Of course, in addition to attempting to portray the pro-independence movement as a broad church rather than merely an extension of the SNP, Yes Scotland's more existential approach to the question of Scottish self-determination also seemed designed to deflect attention from the SNP's difficulties regarding substantive policy detail, not to mention that arising when the likes of the socialists, Greens and the odd right-winger are brought into the equation.
But in his essay Stephen Noon couldn't resist having a few digs in relation to specific policy areas in the context of the UK, which is arguably where he came more unstuck than regarding the SNP's future.
For example, he claims: "And, most damaging of all, the failure of financial regulation on a massive scale, with a system designed to protect and promote the masters of the financial universe in the City while expecting the rest of us to pay for their mistakes."
While of course Alex Salmond said regarding this shortly before the UK's banking system nearly imploded:
“We are pledging a light-touch regulation suitable to a Scottish financial sector with its outstanding reputation for probity, as opposed to one like that in the UK, which absorbs huge amounts of management time in ‘gold-plated’regulation.”And who was "one of Alex Salmond’s most trusted advisers for almost two decades"?!? Mr Noon followed his criticism of the UK's financial regulation by saying: "It takes a uniquely warped view of the world to believe that an independent Scotland couldn’t or wouldn’t do better than this."
Er, hello? "Uniquely warped" indeed. And isn't it the case that the SNP now wants the UK to continue to regulate Scotland's banking and financial services industries, even after 'independence'?
So Mr Noon's encroachment onto 'utilitarian' rationales for independence rather than his more 'existential' remit perhaps reminds us what he's been up to until relatively recently, which hardly does him any favours.
Likewise, Mr Noon's personal website (replete with .eu domain) informs us that he's recently completed a postgraduate degree on "The interaction between international law and European Union law", while he's currently researching for a doctorate on "Internal Enlargement of the EU: legal issues around Scottish independence". Which nicely brings to mind Alex Salmond's near-existential personal difficulties regarding the question of legal advice on Scotland's EU membership. No tittering, please.
Mr Noon also witters on at some length about the fact that the UK is now one of the world's most unequal societies, but that: "We know there is an alternative to this Westminster way of structuring society and dividing the spoils. We only have to look across the North Sea to the Scandinavian nations, countries that sit at the very top of world wealth, equality and wellbeing league tables. If we so choose, Scotland can move towards this fairer, more social-democratic way of living."
Which in turn brings to mind the fact that Yes Scotland is being bankrolled by Euromillion winners Colin and Christine Weir, who demonstrated their concern for the impoverished by posing for photaes spraying champagne around etc. Of course, we'd all like to win a huge dollop of cash and do something useful and fulfilling with our lives and not have to worry about money, and wish the likes of the Weirs no ill-will. But I'd be buying a few nature reserves rather than a garage full of Ferraris (say), and I certainly wouldn't be flaunting my wealth and rubbing others' noses in it à la the Weirs. And which in turn perhaps says something about the self-righteous and hypocritical nature of Yes Scotland.
Which by the same token underlines the near-ubiquitous otherworldliness of so much in politics, and there seems to have been a bit more of this around than usual recently. For example, in the same pages as Stephen Noon's ramblings another Nationalist with more brains than common sense - former MSP Andrew Wilson - havers on about optimists leading happier, healthier, wealthier lives than pessimists. Which I don't doubt for a minute, but it's almost certainly the likes of the Noons and Wilsons who've turned me from an optimist to a pessimist, and very probably curtailed my life expectancy as a result. Which of course concurs with Andrew Wilson's thesis, but not in the way he (presumably) thinks. On the other hand he does get it spot on when he says of Scotand's devolution project:
"Of course, no Rubicon had been crossed. For Scottish politics there was always a fast-track bridge back over the river to politics as usual. And as the klaxon sound of inter-party noise and fury has risen over subsequent years, so the connect with our hopes and fears has been lost."However, he perhaps spoils this by appearing to claim the following regarding Scottish independence: "The opportunity now presents itself for all political leaders to play their part in positively framing the route they ask us all to take."
