Referendum Blog: June 2

Referendum Blog: June 2

NAUGHTIE BIAS: On Tuesday, James Naughtie, now a roving BBC correspondent emeritus, assembled three Today features about the Scottish reaction to the EU referendum. They were seriously imbalanced towards the ‘remain’ side.

In the opening sequence, at 6.42am, Naughtie explored the views of a young ‘remain’ supporter and an ‘exit’ counterpart. Eloise Reinhardt, the remain speaker, was asked to contribute first and Naughtie let her make her point uninterrupted. Ewan Blockley, who was in favour of ‘out’, contributed next. After speaking less than 30 words, he was interrupted by Naughtie, who told him that his £350m figure for the cost of EU membership was bogus. Naughtie intervened again to stress that it was the Treasury Select Committee that said so.

Before Blockley could explain more, Naughtie cut him off and returned to Reinhardt. At this point, he shifted the agenda.  He suggested to her that if the national vote was leave on June 23, the majority of Scots would want a second referendum on Scottish independence, then that this could lead to Scotland joining the euro. This gave Reinhardt a platform to say she was   a strong believer in Europe because it supported smaller countries.

The agenda had thus been narrowed by Naughtie to consideration of the possibility of a second referendum. On that basis, he asked Blockley  how Scottish independence fed into the ‘Europe’ debate. Blockley replied that there had already been a vote on independence and it stood.

Naughtie then put it to Blockley that the Conservative party in Scotland under Ruth Davidson was more in favour of ‘remain’ than the party as a whole. His observation and question formed the longest contribution so far. It was thus posed a s a major point.

Blockley’s response was that he did not agree and that opinion about ‘leave’ among MSPs was being hushed up.

Naughtie chose not to explore that and turned again to Reinhardt. He reminded listeners that under 16s had voted in the independence referendum. This led Reinhardt to observe:

I think, especially among my generation, I think that erm . . . it was really important, it’s really important to stay within the EU. A lot of people are concerned with jobs, especially at my age we’re all leaving school are looking for jobs, and there was a statistic the other day, something like one in ten jobs are directly linked to our membership of the EU.

Naughtie asked her whether she believed this scare stuff – such as the bogus figure of £350m mentioned by Blockley – because her side had argued at the last referendum that George Osborne had led Project Fear north of the border. He noted that the ‘leave’ side was now claiming that ‘remain’ was a new Project Fear, Did she now believe what was being said?

Her response was that there had been ‘many mixed messages’ that were difficult to decipher. Naughtie – before she answered fully, thus letting her off the hook – asked Blockley why he did not believe the Chancellor, because he was a Conservative. Blockley confirmed he didn’t believe him. Naughtie stressed this was a contradiction, and Reinhardt joined in at this point by laughing.  Blockley said there were definitely differing views (within the Conservative party) but now Osborne was getting his statistics from the CBI and institutions funded by Brussels.

Naughtie again switched emphasis and asked both interviewees if their arguments were based on faith or facts. Both said it was both.  Naughtie finally asked Reinhardt if remain was going to win. She said it would definitely do so. He asked Blockley if his side could ‘pull back’. He replied they could.

Overall, Naughtie’s editing and presentation of this feature led to a strongly favourable projection of the remain case in Scotland.  Blockley was specifically challenged over his figures  pushed continually on the back foot and asked to explain what Naughtie perceived were contradictions in his stance. Naughtie emphasised that the Tories were split on this issue, but less split in Scotland, and favoured ‘remain’. Blockley’s responses to the barrage of pressure were of necessity fragmented and incomplete; he was given no opportunity to offer an uninterrupted expression of the ‘leave’ case from the Scottish perspective. The points that he was able to make were only that   that he believed in sovereignty, democratic will and economic prudence…the figure going from the UK to Brussels was too much; that the ‘leave’ component in the Scottish Conservative party was being hushed up, and that he believed that George Osborne’s Project Fear figures were being fed by the CBI and other Brussels’ sources.

Reinhardt by contrast had three uninterrupted opportunities to put her ‘leave’ case. She said in the three contributions:

I just feel the that if we were to come out of the EU that we would lose our seat at the table, especially within trade, we’re still going to need to pay into Europe, into the trade agreement, and I think that we would lose our seat at the table and that would just be . . . it’s too much of a risk right now…. I think, especially among my generation… I’m, I’m a strong believer in . . . in Europe, I think it’s . . . it is, it’s an institution that’s been there for many years, and it’s supported a lot of smaller countries. I think that erm . . . it was really important, it’s really important to stay within the EU. A lot of people are concerned with jobs, especially at my age we’re all leaving school are looking for jobs, and there was a statistic the other day, something like one in ten jobs are directly linked to our membership of the EU.

