Tuesday 19 June 2012

What does no really mean?

There is, as might be expected, much talk of what a YES vote in the coming independence referendum would mean for Scotland. But we hear very little discussion of what might be the implications of a NO vote. There are, I would suggest, two reasons for this. Firstly, the SNP and the pro-independence campaign have assiduously sought to present an entirely positive case - rightly eschewing the grindingly negative smear attempts and scare-stories that have thus far characterised the largest part of the anti-independence effort. Dwelling on the potential deleterious consequences of a NO vote simply doesn't fit with the tenor of the independence campaign.

Secondly, the unionist campaign simply doesn't have an alternative vision for Scotland. Discounting a handful of eccentrics - including David Cameron's benighted deputy in Scotland, Ruth Davidson - there is all but universal agreement that the constitutional status quo is totally untenable. But there is no meaningful effort to spell out what voting to remain in the UK would entail.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Salmond's second question strategy

Alex Salmond knows his opponents
Here's a little thing I learned a while ago.

If outcomes conflict with your expectations, first question your expectations.

The default human reaction tends to be to question the outcome and/or the process leading to it. People are naturally disinclined to query their own assumptions and preconceptions. It takes a conscious effort. That effort is an essential component of analytical thinking. And there's not a lot of that around. To illustrate the point we might do worse than look at reactions to Alex Salmond's position regarding a "second question" on the independence referendum ballot.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Identity and ideology

Britishness - a redundant concept?
Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypoth├Ęse.
Pierre-Simon Laplace

Laplace was, of course, referring to the redundancy of any deity in relation to his mathematical explanations of celestial mechanics. But it occurs to me that the sentiment applies just as aptly to my own attitude to the matter of Britishness in relation to my personal identity. Quite simply, I have no need of that hypothesis.

The famous words of the French mathematician and astronomer came to mind a while back as I read a piece by Kenny Farquharson in Scotland on Sunday that actually managed to be thought-provoking - (Cultural revolution as SNP learns to love the Brits) A piece which, in turn, prompted me to revisit Pete Wishart's offering on the subject of Britishness which received wide circulation, and a not entirely positive reaction, back in July 2011 - (Proud to be British in an independent Scotland).