England is rooted.
Send a CD of Domhair out and a 2 page summary of the McCrone report with the heading, "London fooled us once, but not twice". Nice roads and rail links in London and guess who paid for it?

That will set the tone, and the argument will need to be we will be too poor if independent, a hard one to win when there is no evidence for that based on the last 10 years.
 
 
# cjmasta 2012-05-21 11:29
Just been on the Ipsos MORI site and they have a bit on public opinion on the referendum and independence.
It shows that people think we will be worse off if we choose independence but it also shows people feel Scottish a lot more than those who would say british.
Not all bad but it shows we need to get our fingers out for the next 2 years and educate folk.
I personally would like to get on Buchanan street and hand out leaflets of some kind explaining who our media are and what their colours are just to remind folk that they are not to be trusted. Maybe hand out a leaflet just rubbishing unionist myths of which there are a few.
 
 
# Boris Broon 2012-05-21 11:44
It's a pity that Gerry appears to be falling back to the default Labour unionist position. Many of his recent articles had offered a vision of what a centre left social democrartic party could be post independence.
 
 
# Exile 2012-05-23 16:24
What has a 'centre left social democratic party' got to do with Labour? I reckon the only one of those words that in any way comes close to describing Labour is the word 'party', and even then.....
 
 
# Islegard 2012-05-21 12:13
The statement “The UK is the seventh wealthiest economy in the world” is untrue. Hassan is taking the figure the UK has the seventh largest economy and misrepresenting it. A large economy doesn’t mean a good economy the UK has been in defecit for the last 9 years leading to a crippling debt dependent on Scotland’s resources. This 2012 list of the 15 richest countries in the world has Norway 4th and Ireland 13th. The UK isn't on it.

momeee.com/.../
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-21 13:01
I keep reading this "UK seventh wealthiest" nonsense Islegard.
Thanks for putting the record straight.
 
 
# Hearthammer 2012-05-22 09:10
It's almost like saying that the US is the world's biggest economy, but the US is effectively bankrupt.
 
 
# jurist 2012-05-21 12:15
We, as independence supporters, need to ensure that the international media are covering the "debate" closely. That will be something of a brake on the ability of the unionist's to destroy Alex Salmond's reputation. I have a feeling that the point about destroying Alex Salmond's reputation in Hassan's piece is the most significant point he made.

I would suspect that that will feature large in the negativity. The slurs will be even worse than the trash that has been said already. I would also suspect that MI5 and the Special Branch will get involved in dirty tricks to smear Mr Salmond. I don't think that that's too outlandish.

I really don't think there are any limits to which they will not sink. I'm not going to go into sordid speculation here; but just think about what you would do to really smear someone if you were intent on destroying their reputation.

I hope the SNP are guarding Mr Salmond 24/7. He'll need it.
 
 
# Islegard 2012-05-21 12:15
To give an example over the last 3 years:-

UK debt official government figures as £2.5 trillion (173% of GDP). In fact the national debt more accurately estimated by including pension liabilities, and a reasonable estimate of the likely liabilities to be incurred by the government in respect of the banking sector is actually £5.5 trillion (392% of GDP) (1 trillion = 1000 billion), over six times the size of the declared national debt. iea.org.uk/.../....

In the calender year 2011 the UK recorded government net borrowing or a deficit of £124.6 billion, which was equivalent to 8.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). ons.gov.uk/.../....

In the calendar year 2010 the UK recorded general government net borrowing or a deficit of £148.9 billion, which was equivalent to 10.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). ons.gov.uk/.../....

In the calendar year 2009 the UK recorded general government net borrowing or a deficit of £157 billion, which was equivalent to 11.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). ons.gov.uk/.../....

During 2010-2011 Scotland’s deficit including a per capita share of North Sea revenue has a deficit of £10.7 billion (7.4 per cent of GDP) when a geographical share of North Sea revenue is included. www.scotland.gov.uk/.../9525.
During 2009-10 Scotland’s deficit including a per capita share of North Sea revenue has a deficit of £14.0 billion (10.6 per cent of GDP) when an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue is included. www.scotland.gov.uk/.../9.

