Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Convincing Argument

There has been much talk about the Referendum ever since the SNP gubbed their opponents in May. So much in fact, that I am not going to attempt to summarise the arguments.

Bottom line as we stand: the SNP are in Government, the opposition are a mess and the Referendum is going to happen, like it or not.

As to the exact nature of the questions of the Referendum, I think we'll leave that aside, since every possible permutation has been discussed on the various political blogs, in Parliament and probably in some dingy wee pub in Glasgow.

It doesn't matter how much money will be spent on the campaigning. Not does it matter what the media comes out with. And what is debated in Holyrood and Westminster matters even less.

What matters is the opinion of individual voters, and what independence will do to them.

To date, the defence of the status quo has been incoherent, disorganised and a mixture of fact, semi-fact and pure fantasy. Yet support for full independence - according to the polls - still remains well below what is required. Yes, polls can be wildly inaccurate, but I'd argue they are generally correct.


Where are the mass protests on the streets? Where are the petitions to government with a million plus signatures?

The SNP are likely to be concerned, and this is highlighted by Alex Salmond's response to the most recent poll where he stated that over two thirds of Scots were in favour of more financial powers - that can also be interpreted as two thirds of Scots are not interested in full independence.

The SNP are most fortunate as they are about to receive a huge donation to the cause. But will it be enough?

Here's the three areas the SNP must keep clear of:

300/700 years of oppression
Probably the worst argument for the doorstep. Only relevant to the Fundamentalist Wing of the Alex Salmond Appreciation Society

Erm, from what?

Arc of Prosperity

Now we've got those little gems out of the way, let's look at more relevant issues.

A few thousand public sector/quango jobs are most certainly dependent on Westminster. I'm not detailing them since they will detract from my main point. Will the promise of no compulsory redundancies be kept? The economy is not suddenly going to produce replacement jobs, so will these people vote for redundancy? And given the circumstances, Holyrood may be powerless to prevent the job losses, with Westminster paying the legal minimum. How many votes will that lose? The private sector too is teetering in many cases. We can't all work for Tesco.

A bit topical at the moment, but the fine details will have to come out. If welfare is cut, more votes in the bin. There is also the subject of public sector and military pensions that are due. Who is liable?

In my opinion, the one subject that will - for the moment - defeat the SNP. At present, Alex Salmond wants Scotland to be part of the EU, and to eventually join the Euro. In other words, he wants Scotland to leave one union in order to join an even more corrupt one. Scotland will be no big player in the EU, regardless what people think. France and Germany control the EU in a blatant undemocratic fashion. Why on earth would any sane person wish to join them? If things in Europe get worse - highly likely at present - it will make the subject even more controversial.

Many commentators quite rightly moan about the unionists having problems producing a convincing argument to retain the status quo. And to be honest, they are not wrong either. But the SNP is also failing to produce a convincing argument for full independence. What will convince most people is that their jobs and money are safe. Anything else is a distraction.

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