Critical errors of judgement affecting the referendum

Signing the Edinburgh Agreement

by Jim & Margaret Cuthbert

This article puts forward an argument which may, in Nationalist circles, be a minority view. Namely, that gross errors of judgement have been made in relation to the forthcoming referendum, and in the recently signed accord between Alex Salmond and David Cameron: and that these are likely to seriously damage the cause of Scottish independence.

There are four basic errors of judgement with the arrangements and policies relating to the referendum. The first relates to the vision for independence being put forward by the SNP leadership as the basis for a “yes” vote in the referendum. We will show that this vision is not consistent with meaningful independence. The second is that, implicit in the leadership’s vision for independence, there is a view of the current state of the UK which is unduly reassuring: by failing to effectively challenge the current UK economic and social model, the leadership are not providing the correct context for making decisions about Scottish independence. The third problem is one of timing. And the fourth relates to the implications of the recently signed Salmond-Cameron accord.

We now discuss each of these.

As a number of recent statements by the SNP leadership have made clear, the vision of independence which they foresee, after a “yes” vote in the referendum, would involve the following. Scotland would retain the Queen as head of state. We would remain in the EU – and, following the SNP’s recent conference decision, would also be members of NATO. And critically, Scotland would still be a member of the UK monetary union: not merely retaining sterling, but looking to London for financial supervision, and continuing to have the Bank of England as lender of last resort.

If Scotland votes “yes” in the referendum, then negotiations would need to be held with each of the relevant counterparties involved in the SNP leadership’s vision of independence. None of these negotiations is going to be easy: but one set is going to be impossible. Specifically, there will be no satisfactory outcome for Scotland in the negotiations to implement the SNP’s vision of how Scotland might continue to be a member of the UK monetary union.

As current events in the euro area demonstrate only too graphically, it is virtually impossible to achieve a successful monetary union without arrangements that are, in effect, equivalent to political union. There need to be budgetary and fiscal constraints in place to prevent any area of the union “free-loading” at the expense of other areas. There needs to be a common system of banking regulation in place, so that the lender of last resort is not underwriting the debts of financial institutions over which it has no control. In any negotiation to keep Scotland in the sterling monetary union, Westminster will inevitably insist on tight controls on Scotland’s ability to borrow, and on its ability to vary the structure of its taxes. Monetary union as envisaged by the SNP leadership is therefore not consistent with meaningful Scottish independence.

It is also worth noting that the SNP’s leadership vision of independence has greatly weakened our bargaining position in relation to another important set of negotiations – namely, relations with the EU. We would be in a much stronger position if our basic stance on the EU was that an independent Scotland could do perfectly well outside the EU: but might be willing to participate if the terms on offer were attractive enough.

We now turn to the second fundamental issue: namely that, implicit in the SNP leadership’s vision is a view of the current state of the UK which is unduly reassuring. What their vision implies is that the UK currently is, and the rest of the UK will remain, so stable and prosperous that we will want to continue to share in its currency, and in other institutions like the monarchy.

In fact, it is now perfectly clear that, even if we leave Scotland out of the debate, the current model of the UK is shortly going to have to confront fundamental questions. Let us just list a few of these. There is the question of debt: of a moribund economy which has been grossly over reliant on the failed City model, and on running down finite hydrocarbon reserves, while the industrial base eroded: this has been compounded by the failure to invest adequately in research and development, which means that there are insufficient new opportunities for regenerating UK industry: there is the lack of any coherent economic strategy or vision: there are increasing inequalities, both regionally and between different groups in society, indicative of a failing monetary union: there is growing euroscepticism and the question of whether the UK should be in or out of the EU: and there is a constitution, and arrangements for the monarchy, which are increasingly seen as unduly elitist, secretive, and non-democratic, and not to be trusted to act in the interests of the people.

At some point in the not too distant future, the UK is going to have to grapple with these problems. This will be a traumatic process: and it is not too strong to say that, even leaving aside the Scottish question, the UK is in a state of emerging crisis. What sort of country will emerge from this crisis is not clear: but it is not at all obvious that it will be stable, or prosperous, or have a political complexion and organisation in which Scotland would wish to continue to play a part. It is nonsensical to attempt to isolate decisions about Scotland’s future from the debate, and ferment, which will surround the coming UK crisis. And it is even more nonsensical to try to make decisions about Scotland’s future while painting an implicitly rosy picture about the nature and stability of the rest of the UK. And yet that is precisely the position we are now in.

