BBC Question Time

13 Jan

There could only be one topic for todays blog. BBC Question Time – Thursday 12 January 2012

I’ve rarely watched QT over the past few years. I used to be an avid watcher in the time of Robin Day. It is a very pale version of it’s previous self.

Given the happenings of the week it was obvious it was going to have to contain some reference to Scottish Independence. The line up of speakers? Interesting, more because of who had been chosen than their ability to discuss and reason; Douglas Alexander from Labour, Paddy Ashdown from LibDem, Justine Greening from the Tories, Kelvin Mackenzie as himself and Nicola Sturgeon from the Scottish National Party. Of course there was also the Chairman/Host/Anchor David Dimbleby who requires to be impartial and is there to ensure balance and fairness as is required within the BBC Charter.

The first question was about the new HS2 rail link. Justine, Paddy, Douglas and Nicola all agreed that it was a very good thing. Justine actually claimed that the new line would enhance the whole of the UK. Kelvin was against it. All the politicians demonstrated how much out of touch or how arrogant they were as far as taxpayers and voters were concerned. It is a waste of money according to the audience, spot on.

Then onto to the main topic. The same nonsense was spoken by Paddy, Douglas and Justine. The referendum should be carried out immediately. Negotiations should be held to frame how it should be done, the question to be put and it should be fair. Call me Dave is very keen on “fair”. He seems to state it almost as often as he uses the “roll our sleeves up” whilst he has his sleeves rolled up. The last independence referendum wasn’t a first past the post version, it was carefully manipulated by the Tories and Labour to ensure it would be almost impossible to achieve a Yes vote. More people did vote Yes than No but not enough to overcome the bar which was set.

There were the usual claims of Scotland needing financial support to survive presently. Nicola, quite rightly pointed out that this wasn’t the case. I think this is one of the stronger positives for Independence. I think it’s not a case of continually proving the point that Scotland gets more money from the rest of the UK than is put in from Scotland. I think the point should be this. Why would the rest of the UK choose to subsidise Scotland, as they claim? If the Scottish people want independence why would the rest of the UK stand in our way? To save us from our own inability to generate enough money to survive as an independent country?

A further comment, this time from Kelvin, who didn’t have a good evening at all. He raised the point that Call me Dave is pushing to keep the UK as it is now. Why would he do this as Scotland leaving would almost ensure England has a Tory Government almost forever? Call me Dave would also save a lot of money out of his budget and have more to spend on his shiny new train set and he’d be in government for a long time without the need to involve the LibDems. I think that needs answered and I’d like it answered soon because he has no reason not too unless of course he is trying to skew the results. That’s the same demands he is forcing on the SNP.

Nicola managed to hold up pretty well to an onslaught from the three other politicians. Douglas Alexander played the roll of bullyboy. He hectored and interrupted and his arguments were less than shaky. Paddy hinted that separation would be very messy because he had experience of messy separations. The Balkans? Was he really drawing a comparison with that conflict? Justine was simply ineffective and out of her depth.

David Dimbleby was excellent. He helped Douglas bully and interrupt Nicola.

This isn’t about the Scots not liking the English, which just isn’t the case anyway. It’s not about the Scottish people wishing to break up the UK.  It’s not about money.

It’s purely and simply the Scottish people wanting to have their own country and to be left to get on with making it a better place to live for those who want to live in here. It won’t be easy. There will be fall-outs. At times we will struggle. We will fail painfully on occasions.

We know all of this. We also know that we will achieve success. We will improve things. We will join with countries around the word and trade, co-operate and partner with them. We will not allow ourselves to be pulled into conflicts.

The argument for staying within the UK diminishes further each day.

The question really is – why don’t the English seize this as an opportunity to determine how they want their country to be now and in the future?

Was the programme a success for the Unionists? They will think it was. In truth they have driven more people to join the SNP Party. They have driven more people to vote yes. They have hardened the conviction of people already going to vote yes.



Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Politics, Scottish Independence


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “BBC Question Time

  1. Clarinda

    January 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Sorry, so late to answer ….

    I noticed that it took an audience member to ask exactly why Scotland would choose to remain in the union apart from the froth of “stronger together” with which she obviously wasn’t impressed – and she was English! Lord Ashdown prattled on with more subjective “taller together” guff – eventually deciding that the UK would need the Scottish armed forces should the UK be attacked!!!!!! Duh!

    I think you have a good point to make about our potential economic strength – some keep on about Mr Salmond’s reluctance to state whether we would join the Euro – but I suspect this is where his gradualist existentialism (?) in fact, cuts the mustard as who is to say that in 2/3 years the Euro will still exist? He is a much more long-sighted politician and critical thinker (more importantly) than many give him credit – this enables him to be such a formidable debater and generate such a strong team. You can bet that this is one of the major reasons so much bitter bile is thrown at the SNP and Mr Salmond in particular because he’s ‘smarter than the average bear’ and not the usual purveyor of political spin, generalisation and twaddle. They call him “slippery” which is a twisted compliment!

    I think he is being wise in not burning any boats (including the EU holed tub) until we actually know what shape our world will be in when we gain Independence?

    His offer to the unionists to come up with a Devo Max is playing a blinder – he is keeping the Scottish undecideds, alleged ‘No’ voters ( many of whom are Scottish unionists who are swithering but may vote for Independence), and those elsewhere in the UK who are undecided and resistant, on side for the moment as well as implicitly requiring the unionists to do some valid research as to the economic rationale, in the main, as to actually exposing what would be LOST to England, Wales and NI should Devo Max be established by them. If ever there was a poisoned chalice! There is probably little chance of any Devo Max being properly constituted in the time scale (is this why Westminster really want an earlier Yes/No only vote!) – Westminster has been lying and lazy for so long they have been caught out here – and the Devo Max ‘fox’ will require to be more powerful than the eagerly awaited SNP Independence Consultation paper and following debates, which will prove tricky I suspect judging by the total absence of valid criteria as to why Scotland should remain in the UK for the sake of Scottish interests. If it existed I suspect it would be to the fore of unionist arguments – but I haven’t seen any …. and neither has Lord Ashdown!

    • Tedious Tantrums

      January 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Clarinda. There is quite a ways to go as you say. What is Dav’s real aim? Losing Scotland would mean the GDP figure for the UK would go down which might affect it’s standing. There are many things which would be affected. The debate is out there to be won.

      Someone said that if the result was a No Alex would have to stand down. I don’t think so. People consider the politics and forget the voters. It’s the voters who will decide.


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