|Guardian 18th November 2013|
... or we might have had to cut services.
|The Times, less than a week after Scotland voted No.|
In the run up to the referendum many of us online used the image of Danny Alexander gurning next to a representation of the Lib Dem's pledge about tuition fees to demonstrate the folly of believing any promises made by unionist politicians.
The notion that we'll be getting used to doing something similar with this...
... is a wee bit depressing.
I've decided Scotland is a strange place - for example - is there any other country that has dotted around its territory so many immovable reminders about the perfidy of its ruling establishment over the decades?
Yet, given the opportunity to come out from under that pernicious narcissistic control - we decide not to bother.
Newspapers and blogs are easier to miss than bridges spanning sometimes perilous watercourses or statues of bastards set upon plinths reaching one hundred feet into the Scottish sky. There are those who say last Thursday's vote was democratic - insofar as people put a cross on a ballot paper and stuffed it in a black box - those people might have a point. However - and I'm no expert - in order for democracy to function properly, it needs to have an effective - by which I mean - objective media to scrutinise claims and debunk lies.
Our media is part of the establishment and the establishment always trumps the political and/or constitutional will of the people.
Even in my short political memory... [Insert harp arpeggios here...] The Tories shafted Scotland in the 80's and 90's, then the mid 90's/early 00's saw New Labour coming in on the rebound - stultifying the UK with spin, participating in illegal wars and giving us political morons like Darling & Brown. The Lib Dems fielded Nick Clegg in a couple of TV debates who swooned and fell in to bed with Cameron's Tories. At which point, on account of the mainstream parties all being so enormously pish at running the country - UKIP got its feet under the table and are now driving Coalition policy.
Add in to that, the notion that two of recent history's worst politicians (already mentioned) came back to the fore and managed to terrify quite a lot of old folk into voting No thus saving this benighted union...
With the exception of The Herald On Sunday - every other newspaper published in Scotland supported a No vote while the BBC failed completely at pretending to be objective. That isn't democracy, its a stitch up.
Scotland's problem isn't the Tory party, its all the unionist parties. Scotland in my life time has been shafted by every single Westminster-based unionist-supporting party. Why? Because our votes don't count there, how many more times are people going to vote for a Westminster party thinking 'they'll listen this time'.
Since UKIP seems to be next in the lets-hump-Scotland queue (and they're probably going to go in dry) - it seems important to return in 2015 as few Unionist MP's as is humanly possibly. Labour are a Westminster party concerned only with power at Westminster - and to get power at Westminster - you need votes in the South of England. Since the South of England are so pissed off with their usual choice of party; they're turning to UKIP. Labour - via weasel words and vacuous soundbites - might say they abhor UKIP; be in no doubt though, scratch the surface and you'll see yellow & purple.
Since UKIP policy in Scotland is only slightly less popular than Norovirus, it seems to me we need to rid Scotland not just of Tories but of Westminster completely. The only way to do that is to return as many independence supporting MP's as possible to Westminster in 2015 - we can then have an entirely new and intrinsically different form of mandate for Scottish independence.
Some No voters already regret their choice. For others who aren't quite there yet; as more of the so-called vows that secured their vote evaporate, I sincerely hope they'll come over. We had a mandate for a referendum in Holyrood, but the result was corrupted by an unscrupulous British Establishment. Creating a fresh mandate - not just on the Union's doorstep - but within its walls at Westminster, would sweep away all false promises made to date. It will cause a constitutional earthquake that'll put sovereign power back in the hands of people living in Scotland - which is exactly where it should always be.
A tactical vote for the SNP at the Westminster GE in 2015 is a means to an end. Your Labour MP might be good for purely local issues but be in no doubt, when it comes to national or international policies that affect at a local level - they don't give a shit about you.
Perhaps with Salmond now gone, it'll be an easier decision to make. Although you can expect the press to start a special character assassination of who ever replaces him as soon as he or she accepts the job.
Remember though, eyes on the prize. The means might chafe but the ends are the people of Scotland getting the government they vote for every time - not just when the wishes of the good people of England happen to match ours.