Part 1 of ‘Why I Am Voting Yes; And Why You Should Too’

 

PART 1: The leaders of the Campaigns….

 

Anyone that reads my writing will understand that I often fail to be the passionate and anecdotal ‘public speaker’, in the ilk of Tommy Sheridan. However, I feel that as much as there is a place for some of this passion I do like to stand by stories that can be backed up and in this post; in order to emphasise the points that I am making, I will make sure that I do the same.

Many people have had their say on why Scotland should be independent, or not. This is my turn, and it’s the many reasons that I will be voting ‘Yes’, in Septembers referendum. Not only that; it is the many reasons that I believe you should vote ‘Yes’ too.

I don’t like that Alex Salmond:

 

 

Throughout the campaign I have heard this point made over and over again. Personally, I see this as a failing of the Scottish electorate to understand the difference between an election; and a referendum.

I disparage at making it sound like an intelligence issue, but at times I feel that it is. It doesn’t help that most people probably think that Alec Salmond is the head of the ‘Yes’ campaign. First of all, that is not true. Blair Jenkins is the head of the ‘Yes’ campaign, and doing a sterling job in his position. It is a movement, not a party and incorporates many people from the SNP, the Pensioners Party, The Green Party and over 40% of the Labour Party. Yes, the Labour party… … … those so anti- independence. I will touch on the Labour party later in this post, in Particular with relation to Alistair Darling but for now we can leave it at that; support for independence within the Labour party in Scotland is actually quite high. Not everyone is keeping the party line.

The main reason that people appear to believe Salmond is the leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign is quite simple; they haven’t bothered to research the independence issue at all. Indeed, they haven’t even scratched the surface of the debate yet many of those people feel that they have made up their mind based on fact. The fact that they allude to, is the secondary reason most people think that Salmond is the leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign: the newspapers.

Many may feel that Blair Jenkins has not been public enough as the leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign; but that’s not true. He has appeared on many TV programmes and written many newspaper pieces. However, the newspapers (tabloids mainly) have plastered the face of Salmond on every page for the past few months and that does not help the ‘Yes’ campaign at all; because he is a party politician not to mention the First Minister and those people will always be a figure of ridicule. It is no secret that Salmonds SNP has come under significant strain in the past few years over their movements in relation to Education, Corroboration and many other policies. That is fair enough, but let me put this out there in simple terms: A vote for ‘Yes’ is not a vote for Salmond. If you can’t understand that by now, then I genuinely believe you should leave your polling card at home. Sorry, I hate to be demeaning, but I would rather people just didn’t vote if they don’t understand what they are voting for; it makes a mockery of the result, and that goes for votes falling on both sides.

The main reason for posting the heading here is that I have a point of my own. I don’t like Alistair Darling. Futile remark after what I have just said about those that don’t like Salmond; but in order to invoke some mudslinging and even the sides it is a point that I will make regardless.

I do not trust Alistair Darling, the head of the NO! Campaign. Mr Darling, the man that states to us that the NHS is better protected from privatisation as part of the UK has previously taken part in speaking for a company called Cinven; and been paid handsomely for the honour.[1]

The company is a leading buyout firm, who in 2008 bought 25 private hospitals from Bupa for £1.44bn.  Other UK investments include Spire Healthcare, who run private healthcare hospitals, and whose clinical director Jean-Jacques de Gorter said the use of private sector would “spiral” as a result of Conservative MP Andrew Lansley’s reform proposals.

Mr Darling’s former Labour cabinet colleagues Alan Milburn and Patricia Hewitt who were both former Health Secretaries have also benefited from the company.  Hewitt was a former advisor to Cinven and landed a lucrative £55,000 role with the firm after standing down as an MP. Milburn actually received tens of thousands of pounds from several firms involved in private health care.

The rush towards privatisation in the NHS South of the border, begun under the previous Labour Government, means that one in five patients with certain conditions are now seen by private firms. In 2012 a report showed that the private sector was responsible for 17% of NHS hip replacements in England, 17% of NHS hernia operations in England and were involved in thousands of other procedures.

