I am sitting now in Andalucia watching Andrew Neill on the Daily Politics. To do this will apparently be impossible in an independent Scotland.
The Guardian has just published its eighth article in three days pushing Gordon Brown’s views on independence. This one warns Scots they would not be able to watch the BBC after independence. Just as presumably I can’t be watching it in Andalucia, but am suffering some delusion. Apparently we won’t be allowed to read Harry Potter either.
This nonsense gives me the excuse I craved to link to this absolutely superb article from my friend Robin McAlpine of the Reid Foundation. I republish the start but do read it all through here.
Gordon Brown exists only in an intensive care unit manufactured for him by certain sections of the Scottish media. They keep him politically alive through regular injections of myth.
For example, a myth such as that he had a firm grip of the UK economy and knew what he was doing. Can we once and for all put this idea to bed? The UK economy was substantially weaker after Brown was finished than when he began. The decline in manufacturing (as a proportion of the overall economy) was actually three times faster under Brown than under Thatcher. It was this shift from skilled labour to a low-skill ‘post industrial’ labour market which caused the UK to end up as the second lowest paid economy among advanced economies. Brown was not a visionary but someone who adopted the opinions of whomever was the most powerful lobby (in his case the financial and equity industries – which did most to strip away the manufacturing economy). When there was a global economic shock (the US sub-prime mortgage fiasco) it affected countries in proportion to how robust their economy was. In Europe, Britain was in a gang with Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland (though none of those came out of the crisis anything like as heavily indebted as did the UK). We should have been in the gang of Nordic and Germanic economies which were only mildly affected – or even in a middle category with France and Holland that suffered a bit but not catastrophically.
The profile of the UK economy was less balanced, less productive, lower-paid and much less resilient when Brown was finished than when he began. That is on him