The simple truth is they have created the huge crippling debts while running at a huge deficit. Scotland has had a minimal deficit during this period. In the last 3 calender years alone the UK has added £430.5 billion to the national debt almost half a trillion just through deficit. Scotland has added just over an estimated £30 billion. That means if Scotland had been independent for the last 3 years we would be £400 billion better off.

In the last 3 years alone the union has cost us £400 billion.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-21 13:14
Despite your compelling examples cited here Islegard,the Unionists,
Red and Blue,gather to save the UK.
Methinks they also know the truth,but dare not speak it's name.
Meeting at Darling's House.
dailymail.co.uk/.../...

Blair is summoned.
www.presstv.com/.../blair
 
 
# Islegard 2012-05-21 12:31
If you want a recent list of the richest countries in the world it's the top 15:-

momeee.com/.../

The UK isn't on it.
 
 
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-21 13:18
Quote:
Scottish independence would be good for Scotland, good for the United Kingdom, dealing a crucial blow to the deformed nature of Westminster and British politics, and good internationally , weakening the Atlanticist nature of British foreign policy. I would like to contribute a small part to this.


Gerry Hassan, Sunday Times Nov 18 2007

Quote:
Such an approach would begin the task of redefining Scottish Labour and giving it a new, radical purpose. This project - giving Scottish Labour back to its members and supporters and reclaiming it from the dominant order of recent times - would be a small step for Scottish politics of some significance. It would open up a genuine area of disagreement with the SNP rather than debating the merits of whose ‘Scotland plc' works better, and would have consequences for the future of British Labour and challenging the debasement of our political life. The question is surely is there anything left to reclaim and the energy, will and insight to begin such a process. I am more than happy to play a small part in kick starting this process by suggesting a campaign slogan for such an approach: ‘Labour's coming home'.


Gerry Hassan, Compass Sept 15 2008

Problem is Gerry still hasn't made his mind up.
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-21 19:22
Ah, no hiding place ont t'internet!!
 
 
# macdoc 2012-05-21 13:29
I have never heard any good argument for remaining in the union. The only one I can accept is that some people identify as primarily (or secondarily) British and proud of this primary or dual identity. I suspect many people with dual national identity, the majority primarily as Scottish may feel very different if they were shown the political propganda they are exposed to and the complete and utter control the unionist and British establishment has under the Scottish media. If they discovered the Mccrone report and the careful suppression of evidence that conclusively proves that if anything else Scotland would be much wealthier as an indepedent nation they may begin to despise this political union that has lied and decieved for decades the true wealth of this country. If the news was fair and the majority still felt proudly British then I would feel sad about being in a minority but would have to come to acceptance, it is the careful and subtle propaganda, misinformation, misquotes and vilification and downright lies that have influenced peoples thinking that must be challenged because I have no doubt in my mine that the vast majority 75-90% would vote for Scottish independence if they were privy to the truth.

The unionists know this so there only tactic is to lie and scaremonger becasue there is no positive reason for Scotland to remain in the union other than sentimental and historical nonsense that neither stimulates the hearts of the vast majority of the SCottish population. (Don't leave us to the tories, stronger together, shared history, world power, louder voice, shared language etc)

To look at Gerry's positive arguments

1) 7th largest economy and will drop even further in the future. Well total GDP is not important, what is important is GDP per capita, I don't think you will have the Norwegians,Luxe mbourgians, Swedish, Swiss wihing they lived in an economy the size of China or India which dwarfs there own.

Just to highlight Scotlands economic position relative to the UK

GDP per capita.

Scotland £27,732.14
UK £23,736.52
rUK £23,370.71

From Scotland population of 5.2221 million and UK's of 62.262 million.