Naughtie suggested only one adversarial point to Reinhardt, that the ‘remain’ approach to Project Fear was contradictory, but did not push her to answer, and, in effect, let the matter go.

Naughtie also appeared to have an editorial agenda, which was to push the view that a ‘leave’ vote would lead to a second independence referendum. He steered the discussion in that direction almost from the beginning, and before Blockley had been able to explain fully the ‘exit’ case.  He stressed that the h Conservatives were split about the EU, but less so in Scotland, and focused strongly on a perceived contradiction in George Osborne’s stance to the Scottish and EU referendums. His line of questioning here allowed Reinhardt to join in his discomfiture by laughing at him.

This was projected as an equal exploration of the Scottish ’remain’ and ‘leave’ cases. It was anything but. The ‘leave’ side, because of Naughtie’s approach, was projected more favourably. Through his lens, it was what Scotland wanted.  In sharp contrast, Naughtie put across that the ‘leave’ argument was based on financial inaccuracy, and was being pursued inside a split Conservative party on contradictory statements by George Osborne.

 

SEQUENCE TWO: THE CLYDE

In the second sequence, based primarily in one of the few Clyde shipyards said to be still operational, Naughtie explored differences of opinion between two of the workers there, one of whom supported Brexit, the other ‘remain’.  It turned out, however, that although the exit supporter wanted to leave the EU economic grounds, in other respects he thought it was wonderful.

Before talking in detail to the shipyard  workers,  he included comments from two business analysts in reaction to the point that ship-building as an industry was suffering because it had no national strategy that would engender successful reactions to competition from abroad.  John Whyman, from the Lancashire Institute of economic research, argued that the EU did not allow one section of the single market to be treated more favourably than another, so it was not possible to help firms. He claimed leaving the EU would allow a more active industrial policy.

Naughtie said that Professor David Bailey, from Aston Business School thought this was wrong.  He declared:

There are good reasons for having rules on state aid, so that we get fair competition across the single market. But, this argument that that prevents us from having an effective industrial policy is complete hogwash. I mean, look for example, what happened in the steel industry recently, it was the British government that opposed higher tariffs at a European level against Chinese imports. And if you look at other countries in Europe, being part of the EU has not stopped them intervening to support their steel.

Naughtie then established that Iain Turnball, one of the Govan workers, believed that the EU helped the industry and if there was an exit, he feared they would not get work from elsewhere.  Naughtie then said John Brown favoured a ‘one nation’ industrial strategy, and claimed that other European countries’ failure to follow EU single market competition rules had cost the Clyde orders.

He noted there was ‘an extra ingredient here’.  Brown supported the one-nation industrial strategy, but was ‘never going to be a cultural Brexiteer’. He included a long quote from him:

We like being Europeans, we like being able to go to Spain, go to Seville, go to Rome, we like all that. My grandad’s name was Daniel McConnell, he was an immigrant, I’m married to a Bengali Scottish girl, my son is going with a Kurdish refugee lassie, so I don’t interested (sic) in (word or words unclear) and (word unclear ‘Poles’?) it’s the future for your kids and yourself, and I think a bigger (word or words unclear) that Europe provides us with a safer future, than a tiny wee island.

Naughtie concluded by observing that the question on the ballot paper on June 23 was ‘not the most important question’; the real question was more complex than ‘remain’ or ‘leave’.

Overall, Naughtie, put forward in his editing contrasting views about the way forward for both the ship-yard and its manufacturing sector generally, with reasonably balanced comment from two workers and two economists. The comments brought into play complex themes of industrial strategy and how EU regulations influenced the ability of UK business to compete (or not) in the EU and international arenas.

But the comment at the end from John Brown introduced a substantial imbalance. He argued that the EU was about being ‘European’, being able to travel, being multicultural, and about being safer than was possible in a ‘wee’ island.  No contrasting opinion was included.

 

SEQUENCE THREE: ANGLOPHOBIA? 

In the third of the sequence, Naughtie interviewed Dr Owen Dudley Edwards, an ultra-Scots nationalist who believes that the UK is a ‘grubby little corporation’, and  Alastair Macmillan, a business owner from the Scottish arm of Business for Britain.

