17/07/2013 Newsnight Scotland


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technology. 50 years is a long time in politics and even longer if you


do not like budgets. On Newsnight Scotland tonight. The


sun's up and so is economic growth. There are clear signs that we're


seeing some kind of recovery. So, if there's a feel good factor coming,


how will it shape political strategies for the referendum and


the 2015 general election? And on the eve of the Open, the Royal and


Ancient responds to the row about men-only venues. We have got


politicians posturing, interest groups attacking the Open and


attacking your field. I have made a few notes about this as you can


see! The tournament tees off in just a few hours' time. We look at the


row which has engulfed it and ask if boycotts of such events are


effective or reasonable. Good evening. The sun's been


shining, more people have been out shopping, more people are in


employment, inflation's not as bad as expected, the Scottish economy is


registering real growth. House prices in many areas are creeping


up, the UK economic optimism index is in positive territory for the


first time in three years. So who can possibly be gloomy about the


future? Well, the answer to that may be any politicians who don't think


they're going to reap a reward from all that positive stuff.


Strictly speaking unemployment in Scotland got worse today. One of the


UK figure improved. But the unemployment rate here remains lower


than the UK rate. Economic growth in the first quarter of the year showed


a relatively strong performance. The economy here growing at 1.2%


annually, more than twice the UK rate. Then there are retail sales,


growing by 2.8% in June at close to 2.9% for the UK. The poll measured


economic confidence and today revealed that more people in Britain


are optimistic about the economy rather than pessimistic for the


first time in three years. That is across the whole of written but also


includes Scotland. People in Scotland also feel slightly more


optimistic and I guess it shows that people coming out of appealing that


we are in a slump and starting to feel tentatively more optimistic


about the economic future. Of course it is not all positive. The figures


today also show Scotland has ongoing problems with long-term unemployment


and women's unemployment. A report for the UK office of budget


responsibility says that North Sea oil revenues are in decline and will


continue to decline over 25 years. The key question remains, who gets


the credit and who gets the blame? It is an interesting question.


is not any real clear evidence. Amongst most voters in Scotland it


is pretty unclear as to where the balance of powers lie, who does


what, who is responsible for what. People who find it difficult to


assign either credit or blame for economic performance. What we do


know is that the current SNP government in Scotland is still


pretty popular, still ahead in the polls. When we ask about the


performance of the Scottish government, voters still think it is


doing a good job. Bill Clinton's residential campaign was credited


with coining it into the, as an election winning mantra but nowadays


all parties are aware of its potency.


I'm joined here in the studio by Natalie McGarry, an SNP candidate


for the European Parliament. And by David Whitton, a former Labour MSP.


But let's go first to John McLaren of the Centre for Public Policy of


the Regions, who's in Manchester for us this evening. Just on the


economics, the fact that unemployment is rising here, whereas


it has gone down across the UK, is there anything other than


statistical quirkiness involved in this? I do not think so. The labour


market figures in particular have been up and down across all the


regions including Scotland. Scotland had a big dip in the last year and


is now a big bounce back. Over the year as a whole the position has not


changed relative to the UK that much. So when politicians either


claim, it is all down to them that unemployment falls or someone


else's falls when it rises, you think people would be best served by


just whistling to themselves until they stop doing that? It would be


better to look at the bigger picture which is that growth is still slow


and the UK recovery period has been slower in Scotland than in the UK.


The UK is one of the slowest on the international scene. So it is a


pretty poor picture. Employment is better but a lot of that has to do


with the fact that incomes have been growing slowly if at all. So there's


not a of credit to go round. On the other hand we are seeing some


signs, we have had negativity for so long and we are starting to see


things like unemployment going down across the UK. GDP is growing, they


have revised the figures. Retail sales, you know, not buoyant at


going up a bit. We had some fairly positive business surveys recently.


There is just a sense that we are not exactly going into a room but


perhaps some corner has been turned. Perhaps but some of these surveys


have said similar things in the past couple of years and it has not come


to fruition. The worrying thing is the recovery was supposed to be on


the back of improved trade performance, higher exports and a


boom in investment. Those have not led to the little growth that we


have seen, that has been driven by consumption, both government and


households. Household consumption has come about through the savings


ratio falling and the government one will eventually peter out because


there are more cuts to come. So if it is in recovery it is an odd


shaped recovery and you would want it from the investment and export


side to be more confident that this is going to pan out well. Just


before we speak to the politicians, or would-be politicians, you would


expect that right the way through the referendum campaign next year


and right the way through the general election campaign of the


year after and perhaps even through the Scottish election campaign, the


best you could hope for is things growing a little bit but Noel


returned to the kind of economic growth that we saw in the early


2000. Is that fair? Of growth keeps on even at the sluggish levels we


have seen recently, it will not be until about 2017 that we get back to


the previous week. We will still be below the level that we were at the


beginning of the recession. So the main debate at the minute, and the


referendum debate is pushing that slightly to one side, is how to


restart growth. Some of the issues we are talking about currency union


or whatever, have a relevance but others are quite minor issues.


