The sheer arrogance and incompetence of our leading Unionist politicians is quite remarkable to behold. The latest example comes from Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence in our nasty Conservative and LibDem government in London. He made an all too rare excursion from Westminster to visit Scotland and in effect to patronise us. According to Hammond, somehow an independent Scotland would be unable to defend itself. Alex Massie in his Spectator blog does a good job of exposing the fallacies in Hammond’s bluster. You can read it here.
What is most interesting about Mr Hammond’s intrusion into the debate on independence is that it once again exposes the complete lack of any positive argument in favour of maintaining the UK. Despite the claims of their slogan – Better Together – when it comes down to it, all their supporters can ever say is that Scotland is too wee, too poor and for good measure, we Scots are simple too stupid to successfully run our own country. To the extent that Mr Hammond raises any relevant points at all, they are common to all countries in the whole world. What kind of military forces do we want to have? How much can we afford? Do we want to cooperate with other countries? Now these are exactly the key questions that the UK government is having to deal with right now. And by all accounts, none too successfully – with enormous overspending, huge delays in procurement and some pretty dodgy equipment for the troops. Under Mr Hammond’s tutelage, the UK’s military is going through a period of substantial downsizing. But of course all this is beyond the capabilities of an independent Scotland. I, the great Philip Hammond have the knowledge, experience and capabilities to make these important decisions, but you poor people of Scotland are simply not up to this. What other message are we supposed to take from Mr Hammond’s comments?
After all, it is not as if Scotland will be the only relatively small country in the world that would have to work out a defence policy and decide on what kind of army, navy and air force it would need and could afford. Denmark, Norway and the Republic of Ireland, to name but three neighbouring countries all manage to do this without any great problems. In addition they all seem to have no problem with recruitment nor with providing satisfactory career opportunities. All countries willingly participate in UN sponsored peace keeping programmes and where appropriate in NATO activities. Thankfully they do not seek to invade and occupy other countries. Which may be why they do not need to spend such a high proportion of their GDP on the military.
I am as yet not clear as to why politicians like Philip Hammond keep on lecturing and patronising us in Scotland. They clearly feel there is no need to develop a clear and thought out vision as to how Scotland currently and in the future benefits from the Union. They are happy to just tell lies and bluster. But is this because they are so confident that we will vote No in 2014 and there is therefore no need to waste time actually trying to persuade us with coherent and positive arguments? Or do they secretly want Scotland to become independent, so they can more easily maintain their political dominance in England?