The past week has been full of news items, articles, speeches and debates about the upcoming referendum. At times, too much – I would prefer a few months of steady information to the blast of 24 hour news media latching on to a new news-fad for a day or two, painting bright colours and amping the output to distortion. There has been a lot of hand-waving and shouting – a lot of it from me as I watch the telly.
What seems to come up a lot is the ‘There Is Not Enough Information’ trope from vox pop voters and panel audience members. I find this quite baffling – there seems to be an unwillingness for people to make an attempt to understand the issues. It literally takes minutes to find the various parties’ positions on all kinds of subjects, but some people are almost willfully ignorant. There seems to be a readiness to misrepresent positions, and it seems to be coming mostly from the No proponents. (No Proponent sounds like a bit of an oxymoron – for being against something). An example is from a Conservative during last week’s Scottish Parliament debate: Gavin Brown claimed that Salmond ‘suggested that an independent Scotland will not inherit any share of the UK’s debts.’
I know Salmond’s attitude on this, as I am sure Brown must, and how easy it would be for the First Minister to bat this out of the park, which he duly did:
‘The point I made, and will make again is, if the UK Chancellor insisted on the current postion of claiming all of the monetary assetts of the United Kingdom, then it follows from the Vienna Convention and every argument that he would also lay claim to all the liablities of the United Kingdom.’ Salmond has already made very clear that we are willing to accept our share of debt, if we receive our fair share of assetts. Brown went out of his way to interrupt Salmond’s speech to make this easily refuted point – that is the calibre and the flavour of the opposition’s arguments.