Naughtie stressed again at the outset that Scotland was keener to remain than leave and wondered whether this was because of culture or economic self-interest, or what.

Dudley Edwards first observed that the Irish had loved the EU because they had spent so much time on Anglophobia. The Scottish did not dislike the English as much as the Irish, but did think that they got in the way of Scottish self-realisation. He then argued that he thought the Scots saw that the EU intervened in all sorts of ways that were in their interest. He claimed that the MEP Winifred Ewing had gone to the European Parliament in 1979 and it began to mean an awful lot to the Scots because she had ‘got a lot of grants and useful support’.  Naughtie joined in the Dudley Edwards’ explanation and suggested it was then that the SNP had ‘turned on its axis’ and became a euro-enthusiast party and ‘still was’.   Dudley Edwards agreed and said that Ewing had done a splendid job, and was ‘carrying Europe with her’. He said that when people thought about the European Parliament, they thought of her, and then she was succeeded by Neil McCormick. Another MEP just as good.

Naughtie then said MacMillan was a businessman who exported around the world. He asked whether he accepted that in Scotland the debate was more tilted to remain than south of the border. Macmillan said he did but not think the Scots, per se, were less Eurosceptic. Scotland had to be viewed as both part off the UK and at the same time very local.  The problem had been that Euroscepticism had been seen as part of ‘the Tory disease’. He asserted that Scotland was not Tory.

Naughtie responded:

Well, the Conservatives are now the second party at Holyrood of course, and one of the interesting things about that, and just to get you both in on this, is that Ruth Davidson, the leader, who had a very good campaign in the Holyrood parliament, erm, although she says she’s got all sorts of arguments against Brussels, she is leading her party . . . not united, of course, there are a lot of Conservatives who want to leave, but it’s more united than the party south of the border is. What’s your explanation for that?

Dudley Edwards said Davidson was a very practised campaigner, people warmed to her strongly, she had played the gay liberation card well in terms of her lesbian relationship, and  ‘seemed so unlike traditional Toryism’.  Naughtie wondered what Alec Douglas Home would have made of that.  Dudley Edwards observed that Davidson campaigned without mentioning David Cameron if she could ‘possible avoid it’.

Naughtie then returned to Macmillan and asked if the debate in Scotland was tied up with the national debate that can’t be untangled.  Macmillan replied:

I think that people have felt that, you know, they’re told by Labour, they’re told by SNP in particular that Europe is a good thing, and they’ve, you know, if you look to the fishing community, you look to the agricultural community, they’ve actually had to deal with Europe first hand, you know they, they are thinking, you know, a Scottish farmer poll is saying 69% want to come out. You know, the fishing people you know they’re very strong . . . it’s people, we have, up here, normal ordinary people have not had the experience of immigration from the EU which our southern cousins have had to the same extent, and I think . . .

Naughtie interrupted before he had finished and observed he thought ‘that influences it’.  He added:

A last question for Owen Dudley Edwards, it’s often said that if there were a vote to leave across the UK, particularly if, in Scotland the majority of votes had said ‘Remain’ that Nicola Sturgeon would be unable to resist pressure in her party for a second referendum, do you believe that?

ODE:      Yes, very much so, I mean, it has always been (fragment of word, unclear) implicit, because the whole thing was the referendum was carried against independence on the assumption, without anybody (word or words unclear) too much, that matters would remain as they were.  For the whole ballgame to be changed by the UK getting out of the European Union, against Scotland’s wishes, would make it overwhelming demands I think for independence, it would be very difficult for anybody to resist it.

Overall, in the third sequence, Naughtie’s main focus was to give Owen Dudley Edwards a platform to explain why he, a Scots nationalist, thought the EU was now perceived to be so beneficial to Scotland. He explained, in essence – without interruption and with help from Naughtie over why the SNP also came to be pro-EU – that Winnifred Ewing had won EU grants and that had turned opinion around, and also because the EU was a channel through which to attack and limit the influence of England.  Naughtie also gave him the opportunity, as the last word, to say that a vote to leave would be strongly against Scotland’s wishes and would lead to strong demands for another independence referendum.

