A couple of questions for Alex Salmond #indyref

Hi Alex

I have a couple of questions for you that I just thought I’d jot down given that I’m unlikely to get anywhere near you in the run up to the vote on Thursday.

Three weeks ago during the second debate with Alistair Darling, you did something that for me was a pivotal moment in the campaign. You see, Alistair was speaking for me. He might not have been doing it terribly effectively, but he was taking the concerns that I and many other Scots have about your currency plans and asking you to give us a bit more than “och it’ll all be fine.”

This stuff matters. It’s about how we put food on the table for our families. It’s about how we keep the roof over our heads. All you needed to do when Alistair pressed you was to show us how our currency would be as safe as it is just now in an independent Scotland. Rather than do that, you laughed in his face and called him a one trick pony. When you did that to him, you did it to all the voters who care about this. That would be roughly half the country you casually and contemptuously dismissed. Any shred of confidence I had in you shrivelled up and died at that exact moment.

After that debate, you and your Yes campaign started telling lies about the NHS. I don’t often use that sort of language but in this case there is no other word for it. You put out leaflets all over Scotland scaring people needlessly. It was one of the most cynical and egregious things I have ever seen in politics. You and your Government are solely responsible for the running of the Scottish NHS. That includes how much money is spent on it and its overall strategy. Everyone cares about the NHS. To prey on people’s fears about access to health care is a low blow.

The truth of the matter, as outlined by the respected Institute of Fiscal Studies is that the NHS is far safer within the UK.

How, Alex, when you have shown such contempt for me and my concerns and lied to my face, am I supposed to trust anything you say?  You are asking me to support something that we can’t reverse if it doesn’t work out and I can’t do that.

And then of course we have to look at what you do with the powers that you already have. Freedom and civil liberties are most important to me. When your government has been found wanting in the human rights department, what did you do? Were you mortified and desperate to fix it, or did you pick a fight with the judge because he was based in London? Your Government has put armed police on our streets with no debate and against the wishes of local communities. It’s allowed unregulated stop and search which led to over 500 children under 10 being searched. Your Justice Secretary has the clearest desk in Edinburgh because he thinks everything is an operational matter for somebody else. What would he do given free rein over counter-terrorism powers? The prospect makes me shudder with horror.

But it’s not just the economic and social policies of an independent Scotland that worries me. It’s the sort of society we would have. The other day you held a press conference to which you invited an audience of your own supporters who proceeded to applaud you and heckle the journalists. One of the international journalists in the audience was heard to remark that they’d never seen anything like it in a democracy before. You pick a fight with a BBC journalist who is, I grant you, on occasion, very annoying. But that’s what journalists are for. They are supposed to annoy the hell out of the establishment. I’d rather it that way than have them trot out government lines.

So you pick a fight with Nick Robinson, your supporters then complain about the way in which that is reported (wrongly – I’ve watched it all) and then a thousand of them advance on the BBC’s HQ in Glasgow to protest. It’s quite bizarre, don’t you think, to have people protesting that a media outlet isn’t taking the Government line?

Is the way you trash one of the best broadcasters in the world while cosying up to Murdoch even at the height of the phone hacking scandal a shape of things to come in your independent Scotland? Oh, and how do you feel about having Kim Jong Un’s endorsement?

You have led and encouraged a highly negative and abusive campaign. It’s interesting that Yes campaigners all say how wonderful and inspiring and friendly it’s all been. Well, they would say that given that most of the nastiness is not going in their direction. Yes, there are idiots on both sides, but let’s look at the example you have set. When you suggest that the case against independence is the case against Scotland, or one of your councillors calls Alistair Carmichael a “supposed Scot” it encourages your supporters on the ground to throw lemonade over No canvassers as happened to former MSP Robert Brown the other day. It encourages the daily abuse I’ve received on social media for three years. It leads to the sad situation where a five year old shouts “No are Rubbish” at Better Together campaigners in the street.

So, Alex, how exactly, having unleashed all this pain and division, do you expect half the country to come out and celebrate an independent Scotland on Friday?

And, finally, do you really expect us to believe that a win for No on Thursday will mean that you just forget about independence and you’ll never call another referendum for a generation? Once in a lifetime opportunity? Pull the other one.

Isn’t the reality on Thursday that the most powerful vote people can make is for No? The guarantees of more powers have been so public that they must be delivered. Otherwise you’ll get another overall majority in 2016 and we’ll have to through all this again.

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About caronlindsay

Scottish Lib Dem pro UK activist, mum, Doctor Who, Strictly, F1 and trashy tv addict and blogger.
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8 Responses to A couple of questions for Alex Salmond #indyref

  1. Eric Sinclair says:

    I could not have said this better myself and have included a link to it on my own blog http://www.mandogstroke.com

    Like

  2. Colin Fountain says:

    Another well balanced and fundamentally correct assessment of the Independence debate, and of the failure of the First Minister and his team to respond with true and accurate answers to our meaningful questions. Salmond seems to want us to consistently ignore that he is first and foremost a politician pursuing a narrow policy primarily addressing his own self interest, and not devoting himself to the interests of the people.

