Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Independent, defenceless and broke

Calton listened to last night's debate rammy on the radio while simultaneously trying to follow it on twitter. Not being very good at multi-tasking, he therefore missed some of the finer points of the argument but he couldn't help noticing the persistent use of the phrase "sovereign will of the Scottish people" and the word "mandate" by Alex Salmond. The First Minister is obviously trying to strengthen his negotiating hand on the currency union he so desires if there is a yes vote. He was also very clear that, if he doesn't get a currency union, he will walk away from Scotland's share of the UK's debt. Now, turning his argument on its head, if an independent Scotland were to refuse to take a share of the debt, what's to stop the rUK hanging on to all the assets? The roar of RAF Typhoons as they pass overhead on their way south over the border would be matched by the cheers from the workforce at Portsmouth and the corresponding wails from Rosyth. Starting life as an independent country with no debt may seem like an attractive option but we would also have no air force, no navy, no embassies, no central bank and just you try getting credit without a credit (i.e. debt) history! Salmond managed to score points off Darling on child poverty but he would have little chance of making a better fist of it in an indy Scotland with no money. In terms of shouting down his opponent, Alex won last night's debate but in terms of providing real and realistic answers, he lost.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

It's crystal clear

It is now crystal clear what voting yes in the independence referendum really means, in spite of all the assertions to the contrary. It means a return to the banking system of the 1700s, with no central bank and no bank bailouts. The Adam Smith Institute seems to think that this would encourage banks to be more responsible. Sounds a bit like putting a fox in charge of the hen house to Calton. Would you really trust a bank with your hard-earned savings in those circumstances? They may tell you that they have enough English banknotes in the vault to guarantee the Scottish notes they are printing but could you believe them? Would you? Meanwhile the SNP continue to cling to the idea that they will get a currency union with rUK in the event of a yes vote, while rumours circulate on twitter that today was possibly Alex Salmond's last FMQs. Oh, that it were true! Calton would jump for joy.

Better together

Calton would like to apologise to his regular readers (if he still has any) for the lack of posts over the summer. The truth is, he is suffering from chronic referendum fatigue. It has all gone on far too long and the only thing worse is the prospect of another couple of years of haggling between Holyrood and Westminster if the result is yes. A good reason to vote no if ever there was one, so that our parliaments can get back to dealing with more important issues, such as the rise of Islamic terrorism at home and abroad. The Middle East, which has always had the potential to be a tinder-box for wider conflict, is more unstable now than it has ever been, according to Jeremy Bowen, the BBC's Middle East reporter, and we are fools to think that it won't affect us. It seems petty for us to be arguing over how much oil is left in the North Sea and who it belongs to when the major oil-producing area of the world looks set to ignite in one massive conflagration. This is not a time to be going our separate ways - it is a time to unite against the killers of Lee Rigby and James Foley, to take a stand against the Islamic State and their murderous persecution of non-Moslems. We helped create a power vacuum in Iraq when we removed Saddam Hussein. We can't now walk away from the results. How can we expect Shia and Sunni to work together in Iraq when Scotland won't work with England? It's time the United Kingdom showed the world how distinctive, different nations can remain united whilst retaining their separate identities. We really are better together.