Is MacWhirter losing it?


Most people who take an interest in politics will be familiar with Iain MacWhirter columnist at the Herald. The esteemed folks at Wings over Scotland have just added Iain’s blog to their list of blog links. I don’t know if they would have bothered if they had read his piece in the Herald this morning.

MacWhirter is generally regarded by independence supporters as a reasonable and unbiased journalist. There aren’t many to choose from. But I’ve observed in the past that he sometimes occasionally leaves his objectivity under the pillow in the morning and gets sucked into the micro obsessive mindset of most politicos.

And whatever you do don’t mention Rupert Murdoch to him or he will completely lose the plot. Murdoch isn’t the most popular of chaps to be sure but we reckon he must have turned Iain down for a big job in the past or slighted him somehow because objectivity goes straight out the window at the mere mention of Rupert.

Anyway I reproduce just a small part from his article today which was prompted by the news Nicola Sturgeon has been appointed independence supremo for the Scottish Government:

” Mr Salmond wants to keep the Queen, the pound and the Bank of England, which will allow the London Establishment to retain a stranglehold on the Scottish economy. Yet the SNP wants to remove Scotland’s influence in Westminster, where the decisions are made, by pulling Scottish MPs out of Parliament. Why should we retreat from the forum that decides on broader foreign policy, defence and currency issues? Scotland has its own Parliament for domestic affairs in Holyrood but there are going to be very many issues of common concern that are inevitably decided in Westminster.

Moreover, the SNP appears now to be arguing that Scotland doesn’t have to leave the United Kingdom after independence; that it can and will remain in a new improved “social” Union with a tartan heart. How will Scotland’s voice be heard at the centre of that union? If Scots, as the new Health Secretary, Mr Neil, puts it, can still call themselves “British” after independence, shouldn’t they be represented in the British Parliament? ”

I seriously doubt if Iain actually understands what independence means.

He starts by repeating the tired old unionist refrain that you can’t really be independent if you share a head of state or a currency with another country. Which means every country from Canada to Germany isn’t independent. No-one ever makes that ludicrous argument about any other country, only Scotland. This also means of course that the rUK won’t be an independent country either.

The London establishment will not have a stranglehold on the Scottish economy, that’s what they have just now, not that they actually pay it much attention. An independent Scotland will decide what taxes it imposes, what rates those taxes will be set at, what parts of our economy to stimulate and how, not to mention control all the revenues from  our indigenous industries. The Bank of England is itself independent. Being in a currency union, and we have been in one for over 300 years does mean accepting centralised interest rate setting and fiscal responsibility i.e. keeping your borrowing under control. Why wouldn’t you do that?

But now he really starts to lose it. Does he not realise if we are independent the decisions on areas like foreign policy and defence won’t be made in Westminster they’ll be made in Edinburgh. Areas of common interest there certainly will be but decisions in those areas will be made by discussions between two sovereign states not in Westminster alone.

” Moreover, the SNP appears now to be arguing that Scotland doesn’t have to leave the United Kingdom after independence” Whit? This is lunacy, where does he get that from? Obviously you can’t be independent and in the UK.

The social union has nothing to do with political union. It refers to the relationship between peoples in different parts of these islands. In other words normal relations, travel etc will carry on as before.

” If Scots….. can still call themselves “British” after independence, shouldn’t they be represented in the British Parliament? ” Well you can call yourself anything you like but I don’t think it necessarily entitles you to be represented anywhere. This reference is to the fact that we will still be geographically British after independence. Call yourself what you like. The Irish are British but aren’t likely to refer to themselves as British. I’m also a European but I would never refer to myself as such.

It appears either I’m going to have to get myself a whole new definition of independence or someone will have to unplug MacWhirter from the Moon.

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