sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland


The Fourth Reich?

Posted on January 11, 2013 by

While we welcomed the definitive answer on the question of an independent Scotland’s relationship to the United Kingdom, we were a little disturbed by something Alistair Darling said about Europe in his Newsnight Scotland interview last night.

It happened at 13m 42s. See what you think. (Emphasis Darling’s own this time.)

“A currency union means you’ve both got to agree your budgets. You’ve both got to agree how much you can tax, spend and borrow. And the point I’m making is that’s not freedom. That is actually – you imagine, you’re in the Eurozone, when Portugal sits down with Germany to discuss their budget, who’s going to make the decisions? Who’s gonna call the shots?”

Wait, what? Portugal isn’t free? Germany’s making all its economic decisions – and by extension those of every other country in the Euro that has a weaker economy than Germany’s, which is to say all of them – because they share a currency?

Was there another war and we didn’t notice? Does the plucky UK once again stand alone against a mighty German empire stretching across the whole of the European mainland? We can’t help feeling that’s the sort of thing we really ought to be told.

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31 to “The Fourth Reich?”

  1. muttley79 says:

    Another indication of the British Nationalism at the heart of the No campaign.  We have already had the talk of  ‘foreigners’, as if it is a bad thing to be born in what the No campaign call ‘foreign countries’, by dint of accident of birth.  Now this example where only Britain knows what ‘freedom’ is or is not.  

      

  2. Pa Broon says:

    I know I’m only moderately informed about this sort of thing, but I think what Darling just said there is a lot of rubbish.

    I understand though, this is normal for him during interviews.

      

  3. Bob Howie says:

    Well, one thing is for certain he is consistent……..consistently a p….

      

  4. bigbuachaille says:

    Yes, I thought this was another example of Darling dragging up spurious arguments to reinforce the decades old conventional jibes that “You’re too wee”, “The seat at the top table”, and the timeless chestnut of having “influence in the world”. Darling and his kind have been happy to keep the Scots infantilised, unambitious and submissive to a Labour élite. Hardeep Singh Kohli has a very readable essay on the subject. Here :
    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/hardeep-singh-kohli-a-scotland-that-believes-in-itself-can-be-what-it-wants-6289814.html

      

  5. Doug Daniel says:

    I opened up the first post, then the second, and now this one. I’m now having lots of fun pressing the “back” and “forward” buttons on my browser to make Alistair Darling look like he’s moving.

    I recommend everyone has a shot. It’s great fun, you can pretend to make him scaremon… erm, speak.

      

  6. Rose Wight says:

    Doug: hahaha… me too :D
    He’s gotta be good for something, comedy might just be his talent. Or rather a mime?

      

  7. Krafty Kris says:

    It’s so frustrating listening to him, total hypocrisy throughout. Rev Stu highlighted the no way back scenario but also he complains that Salmond hasn’t asked Wales, NI and England about the currency union post independence. This is while he won’t discuss any extra powers that might be devolved to Scotland because we have to answer the independence question before he’ll discuss them.

      

  8. Rabb says:

    I do hope a live debate is on the cards between Alistair Darling and Blair Jenkins / Alex Salmond. They will expose this man beyond reasonable doubt as an incompetent buffoon (I suspect we could put an amoeba in front of him and it would make him look incompetent).
    Slightly OT but John Prescott made a comment on QT last night that we can apply to indy. He commented on the USA’s concerns that it’s in Britains best interest to stay in the EU. Prescott said something along the lines of “It’s in the USA’s best interests that the UK stays in the EU” “The USA is looking after it’s own interests not ours”.

    The same can be said for independence. It’s in Westminsters best interest to keep Scotland as part of the UK and not in the best interest of the people of Scotland. Only a Yes vote in 2014 will best serve our interests :)

      

  9. balgayboy says:

    “who’s going to make the decisions? Who’s gonna call the shots?”  The people of Scotland will very easily and democratically call these shots my friend, albeit something  alien to your conditioning but that is the reality of the present popular mindset of a people who are totally pissed off with your likes and have a now realised a better way. Retire now and enjoy your scraps and watch the futility of your efforts. Politeness stops other adjectives.

      

  10. Vronsky says:

    Er – isn’t he actually right? There’s a first time for everything, you know.  We sages here know he is just a little rent-boy with a rich client, rendering any unhygienic service that he’s paid for, a Christine Keeler of our time.  But let me re-post the quote:
     

    “A currency union means you’ve both got to agree your budgets. You’ve both got to agree how much you can tax, spend and borrow. And the point I’m making is that’s not freedom. That is actually – you imagine, you’re in the Eurozone, when Portugal sits down with Germany to discuss their budget, who’s going to make the decisions? Who’s gonna call the shots?”
     


