The BBC seems to have nailed its colours to the mast by affording Alex Salmond a mere mention and David Cameron a line by line analysis of their pro and anti independence speeches on its radio coverage yesterday.
So, as I don’t have any of Alex’s thoughts, I’ll have to continue where Auntie left off by commenting on the wise words of the great leader from London.
Lack of space allows no in depth or breadth analysis, only some brief thoughts. So... vacuous, insulting, patronising, and assemblage of pap, sums it up. Deigned to impress the shallower thinkers in the Downing Street village which he inhabits as prince, but surely unfit for anyone who understands Scottish politics, unionist or independence. I can imagine the “that’ll make the Jock blighters sit up and take notice” brigade, patting him on the back in a genuine admiration, redolent of all that is wrong with the union, in that most of all that doesn’t matter to us.
The “better off together... stronger, count for more, permanent seat on UN Security Council, clout in NATO, Europe, unique influence with allies all over the world” bit was typical. Apart from the fact that it wasn’t true (we only have influence when we agree with America and ‘clot’ rather than ‘clout’ would be more appropriate in relation to Europe), there would have been a lot of “so whats?” heard in Scotland.
“Safer, because we have the fourth-largest defence budget on the planet”... but we also have, for example, more people die of the cold in the winter than any other country in Europe. Fur coat and no knickers is an unfortunate analogy. “Anti-terrorist and security capabilities across the globe; feared by our enemies, admired by our friends.” But at what cost, and in any case do we, are we...really?
“It matters head, heart and soul; shared home under threat.” Well Dave, it’s not our shared home when we contribute a few billions to your Olympics and you don’t contribute to our Commonwealth Games.
And of course, as if we were all morons, he couldn’t help getting in the bit that he really cares about: “there are arguments that can be made about the volatility of dependence on oil, or the problems of debt and a big banking system. But that’s not the point.” he warbled. Well, if it’s not the point, why mention it?
“The best case for the United Kingdom is entirely positive. We are better off together. Why? Well, first of all, let’s be practical (oh yes, let's). Inside the United Kingdom, Scotland is stronger, safer, richer and fairer.” OK, we have heard why Scotland is stronger. An unhealthy amount on spent on defence. But I’m betting that that probably makes us less safe, on the basis that we are a target.
But the best adjectives are “richer and fairer”. Say them fast then they sound comforting and warm. If you say them slow...well... they don’t stand up to any kind of analysis.
Let’s just take a few words from earlier in the speech. ‘The fourth largest defence budget in the world’ ...that would be just behind America, China and Russia. Just where you would expect us to fit, given that we are a small island off the coast of Europe.
So, let’s just suppose for a minute that we spent that massive budget on something that would actually help people, an amount appropriate to our size and wealth on defence? Let’s just suppose that we didn't let, for example, our pensioners live on less than half of the poverty threshold, or make cancer sufferers, on chemotherapy, go through the stress of job search interviews... etc, etc. That might be a bit fairer.
Petty? Maybe, but, you see, to millions of Scots that's what matters. Not Dave's imagined clout, or the fact that our army could invade Mars (if only it had some equipment that worked and when the wounded came back they didn't depend on charity to help them recover).
What matters in Westminster, isn't necessarily what matters here.
Know thine enemy, Dave, might be a maxim you could ponder. Not that we are, of course, your enemy, unless you make us one; but for now we are your opponents.
I wonder how many more members joined the SNP today...