In 2006/07, NHS outpatient data indicated that there were 10 sites offering privatised treatment on the English NHS, reporting 15,000 first outpatient attendances; by 2010/11 this had grown to almost half a million outpatient attendances funded by the NHS across 161 private sector providers, accounting for 3.5% of all first outpatient attendances in the English NHS.[2]

How can anyone genuinely expect me to believe a word the man says about our NHS? The SNP have promised to enshrine the NHS in a written constitution; forever protecting its status as part of an Independent Scotland. Darling cannot make these promises, so his argument is futile.

I will refrain from making many more points on Darling and why I don’t trust him, however, at the televised debates made a point that Scotland could not have afforded to bail out the banks.

Over and over again we hear from anti-independence proponents (especially former Chancellor Alastair Darling) that an independent Scotland could not have afforded to bail-out the Scottish banks. After all, Alastair knows best! He was in charge when they collapsed!

The logic of his argument relies on the assertion that banks are bailed out by the taxpayers of the country in which the institution is headquartered.  However, we think that it is almost impossible for the former Chancellor not to be aware that this argument is baseless.

Let’s go back to that address in full: Barclays Bank PLC, Global Headquarters, 1 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, and London, E14 5HP, UK.   Barclays is a UK bank and if you accept there is such a thing as a Scottish bank then Barclays is clearly an English bank.

The public was repeatedly informed by the media during the crash that “Barclays didn’t need a taxpayer bailout at all”. In fact, this proved quite the opposite. Barclays Bank – yes, that English based bank – received the single biggest bail out of any UK bank, but most of it didn’t come from the UK taxpayer.

Barclays was bailed out to the tune of £552.32bn (at backdated exchange rates) by the US Federal Reserve and £6bn by the Qatari Government.  Or to put it another way, foreign governments bailed out Barclays to the tune of more than twelve times more money than the UK Government’s capital support for RBS (£45bn).

On October 7th 2011, The Financial Times wrote, “RBS received the world’s biggest bail-out during the financial crisis, at a cost of £45bn to the UK taxpayer”. Now we know that isn’t true. Capital injections were just one part of much broader bail-out packages including combinations of capital, liquidity and asset insurance which, in the case of the larger banks, were almost all from multiple nations.

Citigroup, for example, benefitted from $45bn US taxpayer capital but also from discounted central bank liquidity support around the world. Of course, in the case of Citigroup the US Government made sure an arrangement was put in place whereby American taxpayers would get their money back with a profit ($12bn is just over two years). In contrast, the £45bn of your money Alastair Darling invested in RBS looks like a lost cause now. For the record, that’s an awful lot of hospitals and schools we can’t afford to build.

So yes: another reason why I do not trust the man.

I won’t, but I could, go into detail on why he is no longer a member of the Law Society of Scotland!!!!

Conclusion:

Overall, I am not a unilateral supporter of SNP policy or of Mr Salmond. In this mantle I do not think it is fair that he has been termed Slobodan Milosevic (Denis McShane, Labour MP); Benito Mussolini (Lord Foulkes, Labour Peer); Adolf Hitler (Tom Harris & Ann Moffat, Labour MP’s and David Starkey, Conservative Historian); Joseph Stalin (Alan Cochrane, The Telegraph); Robert Mugabe (Jeremy Paxman, The BBC); Kim Jong-II (Lord Forsyth, Conservative Peer & Alistair Darling). There are more, but I won’t go on as say what people like about Salmond he is also the ONLY democratically elected leader within this much fabled UK.

Darling, on the other hand, is fighting the NO! Argument with all of his guile lies and fear stories. In doing so he is standing shoulder to shoulder with his parties biggest foes: the Tory party. Can Alistair Darling, having agreed with much of the Tory party policy throughout this campaign then return to fighting them in the next general election? Personally I do not think that is possible at all; however he will. Similarly, should Scotland become independent I would not be surprised to see his face at the negotiating table with Westminster; perhaps even as the leader of the newly energised Scottish Labour Party; fighting for his place as the first Scottish (Labour) Prime Minister. Time will tell.

The simple fact is that only the English voters can remove a Tory Government; not Scottish ones. Darling is effectively saying that it is preferable that Scotland has a Tory Government that it did not vote for; than govern itself. Is this perhaps based on the fact that the Labour Party probably will require Scottish votes to become the next Government of the UK and without those votes a Conservative Government would be inevitable (as I feel it is anyway).

 

 

[1] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b5b7c908-2cbb-11e1-b485-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3AvAuEEoc

[2] Labour Cuts Commission report

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