Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “Scotland”

Two Fingers May

So it’s in the post – two fingers to the EU. And the Tory backbenchers will wet themselves with excitement and the Daily Mail will be ecstatic.

But Theresa May is giving  two fingers to more than the EU. Read more…

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England’s Confused Nationalism (1. Sport and Athems)

During the Summer of 2014 Democratic Audit ran a series of posts about the (English) National Anthem in response to Roy Hodgson’s call for England players to sing the National Anthem at the World Cup (An Association Football Championship, m’lud).

The issue of course is that the Anthem in question is “God Save the Queen” – one of the hardest working Anthems in the songbook as it fills the following roles:

  • National Anthem for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Salute for the Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (and other Realms)
  • Default Anthem for some (not all) England sporting teams (most notably the Association Football and Rugby Union Teams)

I have always found this odd, reflecting the confused national identity of England and indeed the United Kingdom. Given that the Scots (or more accurately, those in Scotland) have had a thorough examination of their national identity, perhaps England may reflect on its sporting identity as a preliminary warm-up to a more thorough review.

In the new year (2016) Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins intends to bring his English National Anthem Bill to Parliament on 13 January.

Read more…

Stifling Political Diversity

The acting leader of the Labour Party is a great believer in diversity – even if she does not stray much beyond the dimension of gender.

It has struck me however that the Labour Leadership Election is a major exercise in reducing the diversity of political opinion that is to be offered to the British electorate. It seems that we can be offered Socialism or “Modern Labour” but not both. Which is a shame.

Read more…

Scotland: Again?

If the Edinburgh Pandas do give birth to a single cub – there will be as many Pandas in Scotland as there are Labour, Liberal and Conservative MPs combined.

But how much of a tizzy should we get into about this (sensational) result and how should the UK Parliament respond? Read more…

Drumbeats from North of the Border

This week (27 November 2014) has seen the publication of the Smith Commission‘s proposals – seen by many as the first stage in delivering the three Musketeer’s Vow to the Scottish People.

Whether it proves to be an effective response to the apparent desire of the Scottish people for more autonomy is yet to be seen.

It does however set a critical and crucial drumbeat to which all in the UK must respond. Read more…

Mr Cameron speaks for the Queen

I can understand that journalists feel compelled at times to speak for the Queen.

Now it appears that our Prime Minister also has a tendency for “loose talk”.

David Cameron has been caught on camera talking about how the Queen “purred down the line” after he phoned her to say Scotland had voted no to independence.

The prime minister’s remarks suggesting the Queen was pleased with the result are a rare, albeit accidental, breach of the convention that the prime minister never speaks about his conversations with the monarch. It also jeopardises her traditional neutrality, …
Guardian 23 September 2014 : David Cameron says Queen ‘purred down line’ after Scotland no vote

You would expect him to know better – I think he claims to have “breeding” and to have benefited from a particular type of education, so should, according to his world view, know how to behave.

But he doesn’t. Read more…

The price and purpose of a union

We seem to have the much predicted post “NO”, muddle.

It would seem that many in Scotland have a justified expectation of further devolution (devo-plus, devo-max, super-devo – no one seems sure what exactly has been promised or what any of the terms mean).

But our short-term focused Prime Minister has dug himself a hole. He, with Clegg and Miliband made some rather rash promises with little idea of whether they could deliver. But for our Conservative and Unionist Prime Minister it seems to have conserved the union – in the short-term.

Now he realises there is a price to pay (on both sides of the border) and in his rush to sort this out he is making similarly rash proposals for England. There is a danger that he loses sight of the purpose of our union. Read more…

A bad day for democracy

It is a fantastic result, … Scotland has spoken, … we have had record turnout.

So, surely a good day for democracy?

If you believe that democracy is about a glorified opinion poll every so often, Yes.

But if you believe it means the people’s voice being heard and acted upon, No.

There will be disillusion, because Scots won’t get what they may have voted for, and the rest of us have not been consulted. Read more…

London media and Scottish Independence

In Tuesday’s Guardian George Monbiot bemoans the (mainly London) media coverage of the Scottish Independence Referendum.

Living within their tiny circle of light, most senior journalists seem unable to comprehend a desire for change. If they notice it at all, they perceive it as a mortal threat, comparable perhaps to Hitler. They know as little of the lives of the 64 million inhabiting the outer darkness as they do of the Andaman islanders. Yet, lecturing the poor from under the wisteria, they claim to speak for the nation.

… But to those within the circle, politics still begins and ends in Westminster. The opinions of no one beyond the gilded thousand with whom they associate is worthy of notice.
The Guardian 16 September 2014 : How the media shafted the people of Scotland

I accept the examples of “gilded circles” which always make me feel queasy, but I wonder whether good old (bad old?) geographical remoteness plays a bigger part? Read more…

Tackling injustice in our country

How do we tackle injustice across our country?
Ed Miliband speaking in Cumbernauld 10 September 2014 – On BBC News Channel 14:10

If Ed really wants to promote this line he has to tackle the separatist plan which starts:

  1. Redefine “our country” to one that is a Tory free zone.
  2. Start changing policies

Read more…

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