Friday, 30 October 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
“The demand exists, and is becoming so urgent that it will no longer be ignored. That demand is reasonable. I do not know that I should need to make that point, for the simple reason that the Scottish people themselves are so reasonable that you could not imagine them taking up such a demand unless it were itself reasonable...
“The Scottish people never voluntarily renounced their ancient Parliament. It was filched from them by methods scarcely less discreditable than those which accompanied the parallel transaction on the other side of St. George's Channel at a somewhat later date.”
“I will consent to give to Ireland no principle, nothing that is not upon equal terms offered to Scotland, and to the different parts of the United Kingdom.”
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
is confused about people who call themselves liberals - they'll let a mass murderer go free but won't let an elected politician on the BBC
@KENNYFARQ An elected *fascist* politician should not be treated the same as others. And Megrahi's not free. He's dying.
@patrickharvie So a vote for a fascist is worth less, democratically, than a vote for another politician? That's a curious democracy.
@KENNYFARQ The vote's worth the same. But the BBC's a public service broadcaster; exists to serve the common good, which BNP opposes.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
- Well, Yousuf doesn't seem to agree. Though he used to think it was a good idea. Maybe he's been chatting to Peter Hain.
- Kezia thinks a boycott would be a waste of time - and that we have a responsibility to deal with them.
- Mr Eugenides, in his customary rather strong language thinks we need to tackle them head on.
- Andrew Reeves reckons free speech should win out - and that they were legitimately elected, therefore they should be allowed (occasional) TV appearances.
- Chris points out Jack Straw's credentials as a good opponent for the BNP.
- Jeff thinks we should give Griffin a fair hearing... then throw the book at him when he steps out of line. Or ignore the show as unmemorable.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Eventually it dawned on me though, I was an English unionist and I had been asked to post on a Scottish nationalist's blog. Really there was only one thing I could talk about.
I believe in the union. But I also believe that, the way we are going, the union is destined to end in divorce. A pessmistic view, you might think. But I have to look at what the SNP have achieved in Scotland, and when I do look I see something quite extraordinary. Something made all the more extraordinary by the fact that it is hidden in plain sight.
Perhaps this sounds a bit cryptic, but that is my point exactly. Unless you really pay attention, you don't see it. The best way to explain is by studying the remarks made by someone who should be leading the fight against Scottish nationalism, Jim Murphy, in The Scotsman:
"For the Scottish banks it was Britain or Bust. The recapitalising of the banks cost £50 billion – that's £10,000 for every man, woman and child in Scotland. And the Asset Protection Scheme..which equates to six times the annual value of the Scottish economy...In a global economy there is nowhere to hide. The best protection is integration into a strong economy."
Unionists are dancing to the SNP's tune. Could Iain Gray better Alex Salmond in a debate on economics? No, and it would be a waste of time trying. More than that, who can get enthused about the union when political leaders, who claim to support its continuation, allow themselves to be restricted to an economic debate? The SNP have the economics and they have 'freedom!', and people like that. If I were a Scot, I would.
Unless unionists regain control of the political debate, I see no way back. The march foward of Scottish nationalism will become irreversible. I give it maybe five, ten years. But when the economy picks up again, what will the unionists have to offer?
I believe in the union because I believe the Scots and the English have more in common than we don't. Sure, our accents are a bit different, and yes we do slightly different things at Christmas. But we are the same people, really. When I am in Scotland, do I feel like I am in a foreign country? Absolutely not. In fact, I feel more at home in Edinburgh than I do in London. If Scotland becomes independent, we will start to drift apart. It is a natural product of not having any civic nationalism to bind us together. Perhaps it might not happen straight away, but it will eventually come. Just look at the Irish Republic.
