Salmond answers back

In the light of fairly unfavourable comment recently about the performance of the smaller nations, it’s only fair to give Alex his say in Stand Alone Scotland Could Look After Itself ,” including:

“Ireland was also able to act quickly and decisively to bring stability to its banking sector by guaranteeing all deposits. It was to Ireland that many in Britain turned when the UK Government did not offer a parallel guarantee. Dublin’s actions were a clear demonstration of just how effective smaller independent nations can be when the going gets tough”.

Worth noting too how minimalist the independent case has become in the week of the SNP autumn conference, as interpreted by bellwether commentator Iain McWhirter:
“So what am I saying: that an independent Scotland would still effectively be part of the UK as far as banking is concerned? Well, yes. I don’t think anyone seriously believes that Scotland could ever become wholly financially separate from England – the two countries are joined at the hip. Moreover, the last time I looked, the Nats planned to remain in the sterling zone after independence, at least until membership of the euro could be negotiated.

Of course, Labour have every right to make political capital out of independence. The SNP is still formally a separatist party, even though every thinking nationalist realises total separation would be inconceivable. But Labour have to be careful not to make the same mistake they made in Holyrood in 2007 in misunderestimating (as President Bush might put it) Scottish voters.

Scots did not vote Nationalist in 2007 because they thought it would bring independence – far from it. They only started to lend their votes to Salmond after he made it clear that supporting the SNP would not mean a vote to leave the UK. Scots have used the SNP essentially to deliver a better form of home rule, to shake up Labour and to get more out of the Scottish Parliament.”

Will Alex ever admit it? Get away!

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London