Martin Hannan: Question time for Project Fear

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Edinburgh will be the centre of the world’s attention on March 24, 2016, or so this SNP member devoutly hopes.

On the date named for Independence Day, we will either have the biggest Scottish hooley of all time, or an empty and forlorn day as we contemplate what might have been – now there’s a good reason for voting Yes.

This column is being written before the publication of the White Paper which sets out the case for independence and shows how it can be achieved and how it will improve Scotland.

The White Paper will not, however, answer all the questions about Scotland post-March 24, 2016, for one major reason. The UK Government steadfastly refuses to contemplate the possibility that Scotland might vote Yes, and will not officially discuss post-independence arrangements, so some issues just cannot be settled.

Oh, sure, everybody from Cabinet ministers to the internet trolls helping out Project Fear, as the Better Together campaign calls itself, can state that Scotland will be in this or that sort of mess after independence, but official discussions on the future of everything from currency to defence are just not allowed.

I am sick and fed up of Project Fear spreading its nonsensical scare stories with impunity. I believe it is time for Project Fear to start answering questions. For a start, we see Labour and Tories in the same team. How does that work? Answer? It doesn’t.

How exactly will the Union help the Scottish people to improve their lot in future? We need to see proof that Scotland will prosper under the Union, and Project Fear cannot deliver the proof because it knows deep down that we are just going to get more of the same old mistreatment at the hands of Tories and Liberal Democrats that Scotland did not elect.

Here’s a few more questions. Why can’t we have a shared currency? Plenty of European countries do so.

If people in Ireland can watch Doctor Who on the BBC, why won’t we? And in Northern Ireland, by the way, you can watch RTE, and the governments in Westminster and Dublin have agreements on these matters – so why won’t we in an independent Scotland?

What share of the national debt will South Britain and Northern Ireland want an independent Scotland to take? And what assets jointly compiled under the Union will Scotland be able to claim?

Where will Trident go when an independent Scotland kicks this immoral weapons system out? Essex? I don’t think so.

If the Clyde can’t build warships for our neighbours, then who will? The Germans? The French?

It is time for the Unionists to start answering serious questions. Today, the Yes campaign leaps forward, and the No lobby looks trapped in confusion of its own making.

HAVE A HEART

Love them or hate them, there is no denying that the continuing delays in settling the affairs of Hearts is nothing less than mental cruelty

to the fans.

Don’t get desperate to challenge Dan . .

Having lost out on the British City of Culture title, Dundee is now thinking about going for the European culture award. That’s chutzpah for you.

To anyone at Edinburgh City Chambers who is considering joining Dundee in that race, don’t even consider it for a second. It would be a colossal waste of time and money, and Edinburgh doesn’t need it.

Numbers don’t add up in city’s budget

We are told that the council needs to cut £36 million from its budget next year, and at least by publishing the draft budget so early, we can all look at it and make our own suggestions, as I gather plenty did at Meadowbank on Friday. I have only just managed to access a copy of the draft budget but I can already see trouble ahead. I will give my thoughts next week, which councillors won’t like, for my first idea is to halve their numbers.

Ashes reporters deserve thanks

One year on from the Evening News’ stunning revelations about the baby ashes scandal at Mortonhall Crematorium and at last we have some sensible action to report.

It will in no way compensate those anguished parents who discovered that their child’s ashes had been disposed of in cavalier fashion, but at least Lord Bonomy’s commission should ensure that nothing like these tragic events ever happens again in Scotland.

We should all be grateful to those people who campaigned on this issue, and while we’re at it, say thanks to the reporters on the News who alerted us to this horrendous story.

Without media pressure, the Mortonhall commission would not have happened, so it’s proof that the press sometimes does good.