A guest post by Samuel Miller
So what’s with all the negative waves man?
OK, we’ve gone over the well worn establishment strategy of ‘Don’t look over here‘, in a post already. For bods of an independent tendency, its what the past three weeks have been all about after all. Does anyone seriously think that GERSmageddon and the Independence Day Massacre Pt.2, (the return of Project Fear), were really accidental in their build up and timing?
I mean, having a dig at the Scottish Government is rarely far from the top of any ‘to do’ list in meeja land, but the past three weeks have seen the usual suspects go into not just SNP BAD overdrive, but independence bad frenzy. The politicos and media were reaching past the Scottish Government and going straight to the source of political change in Scotland… the public. Not something they do lightly these days, or very often.
Now don’t look so shocked and stop laughing at the back. March 24th, 2016 was always, but always going to be a bit nervous for the poor dears. Political parties and media alike are fully aware that the ‘better togetherness’ they sold to the Scottish electorate hasn’t exactly been all it was cracked up to be in the past eighteen months. Question is, what to do about a date that was always going to strike an emotional chord with a still grumpy electorate in Scotland in the run up to an Osborne budget, followed by Scottish elections and an EU referendum? The excellent Business for Scotland web site has a rather damning article on the past eighteen months record HERE and it is well worth the read. Enough to say that bods in some quarters were motivated.
Anyroads, clearly policy wonks and meeja types had a light bulb moment. The approach appears to have been, convince the Scottish electorate that the past eighteen months of Westminster’s ‘RESPECT AGENDA’, VOWS DELIVERED, financial hardship and austerity ideology washing over their country, isn’t anywhere near as distressing as it would have been under independence.
Master stroke! Back of the net! CHA CHING!
Cue headlines of fiscal carnage which Scots couldn’t possibly have coped with on their own. I mean, that is how it comes across. Whether that’s exactly how the media intend these dire warnings to come across is purely a matter for conjecture of course, but it’s depressingly hard to read it any other way. Seems to me that every other country in the world handles their own economy in good times and bad. Its kinda what grown up, responsible countries and their governments are expected to do. It’s pretty much accepted common practice that governments of independent countries, having access to all relevant economic levers, have the ability to take action in the best interests of their electorate as and when required. Common practice that is, except for viewers in….
Me? I have confidence that Scotland has all the resources and the talent to manage our economy and voted accordingly in 2014. Good times or bad, you look to the government you vote for to steer you through. They do good? They get to keep their jobs. They do badly? Well, that’s why its called a democracy, but with independence you’d get the government you voted for with their full attention firmly focussed on your particular needs. That’s all beside the point though (shrugs).
Right now Scotland is NOT independent, the levers of the economy belong to the government of the UK (where they’ve been for quite some time now) and any hypothetical financial doomsday scenario projected for an independent Scotland is just that… hypothetical. I have no idea what measures an independent Scottish government would have taken over the past eighteen months, for the simple reason that whole independence thing DIDN’T HAPPEN.
Ayup, apparently others convinced enough of the voting public that Scots shouldn’t have to steward their own economy. No, they could leave all that grown up stuff to a system and folk who know better and who would look after them, honest. The same bods (they’re interchangeable) as it happens, whose stewardship of the economy ran up a £1.6tr debt for instance? Maybe just me, but if you’re looking for governments in trouble who struggle to handle an economy, balance the books n’ such, then don’t you think the meeja may be looking in the wrong place by this point?
It seems to me that if a chancellor hadn’t met self imposed deficit reduction targets, or forecast (cough) economic growth targets, I’d be more inclined to be asking pointed questions of that government and its economic strategy. That’s the criteria for a deluge of negative meeja attention about your ability to cope, right? Just to be clear, £1.6tr (and not falling) is a big number isn’t it? Shouldn’t that really big number be considered one of them BLACK HOLE thingies? And just think, no hypothetical speculation required. RESULT!
Or, is it the case that where Scottish politics and its electorate are concerned, this is the very definition of ‘DON’T LOOK OVER HERE’ and why timing, in our own recent experience, is everything?