Ritchie’s amusing today

Three years ago I wrote The Courageous State in which I described the current state of politics in the UK as The Cowardly State. We had, I argued, governments who ran away from their responsibilities. Now we have headlines making clear that this is what people think the UK is doing.

The confidence of the Scots to challenge for independence is at least in pat based on a lack of confidence in what the UK has to offer and a belief that they can build a better country for themselves.

And the UK so lacks confidence in itself it wants to run away from Europe. What is extraordinary about the whole EU exit lobby is not its positive vision – because it is hard to find one, but its negativity.

Desiring to have the power of decision making in Westminster rather than Brussels is a sign of a Cowardly State now, is it?

And black is white and we get ourselves killed on the next zebra crossing…..

30 comments on “Ritchie’s amusing today

  1. Scotland demonstrates confidence by seeking to leave UK.
    UK demonstrates lack of confidence by seeking to leave EU.

    The man is incapable of logical thought.

  2. Hilariously, Scotland demanding decision making in Edinburgh is Courageous. Because they are social democrats.

    But the UK looking for decision making in London is Cowardly. Because those agitating for it are mostly free-marketeers.

    And thus we know the ethics, motives and outcomes of everything. Anyone who identifies with the Left is always right.

  3. We must have Government running everything, but only if we courageously let a foreign power do it.

    Have I got it right?

  4. Dunno if you’ve followed the shenanigans north of the border much, but “courageous” isn’t the word that leaps to mind to describe the contortions of the Yes campaign.

    It must be the longest referendum campaign in history, because the SNP was shit scared of calling for a swift vote after they won the 2011 Scottish elections and Westminster was afraid of forcing the issue.

    Then they got the government to allow 16 year olds to vote in the referendum, for no other reason than the SNP thought teenagers would be more easily stirred by emotive nationalist rhetoric.

    Then it turned out they have no credible plan for the currency an “independent” Scotland would use. The SNP has been around for nearly 100 years and yet seems to think they could busk it on monetary policy.

    Then came a series of embarrassing revelations about the SNP’s porky pies over the EU, and even their optimistic back-of-a-fag-packet forecasts projected “independent” Scotland to be running a hefty budget deficit – even assuming oil prices remain at historic highs.

    Throughout the campaign, the bullying, often hysterical nature of the Yes campaign has been exposed time and time again. Anybody who doesn’t toe the nationalist line – English people, Americans, Australians, the Pope, other Scots – has been subjected to furious abuse.

    Perhaps most worrying of all, in the past few days the SNP suddenly announced that the constitution of their “independent” state would forbid privatisation of the NHS. So, just a month before the referendum, it appears that not only are hugely important details about the constitutional framework of a separate Scotland being made up on the fly, but the Yes campaign believes the constitution should entrench the SNP’s party policies. This tells us what sort of Scotland they envisage ruling over – a banana republic where every aspect of the State and even constitutional laws are heavily politicised.

    “Courageous” indeed.

  5. Steve

    Yes supporters will say that the SNP are just part of the independence campaign. However the other groups in the Yes campaign appear to be the Greens and various factions and offshoots of the Scottish Socialist Party. It’s hardly a diverse and broad range of views.

    I have no conceptual or theoretical problem with an independent Scotland. There is no reason why a country of this size couldn’t be successful, but I’m voting No for the practical reason that I fear the leftists would see us head on the road to a northern Venezuala.

  6. This tells us what sort of Scotland they envisage ruling over – a banana republic where every aspect of the State and even constitutional laws are heavily politicised.

    Some of us already knew. The main themes of the Nationalist campaign have been “Vote for independence: nothing will change!” (see: Nato, EU, monarchy, currency, foreign policy) and “Vote for independence to get a social democratic Scotland!” (see: domestic policy and defence).

    Both are nonsense, of course, but consider the second. They are arguing for a wholesale revision of the constitution of a liberal democratic state simply because they don’t like the political colour of its government: this is already the banana republic mindset. Though since a strand of the first theme is “Vote for independence: you can keep the Queen!” maybe we should be applauding the SNP’s innovation in seeking to form the first banana monarchy?

  7. Moving the conversation back to Ritchie, may I share this twitter exchange with the Great Man over the weekend:

    Ritchie: “Cameron’s failed on the economy, foreign policy, benefits, education, energy, the NHS, Scotland and more and a third of the UK has not noticed”

    Me: “Ah, the dispassionate, balanced and objective voice of the UK’s leading tax expert.”

    Me (again): “And that is ‘Mr Cameron’ to you Murphy.”

