Jim Sillars critiques Yes: Is he right?
In an article published earlier in the week Jim Sillars questions whether the Yes campaign is producing enough high quality accessible information. He also questions whether Yes will produce useful information that suggests alternative post-Indy narratives from those mapped out by the SNP and Scottish Government. Below is part of his article. What do our readers think? Is Jim making some valid observations?
The consistent low poll rating for independence is a testament not to the skill of the fearmongers, but to the inability of the Yes campaign to provide convincing in-depth information on why we must choose independence if we are to break free of an England in decline. The Yes leadership report card to date reads “nice people, intelligent, mean well, but need to do better”.
Part of the problem seems to be that the Yes campaign has become entangled with the SNP government, and appears to be like one of the submissive branches of the party that we are all now familiar with – echoing whatever comes out of Bute House.
Independence is not about the SNP. That party has been a vehicle to bring us to the point of decision on our future, and its efforts should be recognised and applauded, but it is not necessarily the future. If Scotland votes Yes, the political scene will be transformed. Scottish Labour, for one, will be freed from the unionist intellectual trap that has determined the boundaries within which it thinks. Europe is a good example of the entanglement. The Yes campaign simply repeats that SNP assertion that we will be in full membership of the EU on independence, and so is besmirched with the tar that now adheres to that SNP policy.
Where is the thoughtful paper for volunteers in the campaign that explains why Scotland is not a beggar at the gate of Brussels? A paper that examines the issue of what being “at the heart of Europe” means – joining the single United States of Europe, with the total loss of sovereignty that the referendum is supposed to give us? A paper that points out the alternative, the European Free Trade Area, if we find that the Franco-German driven direction of more integration is unacceptable? And a paper that reminds us that we have two years between 2014 and 2016 to decide where we might want to go?
Where is the detailed paper that volunteer activists can use that deals with the issue of the currency, setting out the options to the SNP government’s position? They do exist. Where is there information available that shows the balance of the Scottish economy between manufacturing and services, as opposed to the imbalance south of the Border? Where is the ruthless analysis of the inadequacies of devolution? Above all, where is the penetrating, scathing, scourging analysis of the state the British state is in, and why it is in this state – showing the future for Scots if they remain with failure?
There is nothing to be afraid of in a Yes campaign that reveals the weakness of what the No side is asking us to abide with, and nothing to be afraid of in engaging with people on the range of issues, and the options available, that differ from those proposed by the SNP.