From this week's main story in Newsweek:
"the list tells us some important things about the world. For starters, smaller is often better. While there's no denying the vitality of emerging-market giants like China or Brazil or Turkey, they are often bested by tiny nations like Slovenia or Estonia, according to the data, simply because it takes less effort for these countries to improve their overall wellbeing.
In a Sunday Express interview, First Minister Alex Salmond has vowed that "the people can take the decision to force the issue (of an independence referendum)" as the SNP continues its bid to join the ranks of successful small countries across Europe.
The Newsweek overall rankings had Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands and Norway in the top ten and the supposedly stronger together and weaker apart United States, Germany, United Kingdom and France in the 11-20 spots. Superpowers, clearly, ain't what they used to be.
With the news of more oil than expected in the North Sea, Cairn Energy leading the exploration charge in the Arctic, Joseph Stiglitz surmising that UK wasted prior oil reserves and the banking crisis now settling down thanks to strong growth figures, now may be the right time for the Nationalists to up the stakes in the game of referendum brinksmanship.
Certainly Tavish Scott continues to sound distinctly flaky on this issue, no more so than in today's Scotland on Sunday article when he says the "the country has moved on" from considering independence and the "modern" Scottish Lib Dems don't give "two hoots" about a referendum. Tavish is entitled to state the latter opinion categorically as he leads the party, regardless of how incorrect the assertion may be. The former opinion, surely, can only be stated categorically after a referendum so it will be interesting to see whether, and how much, Tavish's views change as the election campaign progresses.
Either way, this is a welcome shot in the arm for Holyrood '11. It's heartening to see Alex Salmond intent on leaving it all out on the field for something he strongly believes in, and it's nice to see that Newsweek, indirectly at least, has the First Minister's back.
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