Poor Better Together, earlier this week Alistair Carmichael claimed that businesses and the media are too scared to speak up about the negative consequences of independence in case indy supporters give them such a nasty look.
Indy supporters have vicious tongues, and mock those good people at Project Fear who are only asking questions – questions which can’t be answered because the UK government won’t supply the necessary information, questions for which there is no possible answer, and questions which have already been answered repeatedly. It’s unfair to point that out.
Alistair wants us to refrain from mocking the inaccuracies, lies and outright idiocies when Project Fear releases its latest scare story. Westminster has a right to be stupid and self-serving, and we’re treading all over the Mother of Parliament’s democratic right to self-expression by laughing at it. It’s the democratic right of a Unionist political party to trade in misinformation, lies and outright idiocies, and if they can’t do that then what’s the point in their existence? That’s a question which answers itself.
The most ridiculous of his claims is that the media is intimidated by the independence debate, and is constrained against letting loose its full barrage of fear bombs because they’re afraid of the yes campaign. Does Alistair actually read the papers?
Perhaps they’re not negative enough for him, but if this is them “constrained” then only the gods know what they’d be telling us if they were let off the leash. When they’re not belittling Scotland with supposed satirical cartoons or asking readers for funny names for a new Scottish currency, they’ve threatened us with everything up to and including partition, penury and the plague.
If your only source of information is the UK media you are left in no doubt that absolutely nothing good can come of independence. Even the SNP’s proposals to scrap UK Government benefits changes like the Bedroom Tax were reported in Thursday’s Express as “Salmond accused of being soft on the workshy“.
Amongst the sea of pro-Union reportage there’s occasionally a comment piece expressing support for independence, this must be the bias that upsets Alistair. It doesn’t give the Union a fair crack of the whip. It’s only Westminster which is supposed to crack whips, most commonly on people who claim benefits, the low paid, immigrants, and more recently supporters of Scottish independence.
Alistair and the UK Government have more or less admitted that the case for the Union is so weak that it cannot stand scrutiny, never mind criticism. What he’s telling us is that the case for the Union can only be heard in absolute and reverent silence, followed immediately by mass applause and a choreographed display of placards in a sports stadium making a huge image of Her Maj and the House of Lords. Alistair’s complaint is that of a man who sees himself losing the argument, badly. Hence his new catchphrase, “Help me Rona.”
And this is why Project Fear, bankrolled by Tory millionaires and backed to the hilt by the UK Government and all the resources it can muster, is now trying to portray itself as the little guy up against the big scary monster of the massed forces of the Scottish Government and ordinary punters with internet connections and keyboards. They’re going for the sympathy vote. It’s a bit like the combined might of the US, Russian and Chinese armies complaining that they’re out-gunned by the Sandyhills Boy Scouts with their peashooters and catapults.
If the Scottish Government really is that influential and powerful just now, when it must operate under the restrictions imposed upon it by Westminster, then with independence it presumably will have supernatural powers, like the ability to transmute base matter into gold. But independence is unlikely to turn Alistair Carmichael into a political heavyweight, even alchemy has its limitations.
Better Together’s real beef is that Scottish deference to our political masters died a long time ago. British democracy is in terminal decline. A report published earlier this year by Democratic Audit found that the UK was moving ever further away from two of the key foundation stones of democracy, control over political decision-making, and how fairly the system reflects the population it represents. The decline was described as “catastrophic”.
In Scotland we have no control over Westminster decision making. Due to the massive preponderance of population south of the Border, we get the government elected by voters in England. But even if we do vote out politicians whose performance has not been to our liking, their pals only bump them up to the House of Lords where they continue to make our laws and influence policy making. When the Labour party was first formed over 100 years ago, one of its key policies was the abolition of the House of Lords. Here we are in 2013, we’re still waiting.
One of the most alarming findings of the report was the “unprecedented growth” in corporate power and influence over government in the UK. The report warned that unless this was addressed it “threatens to undermine some of the most basic principles of democratic decision making”. But Westminster has no plans to address it, neither the Tories, the Lib Dems or Labour have any plans or policies to restore full democratic responsibility and accountability. That’s the last thing they want. It would threaten comfortable career paths leading to well paid directorships and a seat in the Lords.
Since the political parties and the Westminster Parliament are unwilling to reform there is only one option left, we have to give them no choice. In most countries that would require a revolution, but Scotland has another option, a peaceful and democratic option – we can vote for independence. The independence referendum is a vote that will lead to a written Scottish constitution and can restore our political system to democractic accountability. That’s what Alistair Carmichael is so afraid of.
Updates to this blog will be a bit erratic over the next week or so, because it’s the holidays and because Santa came early and gave the Dug a Hornby train set, big wean that he is.