This leads us to the third issue, that of timing. We know that a wider UK crisis is coming: but no-one knows precisely when. In this context, it made absolutely no sense to set a fixed time table for the Scottish independence referendum. If the referendum takes place before the full implications of the wider UK crisis become clear, then voters in the referendum will be in no position to make an informed choice about what the, possibly stark, implications of staying in the UK might actually be. This danger is increased because, with the referendum timetable set, the unionists will inevitably be trying to postpone the wider UK debate until after the Scottish referendum. They may not succeed in this, but they will definitely try. As evidence, witness the UK government’s decision to postpone the full comprehensive spending review until after the referendum.

Lastly, we come to a final disastrous decision, namely the terms of the accord between Alex Salmond and David Cameron. This not merely made the mistake of setting a fixed referendum timetable. On top of this, the final clause of the accord bound both parties to accept the referendum result. Scotland gained nothing out of this: we have a right of self determination, and we are not beholden to David Cameron  for this right. But we have lost enormously. Suppose there is a “no” vote in the referendum. Suppose also that a wider UK crisis breaks out shortly thereafter, perhaps prompted by a run on sterling, or a referendum on UK membership of the EU. And suppose also that it becomes clear that most Scots want no part in the new model of the UK state which emerges from the crisis. Then the Salmond-Cameron accord will be used against us, to prevent the question of Scottish independence being readdressed. In effect, the final clause of the accord means that we will have potentially given up our right of self determination just as we are moving into a period when changes in the UK might bring Scots to reassert their wish for independence.

In summary, the way that the SNP leadership has played its referendum tactics has, we argue, put us in a disastrous situation. If there is a “yes” vote, the vision of “independence” which the leadership is putting forward is not actually consistent with independence in any meaningful sense. Worse, the chance of a “no” vote is greatly increased, because an inaccurately rosy picture is being painted of the ongoing stability of the rest of the UK. We are being forced into a vote when it is quite possible that the full implications of the emerging wider UK crisis are not apparent. And, to crown it all, the needless final clause of the recently signed accord would be used, in the event of a “no” vote, to argue that we have given up our right of self-determination just when we needed it most.

This is not a pretty picture. But the position is not disastrous. As Parnell, the great Irish leader, said “No man has a right to fix the boundary to the march of a nation. No man has a right to say to his country thus far shalt thou go and no further.

In the final analysis, the Salmond-Cameron accord is merely a scrap of paper.

(Further papers on economic and statistical issues by Jim & Margaret Cuthbert can be found at www.cuthbert1.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk)

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Categories: Alex Salmond, Referendum on Independence

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31 replies

  1. These comments include a large quantity of speculation about what “might happen” in the future. As the mayor of London once famously said “if we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs – if we had any eggs” !

    • Not seeing a lot of proof to support the speculation in this piece, they’re definitely glass half empty authors. Firstly EU currency – Here’s a fine piece by Newsnet on the findings of Dr Fabian Zuleeg the Chief Economist of the European Policy Centre.

      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/referendum/6249-senior-european-economist-confirms-that-scotland-would-not-have-to-join-euro

      Next currency – A period of fiscal stability will be required for smooth transition through independence. Scotland will need time to marshall its resources (this may be 5,10 or even 20 years, who knows?) and even the McCrone report detailed that over time Scotland’s currency would become the hardest in Europe. At the moment we have no central bank and most cautious people agree that the Euro is not and need not be an option at the moment (see point 1). So unless we feel like pinning ourselves to the dollar or trading in goats cheese, sterling it is for the short term.

      Whether the authors like it or not the union of crowns predates the union of parliaments and is a separate issue. I’m a bit of a republican myself but I’m happy to wait for some future referendum on retention of the monarchy, perhaps after the current queen passes? But not an issue for now.

      Lastly timing – The authors have some prepared ideal date? If so let’s hear it so we can judge the merits. There is no good date in the middle of a world recession, What the current SG have done is avoid the bear trap of the rushed referendum so desired by Westminster and bought the YES campaign two years to fight their way through a cynical and biased media. Also the SNP as the party of government in Holyrood are THE party to whom the public will turn for a vision of a future independent Scottish Government. So yes next year’s white paper, better be good because it will come under the most arduous media scrutiny.

