Next Time

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Sayeth CS&W

There’s News Beyond Scotland Today

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It’s the first court date for Eston Kohver, the Estonian officer kidnapped by Russia, who has been held at Lefortovo prison since his arrest. His attorney, who was hired by the Estonian government, is Mark Feygin, who is also representing Ukrainian air force pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who has been held without bail by the Russians since at least early July. The way the Russian judicial system works, it’s hard to tell if hiring Feygin to represent Kohver helps or hurts.

Scotland: Urgent First Decisions If Yes Prevails

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Interesting column today from the Centre for Government and Leadership at Queen Mary University of London about decisions that will not wait for eighteen months of painstaking negotiations but must be made immediately, like Friday morning. Two excerpts:

After a “yes” vote, they (civil servants) will be working with the Bank of England to craft the precise wording of assurances given to the markets, in the hope of stemming both an outflow of funds from banks and bank accounts registered in Scotland and a run on sterling combined with a great sell-off of British government bonds. How far should they advise ministers and the governor of the Bank to go? In the interests of Scotland, of course, it would be best for the UK to give an open-ended guarantee of the value of deposits in Scottish banks. But the markets might test such a commitment very quickly. Is that really in the interests of English, Welsh and Northern Irish UK citizens that what will, after a “yes” vote, by five o’clock on Friday morning already be more their Bank of England than it will be Scottish citizens’ Bank?

And even more Machiavellian:

But, after a yes vote, a key minister in the UK government would be in a more serious plight. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Rt Hon Danny Alexander, will be impaled on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, Mr Alexander is a minister in the UK government. He must decide what announcements to make to reassure the markets on Friday after a “yes” vote, bearing in mind the interests of the citizens of the rump UK. In the ordinary course of events the Chief Secretary would expect to be a key negotiator for the UK with his counterparts in Scotland. But Mr Alexander is also an MP for a Scottish constituency. Can he therefore uphold cabinet collective responsibility for decisions taken after a “yes” vote about how the UK pursues its negotiations with the Scottish government?

Read the whole article here.

Friday Bits

– This week’s EU hand wringing surrounds David Cameron’s decision to oppose Jean-Claude Juncker for the EC Presidency, and whether with decisions like that Cameron can be trusted not to inadvertently see the UK out of the EU with his proposed referendum in 2017.

Not to worry. If Scotland opts out of the UK on 18 September, 2014 David Cameron will have to resign by 19 September, 2014. Crisis over.

– This summer’s historic demise of the Sykes Picot adventure in map-making frames the inalienable fact that the Saudi kingdom will collapse, some say sooner than we think. How, as a nanogenarian potentate, how do you delay it?

– On the opaque-for-most and largely-avoided-by-the-American-press Thai military coup, Sean Thomas may be right when he observes, “bluntly speaking, democracy looks unappealing if you think poor people are going to vote themselves welfare that the state cannot afford — a big fear of the Thai Yellows.”

Don’t know your Yellow Shirts from your Reds? Here’s a primer.

– Literacy in pre-WWI Serbia ranged from 27% to as low as 12% in the southeast, and the rabble was roused beginning with the Rubicon moment 100 years ago tomorrow. I have high hopes for this site, which advertises that it will share a pertinent historical document every day, starting tomorrow. Let’s see how that goes.

– Three observations from The Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson:

The art of civilization: Combining the most delicate pleasures with the constant presence of danger.

The essential thing is to live one’s life with a brave hand on the tiller.

And this:

[M]y water holes have frozen over. I attack the lake with the ice ax, spending an hour and a half chopping out a handsome basin a yard wide and four feet deep. Water gushes up suddenly and I dip into it with pleasure. This feeling of having earned one’s water. My arm muscles ache. Once upon a time, in the fields and forests, living kept us in shape.

Tesson spent half a year in a cabin in Siberia. If hermitdom helps you write like he does, put me down for that.

– And finally, from : “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. In many cases this will mean showing up to the interview in a pirate suit.”

Happy Friday.