… Alastair Darling reflects!
One can gain insights into people when they are in relaxed, but serious conversation. This is no doubt the purpose behind the Institute for Government’s ‘Ministers Reflect’ series of interviews.
By chance I came across the transcript of one such interview from 2016 conducted with Alastair Darling, the leading campaigner against self-determination for the people of Scotland. I noted a short section in which Darling speaks about Scotland, the aftermath of the 2014 referendum and his view of the Scottish electorate’s likely response in a second independence vote.
Despite its vintage, it’s worth shining a light on this even now. It’s illuminating to read how this man chooses to ‘reflect’ in the context of an interview that does not require campaign rhetoric nor partisan political point scoring.
This is the section of the interview:
“One thing we did not discuss, because it wasn’t ministerial, that I’m glad I did, in retrospect, is campaigning in the Scottish referendum. Because there was every chance the UK would have broken up then. My regret is twofold, one is the aftermath – apart from the Tories benefitting from that, they then sought to inadvertently to (sic) undo the whole thing. The Brexit thing has destabilised us again and also from my party’s point of view, having spent three years tiptoeing around whether or not to do any campaigning or not, they then allowed our opposition to part us. So it’s a very big political regret. But the referendum itself, if there was another referendum tomorrow morning, Scotland would still vote to stay in the UK because it doesn’t want to join the Euro.”
Two things occur to me reading this extract.
Firstly, when he says about the Tories after the 2014 referendum: “… they then sought to inadvertently to undo the whole thing.”
Is this Darling the apologist for the Tories? The Tories sought to undo something but they sought to do it ‘inadvertently’: how does inadvertent seeking work? The notion that the post-2014 referendum response by the Tories was ‘inadvertent’ is risible. But suck it up Scotland – regardless, we are ‘better together’!
The second thing that strikes me is this: “… Scotland would still vote to stay in the UK because it doesn’t want to join the Euro.”
So even here, in an interview with serious political journalists/researchers, this man was still motivated to misrepresent the true situation concerning Scotland’s currency options as an independent nation-state. He sought to scare voters over currency matters in 2014: here he is still at it in 2016 even when away from the glare of general public debate. He must know the reality of EU accession and the Euro so we are left to form a view of how far he will descend to preserve his precious Union. More to come from Lord Darling of Roulanish?