what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The game's a bogey! The Scottish debate - part 8

For 9 months I have been boycotting  Amazon but I broke that boycott a week ago – my Bucharest bookshop couldn’t get me some of the books I needed for the Scottish debate. And so - 17 (!) books duly arrived this morning – four on Scotland; a couple of Sebastian Haffner’s on 1930s Germany which had also proved problematic; and 4 on Greece (which I consider a neighbour given my continuing rent of the Sofia flat).  

So many strong opinions about Scottish independence – so few people expressing the uncertainty which I feel. So I’m grateful to this (anonymous) respondent to a Guardian discussion thread a few days back
Personally, I regard myself as just competent enough to realise that I am entirely incompetent to make a valid, rational judgement on whether independence would be a good or a bad thing. It's just too complicated. There are too many variables.My suspicion is that 90% of both the 'Yes' and 'No' camps are too incompetent to realise that they are too incompetent to make a valid, rational judgement. ....
I doubt that anyone is actually competent enough - with enough information and with the brain to put it all together - to make a rational judgement.And even if there are any such people, the rest of us are too incompetent to judge their competence.It's a mess.Which is why it is irrational to base one's decision on what one thinks it will be like after independence. The only rational question to ask ourselves is whether it's really so bad, really so broken the way that it is, that we should risk changing it.
That's a neat way of putting things - although I would question the comment that we should not explore the Yes scenario – that’s precisely the focus which seems to be missing from the discussion. The different scenarios for a post-Independence world do need to be sketched out - their probabilities, risks and opportunities assessed. I only see the discussion threads in The Guardian - which seem to be 80 % supportive of Yes. It would be useful to do a typology of the reasons which have driven people to this position.

I have the feeling now that the Scottish referendum is a foregone conclusion – that mid-September will see a strong vote for independence. Support for the union is still a few points ahead of the separatists - but the gap has almost vanished.
A month ago I felt that – despite the evidence of the internet which strongly supports the Yes campaign - the privacy of the voting booth would act as a brake. But these last few days in the mountains I’ve been surfing and simply can no longer find voices supporting the link with England and Wales. Andrew O’Hagen, Tom Gallagher and Adam Tomkins are the only independent voices I find – lone writer, historian and constitutional lawyer, respectively. Oh and also this blogger "veering to no" whom one of the Yes websites, by virtue of her rarity value, rather caustically called his “swing constituency” 

Other serious websites supporting independence are Thoughtland – big ideas from a Small Nation; National Collective (artists for a creative Scotland); and Common Weal 

A rare - but rather unctuous - example of one supporting the union case is A Force for Good. In the neutral corner The New York Review of Books has a fairly light take on the debate from Jonathan Freedland 

Two strong names supporting separation are Tariq Ali - in CounterPunch - and Craig Murray - the latter making the good point that the strong UKIP showing in the English local election polls next week  is likely to give an even bigger boost to the ongoing momentum behind separation.

No comments:

Post a Comment