George Robertson’s speech in New York was even a bit much for Better Together. His doom and gloom really hit a new low with warnings that the effects of independence would be ‘cataclysmic’ and that that various forces of darkness would ‘simply love it’. It was so over the top that no one in their right mind would take it seriously. Quite how a small country excercising their right to self determination by voting for independence would mean that the end of the world was nigh is hard to say but apparently that would be case if Scotland dared to elect to make it’s own political decisions. The thing about it is that an independent Scotland would aim to be a peaceful country, it would not get into illegal wars and would remove trident as soon as safely possible. There was even an extremely heated debate at SNP conference two years ago over whether to remain part of NATO. Lord Robertson was previously Secretary General of NATO so you can imagine he was happy that the SNP backed remaining in it.
Lord Robertson was of course the man who stated that devolution would kill nationalism ‘stone dead’ and has been proven very wrong as the Scottish people saw what a strong Scottish parliament could do and increasingly wanted more powers to be granted to it. This is no bad thing, Scotland has pride in it’s parliament and what they have been able to deliver even if they were also at odds with what the UK government has been doing.
It had been a few months since Lord Robertson waded into the independence debate claiming that Scotland has no language and culture of it’s own. I am writing this in the Outer Hebrides where Gaelic is still widely spoken and is very much a living language. There has been a bit of a revival recently and there are at least three new Gaelic medium schools being built because the existing ones can’t cope with demand. Try telling all the pupils, staff and parents that Scotland doesn’t have a language of it’s own. Scotland has extremely rich culture if Lord Robertson would bother looking for it and engaging with it. Writers such as Sorley MacLean, Liz Lochead and Allan Bisett as well as music of all different genres from the late Martyn Bennett to Biffy Clyro and Belle and Sebastian. This barely even begins to scratch the surface and if Lord Robertson is looking for more examples I am more than happy to point him in the right direction. To suggest that Scotland has no culture is deeply offensive to all the writers, musicians and others who are involved in Scottish culture.
If Lord Robertson continues in this vein he very much risks no one taking him seriously again and each speech he makes being dismissed as nonsense.