Thursday, 16 March 2017

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I am sitting in Edinburgh Airport waiting for my flight to Amsterdam and onwards to Japan.

Behind me Sky News are still trying to sell the idea the Nicola Sturgeon has no mandate to call a second referendum on independence. Speaker after speaker has whined on about how divisive the SNP are being but not one has attempted to address the elephant in the room, "Just why is the UK Parliamentary Union unravelling?"

It appears the London chateratty are completely sold on the architype of the the Scot having chips on both shoulders, a nation which always has a grievance. Thus it is safe to ignore Scotland as, apparently, once we have had our whine and a good whinge we will see sense and do what that nice, kindly Ms May tells us to do as we are so dependent on English generosity to survive.

The problem with this argument is stark. The 2015-16 HMRC gross figures show Scotland only got back 54% of the total tax take credited to Scotland. The problem with this figure is it does not include all the VAT and corporation tax raised in Scotland but paid into HM Treasury from English based HQ's by the likes of ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons to name but a few companies which have high turnover in Scotland. The reality is Scotland is contributing far more to the UK pot than the current figures indicate. The idea that England subsidises Scotland has no basis in reality but as long as Westminster cooks the books we will not find out the true level of Scottish tax income until we are independent but be assured it is a lot higher than the HMRC figures suggest and in real terms Scotland sees only 40% of its actual tax take returned by the avaricous H M Treasury and at that I am most likely being on the generous side.

The real question these talking heads should be being considering is just why is Scotland on the verge of ending the UK Parliamentary Union, what has gone wrong in the Westminster Parliament which leaves an increasing number of the Scottish electorate disillusioned, disenfranchised and seeking independence?

Maybe it is listening to David Davis trying to justify the lack of Brexit planning to a Parliamentary committee by saying the Tories have a plan but it is not detailed enough, yet, to present to MPs or the UK electorate but maybe in a year or so but, honest it is one hell of a plan. This is akin to Eisenhower and Montgomery landing on the Normandy beaches in June 1944 in the hopes the Germans will co-operate and just simply bugger off of their own accord. "Not to worry", Eisenhower is quoted as saying on the eve of D-Day,  "We will have a detailed battle plan by mid to late 1945, in the meantime Monty and me are just going to busk it, it will work out OK, you'll see."

Then there are the claims of "Betrayal", "Traitor" and "Could do with her head chopped off" coming from the usual culprits on the more lunatic fringes of the right wing media in London. Frothing at the mouth hubris from folk who claim their extreme and divisive version of British Nationalism is actually a cuddly wee bunny, if you get to know it. How does calling the First Minister of Scotland, elected by the majority of the SNP membership, supported by 46% of the active Scottish electorate and currently way ahead of any UK leader in terms popularity on these terms help persuade Scotland England is listening to our real concerns, our needs or expectations?

It is not only us chippy Jocks who are getting the hump with Westminster, across in Northern Ireland the idea of a unified Ireland, on Brexit, is looking more and more possible as the impact of Northern Ireland's loss of EU funding becomes ever clearer. You know this is true when Dublin's main parties have started talking about planning for Northern Ireland's integration while Seinn Fein and the rest bicker about which party will be best placed to facilitate re-unification. The weekend saw the long dormant Welsh Dragon have a wee flex of its fire ducts on the issue of ending the Principality's ties to the English Crown and Parliament.

Ms May is increasingly Westminster's Ollie to Brexit's Stan and it can not be too long before she utters the imortal words to Davis, Hammond, Gove and the rest - "This is another fine mess you've gotten me into!"

The military norm is you try not to fight on two fronts at once, May is facing fighting on three simultaneously with a possible fourth as the English electorate take to the streets over the destruction of NHS England or the imposition of fracking.

We live in interesting times.