Sunday 30 September 2012

Lamont's error of commission

Who does Lamont imagine she is fooling with her "devolution commission"? What is the point of it?

If "Scottish" Labour was serious about meaningful additional powers for the Scottish Parliament then they have had ample opportunity in recent years to both formulate a policy and implement the measures. They did neither. Instead, they colluded with their Tory allies in the rigged Calman fiasco. And then did everything they could to elide or dilute such measures as did find their way into the legislation.

Friday 28 September 2012

Trigger figures

Jackie Baillie - Treating voters like idiots
I had me a little Twitter-spat last night with "Scottish" Labour MSP and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jackie Baillie. Nothing remarkable in that, I hear you say. And it's true that Ms Baillie is one of the more irksome nonentities populating the seats at Holyrood which should be occupied by the opposition. But I surprised myself by the degree to which I was offended and annoyed by her interventions. In general, I regard politics as a pragmatic business in which emotions have at most a peripheral role. I tend not to get worked up about things, preferring reasoned analysis to emotional reaction. I think with my neurones and not my hormones. So what did Jackie Baillie say to push my buttons?

Thursday 27 September 2012

Lamont's suicide note

Johann Lamont - unprincipled
It was perhaps predictable that, after the initial shock of Lamont's precipitous lurch to the right, it wouldn't be long before the unionist media dutifully fell into line to protect "one of their own". The line now is to portray Lamont's speech as an utterly reasonable questioning of assumptions about universal benefits rather than a dramatic abandonment of social democracy by the "Scottish" Labour leadership.

Across the unionist media today, even as "Scottish" Labour furiously back-pedals on virtually every one of Lamont's pronouncements, we are being urged to read less into her statements rather than more. Which must have taken a major effort on the part of journalists more accustomed to seeking the most sensational interpretation possible - even at the cost of an honest and accurate representation of what has been said.

Friday 14 September 2012

Boaking with dinosaurs

Ian "Dinosaur" Davidson
For those of us committed to Scotland, its people and its democratic institutions, there surely can be no spectacle more unedifying than the circus that is Scottish Questions at Westminster. An event which has increasingly come to be no more than an opportunity for MPs - especially British Labour MPs from constituencies in Scotland - to perform tricks for their English parliamentary colleagues and play up to what they imagine to be the petty prejudices of their real constituency - Middle England. It is an occasion when we tend to see paraded all the rancid, intellect-rotting resentment that "Scottish" Labour now has in place of an ethos and the obsessive, all-consuming hatred of the Scottish National Party which has become its sorry substitute for a political platform.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

More Loonylympics!

More Loonylympics!
Even those who have grown accustomed to Ian Smart's increasingly eccentric ways will be wondering what the hell is all this stuff about Trafalgar Day and the "English yoke" in his latest offering (Heads of Oak)? This is not the language of Scotland's civic nationalism. It is certainly not the language of reasoned commentary. It is the language of rabid British nationalism and an obsessive hatred whose corrosive effects on the intellect are all too apparent in Ian Smart's increasingly demented ravings.

At the core of this there is, of course, his own personal conspiracy theory. A fixation which he cossets like Gollum with his "Precious", jealously guarding the inane notion of a Salmondian plot to abandon the referendum from the terrifying onslaughts of a reality with which he now has only most tenuous of relationships.

The Loonylympics!

The Loonylympics
Having recently voted for Poor Old Cockers in a "Madman of the Year" poll only to see him outstripped by Michael Kelly (with Ian Smart an inexplicably distant third) I was hoping his latest piece for the The Telegraph (Alex Salmond is surrendering to David Cameron) would prove to be an effort to regain what some still see as his rightful place in the pantheon of brainsick Britnats. But Poor Old Cockers has let himself down badly here.

Which is not to say that this latest emanation from his muddled mind is lacking in inanity and confusion. It's just that he's up against such strong competition from challengers who can come up with such stunningly original idiocies as the idea that Alex Salmond will not make any announcements about the referendum during the SNP conference because he has been frightened off by something called "Trafalgar Day".

Monday 3 September 2012

Too much too young

Who is excluded?
In a fallacy-riddled article for Tory Hoose (Indy ref voting age: are the kids United?), a certain Alex Shilling waxes dismissive of the idea that the voting age should be lowered to sixteen for the forthcoming referendum on Scotland's constitutional status - and, presumably, more generally. I dealt with some of the more obvious nonsense of this piece in my comments, but I can't be sure that my observations will survive the heavy-handed moderation which seems to be typical of unionist websites where even the mildest disagreement tends to be labelled "abusive". And the issue is, in my view, important enough to warrant a more detailed examination.

If we truly appreciate the necessity to a functioning democracy of maximum participation, then our default position must be that everyone is entitled. to vote. And I do mean everyone. That must be our starting point. Rather than arguing about who should be included in the franchise, the onus should be on those who wish to exclude certain groups to make a strong, rational case for doing so.