Opinion from Lord Digby Jones

Don't Get Mad, Get Even

Published Wednesday 22 March, 2017

"Don't get mad, get even" was a piece of advice given me many years ago as I honed my negotiating skills as a corporate lawyer. There is only one thing worse than "losing it" in doing a deal or in public life for that matter.....and that's letting it show. 

 

Your opponent knows you're riled and will concentrate on what took you there, drawing all your fire power to possibly the wrong place; your senses of balance and fine judgement are impaired by the red mist descending......and the morale of your opponent hits new highs. 

 

So to tell you that I nearly threw something at the TV screen the other evening is quite an admission and I promise it won't happen again. But I plead justification as mitigation. 

 

You see, I watched the smug, self-satisfied First Minister of Scotland deliver her "demands" to the people of the United Kingdom deliberately on the day of the last Article 50 Brexit vote........and the poor cushion on the sofa started its involuntary trajectory towards the animated goldfish bowl in the corner of the room. 

 

My reasons are three-fold:-

 

1. She feels aggrieved that she was not consulted every step of the way on the toing and froing leading up to the Article 50 debate by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; neither were the democratically-elected Leaders of two other devolved territories, the Mayor of London or the First Minister of Wales; go figure Nicola!

 

2. It was a classic diversionary manoeuvre conducted the world over by politicians in trouble. The SNP are proving themselves inadequate (I'm being kind) at running Scotland: poor healthcare delivery, poor educational attainment, poor longevity, poor crime figures. So, what does a single-issue party-in-power do? Bang on about that one issue: independence. The people of Scotland deserve better, much better. The journey from "the result of this Referendum will stand for a generation" to "we demand another Referendum" has taken less than thirty months. Surely the delivery of quality services paid for out of a thriving, tax-competitive, capitalist, entrepreneurial Society comes higher up the pecking order than another divisive, debilitating, diversionary vote?

 

3. So Ms Sturgeon doesn't want a "Hard Brexit". She wants the UK (and certainly Scotland) to stay in the EU and most definitely in the Single Market.

 

- The former means that an Independent Scotland will have (as she sees it) broken free from a situation where 5.5 million people out of 64 million have enormous amounts of independence and enjoy recognition and influence way beyond that which the proportionality of relative populations or GDPs would normally produce. Instead tiny Scotland will submit to the Will of a German-dominated EU, where 5.5 million are a rounding error in 500 million, and their almost non-existent power and influence will be matched in irrelevance only by the consequences of their removal from their largest trading market by a country mile, their Union with England. 

 

- The latter means continuing the submission of Scotland's judicial system to the European Court of Justice and continuing with the situation of having no control over who (or how many) migrates into Scotland from anywhere in the EU. That's what The Single Market means. That is the truth of the matter. So that's independence is it Nicola? 

 

Cloaking blind, ideological pursuit in a shroud of victimhood and affected reasonableness caused the cushion-throwing incident; really, I was calling for honesty from Scotland's First Minister; a forlorn hope I guess. 

 

Independence Ms Sturgeon? Independence from what precisely? This is all about 600 years' cultivation of hatred of the English producing poor judgement, bad government and a gross deception of the good people of Scotland. 

 

Do the maths First Minister: 

- Tax revenue per head in Scotland is £10,000, £400 less than the UK average. 

- Public spending per head in Scotland is £12,800, £1,200 more than the UK average. 

- The Scottish budget deficit, including a geographic share of North Sea Oil, is 9.5% of GDP, compared with 3.9% for the UK as a whole. 

 

The people of Scotland do very well indeed out of their Union with the UK. Wanting to throw all that up is bad enough (I have a feeling that the people of England would not make good post-divorce trading partners and would look on with a "told you so" air as their northern neighbours endured the Greek-like economic meltdown consequences of a socialist government refusing to implement the harsh medicine required by removal of southern subsidy and the restrictive demands put upon them by an uncaring EU). But doing it simply to stay in an EU marching valiantly towards 1970 induced the cushion throwing!

 

So, you want yet another Referendum Nicola? Why not wait until a couple years of the UK being outside the EU have elapsed? Then the Scottish people could vote on reality not prophecy; on actual experience, not the doom-mongering we saw before the Brexit Referendum. And yes, Nicola, you may well then get the result you want; but at least that result would be the outcome of a vote based on an appraisal of fact. But the result might well then go against you Nicola.......and I guess that allowing the Scottish people to base their decision on facts, experience and reality, not the hazy, tub-thumping ideology of Braveheart is a risk you simply cannot take.