      Of course minus a crystal ball it’s all just speculation on my part too, but then I’m not pretending to know all the answers. As the great Margo would say differences on all of the above are no deal breakers. This referendum is on the principle of independence, not the policy of as yet non existent governments.

  2. I an not so sure of this being critical errors of judgement.Its a strategic gamble I would say,and as for binding us to the agreement we too can wriggle a little.With a change of leadership would come a new voice not beholding to the agreement.

  3. Well. lets see if I can argue the contrary view.

    As Lallands Peat Worrier said, some would say interminably, without a Section 30 Order, any referendum could have been challenged in the Courts by anyone effected by it. This could have led to a sort of legal fillibuster where a referendum would have been put off, basically forever whilst the Courts decided this or that or the other. As we have rather rich adversaries, any decisions could have been appealled all the way to the House of Lords or the European Court of Human Rights. That in itself could have put the timescale of the referendum under the control of people who really, really don’t want a referendum at all. Jim and Margaret must, presumeably, imagine that the will of the people would make that an unlikely scenario for some reason. Perhaps they would care to explain why?

    The SNP is a machine designed initially to leverage independence. We have two years to go. It is interesting, is it not, that the ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign has a chap who is not a member of the SNP at it’s head. It seems to me to be obvious that people without any particular party affiliation but who might be motivated to vote for independence will find that an easier route into the Yes campaign. For what Blair Jenkins may well concentrate on is the fact that independence would allow Scotland to decide democratically if it really wanted to retain the full manifesto of commitments that the SNP have found it necessary to publish. But polling appears to show that these are issues that Scots raise as ‘concerns’. Independence is a big enough step without requiring the voter to decide everything else at the same time.

    What the SNP – it seems to me – have done is merely to sketch out a future. None of it is written on tablets of stone. We will be a democratic nation and should these matters have traction with our electorate they can be changed through a vote, either by electing another party or through a referendum.

    (Personally I do not want a monetary Union with rUK, despite being an SNP member. I would accept the £ until such a time as we printed our own bank-notes.

    Does it worry me that they are proposing using the £ as our currency? Not really, Ireland did it for years and jumped into the Euro at a time that worked out very well, for them. It is a comfort blanket for those that need such things.)

    Most of the other subjects, it should be made clear, are interim, holding, positions pending a written constitution which would allow us, the people, to determine these things through referenda If we cared enough about them to see them as worthwhile issues. And I suspect the general public cares much more about the economic case than it does about Royalty or NATO or the other hot button issues for the political cogniscenti.

    What it seems to me Jim and Margaret are doing is something I increasingly despair over. They assume that change stops with independence. Change starts with independence.

  4. A very thought-provoking article which warrants a more comprehensive response than would be appropriate in a comment.

  5. As the article says “In the final analysis, the Salmond-Cameron accord is merely a scrap of paper.”
    Precisley.
    The object of most of the positions taken by the SNP has been to neuter the most obvious opportunities the unionists had to attack us on.
    None of the positions tie any future independent Scottish Government to anything.
    I don’t quite understand the point of the article.

  6. It’s a cheap shot to line up all the problems that could be faced when rUK goes belly-up and it’s quite another when you can assert your view of how you will be independent – when you are in fact – independent.

    The SNP must carry the people of Scotland over the finishing line – it would be clearly impossible to do that if there wasn’t the comfort and assurance of benign and copable change also on the voters’ table.

    Change is stressful enough on a normal day – but factor in the unbridled, rabid propaganda, lies and misinformation from the UK establishment’s machinery and you won’t move the people from the status-quo, ‘better the devil you know’ spot. This is the whole strategy of the NO-ists.

    I have respect for the Cuthbert’s opinion – but this article is like the sensational headline, grabbing attention – to be followed by the real message in a tucked away paragraph at the end of the piece –

    ‘In the final analysis, the Salmond-Cameron accord is merely a scrap of paper.’

    I would appreciate an article that would explain how to assure independence with the whole panoply of cynical broadcasting and MSM ranged against your every move – not to mention the hell-bent troughers screaming blue murder in huge headlines 24-7.

  7. I am hoping the White Paper will be something along the lines suggested by the Scottish Independence Convention “turning questions into resolutions” which seems to well thought out. Has anybody else looked at this on their website?