interested just from each of you, if we do get some economic recovery, no


matter how mild, for the yes campaign, is that a good or a bad


thing? Any recovery is good for the whole of the UK. I mean for you,


your political campaign? It is a good thing. I think your phrasing it


in the sense that I would not want to see the economy recover. Just in


terms of the politics. The obvious problem is that the more the economy


recovers the more going around saying the only way to escape years


of economic decline is to vote for independence, losers and ability.


course there is that argument but economic growth in Scotland in this


quarter is higher than it has been in the rest of the UK. What people


might see is that economic recovery is affecting people at the top of


the food chain, so to speak. I do not know if people at the bottom are


going to see much impact from that. The way that looking forward to the


election of 2015 and the referendum is that the cuts in place, and the


austerity, is still going to be in place by the there are sluggish


signs of economic recovery. A polite way of saying that you hope things


will turn up horribly for people. I'm not saying I want that to


happen. Any economic growth has to be a good thing. I do not think


anyone would suggest you are saying you hate the idea of economic


growth. Politically it does put Labour in a dilemma, there is no


denying that. If it looked as if the Tories... Just in terms of the


independence referendum campaign. There is a problem for Natalie


McGarry does Nick side and for your side, the more you get signs of


economic recovery more people might say, I was not going to vote for


independence when the whole world was suffering but if things are


looking up, I might take a chance on it. I could turn that around and say


there is economic recovery or cause we are part of the UK and part of


the bigger market. But I am suggesting that people might think,


I would just take a chance. I think quite the opposite, but they would


not take a chance that they would be better staying with what they know


and what they have had going for them for the past 300 years.


Scotland has done very well out of the union during that time.


Labour's chances of winning the next election would go down. I do not


know about that. Spin doctors and politicians sit down and analyse


these albums but the latest poll has got Labour 11 points ahead. So


things are going fine. You know that polls especially in England show


that people buy the government argument that things are tough but


we just have to do it. If George Osborne can say, it has been tasked


but things are looking up, people would be more inclined to buy that.


But they also look at who is getting the benefit from the recovery. If


multimillionaires are getting more and people at the bottom end, then


those at the bottom also have a vote and will look carefully at the


economic policies of each party and decide what is best for them.


terms of who might win the next general election, what is of benefit


to your side of the referendum campaign? Some opinion polls have


said that if there is a likelihood Tories will be in power again, then


the appetite for independence rises. That must be terrible for you.


Either way if there is economic recovery, the likelihood is that


they will vote the Tories back in. Because Labour admitted to the same


economic spending as the Tories. Why take the chance to bring in another


government? Is there evidence in the opinion polls but people in Scotland


are more likely to vote for independence if the Tories win the


next election? What would happen if the Tories are voted in again there


is a democratic argument for independence. You have a government


which the Scottish people did not vote in. At least if it was


labouring they could say they have voted for a Labour government. So


there is a democratic argument as well as a policy argument. But for


the Scottish people they know that austerity is going to be there until


at least 2017 and will not change with the Labour Party if they come


back. The Democratic deficit is answered by a thing called the


Scottish Parliament. John McLaren, do you think politics would be


affected by what is likely to happen? Does there need to be a


feel-good factor do you think? Or just a perception by people that


this might have been tough but we are going in the right direction?


There is so much confusion and uncertainty at the moment that that


is not going to change in the period leading up to the referendum. I


think that is a given. What could change things, the office for budget


responsibility report came out today and that is important. The issues in


there about long-term funding for health, in the longer term these


difficult issues will have to be decided on. If more debate around


the referendum was how those are going to be addressed, whether


taxation, or more money going into investment or prevention in early


years, perhaps we could have a more interesting discussion and more


interesting divergences appearing. So, George Osborne deserves some


credit? I don't believe you do it serves any credit. He has turned the


economy round! He isn't turning the economy around. This is not a trend,


to say the economy has turned around is presumptuous. We are lagging


behind the growth of other countries in the EU. We have to leave it


there. Don't go away because you want to talk to you again in a


moment. First of all, at 6:32am, Peter Senior will hit the first


bought in the open tournament. Alex Salmond will not be there to see him


do it. Not because it is ridiculously early. It is a boycott.


He's not going because the course at does not allow women members. It has


a long and venerable history. Stevie Wonder announced he won't perform in


Florida because of the law under which course and was acquitted.