    A very fine blog …. thank you.

    (An ex Young Lib from the heady days of Thorpe)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David says:

    If you car about the NHS please join the battle post the referendum to stop the eu us trade deal from including health. This is the mechanics,which will force privatisation in Scotland. I kno who’s won’t but I believe you care about the NHS. Salmons will begone in10 years. Let’s make sure the NHS isn’t too. We will all need to put aside differences and fight for this together. Are you up for the fight or will you snipe from the sidelines?

    Like

  4. Gordon says:

    Very well stated points of view with interesting elaboration and comment.

    Like

  5. jimboscotto says:

    A wee bit off to say that the Yes campaign has been negative; compared to the unbelievable lies and fear-mongering of the NO campaign. Even the most ardent No supporter won’t have missed the tone of ‘project fear’. The idea that the BBC are taking the ‘Government line’ just tells us that Scot aren’t been seen as being legitimately represented by that government. It only occurred to me when I heard the BBC’s response to the allegation of bias (i.e. as they put it, ‘people have complained that the BBC have been taking the British side in preference to the Scottish side’ – that the BBC are treating Scotland in the same way they would treat a foreign country – i.e. they see their state propaganda as a legitimate part of their job. I complained about the bias myself a few weeks ago – as it was so obvious.

    Like

  6. George Caldwell says:

    Depends how you look at it: The evidence is clear that Scotland is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. 10 key economic facts that prove Scotland will be a wealthy independent nation
    All the evidence demonstrates that Scotland is a wealthy nation. Scotland would be the 14th wealthiest nation in the developed world by GDP per head of population. Scotland’s wealth is also built on solid financial foundations, a diverse economy and substantial economic potential in new industries such as biotechnology and renewables, as well as current key sectors like food and drink, tourism and oil and gas
    Voting for independence – to have control over taxation, regulation and global promotion – will give the Scottish government the tools to create greater opportunities for growth and a better business climate for Scottish business. In short, a Yes vote will improve Scotland’s economy. This will make people in Scotland financially better off.
    Here are 10 key economic facts for why Scotland will be a wealthy independent nation.
    1) Scotland has a rich and diverse economy
    Scotland’s economy includes £21.4 billion in construction which employs 170,000 people, £11.6 billion in tourism which supports 292,000 jobs, £39 billion yearly turnover in manufacturing with a value added of £12.7 billion and 127,000 people employed. Scotland also has world leading expertise in life science, world class universities (5 in the world’s top 200), a multi-billion pound creative sector and vast energy (oil, gas, tidal, wave, wind and solar), fishing and agricultural resources.

    In a broad context it is already clear that Scotland has vast economic wealth in resources, talent and business ingenuity.
    2) Scotland is a net contributor to the UK
    Last year Scotland provided £800 more in tax per person that the UK average. This means Scotland would have been £8.3 billion better off as an independent country over the past 5 years. We could have spent that money investing in our economy with the same debt levels as the rest of the UK or saved it and had £8.3 billion less debt.
    3) Scotland generates far more tax than the UK average
    Scotland generated £800 more in tax per person than the UK as a whole in 2012-13. Scotland has generated more tax per head than the UK every year for the past 33 years. The graph below is for a shorter time period but produced by the UK Government. Even in the years where oil prices were lowest, Scotland tax generation was always been considerably higher than the UK average and England in particular.

    Source: Government Expenditure and Revenue Reports 1999-2011
    4) Westminster has cost Scotland £64 billion in the past 30 years
    Scotland has paid £64 billion in UK debt interest that Scotland didn’t need. An independent Scotland would have been far better off economically. This was reported recently in the Sunday Times after bespoke Business for Scotland research showed that Scotland has been subsidising the failings of Westminster economic mismanagement.

    Source: Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland figures with Scotland based borrowing

    5) Scotland has a lower deficit and lower public spending than the UK
    Over the past 5 years Scotland had lower deficits than the UK. Scotland’s average deficit has been 7.2%, while the UK deficit has been 8.4%. Scotland only spends 42.7% of Scotland’s GDP on public spending. The UK spends 45.4%. (also over the past 5 years) This demonstrates that Scotland’s public finances are in a stronger position than the UK as a whole.
    6) Scotland has strong exports
    Scotland’s top export markets are USA, Netherlands, France and Germany, which are worth a combined total worth of £9.5 billion. (Table 9.1) Scottish whisky exports are valued at £4.27 billion last year. This is because Scotland exports 40 bottles every second! The food and drink market is key to Scotland’s exports across the world. Other key industries include chemical manufacturing, computer products, finance and insurance and other forms of equipment. (Table 9.1) With the powers of independence combining with the Scottish Government gaining direct control over international relations, there is a target to increase exports by 50%, which would create over 100,000 new jobs.

    7) Scotland’s oil fields remain a massive financial asset
    The oil in the North Sea is worth over £1 trillion. There are at least 15-24 billion barrels of oil remaining which will continue long into the 21st century. Over 90% of the tax revenue will go to an independent Scotland which can help to establish a national oil fund for future investment. Recently, Business for Scotland explained the potential for a West coast oil boom that is currently blocked by Westminster. Independence could revitalise the economies of Ayrshire and the Strathclyde region as a whole. Most oil price forecasts are upward, with one of the exceptions being the UK Government’s OBR which has a political motivation to underestimate oil revenue.

