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Sunday 15 January 2012

Referendum Hypocrisy

The manoeuvring by canny Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond over the question of potentially giving his country independence – a break from the Union – even intruded into the appearance on The Andy Marr Show (tm) by Mil The Younger this morning. Marr – another Scot who has made his name south of the border – mischievously suggested England having a say in the matter.

This idea has been germinating in the right leaning part of the Fourth Estate for a couple of days now. First out of the blocks was Iain Martin at the Maily Telegraph, thundering “David Cameron would never give England a vote on Scottish independence”. Readers are then told of “the quiet patience of the English in the face of provocations from the Scottish administration”.

So I’ve been quietly patient, it seems. But this is complete crap: the mischief of Alex Salmond is so much a feature of the political landscape that a little more pot stirring from Edinburgh hardly produces a blip on most folks’ radar. Martin, whose Telegraph bio tells that he “keeps an eye on Gordon Brown and the Labour Government”, is after all a former staffer at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

And that means he is well up to speed on the use of strawmen and rhetorical questions, which the WSJ under Murdoch has imported from Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). But he is not alone in attempting to turn the independence question on its head: the preposterous Simon Heffer at the Mail has been more than eager to join the fray.

Hang on, Mr Salmond. The English MUST have a say on Scotland’s future too ...” blusters the Hefferlump. He describes the debate as “byzantine” and at the outset deploys his killer play: “I’d like to know what these 51 million souls think about the question” (presumably the Welsh and Northern Irish, despite being part of the Union, don’t merit inclusion for some reason).

But Heffer is clearly serious about the idea: “it is democratically offensive to imagine the English do not have a right to be consulted” he thunders. Really? Let’s take that idea and run with it, shall we? In October, the Hefferlump twice ranted about the question of a referendum on EU membership. He returned to the subject after Young Dave’s jolly good veto at Brussels in December.

Iain Martin, too, talked of an EU referendum in December. Twice, in fact. But he, like Heffer, did not for a moment suggest that those dastardly foreigners have a say in such a matter. No talk of “democratically offensive” was to be heard. I’m sure that, given sufficient time, both pundits will be able to manufacture sufficient bluster and whataboutery to get over that one. But in the meantime, there is only one conclusion.

And that is that Martin and Heffer are a pair of triple-A rated hypocrites.

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