I like not feeling like a foreigner in Edinburgh, and I hope Scots don't feel like foreigners when they go to Berwick. Lets hope that wont change.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Monday, 19 October 2009
Friday, 16 October 2009
Height of the two party system.A turnout of over 80% - four in every five people taking the time to vote.4 MILLION people across the UK a member of a political party.Labour and the Tories combine to take 96% of the vote and 98.7% of the seats.
Turnout was only 62% - down to three in five voting.Less than half a million people members of political parties (despite having much more choice of parties).Labour and the Tories still dominant, but only to the tune of 68% of the vote and 85.7% of the seats.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
A question I've been wondering about for some time. But given I have a vested interest in the answer (student of politics) I wasn't sure I should answer. But then I was emailed this argument. I don't know if I agree with all of it - but there's plenty to think about...
I’m asked this question all the time by friends and family, bemused by my fascination with all matters political and bewildered by my addiction to Question Time, Newsnight, Andrew Marr and various (numerous) other political programmes. Their argument is often ‘it makes no difference what people outside government think or say’ or the all-too-common ‘all politicians are just out to get as much out of the system as they can’. So are they wrong? Well yes and no, and here’s why I think that.
There are two divisive topics regarding politics and politicians that, to me, define the lack of motivation to engage with the political process – empowerment and integrity. If the electorate do not feel empowered by our current political process to influence positive change then why would they bother to engage with it? If they don’t believe in the integrity of their political representatives then who can they believe in?
Now I don’t agree with either of those viewpoints but neither can I say that they are just misconceptions because they are so much more than that. At best they represent a lack of knowledge/belief but at worst an abdication of responsibility.
It’s so easy to blame someone else, to point the finger and say “It’s not my fault it’s their’s”. Sadly, we see this all too often in the public outpourings of frustration and anger directed between political adversaries (I was going to say parties, but that would have ruled out all the infighting!) The endless negativity, the personal attacks and backstabbing, sleaze and gossip – it does nothing to show politics in this country, or any other for that matter, as the immensely important arena that it actually is. I get tired of listening to it, and I’m a politics geek!
Having watched the endless tittle tattle and schoolboy bullying is it really surprising that the public have responded with such fury and revulsion to the expenses scandal? When the perception of politicians is already so low there wasn’t exactly a pool of public goodwill to tap into! It is my hope that the expenses debate will be dealt with swiftly and effectively, those who abused the system should be punished, those who did not should be able to continue untainted by their association with a flawed system. Can we get back to solving the problems with the economy, poverty and the environment now please?
But we need to do more than just renew faith in our individual politician’s integrity we also need to renew faith in our political process. A more positive approach isn’t exactly a new appeal but it certainly would be a good start. Engaging with people at an individual basis is the key to success here I believe. I know many political activists from different political parties who are doing just this, wearing through shoe leather pounding the streets and knocking on doors to talk to people directly. I’ve never had anybody knock on my door (perhaps I’m blacklisted...) but I know I’d be pretty impressed if they did, and I am in awe of the activists who give up their time to do this for their parties.
I also think that mediums like blogs and Twitter have tremendous power to connect and inform people but at a more important level they also empower people to speak directly to those in positions of influence, and sometimes they even answer! I still remember being a bit stunned when Jo Swinson the Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire sent me a tweet regarding a blog and Twitter debate I was involved in, how fantastic to be able to engage directly with someone who wasn’t even my MP but was significant in highlighting the issues at the centre of that particular debate! Jo is particularly adept at using Twitter to engage, and more and more MPs and MSPs are recognising its benefits and following suit. However, as has been found out the hard way, there are some inherent dangers for politicians who tweet without due thought and consideration...
My comeback to those who question my interest in politics is that I believe my vote is important and I’m not going to automatically give it to the party my parents vote for or my friends vote for, I want to make an informed choice. I get very angry with people who do not use their vote, who abdicate their responsibility to engage with our political processes. Yes, the system is not perfect but we have a responsibility to all those who have fought for our right to vote to use it and to use it well. We all have a voice that can be heard, although admittedly some are louder and more persistent than others....