Zeroing in on economic realities at the root of the crisis, the Scottish Government did well at Grangemouth, says Peter Jones
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".