A letter to most Scottish & UK papers. It is long so when they decide not to publish I will send several cut down versions, probably amount to a couple of hundred separate submissions. That would effectively guarantee publication of our press were interested in balanced letters pages.
At his Scottish conference, LibDem leader Nick Clegg has said how important it is that the Unionist parties work together to defeat the separation referendum. Liberals, Labour and Conservative. There is obviously something missing from this spirit of togetherness – any willingness to work with the 3rd party in British politics UKIP (4th in Scotland, but still ahead of Clegg’s own & likely to take 1st place in the EU elections).
I attended a debate hosted by a leftist charity where the 3 approved parties spoke but from which UKIP was censored. The audience vote showed the approved parties lost heavily. This failure was all the more unnecessary since all the “nationalist” speakers, even from the SNP, were antagonistic to nationalism. All based their pitches on the, in my view, unrealistic expectation that separation would make us independent of the laws of arithmetic and able to make enormous financial commitments without raising any money. One speaker even acknowledged, in response to my question, that he would be happy to see us in permanent recession as long as their shibboleths were satisfied. It should not have been difficult to win that debate.
By comparison, last year UKIP’s leader Mike Scott-Hayward, candidate Stuart Maskell and I stood, without preparation, in debate against Yes campaigners (the traditional party representatives all pulled out at the last moment) and won convincingly.
Part of it is that some of the most clear-cut arguments involve the EU. If Scotland were to join as a new nation we would, at best, get the basic new nation terms. This means we would lose our share of Britain’s rebate (£500 million); would have to sign the Shengen immigration terms, meaning border posts at Gretna; agree to eventually joining the Euro; and sign up to the working time agreements which, going by the far worse continental employment figures, would destroy 170,000 jobs. However, because the traditional parties are EU enthusiasts they are clearly reluctant to mention this, and do not appear to have their hearts in the fight at all.
By excluding UKIP, for party political reasons, they (& the BBC whose censorship of UKIP in Scotland would have done the Soviets proud) are preventing Scots having a full and rounded debate. This is what happened in the AV referendum where the LibDems refused UKIP’s assistance, deciding to depend on the popularity of Clegg – and lost despite the polls starting in their favour. If Britain is destroyed and Scotland plunged into financial disaster under incompetent politicians who think wishing will make it so (& who have already threatened to repudiate the national debt, something no sensible chancellor ever merely threatens to do) it will not be because the extreme “socialists” and a declining covering of nationalists, have won the debate. It will be because the LabConDems & BBC have ensured Scots have not had a real debate. From experience both Clegg and I can confirm that those presenting the UKIP view can win in debate whenever we are not censored out of it. We can win the debate on whether Britain should have a future if we are not censored and Scotland’s future is too important an issue for it to be settled by party interests.
Refs - The Referendum debate UKIP won http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/ukip-debate-independence-campaign-ukip.html
The one the approved parties lost http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/independence-debate-not-about.html