It’s been a while since I did a blog post as I’ve been busy keeping the Facebook page updated daily with the doings of the gallery and cafe. It’s also sometimes difficult to know whether to write certain things on the blog, being as how it is the face of OldByreSkye which is a business, rather than a purely personal affair – hence the procrastination. That said, the blog is now part of a greater web presence [albeit still on WordPress] so perhaps we can have it that the owners [or at least one of them] can sometimes be a bit eccentric or opinionated.
There is an increasing amount of heat, but not a great deal of light, around the independence debate. [What do you mean, what independence debate!]. We’ve have had the inevitable currency spat as the nationalists run scared of proposing a central bank for Scotland, and the ongoing positioning as to whether a currency union would be possible. [Stop press: it’s just a negotiating position really; oh no it isn’t; oh yes it is… it’s pantomime season again!] There have been scare stories about pretty much everything by now, some of which [such as denying dual nationality and elements of security/intelligence sharing] simply beggar belief, as the government mouthpieces suggest that an independent Scotland would instantly drop to some second tier of relationship with the remaining UK, if only out of spite.
Northern lights over OldByreSkye – more light and less heat than the independence debate…
In British politics the old post-war consensus that gave us the NHS, welfare, and social housing has broken down. Instead we have the apparently all-conquering advance of neo-liberalism, with it’s flag wavers in the media, which is entirely beholden to the market, the small state and a subservient workforce – until the market fails to produce and market forces can’t be allowed to prevail and we bail out private companies that can’t be allowed to fail and who promptly behave as though nothing ever happened even though we, the people, theoretically own them. [In the US we’ve also seen neo-conservatives [neo-cons], although that seems to have been a cover for right-wing American global hegemony. What we haven’t seen is neo-socialism, New Labour being soft neo-liberalism, but neo-liberalism regardless, with the use of the word ‘socialism’ in the UK becoming akin to ‘communism’ in McCarthyite America.]
But in Scotland the post-war consensus didn’t break [and you can still be a socialist!], or at least that’s what Scottish cultural mythology tells you. The neo-liberal tories rejected the consensus, but were, in turn, rejected after the Thatcherite experiments, and the increasingly neo-liberal centre and centre-left have lost ground to the nationalists who have progressed from being characterised as “Tartan Tories” in the early ’70s, to something more akin to “Old Labour in a Kilt” [a gross oversimplification but a good soundbite, and Alex Salmond shows evidence of being every bit as much in thrall to the rich and powerful as Harold Wilson ever was…]. So it is easy for a social democratic party, which is what the SNP broadly is, to gain traction, especially if untainted by long years in government and with a large and noisy neighbor to point at for all the ills of the world.
I have no real ax to grind for independence as I’m a ‘no’: being a republican federalist I can’t see much point in swapping one broken system for another. I would favour the elephant in the room, the one missing from the vote, namely devo max [and the same for the other devolved administrations and the English regions: but how do you get there from here?]. Salmond didn’t want it on the vote as it would have killed any chance of a ‘yes’ vote stone dead. Cameron didn’t want it as it would have meant a properly formulated, morally binding, policy post-referendum and the coalition doesn’t do those… If the poles are to believed, we stagger onward towards a close ‘No’ that will not be decisive enough to settle the issue for a generation [a generation is normally taken as 25-30 years depending on who you ask] but may still be taken by opportunistic politicians as a vote for the status quo. So we may well end up where we started: ouroboros, the snake that swallows it’s own tail…
Currently listening to: Won’t be Long Now –Linda Thompson [it won’t be – less than six months now!]