Mission impossible for Wee Eck

“Why”, said the White Queen, “sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

“That’s nothing,” said Wee Eck. “Why only this morning I was thinking about independence and I managed to believe:

z No further powers will come via devolution (even though Westminster delivered in 1997 and 2012, and all three main parties have agreed to further powers);

z The rest of the UK (rUK) will agree to a currency union (even though the UK refused to join the EU currency union and all three main parties have categorically ruled out a union);

z Alternatively, Scotland could disavow any responsibility for national debt and still keep its self-esteem and respect of the world and financial markets.

z It will go down well with the rest of the EU when Scotland tries to charge their children for university tuition, while keeping it free for Scots. This will also convince people that the new Scotland is an enlightened and progressive country eager to engage with the world.

z Scotland would not only get waved straight into the EU immediately without having to pass the usual tests, but would also (and this is where the really impossible bit comes in) keep the UK rebate, and opt-outs on the euro, border controls and VAT.

z It’s a good idea to decouple ourselves from the Union within which we built our present strong economy (even though our partners stood squarely behind us when our banks recently got over-ambitious, the Union probably made the right economic calls to get us through the worst recession in living memory, the UK has the fastest-growing economy of all the major European countries and Scotland receives almost £1,200 per head more public spending than the UK average through the Barnett Formula);

z Voters will believe politicians who blandly assure them that everything we want to change in our world will flow from independence without risk, cost or disruption, that nothing in the status quo we want to keep will be affected, and that everybody else will agree to everything we ask them for. Voters will continue to believe these things even when we can’t provide evidence to back our claims up or show we have done the necessary planning and groundwork.”

“How about that then?” said Wee Eck proudly.

“Quite impressive, I suppose,” said the White Queen frostily and turned to go.

“But wait,” said Wee Eck. “I haven’t told you the most impossible thing of all: I’m confident I can persuade a whole country of canny people to believe all these things too.”

“Huh!” said the White Queen. “Now you’re just talking nonsense”.

Andrew Findlay


(with apologies to Lewis Carroll’s Alice through the Looking Glass)