I am gratified, not to say astonished, that the Scotsman have published a letter from me today. 2 days running is unprecedented.
Lesley Riddoch says Perspective (12th May) that "debates are being cancelled or abandoned because Better Together won't supply speakers". If so this is disgraceful. Also unnecessary.
Better Together have always refused to work together with UKIP. However UKIP has not returned the disfavour and our current leader Arthur "Misty" Thackeray was the organiser of UKIP's campaign before his elevation. I am certain that he would make every attempt to produce a speaker where a debate is wanted.
I personally regard open public debate of every political issue as a necessary and perhaps sufficient condition for democracy and assume the effective BBC ban on UKIP in the referendum debate means they do to.
In 2012 I had the honour, along with our then leader Mike Scott-Hayward of debating in Glasgow City Chambers for No. Despite having only a few minutes preparation (the other parties had, at the last moment, found prior engagements) we won easily. Partly by the expedient of mentioning a prior Green assertion that "nobody should vote Yes in the expectation of any economic growth in the next 10 years" which their partners had not disputed.
The opposition were left complaining how unfair it was that they had to face us when had been expecting only the usual suspects.
The exclusion of UKIP from the referendum "debate" has meant that a number of the clearest arguments against have gone unmade - those relating to the EU.
Losing the opt-outs Britain has would mean losing our share of the rebate (nearly £1 bn); losing the opt outs from the social chapter would cost us 170,000 jobs; signing the Shengen agreement on immigration means border posts at Gretna; new members have to promise to someday join the euro. The SNP, uniquely among nominally separatist parties worldwide, deny us even a referendum on whether we want this union.
Apart from the harm the Better Together campaign and the gatekeepers of the media have done to the No campaign, the Scottish people have, so far, been denied a genuine 2 sided debate on the issue. That can still change.
Prospective UKIP Glasgow candidate
Ref - The Glasgow City Chambers debate http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/ukip-debate-independence-campaign-ukip.html
That is as good as I could ever have wanted. Not edited - check; party affiliation - check; dig at the other parties - check; pushing my own hobbyhorse of the importance of open debate - check; significant pressure to get us elbowing our way into the debate - check; bit of humour - check; getting to modestly imply I am a capable public speaker - check; getting to call the BBC totalitarian censors - check; putting forward a range of anti-separation and anti-EU arguments that have barely been mentioned - check; getting to use the word "censorship" in print to describe the censorship endemic to our politics - check.