Thursday, 31 May 2012

Peaking too soon?

Union Jock read an interesting article in the New Scientist the other week. Surprisingly, Deutsche Bank's lead oil analyst reckons that global demand for petrol will peak in 2015 and then enter "an inexorable and accelerating decline". Global demand for crude oil will subsequently peak around 2020. By 2030, they say, US petrol consumption will be almost halved compared to today. This will be due mainly to the increasing numbers of hybrid and electric vehicles, and increasingly efficient internal combustion engine design. It has to be said that some other economists aren't quite so bearish in their predictions, but DB is backed up by automotive consultancy Ricardo, who also anticipate global oil demand peaking at the end of the decade, and falling by 10% by 2035.

So the "bright future" Wee Eck promised on Tuesday for the industry that has "powered the Scottish economy over the last 40 years" could well fizzle out much sooner than he thinks.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Big Debate, round 2.

Well, that was another disappointing, badly chaired shouting match. But it was worth watching just to see Sturgeon looking distinctly uncomfortable in her inability to provide convincing answers. What are the chances that her first words to Wee Eck after the show were "You bloody do it next time!"? Even her chum Harvie, who was there at the Declaration of Cineworld on Friday, was singing from quite a different hymn sheet at times. It would appear that the Greens, whilst declaring themselves non-nationalist, see Scottish separation as an opportunity to create some kind of anarcho-syndicalist collective enclave where they can shun big business and sit around knitting muesli all day. I can see their alliance with the SNP is going to be an uneasy one.

Interesting that most of the audience questions seemed to be from a Unionist perspective - given that the BBC assure us that the audience were carefully selected to give a balance of opinion, I can only assume that the nationalists were quite satisfied with the vague promises of a future Caledonian Utopia offered on Friday and thus had no further questions?

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Is that it?

So, the "Yes Scotland" campaign (how exactly are you supposed to parse that? Isn't there a missing comma there?) has now kicked off. Seems like a slightly presumptuous slogan, given that the wording of the referendum question has yet to be settled and a "yes/no" format is seen as biased by the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee. But I digress.

According to Wee Eck, if they get one million pledges of allegiance to their cause, then the referendum is won. Not sure how he worked that one out - maybe they intend to rig the referendum so that only 19% have to be in favour of separation?

So what does this declaration they want us to sign say?

"I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all if decisions about Scotland's future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.

I think you'll find quite a lot of decisions about Scotland are already taken by the people of Scotland who have been elected to the Scottish Parliament. And even more of them will be taken after the Scotland Act 2012 comes into play.

"Being independent means Scotland's future will be in Scotland's hands.

Or in other words,  "Being independent means Scotland will be given enough rope to hang itself". Doesn't sound quite so exciting?

"There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.

Stereotypical airy-fairly political speech boilerplate. Replace the word "Scotland" and it could be the output of any presidential candidate's speechwriter.

"I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world - a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation."

Getting a bit anthropomorphic here - quite typical of nationalist rhetoric of course. Isn't Scotland's greatest asset its people? And are their voices, talents, creativity and ability to contribute to the world somehow diminished by having "British Citizen" printed in their passports?

The SNP's attempt to create the facade of a cross-party alliance was less than convincing - Patrick Harvie's declaration that "Greens are not nationalists" must have dampened the atmosphere somewhat, and Colin Fox's presence was surely slightly awkward given his recent criticism of Salmond as an untrustworthy puppet of big business.

And what of the dazzling array of celebs they were expected to wheel out?
  • Sean Connery - Probably Scotland's most famous wife-beating tax exile.
  • Alan Cumming - New York resident and US citizen. Well if you wanted to be in movies, why would you stay in Scotland?
  • Brian Cox - previously a lifelong Labour supporter who reportedly only switched his allegiance last year over free higher education. Also a resident of New York.
  • Pat Kane - '80s has-been, and ex-husband of that infamous embarrassment to the SNP, Joan McAlpine.
  • Liz Lochhead - who seemed quite pleased with the nice shiny badge she had been given.
  • Some bloke who used to be the BBC Scotland news boss.
  • An actor from Greenock you've never heard of.
So no great surprises there then. And some of them didn't even bother to pitch up in person. If you thought things couldn't get any more clich├ęd, then you would have been proved wrong when they even got Dougie McLean on to sing his mawkish drivel, so that we could be treated to the unedifying spectacle of Wee Eck having a wee greet to himself.

Someone at SNP HQ is clearly bereft of new ideas if this damp squib was the best they could do.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Back soon...

You may have noticed Union Jock has been rather quiet of late, but fear not, I'll haven't gone away!