Just received the Scottish Parliament's (I'll be damned if I'll call it the Scottish Government) call to arms re the referendum vote on September 18th, and you're all probably expecting a blast of polemic. Probably from my nether regions.
Well, actually, no.
Not yet, anyway.
I am a professional writer. Took me a long time to be able to say that and an unbelievable amount of work.
Doesn't mean I know it all about words.
But I know a bit.
Re keeping the pound, the Parliament's brochure says:
"Our proposal is for a formal currency union with the rest of the UK."
The Concise Oxford Dictionary. - 10th ed. defines a proposal, first and foremost as:
"A plan or suggestion."
And also, rather humorously in the context, as "an offer of marriage."
It might seem like fun to play with words. It is nothing of the sort. They shape the fates and destinies of nations. I've taken quite an interest in the U. S. Constitution recently and the Second Amendment's precise meaning has been vociferously debated over the decades, most recently in District of Columbia v. Heller. The exact meaning of a word can dramatically influence a country's future, and no question about it.
Which is why the Scottish Parliament's sentence is such nonsense, and quite possibly dangerous and damaging nonsense. They're suggesting to the UK government that the UK government enter into such a union with them, and the UK government (all three anti-independence parties and the Treasury) has already told them it ruddy well won't.
Even if Westminster turns into a complete (rather than partial) bunch of utter toadies and does some dire deal, that will not happen until after the 18th September and it very probably won't happen at all. An Asperger brain works with logic first and emotions afterwards, and when I read Treasury chief Nicholas Macpherson's clear and concise letter advising against a currency union, I first and foremost saw logical fact. Fact agreed to by the rest of the UK government and all three major parties. If I myself was Macpherson, if the YES vote prevailed and if Alex Salmond then phoned me up asking to negotiate I'd politely tell him to take his suggestion re currency union and stuff it up his nether regions.
However, to some neuro-typical minds, the Macpherson letter is an emotional threat made to keep Scotland under London's thumb. Many are sure it's a bluff.
And maybe it is. After all, Westminster is full of neuro-typicals as well.
But my gut, Asperger, logical feeling?
Don't bet on it.
To take us into independence on the strength mainly of a suggestion which has, it seems, already been rejected and either might or might not be given a hearing after the glorious 18th is, I would seriously say, extremely reckless and naïve.
The origin of this suggestion, as repeated endlessly by Nicola Sturgeon once the Treasury had made its position plain, was the Calman Report, put together by a distinguished bunch of top academics, business leaders, senior judges and QCs.
I have no doubt it's very well-written, intelligent, perspicacious, even brilliant in parts.
But here's the rub.
It was written regarding a devolved Scotland, not an independent one. Its remit (among other things) was to "continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom."
And in the end, all it is is a report. Nothing more. The UK government does not have to take any notice of it whatsoever; and since it would probably be political suicide for them to go back on their word so utterly, I very, very much doubt they will.
So on the precarious basis of a suggestion which will probably be booted out the back door before you can say Braveheart, the Scottish Parliament wants us to trust them to lead us into independence and a glorious future.
Even if I hadn't had personal experience of the lack of talent, ability and character in Scotland's leadership, I'd be a bit wary of that. As I know how badly they and their ilk can mess even the simplest things up, there is no way I'd trust their judgement in this matter.
And regarding the secondary definition of proposal, I thought Scotland wanted to become independent, not marry the rest of the UK...
James Christie is the author of Dear Miss Landau. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 37 in 2002. He lives in the Scottish Borders.Suggest a correction