We've been assessing how affective boycotts can be.


The first Minister is a keen golfer but he is not happy about the men


only membership brought at the host's course. Alex Salmond says


he's not boycotting the event but he will not be attending. To have the


message women are not welcome as members, cannot be members, cannot


have rights on the same basis as men, sends out the wrong message


about the future of golf. He's not the only one raising claims of


injustice. Last night, Stevie Wonder announced he wouldn't be playing in


Florida and other states which endorse a controversial law allowing


people to use deadly force if they believe their lives are in danger.


And until your law is abolished in Florida, I will never performed


there again. The term boycott first entered use in 1880 during the


so-called Irish land war. Charles Boycott, the agent of urban and


certainty landlord, found himself ostracised by the local community


wannabe to sit -- dispute with tenants resulted with people


refusing to engage with him. Nelson Mandela, a free man. And a


boycott of South Africa during the apartheid era was seen as a vital


catalyst for change according to the man who chaired Scotland's movement


against the regime. The boycott allowed an ordinary people to be


involved to take an active part in their day-to-day lives by not buying


South African goods, by not watching South African teams who came here,


and demonstrating and picketing. In other words, they could do


something, they felt powerful rather than impotence. That's the thing


about involving a lot of people. It gives them a power which, United,


they can make change. Whatever form it takes, boycotting is seen as


something that can send out a powerful message. Boycotts have come


and gone. This is an ongoing tool that is used by protesters. It is


often, I think, the case that people are accused of injecting politics


into something which is regarded as a political, so if you call for a


boycott of a cultural event, and artistic event, you're somehow seen


as the politicised one. When it is often the case that politics and


power are embedded in the culture. And, actually, it is the boycott


which is highlighting some of the inequalities that are taking place


at that event. If what is happening at Muirfield is boycott, it is one


which golf 's governing body looks set to resist. We've got politicians


posturing, we've got interest groups attacking the R&A, attacking the


open, and Muirfield. As you can see, I've made a few notes about this. To


be honest, our natural reaction is to resist these pressures because we


actually don't think they have substance. But I'd like to stress we


are not so insular as to fail to recognise the potential damage that


campaigns like this can to the open. Morally, what is the difference


between men only and whites only? Goodness me, eroded -- a ridiculous


question. There is a massive difference between anti-Semitism,


racial discrimination, where sections of society are treated


badly indeed, and to compare that with a men's golf club is absurd.


There is no comparison whatsoever. Right, well, that was incredibly


impressive bit of spluttering verve. Do you take it seriously? I think we


should. My golf club has for women's rights. Women's members have the


same rights I've got which makes it better. What did you make of that?


All the signs of over defensiveness? Very over defensive.


They will never solve that until somebody like one of the top players


says, we will not play unless you change the rules. If they keep


turning up, they can carry on like that. If Tiger Woods had said this


week, I'm not playing at Muirfield because of that, can you imagine the


kind of story? What did you make of it? I want to see women at the


forefront of political debate in public life, so, obviously, my


opinion and the opinions of most normal people is that it is


outrageous. Whatever he thinks about the first Minister's motivations


behind it, it is a principled stand and women should be allowed. You


sometimes hear the argument, including from the people who run


these institutions, they say, oh, you know, it's not really


discrimination because we've got a women's club as well. And we've got


a men's club. And everyone's happy with that. Would you take that


seriously? That's nonsense. David is right. They won't take it seriously


until somebody does something. When the golfing institutions or the


golfing body allows events like the open to go to Muirfield, they need


to know that sexism is wrong. If they want to have the boys club, let


them do that. We have women's clubs because there are men's clubs.


a happy note on which to end this discussion. Wright, the front


pages. The SNP accused of madness to base separation case on oil. The


daily Telegraph, we risk war with Syria. The Independent, welcome to


the British open, unless you're a woman. We will be back tomorrow.


will be changes in our weather, but today, more sunshine for Scotland


and Northern Ireland. Further south, perhaps some hotspots for the West.


For Northern Ireland, decent sunny spells in the midtwenties. Similar


figures forecast across southern and eastern Scotland, some persistent


mist and Merck. Just the isolated chance of a shower across eastern


Scotland. Sunny spells from northern England, sunshine across the


Midlands into East Anglia and eastern England. Some of the


temperatures here just a couple of degrees down on the last few days as


we stopped to pick up a bit of an easterly breeze. That will see our


hires more intense further east. -- that will see the hires more intense


further east. For Friday, I think it will be a dry day. Almost right away


across the British Isles. Still plenty of heat around across the


southern half of the UK but, again, temperatures in one or two spots a


degree or two down in recent days. In the North, temperatures go up,


particularly across western Scotland. In Glasgow, we could be


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