Sometimes, some people have a dig at the SNP by stating that support for independence has fallen since they entered office in 2007. This was not part of the plan, but is it the SNP’s fault? One argument made by John Curtice is that the SNP has become a victim of its own success. People may feel that they can enjoy the ‘best of both worlds’ by staying part of the Union and having an SNP Government ‘standing up for Scotland’. Here is one example from the SDMR in May 2008 (p39):
If you don’t fancy going through the 300 pages per year reports, I summarise them in this book like this:
Every week, I make the mistake of listening to the News Quiz on radio 4. Last week in particular was annoying because it produced a revival of the focus on Scottish independence through the lens of people who cannot be arsed to learn or think much about it. I know it’s a comedy show, but it’s not people falling over banana skins and wondering what you get when you cross a sheep with a kangaroo. No, they want to look intelligent as they get polite laughter. Yet, JH wondered aloud if Indy Light was worth bothering with, since Scotland wouldn’t be much different if it kept the Queen, BBC and the pound. Well, even as a joke, that’s just shite, isn’t it? The difference would be Scottish Government responsibility for things that are so important we should put them in capitals: NUCLEAR WEAPONS and DEFENCE, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ENERGY, TAXATION and SOCIAL SECURITY. So, the not-worth-bothering-with argument has to go down as the worst argument of the indyref debate. It’s on a par with my relative’s argument that there’s nothing worse than wet hands.
When I was in Japan, I was asked to compare Scottish independence to that of Estonia. I was told that, after the fall of the Soviet Union, energy and industry was limited in Estonia, which took the opportunity to rebuild its economy on the back of IT (including companies such as Skype). The question was: would Scotland do the same? The answer is that any break from the UK does not have that same profound sense of separation, novelty and crisis. Rather, Scotland would remain a relatively rich country with natural resources and developed ‘human capital’. Its break from the rest of the UK is not radical. Rather, it will keep some meaningful institutions (including the Queen and perhaps the BBC), seek to keep the pound as its currency (although the details are hotly debated right now), become part of the EU (which will maintain many Scottish laws and practices) and maintain important social, economic and political ties to the rest of the UK. It is often described as a ‘divorce’, but it’s more likely to be Moore/ Willis than Holmes/ Cruise. I then said that modern Scottish independence is often called ‘Indy Light’, to reflect that qualified sense of separation. It took some time to explain the term, and we talked about Coke Light/ Diet Coke as the real thing without the sugar. I’m not sure what the connotation is supposed to be, though, since it began (I think) as a disparaging term – when diet coke is quite nice really.