Friday, 18 March 2016

Swallowing The Propaganda

Have you noticed how remarkably clairvoyant on Scottish matters are letter writers from England's southern counties? In Letters to the Editor pages of serious newspapers I keep coming across contributions from supporters of Britain remaining in the European Union.

Emanating from Surrey, Sussex and Suchlike-shire come confident predictions of how Scotland will vote in a referendum that is still more than three months away, how the SNP will react to that vote, how Scotland will vote in a second independence referendum months later and how the EU will respond to an application for membership from a newly independent Scotland long after that.

It seems the disaster of a break-up of the United Kingdom can only be avoided if the UK votes to remain in the EU.

In an earlier post I noted several reasons why the case for Scottish independence has weakened significantly in the eighteen months or so since the referendum. My view was confirmed recently by official statistics showing that our fiscal deficit would now be £15 billion, between three and four times the already hefty sum predicted in the SNP's independence prospectus. The SNP themselves have rediscovered the virtues of the Barnett Formula (by which Scotland's budget is subsidised), once they discovered they would lose money as a result of the fiscal autonomy they had vigorously demanded.

Despite all this evidence the Europhiles still trot out the Scottish card to persuade waverers to vote to remain in the EU.  The SNP has said there would have to be another independence referendum and so of course it must be true.

It is only fair, I think, that these southern experts who are so keen to write to newspapers should volunteer their services to the Scottish Government, because it seems quite lost. Whilst identity politics is based on emotion and nationalists are able to overlook the poor management of education, health, police, agriculture and so on by the present Scottish Government, there is nothing like the prospect of being hit hard in the pocket to restore a sense of reason.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Up and Coming
The Campbell-eligible Anthology

Up and Coming, the anthology of work by this year's Campbell Award eligible authors is available for free download right here. The cover illustration, right, is copyright of my friend Holly Heisey.

I am truly honoured to appear in this company. I hope as many people as possible will will download and read the anthology. Those who are in a position to do so, please pick your favourites and make the appropriate nominations.

The Campbell Award is for new additions to the ranks of science fiction authors and is presented at this years Hugos.

One minor correction to note: my story Spatchcock, which is quite short, seems to have been classified as a novella. I probably hit the wrong button.

Anyway, here's your chance to read all of this good stuff for free. Don't wait too long, because the offer is intended to assist voters and it ends when voting does on March 31st.

And you can see what I'm up against! Enjoy.