Mike Vickers' Blog

July 23, 2014

Independence – just two factors

Filed under: Personal, Politics, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 9:48 pm

It is odd that after so much debate and argument and counter argument over the last two years and just 6 weeks to go to the Referendum, there are to me just two factors pointing to Independence.

  1. Who best to govern the Scots but the Scots
  2. Westminster is broke and it can’t be fixed.

If I take these a little farther; Point 1 – where is the limit – the Western Islanders are the best people to govern the Western Isles.  Salmond has made gestures in this direction but will it happen?  All the reports coming out and certainly the latest report sponsored by COSLA (Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy) indicate that Scotland is the most centralist country in Europe, yet the current Community Empowerment Bill before the Scottish Parliament despite its title appears to confirm that there will be no change – the Bill looks to  strengthen the hold the Scottish Government has over the local authorities who are in any case far removed from the Communities they are expected to serve.

If I now look at Point 2. if Westminster is indeed broken is it not better to fix Westminster than to throw up our hands and walk away.  There is no doubt whatever the result of the Referendum Westminster will change – there have been too many scandals for it to continue as it is.  Popularist groups such as UKip (though I dislike everything about it) will help in this.  And are we sure that the lot in Edinburgh are squeaky clean anyway.

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Let’s Hope No WW3

Filed under: History in the making, Politics, Scottish Independence, War — derryvickers @ 6:25 pm

A break from the Indy war of words (Scottish Independence with the vote on 18th September 14) and may be a lot more important for all our greater good.

I have been thinking, well worrying, about the atrocity of MH17 and all its publicity  and the fact that the Iraq and Syrian wars now get so comparatively little attention – no longer newsworthy at least with us westerners; likewise the Israeli Gaza war which keeps irrupting.

Anyway  Allan Massie writing in today’s Scotsman summarises  the world situation succinctly:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/allan-massie-peace-is-as-hard-to-find-as-ever-1-3485227.

Not quite Hemmingway ‘the Sun also rises’ but with a touch of it.

I am not so sanguine as Massie but his is a big canvas picture – so let’s hope he is right and WW3 does not happen, well not for a long time.

July 7, 2014

Referendum – reason, choice and after

Filed under: economics, Lesley Riddoch, Politics, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 10:10 am

 

Three articles in today’s Scotsman – Monday 7 July 2014

http://www.scotsman.com/news/lesley-riddoch-no-guesses-who-gets-the-funding-1-3468071

http://www.scotsman.com/news/brian-monteith-stop-throwing-money-at-prestwick-1-3468089

http://www.scotsman.com/news/leaders-more-debate-if-opinion-is-not-polarised-1-3468091

All somewhat related.

Lesley Riddoch does not accept that the great and the good – well the academics – are intimidated to come out and say No in case their research grants are cut after a Yes.

She goes on to say Glasgow and Westminster are in cahoots on seeking and getting funding for the extension of the railway from Paisley to Glasgow Airport if No; and the SNP government  responding to say they will find funds anyway. Is the £500 million being well spent? Cross rail Queens Street and Central (I thought there is a bus service and why not walk the ½ mile)  and of course the more deserving local communities

Brian Monteith bangs on about the SNP government commitment to keep Prestwick open just to save a few jobs when no one wants to fly from Prestwick anyway. Loosing £800,000 a month and Ryan Air pulling out anyway – free rail passes to Glasgow Airport for the staff becoming unemployed.  Back to ‘Market Forces’

And the Leader pleading for all (including the great and the good) to make their views, Yes or No, known as the decision Yes or No is ‘too fundamental for issues to go unspoken’.

All this is of course relevant; but as Lesley and Brian point out where is the money to come from whatever the decision Yes or No – West Lothian Council say that they need to bear additional  £31 million cuts over the next three years.

The SNP in their White Paper can at best say ‘It’s the Oil’ and No to Trident 2 – well Trident 2 is futures anyway.  Westminster hasn’t a clue except that ‘Cuts are inevitable’.

What is required is for both sides to be realistic about the money – Utopia is not tomorrow with either choice – Utopia never has existed except in the imagination . St Thomas More lost his head for coming out with it (OK I know I fudge to make the comment).  What we want to ensure following either decision that we are not faced with a Dystopia.  In either case there needs to be a complete re-think of the Scottish economy – and one where there is more input from all concerned not just from the great and the good.

Incidentally Bill Jamieson ex Executive Editor of the Scotsman and an economist believes that when the electorate go to the poles, thoughts of the economy will be out of the window – votes will be cast on the basis of identity and belonging.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/bill-jamieson-a-matter-of-identity-and-belonging-1-3464823

And I agree – there has been far too many conflicting short-term economics thrown about over the last 18 plus months;  no one can think about the next 50 years never mind 300.  Get the Referendum over then start to map out Scotland’s future and then set out the economic strategy with all its risk.

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