Category Archives: Salmond, Alex

The triumph of Scottish Chávismo

Hugo of the North

Hugo of the North

Alex Salmond, writes Dalrymple, offered the Scottish people

larger subventions for more people, distributed by him and his party. He did best in those areas where people had most to gain from the promised subventions and where they believed that they were not getting their fair share of Scotland’s heavenly manna—oil and gas from the North Sea….Salmond said that he would repudiate Scotland’s share of the British national debt, a pronouncement more than sufficient to sound alarm bells among the better-informed.

The nationalists succeeded in panicking prime minister David Cameron into promising more powers to the Scottish government.

This is an excellent result for the Nationalists: Edinburgh will have the powers, London the responsibility, especially when things go wrong. London will be the lender of last resort in the event of Scottish profligacy, so that the Nationalists will probably be able to distribute more subventions after all. And if they can make enough people dependent on them, directly or indirectly, they will have won.

The Nationalists have also achieved

the reversal of the generally favorable view of the Scots in England. For the first time since I can remember, a mild dislike and irritation with them has become if not widespread, at least quite common. This is excellent news for the Scottish nationalists, who speak of hope and rely on antagonism.

The Caledonian Chávez

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 14.01.46How Scottish nationalism is an attempt to reproduce — and even deepen — British government idiocies

The leader of the Scottish National Party, writes Dalrymple,

does not so much promise to solve problems as arouse hope, a hope that is vague, general, and unfocused.

Alex Salmond’s arguments and promises, and the hopes he inspires,

are not encouraging for those who value freedom or prosperity….he would increase government interference in and direction of the economy. He is a dirigiste who far outflanks the Labour Party on the Left.

In Salmond’s imagination,

the oil in the North Sea plays the role of the fairy godmother who brings what everyone wishes, namely life at a higher material standard of living than that which is justified by his own efforts and economic activity.

He wants to make himself the Hugo Chávez of the North Sea.

The Venezuelan, recall, managed the feat of producing fuel shortages while sitting on the largest oil reserves in the world. Lost in the debate, too, is that countries that rely entirely on oil revenue to sustain themselves (except where they are so vast in relation to the population that everyone can live as a rentier) are generally destined for a special kind of economic and social woe.

Scotezuela is Salmond’s dream.

And like the Bolívarist revolutionary, he has his supporters. If the voting gives him 50 per cent plus one, he will try to eternalise his power, with a fair chance of bringing all the levers of state power under his control. But even if he falls short, his policies will continue, for Labour’s social attitudes and policies are all but indistinguishable from his. Scotland, then, will not be a one-party state but a one-policy state.

The socialism will not of course be Soviet-style, even though

a not inconsiderable proportion of the population would probably like it in order to punish the rich. (I have never forgotten the reception in the 1970s given to Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin in the Scottish football stadium. The crowd chanted ‘Kosygin! Kosygin!’)

Rather, a corporatist state will emerge,

with large companies, acting more or less as licensed traders, maintaining a cosy and corrupt relationship with the political class, whose standard of living the licensees will happily subsidise.

If Scottish nationalism

were an attempt to escape the successive idiocies of the British government that have had such disastrous consequences, I would be more than sympathetic to it. Alas, it is quite the reverse. It is an attempt to repeat and even magnify those idiocies.