Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK elections of 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019 (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the tag “Westminster”

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…

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…


I suspect that we are now seeing two “debates” about Scotland.

  • Within Scotland there is a vigorous debate going on with much soul-searching between:
    • a self-confident, self-contained “Yes” campaign that knows what it wants and thinks it can see the way to get it. They have traction.
    • a stuttering, disparate and increasingly desperate “No” campaign that knows what it does not want but cannot coherently vocalise what it does want. It is slipping.
  • Outside Scotland there is a horrified “shadow” semi-debate that lacks any structure or discipline – typical of debates amongst the disenfranchised.

Examples Quotes:

These quotes rather sum up the situation, and illustrate why the Union may be lost. Read more…

Arguments of the Heart

“Scotland, we love you”

It won’t wash.

Read more…

Scotland: 17 days to “go”

Two “leader’s debates” down and 17 days to go – yes, a fortnight on Thursday, those in Scotland vote on the future of the UK.

Living a bit south of the border, I don’t like not having a say – but that is what our dysfunctional Prime Minister decided on when he concluded the Edinburgh agreement with Salmond.

The consequence is a real risk of the break up of the United Kingdom, if not this time then next time. If it is to happen I think a “next time” YES is probably best. Read more…

What Carswell tell us about politics

Tory Douglas Carswell has defected to UKIP and quit as MP for Clacton, saying he will contest the subsequent by-election for Nigel Farage’s party.
BBC News Website 28 August 2014 : Tory MP Douglas Carswell defects to UKIP and forces by-election

This raises some interesting questions about Mr Carswell, UKIP and politics in general. Read more…

In the deep Brown stuff

On Monday, Mr Brown told journalists at a Westminster lunch: “I think it would be a good idea if David Cameron did debate Alex Salmond, but I’m not involved in the negotiations.”
BBC News Website 10 June 2014 : Scottish independence: MP ‘anger’ over Brown debate call

Cats pigeons and a lot of the deep brown stuff! I don’t think Cameron will fall for it (I hope not, it would be Salmond’s trump card). Read more…

Countering UKIP

The UKIP Euro campaign is well under way and has got the old parties rattled. So much so that they plan a joint reaction.

The first cross-party campaign to condemn Nigel Farage’s party as racist is to be launched this week amid fresh polls showing UKIP may come first across England in the European elections in May.
The Guardian (and others) 28 April 2014: Ukip condemned by cross-party group for running ‘racist’ campaign

I don’t like UKIP and see them as a symptom of our current political problems and the old parties reluctance to address these problems.

But, I would not be surprised if this campaign fails to hit home and actually back-fires, just as Westminster “bullying” of the Scots Nats backfires. Read more…

Unconsciously Uncoupling the United Kingdom

I am feeling increasingly uncomfortable about the approaching Scottish Independence Referendum.

I write as a typically mongrel Briton with ancestors from Scotland, Ireland and England (yet to discover any Welsh). I live just south of the border, so I have no vote. Without grandparents born in Scotland, I will not have any post-independence right to Scottish citizenship. I will have significant “foreign” roots and foreign cousins.

Salmond has played his campaign with great skill whilst the Anti/No Campaign/”Better Together” group seem (from this side of the border) to have little traction and no consistent coherent message.

I don’t want to see an Independent Scotland but I am becoming convinced that independence is best for those living in Scotland. Read more…

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