Friday, 3 January 2014

Ask a Silly Question

It is annoying that the standard of the independence debate remains low.  Such an important issue deserves better.
For example, we are told that most people agree with the proposition "decisions about Scotland should be taken in Scotland". What a surprise. Surreptitiously sliding emotional bias into surveys is a standard method of distorting results.
Suppose we consider a few other questions formatted in a similar way. For example, do we agree that "decisions about banks should be taken in banks"? Is it purely a matter for bankers to determine whether our deposits should be invested wisely or repaid on demand? No? Thought not.
Perhaps the Northern Isles might care to claim that decisions about the Northern Isles should be taken in the Northern Isles? How would Edinburgh respond to the assertion that "It's Shetland's oil"?
Let us pursue the logic further. Can anyone think of any reason why decisions about me should be entrusted to anyone but myself? What's all this nonsense about having to obey laws?
It should be fairly obvious that it is almost impossible to take decisions affecting one part of a community that do not affect other parts of that community, sometimes very seriously. For any society to be viable, its members must sacrifice some of their individual freedom to the greater good. The real question is therefore whether the value of the greater good is more than the value of the sacrifice.
Now let's think. What would be a good example? How exactly did Scottish banking get bailed out during the financial crisis? Who is placing the warship orders that could keep the Clyde shipyards open? Who decided to give Scotland a bigger share of UK public spending per head than England?
Or perhaps these are the sort of decisions about Scotland that should be taken in Scotland?