    8) Scotland has huge potential in renewable energy
    Scotland has 25% of Europe’s total tidal energy potential, 25% of total wind energy potential and 10% of total wave energy potential. This has the power to reindustrialise Scotland bringing more jobs and greater prosperity. Key examples include the Pentland Firth – the Saudi Arabia of renewable tidal energy – and the Moray Firth – a substantial offshore wind energy project. Small scale and often community owned renewable projects also have huge potential to provide low cost energy to revitalise Scotland’s rural communities.

    Source: Hardisty, J., 2006. Analysis of Resontant Buoys for Wave Energy Conversion in UK Waters. University of Hull.

    Source: UK Energy Research Centre
    9) Scotland is one of the top UK locations for inward investment
    Inward investment into Scotland’s economy has hit a 15 year high. Last year Ernst & Young ranked Scotland as the most popular UK destination for global investment outside of London. Scotland secured 11% of all UK Foreign and Direct Investment despite being only 8.4% of the UK population. The report confirmed that far from uncertainty over Scotland referendum causing a slow down in inward investment that “it seemed to have the opposite effect”. A combination of tax incentives combined with a raft of other economic measures such as significant government investment in fast growing sectors should ensure FDI continues to be a strong contributor to Scotland’s economy. Indeed evidence suggests that newly independent nations enjoy significantly increased FDI.

    10) An independent Scotland can support Scottish business in tax, regulation, the labour market, innovation and global exports
    An independent Scotland will prioritise the interests of business in Scotland following decades of Westminster prioritising London and the South East. This includes the opportunity to create a simpler tax system that supports Scottish business; reforming the labour market to improve employer/employee relations; encouraging migration to Scotland to balance Scotland’s unique demographic needs; and supporting Scottish exports globally through a Scottish diplomatic and trade service. The opportunities of independence are vast and long-term.

    11) More reasons?
    These points provide a starting point for analysing Scotland’s numerous economic strengths and the reasons Scotland will be financially better off as an independent country.
    There are 1000s of pages of detailed research by the Fiscal Commission, the Jimmy Reid Foundation, Scottish Government Papers like ‘Scotland’s Future’ or ‘Economic Policy Choices in an Independent Scotland‘, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Jim and Margaret Cuthbert, which agree that Scotland is a wealthy nation that can do even better with independence.
    There are also hundreds of other positive economic reasons for independence that can’t be covered in just 10 points such as controlling air passenger duty, retail support, Scotland’s independence asset windfall of £109 billion, the economic defence dividend that will save Scotland at least £500 million a year, improving Scotland’s pension system, the benefits to business of improving social mobility and equality or the Common Agricultural Policy dividend that Scotland would gain with independence.
    Conclusion
    There is overwhelming evidence that Scotland will be economically better off as an independent country. Even opponents of independence have conceded that Scotland can be a successful independent country. Their own negative economic forecast estimated that Scots would be just £1 worse off a year.
    In contrast every single Government Expenditure and Revenue report for the last 30 years – compiled with official statistics – finds that Scotland generated more tax per head than the UK.
    If voters are convinced that Scotland will do better economically a majority support independence. Yet astonishingly around 34% of the electorate currently believe that Scotland would fare worse economically as an independent country; while 37% believe Scotland is incapable of independence. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest this. Not a single economic expert supports such a doom laden proposition.
    This demonstrates that truthful economic information like the facts contained in this article will change the result of the independence referendum.
    With the knowledge that Scotland will benefit economically from independence, business and citizens will move towards voting Yes as it is the only way to ensure progress for themselves, their businesses and their communities.
    Scotland will vote for independence because the economic case for independence is unanswerable.
    That means Scotland can be successful and run its own affairs.
    Some people who are undecided on independence ask ‘If Scotland is doing well, why should things change?’ This is why.
    Westminster isn’t working for Scotland and holds the economy back. Scotland would be better off managing its own finances, investments and decision making. Scotland would be better off without governments who focus on London and the South-East, with a failing economic model.
    The problem is that the UK’s economic problems are structural. It’s not simply due to one party or one issue. Independence changes the political structure as it moves the centre of political power and decision making to Scotland. There’s evidence that economic decisions will then work better for people as a result.

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  7. Paul says:

    Yes a very well balanced and thought out letter but sadly one that Mr Salmond and his supporters will not answer. The yes supporters should remember that old saying about the grass being greener on the otherside because it seldom is.

    Thankyou

    Like

  8. Colin says:

    Not being Scottish I confess I have not followed the debate as closely as I should but Maureens comments opened up new insight into what has been happening in the debate in Scotland. My fear has been that the wretched Government we currently have in Westminster would drive more people towards the yes camp; however, for what it is worth most people I talk with in the far south of England hope that we will stay as one united country. Maureen has put forward one of the most thoughtful arguments in support of the Union – I hope we stay together

    Like

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