Firstly, apologies for the lousy service I am providing in respect of Force of Habit. I do have something to say, but it’s proving extremely difficult to say it. So I’m taking a couple of days’ break in which I will draw up an essay plan of where I want to go in that particular series of posts, which will hopefully result in some more coherent writing…
In the meantime, the Scottish Referendum. Yep, sticking my head above the parapet a bit here, possibly, but hey. We already know that the result is a No, and I should confess an interest here, as I was very much hoping for a No vote, partly for the sentimental reason that I am very fond of the United Kingdom and would hate to see it break up, but also because as a Labour voter, I did not want to be condemned to a lifetime of Tory governments. So from that perspective, a few thoughts on the campaign to add to the millions of words already expended on it….
Firstly, it was interesting that from the very beginning the No campaign campaigned from its head, the Yes campaign from its heart. No wanted to know about dull stuff like currency and financial markets and central banks, Yes accused them of being negative and majored on emotional word-pictures of the sunlit uplands after independence. This is all well and good, but if I had been a Scottish voter, I would have wanted a few more hard facts from the Yes campaign describing exactly how Scotland wasn’t going to end up like Ireland.
For it’s the economy, stupid, yes, indeedy. A lot was made by the Yes campaign of Alex Salmond’s promise to protect the NHS. Quite where the money was to come from to do this, was not made clear. Scotland has a population that overall has worse health than the rest of the UK, and healthcare, particularly for chronic conditions, is a money pit. To protect the NHS in Scotland will take a lot of money, and according to the Yes campaign, this could be delivered in an independent Scotland without any over reliance on big business. Personally, I couldn’t see how this was going to happen without some sort of economy for the money to come from, which would have to rely on some sort of industry, for which the only likely candidates were oil and finance, big business par excellence. There may have been a plan by the Yes side to create a vibrant wealthy economy capable of providing top-quality healthcare for its citizens without relying on big business, but if so they weren’t saying what it was.