These figures shouls be shouted from every newspaper and news outlet in the country so people can decide Scotland Economic merit as an independent nation.

We are £4361.63 better off per person in comparison to the rUK. And people worry about Scotland economic situation. Its shocking that we have this level of wealth advanatge yet in terms of health and poverty statistics we fall way below the UK and European average often being the lowest. It is shocking.

scotland.gov.uk/.../...

Box 2.2 page 21/87 of the pdf file
for the Scottish GDP and just below this for the UK GDP.

My calulations are based on population estimates from Wikipedia.

If you want a percentage Scotland is 18.7% wealthier than the rUK on a GDP per capita basis.

2) The UK may stru around in the league of world powers (but still taking orders from the USA) but is this important to the average punter. After all the ten richest nations per capita are all considered small except the USA, small countries are more homogenous and easier to run and for this reason I think the vast majority of people are much more concerned about the economy, democracy and living standards than living in some outdated imperialistic mindset. Secondly this argument only rings true if you feel Scotlands voice and priorites are the same as England. I would ague they are completetly different due to the political and social dichotomy between the two nations. Scotland has six seats in the EU, Ireland with a population of 1 million less has 12 seats, double our numbers, LOUDER VOICE: YEAH RIGHT

3) Good in the world with charity etc and removal of dictators. I think any sane person can see that there is always an ulterior motive and the lives and devastation caused recently and historically by the British empire would argue entirely against this point. Its like saying the 3 million Scotland will recive from the olympics justifies the 2 billion being spent from Scottish pockets.

4) Lastly the cultural legacy from scientists such as Newton and Darwin the music scene and film industry etc. I don't think anyone would argue that Britain and England hasn't contributed signifacantly to the arts and sciences especially the music scene but its hardly a good argument. American bands have made some excellent music and almost all blockbuster films are American but I hardly want to become a citizen so I can boast and feel proud of this fact.
 
 
# macdoc 2012-05-21 13:45
I want impartial commentators to tell the truth not try and grasp at straws in order to make a positve case for Scotland within the Union. These so called postive arguments are drowned out for the positives of an indepdent Scotland or are easllly rebutted.

There are plenty of good reasons for the rUK (90% england) but this argument is about Scotland. I want facts to be presented, I want commentators to state that Scotland would be richer as an independent nation and for unionist politicians squirming trying to capture the hearts of the Scottish population with there Britishness.

Not voting for independnce is like not resurfacing a road full of potholes becasue if will cause temporary traffic disruption.
 
 
# Holebender 2012-05-21 13:37
Quote:
Kidd is surely right to argue that Labour’s secondary unionism is the key to the outcome of the debate. It has at points been marginalised by Tory unionism across the UK, but if it put social justice and a different society first, it could speak powerfully to an agenda unclaimed by its opponents.



The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour. On that basis the above quote is, at best, the triumph of optimism over experience. Labour will never, in practice, put social justice and societal change first, second, or even in their top ten. They haven't done it once in the past 60 years, so why should we believe they ever will?
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-21 13:41
OUCH! That really hurt,but you're dead right macdoc.
"Its like saying the 3 million Scotland will recive from the olympics justifies the 2 billion being spent from Scottish pockets."
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-21 18:37
Only very slightly OT folks, but bumped into this little piece in the Guardian:

guardian.co.uk/.../...

If rumours are to be believed Tony Blair is being wheeled out to front the anti-independence campaign.

Ya beauty, it's Christmas! :D
 
 
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-21 18:55
the dependency parties bring out their secret weapon of mass destruction, Tony "Eyeraq" Blair.

A gift.
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-21 19:30
A few of us over there pretty much saying the same thing. If this isn't yet another leg pull, then it's got to be the biggest screw up since the PM came north of the border in Feb to convince us to stay.
 
 
# Dubai_scot 2012-05-22 12:01
"Weapon of mass destruction"

Apparently it will all be over in "45 minutes" LOL!
 
