A Dysfunctional Union

By Andrew Anderson

Gordon Brown was the last Scottish Prime Minister of the UK. Ever. Even if we do not win independence in 2014 there will never be another Scottish PM of the UK. It is inconceivable that an MP representing a Scottish constituency could lead a UK Government which mostly legislates on matters which do not effect Scotland. It is highly unlikely that someone perceived to be a Scot, even if they represented an English constituency, could aspire to the office.

Our current Devolution settlement already makes this impossible. It is only a matter of time before Scottish constituency MPs are restricted on what they can vote on at Westminster. Scotland clearly needs and desires at least greater autonomy, and the Unionist parties are saying it will be delivered if we vote No.

So what is Jim Murphy‘s ambition? What are the ambitions of Scots unionists?

It is probably unfair to pick on Jim Murphy but he is clearly an eloquent and skilled Labour politician. He sits in a cabinet of limited talent with a leader who lacks credibility. Yet he cannot aspire to much beyond Defence Secretary in a future Labour or coalition Government. He could possibly aim for Foreign Affairs, but not Health, Education or the Environment. Possibly he could fill a minor financial role but certainly not Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Scottish unionist politicians do not seem to have caught up with this fact. After the London media’s anti-Scottish campaign against Gordon Brown their colleagues on the green benches understand the new reality in England. This week a bizarre article in The Scotsman from Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott complained that the best Labour talent has sought Westminster rather than Holyrood. It is an old complaint, much repeated, although it resonates with the echo of Smith, Brown, Cook and maybe Darling, more than with the current generation. Scottish Labour’s Westminster tribunes do retain a high sense of self worth but their path to advancement is severely limited.

And whatever the sentiment of the London media the reality is that the UK constitution is no longer fit for purpose. Scottish MPs voting on English Education or Health is unsustainable. Whatever Scotland’s choices, it does not work for England. And rightly so.

The latest exercise in delusion are the proposals for reform of the House of Lords. This is portrayed in the media as the pet project of the Liberal Democrats. They are supposed to be in favour of federalism for the UK, which does have the advantage of logical coherence if not popular support. But there is no hint of federalism in their proposals for the UK’s second chamber. Or indeed of any acknowledgement of the diverse political reality which encompasses the Welsh Assembly, Stormont, Holyrood and a House of Commons that makes laws for England with 117 MPs from non-English constituencies.

The UK non-constitution is no longer fit for purpose. It is not just that Scotland would be better off with independence. The current system does not work for Scotland or the other parts of the UK. If we vote No in 2014 we can look forward to a future of increasing marginalisation in London and growing mutual resentment. Believe unionists promises on increased autonomy if you like, but they have not even begun to think through what it means at UK level. And funnily enough, it is a waste of Jim Murphy.



Categories: Alex Salmond, New Labour, New Scotland

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18 replies

  1. Don’t worry about Mr Murphy. Like all politicians involved in Defence the ‘military industrial complex’ awaits him with lots of lucrative deals!!!

  2. That the current constitutional settlement is unsustainable and serves none of the nations of the union well is a point well worth repeating.

  3. The union , if we are bold enough to consider the self interested westminster elite club as such has only ever served one square mile of London. The northern English counties as well as Scotland and Wales are likened to appendages which would be preferred to suffer the scraps and be most grateful for them. The time for massive upheaval and change is long overdue. Independence will be unstoppable.

  4. Yes your analysis is correct. As Scottish voices are heard more and more calling for independence, calling, and insisting on more control over it’s economy the English press is choke full of newspaper writers and letters demanding only English voices be heard on English education, English health and English environment.

  5. I have been bumping my virtual gums for some time on what I believe to be is the longterm objective, or arguably fallback position, when Scotland breaks the Union.

    Salmond is building a Golden Bridge for Cameron and whoever to retreat back over to their hinterland. Keeping the £Stg, the monarchy and probably doing some facesaving deal on Trident and nuclear bomb storage could help Westminster keep their illusion of World ranking and access to the High Table and all the photo ops.

    Great Britain, south of Carlisle is polarising into a two party system and someone could do a compare and contrast on the US Republican and Democrats.

    Essentially Labour and Tory are now the same, differentiated by way of spin, marketing and media manipulation.

    This is what the boys in suits want.

    The demise of the LibDems removes the structural random element in Westminster, leaving the Blues and the Reds to get on with their faux democracy financed by the same money money to a greater or lesser extent dependent on what their personal harvest is.

    The SNP and Scotland would never now be a part of this smoke and mirrors trick and so Scotland departing has its positive spin for both sides.

    Taking the theory a few steps forward, the SE of England could, EU evolution permitting morph into a City State like Singapore. It already is that in that it is sucking all the riches from the northern hinterlands.

