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.