According the the Scotsman and many other news outlets William Hague will say that the drive for Scottish Independence is met with “bafflement” as you go around the world.
Now we might choose to look at this in a couple of ways. The first is that it is simply being misreported and the correct story is that it is William Hague himself, and how he could ever be in a position of power, that is met with bafflement.
That would be too obvious though, so I won’t say it (oops, must have been those 14 pints).
The second is that it is far from being true. I tend to travel around quite a bit and reactions range from “I thought you were already independent” to “yeah, good luck to you”. My friends that have jobs that move them around a lot also tell me similar stories. Occasionally people ask if we can afford it. When it is explained how we can, the reaction is usually “well, why aren’t you independent already?”.
All that said, the more interesting parts of the speech, which is being reported uncritically in many news outlets before it has been made (a bit of judicious leaking or just agenda-setting?), come later.
As so much of the Better Together campaign so far, it is a mix of own-trumpet-blowing without substantive facts and largely unveiled threats. Let’s take two more little pieces…
The first is talking about world reaction to the UK…
They speak in awe of our institutions, our civil service and our legal systems. They admire the richness and diversity of our culture, language, history, sport and traditions…
Do you remember the old joke about the Queen thinking the world smells of fresh paint because everywhere she goes someone has just been putting a new coat on everything? Well how do you think people react when a foreign dignitary comes to town?
A second way to look at that would of course be to suggest that even if those institutions are/were the bastions of quality and fairness (which is an idea I have serious doubts about) that Hague seems to think, or wants to pretend that he thinks, his government is doing the best it can to destroy all those institutions as quickly as possible.
Don’t worry though, England may have lost its health service, but the UK has got a “nudge” unit as compensation.
Saving the best for last however, here is the threat…
In the address in Edinburgh, Mr Hague will also warn that an independent Scotland would lose access to Britain’s expertise in intelligence and security services if it decided to vote “yes” next year.
So… a Government whose avowed intention is to combat terror and that supposedly likes peace in the world, even if it has always had an extremely odd way of showing it, will hang its friendly neighbour out to dry.
Scots, don’t you feel reassured that the UK just loves you? Don’t you want to stay as part of such a non self-aggrandising and philanthropic organisation?