    Ritchie: “By definition an expert is opinionated”

    Me: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity (W B Yeats, The Second Coming)”

  8. “Ritchie’s amusing today”

    No he’s not. He’s never amusing.

    I’m voting No in the referendum because I imagine the independent Scotland that the Yes camp envisages would to some extent mirror the kind of society that Murphy would want (apart from the reduction in corporation tax) and that is very far from what I want.

    The Yes camp could have had my vote if they had run an honest campaign in which they provided realistic answers to all the problems that we would face post-independence.

    Instead, all we have had from them is bald assertions and lies – many, many lies. Frankly I think it’s been embarrassing.

  9. GlenDorran – Indeed. They’re an odd bunch, the Yes Men. The SNP is an unprincipled gang of opportunists and scolds in the Lib Dem mould. Their allies are worse – unreconstructed Communists, Atlee/Bevan-nostalgic academics, luvvies and crap 1980’s pop star turned would-be public intellectual Pat Kane.

    I have no doubt a genuinely independent Scotland could be successful, if it were run by hard-nosed men prepared to make the necessary unpopular decisions to roll back the state and energise the economy. Unfortunately such people are even thinner on the ground in Scottish politics than they are in Westminster.

    Judging by the composition of the Scottish Parliament the independent ship of state would be a ship of fools, plotting a course straight for the rocks while congratulating each other on how their social justice magical thinking means fiscal reality doesn’t apply to them.

    Philip Walker – I like to think they’ll trade in the Scottish crown jewels for a Carmen Miranda hat. Salmond could become the new monarch, though his official title would be Great Chieftain o the Puddin’-Race.

  10. We, of course, in Spain have gone one better.

    The Catalans are promising better ‘pay’ for the unemployed, 10% less unemployment than Spain, guaranteed use of the euro and membership of the Eu, etc.etc, and a guaranteed free orgasm per day for all citizens (alright I made the last one up).

    But the royal family (the Pujols) who provided the first long-lasting President (plus a spawn of children who learned to live by being close to power) we now discover ran the region as a personal fiefdom.

    All the corruption is coming out now starting with the 4 million euro inheritance from his smuggler father which was secreted away in Andorra, then on to the 3 to 5% of every public contract which we all thought was being used to illegally finance the party and which seems has been secreted away in overseas (read Swiss and others) bank accounts with huge amounts being bandied about.

    Scummy little hitlers who use the threat of the power of the state to hide behind whilst they rape the tax payer.

  11. GlenDorran
    August 18, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Steve

    Yes supporters will say that the SNP are just part of the independence campaign. However the other groups in the Yes campaign appear to be the Greens and various factions and offshoots of the Scottish Socialist Party. It’s hardly a diverse and broad range of views.

    I have no conceptual or theoretical problem with an independent Scotland. There is no reason why a country of this size couldn’t be successful, but I’m voting No for the practical reason that I fear the leftists would see us head on the road to a northern Venezuala.

    And some of us are hoping Scotland votes yes so that they can’t impose that same vision on the rest of us by giving us a Labour Party stuffed with Scots MPs who get to vote on rUK only issues against the will on most of rUK.

    Another reason for a Yes vote is to save us from a Neverendum as outlined in this week’s Economist.
    If we do get a No vote then the West Lothian questions

  12. Ritchie: “By definition an expert is opinionated”

    Only in Ritchie’s Humpty Dumpty world where words get to mean exactly what he wants them to mean. To the rest of us who use a dictionary it is “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area”. Furthermore experts are generally expected to be objective and impartial.

  13. Matthew L – “Is there any downside to Scottish independence from the English point of view?”

    Hard to say. Fewer Labour MP’s would be welcome. Extra hurdles for doing business in Scotland / travelling to Scotland / owning property in Scotland would be unwelcome for those who care about that sort of thing.

    Relocating Trident would be annoying but not impossible. Having a potentially unreliable neighbour to the north could become an issue in future if we ever leave the EU / try to get our borders under control.

    The EU would see it as a great opportunity to further marginalise us and reduce our influence, and may make a play for our UN Security Council seat.

    Overall, it wouldn’t make much tangible difference to the average man in England in the short term, but long term, who knows? There may well be unforeseen consequences to unpicking a political, economic, and social union that has endured for over 300 years.

    The historical precedent from the centuries pre-1707 isn’t terribly encouraging, though of course we live in a very different world to the one where the Hanoverian succession, colonisation of the New World, and the divine right of kings were burning issues.

