Sunday, 8 January 2012

Upper And Lower House Stupidity


As the SNP Scottish government continue to run the country efficiently and reasonably effectively, the unionist parties are preoccupied with the forthcoming independence referendum. Nick Clegg graced us with his presence the other day and amusingly labelled any supporter of independence an 'extremist' - or to place another interpretation on his comment, anyone who didn't agree with him was an extremist.

Rather a foolish word to use in today's political climate, but poor Mr Clegg must have been feeling the weight of the unionist anti-independence banner, which I understand is delicately embroidered 'extremis malis extrema remedia'. His outburst was another own goal in the independence cause and, I'm reliably informed, he tootled off back to London with cries of "Ye cannae mak us feart," ringing in his ears.

To quickly cover his deputy's humiliation, the Prime Minister decided he would provoke a fight with Alex Salmond by announcing a referendum cannot be held without permission from Westminster.  Ouch!  A bad move Mr Cameron, from a unionist viewpoint, because dictatorship doesn't go down well with the Scots. Good news for the Yes camp though.

The antics of Nick Clegg and David Cameron don't seem to have been silly enough to unionists, so they called upon the noble Lord Foulkes of Cumnock to dig their campaign deeper into the mud.

Former Labour chief whip Baroness Taylor of Bolton - Ann to those in the know - has proposed an amendment to the Scotland Bill, currently passing through the Lords. Her amendment has been drafted so that it would extend the voting franchise for the independence referendum to include those born in Scotland but now living in other parts of the UK.  Some may call that gerrymandering but I prefer to call it stupid.

According to Lord Foulkes the Baroness was born in Motherwell and still supports Motherwell, so that entitles her to lay down her amendment. (A wee tip to George - suggest to your friend Ann that her Wikipedia page requires alteration as it states she was born in London).

The Scotsman suggests that nationalists are likely to interpret her move as an attempt to skew the result, but I do not. I think a large number of the Scots diaspora - both within and outwith the UK - would vote Yes if asked.

But why limit the extension to just the UK?  Surely this insults those born and bred Scots who live throughout the globe and makes them lesser mortals?  Not a good move by the Motherwell/London born Baroness and one which will no doubt infuriate some rather better informed unionists who reside in Scotland.

Of course Lord Foulkes has his own gerrymandering ideas regarding the timing of the referendum. Surely the England born Lord hasn't forgotten the anger of the Scots when a previous referendum was scuppered?

All this unionist stupidity is playing right into the hands of Alex Salmond and the SNP. If he's thinking 'why have a dog and bark myself' is appropriate at present, he would be well within his rights. Kevin McKenna - the unionist of 'I don't mince my words' fame - agrees.

There's a long way to go and the fun has hardly started, but someone, somewhere in the unionist camps must realise that Scots don't want Westminster interfering in their affairs - and that includes the Scottish government's plans to hold an independence referendum in the second half of this parliament.

30 comments:

JRB said...

An excellent article and your analysis is completely accurate.

Westminster’s over-playing of the ‘referendum question’ does indeed drive people like me further and further from the unionist viewpoint.

One point that occurred within the last few days, and upon which you touch, still rankles.
Nick Clegg is proving himself to be a one man walking political disaster area.
His description of those wishing independence, as being ‘extremists’, was wholly inappropriate.

As an experienced politician (?) he should know that to describe an individual or a group as ‘extremist’ implies considerable and serious political overtones.

I am one of those who wish for independence; I could never be described as a fervent nationalists and the thought that I could be considered as an ‘extremist’ is to me - offensive.

Gedguy said...

Is this the same house of lords which has English bishops but does not allow Scottish bishops?
As you know I live in London and would be happy to vote in a referendum but the referendum should only be open to those who, not only, live in Scotland but are registered to vote. I am seriously considering returning to Dundee to take part in the 'YES' vote. I just have to convince my teacher girlfriend who is Russian, with a Polish passport. She has complained that it might be too cold, which I thought a bit ironic seeing as she is Russian. So it looks like I might not be returning. If/when Scotland gets its independence then a team of wild horses couldn't stop me returning to aid my country, seeing as my family are now scattered all over England. I can always get another girlfriend :-(, thank the Gods she doesn't read this.
As to the link to the mail I notice that they haven't included my post. I never said I was Scots and put my address as London but my pro independence post is no where to be seen. Still, the moderation process may be longer than BwB. It is worth looking at Andrew Page's blog-Tris has the link-which goes to show that not every member of the LibDems take this point of view.
The idea of allowing Scots resident in England [as I am] to vote is stupid. The vote should only be for those on the electoral roll. I like the idea of 16 year olds being allowed to vote. Who was it that said: "No tax without representation"? If they are allowed to be taxed then should be allowed a vote on how their taxes are spent.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Well well -one thing for sure, we couldn't have chosen better adversaries.

Generally its accepted cloudy water's not fit to drink.

Michele said...

