A plague on almost everyone’s house – Scottish politics at the moment

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.

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2 Responses to A plague on almost everyone’s house – Scottish politics at the moment

  1. Sam Duncan says:

    “Scotland County Council?”

    They’ve taken on the running of the police, the fire brigade, and the water supply, all of which were local authority concerns before 1994. So yes, I’d say that’s actually just about the size of it. “Strathclyde writ large”… exactly as some of us predicted.

    “I don’t want to offend some of my friends who feel strongly for or against one or other of them.”

    That’s the problem with Scottish politics right now. You start off agreeing wholeheartedly with people about the Nationalists, then, with one careless sentence, find yourself in the middle of an H.M. Bateman cartoon.

    And, of course, it’s not just about personal discomfort. The Nats are able to sweep all before them because the opposition is split among several parties. Maybe we need some kind of realignment. The trouble with that is that socialists, liberals, conservatives and whatever will put aside their differences for a cause, but it’s much harder to do that – unless the danger is pressing, such as during the referendum – against one.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. wujeanty says:

    I ain’t voting, Roger. I voted Conservative in the last few elections, but I’m not going to in this one for the simple reason that Ruth, quite incredibly for a supposed centre-right libertarian, had her MSPs ABSTAIN in the vote on the Named Person abomination. I think this demonstrates Ruth’s problem – quite pleasant: possibly; lightweight, spineless: most certainly (David Cameron’s constant eulogising of her is ridiculous – another to add to his ever-growing list of mistakes). The Conservatives are only ever going to come back if they get someone with Malcolm Rifkind/George Younger-level gravitas. Alas, I don’t see that standard of person anywhere in the Scottish Conservatives; or, indeed, in any party currently operating in Scotland. The quality is genuinely terrible, the downward slope having been hit with the introduction of the Scottish Parliament. So I’m going to refuse to give it credibility by voting in another election to it.


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