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Showing posts with label 2015 UK general election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2015 UK general election. Show all posts

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A nautical metaphor for Scotland and the UK. Big ships and wee ships?

While the big ship goes down, the small ship may stay afloat in turbulent seas.

A small ship can avoid icebergs and navigate the most turbulent seas, survive the worst storms. If its captain and crew are competent, disciplined, have clarity of objectives, trust each other and above all, understand the sea - an elemental environment without malice and without pity – the vessel will successfully hold its course.

The small ship seems vulnerable because of its size, yet its size is its strength, as seafarers have known from coracle to sailing ship. And in flexible co-operation with other small ships, sometimes in convoy, it has even greater strength yet sacrifices no autonomy.

The big ship offers an illusion of security, of power and control, yet its turning circle is so long and so slow that it cannot easily change course, cannot easily avoid the icebergs.

The diversions and entertainments offered by the large vessel lull the passengers into a false sense of security, help them to forget they are on the high seas: they are easily convinced that the captain and officers know what they are doing. The crew - closer to reality – know better, but dare not question their direction and judgement.

The passengers, having paid for the voyage, have surrendered their control for the duration: the last real decision they made was to board the ship. The only real decision they may have left is when to abandon ship and take to the boats, and even that decision may be taken away from them.

A fire in the hold of a small ship may be easily doused: a fire in the hold of a large ship may reach the proportions of a conflagration before it is detected, and then it may be too late. When crisis strikes a small ship, the crew and captain are united against the threat. When crisis strikes a large ship, panic and disorder may reign supreme, and the powerful may act to save themselves, not the passengers.

The real owners of a small ship are usually on board. The real owners of a large ship are usually safely on land, often in a  different country to that of most of the passengers, subject to different laws, or no laws at all.

They are insured – they are immune - they can find more passengers and more ships to profit from. This ship and passengers are expendable, but if salvageable, can be exploited yet again.

Reflect on the metaphor – limited as all metaphors and analogies are – in relation to Scotland’s independence of the United Kingdom, its freedom to determine its own course in turbulent seas.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The ‘Scotsman’ propaganda mill continues to pump out the anti-independence nonsense

I meant to comment on this piece from the Scotsman anti-independence propaganda conveyor line on Tuesday, but other events got in the way, notably the Commons vote on the English NHS bill. 

A new West Lothian conundrum

The facts behind this piece are that the referendum is in 2014, the general election (assuming the incompetent Coalition doesn’t collapse before then) is in 2015 and the Scottish Parliamentary elections are in 2016 – and, of course, The West Lothian Question – Guardian

Peter Jones, the author of the Scotsman piece, poses three scenarios -

Prompted by yet another London expert, Prof. Robert Hazel of University College London, he asks what the Scottish SNP MPs elected to Westminster in 2015 for only a year - if the referendum delivers a YES vote in 2014 – will do in that year, before they “disappear back to Scotland to look for another job”. Would they vote on purely English matters. e.g. the UK NHS, and would the unionist Westminster MPs let them?

As Peter Jones well knows, despite his faux-naïf question, they have already “imposed a self-denying ordinance on themselves that they would not vote on anything that didn’t affect Scotland”. But this very week, they departed from that self-denying ordinance to vote against the pernicious UK NHS Bill that will destroy the NHS in the rest of the UK, because it will impact on the Scottish budget, and is therefore not a purely English matter.

Far from being prevented from voting on it, they were actively lobbied to vote on it by Labour and LibDem rebels, and have received their subsequent expressions of gratitude for their principled departure from their normal WLQ abstention.

Jones’ next point asks if in this pivotal year of 2015, the last year in which Scotland will have to send MPs to Westminster, if there was an election outcome that threatened a hung Parliament, would the SNP MPs enter into coalition with a UK party to prop up a new UK Government?

My informed guess is that they wouldn’t, for the obvious reason that, as Jones points out, such a coalition’s coat would be on a one-year shaky nail, and would collapse when the SNP MPs went in May 2016. There is also the fascinating point that such a government would be the one negotiating and ratifying the Scottish independence settlement! But who knows what the tactical demands of that time will be?

Peter Jones’ last point relates to the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 2016. If the details of the negotiated settlement are known – or leaked – by that time, would this turn the Scottish election effectively into a referendum on the negotiated settlement terms?

Interesting questions – except that Isabel Fraser, interviewing the First Minister, got there before Peter Jones, as this clip reminds us.

Unionist run about in confusion and panic faced with such questions – nationalists just get on and answer them …