Real Journalism

In perhaps one of the best summaries I’ve ever read regarding the question of self-determination for Scotland Derek Bateman, in his article ‘Deference or Dignity’, captures the very essence of the constitutional question. If you haven’t read it yet you’ll find it on

Leading on from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s comments last weekend about the transcending nature of independence, and the inevitable subsequent unionist media flak as a result, Derek absolutely nails the reality that is the dysfunctional relationship that exists between the British Establishment and the people of Scotland, whether some of them realise it or not. (The quicker more of them do the sooner things will change for the better).

In his description in the article of Scotland’s current standing Derek Bateman writes “we are largely powerless to make strategic moves to transform key areas of national life – we have limited access to borrowing, can’t adjust corporation tax, set VAT or alter competition policy or industrial relations. We have no separate foreign or immigration policy, our defence needs are (not) met elsewhere, our energy likewise – even our broadcasting is not our own. But we do at last control traffic signs”.

He then goes on to write ” A country denied the ability to run its own economy is blamed for being bankrupt by the authority which exercises those macro economic powers over it. The British Treasury pulls our wings off and then laughs when we can’t fly”.

In other words the British State keeps close control of the levers, and complacent in its power, spins its own mismanaged failure as a form of rolling propaganda to convince the people of Scotland that somehow they are responsible for the economic woes of the day, at any given time, pushing forward the too wee, too stupid (too gullible perhaps) myth that Scotland couldn’t survive without the broad shoulders of the UK. What a great ‘partnership!

Unionists are forever telling us how great the union is, 300 odd years of glory, stability, prosperity, all of that stuff. But then they tell you that one of the partners in that union, Scotland, is an economic disaster, requiring constant propping up and subsidy. That is illogical. It can’t be both.

The main thrust of the article is that there is no perfect time to become an independent country. Oil prices go up and down, recessions happen, major events occur in the world which can have negative consequences for all countries, but Scotland as an independent country would weather these storms, just like every other country does.

The argument that Bateman makes for independence is compelling and should be required reading, the concept used as a basis for engagement on the doorstep, for anyone gearing up to get the walking boots on for the extensive door chapping which will commence sooner rather than later once this Brexit Article 50 lark kicks in.It completely blows unionist propaganda out of the water if communicated well.

Derek’s Bateman’s great ability to summarise in this article also bring to mind the equally excellent words of Robin McAlpine in 2015, when writing about the new ‘powers’ Scotland would receive as a result of the Scotland Bill.

When considering whether the smoke and mirrors over the result of the watered down Smith Commission were actually creating real power for Scotland’s Government over welfare McAlpine wrote ” Broadly, Scotland is being given the power to spend but none of the power over policy. For me this is a bit like being put in a corridor with a mad man pulling pins out of grenades and being told you have the ‘power’ to run around after him to catch the grenades and try and put the pins back in. Or perhaps it’s more like having the ‘power’ to replace all the dishes your children are smashing but not being allowed to tell them to stop doing it”.

When it comes to simplifying complex issues for us (the non-economics geeks) and some of our fellow Scots who may only have access to the mainstream news these Indy journalists and many others, Lesley Riddoch, to name just one, are doing a fine job.

As a grassroots campaign we need to fully harness the output of these folk to make a persuasive case to our fellow Scots who are open to both sides of the debate. Some of course aren’t, and never will be. It is clear over the last couple of weeks that the the unionists have started gathering campaign funds.They are getting ready, so must we.

I suppose during any such discussions at the moment we could also mention the unionist plan for Brexit. What unionist plan for Brexit? Oh yes, the cunning plan to spend a fortune on a re-fit for the Royal Yacht Britannia, no doubt completed in a shipyard far far away, the ‘logic’ being that once Britain leaves the single market foreign leaders from non-EU countries will be falling over themselves to experience the prestige of dinner onboard and a shake at a royal gloved hand. Apparently they will then be pliable in terms of signing favourable trade deals with HM Government. Save us! Is that the best they can come up with?


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