The first Black Swan flew over the indy debate this week. Everybody freaked out.
The consequences are still being discussed but it does put paid to the slightly comic idea, still being circulated around some on the left that this isn’t ‘real independence’.
If this isn’t real the British establishment seems pretty desperate to stop it happening.
As this BBC story makes clear all of a sudden new factors spring forth: No currency union, a yes vote might be ignored, and no joint plans for a counter devolution offer.
Bella’s been patiently explaining for about five years why Devo Max is a dead duck to mix poultry metaphors) but apparently it’s come as a surprise.
Who will be the losers in this? It’s too early to say though anecdotal evidence – and social media timelines – show a stream of people tilted across from Don’t Know to Yes in a visceral response to the new Unionist bloc.
Of course the Liberals have absolutely nothing to lose any more, and the Tories have less than that. It’s Labour that are likely to suffer.
As Derek Bateman writes (‘The New Coalition’): “I wrote this week that Balls is conflating his loathing for the SNP – and his fear of it – with the Scots generally. His message doesn’t just hit Nats, it falls on all Scots and brands everyone as somehow an enemy, even Unionists. What is the likely result? He stirs deep-rooted resentment about London diktat, brings to the surface irritations over subsidy jibes and leaves undecided Labour voters wondering what exactly it is they are supporting.”
The confusing thing for Scottish Labour is that, as Irvine Welsh commented today: “The saddest thing about the Labour Party is that they don’t really seem to know why they are so opposed by Scottish Independence.” There’s certainly some mumbling about being against ‘nationalism’ but in the context of a policy void from Miliband and Blue Labour they remain awash in a state of permanent confused frustration. McTernan and Co may be straining at the leash but they really have nowhere to go. What do they want? Nothing to change. When do they want it? Forever and ever. The implicit complacency of UK:OK is massively debilitating. It’s not just a manifesto for inertia its a programme of inaction. Labour are strapped to a mast of Britishness that is difficult to defend and now working hand in hand with Tory and Liberal high command. It’s not just the currency union that has come into question this week, it’s the very identity of the Labour Party.
It’s at times like this that political parties need leaders who can articulate a vision and steer a course: Labour has Johann Lamont and Ed Miliband.
Public Money and Private Wealth
The reality is not just that the New Coaltion’s attacks are ill-founded and ill-timed, it’s that the movement for independence is drawing on a deeper taproot of discontent than they can imagine.
Here’s a newsflash for Better Together: Aditya Chakrabortty isn’t an SNP front. Here he writes for the metropolitan liberal press par excellence: “A giant sucking sound can be heard in the UK today: the sound of public money and private wealth being sucked down south to London. The result is the emasculation not just of Scotland, but of Newcastle, Oldham, the Midlands, and countless other places not featured on the Circle line.”
What other Black Swans are out there in the shadows? Who knows?
The difference is the Yes campaign is battle-hardened and immune to bad news having had a desultory news service rained down on it for a year and more. Better Together however remains enthralled to it’s own propaganda: Yes = the SNP, Salmond as Mugabe, Scotland is an economic basketcase of scroungers ad naueam.
Having tried and failed to scare people into submission, what next for No? Whilst the relentless barrage of negativity will no doubt continue, other more sober voices are out there offering a different take on things. Dominic Frisby writes in the Independent:
But the idea that Scotland, with all its history of finance and banking, cannot issue and run its own money is just fear-mongering. Singapore, Norway and Switzerland are all countries of similar size that have done so successfully. Heck, the Bank of England was founded by a Scot.
Whatever Scotland decides, one thing is for sure – it must free itself of London or the pound if it wants to thrive once again.
Remove people’s sense of self-entitlement and challenge their authority – this is true and apparent of the media elite as much as the political elite – and they will react with fear and loathing. Few of them have the actual resilience of mind or the psychological security to respond rationally. This is what we’ve seen this week and why the first Black Swan has destabilised the Union more than they can realise.