Saturday, 9 April 2016

Disowning idiocy

Neat move from Carole Erskine. Rather than take personal responsibility for the ill-informed drivel, she dumps blame on some anonymous dinner guest.

One can readily understand why she would want to deny ownership of comments such as the threadbare inanity about a "one-party state". And, as a self-styled 'politics reporter', it is not unreasonable that she would be eager to disown the fallacy about using the second vote to "ensure an effective opposition to the SNP". But it seems a little unfair to make some quite possibly entirely innocent third party the unwitting butt of others' ridicule.

It can hardly have escaped the notice even of one so obviously immersed in the cosy consensus of the mainstream media that there are actually numerous parties standing candidates in the coming election. Not that 'numerous' is necessary. It would require only a single party other than the SNP to make a nonsense of the claim that Scotland is a "one-party state". As pretty much everybody apart from Carole Erskine... Sorry! Carole Erskine's unnamed dinner guest will willingly acknowledge, two is more than one.

But the pish about a "one-party state" isn't only an insult to arithmetic. It is a slur on all of Scotland and its people. It implies that we are no more than the pawns of some arch-manipulator. It portrays us as mere ciphers, rather than effective actors. It discounts the fact that the electoral dominance of the SNP is something knowingly and purposefully engineered by Scotland's voters.

With an arrogance that is offensive in a scatter-gun sort of way, Carole Erskine (and/or some random diner) supposes that the people of Scotland are no more than biddable sheeple being herded by devious politicians. Their sneering contempt for Scotland precludes consideration of the possibility that it might be the other way around. That it may be the people of Scotland who are using the SNP as a tool to shape a new politics of their choosing. That the SNP is being deployed by Scottish voters as a weapon with which to defend Scotland against an increasingly antagonistic British state.

And what of the suggestion that the regional vote can be used to "ensure" anything? If Carole Erskine is truly qualified to be a 'political reporter', why does she not immediately shoot down this daft notion? If it really did come from this mysterious 'dinner guest', oerhaps she was just too polite to point out to them how misguided this is. That must be it! Because it surely couldn't be that a professional journalist was seeking to mislead voters into imagining that Scotland's voting system could be gamed. Perish that thought!

The biggest lie

It is frequently pointed out that “Scottish Labour” is not a real political party. Although not often enough to prevent them persisting in the pretence. There is no such party registered with the Electoral Commission. There is only the British Labour Party. “Scottish Labour” is, in fact, British Labour in Scotland (BLiS).

But they are not alone in attempting this ruse. The “Scottish Conservatives” and “Scottish Liberal Democrats” are no more real than “Scottish Labour”. Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie are no less mere proxies for their bosses in London than Kezia Dugdale. Of all the deceptions perpetrated by the British parties in Scotland, surely the most reprehensible is passing themselves of as autonomous Scottish parties able to formulate policy independently of the ‘parent’ party.

This has profound implications for democracy in Scotland. As Scotland’s political culture diverges from that of the rest of the UK (rUK) the fact that the ‘leaders’ of the British parties in Scotland cannot formulate policy that is informed by this distinctive political culture is increasingly relevant. Ultimately, policy is formulated by the real party leadership in London. A leadership which shows no signs whatever of being aware of the prevailing political culture in Scotland. A leadership which is, in fact, determined to deny any distinctiveness whatever. And to eradicate those differences that cannot be denied.

Whatever the ‘leaders’ of the British parties in Scotland may say, they are subject to the authority of the ‘parent’ party in the same way as any ordinary member of that party. They are prohibited from promoting any policy other than that adopted by the UK party. However much they may pretend otherwise, they cannot make policy for Scotland.

And make no mistake, this applies to devolved areas every bit as much as to reserved matters. It may be that the ‘leaders’ of the British parties’ operations in Scotland are occasionally consulted on policy in devolved areas. But that is as far as it goes. The final decision will always be in the hands of the real leadership. And that decision will always reflect the interests of a UK party immersed in the political culture of rUK. A political culture that is significantly different from that in Scotland. A political culture which steers policy formulation in directions that bear little or no relation to the needs, aspirations and priorities of Scotland’s people.

What this means is that the British parties in Scotland are touting for votes on a false prospectus. They are presenting themselves as Scottish parties when they clearly are not.  Voters may want to reflect on the fact that, by voting for any of the British parties, they are effectively voting for London rule.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Infantile antics

"Questions raised over SNP's £10bn Chinese trade deal", declares the STV website. But are they sensible questions? Is it even a "trade deal"? And, whatever it is, was it actually shrouded in secrecy?

Or is this no more than the kind of infantile antics that have come to characterise the British parties in Scotland?

There was no secret. The signing of the memorandum of understanding was reported. If it was only reported in the niche media that's because it is a matter of only niche interest.

It isn't a trade deal. It's an agreement to have discussions about meetings to have talks about talks about something as yet unspecified which may, some time down the line, become something significant. It's a trivial procedural matter such as is part of the day-to-day business of any government. If the Scottish Government didn't release any "details", it's because there are no "details". There's nothing to report. Nothing has happened, except the opening up of the possibility that something might happen.

There are no sensible questions to be asked. There is nothing more to find out. Everything there is to know is already known. And none of it is stuff that we needed to know anyway.

The overblown, theatrical hysterics of the British parties would be comical were it not for the fact that it is yet another attempt to deceive the people of Scotland.

Are the people of Scotland fooled by this? Only those who want to be. Are voters impressed by the screeching of Jackie Baillie or the whining of Willie Rennie? Not if the polls are within an astronomical distance of being accurate.

Will the British parties ever learn that the people of Scotland are no longer susceptible to their puerile efforts at manipulation? It seems not.