The credibility of the Union is un-peeling daily before our eyes. As The Scotland Bills unravels and the commitment to further powers gets daily downgraded, eroded and ridiculed in ‘our national parliament’ the realities of British rule are being further exposed and understood.
As Boothman exits, with questions unanswered and bunker mentality enshrined at the BBC HQ, their flagship current affairs programme asks, apparently straight-faced: “@BBCScot2015 David Starkey has criticised the left for not “recognising” the SNP’s “national socialism”. Is he right to compare the SNP with Nazism?”.
This is extraordinary journalism, a new nadir for the BBC in Scotland.
The sense of disappointment and the air of a stale, decaying order is palpable. If the Smith Commission was a desultory but opportunistic stratagem for political survival, it will do nothing to stem the haemorrhaging of credibility to block it at every turn. As Kenny Farquharson, ex of Scotland on Sunday and now resident at The Times puts it: “Smith was the Whitehall response to the indyref. So what is the Whitehall response to Scottish general election result? There isn’t one.”
Instead we have Labour incompetence broken promises and the havering figure of Secretary of State Mundell, the comic Ian Murray, and the Dead Duck Alistair Carmichael; remnants of an occupying force, ruling without authority, mandate or credibility. Even the much vaunted political ‘giants’ of yesteryear like Dewar, Forsyth or Steel would find the situation politically indefensible.
The only response to the General Election result seems to be vitriol and barely concealed hysteria.
Iain Macwhirter cites Labour MP for Linlithgow, Michael Connarty saying that voters had been “taken in” by a Stalinist “cult of personality”, whilst Gillian Bowditch rails in her Sunday Times column “When reasoned argument folds before the baying of the mob, intellectual, moral and political bankruptcy follow”and Kevin McKenna comments (‘Hatred of austerity, a rejection of greed … if this is a ‘cult’ count me in’): “Forget all the mince about their professed love of Scotland and the social, emotional and cultural ties that bind our two great nations…buying off the waverers with a fictitious Vow that unravelled quicker than it took to throw away the fag packet on whose back it was written was just a jolly old hoot. But the 56 Nationalist MPs and the inevitable talk of a second independence referendum demands an upscaling of the propaganda war. Thus lips have curled in disdain at the nature and character of the 56. Some of them aren’t even proper politicians for heaven’s sake. Mhairi Black, the youngest MP ever, has been depicted as a ned who stopped drinking superlager just in time to contest the election. That she has emerged under incessant questioning as a bright, eloquent and confident young woman has confounded many.”
Of course at the forefront of this hysteria has been our very own Jim Murphy, who threw a few punches as he was led screaming out the back door of politics likening the atmosphere in the TV debates in Scotland to a “quasi-religious rock concert so whatever truth you told it did not really matter”. Murphy like so many others seems to be incapable of grasping the basics of democracy, saying of a second referendum: ““Why wouldn’t there? If you are an insurgent nationalist party with unprecedented power and with an absolute majority, why wouldn’t you try and engineer a set of circumstances to get you another referendum?”
By ‘engineer a set of circumstances’ we think he means, gather popular unprecedented support?
The temerity of electing our representatives is an affront to British democracy, and reasoned argument will be responded to with threats and ridicule.
Conceal, hide and deflect. Reject accountability. These are the tactics of the deposed and rejected parties.
As the the alternative media build new institutions to push for openness and transparency, the old guard are in lock-down. We hear that Downing St. emails are automatically deleted within three months, so public can’t make FOI requests, and that the Scotland Office has blocked the release of information about the leaked memo of a meeting between Nicola Sturgeon and French ambassador Sylvie Bermann.
SNP depute leader and treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said yesterday: “The Tories must stop playing games with Scotland, and clarify whether or not David Cameron’s assurance that further changes to the Scotland Bill will be considered still stands.” He added: “With only one MP in Scotland and no democratic mandate, the Tories cannot ignore the wishes of half of the Scottish electorate who voted SNP last month.”
Except they can, and they are. Only they may not yet realise the consequences of what they are doing.