'No tax without representation?' - and I expect you think that the British MP's (many of them Scots, Welsh, Irish even an American that votes in the US elections)who sit for English Constituencies really do represent the English people and put their national interest first!

A fine democracy we live in, when the future of 85% of the people of these islands will be dictated by the vote of less than 10%.

It is also galling to see that many Scots advocating independence actually reside in England; I don't expect gratitude (why should you be grateful) - but I was always taught to be a polite guest and don't upset the hosts.

tris said...

I love the Latin quotation, but as a public public schoolboy the good Clegg should know that you can't always translate directly from Latin into English.

And Aristocrats are obviously very talented people. Imagine being able to be born in London and Motherwell on the same day! S'truth, that's clever. Doubtless the Noble Baron managed the same trick then, because it seems he was born in Oswestry, Shropshire, so he'll be one of the Shropshire Foulkes.

RMcGeddon said...

It's a bit hypocritical ( but not surprising) that Clegg thinks Scots who want independence are extremists.
The people of South Sudan who wanted independence were praised by the coalition who thought that "Sudan’s future lies in the hands of its leaders" and Sudan " will be the priority for the UK Government...

http://ukun.fco.gov.uk/en/news/?view=Speech&id=22920072

tern said...

Not only does it insult "born and bred" Scots, whatever they are, worldwide, it insults all the Scots who were born and bred all over the world. The proposal involves a form of racism common to school bullies and football hooligans and responsible for a lot of violence: Birthplace racism. The practice of believing that birthplace, the location of one arbitrary event at one moment, has any shred whatever to do with who and what any person is.

The Scottish diaspora numbers 20 million, the home population is 5 million. It follows that at least 80% of all Scots were not born in Scotland. Every bullying bigot who says being Scottish is determined by birthplace defines the vast majority of the Scottish people out of existence, which means, commits genocide. Of the Scots and of every dispersed people, which remember includes the Jews too. It just needs adequate publicising of this to prove this voting proposal illegal because racist. Think of the discrimination it does within the same family if siblings were born in different countries.

Also it insults all the folks who were born in Scotland but are not Scottish, who maybe disliked it here and left. If I was given a vote in a Welsh referendum on this same basis, I would feel racially assaulted by it, because it would be a bureaucratic foul-up classing me as anything else than Scottish. The diaspora who have returned to Scotland will have votes obviously, by residence, but what of the diaspora who have yet to achieve return? which is an agonising position of economic injustice to be in, and I was in it until age 26 in the 90s depression, and there has been a glaring lack of interest by the SNP in fighting for all the diaspora to have an automatic right to the economic means to return. I can swallow not having the vote in exile on grounds of residence, but not on grounds of bigot birthplace racism.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Hate to be pedantic -but have we a racist in our midst.

Scots are 'guests' in England and shouldn't upset their hosts?

10% dictating to 85% the quality of democracy! A bit disengenuous that one as the 'democracy' of the 85% already exists and the 10% are only asking for the right to stay within the present arrangement or opt for their own version.

Finally, as part of the diaspora, is it not conceivable that if the drive to independence succeeds, it could create the catalysts that improves the democratic process for the rump UK and removes the deficit inferred in the opening paragraph.

Gedguy said...

Michele,

"I don't expect gratitude"

Really? Neither do I when I was a fireman on Merseyside for over 6 years and put my life on the line-no charge.
Neither do I when I served in the army for 4 years and put my life on the line-no charge.
Neither do I when I was a joiner [carpenter] for most of the time rebuilding London, and, pre H&S, put my life on the line-no charge.
Neither do I when my brother served in the RN for over 8 years-no charge
Neither do I when my father served in the army for 8 years fighting in Korea [where he was blown up by a Chinese mortar at the battle of the Hook], then served in Kenya [where my eldest brother was shot in the face-no charge.
Neither do I when my Grandfather was gassed in WWI and then was bedridden for the rest of his life-no charge.

Do not assume that just because we helped build and maintain your country that we were/are all freeloaders. I do not expect gratitude off the English as I was brought up better than that-no charge.

Gedguy said...

Oh, I also forgot my other grandfather who died 3 months before the end of WWII when he fell off a building he was demolishing in the east end of London leaving my grannie to bring up all those kids-including my mother-on her own-no charge.

Hamish said...

Bern, I don't follow your logic in the following:
"The Scottish diaspora numbers 20 million, the home population is 5 million. It follows that at least 80% of all Scots were not born in Scotland."

subrosa said...

I can't agree more with you about Clegg JRB. In fact I do call his behaviour amusing but it is also dangerous, given the position he holds.

Because of that he deserves no respect from me.

subrosa said...

That's the one Gedguy.

There has to be a definition behind any referendum and the one the Scottish government has taken - people then resident in Scotland - is fair.

I'm being nosey now but, has your girlfriend ever been to Scotland? The wind from the sea can be chilly in Dundee, but the air...

Since I was a wee lass I've had rosy cheeks! These days they're assisted by Clinique I think it is. :)

subrosa said...

