Some observers are temporarily refraining from comment on ‘matters Scotland’, however perhaps they would forgive this blog for making a few observations – ones that may not be considered, or even not seen, within the mass of comment that is being passed in the interim period.
Isabel Hardman has an article on CoffeeHouse entitled: What would the Tory Party really do if Scotland voted Yes?; to which the obvious answer must be that if the matter had been thought through then they would already have the answer and therefore Isabel Hardman’s question would be superfluous. That the matter has not been thought through can no doubt be relied upon as ‘a given’ – we are, after all, talking politicians here who, past experience shows, tend to deal with problems on a ‘now basis’ and only react later, mostly unsuccessfully, to events caused by their own lack of forethought. What Hardman’s article shows is that, as ever, when events cause a political party’s future to be thrown into doubt ‘internal rumblings’ begin to agitate for a change of leader.
Such ‘internal rumblings’ can – and invariably/eventually do – lead to a contest for a new leader of whichever political party; one decided by a select few, be they MPs and/or party members. This begs an immediate question, which is: if we are to be allowed Open Primaries to choose a Member of Parliament, should we not also have Open Primaries to choose the Leader of a Political party – after all, if we are to be landed with what amounts to, under representative democracy, a virtual dictator, should we not have a choice as to who is that dictator? (see THA -Demand 3) This only illustrates the faux wish of politicians and their political leaders stating that they wish to devolve power, but seeming to go out of their way not so to do.
Let me now turn to an article on LabourList, one whose authors are two prospective Labour parliamentary prospective candidates – namely Tim Rocca (Macclesfield) and Michael Payne (Newark). Here we have two potential politicians offering their views on what is wrong with our nation – and in so doing make a statement that is laughable. The article begins with the hope that Scotland will vote ‘No’ after which the United Kingdom will still need reform, political and symbolic, if the Union is to survive. Unsurprisingly, these two prospective parliamentary candidates then state that there is only one party capable of that reform, namely One Nation Labour.
Then follows what obviously is intended to be a serious statement but in the light of events can only be considered a bad joke, namely that devolution to Scotland, Wales, London and Northern Ireland has proved a success. If devolution had proved a success we would not now be in the pickle we are with Scotland. Cynic that I am, I think it feasible to believe that Blair’s devolution programme of 1997 was (a) an attempt to curry favour with the EU by the regionalisation of the United Kingdom; and (b) a means of ensuring he achieved a big majority in the 1997 general election.
It is impossible to allow people that have been ‘enslaved’ a small taste of freedom without that causing further problems because once that small taste of freedom is granted those people will not be content until they have total freedom. The ‘unrest’ in Scotland is simmering in England – and it is not just with ‘affairs Scotland’. The political class – and the media – would have us believe that this current ‘pickle’ is purely located in Scotland and is a matter for the Scottish people; which it most definitely is not. I would posit that a great swathe of the people in the United Kingdom have passed the stage of holding our political class in contempt and now look on them with cold indifference. What they may not yet have realised is that all that is keeping the political class where they are is the current system of representative democracy.
Nick Clegg has today given a speech at the IPPR to launch that think-tank’s report on devolution in England and it comes as no surprise to see Europhile Clegg endorsing Miliband’s proposal for ‘Combined Authorities’. As I commented when Miliband proposed this, it hardly seems logical to impose yet another tier of government between the levels of government that we already have- and does nothing to bring power closer to the people. Unfortunately devolving actual, real power to the people is the last thing our political class will do, because to do so can only result in the weakening of their central power; and that they will never allow.
I note that in the BBC link above, Farage is calling for federalism in the United Kingdom and backing powers for ‘regions’ while also backing the right of the nations comprising the United Kingdom to have the ability to express what he terms the legitimate democratic and economic ambitions of its different nations. It seems rather odd for him to do this when only last June he agreed that he wanted a smaller state. Give a politician a bandwagon and they cannot resist jumping on it! He did say that you can’t get a cigarette paper between any of the political parties………..
Nigel Farage wants a form of federalism coupled with his belief in direct democracy? Then Nigel Farage should get on board with this! That he won’t can also be taken as a given because at the end of the day Nigel Farage only wants power for himself as he is, after all, a consummate politician (ie he wishes to cement the marriage twixt people and politician by screwing us!).
The CoffeeHouse ‘Evening Blend’ advises that tonight there is a rally at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow where Brown will repeat his devo-more plan that he laid out on Monday night, arguing that ‘their plan for a stronger Scottish Parliament offers faster change, because the pro-devolution parties will deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament with determination and speed beginning the day after the referendum and they will in fact do so quicker than the SNP could ever secure independence’; that Ed Miliband will talk about the SNP’s threats about the NHS; and Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont will accuse Alex Salmond of ‘narrow nationalism replacing patriotism, intolerance replacing debate and disunity replacing solidarity’.
Hell, since when has ‘intolerance replacing debate’ been a new phenomenon? Is that not an existing characteristic of our political class – since when has any politician willingly engaged in debate with one of us? Challenge them and they ‘run a mile’ – witness David Campbell Bannerman only yesterday.
What we are now witnessing is our present political class running round in circles in their attempts to put back into the Pandora’s Box of devolution that Blair opened, all the problems they now face – and that would be funny but for the fact that at the end of the day it is the taxpayer that is funding this circus act by the clowns who would have us believe they are serious politicians.