Tuesday 31 July 2012

Cracks in the unionist façade?

Labour for Independence
Surely one of the more significant recent developments in Scotland's independence referendum campaign has been the rise to prominence of the Labour for Independence group founded by Allan Grogan. A measure of just how significant is the shrill vehemence of "Scottish" Labour's insistence that the group is of no significance at all. But we have to suspect that this dismissal has more to do with blinkered wishful thinking than any reasoned assessment of the potential implications of this rejection of the party line. Such dissent is the seed from which revolutions grow. And the Labour Party has historically proved to be fertile ground for a rich crop of factionalism. At least until it was struck by the devastating blight of the New Labour project.

Observers of the Scottish political scene have long been aware that support for independence crossed party lines. It must be so because such fundamental constitutional issues transcend party politics. Neither position on the question of independence is inherently incompatible with the contrasting world-views which inform the left-right political spectrum. So it should not be too surprising to find support for independence among Labour or even Conservative voters. Independence offers no necessary impediment to the pursuit of any political agenda. No core principles or values of any mainstream ideology need be abandoned in order to embrace Scotland's civic nationalism. Support for, or opposition to independence is a choice which can be made irrespective of where an individual's political compass points. It is a choice which certainly should not be constrained by mere partisan tribalism.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Petty in pink

Petty in pink
Mighty has been the Twitterage over the last twenty-four hours on the subject of the Scottish Government's efforts to bring our marriage laws into the age of enlightenment. Mighty and, for the most part, angry. All because there was a "delay" in announcing the results of the cabinet's deliberations. Not really a delay, of course. Because the eagerly anticipated announcement was promised by the end of July. But it seems that some people simply can't wait a few days for what, if the Scottish Government do as expected, will be a historic moment for Scotland as another anachronistic social division is swept away.

There was the entirely predictable, and patently contrived anger of the SNP's opponents. The Labour/Tory/LibDem coalition approach to any issue is first and foremost to find some way of turning into a stick with which to beat Alex Salmond. They will perform the most amazing contortions of logic and semantics in the process and are not above simply lying when this suits their purposes. The issue itself, whether it be employment, the economy or equal marriage, is always subordinate to political point-scoring - even when, as with equal marriage rights, there is almost complete agreement with the SNP. The consequence of this is that less and less attention is paid to the rantings of the old parties and their tame hacks in the Scottish media.

Monday 2 July 2012

A tale of two referendums

More questions than answers
A leader article in The Scotsman today portentously declares in its headline that a UK vote on leaving EU could scupper SNP plans. Which is a bit odd given that the SNP doesn't get much more than a passing mention in the final paragraph. Perhaps not so strange, however, when one takes account of the fact that the rabidly British nationalist Scotsman sees portents of calamity for the independence cause in the early blooming of snowdrops and the shapes of clouds. So should we be taking this seriously? Jeremiads concerning the imminent demise of Scotland's national party are as much part of The Scotsman's schtick as the trade-mark "Salmond accused...!" headline.