Thursday, 11 September 2014
Today Nigel Farrage is in Scotland. I am sure there will be howls of anguish. Indeed I find signing up to UKIP beyond me. However if you are concermed for fair debate, it is worth trying (if possible) to listen to this contribution broadcast on Radio 4 at 0710. I will try to summarise it. Firstly he acknowledged that UKIP's own policy has changed. He accepted they had made the Westminster mistake that every government has made since the rejection of Gladstone's Home Rule Bill for Ireland (well I lament the loss of some of Ireland to the Union). He set out his total support for devo max and for a federal settlement for the entire Union and made clear that devolution has to involve English regions (and that the numerically large number of English do need to be thought about). He then suggested that had Alex Salmond a sensible plan for an independent Scotland with its own currency there would have been a credible prospect to vote on and if the Scots wanted it, then Farrage could not stand in their way. However what is on offer is a breath-taking prospect of abandoning the core elements of independence by either allowing RUK to dictate Scottish financial policy (with no Scottish central bank or currency) or jumping over to the Euro. Switching one set of "governors" for another. And become a very minor member of Europe rather than having the negotiating force of the UK. I have to hand it to Mr Farrage. He can put the issues very clearly. He suggested that since the UK outside Europe will be just about its largest trading partner, it would be they who would have to agree a trade deal. Europe will need the UK whether the UK is being governed from Brussels or not. This whole debate is about the right level of government across nations. I remain as I have been throughout a staunch Unionist believing that our union of four nations across one geographical group of islands has been a great sucess (on balance, not perfect but Great). I am not going to buy the Anti Imperialist line and would remind everyone our Commonwealth Games came to Scotland this summer. I hope it will again whatever happens next.