There is no single health service in the UK. People speak about the NHS, but it’s actually four different organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
I think using the same name is unhealthy. It means the English find it illogical that they aren’t getting the same treatment in England as is provided by NHS Scotland.
So the four services should be renamed. They already have different logos, so surely that wouldn’t be too hard.
There’s an interesting article in The Scotsman today by George Kerevan.
He argues that the Bank of England, and therefore the British pound, tends to focus far too much on the needs of the City of London, rather than looking at the whole country and trying to balance the needs of all the regions.
I think he’s absolutely right, but while his recommendation is for the Bank of England to change, I’d prefer Scotland (and the rest of the UK) to join the Euro, given that the ECB does look at all parts of the Eurozone when making decisions. In other words, Scotland would not suffer a loss of influence at all by replacing the pound with the euro, just the opposite.
If Scotland wins her independence one day, it will be necessary to assign a ccTLD (country-code top-level domain) instead of .uk. A ccTLD always consists of exactly two lower-case letters without any accents.
However, there are so many countries in the world that there aren’t many options left.
The most natural one would be .sc, I guess, but that’s the Seychelles. .sl? No, that’s Sierra Leone. .so? .st? .sa? .sn? .sd? Nope, that’s Somalia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Sudan, respectively.
Hmmm, so what about basing it on the Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba? Well, .al is Albania, and .as (for Alba/Scotland) is American Samoa, but .ab is actually free, so I guess that would be the most obvious ccTLD.
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.