Macmillan had two primary contributions. In the first – reacting to Naughtie’s point that Scotland was more pro-EU – he argued that the Scots wanted to be part of the UK, but were parochial in output and through what they read, saw Euroscepticism as a Tory disease.  In the second answering whether the argument that the question was tied up with the national question in a way that could not be untangled, he argued that despite what the SNP said, farmers and fishermen especially disagreed with what they had been told and wanted out.

Naughtie also introduced that the Conservative party in Scotland, led by Riuth Davidson, was more strongly pro-EU than in England. This allowed Dudley Edwards to observe that people had warmed to her because it did not seem like traditional Toryism, and that Davidson had made very shrewd use of ‘gay liberation’ in Scotland.

Was this ‘balanced’? The whole discussion was conducted on Naughtie’s framework editorial premise that the Scots were more pro-EU than the English. This this gave Dudley Edwards a strong platform to advance reasons why it was. He introduced a number of factors, including Anglophobia, the importance of EU grants, and the effectiveness of the SNP, the fact that Ruth Davidson was not a traditional Tory, and that she has effectively used the ‘gay liberation’ card.  Macmillan was on the back foot throughout because of the editorial thrust. He had to explain why the Scots were less Eurosceptic, and his answer was that the issue had been associated with Toryism. The second question was also complex, and he only had the opportunity to point out that fishermen and farmers in Scotland actually wanted out, despite what the SNP said. In summary Naughtie gave Dudley Edwards the opportunity to put forward a historically-based case; Macmillan was not afforded the same space.

Overall, the three sequences were strongly favourable towards the remain case. He also was at pains to establish stressed that a ‘leave’ vote would lead to fresh pressure for a second independence referendum.

 

Full Transcripts:

6.42am Young Voters in Glasgow

MISHAL HUSAIN:             Just over three weeks to go to the EU referendum, and in the latest of our series from different parts of the country, we’re in Glasgow this morning where Jim is gauging opinion, good morning Jim.

JAMES NAUGHTIE:          Good morning to you, Mishal, from Glasgow, under a China blue sky here, and we’ll be giving you some thoughts through the programme on the referendum north of the border, because there is, of course, an extra dimension to the argument here where the other referendum after all wasn’t very long ago.  It is of course, the national question.  Now, I’m with two young voters here in the centre of the city who take a different view, Eloise Reinhardt, who’s 18, and Ewan Blockley who’s also 18, they’re involved, incidentally, in the BBC Generation Young Voter groups.  Now, Eloise, you’re an SNP voter and you’re voting to Remain, why?

ELOISE REINHARDT:       Erm, I just feel the that if we were to come out of the EU that we would lose our seat at the table, especially within trade, we’re still going to need to pay into Europe, into the trade agreement, and I think that we would lose our seat at the table and that would just be . . . it’s too much of a risk right now.

JN:         Right, Ewan, you’re 18, same as Eloise, you’re saying ‘Leave’ – why?

EWAN BLOCKLEY:           I believe in sovereignty, I believe in democratic will and I also believe in economic prudence, and I believe that if we give £350 million away a week, I think that . . .

JN:         (speaking under, word unclear, ‘Well’?)

EB:         (fragment of word, unclear) You can call it a bogus figure, we’ll say £11 billion . . .

JN:         (interrupting) It’s not me that’s calling it a bogus figure, it’s the Treasury Select Committee, cross party, including some Leave campaigners who say it’s a bogus figure . . .

EB:         Who also in 2003 said the euro was a good idea, so I’m not going to be taking any lectures from them, but . . . of course, and erm . . . I believe that two hundred and fif— 230 million then, I think was the net figure, and I want that money to be spent here in Scotland and in the UK.

JN:         Right.  I mentioned therein introducing the two of you the national question, which of course is live here, the referendum, the decisive vote to remain in the UK nearly 2 years ago, but it’s nonetheless a live question.  How does it play, in your mind Eloise, for example, if Britain, if the UK as a whole voted to leave, would you want a second referendum?

ER:         Absolutely.  I think it’s really important to Scotland, I think we were lied to a lot during the referendum in Scotland, erm, and EU was brought up as such a big issue, it was, ‘You’re not going to be in the EU, you’re not going to . . .’ and all of a sudden (fragments of words, or words unclear due to speaking over)

JN:         (speaking over) In other words, the argument was (clears throat) if you want to remain in the EU – which a majority of Scots, apparently, according to all the polls do – er, you’ve got to vote ‘no’ against independence, that was said to years ago?

