The less-deserving pro-independence website

Wings Over Scotland


The (very) hokey cokey

Posted on January 11, 2013 by

Readers might be forgiven for experiencing a sense of deja vu on watching last night's Newsnight Scotland, which featured a rather animated interview with Alistair Darling. Because not for the first time, the No campaign chief seemed to be experiencing a considerable amount of difficulty in getting his story straight.

Let's examine a couple of intriguing snippets.

At 6m 46s into the show, in response to a question about why Scots shouldn't vote for independence as a means of protecting themselves against Westminster Tory governments with ideologies alien to the Scottish electorate – always a difficult and awkward one for Scottish Labour politicians – Darling retorted:

"Because you are not voting for five years. Remember, in five years' time, if you voted for independence, you can't go back to the UK after that – you have changed irrevocably."

(Our emphasis.) Alert readers will recall that the word "irrevocable" is a popular one with the anti-independence camp. But a few minutes later, presenter Gordon Brewer was pushing Darling on the issue of a potential currency union between an independent Scotland and the rUK, and (at 15m 16s) Darling replied with something else that readers of this site will have found to have a rather familiar ring:

"D'you know what – a currency union, as we see in Europe, takes you to an economic union and then ultimately a political union and guess what? You're back where we are, in a United Kingdom. Why go through all this rigmarole, all this trauma, as the nationalists are suggesting, to end up in the very place you started out from? So I'm entirely consistent."

That seems unequivocal, then. If Scotland votes for independence there's no way that it could go back to the UK, but we'll definitely end up back in the UK. Honestly, we don't understand how anyone could be confused.

There's a serious point here, of course. Supporters of independence have no desire to ever go back to the UK. No country which has ever become independent of the United Kingdom – and there have been many since the end of World War 2 in particular – has ever asked to return, and nor would Scotland.

But when the head of the No campaign is prepared to contradict himself completely in the space of an interview – and to do it repeatedly, including in pre-prepared speeches, removing any possibility that it's a simple blunder in the heat of interrogation – you have to ask yourself how you can possibly trust anything else he says.

Print Friendly

33 to “The (very) hokey cokey”

  1. Morag says:

    That’ll be why Ireland ended up back in the UK after 50 years of having its currency tied to sterling?

    Oh wait….

  2. James Morton says:

    I think darling needs to be reminded of the sterling area that used to exist from the wars years through to 1972.  So the idea of currency union is not that bizarre an idea.His point about the change being irrevocable comes back to that “learned incompetence” of the Scots and all he his trying to do is save us from ourselves.
    Was rather amusing to see Ian Gray being labelled as an advisor to Darling, rather than being former leader of the Scottish Labour party.

  3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Once again just for fun, Darling’s quotes from the Mackintosh Memorial Lecture in Prestonpans back in November:

    “If we vote for independence it’s irrevocable, there’s no going back. That’s why the decision is so important. Remember this. They only have to win once. After that the die is cast.”

    and

    “This time we would be part of a currency union – sharing the pound with the rest of the UK. But the most obvious problem with the common currency is that sooner or later it takes you to economic and then political union.

  4. panda paws says:

    Most folk aren’t daft. Even if you are a firm No voter surely listening to him flip his story in the same interview will have them thinking “he’s just making it up as he goes along”. Then they might just start wondering what else he’s making up. Mind you he is very proficient at flipping,  so perhaps with MSM’s help he’ll pull it off 🙁
     
     

  5. Macart says:

    “you have to ask yourself how you can possibly trust anything else he says.”

    I don’t. 🙂 

  6. muttley79 says:

    @Rev Stu
     
    When, or if at all, are the mainstream media in Scotland going to pick Darling up on this?  As you say he keeps saying this about independence over and over again.  It looks like he is already feeling the pressure…

  7. Vincent McDee says:

    Really sad.

    20 + months of this unrelenting misery to endure, may be too much for many. Thank Heavens the popular “Darkened Rooms” are multiplying and  enlarging, thus one would always be close…. to take shelter if necessary.

     

  8. ianbrotherhood says:

    The guy was all over the place. If he can’t get the ‘story’ straight, even inside his own heid, he won’t be there for the referendum – he’ll be in a secure unit somewhere, sitting in a corner dribbling, eyebrows knotted together, constantly double-checking how many fingers he has, uttering random rubbish about fiscal pacts and shoring-up whatever.
    If that was the edited version we got last night, makes you wonder wtf had to be deleted. 

  9. Doug Daniel says:

    Of course, this obsession with the currency is because they’re so annoyed they can’t use the “OMG everyone will have to go and change all their money and all the damaging uncertainty and upheaval that will incur!” argument against independence. I bet they were apoplectic with rage the day they found out that one.

