By Mike Small
This editor has been busier than a BP lawyer in the last few days so to catch-up on some great commentary that’s been hitting the informational super-highways here’s a brief resume of the best on AV, Referenda and green and nationalist strategy between here and next May…
Over at SNP Tactical Voting Jeff nails the absurdity of the proposed coming referendum…
“So we are holding a referendum on a supposedly more representative voting system, adversely affecting the Scottish Parliament elections that will be held on the same day and the result would either be the status quo or a voting system that actually gives a less representative result? It makes one wonder what the Lib Dems think about it all…” (any Lib Dems out there? – Ed)
While across the way that overly-anxious Peat Worrier is also sceptical about the motives of The Cleggeron-With-No-Mandate:
“Like me, I assume that most of you aren’t steeped in the sections and procedures that were agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding, transacted between the UK Government, Scottish and Welsh Ministers and the Northern Irish Executive Committee in March 2010. Many of you, I suspect, might be aware that the Memorandum provides the broad terms of reference for the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC). The fourth article of the JMC’s terms of reference is to “consider disputes between the administrations”. Today’s Herald contains an article, suggesting that the Scottish Government is considering using this very dispute resolution mechanism to try to prevent the coupling of the 2011 Holyrood election and the UK referendum on AV, presently being insisted upon by Nick Clegg and the Coalition Government, despite strenuous objections from various quarters.”
Third (and this example is used in part, to be honest because it contains a reference to George Foulkes buffoonery and electoral disasters that I find irresistible) over at Scottish Left Review Peter McColl has an interesting (and I think overdue) analsyis of the need for the Scottish Green Party to strenghten and widen their appeal..
“There’s another reason why Greens need to widen their appeal. The appeal of environmental issues is simply not enough to ensure that Greens are able to win enough elections. Green politics goes way beyond the environment. It has a foundational critique of the consumerist, market driven society and economy we live in. It is this that will return more Green members to Councils, the Scottish Parliament and other bodies. These representatives, with their very presence and by their actions will put the environment up the agenda. They will also fight for a fairer, more equal, more just Scotland. The development of the SNP provides an interesting blueprint for Greens in this area.” Read the full thing here.
…and finally my compadre and fellow-fan of the Goal Machine that is White and Green asks simply:
“Do you want to be crucified for the next decade as part of a bankrupt broken Britain? Or are you prepared to embrace a new beginning as citizens in a prosperous independent Scotland?”
…As the electoral dust settled over the new look ConDem Nation almost every political commentator agreed upon one thing: Alex Salmond and the SNP had been dealt the best possible hand given the circumstances. The UK’s coalition government – with just one Tory MP and 11 LibDems out of a possible 59 – have no democratic mandate north of the border. Throw into the mix a much-trumpeted budget deficit “crisis” – and a ConDem austerity programme consisting of the most savage public sector and benefits cuts in living memory – and the ingredients are there for a potentially bruising constitutional battle between Scotland and London. Taking into account the Independence Referendum Bill – due to go before the Scottish Parliament sometime between now and May 2011 – you’d be forgiven for thinking that Alex Salmond and the SNP simply have to play the cards they’ve been dealt, at the right time, in the right order.
The most obvious winning strategy for the SNP is not exactly rocket science. Oppose both the savagery and democratic legitimacy of the ConDem cuts; explain they are an ideological choice rather than an economic necessity; and rally a Scottish public around the only viable alternative on offer: Scottish independence via a democratic referendum. But thus far it hasn’t happened. The independence card hasn’t been played. And, perhaps, more tellingly, neither the First Minister nor any of his closest colleagues have questioned the validity of London’s neoliberal agenda nor its democratic legitimacy in Scotland. This is baffling and alarm bells are ringing.”