A new opinion poll from Panelbase, crowd funded by Wings Over Scotland, has delivered the final blow to the currency masterplan to scare nationalism stone dead. The Yes vote is still going up. When don’t knows are excluded, Yes is on 47% with No on 53%. A swing of just 3% is all that is required to wipe out No’s increasingly narrow lead.
Project Fear now says that they expected this reaction, perhaps because they didn’t expect people in Scotland to be normal adult human beings who don’t like being patronised and threatened with theft. Or more likely they’re lying through their teeth and are struggling to find an explanation for a central strategy that’s backfired.
They certainly didn’t believe Scots would be angered by the hypocrisy of claiming on the one hand that this is the greatest union and most successful partnership in the histories of the multiverse, but at the same time insisting that nothing that pertains to the Union belongs to Scotland at all. And they didn’t expect anyone to say – Oh good, so ye’ll be stickin yer national debt up George Osborne’s airse then.
The Yes vote wasn’t reversed. It wasn’t stopped in its tracks. It has continued to eat its way into Better Together’s fragile support. The response took the Better Together campaign aback, even more than the discovery that Scotland does not look to John Barrowman for either political or fashion advice, even more than the discovery that Scotland doesn’t think Andrew Marr is a neutral and unbiased interviewer.
There was no alternative but to claim they’d thought there might be a minor backlashette – but once we’ve calmed down and thought things through rationally, we’ll end up in complete accord with the people who’ve pissed us off and realise they only threatened to rip us off for our own good. We’ll sit quietly, and agree that the things that we thought were partly ours are not in fact ours at all, it was silly and irrational of us to think otherwise. And we’ll do this without the benefit of pharmeceuticals. Alistair Darling thinks he’s enough of a downer all by himself, and in that respect at least, he’s spot on.
But ask yourself – do you know of any disagreement anywhere where that has ever happened? Human nature doesn’t work that way. Normal human beings don’t work that way. What happens after a disagreement where one party is aggrieved that the other doesn’t recognise the first party’s rights is not for the first party to go off, cool its heels, then come to the conclusion it was wrong to claim those rights in the first place. What normal humans do is to go off and seek arguments and information which confirms their initial emotional response, then use it as ammunition to beat the second party around the head with.
And the normal people, as opposed to the drones and policy wonks in Westminster, are finding those arguments and that information, which provide ammunition with the explosive power of the Clyde nuclear bases. Better Together’s argument is as cohesive as Gwyneth Paltrow’s marriage, only it’s uncoupled itself far less consciously. Few believed Osborne even before an unnamed senior Tory minister let it slip that it was all a bargaining ploy. And today the Sunday Herald has stuck the boot in further with the revelation that there’s nothing to reveal.
Despite the question of ruling out a currency union being the sort of high level economic decision that governments only arrive at after due consideration with equally high ranking civil servants, there is no paper trail. There was no consultation, no papers presented by Whitehall mandarins with the exception of the MacPherson memo, three A4 pages of alarmist woo that were trashed by real economists. The memo was penned just days before Osborne Alexander and Balls released the currency fearbomb, choreographed by Alistair Darling and his Tory Poll Tax pal.
The Sunday Herald has discovered Treasury “has no record” of when its mandarins first raised concerns about a possible currency union with an independent Scotland. If it really had been a matter of such serious concern, the subject should have been raised the moment that the SNP first formed the Scottish Government. But no one in the Treasury thought to bring the subject up until just a couple of days before George went to Embra with a smug look on his mug. What a strange and convenient coincidence.
Better Together has shot itself in the foot again. Normally briefing papers like the MacPherson memo are subject to the 30 year disclosure rule. Governments don’t like us finding out what they do until the perpetrators are safely deid, or at least long retired from public life. It might be uncomfortable for them if we were to discover what, for example, a certain Alistair Darling said in cabinet meetings when devolution was being discussed.
But George required something to give the new tactic a bit of credibility, and so authorised the release of the memo, which in turn meant Freedom of Information requests could be made on the back on it. What papers came before the paper that was released? What memos and discussions led to its writing? There’s always a paper trail in government. There isn’t with the currency union threat. Which is what you’d expect if they made it all up after Alistair told them that they needed to stick the boot into Eck.
Alistair blinked his way furiously through an interview on Andrew Marr’s Sunday Service in praise of the gods of Westminster. Not that Marr subjected him to any questioning. There was nothing from the BBC’s supposedly incisive political interviewer about Ali’s role in inventing the back firing currency scare.
Someone’s not done their homework, and now they’ve been found out, although not by Andrew Marr. Better Together didn’t do the research and write up their findings, they made it all up on the schoolbus carrying George to his press conference in Embra. No wonder George didn’t want to answer any questions. No wonder Andrew Marr didn’t want to ask Ali any of the difficult questions Ali’s so fond of asking himself.
Now we can add another item to the long and growing list of failures in Westminster that only independence can remedy – freedom of information. A government that keeps its workings secret from the people it governs isn’t a government the people can trust. George Osborne and Alistair Darling have proven it. Blink blink blink.
Let’s change that in September.