Debate notes from an incurable optimist

I’ve got my blog uniform on ready for tonight’s debate. And by uniform I mean pajamas and Yes badge. Lord knows when I’ll actually get to see the debate, sitting in my wee flat in France; I’m so close to Switzerland that if the wind blows, my IP address might change. For success to be had, I’ll need more than luck and a fair wind, considering that I was in England for the last debate and still couldn’t watch it, but while I’m impatiently waiting, I thought I’d refresh my memory of the last debate via YouTube.

It’s still cringeworthy. That’s a shame, I thought it might have improved with age, like cheese or my teenage skin.
Sadly, Darling is still slimily answering questions he has asked himself in his head, as oppose to anything he’s actually been asked, and Salmond is still (pointlessly) refusing to name the other currency options he’s already written down in the white paper. (Plans A, B, C and D are: “the continued use of Sterling (pegged and flexible), the creation of a Scottish currency and membership of the Euro.” They’re RIGHT THERE Salmond, all you have to do is list them, this ‘You Know Whose’ currency strategy has gone all Voldemort and it’s weirding people out. Just say them live on TV and be done with it.
While we’re still on currency, found this little gem on the internet by economist Dr Gerard Lyons: “…monetary unions of small countries can survive without political union, provided there has been economic convergence.  Two examples are the 1923 Union between Belgium and Luxembourg and the CFA Franc zone in west Africa…” There goes Darling’s other leg…

The aftermath of the debate clearly shows the media can write literally whatever they want; so many articles on the internet and in print media screamed opposites and claimed ultimate veracity- that Salmond prevailed over Darling, that Darling thrashed Salmond…However, the majority of media (from what I saw) claims that Darling came off better. The more you tell people ‘so and so won’ in the press, the more likely it is they’ll believe that train of thought, so reporting about the debate afterwards saying Darling thrashed Salmond in mainstream media closely associated with London is actually another tool to manipulate public opinion. Both sides scored big laughs and judging from audience reaction (that I could hear), I thought Salmond came off as a winner, even though I agree he wasn’t on his usual, excellent form.

But then again, I’m already Yes. If I were No, I probably wouldn’t have been entirely convinced by that debate, although Salmond starts his opening statement with a concrete reason why Scotland should be independent -for over half his life, Scotland has not got a government it has voted for. Nice, solid, (shocking) fact. He follows up by suggesting we’re being promised more placatory powers from a government we didn’t vote for or…we could have a government we actually vote for in an independent Scotland.

Darling, however, dribbles something about thinking about the children and threatens reminds us that if we vote no, there’s no going back. Someone should have asked him to provide 2 concrete examples of countries that have gained independence and then asked to go back.

Bernard Ponsonby was very fair, I found, and equally insistent that both parties answer the questions posed. It was Bernard who helped show Darling up, who could barely name two powers Scotland would obtain. In fact, by mentioning ‘powers already coming’, Darling betrayed the fact that these powers are conciliatory and designed to quiet Scotland. After all, if Westminster was serious about improving society and being ‘better together’, why are they only starting to address the issue of more devolved power for Scotland now? Why not before, if it will be so helpful? And if this devolved tax power over 40% of the Scottish government’s spending is so great, exactly how great would 100% be, Darling?

The currency union farce and EU discussion bordered on the pantomimic, but I did enjoy seeing Darling confronted with his own quote on a currency union being ‘logical and desirable’, and then narrowly avoid choking over the words, ‘Scotland could be a successful, independent country’. Small pleasures.
I don’t know why Darling is so hung up on Scotland and EU membership anyway; if we stay together, England will drag us out in an in-out referendum and everything the No campaign has said about Europe has been proved wilfully misleading -see Juncker’s words being manipulated by No, for example, claiming Scotland would not be allowed to rejoin Europe. The story spread so quickly (unsurprising, from the mainstream anti-indy media) that Juncker’s office had to issue a statement clarifying that he wasn’t talking about Scotland at all. Awkward.

The No campaign have also yet to come up with any concrete grounds on which Scotland will be expelled from Europe, and are currently playing their only card left- Barroso threatened to veto. So the biggest threat to Scotland’s European membership is not that it is fundamentally lacking in some vital European trait (green energy perhaps? No? A healthy economy? Natural resources? Tourism? Nature reserves full of unicorns? Ok we don’t have that last one), but rather that other countries are threatening to veto to further their own political agenda. I think more people should be aware of that, actually, and realise that you shouldn’t vote no because you’re worried about not being part of Europe, you should vote yes because your future rests not on a democratic decision or how Scotland can contribute economically and culturally to Europe, but on who’s friends with who and which side of the bed Barroso gets out of that morning. That’s what’s undemocratic. Scotland deserves to be a part of Europe and continue along its positive, left-moving political path and it would be wrong to block membership with no good reason.

Between 1970 and 2014, Scotland had Tory-led governments they didn’t vote for in 26 out of 44 years. 

In the 2010 elections, Scotland returned 1 Tory MP but have a Tory led government because of the 305 Tory MPs elected in other countries. 

Since World War 2 in 14 elections out of 18, Scotland’s vote had no effect on the outcome. 

Vote Yes because it’s right; make a decision based on Scotland’s worth. Vote Yes and we’ll be one step further away from being manipulated by scaremongering and threats coming from a country that stands to lose out economically if Scotland tries to serve her citizens democratically.

Hope the debate was good. I’ll be watching with breakfast.





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