Newsweek Scotland: Thinking aloud
Ah, Quebec! I found it endlessly enjoyable and visually sumptuous during a week-long visit in 1995 just before the sovereignty referendum. The BBC asked me to make a couple of radio documentaries on the secession movement so I was in my element in a place that is a hotbed of political debate and ideas. I think the programmes may well have disappeared into the ether by now but for those among you with sleep problems, I enclose a link to a piece I wrote for the Edinburgh University Public Affairs magazine. Don't laugh...some people like this kind of thing.
Quebec is mentioned by someone on the Newsweek blog pointing out that the economy suffered in the run-up to the referendum, a point that has occasionally been made by opponents of Scotland's "secession", among them Malcolm Rifkind if I remember correctly. So we dip our toe into those (St Lawrence) waters tomorrow to see if that position still holds.
We have a political debate with Angus Macleod and Iain Macwhirter - who also made a documentary on Quebec. It's what I call Custard Pies. One minute Michael Moore is demanding answers from the SNP government about the costs of independence and complaining he gets no answer. Then at the Holyrood committee on the Scotland Bill he himself is unable to say how the financial provisions of the Bill will be implemented. (You see...he puts a pie in the Nats' face and they retaliate).
George Osborne says uncertainty over Scotland's constitutional future deters investment, but shouldn't investors also doubt the UK's developing arrangements with Brussels? David Cameron wants that to change into a looser association which might mean Britain in a second tier of the EU. Meanwhile a large chunk of his party including over 80 MPs, want a referendum on coming out altogether. Might THAT not also put off investors? Just thinking aloud...
Someone else thinking aloud quite a lot is Labour MP Douglas Alexander who seems to be on a tour of doom. He makes his second speech in a few weeks with his analysis of where Labour is going wrong. We'll ask him what they need to get right, and if they're capable of it.
We have horrifying stories about immigration - if you're worried about who might be illegally in our country, I suggest you turn the volume down when I speak to David Moss who studies the subject. We're in Spain for the elections and we look at the craft of letter-writing. It is an art that has been overtaken by bloggers writing drivel like this. Join me tomorrow at 8.