This is the new “positive” campaign poster from “Better Together”:
There’s a lie in the picture, but it’s probably not the one you think.
Because while it seems at first glance like a heinous and crass falsehood, the line about “MORE POWERS FOR SCOTLAND GUARANTEED” is, when looked at from a certain direction, perfectly true. Tory councillor Gordon Mccaskill explained it helpfully to an alert Wings reader this morning:
Right there, in black and white from the horse’s mouth, is the true meaning of a No vote – what they mean by “more powers” is that we’ll get the ones that are already enshrined in law through the Scotland Act 2012, and which (by forming their various devolution “commissions”) all three Unionist parties have already acknowledged are inadequate for Scotland’s needs.
The BT poster sneakily seeks to imply otherwise, but all the No camp is promising are MORE powers (than we have right now), not NEW powers over and above those written into law two years ago. So the Scottish Parliament will still get to control airguns and some speed limits, and not much else.
The lie, of course, is the other half of the poster. “MORE JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR US AS PART OF THE UK” simply isn’t true on any level.
It’s slightly odd to be advertising the fact that thousands of Scots have to leave their homeland every year in search of employment in the first place, but the Union isn’t responsible for Scots getting work in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, any more than it’s responsible for those who find jobs in France or Germany or Spain or Denmark or Sweden.
Scotland isn’t governed by any of those countries, but freedom of movement within the EU (and indeed most of the democratic world) means that Scots are able to apply for and get jobs in any of them, and the same will be true of the rUK after independence.
Indeed, a Yes vote is likely to create thousands of extra job opportunities at home that won’t exist if Scotland stays in the UK, because there’ll be some inevitable duplication of certain administrative functions – and that’s before any Scottish Government implements policies tailored specifically to boost Scottish employment.
(As opposed to London employment, which is where four out of every five new UK jobs have gone in recent years.)
A No vote, by definition, won’t create a single new job anywhere in Britain, because it’s a vote to keep things the way they are now. Conversely, a Yes vote won’t disqualify a single Scot from getting a job in the rUK that they could get now. Ironically, in terms of employment opportunity, independence is unarguably “the best of both worlds”.
While semantic sophistry enables “Better Together” to mislead with the “more powers” line without actually saying anything that’s technically untrue, there’s no conceivable spin or interpretation that can be put on the “more job opportunities” claim that can make it anything other than a flat-out lie.
They just can’t help themselves. Lying is in their DNA.