Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scottish Secession: Finally, A Plan?

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and his allies have finally released their plan. I haven't had a chance to read it; and since it's nearly seven hundred pages long, I'll probably have to just read synopses and reactions from experts. I've already seen several biting critiques of it from friends on Facebook who are familiar with such matters.

My Strategic Intelligence instructor, E, has been following the matter very closely over the years. The highlights of his various reactions have been, after about an hour of reading it:
"I downloaded it and have begun reading. 3 blatant lies spotted so far."

"[E] is reading The 'white paper' and is utterly appalled by the stupidity of it. It's total nonsense."
A friend from school works for members of the Scottish Parliament from the Liberal Democrat party. Although I don't put much stock in the Lib Dems themselves, one of their posts that she's shared is worth sharing with you:
The Scottish Government’s Independence White Paper has left voters in the North East none the wiser over what leaving the UK would mean after the document failed to address fundamental questions over currency and other issues according to Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs Sir Robert Smith and Sir Malcom Bruce. Speaking after the First Minister launched the paper in Glasgow this morning, the MPs warned that by failing to give Scots the answers that had been promised the SNP are asking people to take a leap into the dark. Sir Robert Smith, the MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine added: “A fundamental issue that should underpin the success of any independent country is the currency it will use to run its economy. By assuming that Scotland will continue to use the pound backed by the Bank of England the white paper fails to address this fundamental issue. As part of the UK we currently get a say in how the pound is managed. By voting yes under these plans we would have no say in how our currency would be managed.” Commenting, Sir Malcolm Bruce, the Gordon MP said: “Having been promised clear answers from the SNP’s White Paper on independence, I for one am confused as to why one of the SNP’s central pledges for independence is to offer extended childcare later when they have the power to do so now, matching the steps that Liberal Democrats have already taken in government to boost free care. The message from the SNP seems to be that they will not give children the support they need until they get the result they want at the referendum.” Sir Malcolm added: “The United Kingdom is a significant player in the world with a seat at the top tables of the EU, UN, NATO etc. If independent, Scotland would be outside the room and not part of that decision making.”
These are some of the very questions that I've raised on the blog over the course of the last year, and apparently the white paper fails for provide answers for these fairly simple and direct concerns on the part of Scotland's politicians and constituents. Meanwhile, the Holyrood has fallen prey to renewed outrage from Orcadians, as the lifeline ferry service (about which I've written previously) is set for a renewed disruption. According to BBC Radio Orkney:
Serco Northlink has confirmed that the Hamnavoe route will be covered by the Helliar during the refit period. The freight vessel can carry up to 12 passengers and will deputise on the route from the 6th to the 23rd of January. The company has also confirmed that the cost of travelling on the north boats will rise from the start of the year by 2.7%. But they've announced that - following customer feedback - a third return sailing across the Pentland Firth will be reintroduced for the majority of August.
For those who are unaware, MS Helliar is a freight vessel, as opposed to the MV Hamnavoe, which is a dedicated car and passenger ferry. The reintroduction of a third sailing for the "majority of August" is sort of a slap in the face to Orcadians, particularly when one considers that the first sailing is at a fairly inconvenient time. (As evidence of this, I'm not even entertaining the prospect of taking the Hamnavoe's 06:30 sailing when I go to Aberdeen for graduation; instead, I'll be taking the 07:45 sailing aboard the Pentalina.) One commentator on the Radio Orkney Facebook posting noted the following, which I can only assume to be from the contract between the Scottish Government and Serco:
3. To limit the extent of the impact of Scheduled Unavailability suffered by Orkney
i. The Operator shall carry the anticipated demand between the Scrabster and Stromness ports during periods of Scheduled Unavailability of Vessels for Lot A. A suitable replacement vessel shall be provided to undertake the Services being provided by Ropax Vessel(s) for Lot A. The suitability of any additional vessel proposed will be subject to the approval of and at the discretion of Scottish Ministers.
In short, as the Scottish Government rolls out their questionable plan for independence, the Orcadians are being given reason to question the Holyrood's competence with their current amount of authority as a ferry operator whose acquisition of the contract was questioned by the Islanders prepares to disrupt their service for a second time in under a year. It doesn't particularly inspire confidence, particularly at a time when authority and services are being centralized in Edinburgh and, to a lesser degree, Glasgow, rather than distributed to the periphery. Interestingly enough, not only are Scotland, Shetland, and the Western Isles lobbying the Scottish and United Kingdom governments for greater powers to determine their own destiny (specifically relating to the use of their own resources), but Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has recently been promoted to become the UK's Secretary of State for Scotland. Given the Northern Isles' independence skepticism, I think this is a fairly shrewd move by the UK's coalition government, who would rather not see nor preside over Scotland's secession from the United Kingdom.

That doesn't exactly inspire super awesome feelings. What might help with that is a special Song That Reminds Me. I'm not sure whether Scottish recording artist Amy Macdonald is a Scots nationalist or not, but she's got a great, patriotic song about singing Scotland's anthem at sporting events. It's called Pride.

I remain skeptical of the proposed Scottish secession referendum, but I'm also willing to be convinced that the SNP has a plan and a justification for secession. Despite the release of their white paper, the wait continues.

No comments:

Post a Comment