My interest in the politcal scene in Scotland takes up more and more time. Having always had a degree of awareness, the cynicism which comes with age has advanced greatly in recent years. There are times, and too many of them, when I am left numbed by the antics of some, dismayed by the effects of our media, and provoked into increasing activity to try and right wrongs. Newspapers are a thing of the past in this household. I clung on to the Saturday editions, for the book reviews and travel, but even these now have long since given up on quality and depth, and the cover price is thus spent elsewhere News now is sourced on the internet, and often with it more frustration, particularly at my perception of the failure of our state funded broadcaster to even give a hint of impartiality. All going well I will provide links to my preferred sources of news and comment, and to respected blogs.
For me the weekly bluster of First Minister’s Questions is essential viewing or listening, having become hooked in the car when collecting The Urchins from nursery, back when they were wee. But the days of following that up with the reports on Brian Taylor’s Blog (on the BBC), whilst waiting patiently, and sometimes in vain, for Robert McNeil’s version of events in the Caledonian Mercury, are now gone. Taylor’s blog, which we pay for, is closed to comments, the only closed outlet on the BBC; and Rab has moved on from the CalMerc. But listen in, form your own views.
From there I am drawn to other commentators. At first there was Newsnet Scotland, graced by the First Minister himself, the original source of political news that did not come wrapped in a unionist banner, the butcher’s apron, as the BBC tries to retain license fees whilst the written press were promised funding as an election pledge as circulations plummet. Added to that now is Wings Over Scotland, very quickly building up a spiralling readership of the type the quality
nationals regionals can only dream about, as there own heads towards oblivion, for some reason or other.
But it is Labour in Scotland that forced my hand, and that too often caused me to sit bolt upright from my suppine position, blood pressure on the rise, views no longer laid back. No longer can I accept their outpourings as they continue to brainwash the generations who, unthinkingly, put their cross in the box of the monkey in the red rosette, voting like their fathers and grandfathers, rather than for their children. In particular it was the then leader of the Labour group in the Scottish parliament, one Iain Gray, better known now as Elmer Fudd thanks to Rab at the Cal Merc, or as Dour Iain Gray, who has driven me to the realisation that we in Scotland can and must do better. This was no man to represent this nation, as his utterings have proved time and again. Gray was an embarassment, and added to his party’s record in London this past decade or so, it is clear that we must seek change for Scotland’s benefit. Gray alone caused me to turn from being merely aware of politics, to participating. His party’s legacy through the unforgiveable war in Iraq, founded on lies and propaganda, is beginning to unfurl slowly as the media outlets are forced to take more notice.
Subsequently there was an election in Scotland on 5 May 2011. Through the night and all the next day I watched history being made. The public gave Salmond’s SNP a majority in Parliament, the result that the voting system was designed to make nigh on impossible. Such however was the apathy with the ineptitude of Elmer’s opposition, whilst the ConDem coalition at Wastemonster acted as another spur. 69 seats will be taken by the Nationalists for the next five years, and I look forward to real positive governance for the benefit of this nation and her people. The opposition parties are in tatters with all three leaders falling on their swords, though Grey and Goldie limped on awhile before new leaders for their diminished ranks in Holyrood were elected.
And so we now have Johann Lamont, the Scottish cringe personified, and Ruth Davidson who scarcely merited a mention even in her own constituency and got her seat through the lists. There’s Wille Rennie too, leader of five. Yes Scotland emerges, and in Blair Jenkins have an eloquent and studied spokesman. Stewart Kilpatrick has given up the reins of the CalMerc to edit the Yes Scotland webpages.
The political map changes forever. With a majority there will be legislation to address the alcohol problems in our society; there will be real punishments for sectarian offences; there will be progress towards a Scottish broadcaster, hopefully leading to changes in the role played by the BBC, particularly in political messages to the audience though the early indications are that change there may be slow if at all. And there will be a referendum on the future of Scotland. We now know that will take place on 18 September 2014, and what hope and joy it brings to finally put a date down on paper.
As was the case through the election campaign the only people talking about independence are the unionist parties and our southern brethren. I agreed with the tactic of holding the vote a few years hence, by which time I fervently hope that we have witnessed real progress in creating a better society for our children and grandchildren, and the SNP proved itself in government, through a very hostile minority, and then in majority.
For now there is a certain enjoyment in watching the beaten parties squirm and seek direction. They are left with a motley crew, in particular Labour who lost a number of long-serving MSPs, but gained a few very inexperienced candidates from regional lists. The SNP took constituency seats right across the Labour heartlands, in my own Lanarkshire, through Glasgow and beyond. Scotland has changed for ever more, and it remains to be seen whether the Labour Party in Scotland can react, can raise their quality levels, or will continue in their downward spiral, led from London.
And as time moves slowly on the polls slowly indicate the mood of the people. Better Together is the campaign to retain the status quo; No is their mantra and negativity will be the downfall. The only No I want to hear about relates to WMDs on the Clyde, and to achieve that Independecne is the only route.
Strange it seems that many fear they would, by voting Yes, be giving Alex Salmond a job for life. It seems lost that the Referendum is not the election of a government, but rather the taking of the right to run our own affairs. Once we have that right the government elected may come from any party, or more likely a combination. What the future holds no one can guess, but it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the current majority SNP government may never be again, for the party may go in different directions in the aftermath of a positive vote next year, perhaps even before the first election in 2016. Think of that.
In October 2014 these notes are due an update. We’ve had our vote. Our people said No. For many it is hard to believe, hard to accept. The mood was there, and private polling backed it up. But The Establishment were not for giving in. Promises were made. They may or may not be kept. Then we vote again, for Westminster in 2015, Holyrood in 2016. Changes there will be. I’ll keep you posted. But since 19 September 2014 an air of sadness has lain heavy over our land.
One positive to help take us forward is the continuing engagement in the political scene, through party membership and new media. These times are still exciting. The Common Weal project is one to watch, and I’ve added them to the blogroll.