If you are a Liberal voter in Scotland you should feel angry (and stupid). Whatever happened to opposition on Trident? A principled stand on immigration away from the baying hordes of tabloid hatred? A new politics?
Yesterday there unfolded a lesson in statecraft, professional politicians doing that they do best: seeking power for powers sake and spinning and re-spinning to try and present their obsession as the ‘national interest’. What nation? Whose interest? The upper class chumminess of Clegg and Cameron easily transcended the lightweight aspirations to progressive vision born by the Liberal Democrats.
What a spectacle of semi-feudal power mongering. The media frenzy (including Adam Boltons hilarious loss of composure with Alasdair Campbell – go here if you’ve missed it) centered around the arcane vagueries of Britain’s non-constitution, the predominant characteristics of which are: nobody knows what’s going on (not even the participants), we make it up as we go along, it all happens behind closed doors, extreme deference is assumed.
As one online commenter put it “Politics in England is a now a gridlock of mediocrity. The SNP need to be very clear and purposeful now – for all three of the metropolitan parties, Scotland is a side issue . . . We can do so much better.” No doubt. One of the key challenges for the SNP and for people outside the SNP is to build a strong and wide independence movement against the Shock Doctrine austerity cuts about to be enforced by the Tories and their Liberal apologists.
As Iain MacWhirter wrote in the Herald: “The truth is that there has never been a situation quite like this in recent British political history, when one of the nations of the Union has so decisively and deliberately rejected the chosen party of government in the other nation. Not even under Margaret Thatcher. In 1983, after the great Tory recession that destroyed industrial communities in Scotland, Mrs Thatcher still won 21 Scottish Tory seats in the General Election. Today under David Cameron, almost a social democrat compared to her, the Conservatives are left with one solitary seat in the whole of Scotland.”
A little more naively MacWhirter continued: “If we end up with a weak Conservative-led administration in Westminster, with virtually no representation in Scotland, it might seem inconceivable that Cameron will persevere with dismantling the Scottish public sector job by job. But here’s the catch: if he doesn’t, and if England is forced to take on the burden of spending cuts, then there could be an outpouring of resentment south of the Border that could drive Scotland out of the Union altogether. Think Germany and Greece.”
The widely held vision of Scotland from south of the border is one of subsidy-junkie. This deeply held myth is prevalent across liberal media and right wing rags alike. Austerity cuts will happen and they will happen here first, spurred on by this vision. It is highly likely that Cameron will persevere with dismantling the Scottish public sector job by job, as Darling said, ‘expect cuts deeper and harsher than under Thatcher.’
This was the dawn of the replicants, we will now have three Blair carbon copies leading three parties with marginal variant outlooks. Clegg, fresh faced and duplicitous, Cameron, lightweight and cloaking ideology behind inconsequence, and Miliband young and politically adrift in a sea of opportunism.
There is no mandate in Scotland for Tory Rule.Let’s get organised.