Friday, 17 August 2012

Grist to the mill...

What sort of Scotland would you like to live in post 2014?

The status quo is a given: a Scotland dominated by the neo-liberal politics of an ever rightward drifting Westminster - unreformed and unreformable. A Scotland whose social norms will be driven by the ever increasing cut backs in funding to the support of the most disadvantaged in our society, the dismantling of the Scottish NHS by the back door of Barnet consequentials, the ever increasing disparity between high levels of UK Government  subsidy to London and the SE and the rest of the UK - currently London and the SE gets £2,000 per head more, on average, than Scotland, Wales or the English regions according to the UK Government's National Audit Office. The squeeze on investment in Scottish electrical generation potential will continue while National Grid charging gives the same already heavily subsidised London and the SE further energy subsidies at the cost to the rest of the UK's bottom line bills. All to prop up a financial services model in London that is now costing the UK taxpayer more in bailouts and quantative easing than we will ever get back - because Westminster failed to regulate the UK based Bank's gambling, failed to let the 'market' it worships take its course and let the hault and lame go down the tubes; because the political fall out for Westminster would have ripped their cushy world apart and forced reform of their gravy train. This is the Union benefit that some Scots clamour to hold on to, a Scotland run as a colonial fiefdom by Westminster to be used and abused as their need dictates and manipulated to their will by the giving and taking of carrots - "No, you can't build warships ... Oh, OK then; build us a carrier or two because you have been good, Gordon wants re-elected and we do not want BAE Systems to move even more of its HQ functions to the US."

Yet is the Scotland that will be wished on us by a Millicameron and an out of control Westminster politic which deems itself above the law, even the laws it makes for itself, how we see ourselves in the future? Breach PPER 2000 ....  £50,000 of undeclared donations Mr Hain .... we know it should be a criminal conviction .... but apologise to the 'House' and we will dust it under the carpet. For Hain read Wendy Alexander, Jack Straw, Jack McConnell, Gordon Brown and umpteen Tory and Libdem Party MPs all who avoided criminal convictions under PPER 2000 by 'paying back' what they had 'stolen' from the taxpayer. What is worse is they are still at it. This is not a Scotland I would wish to live in nor leave as a legacy for future generations of Scots.

Let us be unequivocable, there is no independent Scottish 'Narnia' on the horizon. What ever political system man devises there will be folk, as there are in all walks of life, who will seek out and abuse it for their own advantage and yet the Scottish people start with a distinct advantage. Our political system does not derive its power from the crown in parliament but a very different concept of the considered will of the people. Modern research into the Scottish Parliament since it started annual sessions from 1328 has revealed the 'Thrie Estaits' were no rubber stamp for the Scottish crown. On many occasions the Scottish Parliament used its power to limit the actions of the crown and with James IVth, Mary, Queen of Scots and James VIIth flexed this power in no uncertain terms deposing the latter two and threatening James IVth with his removal if he continued to follow political policy against the interests of his realm. This is, in general form, the contractual agreement which holds between the Scottish crown and the people to this day. Act contrary to the best interests of the Scottish people your 'kingyness' and you are 'outski'.

Here is the next telling point about our future independent political system and that is the politicians, like the crown, are also at the beck and call of the considered will of the Scottish people. In general terms this means Scotland is a representative democracy, the people are sovereign and the politicians are directly responsible to all the people they represent. As it is true the crown's sovereignty is limited, it follows the Scottish Parliament is also limited by the will of the people (a legal point made by Lord Cooper in 1953 - McCormack - and reafirmed by the UK Supreme Court in AXA et al). This being the case there is clearly a legal precedent for the removal of politicians from the Scottish Parliament for failing the best interests of the people of Scotland as this already applies to the crown's limited sovereignty.

Even without a 'written constitution' in which claimants of this state do not recognise either the 1689 Claim of Rights or the 1707 Treaty of Union - which in turn makes very clear what the people of Scotland's rights are - there are already a series of checks and balances to prevent 'Wee Eck' morphing into 'Joe Stalin or Hitler' as some fear mongers seek to peddle. The Scottish Courts and Scots Law may be fallible in many areas but in protecting the rights of the sovereign Scottish people they have been unerring for over 700 years.

The Scots are a shrewd and thrawn folk; as any politician or party who forgets this or takes the people for granted quickly discovers. The Scots are clear in what the need from their government, as the moulding of the Scottish Parliament by the electorate clearly demonstrates. After independence this public oversight will become even sharper. This is my considered view; the small minority clamouring for a 'Scottish Constitution' to protect us on independence is at best a distraction and at worst Unionist mischief making. The SNP's independence manifesto already has a draft constitution to be put to the independent parliament, if they are the main party, for deliberation and the approval of the Scottish people. It is time to stop looking at the Scottish political process now and after indepndence through the warped prism of Westminster and its "aye been, so it'll naw be diffr'nt" projection. Scots Law and constitutional law gives us a very different beast.