    Another piece of hypocrisy related to currency is the fact that sticking with Sterling means we categorically cannot be forced to join the Euro. Even ignoring the fact membership of ERM II is optional, the fact is that without an agreement amongst all members of a Sterling zone that the Sterling would be put into ERM II, it can’t happen. I suspect this is one of the factors behind the decision to stick with Sterling, rather than deciding we would have a Scottish currency from the outset (which I would hope we would move towards pretty soonish after independence, to be honest).

  10. Morag says:

    I have to say I’m not crazy about having all my money suddenly turned into a brand new currency on day one of independence. I think the idea would frighten quite a few horses.  There might be quite a lot of hedging as people put most of their savings into sterling in the first instance to see how it all played out.

    Continued use of sterling, then a calm, controlled and considered move to a new currency as soon as that seems appropriate is my preferred option.  However, if doing that would cause sterling to tank, we would have to consider whether that was in anybody’s interests.

  11. CW says:

    Imagine having Iain Gray as an advisor…..

  12. muttley79 says:

    Why appoint someone who has recently been thrashed by your main opponent?  Seriously what is the point of that?

  13. Silverytay says:

    I noticed that the presenter did not have the gall to ask Darling how many independent countries who either did have or still have their currency tied to £ sterling had asked to go into a political union with the u.k . On the issue of the Scottish currency being tied to sterling , I am sure I read somewhere that it would protect the r.u.k as much as it would Scotland . It would not be in Scotland,s interests to allow a run on the £ when the r.u.k could no longer rely on stealing Scotland,s resources .

  14. Tamson says:

    CW, he gets the sandwiches.

    Though it sometimes takes him hours to get back out of the shop.

  15. balgayboy says:

    Give the man and his campaign as much rope as possible, it’s win win for us YES boys. Anyone watching/listening to this excuse as a saviour of keeping Scotland as part of the union must be somewhat disappointed if not totally demotivated. Similar to when when he was the straw man as CoE. Scottish people do not listen to charlatans or in street language t***ers.

  16. cath says:

    Does he, and anyone else really, truly fail to understand the difference between “a union”  where two countries are subsumed utterly into one political entity, centralised inWestminster. And “a union” where two independent, sovereign countries with independent governments acting in their interests enter into an agreement that either country and electorate can challenge if it’s no longer working for them?

  17. Holebender says:

    Presumably the even-handed BBC will be interviewing Blair Jenkins tonight?

  18. Macart says:

    @ Vincent McDee

    I never come out.

    Lifetime supply of poptarts and a portapotty. 🙂

  19. Richard McHarg says:

    Rev, just a point here!  Scotland won’t be leaving the UK; we’ll be dissolving it.  Without Scotland, the Treaty of Union ceases to exist! We have to start promoting this fact.

    I know that you share this view.

    I’d like all of us to start using the term ‘dissolving the Union’, rather than independence.  ‘Independence’ gives the impression that we are a region of a Greater England, and that England and the UK are one and the same.  

    The only way round this is to highlight that England will also become ‘independent’ at the same time. 

     

  20. Jeannie says:

    Is he actually saying that in his opinion it’s ok for Scottish people to be governed by Tories they didn’t vote for for periods of 5 years?  Doesn’t he see the democratic deficit in this – it doesn’t matter whether it’s for 1 year, 5 years, 50 years or 500 years, Scotland should not have to put up with governments of a political complexion and, more importantly, political manifestos, they have clearly rejected at the ballot box! He seems to be implying that it’s ok to accept this so long as it changes every 5 years or so.  What kind of thinking is that?

  21. TYRAN says:

    I would go further – No country on the planet wants to be run from Westminster. Such is the strength of being Better Together.

  22. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    Jeannie
    It’s the question they simply cant answer.
    Why should the people of Scotland be governed by more Tory governments than they elect?

  23. Aplinal says:

    I did not see the interview, but as these two contradictory statements are regularly trotted out, I am beginning to become suspicious.  To slightly pervert Hanlon’s razor, I WILL ascribe this as conspiracy and not incompetence because at some stage – e.g. in televised debates – this is bound to come up. 
     
    So, they MUST have some clever ripost in hand.  Surely they can’t REALLY be that stupid?  Is this the “Darling Gambit” carefully staged to trap Grand Master Salmond into a discretion?
     
    Hmmmm … I think I should get out more.
     
    Hail Alba

  24. Doug Daniel says:

    Richard – “I’d like all of us to start using the term ‘dissolving the Union’, rather than independence.  ’Independence’ gives the impression that we are a region of a Greater England, and that England and the UK are one and the same.”