ER:         Yeah, absolutely, that was . . . that was such a major argument for many people that I know were undecided up until the very last minute.

JN:         So you would want a second referendum and you would vote for independence knowing that it would mean taking on the euro, because it would, if we were staying in Europe?

ER:         Yeah, absolutely. I’m, I’m a strong believer in . . . in Europe, I think it’s . . . it is, it’s an institution that’s been there for many years, and it’s supported a lot of smaller countries.

JN:         Right, Ewan, why do you, how do you think the, the argument over independence and Scotland’s position in the UK feeds into the European debate?

EB:         Erm, I actually don’t think it does, I think that we voted to remain part of a United Kingdom, I think we voted overwhelmingly, 55% voted in favour of the Union and we’re voting to come out of the European Union or stay in, hopefully, out on my stance, erm, as a United Kingdom.

JN:         One of the interesting things is that the Conservatives, now the second party in Holyrood of course, under Ruth Davidson are arguing.  Now of course, it’s not a unanimous view in the Conservative Party, or amongst Conservative voters, but nonetheless, the party as a whole is, I think it’s fair to say, more convinced about the arguments Remain than the party as a whole in the UK, the split is . . . is, is less – you would agree with that, wouldn’t you?

EB:         Erm, I would disagree, I’m a Conservative party member actually, in Scotland, and I believe that there is a lot more hushed-up talk, people are a lot . . .

JN:         Hushed-up?

EB:         Yeah, so I would say that there are a lot, there are, erm, MSPs who are supporting Brexit and will go and vote it, but aren’t willing to go against Ruth and the team.

JN:         Well, what do you, what do you think, Eloise, the general feeling is here, among people of your generation, and of course, it’s worth minding people outside Scotland that you had vote in the referendum, although you went yet 18, because 16 to 18-year-olds . . . you know had the vote in that referendum.

ER:         Erm, I think, especially among my generation, I think that erm . . . it was really important, it’s really important to stay within the EU.  A lot of people are concerned with jobs, especially at my age we’re all leaving school are looking for jobs, and there was a statistic the other day, something like one in ten jobs are directly linked to our membership of the EU.

JN:         Do you believe . . . Ewan was talking about, we were arguing about the bogus figure, the 350 million, do you believe all the scare stuff, because of course, in the erm . . . Scottish referendum itself, your side argued that that was Project Fear, when George Osborne said all these things.  You’re saying you now believe that in this referendum, you believe these . . . what the other side say are scare stories about the economy? (silence) So, Project Fear, that you complained about in the Scottish referendum, the Leave side say we’re seeing Project Fear again, but you actually believe what’s being said in Project Fear this time, don’t you?

ER:         Yeah, I think . . . I think that there’s been so many mixed messages from erm, sort of the UK and (fragment of word, or word unclear) government, I think it was really, it’s really difficult to decipher and understand that, especially (word or words unclear due to speaking over)

JN:         (speaking over) You’re a Conservative voter, why don’t you believe George Osborne?

EB:         (laughter in voice) Erm, I don’t believe George Osborne as much as I don’t believe Tony Blair with the euro in 2003.

JN:         Did you believe George Osborne in the Scottish referendum?

EB:         I, I did believe him, but the reason why I (laughter in voice) believed him . . .

JN:         (speaking over) Well, she didn’t, and she now believes him . . . you did and you don’t.

ER:         (laughs under)

JN:         You see the problem?

EB:         There, there is a definitely, erm, differing views, but I think (fragments of words, unclear) George Osborne is getting his statistics this time from the CBI and from erm . . . from institutions that are actually funded by Brussels.

JN:         Well, let me ask you something, is this an argument for you about faith in Europe and a belief in Europe, or is it an argument based on looking at figures?  Which is it?

ER:         Faith. Essentially, I think, especially from my generation, I have looked into the facts and figures and I’m, I’m really interested . . . I think that’s slightly unusual for an 18-year-old just leaving school, so I think a lot of our generation (words unclear due to speaking over)

JN:         (speaking over) Not in Glasgow, I would say, anyway . . .

EB:         (laughs) I’m the same, I didn’t look at the facts and figures, it’s very much that I believe my own . . .

JN:         (interrupting) It’s, it’s in your gut?

EB:         Absolutely, I’m British, I believe in Britain and I believe that we should govern ourselves.

