The Plastic Hippo

September 17, 2014

Deep in the heart of Texas

Image via

Image via

Every few years the Lone Star State of Texas huffs and puffs and threatens to leave the United States of America. Disgruntled at subsidising the likes of Nebraska, Idaho and Kansas, the wealthy descendents of pioneers specialising in eviction are convinced that the revenue from the black, sticky stuff fortuitously buried under the family ranch is theirs and theirs alone. The fervour for independence usually subsides with a demand that Washington DC should do something and launch air strikes at migrants attempting to cross the Rio Bravo del Norte. A more credible threat to the state of the union is, however, beginning to stir in California.

If the Golden State existed as an independent nation, it would be the eighth wealthiest country on the planet as measured by Gross Domestic Product. In terms of comparison, it would be just ahead of the entire Russian Federation and only a little behind the United Kingdom although the GDP for the UK might be drastically reduced within the next 36 hours.

As the Scottish Independence referendum campaign descends into a mud-slinging playground shouting match, it has become blindingly obvious that senior politicians of all persuasions should be forbidden by law from having anything to do with important decisions of state and sovereignty.

From the premature triumphalism of Alex Salmond to the sly cunning behind Cameron`s eyes, not a shred of dignity or decency remains in those that wish to govern us. A ballot on the future of an entire people`s nationality is too important and too profound to be sullied and degraded by petty politics and ephemeral politicians but that is exactly what the self-interested party leaders and their scheming lieutenants have attempted to engineer. A serious decision on statehood has been corrupted into a vote to reject Cameron and his dreadful coalition or to give victory to the Scottish National Party and Alex Salmond. The decision should be about identity and not about which shallow, arrogant shyster gains short-term power.

The `Yes` campaign offers negativity and very few answers to basic questions on policy and the `No` campaign has offered negativity and some bizarrely preposterous scare stories. Both sides talk only of what the other side will or won`t do. It`s almost as if neither side actually wants to win. Salmond knows that within about five minutes of an independent Scotland, he will be exposed as a shallow, arrogant shyster and when it all goes horribly wrong will for the first time be unable to blame Tory England. Cameron and Clegg offer further evidence to prove shallow, arrogant shysterism and the boy Miliband is doing his very best to emulate them.

We need to look at what the bloody hell the `No` campaign, including Labour, think they are playing at. With all the charisma of a cold clootie dumpling, Alistair Darling was presumably picked to be the face and voice of Better Together because Private Frazer from Dad`s Army was unavailable due to being dead. Spooked by an online poll of 800 people, the Westminster party leaders rushed to Scotland which resulted in undecided voters rushing to the `Yes` camp. Undeterred, Better Together put up George Galloway in a TV debate during which he compared Scottish independence to the rise of the Third Reich. The young Scots attending the debate might question the suitability of Mr Galloway as a role model and as a champion of a United Kingdom where, if the Respect MP for Bradford is to be believed, Jews are not welcome.

There can be no finer example of the British values so beloved by Cameron and his chums than the awesome spectacle of thousands of Orange Lodge members marching through the streets of Edinburgh in support of Better Together or hearing the serial racist and misogynist embarrassment Jim Davidson supporting the Union at a rally of toffs in Trafalgar Square. On an almost daily basis, the BBC are being handed documents that prove conclusively that in the event of a yes vote, the seas will evaporate, the land will burn, the sky will fall and the entire population of Scotland will be eaten by giant mutated Aardvarks bred in a secret SNP laboratory at Faslane.

With a feral press setting the hysteria amplifier up to eleven, supermarkets and other retailers threatening to put up prices if Scotland votes yes and banks loading up the mule train with Scottish bullion and heading for the border, the question is why is the `No` campaign deliberately driving Scotland towards voting for independence. When a former England football captain is wheeled out of his Miami home to urge Scots to stay within the UK, there is more to this urine extraction than meets the eye. It is an ugly word but it has to be said;

The result of the referendum is now completely irrelevant. If it is a close victory for independence, then clever lawyers will return to the original act of parliament allowing the ballot and cite “clear majority” and “significant mandate” and “overwhelming intention” to overturn the result. If the result is a close victory for the union then the decision will be final, absolute and definitive, unless, of course, there is another agenda.

Devo Max is not the name of a character in the latest Star Wars film currently in production on Planet Pinewood, but is devolved autonomy in all but name and economic control. Cameron and his chums fought tooth and nail to have this option removed from the referendum ballot paper but now slap it on the table in the hope of a `No` vote. In short, it boils down to;
“Thank you for all the lovely oil and gas revenue now please feel free to finance your own schools, hospitals, transport, social care, pensions, food banks, unemployment and sporting event opening ceremonies. Thank you, goodbye.”

Rather than being a last, desperate throw of the dice to keep the Kingdom united, the Devo Max death star will disintegrate the union which might just be the point of the master plan. Wales will demand Devo Max, Northern Island will follow and then what? Cornwall, Yorkshire, Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria, Milton Keynes? Seduced by the prospect of limited autonomy the “regions”, as they are known within the M25, will rush headlong into devolution not realising that the taxes go to Westminster and the bills have to be paid at home. What will remain is a wealthy city state in the south east with guard towers and barbed wire north of St Albans and west of Maidenhead delighted that it will no longer have to worry about the poor people that have proved to be such an unbearable burden. Sadly for the United States of Britain, the abbreviation USB is already allocated under copyright law and so is unavailable. The Former United Kingdom is, however, still unclaimed as a domain name and can be purchased from the IMF for about £148billion which is, coincidentally the estimated GDP of an independent Scotland if offshore is included. That would place the Scottish economy somewhere between Venezuela and Finland.

When Texas threatens to flounce off, the motivation is parochial isolationist jingoism but when California suggests hoisting the Jolly Roger it is based on hard, economic reality and the pragmatism of capitalism which is, after all, what makes global politics and governance work. Scotland needs to find a balance between the two.

About a week ago and even though I have no say in the matter, I hoped that Scotland would stay. But now, after such a cynical, negative and disgracefully short-term piece of work from Better Together I think that Scotland would be better away from this cess pit. After independence there will be elections and Scotland can dump the shyster Salmond and elect a representative government and perhaps even prosper. Miliband will inevitably screw up, Cameron will be history and barking Boris will be dancing around the Downing Street drawing room with a traffic cone on his head deploying G4S border guards to defend Uxbridge.

There is, however, one positive to come out of this tawdry shambles. The panic and fear in the eyes of the Westminster parties has not been caused by the prospect of an independent Scotland but by the terrifying manifestation of an engaged, passionate and potentially huge electorate determined to have a voice. The predictable reaction from the power hungry is to offer dark and anecdotal talk of sectarian hatred, intimidation and threats of violence by both sides. Police Scotland has quickly dismissed this exaggeration as total guff.

Having offered a woeful campaign in the hope of a tight vote allowing an undefined Devo Max to be imposed on Scotland, Better Together seem to have gone too far and might actually suffer defeat. Asking voters to remember the Alamo has made them remember Alloa and like the reinforcements that came too late, Gordon Brown arrived to plunge a Bowie knife deep into the heart of the SNP.

Westminster politicians will continue with day trips to Scotland and in the absence of Davy Crockett`s Raccoon millinery and sensible advice, will continue to turn up wearing the fox hat.

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