Having been soundly gubbed at the polls, Scotland’s pernicious and illiberal ‘List’ system of proportional representation, perhaps intended to reflect popular opinion but also what has enabled the Liberal Democrats to park their backsides in power for eight years, ensures that they are still able to scratch, gouge and claw their way to parliamentary pay, perks and power; and this afternoon’s announcement that they will not do a deal with Labour paves the way for them to enter coalition with the SNP.
Such a coalition would reinforce the suspicion held by some Scots – OK, by me – that, to paraphrase Henry Ford, Scotland is entitled to any government it likes; provided it’s a coalition involving the Liberal Democrats.
We’ve heard much of so-called ‘moral authority’ from Scotland’s politicians in the past few days. The Tartanissimo has chuntered that Labour had ‘lost the moral authority to govern Scotland’, as if governing Scotland were in some way a high moral enterprise and not the dirty, nasty, vicious business all government really is.
Then our famously metrosexual grinch and economic ignoramus of a soon to be ex-First Minister climbed into the pulpit and declaimed,
“There is no moral authority to pursue separation and moral authority in the parliament will only come through different parties working together in the majority. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is, at this stage, highly premature.”
In all fairness they’re not the only ones who’ve discovered morality in politics – one of the Saatchis has been at it in the ‘Sunday Telegraph’.
All this morality, breaking out all over the place like hives…yes…it takes one back…
To the 1930’s actually, and the damnfoolishness of those, such as Anthony Eden, the Liberal Party, the Labour Party and a very significant proportion of the Conservatives, who believed that only the League of Nations had the ‘moral authority’ to prevent war. The League’s ‘moral authority’ didn’t stop either the Abyssinians or the Manchurians getting hump-colonised good and proper; but no doubt all the pious internationalists, like Lord Cecil of Chelwood, felt good about themselves in their pews when The Rape of Nanking became public, assuring themselves that they had ‘done all they could’ through the auspices of an international and consensual, and thus somehow almost spastically moral, body.
In an almost eerie mirroring of today’s times, in ‘The Collapse of British Power’ Correlli Barnett notes that the most vocal advocates for British disarmament after the First War, such as Cecil, were also amongst the first to shout ‘Something must be done!’ when Hitler began interfering in his neighbours’ affairs; a bit like the a la carte humanitarianism that says interfering in Iraq was bad but interfering in Kosovo was good and interfering in Darfur would be even better.
Such internationalism has, of course, echoed down the arches of the years to the present day. The United Nations, an entity which seems to contain its fair share of child molesters, is believed by some to have ‘moral authority’; and now the governance of Scotland is described as being a weighty and moral business.
However, the Ruritanian collapse of the Scottish voting system notwithstanding, it’s hard to see how any government has authority to govern when some constituencies were recording a turnout as low as 33.22% (Falkirk West) or 33.43% (Glasgow Shettleston). That isn’t apathy – if Baron Samedi’s job were up for grabs it’s likely zombies would turn out in greater numbers. Such low turnouts are just disgusting, an affront to democracy; and those who failed to vote but then complain and moan and whinge in the grand Scotch fashion about how bad their lives are and aggressively demand to know ‘whit ur youse daein aboot it?’ should be told just where they can park it.
The hard left is thankfully gone to the dustbin of history; and a recent re-reading of French Revolutionary history makes one believe that if Tommy Sheridan’s utter contempt for the rule of law ever catches up with him, resulting in him being sent down for some serious time, then the old sans-culotte will scream and scream and lose his bowels like an Hebertiste on the guillotine.
Given the Scottish Green Party’s almost berserk pursuit of gay rights in the last Parliament, one is tempted to refer to the two MSP’s remaining from the erosion of their electoral topsoil as a rump; however today’s ‘Scottish Mail on Sunday’ raises the possibility of Butch and Sunflower entering into alliance with Labour.
And if that day comes, well, then, they will deserve the description given by the famous pacifist and humanitarian Roberto D’ Aubuisson to his opponents in the Salvadorean Christian Democrats, that they were ‘watermelons’ –
‘Green on the outside, red on the inside!’
Robin Harper and Patrick Harvie, The Watermelon Men…it has a certain ring…
However, one little fact seems to have been forgotten amidst the self-congratulation and horse-trading; that for the first time in 300 years the Scottish people have given their electoral preference to a party whose sole rationale is independence.
As a Scot I’ve always thought of myself as being relatively free; there can be very few nations in the world suffering from imperialist oppression whose citizens, if they so wish, can spend their weekends in Dubai. But the dice having rolled in his favour, the Tartanissimo must proceed to the next stage, and soon, or else lose all credibility; and he cannot be allowed to dictate the terms upon which independence might take place, for there are others to be considered…
Like the English. Remember them?
Right now Salmond wants to wedge his bum into the First Minister’s chair and run things for a few years – then, maybe, we’ll have a referendum on independence in 2010. But a vote for the SNP is at all times and under all circumstances a vote for ‘independence’, so if he does not deliver the goods then he might be a one term First Minister – and we wouldn’t want that, would we?
This is what I plan to do to stop him – if anyone is interested in joining me I’m going to start a political party.
Entitled ‘National Reform and the National Interest’ it would aim to run candidates in the Parliamentary elections of 2009-2010. Its sole purpose would be to agitate and lobby for a UK wide referendum on Scottish independence immediately after those elections- the only kind of referendum that might, perhaps, be considered to have some kind of (yawn) ‘moral’ force.
If the outcome is a majority in favour of independence, then arrangements would have to be made for the UK to be dissolved by 2012. At that point NRNI would run in Scotland under the name ‘National Interest’, while the English, Welsh and Ulster arms would go their own way with our best wishes.
Thursday’s vote made clear that independence is now in the minds of a majority of one of the UK’s parts – and it’s only fair that the others parts should also be able to have their say. We now have a ‘National Question’ more important than any other – and it has to be answered nationally.