JN:         Erm, just one last thing, you’ve got a lot of friends, maybe some common, I don’t know, you’re both in Glasgow, who do you think is going to carry the day, in Scotland, let’s just talk about Scotland for a minute.  Who’s going to win . . . here?

ER:         Erm, it’s definitely going to be Remain.  A hundred percent.

JN:         You’ve got no doubt about that?

ER:         No doubt about that.

JN:         Can you pull it back Ewan?

EB:         Erm, as, as an optimist, I would say that Leave has a chance, being on a street stall yesterday, I believe that once people listen to the arguments that Leave are presenting, that they will be more likely to vote Leave rather than the status quo.

JN:         Ewan Blockly and Eloise Reinhardt, here in the centre of Glasgow, will be back with you in an hour, but for the moment, thank you both very much.

 

7.42am The Referendum, Glasgow and Shipbuilding

JUSTIN WEBB:   Let’s get a further taste of the EU debate from north of the border this morning, Jim is joining us again from Glasgow, morning Jim.

JAMES NAUGHTIE:          Indeed, I’m in Glasgow, Justin, thanks very much, where the older generation look at the River Clyde and realise that it isn’t really the river they once knew, from the city centre here, if you look along the water, you would once have seen cranes and gantries filling the sky, all the way westwards to the sea.  Now, these shipyards from the late 19th Century onwards were the engine of Empire, they built navies and liners, and this was one great river factory.  No more.  The work has dwindled, a new industrial revolution has taken most of it away, and the whole iron landscape has gone.  I’ll be talking to some of the men who still build ships here in a moment about where their story sits in the arguments over Europe.  But first, to the Glasgow University archive, and Tony Pollard, archaeologist and historian at the University, to savour some of the history that made the Clyde.  We looked together at the beautiful plans for the doomed liner Lusitania.

TONY POLLARD:                             She was almost 800 feet long in reality, and what you’ve got here is a cutaway which shows all of the interior, so you’ve got the . . . the lovely salons, the luxurious passenger cabins, the engine rooms, it was liners like Lusitania that had really made the reputation of Clyde shipbuilding.

JN:         Looking back from today, it’s interesting to realise that it was always a precarious business, even the days of its great success, because there was competition everywhere?

TP:         Very much so, and the fact that these companies had to change their products and their technologies took massive investment, and at times that would be misjudged or it would be too late.  So this is nothing new.

JN:         When the Clyde was at its height, from the centre of Glasgow, as far as the eye could see down the river, it must’ve been just a hive of activity?

TP:         It was, and both sides were just chock-a-block with not just shipbuilding but all of the ancillary industries designed to support it.

JN:         And here, beside the Lusitania is a book called Scotland’s Industrial Souvenir filled with wonderful photographs and accounts of what’s been going on here, and a beautifully engraved pager, coloured page, advertising various firms who were doing great things, and prominent among them, the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd, over at Govan, across the river from the archive here.  And I’m going over there now.

NEWSREEL:        A few hours earlier, at Fairfield Shipyard, Govan, the Queen launched the Canadian-Pacific liner Empress of Britain, here is the beauty that can only come from fine craftsmanship, handed down from father to son through the good years on the grim.

JN:         The glory days.  It’s so different now.  At Fairfield’s where so many great hawks were built, BAE Systems are building a few offshore patrol vessels, there are 800 men divided between here and Rosyth in Fife, who are clinging onto jobs.  When I sat down with some of the yard workers, I was reminded, however, that this isn’t new.

IAIN TURNBALL:              It’s often been very difficult, you could never plan for a future, because you never knew if you had a future.

JN:         That came about, Iain, because of . . . cheap work elsewhere in the world . . .

I:            Yeah, yeah.

JN:         I mean it was, like, Korea in the 50s, and then China?

I:            Yeah, you’re right there, (fragment of word, or word unclear) I remember being in Govan in the mid-70s, and they started selling the designs to the Japanese, to the Chinese and to other . . . countries.

JOHN BROWN:  You see, we don’t have an industrial strategy in this country.  We have a finance industry.  You cannot compete with the country like China on the basis of selling each other insurance policies.

JN:         The question is, do you need a national industrial strategy?  The director of the Lancashire Institute for economic and business research, Phil Whyman thinks a break with the European Union would help.

PHIL WHYMAN: The EU doesn’t want one section of its single market to be treated more favourably than others, so we can’t help our firms.  Brexit allows the possibility of doing things a different way, it allows the possibility of having a more active industrial policy.

