For the last month or so, the Unionist parties have briefly enjoyed the opportunity to taunt the SNP in the Commons over Full Fiscal Autonomy, challenging the party to bring forward proposals and accusing it of being afraid of the policy it campaigned and won on in the election. The Nats called the bluff, and today got the unsurprising result.
The reason given by Secretary of State David Mundell – who declined to appear on today’s edition of “Good Morning Scotland” to defend or explain the decision – was that FFA “would cost every family in Scotland £5,000”.
And we thought that figure had a rather familiar ring to it.
There’s something fascinating about the latest “No Thanks” leaflet that’s slithering its way through letterboxes in Scotland this week, and it’s not the empty sloganising it deploys in lieu of an argument. (“We’re better together because best of both worlds!”)
It’s this graph.
The Times of London (to give it its full title) has been the newspaper of record for the British establishment for 226 years. It was practically the only facet of British life that survived in the dystopian future of George Orwell’s “1984”. Even though it’s now owned by an Australian/American, the brand remains one of the most recognised and iconic symbols of Her Majesty’s United Kingdom, revered across the globe.
(It even created the “Times Roman” font which is the default standard typeface of the English-speaking world, and which these words you’re reading now are displayed in.)
Which means there’s absolutely no excuse for this sort of cobblers.
Alert readers will of course remember a few short weeks ago in April, when “Better Together” attracted much great hoopla in the press for its relaunched, “more positive” campaign strategy which would dazzle Scots with the feelgood benefits of the Union.
We thought it’d be worth checking in and seeing how that was going.
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.
Scottish playwright Peter Arnott on his blog last month:
“The very core of the fear in ‘Project Fear’ is fear of English vengeance. All the stuff about trade barriers and borders and passports and no one ever buying whisky again are predicated on the same thing: on the apparently inevitable consequence that they will hurt us if we dare.
This expectation which informs all the dire prognostications of economic boycotts and general administrative bloody mindedness, even of proper fisticuffs over the assets – is based on an image of the English as petty, spiteful, nasty and vengeful.
There’s a curious piece in today’s Guardian about the Scotstoun area of Glasgow, home to the shipbuilding yard of BAE Systems. It typifies what’s perhaps the most successful and consistent strategy that the No campaign has managed to deploy in the entire independence debate. Let’s listen in.
Our secret agent in the No camp’s taken a real risk to bring you this one, readers. Smuggled out under cover of dusk, we’ve managed to get hold of the early rushes of the first ever combined referendum TV and cinema broadcast on behalf of the Unionist parties and the main campaigning organisations.
As you can see, they’re turning up the fear. Don’t have nightmares.
This is what the media is asking you to swallow today, readers:
“If Scotland wants to be like the vast majority of NATO members and have no nuclear weapons stationed on its territory, NATO will cut off its own nose to spite its face and reject Scotland as a member, even though that would leave the strategically-crucial North Atlantic Gate (also known as the ‘GIUK Gap‘) guarded by a non-member state and one with basically no military at all.”
“Scientists who currently think Scottish universities and laboratories are the best place to research a cure for cancer will suddenly decide to use what they previously considered to be inferior facilities if Scots vote to take control of their own affairs, because as we all know, cancer-research scientists care more about Scottish politics than curing cancer.”
“Using the anniversary of D-Day as a tool to campaign for the Union, even though the men of countless independent nations besides the UK sacrificed their lives for freedom there, ISN’T a crass politicisation of the event.”
Sure. Of course.
We’ve said it before, readers, and with the heaviest of hearts we must presume that we’ll have to say it many more times in the next 100 days: they think you’re morons.