Ten days ago, in a blog entitled Ten of the Best, I threw the gauntlet down to the assorted rammy of unionists who claim that Scotland would be better off in the UK in any and all situations. OK, I said: convince me.
They have been much better at claiming the superiority of the union than giving me anything I could recognise as sober and cold-reasoned arguments. I was looking to them to lock their case down tight and deafen us all with the sound of nat foreheads being slapped as they forsake their misguided ways and return to the paths of the righteous.
To make it easy for them, I couched the debate in terms of ten ‘daft laddie’ questions that most ten-year-olds could take a stab at answering without having to flip to the calculator app on their iPhone. That was ten days ago; so far, nothing; zip; nada; nada goddam thing.
Come now, Jackson Carlaw or Ruth Davidson; Willie Rennie or Tavish Scott; Jackie Baillie or Michael McMahon. You’ve all trashed nats with glee in the past. But what I’m looking for is your positive half of the argument; what the Scottish people will enjoy into their future that they would/could not have more of or better or easier by having their own country back. If the case is so self-evident, why are you spending your lives nitpicking the political equivalent of dandruff?
I am especially disappointed in the Tom Harris/Murdo Fraser/Jo Swinson factions who have shown themselves to be articulate, objective when required with commitment to the causes they espouse that go far beyond arsecrawling conformity in their chosen party. It’s hard for me to believe they have nothing to say. But that is the conclusion that, inevitably, must be drawn—that, daft laddie or no—independence is as hard to refute as a solid case for the union is to make.
The credible critics of independence, such as Alan Cochrane, can be relied on to make a decent fist of their argument, as can the literate venom of Brian Wilson, even as bluster epitomised by Lord Foulkes undermines their cause. But they’re on less sure ground as union-boosters. I’ll grant this summer was a good patch for those who regard the UK as sacrosanct—the enjoyment of millions in a well run extravaganza crowned by a serious medal haul was plain to see. Yet the Ryder Cup, where the UK has no identity and which is coming to Scotland in 2014, drew amazing TV crowds into the wee hours.
It’s possible no-one reads these blogs and that the 20,000+ hits so far were all mistakes. Judge for yourself. More likely is that a variety of people come for some info, some opinion and some titilation, We don’t want them to stop so the best story yet why we should stay in the union should make for a good read.
Or, in truth, do such arguments—like answers to my daft laddie questions—not exist and such unionists as make up the Better Together campaign already dwindling to the payroll vote?