Monday, 4 July 2011
Time To Disprove England Bankrolls Scotland
On Radio 5 yesterday morning Stephen Nolan dedicated his 90 minute programme to the subject: 'We're All In This Together - The Future of the Union'. Guests included Toby Young, the Telegraph blogger and George Kerevan, a columnist for the Scotsman, plus short visits from Tom Harris MP and Huzma Yousaf MSP among others.
Although the debate was good natured throughout and the consensus was that Scotland could survive as an independent nation, one fact stood out very distinctly, even though George Kerevan and the historian Mark - I didn't catch his surname - tried hard to 'balance the books' by way of sensible explanation.
The fact is many people still believe England (not Wales or N Ireland), subsidises Scotland. It's not only the English who believe this to be true - some Scots do too. There have been so many reports offering differing figures most people no longer know what to believe and this needs to be clarified - the sooner the better.
I see little point in this vital aspect being discussed only between supporters of independence as happens only too often. Somehow the people in Scotland - and England for that matter - must be told the true facts in a style which can be understood by all. Few want to read the annual GERS reports. Even less want to listen to unionists and independence supporters arguing about lists of numbers.
This 'misunderstanding' has to be confronted now before it becomes so firmly embedded in folks' minds that eradication is nigh impossible.
To reach everyone would require high profile radio/television access but even better would be a leaflet distributed to each household in Scotland. It could include a few questions such as 'what style of military presence would you prefer' and 'how can our care services improve. Independence politicians must start to listen to the people, all the people and opening up lines of communication is the first step.
People will only vote for independence if they feel they've been included in the process towards the goal. Three years isn't a long time to ensure inclusion and it could commence now if the SNP took the step to ensure the unionist incantation that England is Scotland's benefactor was, for once and for all, proved wrong and as quickly as possible.