JN:         But to David Bailey, Professor of Industrial Strategy at Aston Business School at Birmingham University, that’s plain wrong.

DAVID BAILEY:  There are good reasons for having rules on state aid, so that we get fair competition across the single market.  But, this argument that that prevents us from having an effective industrial policy is complete hogwash.  I mean, look for example, what happened in the steel industry recently, it was the British government that opposed higher tariffs at a European level against Chinese imports.  And if you look at other countries in Europe, being part of the EU has not stopped them intervening to support their steel.

JN:         Back to the Clyde, and John Brown and Iain Turnbull, workers here for more than 30 years, one thinks Europe helps, the other doesn’t.

IT:          If we come out of Europe, then are we going to get work from elsewhere?

JN:         You think there’s a chance?

IT:          I . . . don’t think there’s a chance, I think it’ll be stopped, we won’t get any other contracts.

JN:         You were shaking your head there?

JB:         In the 80s and 90s into the early 2000’s we were going to Germany and Holland to work, it’s . . . sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You go to Italy, Germany and Spain, and you see their big shipyards, when a government is determined to save its industry, then forces, money, finance and technology can be brought to save that industry.

JN:         And do you think that is irrelevant to as being in the EU?

JB:         What we need as an industrial policy.

JN:         But there’s an extra ingredient here.  John Brown can see the argument for a one-nation industrial strategy, but he’s never going to be a cultural Brexiteer.

JB:         We like being Europeans, we like being able to go to Spain, go to Seville, go to Rome, we like all that. My grandad’s name was Daniel McConnell, he was an immigrant, I’m married to a Bengali Scottish girl, my son is going with a Kurdish refugee lassie, so I don’t interested (sic) in (word or words unclear) and (word unclear ‘Poles’?) it’s the future for your kids and yourself, and I think a bigger (word or words unclear) that Europe provides us with a safer future, than a tiny wee island.

JN:         So, on the Clyde where the great industries have (word unclear, sounds like ‘winnered’?) away in the last generation, there’s a feeling that wherever you stand on the question being put next month, that perhaps is not the most important question – it’s what government, any government can do to help these industries match the challenges of the time.  And maybe that’s a question that’s even more complicated than Remain or Leave.

 

8.41am Scotland and the Referendum

JUSTIN WEBB:   Let us go back to Scotland now, we’ve been hearing regularly throughout this morning’s programme from Jim who was there, the latest of our series of reports on the EU referendum debate as it is being seen in various parts of the country, and Jim’s in Glasgow again this morning, hello again Jim.

JAMES NAUGHTIE:          Yes, morning again, Justin, now the tenor of the European debate in Scotland is influence inevitably by referendum memories from 18 months or so ago, we’ve been here before.  And that helps to sharpen the sense that the campaign here is shaped by self-awareness in Scotland, sometimes maybe self-obsession to0.  Well, how’s that related to the persistent message from opinion surveys that Scotland is, in general, keener to remain in the rest of the UK?  Is it culture, is it economic self-interest, or what?  I’m joined by businessman Alastair MacMillan who’s part of the Leave group, Business for Britain, Scotland, and also by Dr Owen Dudley Edwards, a nationalist by inclination, an Irishman of course, who’s taught and written in Scotland for most of his life.  And Owen Dudley Edwards, what’s your explanation for, relatively speaking, an enthusiasm for the EU in Scotland that appears to be, at least at this juncture, greater than it is elsewhere in the UK?

DR OWEN DUDLEY EDWARDS:   Well, one thing we could take from the experience of Ireland, Ireland went into the EU and loved it, partly because it had spent so much time (word unclear, ‘on’ or ‘in’?)  Anglophobia.  Now, I don’t think the Scots dislike the English as much as the Irish did earlier in the 20th century, though they certainly don’t do now, but I do think that the Scots in certain ways find the English . . . rule, or rule from Westminster, something getting in the way of Scottish self-realisation.  And from this point of view, the EU intervenes in all sorts of ways which may be, the Scots may feel it’s to their advantage.  I mean, particularly this worked out when Winifred Ewing was elected early in 1979, after the SNP had lost . . .

JN:         (speaking over) As a member of the European Parliament.

ODE:     As a member of the European Parliament, so that from the beginning, in a sense, when Winifred Ewing went to the European Parliament it began to mean an awful lot more to the Scots.  For one thing, she was tremendously successful as MEP for the . . . Minister for the Highlands, er . . . MEP for the Highlands and Islands in getting a lot of grants and useful support for that part.

