Monday, 2 March 2009

Put up or shut up

I've been reading "The Audacity of Hope", which, if I'd read before November, might have changed my opinion of Barack Obama prior to the election. But that's a separate post.

Anyway, I had a thought about it. Obama's first chapter is titled "Republicans and Democrats" and, understandably, that is what he discusses. It's a very interesting and paints - in my view - a fairly accurate picture of the partisan nature of US politics (again, something I may return to in another post).

He paints a caricature of gun-toting, bible-bashing flag-waving Republicans and gay-loving, weak-ass, pacifist Democrats who can't see eye to eye on anything.

Now, obviously, he (and I) have simplified the case somewhat, but does that remind anyone (on a smaller scale obviously) of anyone?

I'm talking about Nationalists and Unionists in Scotland. Maybe I'm over dramatising this particular conflict. But I haven't heard any representative of a political party - on either side of the debate - make a positive contribution to support their side for long enough. Its all relentlessly negative.

"Look at the economic mess of Britain," say Nats. "Look at your arc of prosperity now," say Unionists.

Forget about making a positive case. Just make the other side look weak and incompetent and their argument will fall apart. Which is rubbish. It just makes it look like you'd rather attack your opponent than actually propose anything yourself.

I'm pretty sick of the lack of debate on what is supposed to be the defining question of our generation in Scotland. Because at the moment its less like a debate and more like a school playground.

So here's a plea to politicians - on both sides of the debate - make your case. Or shut the hell up.

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