  14. Is there any downside to Scottish independence from the English point of view?

    English, possibly not; British, definitely. To an extent, I believe there is an English mirror of the Scottish independence debate: of the identities “British” and “English”, if you say British first then I reckon that on average you are more strongly unionist than if you say English first. That British-first identity, and pro-Union sentiment, seem to be strongest around the borders and among (intra-UK) expatriates: I speak as an erstwhile expat, having been brought up in Wales by English parents.

  15. Steve: The EU would see it as a great opportunity to further marginalise us and reduce our influence, and may make a play for our UN Security Council seat.

    What a truly ghastly idea but you’re right and I think that the EU has already made overtures in this direction.

    On the bright side, Britain and France would resist relinquishing their permanent seat on the Security Council but amusingly, Britain and Scotland could find themselves simultaneously on the S.C. through the normal rotation.

    The question of borders is interesting too: do YES propose membership of Schengen?

  16. The question of borders is interesting too: do YES propose membership of Schengen?

    As I understand it they are for joining on the first and second Thursday of the month and all Wednesdays. They are also for it on some Sundays depending on what questions Slamond is asked on the Sunday political programs.

    There may be other days I haven’t figured out yet.

  17. @bilbaoboy

    ‘a guaranteed free orgasm per day for all citizens’

    My wife, who takes not quite the same interest in this shit as I do, being altogether more sensible than I, used to look up from her book every time Gordon Brown was on the radio or telly promising this, that and the other, and say, ‘…and a free bike for every child!’ in her best Scots accent, before going back to her book.

    It used to tickle me.

  18. @ Matthew L

    ‘Is there any downside to Scottish independence from the English point of view?’

    Even more unemployed Jocks begging fer a few pence fer a cup o’ tea outside tube stations?

  19. ‘The EU would see it as a great opportunity to further marginalise us and reduce our influence, and may make a play for our UN Security Council seat.’

    Good. The sooner we stop pretending we’re some sort of global power, and that we’ve got to go around sticking our noses into every war and international dispute, the better. All we need to do is have sufficient forces to give anyone who wants to invade these islands a bloody nose, and the rest of the time we can concentrate on making as much money as possible, and being as stinking rich as we can as a nation. Just like the Swiss, in other words.

  20. @ lots of you
    Yes, there is a downside to Scottish independence for the rest of the UK – additional bureaucracy in both the state and private industry to apportion company profits and VAT to the relevant tax-collector, increased bureaucracy per head because the new bureaucracies set up in Edinburgh will be totally additional and will not lead to reduction of those in London, border controls on whisky. There will be one small upside in that all English students will get free education at Scottish universities in line with Czech and Bulgarian students (if Scotland joins the EU) and the subsidy under the Barnett formula will cease: however this will be offset by Salmond’s decision to welch on Scotland’s share of the national debt,

  21. I’m with Jim on this. Why do we want our permanent seat at the UN? Will it still make sense 100 years after the end of the war? How about 500?

    There’s a lot to admire about, and learn from, our armed forces, but peace is the way forward. (Man).

  22. The Meissen Bison – Oh yes, it goes hand in hand with the EU’s military and foreign policy ambitions. Take a look at this for example, where German MEP Alexander Graf Lambsdorff eloquently explains that the majority of his fellow MEP’s intend for the EU to assume our seat:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTosp_D9m9I

    Jim & Jack C – we should retain our permanent seat on the UN Security Council for as long as there’s a UN Security Council. I’d be delighted if the UN was disbanded tomorrow, but as long as it exists and has influence in the world, it’s in our interests to have a veto there, whether or not we are still pleased to think of ourselves as a world power.

    I fear it’s a forlorn hope that us giving up our seat would mean an end to disastrous foreign adventures. It would just mean that we’re potentially exposed to mischief making against our national interests by unfriendly and unreliable foreign states.

  23. @ Jack and Jim
    It costs a lot less to have one extra researcher in New York (even less if he/she emails advice from some rural residence in the UK) telling our ambassador to the UN when to play the heavy father and veto a resolution than it would to put in the military/economic/trade effort to have the same influence.
    @ Jack C
    “but peace is the way forward. (Man).” That is what Labour’s George Lansbury thought in the 1930s and Baldwin ducked rearmament ahead of the 1935 election because he stupidly overcautiously did not want to fight an election on that issue while Hitler was reducing unemployment by rearming. Neville Chamberlain who actually *did* start rearming got all the blame while the contribution of Lansbury to Hitler’s success from 1935-40 is ignored.

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