Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Third class citizens

I must apologise profusely for the grievous error in my previous post. The Scots are actually third class citizens in the UK, not second class. What is the cause of this deflation? Well it seems that Brian Taylor and Douglas Fraser have stuck their fingers in their ears whilst simultaneously sticking two fingers up at the poor Scottish license fee payer (quite a feat, just try it...). Both of their "blogs" now bear the sombre message...

We are no longer enabling comments on this page as a general rule. We will continue, however, to enable comments from time to time on this page as we do across our online service to provide users with the opportunity to contribute on particular stories.

See for yourselves: Brian and Douglas.

Aha, I thought to myself, the Beeb is making swingeing cuts and the moderators have been given the chop! Erm, except that the following blogs still seem to be accepting comments from the great unwashed...

Nick Robinson - UK Politics
Mark D'Arcy - Parliament
Betsan Powys - Wales
Mark Devenport - NI
Gavin Hewitt - Europe
Mark Mardell - North America
Katty Kay - Washington DC
Damian Grammaticas - Beijing
Soutik Biswas - Delhi
Robert Peston - Business
Stephanie Flanders - Economics
Fergus Walsh - Medical
Jonathan Amos - Science
Richard Black - Environment
Rory Cellan-Jones - Technology
Will Gompertz - Arts

I suppose it's fair enough, it's not like anything much important is happening in Scottish politics at the minute, is it? Nor in Scottish business. Not as important as some exhibition on Da Vinci anyway. Well dear reader, I can only urge you to draw the same conclusion as me: if the BBC aren't interested in your opinions about Scotland then they surely can't be too interested in the license fee from Scotland.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Second class citizens

Interesting to see the glee with which various Unionists met the publication of a report by the Commons library. Amongst other things it talks of the possibility (it should be noted that various scenarios are outlined) of Scotland losing various EU rebates and opt-outs that the UK has negotiated and our EU membership itself. The reality of course is that we are in completely uncharted waters here. There are no rules for what happens when an EU member splits up and the decision in the end would be ruled by realpolitik. So I don't think it's wise for either side of the debate to claim certainty in this regard.

But returning to that glee so obvious in the Unionists. By rallying behind that worst-case scenario in which Scotland is out on its ear and has to re-apply as an accession state, aren't they just affirming that the current situation of Scotland (and Scots) is as follows?
  • We aren't proper EU members, we're just being allowed to piggyback on rUK's membership. Even though Scottish votes helped elect the UK government that took us into the EU.
  • The rebate and opt-outs aren't really ours, rUK is just generously allowing us to benefit from them. Even though the UK conducted negotiations for these things (at least in theory) on behalf of the Scottish electorate.
It reminds me of the old wheeze that Scotland would have to fund new embassies all over the place...as if we didn't already have some sort of stake in the existing ones. Or that we'd have to start new armed forces from scratch...as if we didn't contribute to the UK forces at the moment. Or that we'd lose the Queen...as if she is in some way less our Queen than rUK's (for the avoidance of doubt I'm a republican, but for a monarchy without any real powers it's a separate question to independence).

Surely independence negotiations will be a matter of apportioning liabilities and assets? Or if we take the new Unionist view, Scotland takes a share of the national debt and gets none of the assets because they never really belonged to us in any way, shape or form. What really amazes me is that the likes of Margaret Curran seem so happy to put Scotland into that role of grateful supplicant. This is her positive case for the Union, one in which we own nothing and will be kicked off the estate as soon as we piss off the Laird.