  8. Merely a scrap of paper?

    The Act of Union is merely a scrap of paper.

    Title deeds are merely scraps of paper.

    The pen is mightier than the sword.

    Grow up. This piece sounds defeatist.

    To be fair though, I agree with the general thrust of it.

    The SNP’s vision of independence is like luke warm used dishwater.

    Despite the grandstanding etc. Bullingdon Dave was the one trying not to look triumphalist after the agreement was signed.

    Didn’t anyone notice that.

    • Cameron was indeed in a hurry to get the Edinburgh Agreement signed, and oota Scotland as soon as possible. But I put that down to ‘sticking it tae Labour’ with a reduced Labour electorate base in Scotland that will hamper his re-election in 2015. The Conservatives will reign for another 15 years if they let Scotland go; and Cameron knows this, and is willing to let Scotland go because it suits his immediate plans, (reducing the Labour seats in Westminster), and he can concentrate on building colonies in Africa and the Middle East.

  9. Interestingly the Daily Record ( yes, the Daily Record) did a survey on most of the points at debate above and published that the SNP position was the overwhelmingly popular position on them,
    Getting to independence is the hard bit . Realists understand that.

  10. Jim and Margaret are raising very important issues. Dave McEwan Hill says he does not understand the points they are making to let me underline two of the most fundamental points: The question of an independent Scotland making use of the pound sterling is not really the issue, it is doing so outwith national control and handing that over to the BoE control and regulation of our banking system. If we did such a foolish thing we would be giving the BoF control of the Scottish economy which could then be manipulated from outside as the Greek economy currently is. Since the BoE was at the heart of the recent financial crisis, since we now know that the London LIBOR rate was being manipulated by the banks with BoE complicity; this would be like handing our economy over to the mafia on the grounds that they are good administrators.
    The other and related point is the “assumption” that the British pound and the British economy which underlines it are stable and reliable.
    This is a dangerous assumption, and flies in the face of the available evidence. The Uk’s manufacturing sector has been run down and requires major restructuring. The UK’s economy is heavily dependent on financial services the very sector of the economy from which the last crisis arose which has not been resolved yet.
    To give people the impression that the UK’s economy is stable and reliable is false, and indeed this may be demonstrated before we even get to vote in the referendum.
    Parnell of course was right and the Salmond – Cameron agreement is indeed just a piece of paper which will not be of relevance to the MSPs elected in Scotland’s first free national democratic election in 2016.

    • The point for me is that, ultimately, Scotland’s position regarding its currency will be under its control. The SNP’s position, effectively, is to outsource control of the currency to the Bank of England, but that doesn’t remove the responsibility and authority from the Scottish state. If the currency arrangement does not work in Scotland’s national interest then it can be changed.

      I view this whole process as putting into effect the constitutional principle that sovereignty with the Scottish people. What Scotland looks like on day one isn’t really what is at issue; it is that we can determine our future.

  11. Can’t see the wood for the trees here? The argument has to be simple and clear. Bog it down and you can guarantee a no vote. The rest is up to whoever we chose to elect if and when we vote yes.

  12. Nonsense. Currency Unions work perfectly well in economies with similar GDPs.
    The Queen not being retained is a blatant vote-loser.
    There has to be a time-scale.
    Salmond did the right thing in achieving the section 30 order.

    This blog’s an ego-trip without substance or sense.

  13. I agree with all your points ,Andy but as I pointed out in my opinion these are positions adopted to neutralise attacks on us and to deal with the cringe or half-wit factor. None of them tie the first Scottish Government to anything as you indicate in yourt final paragraph

  14. The final two paragraphs say it all

  15. Unfortunately for the Cuthbert’s the arguments forwarded in their article are not just wrong, they are damaging to the cause of independence they purport to hold so dear. Independence movements have frequently had to struggle on two fronts; against the forces of reaction they are attempting to throw off on the one hand, and against the independence ultras insisting on the their chosen brand of ideologically pure independence on the other.

    The Cuthberts are providing aid and comfort for the enemies of independence by positing that the SNP, by compromising on particular issues, are in fact only offering “pretends” independence. They would apparently rather the result in 2014 was “No” than accept independence which didn’t live up to their view of what it should entail.

    The four errors they expound seem pretty thin gruel to me; they either just aren’t that important, or even if you DO consider them important, are by no means sure to have the impact they expect.

