Fraser Nelson (conservative journalist and blogger) has a very interesting wee article in The Business.
He points out that outwith the greater London area, most people are either on benefits or working for the state, creating a situation almost like a communist country. Effectively, London is subsidising the rest of the country, rather than helping the rest of the country to grow faster. And this situation has been getting much worse under Labour.
Quite scary, and I definitely think this is another good reason to support Scottish independence!
Iain Macwhirter has a really interesting article in the Sunday Herald about how the BBC made a Scottish news bulletin pilot three years ago (but kept it quiet because it was too good), and why a Scottish news programme is needed.
As he writes, "[...] MSPs and ministers were finding their constituents complaining about the state of their local hospitals' finances even though they were doing fine. This was because they were watching the stories about bankrupt English health trusts on the Six O'Clock news."
The same newspaper also has a good article about how Alex Salmond will open up the independence conversation to include other options for more powers for Scotland in order to get support from other parties. He's really showing himself to be a very clever politician, furthering his cause by changing his immediate objectives in such a way that his opponents can't afford to disagree. He's achieved so much in just a few months – I'm deeply impressed.
Where are the flags? Why is today not a bank holiday in Great Britain? Today is the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union between England (with Wales) and Scotland. If it's such a great thing as the unionist parties proclaim, surely they should be out there celebrating it.
Instead, all is quiet. There's nothing at all in the online edition of The Scotsman, and only a small article or two in slightly less unionist The Herald. Most of the coverage is found in the English newspapers (such as this piece).
Isn't the fact that unionists think the best way to preserve the union is to keep quiet about it the best proof that the two countries are heading towards a peaceful divorce?
I rather liked this article by Dominic Lawson (the former Chancellor's son and Nigella's brother). I quote:
One can sense in the remarks of leading Labour Party figures the sort of exasperation expressed by parents of a man in his twenties living at home, who shows no gratitude for the support he is being given. The outsider can see immediately that it would be better for all concerned if the child finally left home, and that their relationship would then be one of mutual respect, rather than resentment.
Sir Ming said in a recent interview that "there is a sense in which liberalism and nationalism are the antithesis of each other."
I guess he means that liberalism is partly about creating equal opportunities for all people, and that doesn't mix well with borders and national laws. However, I'm sure Sir Ming doesn't seriously propose to abolish all countries anytime soon, and if he did, he would be violating another liberal principle that says that decisions should be taken as close to the involved people as possible.
Scottish independence is not about building up new borders – Scotland is already a legal and political entity – but about removing a superfluous and top-heavy construct: Great Britain.
So long as Scottish independence happens within the EU, there is no reason to assume it would violate any important liberal principles.
Besides, if Scottish independence is so terrible, is Sir Ming implicitly asking for Ireland and all the British colonies to come back to the UK? Surely Scottish independence isn't any less acceptable for a liberal than Irish independence?
Following up on my posting about whether Scotland or England should get Northern Ireland, I started thinking about the British Overseas Territories. If Scotland and England divorce, I assume at least some of them should become Scottish.
Any takers for the Scottish Virgin Islands? 😉
There is an article in The Herald today about how Scotland is routinely being ignored by Westminster in EU matters: "Scotland's interests are being routinely forgotten, ignored and dismissed by Whitehall officials when they seek to influence policy and law-making in Brussels, according to a leaked government report."
The current arrangement clearly doesn't work. I think the best solution would be Scottish independence, but a fully federal UK (as proposed by the LibDems) might also do the trick.