    To be honest, I would disagree with that, pretty strongly in fact. It sounds a bit too much like we’re unilaterally deciding the fate of the rest of the nations of the UK, which is not what independence is about (in fact, it’s pretty much the exact opposite!) But more importantly, I don’t think this would help attract those who are attached to the UK but are capable of being swung round with the practical arguments.

    To me, “dissolving the Union” is just another way of saying “breaking up Britain”, which is a particular favourite of unionists – that should tell you all you need to know about how useful it would be in attracting yes votes!

  25. Ysabelle says:

    @balgayboy,

    Give the man and his campaign as much rope as possible, it’s win win for us YES boys.  

    No offense, but I don’t really think it’s appropriate to talk about YES boys. I’m not a man, and there are other women who support independence. We already need to win over more women so it’s preferable if independence is not portrayed as a boys’ thing. It’s certainly never been that way for me. 

  26. David McCann says:

    Never thought I would hear it, but today on Brian Taylor’s radio blether he actually put the question Ive been asking the MSM to put. He asked Anne McGuire would she rather see a Tory government  implement welfare cuts at Westminster, than a Labour governmnt in an independent Scotland protect these services. McGuire refused to answer ‘a hypothetical question’ even when pressed by BT to do so.
    So its OK for the Unionists to ask those who want independence hypothetical questions ’till the cows come home, but not OK for them to answer ONE simple hypothetical question!

  27. macdoc says:

    Doug Daniel

    You hit the nail on the head. No matter what the SNP’s future plans of an independent Scotland are they would be attacked. 

    On the issue of currency there are 3 options; retain sterling, join the euro or create our own currency. We know if the SNP posited the middle approach then we could say goodbye to a yes victory. If they wanted Scotland to have our own currency then expect all the scare stories about untested, credit ratings, turmoil, etc etc. 

    The answer is no matter what the position would be on any issue regarding the monarchy, defence, currency etc they would create scare stories by exaggerating or making up  the negatives and completely ignoring the overwhleming positives.

    I would be embarressed to vote no if my natural proclivity was one of British Nationality. 

  28. muttley79 says:

     I have supported independence for a long time.  However, I did not realise the full extent that Scotland has been in an abnormal governing position until relatively recently.  It is the demands to be given more powers from Westminster, rather than have them as a right that is eye opening.  The unionists and the media have been successful in conditioning the people of Scotland to accept this as natural, when in fact it is the complete opposite.  Hopefully the Yes campaign will be able to tackle this head on because it needs challenging. 

  29. Evelyn says:

    Here’s yet another example of Ali’s hokey cokey! On 25th June 2012, at the Better Together launch he stated that there “no way back” and he compared it to  a “one-way ticket to send our children to a deeply uncertain destination”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-18572750
    yet on 10th November 2012 he claimed that “an independent Scotland that kept the pound would later rejoin the UK”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-20273181
    Talk about confusing! Make your mind up Alistair!

  30. HenBroon says:

    David McCann says:
    11 January, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Never thought I would hear it, but today on Brian Taylor’s radio blether he actually put the question Ive been asking the MSM to put. He asked Anne McGuire would she rather see a Tory government  implement welfare cuts at Westminster, than a Labour governmnt in an independent Scotland protect these services. McGuire refused to answer ‘a hypothetical question’ even when pressed by BT to do so.
    So its OK for the Unionists to ask those who want independence hypothetical questions ’till the cows come home, but not OK for them to answer ONE simple hypothetical question!
     
    ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
     
    Thats the same fat lying bitch who said on radio 4 when debating with Stewart Hosie that Norways oil fund had been wiped out by the financial crisis. What is it with Labour and fat lying bitches?

  31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Nurse! Fetch HenBroon’s tablets. And the coat.

  32. Doug Daniel says:

    There’s nothing hypothetical about the Tories’ ideological cuts – they’re very real. If saying “wouldn’t you prefer a Labour government in indy Scotland?” is a hypothetical question, then so is “wouldn’t you prefer a Labour UK government?”

    The media had better pull its socks up at some point this year. The No campaign can’t be allowed to get away with this sort of nonsense much longer.

  33. AnneDon says:

    Re the question of whether Labour MPs would rather have Tories in charge at Westminster or an independent Scotland: Mags Curran was asked on a tv debate whether she would rather have Tories in Westminster or Labour in control in Scotland, and she wouldn’t even answer that. It shows how self-serving MPs are, and I think we should be asking this more often!



Comment - new users please read this page first for commenting rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use the live preview box. Include paragraph breaks or I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.




↑ Top