JN:         And it was at that moment that the SNP turned on its axis and . . . and instead of having been a . . . an anti-European party, winning seats in the early 70s on the basis that the Heath terms of accession were bad, it became a euro-enthusiast party and still is, European-enthusiast?

ODE:     Very much so indeed, and Winifred Ewing, of course, did a splendid job in publicity, one might be unkind to say, for herself, but she was carrying Europe with her.  She liked to be called Madame L’Ecosse – what was really important that she was Madame Europe.  When people thought about the European Parliament, they thought of Winifred Ewing.  And after her, and MEP as good as Professor Neil McCormick, the great, and unfortunately now recently dead, law professor at Edinburgh.

JN:         Well, indeed.  Alastair MacMillan, let me bring you in at this point.  From a business perspective you want to leave, you think it will be better, as a businessman who exports from Scotland around the world.  Do you accept that in Scotland, the tone of the debate is . . . is more tilted to Remain perhaps than it is south of the border?

ALASTAIR MACMILLAN: I do accept that there are . . . is probably at the moment a majority to Remain, but I don’t think that the Scots are, per se, less Eurosceptic.  I think you have to look at Scotland as part . . . as very much, although part of the United Kingdom, it has, you know, a very parochial type of approach to newspapers and things like that are very much lo— far more local, and are far more (fragment of word, unclear) the media  up here, an enormous number of local newspapers, which, for a lot of people, is their main source of news . . .

JN:         (speaking over) Yeah.

AM:       . . . still, which is extraordinary, compared to the rest of the UK. And I think, and, and the media’s very much more deferential.  And added to which the . . . you know, Euroscepticism has been seen as a sort of Tory . . . disease . . .

JN:         (speaking over) Yes.

AM:       . . . and, you know, in Scotland we’re not Tory (laughter in voice) you know . . .

JN:         (speaking over) Well, the Conservatives are now the second party at Holyrood of course, and one of the interesting things about that, and just to get you both in on this, is that Ruth Davidson, the leader, who had a very good campaign in the Holyrood parliament, erm, although she says she’s got all sorts of arguments against Brussels, she is leading her party . . . not united, of course, there are a lot of Conservatives who want to leave, but it’s more united than the party south of the border is.  What’s your explanation for that?

ODE:     Well, for one thing, Ruth Davidson (word or words unclear) herself a very, very practised campaigner, and really made very shrewd use of a general sense of gay liberation in Scotland, and has announced she’s getting married to her lesbian partner.  But I think people warm to her very strongly there, it seemed so unlike traditional Toryism . . .

JN:         (speaking over) Well, I often wonder what Sir Alec Douglas-Home would make of that.

ODE:     But it’s also, I think, very important to realise that Ruth Davidson campaigned virtually without ever mentioning David Cameron and the other people, if she could possibly avoid it.

JN:         Do you feel that this argument here, Alastair MacMillan, is tied up with the national question in a way that can’t be disentangled.

AM:       I think that people have felt that, you know, they’re told by Labour, they’re told by SNP in particular that Europe is a good thing, and they’ve, you know, if you look to the fishing community, you look to the agricultural community, they’ve actually had to deal with Europe first hand, you know they, they are thinking, you know, a Scottish farmer poll is saying 69% want to come out.  You know, the fishing people you know they’re very strong . . . it’s people, we have, up here, normal ordinary people have not had the experience of immigration from the EU which our southern cousins have had to the same extent, and I think . . .

JN:         (speaking over) That, that is, yeah, that’s true, and you think that influences it. A last question few Owen Dudley Edwards, it’s often said that if there were a vote to leave across the UK, particularly if, in Scotland the majority of votes had said ‘Remain’ that Nicola Sturgeon would be unable to resist pressure in her party for a second referendum, do you believe that?

ODE:     Yes, very much so, I mean, it has always been (fragment of word, unclear) implicit, because the whole thing was the referendum was carried against independence on the assumption, without anybody (word or words unclear) too much, that matters would remain as they were.  For the whole ballgame to be changed by the UK getting out of the European Union, against Scotland’s wishes, would make it overwhelming demands I think for independence, it would be very difficult for anybody to resist it.

JN:         We, we shall see what happens after the 23rd, Alastair MacMillan, Owen Dudley Edwards, thank you both very much.

 

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