    I pity England north of Birmingham and Wales. N Ireland will be “given” to Eire.

    Red Pill or Blue Pill?

    • Agree with almost what you say. However, one point worthy of note: After Scottish independence it would be the westminster labour party who would suffer inasmuch as they would lose out on all the scottish labour votes. As the majority of scots wholeheartedly despise the tories they are not so dependent upon scots votes. Looks like a tory government for ever in westminster following scottish independence. What a thought…. a nightmare full of reptiles and leeches.

      • As I said, I think the pull of the Labour Party towards the Tories is irresistible.

        They will morph into Tweedledum and Tweedledee or if you like Farmers and Pigs.

    • No David. Had Scotland been independent in 1945 it would not have changed the colour of any election… only the size of its majority.

      • So we only get the government we want when it’s the government England wants? That doesn’t quite seem fair…

      • This is not 1945 ! In fact its more like Orwell’s 1984.

      • Well, as England comprises 80% of the UK, I’d think it unfair any other way.

        Having said that, the UK used to be a collective of UK seats and nations didn’t enter into it.

        Then along came idiot Brown and his cronies with plans to “kill nationalism stone dead” and “save the Union” and that changed everything.

  6. “And yet the animals never gave up hope. More, they never lost, even for an instant, their sense of honour and privilege in being members of Animal Farm. . . .”

    “. . . and all the animals broke into a gallop and rushed into the yard. Then they saw what Clover had seen.

    It was a pig walking on his hind legs.” . . .

    . . .”Mr. Pilkington, of Foxwood, had stood up, his mug in his hand. In a moment, he said, he would ask the present company to drink a toast. But before doing so, there were a few words that he felt it incumbent upon him to say.

    It was a source of great satisfaction to him, he said-and, he was sure, to all others present-to feel that a long period of mistrust and misunderstanding had now come to an end. There had been a time-not that he, or any of the present company, had shared such sentiments-but there had been a time when the respected proprietors of Animal Farm had been regarded, he would not say with hostility, but perhaps with a certain measure of misgiving, by their human neighbours.”. . .

    . . .”An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

    Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    Mr Pilkington, Napoleon.Napoleon, Mr Pilkington. Man, Pig, pig Man. Milband – Clegg – Cameron – Cameron – Clegg – Miliband. Animal farm was supposed to be a warning, not a handbook!

  7. ‘It is probably unfair to pick on Jim Murphy’ No it isn’t, he wouldn’t hesitate to pick on you.

    ‘he is clearly an eloquent and skilled Labour politician’ What? Are we talking about the same guy? Eloquent he ain’t except perhaps by comparison to some of the other knuckle draggers Labour sends over the border. Skilled I’ll grant you if you are referring to the black arts.

  8. Jim Murphy, or as I like to call him, Nesferatu, has slid up the greasy pole of Labour politics, entirely without trace.

    A man who never graduated but seems to have a career path strewn with these wee lights down the exit passageway of planes

  9. “…there will never be another Scottish PM of the UK. It is inconceivable that an MP representing a Scottish constituency could lead a UK Government which mostly legislates on matters which do not effect Scotland”

    Absolutely and quite right too. It was a travesty that Brown was ever allowed to lead Labour, given England’s democratic deficit

    “It is highly unlikely that someone perceived to be a Scot, even if they represented an English constituency, could aspire to the office”

    Yes they could, they would have every right

    • Dysfunctional Union

      Brown was quite clearly has a dysfunctional personality.

      In his evidence to Leveson Murdoch referred to Gordon Brown in 2007-8 as “not of sound mind”

      Brown was on strong anti depressants and one wonders whether he was of sound mind to a car boot sale never mind a government and country.

      He was taking MAOI anti-depressants,

      This from http://www.patient.co.uk

      “When are MAOI antidepressants usually prescribed?

      MAOI antidepressants are usually prescribed when several of the newer type of antidepressants have been tried but have not worked so well, or caused troublesome side-effects. Some examples of newer types of antidepressant are fluoxetine, citalopram and sertraline. An MAOI may also be used if you have atypical depression.”

      This must have been known by the Cabinet and the Inner Circle Civil Service.

      Neither Jack Straw nor any member of the Labour Party, who knew said a word about this and left Brown to carry on his delusionist path, firing Nokias and hurling printers around 10 Downing Street.

      Their loyalty was to the Labour Party and not to the Electorate. Brown had to protected so they could stay in power and not fractionate.

    • Yes, they would have every right, but in the current climate right and electable credibility would be two different things. Maybe if this dysfunctional status quo survives long enough the climate would change but I doubt it.

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