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.