Ok, time to be calm and tranquil after yesterday’s traumas. It’s all a bit eek at times this independence campaign isn’t it. Every day the no campaign manages to find a new way of insulting your intelligence. There can be no nation on the face of this planet which has been collectively patronised as comprehensively as Scotland is being patronised by the UK media. It wouldn’t be so bad if the UK media was inhabited by sage geniuses and wise elders, but it’s actually populated by shrieking hysterics and navel gazers whose sole claim to intellectual and moral superiority is that they are commenting on venal and self-serving UK politicians and a kleptomaniac business class.
And they’re still at it. A new ogre has entered the scare story steeplechase as several of the existing monsters fell at the fence of public opinion, broke their legs and had to be shot. Or at least we’re being told it’s a new ogre.
Following up on the wreckage of the CBI, which took a tumble at Credibility Gap giving itself several compound fractures and its jockeys a severe headache, comes Business for a New Europe. A new business organisation with a new way to scare you anew. They have Business in their title, which means that they’re serious people with serious money and we ought to sit down like good little worker drones and say well that’s us telt then.
According to BNE, Scotland is faced with years in the Eurowilderness and it will be “next to impossible” for Scotland to join the EU on the same terms as the UK – which will of course sail on unperturbed because it hasn’t occurred to anyone at either Business for a New Europe, the UK Government or the UK media that Scotland might mount a legal challenge to the rest of the UK’s dubious claim to be the sole continuing state.
But the new scare story is not actually very new at all. The new BNE report – if that is what it is – is essentially the same as a report written by the very same Dr Daniel Furby over two years ago, which had already been dismissed as an “error strewn fantasy”. The same basic errors are in evidence in today’s media stories too. For example BNE claims that Scotland would find it “very hard” to negotiate an opt-out from the Euro, which completely ignores the essential point that Scotland doesn’t have to negotiate a formal opt-out from the Euro at all.
There’s no need, as Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas pointed out in January 2012 – before he was forced to resign in in a corruption scandal – saying that his country doesn’t need a formal opt-out from the Euro. “No one can force us into joining the euro … We have a de facto opt-out,” he said.
Nečas was referring to requirement to join the ERM for two years before a country can join the Euro. Membership of the ERM is entirely voluntary, and EU members are at perfect liberty to delay membership of the ERM for as long as they see fit and can delay membership indefinitely until the times and circumstances are suitable for them. The Czech Republic doesn’t think there will ever be a suitable time or circumstance. It’s a de facto opt-out available to all EU member states, and is also the route chosen by Sweden, which likewise doesn’t wish to adopt the Euro. Scotland doesn’t need a formal Euro opt-out either. You’d think EU expert Dr Daniel Furby would know that. He probably does, but it doesn’t suit the Better Together narrative to mention it.
Better Together keeps wanting to reset the independence debate dial back to “stupid”. The BBC and the rest of the UK media are their willing accomplices. It’s much easier than actually doing some research when you want to write a news story.
Nowhere in today’s reports in the UK media does it say that the BNE story is a reheated scare from over two years old which has already been discredited, debunked, and thrown on the scrapheap of Project Fear rejects. I won’t bother debunking it all again here, just read this Newsnet Scotland article published in March 2012.
So why is Business for Europe and its error strewn EU fantasies popping up again now? It couldn’t possibly be because the CBI now has less credibility on Scottish independence than BBC 1970s presenters have on child welfare, and Project Fear is in desperate need of a business organisation whose name isn’t going to provoke guffaws and derision in order to pour cold water on the aspirations of independentistas.
Business for a New Europe is another of those completely apolitical and totally neutral think tanks cum lobby groups which just happen to be run by a personal friend of senior Westminster politicians. The chairman and founder of Business for a New Europe is a certain Roland Rudd, whose first job before he founded a PR company and made a fortune was as a policy advisor to David Owen and the SDP. He later developed links with New Labour, and worked closely with Peter Mandelson. Roland invites Nick Clegg and his missus round for tea, kindly offered to help Tony Blair’s son out with his first Saturday job and advised Tone himself after he finally gave in to Gordie Broon’s temper tantrums and pondered what to with himself in retirement in between giving interviews to the Guardian denying he’s a war criminal. Roland’s family are politically well connected too, his sister is a Tory MP.
Amongst its board of advisors, Business for a New Europe boasts such luminaries as Leon Brittan the former Tory Home Secretary in Thatcher’s government, Roger Carr the former director of the CBI, former Chef de Cabinet to Neil Kinnock and ex-UK senior civil servant Andrew Cahn, a former British ambassador, and a veritable roll call of individuals who’ve stepped out of UK public service into well paid jobs on the boards of companies. None of whom have any other interest than telling Scottish voters the truth.
So quite a lot like BBC Scotland and the UK media then.