While we’re waiting for HMG to open the mail and provide a justification for killing Scots I thought we should turn our thoughts towards that other important topic of conversation just now – Scottish independence. November 26th past saw the publication of the Scottish Government’s guide to the independent Scotland. This came in two forms – the full-fat 670 page publication and a smaller summary document. Not having the time to read the full thing, I have managed to have a good look through the summary.
Click the pic for your own copy
I’m not hugely impressed. What should have been a document outlining a vision of a brand new country is much more like the SNP’s manifesto for the next general election. It is, though, better than the equivalent offering from the Better Together campaign, which has not yet seen the light of day: maybe they simply don’t have any coherent vision apart from a dread of having to shift for themselves.
I would now like to present to you my critique of the document. It will comprise several parts and you may find it helpful if you had a copy of your own to refer to, since I don’t intend to reproduce too much of it here.
To provide some context for these pieces, we will explain that this blog has a strongly pro-independence stance, and we would encourage you and as many people as you can persuade to vote Yes in September.
The summary comprises several informally demarcated sections. These are:
- A preamble
- The gains from independence whichever party is elected
- The gains from independence if the SNP is elected
- A personal message from The rt Hon Alec Salmond MSP
- A little message to set the reader's expectations
- Part One – The case for independence
- Part Two – Scotland's national finances
- Part Three – The opportunities of independence
- Early Years
- Schools and universities
- State Pensions
- Private and public service pensions
- Social protection
- International relations
- European Union
- International development
- Citizenship and passports
- Rural Scotland
- Food and drink
- Part Four – Transition
- Between the referendum in 2014 and independence in 2016
- Government and Civil Service
- A modern constitution
- The Monarchy and the Crown
- Top questions and answers
As we said above, we are not going to reproduce the whole thing here, so go to the link and grab your own copy – whichever way the vote goes in September, you'll have something to show your grandchildren in the years to come.
So let's set off with the Preamble (page 01 [sic]) ...
There's not much to this, it can be paraphrased as “If we vote Yes we'll move forward into the sunlight uplands, if you vote No the country will stagnate until your children have children”.
That's about it, really, although there is one little paragraph that does bear some repetition and scrutiny: “Being independent means that we will have a government that we choose – a government that always puts the people of Scotland first”. Oh yeah? Somehow I feel that this assertion may well have the sell-by date of every normal manifesto pledge, i.e. the day after the vote. Remember that Gordon Brown's Labour government went to court to prove that no manifesto pledge is legally enforcible. But that was in in England, so that's OK, Scottish pledges were not affected by that decision.