The power to prioritise

I’m struggling to find justification for the “Nicola Capitalist” epithet in either Sturgeon’s address at Stanford University or Michael Fry’s analysis. All I am seeing is Nicola the principled pragmatist that we have known for some time. It is difficult to see how this could have been missed given that the passage from her speech which is quoted positively oozes principled pragmatism. Unless, of course, you choose to read only every second word; picking out phrases such as “free trade” and “benefits of globalisation” while disregarding things like “properly managed” and “fairer and inclusive society”.

Mr Fry’s comments about economic priorities are also a little odd. Aside from the fact that he seems to suppose the Scottish Government actually has the powers needed to fine tune the economy, never mind steer it in the right general direction, he seems to think Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has a simple choice to make between ‘maxing out’ his borrowing and adopting the “German example”. In reality, of course, no such simple choice would be available even if Mr Mackay had at his disposal all the economic levers that are currently being being withheld by the British state.

It took more than being “fanatical about running a balanced budget” to get Germany to where it is. It took a strategy. Germany didn’t get to its present position without passing through a period of deficit budgeting. The difference is more than mere determination. The difference lies in borrowing and spending wisely in order to reduce a deficit.

Successive UK Governments have shown themselves to be spectacularly inept when it comes to managing Scotland’s economy. A fact which Unionists not only admit, but gleefully celebrate. By all means urge Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government to get the priorities right. But it makes no sense whatever to blame them for getting priorities wrong when they have virtually no means of prioritising and must, instead, accept priorities imposed on them by London.

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8 thoughts on “The power to prioritise

  1. Bugger (le Panda)

    I think the basis of some of the keich being vomitted out by the MSM is simply willfull ignorance.

    That gives them their basis of defence, plausible deniability of being pig thick.

  2. Robert Graham

    As usual start with an Agenda this is what you get, an Opinion based Agenda who would have thought it , dont let facts get in the way of the usual stick the boot in Union first whatever the outcome , as long as the Union survives .
    Even with all the media biased propaganda we still haven’t went away ,
    Now that must worry them a lot .

  3. Brian Powell

    I can’t really work out why Michael Fry gets these large spreads in the National, There quite a lot of ‘faint praise’ in his articles.
    I see various self-proclaimed ‘constructive criticism’ from Yes writers which just seems to be criticism, possibly because they are making no headway themselves.

  4. Alasdair Macdonald

    I do not share Mr Fry’s political philosophy, but I welcome his contribution to the debate and for his support for independence for Scotland. Mr Fry is a very good writer. He sets out his ideas simply and clearly. He is, and has always been, completely open about his views – what you see is what you get.

    An independent Scotland will not be a Scotland only for social democrats, socialists and environmentalists; it will be a Scotland that is for a wide spectrum of political views. The publishers of Wings and Business for Scotland are not on the left.

    The views expressed by Mr Fry or, say, Mr Jim McColl, are views shared by many people in Scotland. And, by putting forward these views in the context of an independent Scotland, they are appealing to sections of the electorate, that people like, say, Ms Cat Boyd or Mr Paul Kavanagh don’t.

    Like Mr Bell, I did not read Ms Sturgeon’s speech as Mr Fry did, but, I do not think that Mr Fry was any more guilty of ‘confirmation bias, than Mr Bell or I were.

    We have to welcome a range of views in the debate and not make ourselves susceptible to ‘divide-and-rule’ attacks. So cut out the ad hominem attacks on people like Mr Jim Sillars and Mr Alex Neill.

  5. commonoldworkinchap

    Nicola Sturgeon is the only UK politician who has any respect in Europe and the wider
    world . The constant nit picking and surgically dissecting every word she utters, from the MSM is proof of this. The usual Unionist twisted dishonesty.

    The only priority here is to spread false facts. What a surprise Eh!!!!!!!

  6. David MacGille-Mhuire

    Err…”ad hominem attacks” (?) From a STRAW MAN ARGUMENT commentator.


    May I ask you , as an aside, given you did not read the FM’s speech as you assert Mr Fry did but Mr Bell did not, how are you in any position to assert anything meaningful shorn of reference to primary sources and citing them?

    As to your other assertions, can you back them up with hard data?

    PS Mr Fry May or may not be “a very good writer” – a value judgement you are perfectly entitled to – but does he write evidence driven insights ‘beautifully’ or non-evidence-driven ‘shyte’ beautifully?

    PPS I would suggest you ca’ canny apropos Mr Sillars and your beatification of him as his record, on the record, is somewhat opportunistically patchy regarding Scottish self-determination and Europe.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald

      Dear David MacGille-Mhuire,

      Thank you for your comments.

      I do not think I was making a ‘straw man’ argument, but, if that is how you interpreted it, then I will have to take more care with my phrasing. From your second paragraph, I think I have not expressed myself well with regard to the reading of the FM’s Stanford speech. I have read it, Mr Bell has read it and Mr Fry has read it, but what Mr Fry inferred from the speech was not what Mr Bell inferred from it and not what I inferred from it.

      Mr Bell was, of course, right to express his disagreement with Mr Fry. He was right to try to start a discourse about what the FM intended. Mr Bell did not make any personal attacks on Mr Fry, but, sadly, there are some who are prone to mount ad hominem attacks and, as a result, fail to address the actual points expressed by such as Mr Fry. As an example of this I refer to your use of the quaintly spelled and somewhat coy, ‘shyte’ as a decriptor of Mr Fry’s piece There is the danger of us beginning to fall for our own propaganda.

      I enjoy Mr Fry’s writing style and have done since he first appeared in Scotland more than 30 years ago. It has a pleasing clarity to it. He has done a significant amount of historical research over the years and does speak from a position of being informed.
      I did not use the word ‘beautifully’.

      Mr Fry has been a strong supporter of independence for around 20 years. He is a former Conservative Party candidate and spent about 30 years as an activist in the Conservative Party, before Mr Michael Forsyth invited him and others ‘to leave’. So he is an experienced political operator and knows that there is a target audience for the economic arguments he is making in the context of an independent Scotland. He is a strong counterargument to Project Fear. While the Conservative Party, electorally in Scotland (despite the overhyped Ruth Davidson ‘recovery’) has been in the doldrums for more than a quarter of a century, the views which Mr Fry is expressing are shared by many in Scotland, as the surveys of Professor John Curtice have demonstrated. To win independence, we are going to have to win votes in Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, West Fife, Aberdeenshire, etc.

      With regard to Mr Jim Sillars, I was not ‘beatifying’ him. He has always been a maverick character and has added to the debates over the years – he is a formidable debater – and has contributed to the general public knowledge. He enjoys being a ‘contrarian’ and his ‘contrarian’ views often highlight potential weaknesses in the independence case. He is well-described by the Scots word ‘kenspeckle’. His involvement in the debate evokes interest. In 2014, his ‘Margo Bus’ was in Yoker and his presence brought people out and engaged them in the debate. Over the years I have been irritated by many of his twists and turns, but I have also been informed by him.

      I hope these answer your concerns.

      All the best.

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