    The Cuthberts vision is apparently clouded by the red haze of rage which seems to afflict a significant minority of independence advocates; they conflate what the SNP is doing and will do with what the Scottish people will do. Whatever the SNP advocate in the 24 months until 2014, and assuming a “Yes” vote in the period after, whist interesting in the abstract and important given their pivotal role, can BY NO MEANS be seen as authoritative.

    IT is up to the Scottish people to decide what an independent Scotland will look like, not the SNP! Whether we retain the monarchy, the pound sterling, stay in the EU, have a written constitution and if so what it looks like, stay in NATO… all of these things are not in the gift of the SNP or any other party or interest group.

    Of course these issues will entail detailed and possibly painful negotiations with the various bodies involved, but the Cuthberts seem to badly underestimate the Scottish people if they believe that a “No” vote and the precepts of the Edinburgh Agreement doom us to no change in the status quo for a generation. A No vote, particularly if it is a close one, will put immense pressure on the unionist ascendancy to come up with goods in terms of concrete plans for increased devolution. This is a circle they simply can’t square however; even if they could come up with a coherent plan amongst themselves, they have no realistic prospect of steering such a plan through a hostile Westminster parliament.

    Those who believe the Cuthberts remind me of De Valera and his wrong-headed views on Irish independence; so I’ll end with a quote from Michael Collins on the Anglo Irish Treaty as a riposte to your Parnell quote:

    “The Treaty is already vindicating itself. The English Die-hards said to Mr. Lloyd George and his Cabinet: “You have surrendered”. Our own Die-hards said to us: “You have surrendered”. There is a simple test. Those who are left in possession of the battlefield have won.”

  16. My first thoughts when reading this article were Uh! Oh! here we go again, another article by a pair of NO-Men pretending to be Independence supporters while disparaging the SNP and Independence. There are a lot of such people on internet web sites at the moment.
    Thus I find my sentiments vis a vis this article are very much the same as GALEN 10′s in his/her comment on November 18, 2012 at 09:50, and particularly … “Unfortunately for the Cuthbert’s the arguments forwarded in their article are not just wrong, they are damaging to the cause of independence they purport to hold so dear. Independence movements have frequently had to struggle on two fronts; against the forces of reaction they are attempting to throw off on the one hand, and against the independence ultras insisting on the their chosen brand of ideologically pure independence on the other …”

    • You’re paranoid pal. Try reading the numerous and distinguished contributions by the Cuthberts in the Scots Independent over the last few years before you accuse them of being anti-independence.

      • Well they are certainly not helping to Independence by writing what they have done above.

      • James, we all need to have a discussion abvout the serious challenges ahead. It is not helpful to close off debate about difficult issues. Personally, I’m hoping Peter Bell will respond on this one. I have my own views on the Cuthbert’s article, but await a more widespread debate.

  17. It would be good if Jim & Margaret Cuthbert re-entered the fray. It has always seemed to me that people that just write above the line,
    ignoring the comments of those that comment below the line, are mistaking new media for old.

    Well, Jim and Margeret, what say you?

  18. I wonder at the Bella Caledonia modus?

    Is it OK for folk to write and not reply to the comments?

    Personally, I find that insulting on a site that appears to value below line comments as much as above line comments.

    If Jim & Margaret Cuthbert are not willing to reply to comments, then their opinion is lessened, in my view.

    I would welcome their reponse to my comment at four, for instance.

    Silence, against credible criticism, does not equal a successful post in my opinion.

    It

  19. Well Douglas I agree with your point above, and I agree with much of your points at 4 above. I also find it refreshing that so many of us who are committed to independence get irritated with others of us who challenge some of the positions adopted by the SNP..So let me nail my colours firmly to the mast. I believe that the SNP Government has done an exceptionally good job in the last years, and in the “negotiations” for the referendum. However I believe Jim and Margaret are also correct in the two areas I have referred to above. Not in using the pound sterling per se; but in suggesting allowing the BoE to regulate and control our currency after independence. Now these at two entirely different things. I also agree that giving substance to the idea that the financial system and economy in the UK is “stable” is a mistake. Because there are a number of economic forces which may demonstrate this to be unrealistic before we get to the referendum. A good debate is healthy in democracy, and as a number of people have pointed out in this one the Scottish people will decide in 2016 what Government they will have after we win the referendum. I very much doubt that the negotiations between the Scots and the Rest of the UK will have been concluded by then.