So far I have described what is, where I am coming from and not the sort of Scotland I need to live in or wish to leave for future generations, nor have I indicated how any of this can be achieved. Yet to have flown into this phase without establishing a foundation would have left me open to accusations of pangerics, flightyness and unrealistic expectations.


My aims for my future Scotland are:
  1. To create a modern nation based on equity of opportunity
  2. To maintain a representative democracy with a proportionally elected Parliament
  3. To ensure Scotland's historic practice of welfare and care for those in real need is maintained
  4. To ensure all are subject to the same rule of law for their protection, liberties and rights as a sovereign people
My objectives to achieve these aims are:
  1. Secede from the 1707 Treaty of Union immediately after the 2014 brings a 'Yes' result in the referendum
  2. Hold a Scottish Parliamentary election under the current mix of Constituency and List to establish the first independent parliament in Autumn 2016 since 1707
  3. Negotiate a quick exit from Westminster based on an equable division of assetts and liabilities - if this fails simply declare UDI, if an agreement is not completed by the time of the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections.
So how do I do this? Do I go out as a one man band harranging and cajoling others to my colours? No, I do what is in the scope and ability of every member of the Scottish electorate I listen to what the politicians are saying, I read what they are writing and take note of their policies towards Scotland.

On this basis I make my choice of which party is closest to meeting my personal needs for Scotland and are most aligned with my aims and objectives along with surpa-political organisations such as the 'Yes' campaign. The SNP were given my vote in 2011 on this basis, not because I was angry with Westminster but because I believe the SNP's current policies are the best for Scotland. I trust the SNP to do what they say and be tempered from extreme views by the fact they are reliant on financing by their members and not as the Westminster parties are, on big ticket donors. This is in part why the likes of a Trump or a Scoular has found their subsequent lack of leverage frustrating. It is not how 'politics works' in the USA or Westminster money buys favours - so far this has not been the recorded case in a SNP Government. It is also clear when an SNP MSP has acted in a manner that is offensive or corrupt the party has quickly removed said person's membership and set them adrift. The indicators are, for now, the SNP are doing what it says on the tin, putting Scotland first - primarily because doing so makes perfect political sense to them and hence they are in a 'win/win' situation. A position apparently liked by not just died in the wool SNP voters but voters from Labour and the Libdems whose support brought about the 2011 watershed result and in opinion polls continue to indicate their support.


As for 2016? 

Unless you have a crystal ball there is no certainty but the Scottish Parties of the Westminster three have to come up with something amazing, incisive, pertinent and fresh. I suggest the SNP, as a left of centre social democratic party, will keep my vote for the first term. The Conservative and Liberal Scottish politicians will quickly create a new right of centre alliance around the concept of old fashioned 'One Nation Toryism' politics and probably attract support from the right wing element of the SNP in doing so. Given I have never been partial to the patronising style of One Nation Toryism -  I would doubt they would gain my vote.

This leaves Scottish Labour in a quandry as New Labour has dragged them ever rightwards and ever closer to the Tory and Libdems, in doing so has isolated them from their socialist roots. Will they manage a rising of Lazarrian proportions to threaten the SNP's left of centre polity or will they find it hard to squeeze back in on the Scottish left between the Greens and the Scottish Socialists. Can the neo-liberal Labour MSPs and Scottish MP's change their spots fast enough to be relevant in 2016 no matter how the folk on the ground in the real Scottish Labour membership will wish? Lamont will still be Lamont, Davidson - Davidson, Baker a self inflicting, bipedal sharp shooter with the chip on these Scottish Labour politicians' shoulders against the SNP, so big as to be unrepairable. The reality is the majority of the current batch of Labour MSP's will be happier with their Tory and Libdem pals on the right of the political spectrum than with any concept of socialism. I just can not see Margaret Curran going 'Green' or Gordon Brown sharing a platform with Tommy Sheridan. Apart from irrationally opposing the SNP on every issue, just what is the point of the current Scottish Labour MSPs?

The focus for me to meet my needs for the Scotland I want to live in starts with winning the referendum in 2014 - until that happens my aims and objectives are just pie in the sky. Without withdrawal from the Treaty of Union there will be no constitutional change in Scotland and my aims for the sort of Scotland I want to live in are just dreams.

My aims and objectives only become real when the people of Scotland vote 'Yes'. This has to be my focus, to persuade the undecided to join us, vote 'Yes' and create a new way ahead for Scotland - it is bleeding obvious but folk tend to get bogged down in unimportant minutae so keep your aims and objectives simple - so people can understand, agree and buy into them.

Slan Leat ...

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