    Please calm down and think about it.  Isn’t he right?  Of course he just doesn’t get it that the same story applies to membership of that other Union he’s whoring for, but still.

      

  11. Kenny Campbell says:

    At least Portugal get to sit down with Germany….Scotland’s pocket money is based on how much England spends, nothing to do with Scotland’s actual income.

      

  12. Aplinal says:

    @Vronsky
     
    But that’s not actually how it happens, is it.  The Portuguese finance minister isn’t ‘escorted’ into a windowless room to face the German Gest … (oops) Minister mano-y-mano.  So in reality the whole body of Eurozone members may well have to discuss how to deal with the various situations, and YES, to some degree Germany as a major nation does have a few more votes in some things, but the collective votes of smaller nations far outweigh these. 
     
    It’s called diplomacy and negotiation.  It happens all the time.  the difference is that in future Scotland will give its voice directly, and not – if at all – diluted through a Westminster prism.

      

  13. Pa Broon says:

    I don’t think he is right though, you work out your tax regime then budget on the basis of the income it generates. There doesn’t have to be agreement on tax at all, there just needs to be common sense.

    There are limits (borrowing for example,) but compared to what there is at the moment, they are more than acceptable. More importantly as a stepping stone to uncoupling the Scottish pound from Sterling; its probably a fairly sensible approach to take.

      

  14. Vronsky says:

    @aplinal
     
    I think there’s a very important argument to be made in favour of local banking and against central financial ‘lumps’ (sorry, can’t think of any better word).  Even a Bundesbank of Scotland would still be inefficient and inappropriate.  I’m  interested in things like local currencies, credit unions, regional banks, all that hippy-dippy stuff.  I’m quite certain Darling isn’t, since absolutely no one would pay him to be interested. It’s a bit like Andy Wightman’s oft-repeated argument about devolution: independence, then devolution.  How far should that next devolution go?  Very far, in his opinion.  Mine too.  I’m an occasional volunteer with an inner city group that tries to stick things back together that others have knocked apart, and I can see local currency and local banking coming as a necessity, whether we will or not.

      

  15. Wullie says:

    Who will be calling the shots. Scotland will, because our resources will be backing up the value of the pound.

      

  16. Stevie Mach says:

    Darling’s living proof if Westminster MPs were paid what they were worth, they’d be living below the poverty line!

      

  17. Cameron says:

    I think Darling may have been alluding to the European Stability Mechanism, in his own peculiar ham fisted fashion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Stability_Mechanism

      

  18. Iain More says:

    The man has no accurate or positive contributions to make regarding my or anyones future in Scotland. I find such words trivial and tedious in the extreme when uttered by Darling. A man whose sole remaining ambition is to get fitted out for deid stoat!  

      

  19. pmcrek says:

    Even if this was the case, empirical evidence suggests Scotland would be far better off with Germany running our economy than Westminster anyway. England too.

      

  20. Oldnat says:

    Darling is absolutely right that a currency union exerts financial discipline on its members (All its members, ya eejit, Darling – rUK too).

    But then Darling actually knows that. He’s feart of rUK having to behave with fiscal responsibility, which would be very new for them! 

      

  21. scottish_skier says:

    @pmcrek
    Even if this was the case, empirical evidence suggests Scotland would be far better off with Germany running our economy than Westminster anyway. England too. 

    Quite. If Scotland just has to be ruled by another country, I can think of far more well-run and prosperous ones to surrender our sovereignty too. 

      

  22. Cameron says:

    I do not think we have to surrender anything. We just need to be very warry of who we jump in to a relationship with once we have our independence, most specifically the EU and NATO.

      

  23. Aplinal says:

    @Vronsky
     
    I agree that there is a lot more that can be done to re-energise local democracy.  At some stage the SG will have to given local voters more say.  If Glasgow wishes to have a Labour council with more money to waste (and eventually higher council tax bills) that is their democratic right.  Proper checks and balances are needed, but more localisation should be somewhere in Scotland’s future planning.
     
    As for credit unions, I agree wholeheartedly.  I also think that the SG could be looking at ways to encourage their growth, and support to those, often most disadvantaged in our communities who have no where else to go than the pay-day sharks and their thugs.

