Alex Salmond has unilaterally decided not have a separate Scottish defence force after independence. Without consulting his party he has announced that all Scottish military personnel would remain under the command of the Ministry of Defence in London. He also hinted that he would agree to drop the demand that Trident missiles be removed from the Clyde.
The Unionist parties accepted the radical change in policy with good grace and said although it was late in the day and some people had already voted, it was acceptable to alter the offer to voters in an agreed period of purdah. They didn’t ask why this policy hadn’t been proposed in the preceding two years and didn’t inquire how it dovetailed with the overall independence plan. ‘It’s fine with us’, said Better Together. ‘Constantly changing policy without consultation or detail or working out the implications is part and parcel of the democratic process. We welcome this intervention.’
As if…can you imagine the indignation and outrage that would erupt if there was a last-minute switch by the SNP or Yes? Can you imagine the gales of ridicule that would descend upon them from the scoffing Jim Murphys and compliant Press, not to mention the obsequious BBC which deems its role in our society to be page-boy to the great and good?
Instead we hear grandiloquent statements about Devo Max – where the hell did that come from – or federalism – where are you David Torrance – and radical, even ‘huge’ powers according to Nick Robinson. It isn’t just the Unionist parties who have lost the plot – it is the entire country epitomised by the media which proves daily in this process how it lacks the critical faculties expected of normal journalists.
Who in the media is this morning pointing out the flat contradictions between statements and promises between Brown and Darling or Brown and Balls? Labour’s own diluted proposals on tax-raising announced earlier in the year were ridiculed at the time. Now they form the basis of a ‘radical’ new offer verging on federalism. We are entering the world of 1984 where words mean the opposite of their original meaning.
Democracy is being gazumped. Even the STUC is going public with its misgivings about last minute changes and lack of consultation. If this can be put together in days and fixed up in months how come it didn’t happen earlier…
The world knows this is a last throw of the dice for a losing campaign designed to fool enough of the uncritical Labour constituency which desperately wants to believe no eggs need be broken. Some will read the dishonest drivel of the Record and give up their aspiration for real change, no doubt. But if the groundwork has been done properly, the movement is already too strong, the polls are behind the trend and it has become unstoppable. The UK is beginning to look ridiculous.by