I know we’re poor but I had no idea it was this bad. We’re told oil prices are volatile and when they prove to be, erm, volatile, it is proof that we uniquely can’t look after our own budget. No, it must be left in the hands of those with a track record of looking after the national resources…the men and women who invested so wisely in an oil fund which smoothed our way through the financial crisis and who have avoided Britain running up debts of say, £1.3trillion pounds. I’m getting the picture now.
It seems that the concept of investment is one that has passed Alistair Darling by. One reason oil revenues are down is that the companies are using their money investing in new drilling areas and new ways of extracting oil. That is a good thing – not for this year’s revenues but for the future. If the industry wasn’t investing, you know what Darling would be crowing….they’re not investing any more, the North Sea is finished.
In fact it’s only months since Cameron was in Aberdeen as BP announced its massive investment West of Shetland when it was hailed as a major event for the British economy. And he’s been back since to show how Britain plays its role in the sector. The Unionists didn’t moan about investment then. (Alistair knows his master’s voice when he hears it)
There was also a prolonged shutdown of the Brent pipeline which hit production but such details are not required when talking to the Scots. Just as the sheep need not know what chemicals are in the sheep dip, so the gullible locals can be immersed in fabricated distortions about the oil boom being over. If I heard a calculated case calmly dismantling the public finances I might get worried. But what do I get?
Breathless, staring-eyed Darling falling over his words as he exults in running down his own people…the very man who not only oversaw the worst financial meltdown in 80 years but who, along with Brown, devised the very regulatory system that failed the country. I tweeted yesterday – yes, I’m getting the hang of it now – a clichéd line
How sad is it that Unionist Scots jump on news implying their own country is poorer than they thought? ‘We’re crap and proud of it!’ And I think that works because that’s all we hear. Darling is delighted the oil revenues are down. He’s chortling that Scotland’s income is less and the deficit is higher. He loves it. He doesn’t even pretend by manufacturing a sense of concern or disappointment, he just goes for it with relish. He is a man laughing all the way to the bank that his own country is poorer. What do we make of such a character? I always shy away from language like quisling because it has wartime connotations and implies treachery but I repeat, what do we make of a man thrilled to his boots that his fellow Scots are in a worse financial predicament? Shallow? Mean? Myopic? Or is it really an expression of the unpatriotic, the perverse or to call it as it is – anti-Scottish.
I believe a real politician can warn of financial problems and convey those warnings with gravitas and candour while expressing regret but that’s not what we get from the Unionist campaigners. We get sneer and triumphalism and a longer-term message that it serves us right.
With Danny Alexander I have to confess to feeling contempt of my own. I see a nice middle class lad with barely any formative experience of life, who has never been in charge of a company or organization or indeed of people, whose friendship (with Clegg) catapulted him from obscurity to the Treasury – he was originally destined for the Scotland Office backwater as the prize of his friendship – and who now lectures hard-pressed families that it is better for them to pick up benefits to eke out poverty wages and tells legions of men and women who ache for their country to be free to make its own decisions that they are unworthy of doing so. He has no wider vision of Scotland and is tightly focused on a political campaign so he is blinded to what he is conveying to the Scots. What is it in the education system that turns out individuals who can so casually belittle their own people in the interests of their own careers? Again my conclusion is not the most attractive but here it is anyway – they are not believers in Scotland – how could they be – but believers in Britain. Britain first, Scotland second. Britain good, Scotland not too bad. Scotland independent? Do me a favour…
This was rather confirmed for me today by a piece of writing in the Herald by a very nice person whom I like dearly, Catherine Macleod, who is known to both Alistair and Danny. She was adviser to Darling when he was Chancellor and they are both deeply committed Britnats. In this item she expresses amazement at the idea of Scotland functioning independently and says there is no such thing as independence and the whole idea she dismisses as if it’s silly childish affectation that keeps people from focusing on matters of real importance.
It is a breathtaking view of your own country but it is typical. When Darling said a currency union was a good idea he added that we have one now so why go through all the complications of independence to end up where we are today. I shouted at the screen: Because we want to have our nationhood. Scotland is our nation, not Britain and once we’ve got independence we will decide – not London- what currency we use and what other decisions we make. It’s called independence.
And Catherine and Alistair just don’t get it. They literally do not think of Scotland as a nation or a country or an entity that could or should express itself on a world stage. Scotland is a wee place that rightly sits inside Britain where all the good and talented people, like themselves, go south to make money and progress. It is an old story in our history and they are victims of it, held enthrall to the power of London. But it has robbed them of the of the natural means of national expression that brings joy and a sense of freedom to all the other people of the world and leaves them emasculated when confronted by the Yes movement’s love of Scotland and aspiration for her. They both know the Highland and Islands of our country, as does Alexander, but is that it? Do they just love the scenery and are blind to the potential? Doesn’t their Scottishness zing in them and drive them to express it? Don’t they look at other Scots and see people capable and better at running their own affairs? Or is that a daft dream of the little people they left behind.
I think pity is in order.