      

  24. Jeannie says:

    @Rabb
    The same can be said for independence. It’s in Westminsters best interest to keep Scotland as part of the UK and not in the best interest of the people of Scotland. Only a Yes vote in 2014 will best serve our interests
    So true, Rabb. What a pity it’s also in the best interests of Scottish Labour, Tory and Lib Dem MPs to keep Scotland in the UK so they can keep their well-paid jobs, expenses and prospects of promotion within the party and ultimate elevation to the House of Lords, which pays them £300.00 per day just to be there (not to mention the ermine robes).  If only they cared as much about their constituents.  They may well ask, what is the difference between a pensioner in Glasgow and a pensioner in Liverpool.  I can tell them what the difference is – the one in Glasgow elected you!

     

      

  25. Smokeball says:

    The eurozone countries will soon, if they don’t already, have to have their budgets checked over and approved in Brussels before they can enact them – and if approval isn’t given, they’ll have to re-write them

    How is that independence? As far as I know the Scottish government doesn’t have to send the Scottish budget to London for prior approval 

    scottish_skier says:
    11 January, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    @pmcrek
    Even if this was the case, empirical evidence suggests Scotland would be far better off with Germany running our economy than Westminster anyway. England too.
     
    Quite. If Scotland just has to be ruled by another country, I can think of far more well-run and prosperous ones to surrender our sovereignty too. ”

    I thought the idea of independence was that we weren’t to be run by another country at all.

      

      

  26. Braco says:

    Dear Rev Stu, I live in Portugal and unfortunately, as is so usual with the ‘Better No’ campaign, he has woven a horrible (but irrelevant to Scotland) truth into his ‘narrative’. Living in Portugal at the moment puts me in the strange position of living our history and Portugal’s future at one and the same time. I am fortunate in having my hopes for Scotland but the Portuguese people are unfortunate in their early and seemingly only political hopes coming from outwith the Portuguese political class. People have come to hope, against all logic, that somehow ‘the Troika’ will sort things out and bring ‘European’ prosperity. The political class’s have all sold themselves to ‘Europe’ with much less than personal struggle but with the solemn promise of their peoples dedicated struggle. This world is changing and changing fast. I am and always have been an enthusiastic European since even before the fall of the wall, but like the Labour party external forces have slowly had their way and transformed a universal dream into a partisan profit making club with all the levers of power and justice at their fingertips. 

      

  27. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The eurozone countries will soon, if they don’t already, have to have their budgets checked over and approved in Brussels before they can enact them – and if approval isn’t given, they’ll have to re-write them. How is that independence?”

    Because we aren’t, and won’t be, in the Eurozone?

      

  28. Braco says:

    Rev, I absolutely agree. My point is that he and the ‘better no’ campaign are intent in drawing in semi truths on irrelevant subjects that the ‘yes’ campaign then wade into with their own provably untrue attitudes (well intentioned but well out of date). I am totally on side, probably more so, but the experiences of the people here are not a disposable soundbite. I am touchy about Scotland in Portugal but I would really hate to have to become touchy about Portugal in Scotland. You and your site are a mainstay for me and I would not want to insult but time imbues strange and strong loyalties. I am paradoxically more intensely specifically European now than any other time in my life but politically uneasy about the way the dream is panning out. It is getting decidedly gritty over here and as soon as the ‘UK’ can no longer magic up wealth by print it will spread. I am coming home, come what may, to campaign and my experiences here have only forced my hand.

      

  29. CEMarshall says:

    I’ve just read something in Newsnet Scotland about Washington’s budding disapproval of the Tories’ anti-EU referendum, which has me thinking. Britain might “own” the Trident missiles it bought from the U.S., but doesn’t America still have the launch codes for the missiles? And from what I’ve read, a good number of the technicians who maintain the warheads, launching systems, etc. are Americans. If the Tories go ahead with the No vote on the EU, there’s a good chance Obama could just call the technicians back to the States and take the launch codes with them, effectively disarming Trident for Scotland.         

      

  30. Appleby says:

    The irony of this blows my mind. He’s basically just stated that Scotland in the current union is not free and that England calls the shots. Plus, he has clearly stated that such an arrangement is a terrible thing as he’s using it as a bogeman to frighten potential voters.
     
    Incredible. Yet where are the mainstream media on this clear admission?

      

  31. Cameron says:

    I think it is also a clear admission that the democratically elected governments of Eurozone countries, are now subserviant to the ESM. A new feudal state of Europe, per chance?

      



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