One of the video clips doing the rounds today on Vote No Border’s facebook account is this snippet from BBC Question Time from 15th May this year, featuring the former Lib Dem leader Lord Paddy Ashdown and the SNP’s Humza Yousaf MSP (external affairs minister in the Scottish government).
You can watch the snippet here:
I’ve always had a soft spot for Paddy Ashdown. He always seemed like a nice guy to me but, if I am honest, it is because I respected the fact that he had served in the military in one of the most elite special forces units and I once had ambitions of doing the same. On such fickle and unsubstantiated things are the basis of liking or disliking politicians made (think about that any time someone says that like or don’t like any particular politician or celebrity; their reasons for doing so may be as spurious as mine).
Anyway, on watching the video I was struck by his honesty and integrity in his passionate defending of the Union. I can see he honestly believes the UK is Better Together™ but acknowledges that Scotland is entirely capable of going it alone and that it us up to the Scottish people to decide. This is a position that I can completely support and any pro-union person who starts and stops their argument at ‘I just want Scotland to remain part of the UK’ has my full respect, even if they have my complete opposition as well.
But the video stops short after Lord Ashdown accuses Humza Yousaf of fomenting ‘hate and division’ and so could leave the viewer with a sour taste in their mouth in respect of the independence argument. Quite clearly this is what is intended and it is a classic example of how news is distorted into propaganda by various sectors of media or by political campaigns.
So, wanting to see what it was that Humza Yousaf had said that was so ‘hate filled’, I went searching and found the complete clip on BBC iPlayer. The episode of QT was filmed in Coventry and the first half of the programme is given over to discussing education, primarily in England. It makes interesting viewing in its own right because, as Humza Yousaf points out, the changes to the education system in England – both secondary and tertiary – should be enough to convince anyone in Scotland to vote Yes to ensure that there is no way that our education system can follow in the footsteps of what is going on south of the Border. From the independence side of things the discussion gets interesting about 35 minutes in. Here we get to see what Humza Yousaf, Paddy Ashdown and Tim Stanley (of the Telegraph newspaper) have to say. We get to see Lord Ashdowns complete speech again but we also get the chance to hear Humza Yousaf’s reply.
I challenge anyone to view it as in any way hate filled or divisive, unless your primary concern is protecting the Westminster system rather than the peoples of the UK.