Which ironically has probably taken another few minutes off my life!
Then there's the likes of commentator Lesley Riddoch, who likes to think she inhabits the "real world", but this just seems to mean she's not a politician and is non-partisan. Her real world seems to consist largely of the comment pages of the Scotsman and the television and radio studios. Or the Scotsman's theatre critic Joyce McMillan, who cites Scotland's "thriving creative life" as presaging bringing "people together again, to fight for more democracy, more social justice, more real freedom for ordinary people, more respect for ourselves and others". But if she's referring to the likes of the arty-farty types at the National Collective, the Union Jack-burners at Bella Caledonia or the MacLuvvie community more generally, then I suspect their relevance to the great unwashed will be marginal.
As will the likes of the Radical Independence Conference attended by many of the elite of the MacCommentariat like Gerry Hassan and Andy Wightman, which is probably more likely to represent an awkward squad and occasional embarrassment for mainstream nationalism rather than something to enthuse the masses. For example, Andy Wightman recently cited this pretentious, elitist and inaccessible bullocks from an academic as an "excellent discussion", and in an essay advocating a "fairer and greener Scotland" suggested "leaving a lot of that North Sea oil untouched and a moratorium on further exploration".
Er, hello? Again. Of course, it was Mr Renewables himself - aka Alex Salmond - who recently bragged to the Scottish Parliament about our "enormous, ENORMOUS" oil and gas reserves (first minister's emphasis) and even this new year has claimed that Scotland's oil and gas sector is a "sunrise industry" and blawed that his SNP Government's strategy "sets out the aim of maximising recovery of oil and gas".
Then there's the likes of a radio interview - usefully transcribed on uber-cybernat blog Wings Ower Bath - with an Englishman who's moved to Scotland and has seemingly been converted to independence while living here. He says, inter alia:
"When I first came up here, I think I shared that view that a lot of the Scottish Parliament politicians were a bit second-rate, they were a bit ordinary and dowdy-looking – you think about people like Nicola Sturgeon and Joan McAlpine, and they’re the sort of people you imagine standing behind in the queue in the supermarket. But then I’ve come to realise that actually that’s what you want in representative democracy – you want people who represent their constituents, who ARE like us. You don’t want this kind of Teflon superheroes who are out of touch and belong to an elite class that have no idea about the price of a pint of milk."Er, hello? Again. In fact the SNP cooncillors in my own ward don't even seem to know what's going on under their noses - or don't care - so what price the likes of Nicola Sturgeon and Joan McAlpine? Perhaps Holyrood's "elite class" are slightly less "out of touch" than Westminster's, but elite and out of touch they surely are. However, perhaps the problem with the [insert politically correct term for an Englishmen living in Scotland and who's been converted to the independence cause] is that while the above might convey the impression that he's some kind of man of the people, he is in fact a medieval history lecturer at St Andras University. And here was me thinking he was sweeping the flares! Perhaps he should have stopped at the end of where he says: "I shared the view that a lot of the Scottish Parliament politicians were a bit second-rate."
Onywey, since the nation is clearly waiting with baited breath on Planet Politics' own future strategy mentioned in last week's post, the above is merely intended to underline the fact that mainstream political discourse doesn't seem to have much relevance to this blogger, which indeed provided the original rationale for this site, as the title and sub-title of the blog suggests.
So to put the nation out of its collective misery my next post will outline this blog's future direction. Once, that is, I've decided what it is!
(So there I was trying to think of a clever Dick title for the post and here was Dutch symphonic rockers Within Temptation's 'Our Solemn Hour' playing on my iPod. So I looked it up and it just about works in a slightly blasphemous sort of way, but maybe makes me seem more erudite than is perhaps the case. But it's certainly not that I've come over all religious or anything like that!)