Uppity Jock damned for being able

I haven’t lived in Scotland long enough to develop the visceral hatred of Alex Salmond that is characteristic of so many of my fellow English ex-pats.

It gets them up in the morning, which is something to be thankful for, but I fear it stops them thinking objectively about the independence question.

For some, their animus is clearly based on political affiliation – after all, Salmond and his party have wilfully and repeatedly had themselves elected to power in Holyrood, displacing the representatives of the Westminster parties from their rightful positions at the top table of the Scottish establishment.

For others, the undeniable fact that he is an able politician is damning enough, since politicians are not to be trusted – in which case, I should have thought, the closer they are the easier it is to keep an eye on what they are doing with your money.

For a few, he is just an uppity Jock who doesn’t know his place (which would, I guess, be reloading their shotguns or playing the pipes at their daughters’ weddings).

Liking or not liking the cut of the First Minister’s jib is a poor basis for deciding how to vote next month – and will be hard to justify to future generations. He is, after all, a “here today, gone tomorrow” politician, as Robin Day would have delighted in reminding him, whereas independence is potentially for ever.

“Questions remain unanswered,” I keep being told. But the UK Government refuses to pre-negotiate the settlement of those issues that are at present reserved to it, instead sending Alistair Darling to point and shout.

Scotland has all the skills and resources to be a successful independent country, and will negotiate from a strong position in the event of a Yes vote. Scotland has the opportunity of a lifetime to make its own future, and we will live with the regret for generations if we do not take it.

Paul Beck