In a few minutes I’ll be watching another Scandinavian crime drama on TV. They’re nearly always gripping and they have style. I wish I could say the same about Scottish politics.
We’re just a month away from a Holyrood election and to be frank I haven’t seen much I like from any party so far. It’s not gripping and all I’ve really noticed so far are two things.
First, a lot of fuss about sexual minorities about which neither I nor most voters care a hoot. Before you start foaming at the mouth I don’t mean I don’t care about the minorities or their rights, which I’m all in favour of, but what the heck’s it got to do with the big issues in an election? There seems to be not a fag paper’s thickness of difference between the parties, certainly not their leaders, on the subject.
The second thing I’ve noticed is what threatens to be interminable talk about taxes. For the politicians maybe it’s the excitement (excitement???) of their new tax-raising powers. For me, it’s a focus on the wrong thing – the input, money. It’s what you do with the money that’s the important thing – the output, policies, and their outcomes, change. I’ve seen no policies yet that excite me or drive my ‘X’ towards one particular box on that ballot paper.
So far, it’s almost as exciting as a local authority election – Scotland County Council?
I‘ve not even watched the leader debates (how many more are threatened?) and from social and mainstream media reports I can’t say I feel deprived or any less uninformed at all.
Anyhow, we all know the result, give or take some seats – the SNP are going to get a majority, probably a slightly bigger one than they had in the last parliament. Since the latest poll shows support for independence at no more than 39% (it was 37% of the whole electorate in the referendum) it doesn’t actually show much of a surge for separation, the famous once in a generation/lifetime opportunity. And yes, nationalists, Nicola did say it.
A portion of the electorate who are clearly minded to vote for the SNP because they believe they’re ‘good for Scotland’ but who don’t actually want to leave the UK need to engage their brains. The SNP want only one thing and they’ll do whatever they need to get it, even (The Scotsman today) sign a potential trade deal with China (independent foreign policy, anyone?) at the very time they’ve been – and I will use the colloquialism – slagging off the UK government for not defending the UK steel industry. But of course we know where most of the steel for the new Forth road bridge came from.
The hypocrisy, if not much else, is world-class. If neither the UK government (OK not played it as well as they could have) nor the EU can best China in the world steel market the SNP have not a snowball’s chance in hell of doing so in that or any other area of trade or industry. Because Scotland is definitely too wee (© John Swinney c. 2012) for that game.
I can’t say I’m genuinely inspired by any of the other significant parties this time round. Are you? Honestly? The Greens are off the radar for me. Some nice people but some unrealistic aspirations and why they have to sully themselves by being pro-separation I do not know. I won’t dwell on the other, pro-union (God I hope they all really are) parties. I don’t want to offend some of my friends who feel strongly for or against one or other of them.
I’m not daft enough this time to shout aloud for the #SNPout tactic that failed so dismally last time round. But I shall be looking closely at who stands the best chance of minimising any SNP gains in the constituency and region I live in. I hope others do the same.
Right, where’s that dark, brooding Scandinavian crime? I need cheering up.