Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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Peter Jones: Hard hats off to sensible Salmond

Peter Jones: Hard hats off to sensible Salmond | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Zeroing in on economic realities at the root of the crisis, the Scottish Government did well at Grangemouth, says Peter Jones
Peter A Bell's insight:

Why do we have to know what the UK government did or did not do in order to male a judgement on an independent Scotland's ability to deal with crises such as that at Grangemouth? This assumes that there is some doubt as to Scotland having such an ability. The pertinent questions would relate to why anybody would harbour these doubts. Why would anybody think Scotland incapable of handling matters which are, when all is said and done, no more than the day-to-day business of government?

I detect in this article something of the "bring me a rock" syndrome. It starts with the hugely dubious and highly insulting assumption that Scotland must prove its worthiness by passing whatever tests might be contrived by those who would deny - or, at the very least, question - Scotland's rightful constitutional status as an independent nation. These tests may be imagined as taking the form of a demand to "bring me a rock" that testifies to Scotland's worthiness. The rock having duly been fetched it will always and inevitably be dismissed as an inappropriate rock - too small or too big or the wrong shape or the wrong type.

"Bring me another rock!", is the endless demand. For no rock shall ever be deemed adequate to the purpose so long as the one demanding it is the final arbiter of both adequacy and purpose.

Alex Salmond finds himself in the position where, even if he had somehow managed to find a resolution for the Grangemouth crisis which kept the plant open, with massive new investment, while allowing the workers to keep their current pay and conditions, this could still be arbitrarily discounted as indicating anything meaningful about Scotland's ability to handle industrial disputes post-independence. And we can be absolutely sure that it would be so discounted by those whose purpose is to manufacture uncertainty and fear.

Let us start by questioning the authority of those who presume to define - and endlessly redefine - the qualifications Scotland requires in order to be as other nations. Let us challenge their role as self-appointed examiners and final arbiters of Scotland's entitlement to the normal constitutional status that other nations take to be theirs by right.

Let us turn the thing around and demand of them some evidence to support the contention that Scotland is as inept and incapable as they assume. We too can play the game of "bring me a rock".

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British News

British News | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Grangemouth doesn’t register on the British newsstand. Wrong country. It’s funny to see these front pages as a snap-shot. It makes me feel almost entirely cut-off from this political culture.


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Grangemouth analysis: Embarrassment saved by reopening

Grangemouth analysis: Embarrassment saved by reopening | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
THE reopening of Grangemouth has saved Yes Scotland and the First Minister from an embarrassment that could have derailed efforts to win the referendum in September 2014.
Peter A Bell's insight:

I suspect Matt Qvortrup has been watching events at Grangemouth through the distorting lens of the BBC, which has been almost frantic in its efforts to secure credit for the UK Government as the "saviour" of the facility and the jobs.

The reality, of course, is that Cameron and Osborne shunned the issue from the outset, meekly accepting that the company could do whatever it wanted. And Alistair Carmichael only got involved in the later stages when most of the work had already been done.

It was certainly John Swinney who conducted the "quiet and persistent diplomacy" which led to an outcome that we are obliged to regard as satisfactory only because the alternative was so bad. But Salmond was prepared to put his not inconsiderable political weight behind Swinney's efforts without regard for the damage he might suffer if things went wrong. Conduct which stands in stark contrast to the craven cowardice displayed by Cameron.

It is to Salmond's further credit that he has been prepared to talk up the part played by the UK government in the interests of avoiding politicising such a sensitive issue. He could have made political capital out of this, but chose instead to settle for the more subtle approach of further enhancing his administration's already considerable reputation for quiet competence.

Make no mistake! That reputation will weigh heavily in favour of a Yes vote in next year's referendum.

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