Monday, 22 October 2012

Indy And the Tellers of Doom

Have you signed the Declaration yet?

The independence referendum is still two years away but already those pro and anti are getting stuck into each other.

As a Green independence isn’t normally the first thing I think of when asked about political priorities. I’m also not one for flags. I may have been rooting for Shetland Jumper James on the Great British Bake Off but even I thought the Union Jack cake was a bit of a flop.

Those who like flags and identity have already decided how to vote. But there’s a good chunk of people who honestly don’t know and remain to be persuaded. My pitch to them at this early stage is simply that it’s surely better that Scots take decisions affecting Scotland. I’ve always liked the idea of decentralising decision-making so that people are more involved in what’s going on.

We have a parliament that decides how to spend £33bn a year. Why shouldn’t it be allowed to decide how it gets that money? We have a UK parliament that uses a first past the post system so routinely Scotland doesn’t get the government it votes for. Our priorities are different and we have immense opportunities coming up that we should be allowed to take full advantage of.

I’m looking forward to a deep and meaningful discussion about where power lies over the next two years. I hope soon I’ll be able to stop reminding people who are currently in the No camp or No-leaning that we’d still have elections in an independent Scotland; many seem to assume a Yes vote automatically triggers an SNP government. It doesn’t.

Take today’s Sunday Post. A mighty organ that still reaches the masses. If only it would give up on the anti-wind farm agenda. Or at least balance its coverage rather than continually lapping up the words of Donald Trump and Tory MEPs like they were Ma Broon’s homemade broth.
Crivvens. Nuclear 'safe and clean'?

In their handy guide on how the Yes and No sides see a variety of issues they claim the following under the heading Environment:

“An independent Scotland is committed to ending Scotland‘s reliance on nuclear power. The SNP has ambitious targets to generate most electricity from renewable sources.”

In fact, the power mix would be up to the government of the day. The Nats are happy to extend the life of Scotland’s ageing nuclear plants and Labour want to build new ones. The Nats’ targets are to generate from renewables the equivalent of Scotland’s electricity consumption - that’s a far cry from being mostly reliant on renewables.

“Reliance on renewable sources will mean more intrusive wind turbines and tidal barriers. This will damage the Scottish tourism industry.”

Intrusive? Aren’t they in remote places or, increasingly, out to sea? Tidal barriers? I can’t think of any planned. Can you? And they will damage tourism, will they? How do you know? They haven’t so far and in fact there are people like me who actually get a kick when they’re on a bike ride to the Borders and see a row of turbines in the distance. Better that than some smoke stacks.
Turbines on my horizon. Devastating.

It’s a shame this is all that is said about Environment. No mention of how capitalising on our massive renewable energy potential can reduce our carbon emissions and no mention of how removing Trident and banning other nuclear-powered submarines from our waters would prevent a potential environmental disaster on our shores. We would also have the opportunity to use taxes and regulation to ensure polluters pay and environmental responsibility is rewarded.

Like I say, for me this is about where power lies. I don’t think I’m the only one who flags at flag-waving.

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