Wednesday 13 February 2013

Separation anxiety.

So Pete Wishart today told us that the word "separate" (adj., being or standing apart; distant or dispersed; existing or maintained independently) is, as far he is concerned, "silly" and "pejorative". I know the SNP tend to be a touchy lot, but this is just ridiculous. Perhaps someone from the SNP would like to clarify which words they deem to be sufficiently politically correct to describe a hypothetical independent Scotland. Here's a few to consider:

  • abstracted
  • apart
  • apportioned
  • asunder
  • cut apart
  • cut in two
  • detached
  • disassociated
  • discrete
  • disembodied
  • disjointed
  • distant
  • distributed
  • disunited
  • divergent
  • divided
  • divorced
  • far between
  • free
  • in halves
  • independent
  • isolated
  • loose
  • marked
  • parted
  • partitioned
  • put asunder
  • removed
  • scattered
  • set apart
  • set asunder
  • severed
  • sovereign
  • sundered
  • unattached
  • unconnected

I'm guessing "free" and "sovereign" might be okay by them; "divorced, "set asunder" or "severed", probably less so.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Timetable for a ghost train

The SNPland Government published another thinly-disguised propaganda tract today, grandly entitled Scotland’s Future: from the Referendum to Independence and a Written Constitution. Following their current strategy of implying that separation is a forgone conclusion, it consists of two sections, one extolling the virtues of an independent country with a written constitution, the other, a risible attempt to justify their March 2016 deadline for a declaration of independence.

In the first section it's asserted that an independent Scottish Government will be better able to sustain a stable economy ... and ensure that all of the people of Scotland have the chance to reach their full potential. So a small country of five million would be better at sustaining a stable economy than one of 63 million? And how exactly would turning the rest of the UK into a foreign country enable Scots to reach their full potential?

Independence is the natural state of affairs for countries across the world. An odd assertion, even for the nationalists. Surely to be independent, you need something to be independent from first?

Another good one: Many countries around the world place constitutional controls on the use of military power. That'll be the ones that had their constitution imposed on them after losing a war. You know, like Germany or Japan...

Moving on to the second half of this magnum opus, we have an interesting factoid presented to us: Of new states which have become UN members since 1945, 30 became independent following a referendum on independent statehood with the average length of time between the referendum and independence day being approximately 15 months.

As the BBC have helpfully reported, those 30 countries are largely third-world former colonies, places like the Central African Republic, Niger, Chad, Upper Volta, Tuvalu, Kiribati and South Sudan. So that's the kind of countries the SNP are going to model their independent state on. Somehow I doubt their independence process involved dealing with quite the same amount of infrastructure and bureaucracy as the formation of a new European state in the 21st century would.

In addition to discussions with the UK, negotiations will be required in advance of independence with the European Union to agree the terms of an independent Scotland’s continuing membership. They may be required in advance if an independent Scotland isn't to spend several years outside of the EU, but will the EU agree to negotiate with a government that does not yet represent an independent state? I'm not sure Mr Barosso would affirm that assertion.

The second half of the paper talks a lot about a "constitutional platform" and the need to have one in place before the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. This appears to be an attempt to bundle various legal matters not currently devolved in Scotland into a nice neat package - a country to go, ready to hit the ground running in March 2016. If only it were that simple. There's no mention of defence and national security, foreign relations, regulatory bodies, provision of social security, or scientific research funding, to name but a few. Obviously all that tedious bureaucracy will take only a matter of months to have sorted out. But there will at least be a Scottish Treasury, even if there will be no central bank or lender of last resort.

And, naturally, there's no mention at all of how much this "platform" is going to cost and how many civil servants will be needed to work on it.

Of course, the real reason for the self-imposed March 2016 deadline is to prevent the Scottish Parliament elections in that year becoming a second independence referendum and a last-minute chance to stop the juggernaut. Clearly, the nationalists would want things to be well beyond the point of no return before then.