The American radio journalist Will MacLeod interprets the Yes and No campaigns for US audience. Eye-opening for me, so used to the unmitigated bias in our media.
The blog below was written before today’s blitz of scare stories about Scotland’s financial institutions moving their HQs to the City of London – where in practice their decision-making already sits. Actually, the briefings by the banks and fund managers were old hat: the main thrust of anti-Yes propaganda was provided by the media, whipped up by the politicians, and especially by George Osborne’s Treasury. In this the BBC’s Nick Robinson played a willing part. I have seen Alex Salmond in disappointing form, but here, in front of the international media, he is at his measured best. Well worth watching.
Look at Marks and Spencer, paying nearly £300 million pounds a year to the City financial institutions, for them to take their cut and put it into such inventions as hedge funds, potentially destabilising the economy and certainly increasing the inequality of wealth. M&S does not pay anything extra to its employees: the payout goes to the City of London.
By contrast John Lewis, about the same size as M&S but democratically owned and governed by its employees, and independent of the City of London, gives out over £200 million a year to all its 80,000 employee ‘partners’. Each gets the same percent of salary – 80,000 families benefiting from an extra two months’ cash. That reduces inequality. And the money is spent in the local economy, boosting the whole area.
One of the big reasons to vote Yes is to get our economy out from under City of London dominance.
The main problem with the politics of the UK is that they are dominated by Westminster – which itself is dominated, like the economy, by the City of London. One example: when the financial institutions found themselves in a state of collapse from 2008 onwards, they used their political clout to get Westminster to put everyone else in deeper debt than the world has ever seen, and used that huge sum of money to let the City financiers off the hook. Many of the financiers even made large amounts of money implementing that programme of putting the whole country desperately in debt. Westminster made us all poorer, to keep the very rich very rich.
So I intend to vote Yes, to give us in Scotland a chance of forming a different kind of government, less dominated by the financiers in the City of London.
It won’t be easy. But it is worth a try. And if we succeed we will end up vastly better off than the poor old north of England, still sucked dry by the City of London.