Superb analogy Crinkly - as always.

Gedguy said...

subrosa,

No, she hasn't but wants to visit. She can't just now as she is fighting cancer. When she gets better I'll try and bring her up. Its been a while since I've been up.

subrosa said...

Michele, I'm not with you here, unless you think Scotland is just a small part of England (being the dominant population).

The future of England, Wales and N Ireland is up to the people who reside in these countries. It's not the responsibility of those in Scotland.

Thankfully my parents never felt like 'guests' when my father had to move to England, back in the 60s, because of work. In my own years of living and working in England I never felt as if I was a 'polite guest' - any more than I did when I lived in Europe. My contribution to the respective economies was on par with others or, in the case of working in Europe, I wouldn't have been welcome.

That's a long time ago now though and things have changed.

subrosa said...

Right enough Tris, but I remember that was one of my Latin teacher's favourite quotes, roughly 'desperate times need desperate measures'.

Oh the noble Lord was born in Oswestry Tris. Now Oswestry is bang on the border of England and Wales. I've never discovered which side of the 'divide' the Lord appeared all these years ago.

But I have noted no Welsh person has claimed him as a respected Welshman.

subrosa said...

RM, thank you for the link and for reminding me.

subrosa said...

Tern, this is perhaps the most racist comment I've ever received on this blog and I use the word racist in its true context.

That apart I could stop my response there but I do have a few questions.

Why should a person's country of birth and their pride in it be racist?

80% of Scots born outside Scotland? Eh?

Of course people are defined by either their birthplace or heritage. There are those who are born outside the country of their heritage but they should have the choice to choose.

Cliff Richard was born in India of English parents because his father worked there at the time. Is Cliff Indian?

Sport in the UK now permits players whose great-great grannies were Scots/English/Welsh although they were born in another part of the world. Have you complained and called these sport associations racists and bigots?

I won't go on. Can't be bothered.

subrosa said...

You're not being pedantic Crinkly, you're being observant.

The diaspora - if an independent Scotland becomes a country in which they have economic faith, (in other words think they could make a good living), quite a few would return.

I'm a member of a few diaspora internet groups and I'm usually embarrassed by their knowledge of Scotland - both past and present.

Crinkly, some of my friends recognise the benefit of Scotland becoming independent because they know it's perhaps the only event, in a couple of generations, that will shake the Westminster government out of their complacency.

RMcGeddon said...

SR. Do you think Nick is just being used to cause mischief in Scotland ? Knowing his party faces wipeout and he has a safe euro job lined up then maybe he's just doing what he's told.
Or maybe he's really acting in 'good faith'. Like when the Lib Dems said they were acting in 'good faith' when they refused to hand back the multi million donation from Michael Brown that was later found to be stolen money.
Despite Brown living in Majorca and not being eligible to donate they happily took millions from the former cook who claimed he went to St Andrews Uni and Gordonstoun and was the son of a Lord lol.
Brown is on his way home from the Carribean to do his 7 years in prison. I wonder if he'll meet with an 'accident'.

cynicalHighlander said...

Bluff and bluster from Downing street.

subrosa said...

Auch Gedguy, that's a bummer. When she's on the way to recovery a trip here might do her the world of good.

subrosa said...

It could be a bit of both RM don't you think?

From what I've read their benefactor's arrest is nothing to do with the warrant on him from the UK. He certainly seems a bit of a wide boy.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link CH. It's now headlines on Sky news.

RMcGeddon said...

Could be SR.
There was a great story in The Telegraph about Michael Brown..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9000137/Michael-Brown-Lib-Dems-fraudster-donor-facing-justice-at-last.html

Like you say he was up to his old tricks in Dominica. Playing golf and walking his dog called Charles ( named after his champagne and private jetset friend the former lib dem leader Mr Kennedy ) while allegedly ripping off the locals twice and living with his 'bidie in' ( he's fae Glesga). His guard said he looked sad as he sat in the stinking ladies prison (sic) surviving on rice and veg ( sounds ok) and waiting to hear if he'll face prison in Dominica first then England. Or neither.


I see things aren't going too well
in South Sudan, the world's newest state. Thousands massacred despite the new country being the UK coalitions 'priority'...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/thousands-massacred-as-two-tribes-go-to-war-in-south-sudan-6286342.html

Meanwhile the

Gedguy said...

Subrosa,

Thanks but not to worry, I'm doing OK. seriously though, she's well on the mend now. I'm hoping to come up in May. Spend a wee while in Dundee and then tour the Highlands. I might even bring her along too, if she behaves herself.

subrosa said...

It could be neither RM by the sound of it.

Poor Sudanese. What are we doing to help after all the rhetoric? Nothing.

subrosa said...

Glad to hear it Gedguy. When you're here, if you've time to have a coffee with an auld wifey, then email me. I'm in Dundee a few times a month for one reason or another.

Gedguy said...

Subrosa,

It would be my pleasure.

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