We suspect this isn’t one of the ones Mr Darling gets paid £10,000 for.
The Wee Blue Book is extremely close to finished now, readers. We’re just buffing the corners. But we thought you might like to get a head start on one bit of it.
As well as trying to answer all the reasonable and sensible questions that undecided or No voters might have of the Yes side, the book will encourage them to ask a few tricky ones of their No representatives too, because we’ve been waiting two-and-a-half years for the media to do it with no luck.
But as you’ve been so awesome at writing to your MPs and MSPs before, enabling us to (for example) shed some cruelly harsh light on the full shambolic incoherence of Labour’s devolution plans, it seemed only fair that you got to have a go first.
There’s an article on the BBC website today with the self-explanatory title of “Scottish independence: How would the UK fare without Scotland?”
On the left is what it said yesterday (that losing Scotland would be bad for the UK). On the right is what it says today (that losing Scotland would be good for the UK).
Does anyone know what calamity befell Scotland’s economy overnight?
Can be seen in today’s Scotsman – ironically in a comment located below a story headlined “Independence: Salmond pledges politics-free Games”.
Below it is a torrent of anti-SNP abuse, including the suggestion that Alex Salmond should be dropped out of a helicopter without a parachute. We’re sure, of course, that the No campaign will rush to condemn these remarks by another of Blair McDougall’s Brit Boys, and that the media – which scours the most obscure websites and Twitter accounts for comments to whip up a “cybernats” storm about – will have a double-page spread on it tomorrow.
Yesterday a number of news outlets including the Scotsman, the Courier and STV all carried a scare story from Gordon Brown about independence ending cross-border organ transplants. Curiously, none of them had thought to check the allegation with NHS Blood & Transplant, so we did it for them, and got the unequivocal and unambiguous answer back that “Scottish independence will not affect organ donation and the system will continue as it does currently.”
You’d imagine that the publications concerned would have wanted to put their readers’ minds at rest by publishing that categorical reasssurance today, wouldn’t you?
You know how the rest goes by now, readers.
We got our reply (emphasis added):
Thank you for your recent telephone call to the NHSBT Donor Line.
I can confirm that Scottish independence will not affect organ donation and the system will continue as it does currently.
I hope this answers your query, please let me know if you require any further information and I will be happy to help.
NHS Blood and Transplant
Organ Donation and Transplantation Directorate
Fox Den Road
Tom didn’t actually say the words “Gordon Brown is lying through his teeth to terrify Scottish people into voting No”, but we think it’s pretty much implied.
We telephoned Organ Donation Scotland on Friday for their reaction to the despicable scare stories being put around by a teenage Labour activist from Liverpool bussed up to Scotland last week by the No campaign.
We’re still waiting for them to get back to us with a quote. But in the meantime, it’s been predictable – but no less disgraceful – to see senior Labour figures repeating the lie. It all seems to be part of a major Unionist offensive on health, doubtless sparked by fears that privatisation of the English NHS will lead to a significant reduction in the Scottish block grant and corresponding damage to the Scottish health service.
The No camp, unsurprisingly, has chosen to fight fear with fear.
For independence supporters of a certain age, the 1979 devolution referendum is one of the most infamous moments in Scottish history. While a wafer-thin majority of Scots voted Yes to devolution, an electoral fiddle conceived by a Labour MP meant that it didn’t happen, and part of the reason was that in effect, dead people were counted as No votes.
(We won’t go into all the details here, but basically an impossible threshold was set for turnout, and people who’d died but hadn’t yet been removed from the electoral roll were counted towards the calculation of that threshold.)
We were put in mind of it by an odd development this evening.
Alert readers may have spotted that today’s Sunday Herald features Professor Adam Tomkins and myself for its weekly “In The Hot Seat” interviews with opposing figures in the independence debate. The paper’s Investigations Editor Paul Hutcheon flew down from Glasgow on Wednesday to do the piece, and we had an interesting and enjoyable two-and-a-half-hour chat on the subject of the referendum and politics in general.
Obviously it’s not easy to edit that down to a short 1,000-word article. But just for fun, I thought it might be enlightening to compare the content of the two columns.