Oh dear. People in Scotland don’t believe Project Fear’s currency threat. A series of economists don’t believe it, and have popped out of academia to challenge Better Together’s threat in erudite sentences which include economic buzz words like ‘quantitative easing’, ‘balance of trade deficit’, and ‘see that George Osborne, whit a balloon’. Tory cabinet ministers don’t believe it – and they’re so gullible that they believed Maria Miller’s excuses. And now even that bastion of reticence and tact, people who have diplomatic in their job description, the representatives of foreign governments based in the UK, are saying they don’t believe it either.
But it gets worse for Alistair Darling’s master plan. In the estimation of these furren diplomats, Scottish independence looks likely. You can be certain that this opinion will have been reported back to capital cities all round the globe, where governments will now be preparing for the very real possibility of a 19th of September when Scotland reappears on the world stage after a 300 year absence billed below the Krankies in an austerity panto at the British Empire theatre.
And despite what Project Fear tells us, the world will welcome Scotland back into the community of nations. Because one of the things about being a small country out of the way on the corner of a continent, with pretty scenery, a rich history, and culture by the bucketload, is that we have never actually pissed anyone off seriously enough to make them hate us. Apart from Tories and UKIP voters, but they don’t talk to furreners anyway. EXCEPT LOUDLY AND IN ENGLISH.
Take Spain as a furrexample. Project Fear’s recurring ibero-meme is that Spain might block Scottish entry to the EU in order to discourage the Catalans, or even just to express their disapproval of what ABC, aka Franco’s Favourite Newspaper, calls los movimientos rupturistas. I’ve already argued in previous posts that there are many reasons why that’s not going to happen, so won’t repeat them here.
But I have every confidence that the Spanish government will change its tune after a yes vote. I lived in Spain for 15 years and am fluent in Spanish. I have many close friends of varying political opinions on the Catalan question. People I consider family. I know a range of former work colleagues and associates. So I think I know more than a Better Together press release writer about opinion in Spain regarding la independencia escocesa.
The truth is that irrespective of their views on Catalonia, people in Spain are overwhelmingly supportive and enthusiastic about the idea of Scotland returning to take her place amongst the independent nations of the world. This is true even of people who vote for the Partido Popular, the right wing party of Mariano Rajoy.
It’s certainly true that many people in Spain have a highly romanticised, and even stereotypical, view of Scotland – but their romanticised stereotypes are highly positive ones. My favourite romanticised stereotype was the view that Scotsmen are deeply romantic. A view which can only be held by those who’ve never slept with one.
Both sides on the Catalan question hold the Scottish referendum debate up as a model of democratic legitimacy and reasoned argument. Both sides fully accept that Scotland is a nation in her own right, a nation in every sense of the word. Unionistas point to Scotland and say “Scotland was an independent state until historically recent times, they can be a state again”, while independentistas point to Scotland and say “Scottish Unionists recognise Scotland’s right to self determination, why can’t Spanish Unionists recognise ours?”
By the way, it’s far easier to express some political concepts in Spanish than in English. In Spanish you don’t constantly have to have annoying arguments about all independence supporters being nationalists and just the same as Hitler. Spanish has the useful word independentista – which means a person who supports the right to self determination, and nationalism doesn’t come into it. English just has the word “nationalist”. Unfortunately the English version, independentist, makes you sound like a tooth puller for independence, or someone who does freelance fillings. Perhaps those are the ones we use to receive the secret signals from Alicsammin’s underground lair… hmmm… But I digress…
Yet according to Project Fear, Spain is the country that is the ground zero of international naw-ness to Scottish independence. Spain ought to be hoatching with people who object vociferously to Scottish independence. And it’s true that in the columns of right wing Spanish newspapers you will find the occasional OBE Juan. But go speak to Spanish people, and you find very few objections and a whole lot of positivity. That’s a picture that repeats itself all over the globe, just ask one of the hundreds of thousands of Scots who’ve made their lives in furren pairts.
Foreign governments – at least the democratic ones – by and large reflect the views of their people. It’s only Scotland that gets lumbered with governments which are completely unrepresentative of the popular will. And people in foreign countries, especially European countries, have positive views about Scotland. Foreign governments take the idea of Scottish independence in their stride. This doesn’t mean there will be no problems or issues. But if there are issues foreign governments will be open to negotiation, and they will negotiate in good faith and with good will.
Better Together has shrugged it off. It’s just a wee flush in the trajectory of a campaign which has already negotiated several toilet U-bends, and descended down the sewer some while ago. They’re not worried, because they say they haven’t actually started campaigning properly yet. No, they really did say that, or at least Severin Carrell reported in the Guardian that they’re saying it in private.
Which does kinda make ye wonder whit the feck they’ve been doing up to now, if they’ve not actually been campaigning properly yet. Has all of Project Fear just been an improper campaign then? It’s nice to see that Better Together finally recognise what most of Scotland has seen for quite some time. It’s a pretend campaign of togetherness involving people who would cheerfully send each other’s grannies off to the tender mercies of an ATOS interview, and which spouts pretend threats and invented warnings. But in a little while, they’ll be properly pretend threats. And they will pretend that it will make all the difference. They’ll lay astroturf and pretend they’re growing grassroots.
There’s only one real campaign in Scotland. That’s the yes campaign and its army of ambassadors who are out chapping on doors and changing opinions one by one – and it’s only just beginning. There’s 160 days to go. Let’s use them well. There’s a whole lot of don’t knows and wavering no voters out there. Let’s show them that independence means giving Scotland back her voice, being welcomed back into the community of nations, and sending a diplomatic message of our own –
Hello world! We’re back!