I’m trying to get a whole load of Gaelic maps parcelled up, labelled, and posted off. So there’s a lot to do today. However like a lot of independence supporters, I’m also trying to get through the 354 pages of the Sustainable Growth Commission report which was published today – to the predictable harrumphery of speed-reading British nationalists.
Let’s be honest here, it’s not exactly a gripping read, economics reports never are. No one gets murdered in it, and there is a distinct shortage of wee cute kittens. This will undoubtedly be reflected in the way that Reporting Scotland covers it. The BBC has already informed us that the snap reaction of David Mundell to the report was “Scotland doesn’t want another referendum.” But it’s not clear whether they did actually manage to speak to him. Scotland doesn’t want another referendum is what it says when you get through to his voicemail.
Some preliminary thoughts. Given the publicity that Ruth Davidson is going to get this weekend to tell us all that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum, it would be nice, seeing as how some journalists will have got her attention, if they could press her on the bigots, racists, far right extremists, and troughers who seem to infest her party. And while we’re on the topic of reprobates, it would be good to remember that many of the British nationalist soi-disant economic experts who’ll be crawling all over the media this weekend to tell us how rubbish Scottish economic prospects are are the very same experts who have presided over the UK’s near £2 trillion in debt, the rampant greed of the City of London, austerity, and a catastrophic Brexit.
But back to the report. First off it’s always worth remembering that it is far easier to create fear, to foster uncertainty, and plant seeds of doubt than it is to offer a vision for a better future and to work to build one. British nationalists in Scotland have no vision for a better future. What we have now is as good as it can possibly get. It’s narrow, restrictive, and myopic. It’s a view based on fear and lack of confidence. It’s a view founded in paternalism and poverty of ambition and spirit. So when you listen to the tidal wave of negativity which is bound to hit our overwhelmingly anti-independence media today and over the weekend, remember that nowhere among it will there be any vision of how Scotland can create a better future for itself within the UK.
It is quite astounding that in their response to the document the British nationalist parties and their friends in the media are still acting as though we’re in 2014 and the status quo is still an option. It’s not. There is no status quo any more. There is no safety and security of the known quantity of the UK. There are only two choices, taking a back seat as the Brexit bus is driven off a cliff and being utterly unable to have any say the matter, or taking our destiny into our own hands and making our own decisions. That’s it. No other options are available.
It’s worth repeating, shouting from the rooftops. There is no status quo. There is only change. It’s up to Scotland to decide whether we want to be active agents in our own future, or to sit back passively as decisions are made for us by people who do not necessarily have our best interests at heart and for whom the interests of Scotland are merely one set of considerations amongst many, considerations which are far down their list of priorities.
Others are smugly pointing out that not everyone who supports independence agrees with everything in the report. My god. Imagine that. People who aren’t SNP supporters having a different opinion from the SNP. Who ever saw that one coming eh? It’s not entirely clear why they think that citing people who support independence but who have a different opinion about what they’d like to see in an independent Scotland from the SNP Government helps them to argue that Scotland shouldn’t become independent at all. It doesn’t help opposition to independence by pointing out that some people who support independence think that things in an independent Scotland could be done even better than this report states. But knock yourselves out guys.
The currency plans are central to the report. It ditches the currency union plan which hampered the independence campaign back in 2014. It may very well be the case that the currency union would have been the most sensible currency strategy for both countries after Scottish independence, but politically it was impossible to sell. In effect we were saying “Haw Westminster we want to be independent from you. By the way, we’d like you to cooperate with us on this key aspect of our economic policy.” It was giving opponents of independence a big open goal to say no, one which they exploited to the full.
Instead the report proposes that Scotland does what Ireland did when it became independent. Ireland unilaterally continued to use the pound sterling until it was ready to introduce its own currency, the Irish punt, six years after independence in 1928. The punt was then linked to sterling at parity until 1979 when Ireland began making preparations to join the eurozone. During the initial period of independence Scotland will be able to introduce the necessary arrangements for transitioning to a Scottish currency when it is appropriate. Depending on economic circumstances at the time, the new Scottish currency can be linked to the value of the pound or not. Scotland will decide that for itself. The key message here is that post-independence Scotland can continue to use the pound. Scotland will use the pound. Scotland is not asking for permission.
The plan of the Growth Commission report to unilaterally stick with sterling in the initial years of independence doesn’t please those who want a new Scottish currency immediately, but it removes that nawbaggery from the British nationalist armoury. It provides a simple and easy answer to the “What currency are you going to use?” jibe. We are not asking for their permission or cooperation. We’re just going to do it anyway. That all by itself puts the independence movement in a stronger position. After all, if you believe in self-determination, it means you believe that you don’t require permission to determine what’s best for you.
The Growth Commission Report is a realistic assessment of where Scotland is and what Scotland can do in order to create a stronger and better economy for the benefit of all its citizens. It doesn’t gloss over the difficulties. It is a strong and solid foundation upon which to build arguments for independence. Compared to the wing and a prayer of Brexit, it is comprehensive and detailed. What this means is that Scotland is already more prepared for independence than the UK is prepared for post-Brexit Britain. The risks and uncertainties and insecurity lie with remaining a part of the UK.
Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland
The Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.
You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at email@example.com for alternatives.
Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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