Someone I have known for several years and who I respect e-mailed me over the weekend suggesting I take a different approach to the debate about the referendum in my No Thanks! blog. I thought quite hard about what to say to them and have decided to share the result here. I haven’t sought their agreement to do this so have edited my reply to ensure that there’s nothing here that could identify them.
Thanks for the e-mail.
I assume by Respectful Dialogue you mean the Collaborative Scotland group? I blogged about their principles and don’t disagree with what you say about them. I do look at their guidelines occasionally – believe it or not – although I recognise my style can be a bit acerbic sometimes and I sometimes feel the need to let off steam with what at least I regard as humour. I’m sorry if you feel the blog tips over into ‘derisory.’ Certainly not intended.
You say I should check my facts. I do. I also like to check other people’s facts (I’m that tedious sort of guy) which is why I’ve blogged on the question of whether the majority of Scots want rid of Trident, and on how Scotland would be similar to Panama if it used the pound without a formal currency union.
In fact, if there are any facts on my blog that you know to be wrong please let me know and I’ll correct them or at the very least publish your comment.
You say ‘Most research that comes from England clearly demonstrates that Scotland would fare better on her own.’ I’m afraid I just don’t recognise that statement but would welcome being corrected if I’m wrong.
When you say England [after Scotland left] would fall back from 23rd to 29th, what measure is that in?
You say I could open a ‘questioning page’ and then I might have more success. I started the blog more to express my own feelings than to provide a space for debate from both sides. It’s nice if more people read my blog rather than fewer but it’s not my main concern. I’m not a get-out-in-the-streets-and-campaign type but I wanted to do more than just let my thoughts buzz around in my own head. I do say on the blog that ‘Comments from any perspective are welcome. I’ll moderate them but only abusive ones will be zapped with the “Trash” button’ so feel free to make a comment on anything you disagree with and I’ll publish it.
I’m afraid your suggestion that I write an argument from the ‘Yes’ perspective falls for the same reasons as the idea of a questioning page. It just isn’t me and would be dishonest.
This next is a tricky bit, but are all the words you write really yours, or is there some round robin available for people to question folk who write ‘No’ blogs? I say that because I just don’t recognise the sensitivity and understanding you’ve shown in our other exchanges over what must be several years on various matters, mostly ones that don’t divide us! If I’m wrong on that, my apologies.
You end your e-mail ‘Yours for Scotland’ and that’s part of the nationalist problem for me. I could never end an e-mail with ‘Yours for Britain’ or ‘Yours for any other country.’ Life’s too complicated. I’ve got multiple identities and allegiances and I’m afraid an independent/separate Scotland won’t add anything to them.
If you’ll forgive me, I intend to post the text of my e-mail on my blog, without identifying you of course. It’s not quite the questioning page you hoped for but at least it gives your points to me a (very modest) public airing.
All the best.