The people of Scotland have nothing but contempt

The people of Scotland have nothing but contempt for the politicians of Westminster – Alex Salmond 10 September 2014 (as reported on BBC radio news)

I’ll say one thing for Alex Salmond. He knows a good sound bite when it’s fed to him. OK, I’ll say a second thing. Chutzpah.

Today’s utterance that the people of Scotland have nothing but contempt for the politicians of Westminster ranks along with his recent

It’s Scotland’s pound and we’re keeping it

bellowed repeatedly at a recent first minister’s questions when he also managed to refer in ringing tones no fewer than six times to

The sovereign will of the Scottish people.

Once again he presumes to speak on behalf of all the Scottish people.

A man whose party managed to get an overall majority in the Scottish parliament with 45% of the votes on a 50% turnout, or less than 23% of the entire electorate of the country. A man whose party returned a magnificent  six out of the 59 Scottish MPs in the last election to the House of Commons (presumably he doesn’t hold the six in contempt).

I have no objection to him speaking on behalf of Scotland when he speaks as first minister, in fact it’s entirely appropriate. But as leader of the SNP? Pffftt.

Even as cheer-leader in chief for separation he can only guess based on the latest opinion polls that maybe 50% of people who have reached a decision are inclined to vote ‘Yes’ on 18 September. And yet the entire ‘people of Scotland’ have nothing but contempt for all 648 elected politicians of the United Kingdom parliament.

And before anyone rushes to condemn this naïve unionist, no I don’t like the number of posh boys in the place and, yes, I know all about the expenses scandal. But Holyrood parliamentarians, including SNP members (wife-beating, anyone?) haven’t always been whiter than white in the fifteen years of its existence so far, although perhaps independence will overnight produce a new breed of patriotic politicians as pure as the driven snow.

The thing is Alex (if I may presume), it’s called democracy. We elect them. If you express contempt for the politicians, you express contempt for the people too. Of course, ‘Westminster’ is also code for the UK and, whisper it not, the ‘E’ word. But civic nationalism doesn’t go there, does it?

In the unlikely event of you getting a clear mandate for independence, good luck negotiating a half-decent settlement with the politicians you hold in such contempt. It’s always a good start before you sit down to try and reach agreement.

PS – should anyone think this is a blast at all politicians, far from it. They do a hell of a hard job and most of them do it decently.

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