The date hasn’t yet been specified by Gordon Brown, but it has to be on or before the 3rd of June and is predicted to be early in May.
The choice at the ballot box for most UK electors is not a happy one. They have three major parties to choose from, but against the knowledge that the real choice is between two, Labour and the Tories. They can throw Labour out and get a Tory new government that is committed to all the major policies that brought the United Kingdom to its present parlous state – centralised power in the South East of England, the nuclear deterrent and war as the organising principle of the state, a blind belief in the Union and the remnants of Empire, and a foreign policy inextricably linked and subordinate to America.
Alternatively, they can vote LibDem in the hope that in the event of a hung Parliament - now a probability - that the LibDem’s residual principles might moderate the worst excesses of the new government. No voter can seriously believe that the LibDems can form a government.
But Scotland has a real choice – to return as many SNP MPs to Westminster as it can in the hope that they can
exert influence in a hung Parliament on behalf of the people of Scotland while the Union lasts
get more powers devolved to Holyrood
ultimately secure the independence of Scotland after a decisive referendum result.
This choice is derided by unionists on the basis that, if fully exercised, it would result in a majority of Scottish MPs returned being SNP, thus presenting an unarguable case for Scottish independence that Westminster could not ignore. Since unionists don’t believe this could happen, they use this as their prime argument against a referendum.
Well, they are right - up to a point: it is unlikely to happen at this general election under the present power structure and the insidious pressures brought to bear by the Union – a biased media, ruthless use of patronage to bribe the Scottish establishment and the exploitation of Scottish military traditions to create a lethal culture of militarism, war and glorious death in the service of the rump of the British empire – the old, old lie.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
The Scottish electorate has been brainwashed into believing that they cannot secure Scottish independence at a UK general election and must therefore choose one of the main UK parties if they want to exercise their democratic right to influence the system under which they are so badly governed.
(Douglas Alexander came out with the ludicrous statement on The Politics Show on Sunday that neither Alex Salmond nor Nick Clegg would be standing outside Downing Street as Prime Minister on the day after the general election.
Nick Clegg is running for leadership of the UK but Alex Salmond is not: the Scottish voter at least understands that even if Wendy’s wee brother doesn’t …)
Only progressively extended devolved powers and ultimately a referendum on Scottish independence will bring home to the Scottish people their real democratic choices, an awareness of their identity and a surge of self-belief in the true possibilities for their future.