  20. To lead on from on Andy Anderson’s point it is also important that a whole varierty of points of view about the kind of Scotland we want to see after independence air aired.
    It must be made plain that a huge and diverse range of opinions are all united on the independence march.

  21. We really just want to pick out one statement from the above correspondence. This is at the end of Douglas Clark’s initial contribution where he says,
    “They assume that change stops with independence. Change starts with independence.”
    We are far from believing that change stops with independence. Our main hope is that independence would usher in an era when fundamental change in Scotland’s society and economy becomes possible. But equally, it is in our view nonsensical to imply that fundamental change starts with independence. Getting to the point where we have something which approximates to independence – or even to the point where the majority of people vote for independence – will in itself require massive change. To imply that this can be done on a fixed timescale, while painting a rosy “no change” picture of what independence might look like, while talking up the stability, and hence attractiveness, of the rest of the UK – looks optimistic to say the least.
    We should be raising awareness of the instability, if not downward spiral of the rest of the UK. We should take a leaf out of Catalonia’s book: they are using the instability of the rest of Spain and of Europe as an argument for independence.
    Our best chance of independence will come when the UK itself confronts its coming crisis. What is important is to minimise the chance of the Salmond-Cameron accord being used against us at that time. That requires people to speak out now: which was the point of our article.
    Jim and Margaret Cuthbert

  22. Jin and Margaret Cuthbert,

    Thanks for replying. My respect for your commitment to free speech and the principles of engagement with your audience is assuaged.

    It seems to me that a fixed time scale for having this debate is no bad thing. If you are both aware of the ongoing cut-backs that Westminster is intending to impose, it seems that the ‘perfect storm’ that you see as necessary for a ‘YES’ vote in the forthcoming referendum may, indeed, exist in 2014. In other words the instability of the UK will be apparent by then.

    In addition, you ignore the legal need for a Section 30 Order. I am not at all clear whether a referendum on independence would clear the legal hurdles without it. It could be argued that we could go ahead absent it, but the law grinds exceedingly slowly and exceptionally small. Overcoming that, probably protracted timescale, is almost a prize in itself.

    What we apparently both concede – is that independence is indeed a huge step. My contention is that it ought not to have any additional baggage attached to it whatsoever.

    I am, personally, a republican. I see the future as one where I can argue, with a modicum of prospects, for that issue to be put to a referendum of the Scottish people. I am also a democrat, so I could handle a defeat on that issue with equanimity. The opportunity to even test that question within the current settlement is probably as close to zero as makes no difference.

    I agree with you both that retaining the £, or more importantly the B of E as an oversight authority, is a weak point in the independence case. The corollaries, adopting the Euro or floating an independent currency both appear to me to be more attractive. Yes, even the Euro.

    However, none of these options are written on tablets of stone. “Events, dear boy, events” will undoubtedly alter our perceptions and, dare I say it, our decisions. For that is the route we would head down should we vote for independence, a not so scary future if the ‘Old Commonwealth’ is anything to go by.

    It has seemed to me for a while now that most Scots will only engage in this sort of debate – independence or not – when the referendum campaign starts proper. And they will make their decisions on two simple criteria, whether they think they will be better off economically and whether they think their voices will be heard in government.

    These are the issues that I hope the Yes Scotland campaign will address wholeheartedly between now and 2014. If we can get the message across that you will be better off, and that, say, your pension will be secured. If we can highlight that we will no longer harbour WMDs nor enter illegal wars without the express approval of the Scottish people, not politicians, then we have a serious chance of pulling this off.

    I await the White Paper with a great deal of interest. For the detail of just how we plan to govern ourselves is an important topic. It appears that the consensus is around a unicameral legislature, which is fine, but the role of you and I through referenda and rights of recall also needs to be spelled out in a lot of detail. None of this needs to be controversial, but these are the nuts and bolts whereby radical change may become possible.

    On the basis of the foregoing, I despair about talk of radicalisation within the current framework, I really do. It is, frankly, impossible.

    Again, thank you for your time and interest. I think we largely share the same objectives, and perhaps, hopes for the future.

    douglas clark

    .

  23. Apologies to Jim, I have no idea how I missed that typo!

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