 
# Holebender 2012-05-21 20:28
Once again I find myself quoting Napoleon Bonaparte: never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-05-21 20:49
I only hope Blair in turn takes Maggie into the anti-Independence camp as "Chief special advisor".

Then I would say God certainly is in his heaven and all is well for Scotland.
 
 
# Angus 2012-05-21 19:30
He s fairly getting ripped to pieces in the Guardian
 
 
# Juteman 2012-05-21 19:46
Sorry Gerry.
It is black and white.
It is binary.
You either feel that Scotland can look after itself, or you feel that we can't. Look after ourselves, or need another country to tell us how to live.
 
 
# Exile 2012-05-23 16:30
Absolutely. A point I sought to make above. But you've put it more directly and concisely, Juteman. Thanks.
 
 
# enneffess 2012-05-21 23:04
GDP is of little interest to the majority of the population. It may be relevant but it is not going to win an argument.

If the SNP want a successful campaign, they have tell people how they will benefit.

Controlling your own destiny is a bit vague, after all, you vote in a party and half what is promised disappears.

The unionist campaign will play on fears. Job security is a big issue, particularly within the public sector. It can be argued correctly that such job security is not that great anyway, but with potential job losses over the centralisation of the police for example, it does make it that bit harder.

Europe is another area, especially since the Euro is slowly crashing to the ground. Arguing for closer integration is a high risk strategy, and in my view one of the potential banana skins.

The unionists are also taking risks with the fear factor. With public sector pay freezes, and now the potential to reduce employment rights (and rolling out Tony Blair of all people!), they are gifting the SNP with an opportunity.

But the SNP in the form of the Scottish Government are giving the impression that they are more interested in independence than governing the country. That has to stop. Education is taking a few knocks, as is health, the two areas where the SNP have been until recently on top form.

They also need to stop mucking about and stick to their aims, rather than changing things every five minutes - Euro in/out, NATO out/in etc.

And please, please get rid of that awful anthem. It is so patronising.
 
 
# GerrySNP 2012-05-22 00:39
NFS:
The questions about Euro/in/out or Nato in/out will be raised in the Debate by those who want to divert the argument from its proper substance. Because the choices made on these and a number of other matters (monarchy,EU referendum etc etc) will be made, not by the Yes campaign nor by the SNP or an SNP government but by the first government elected by the Scottish people after Independence. Any party or Group who wishes to oppose this idea have to argue that the Scottish people should not have the right or the means and ability to make such choices through the democratic process.
Now that is a "negative" argument I would love to see someone justifying!
 
 
# AshleyJHP 2012-05-22 14:49
Extremely disappointed that NNS have dignified this piece by publishing it, given that the wonderful A-Z of Unionist Myths shatters every one of the 'positive cases' Hassan puts forward. Furthermore, extremely confused as to what Hassan is doing perpetuating these flawed, unfounded and easily countered myths in the first place. The title itself is speechless-rendering and absurd. Really not sure quite what else to write, just felt the need to express my incredulity and disappointment.
 
 
# UpSpake 2012-05-24 07:03
Well Gerry. This article has set a new record for posts. Bit up on your tally of 5 or 6 on recent efforts. I was beginning to get the feeling that your articles were falling on deaf ears ?.
 
 
# Hamish100 2012-05-25 12:24
Anyone had the misfortune to listen to Alistair Darling today will realise what the quality of the pro argument will be --fear,

Unfortunately there are too many people around who believe the negative hype ie we are too small, we cannot defend ourselves, we have no money, we are not clever enough, we need England etc etc
 
 
# mordor 2012-05-28 14:12
Gerry always reminds me of a quote from Tommy Graham, a preacher from Falkirk who founded the NDP in Canada: "I have no time for those people who call themselves socialists because they cook up hairbrained scheme after hairbrained theory but who would never think to break bread with the men of the slums to find out what they truly want and need". Pretty much sums up Fabianites and the champagne socialist brigade in general really....
 

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