It’s as if John Major (think Clive Dunn as Private Jones) had hobbled into the Lords and shaken the snoring Ken Baker by the shoulder.
‘Wake up! Wake up! Before it’s too late…’
‘Eh? What? Has Maggie returned? Is that Arthur Scargill?’
‘No. It’s me and I’m not inconsiderably concerned at the threat from the barbarians over Hadrain’s Wall…’
‘Righto. Actions stations. Call Captain Manwearing…’
The Home Guard of Old England is assembling, rubbing the rust off bayonets and pulling tight the battledress tunic to see if the buttons still fasten. The Scots must be stopped – they actually might be in government or just help a party stay in power when the whole system was designed to keep the democrats from the regions out. It’s as if women had been allowed membership of one’s club. And it just won’t do.
This is presented as anti-SNP but in a way it’s anti-Scottish because the SNP is nothing without the support of the Scottish people and the voices now clearing their throats in rebellion are protectors of an essentially English concept of the UK. Here’s a Daily Mail headline over an article by the quintessential English patriot Max Hastings….
The terrifying prospect of the Scots ruling England is now all too real: MAX HASTINGS on nightmare scenario facing Britain after the Election.
It isn’t that they mind Scots being there so long as we play the game by their rules and that doesn’t include actually running the country if it means delivering benefits to the North. Benefits in this sense should naturally flow south – and they do.
Scots running Britain! It’s a nightmare right enough.
There are a few misunderstandings in all this that I’m afraid the BBC’s alleged best – journalists on the Today programme – just allow to sit there. This morning in a three-way discussion, held bizarrely without any SNP or even Yes voice present – we heard from Jim Naughtie (who knows what’s happening because he’s in the Edinburgh studio), from the aforementioned belted earl Baker and Kezia Dugdale.
I think there was one passing mention of the referendum but not one of them pointed out that the No side won and therefore the both the rise in support for the SNP and their role in a UK government is no longer predicated on an independence agenda. It remains the dream, of course and, if there is a major opportunity afforded in the coming years, it will be taken but the offer to back a Labour government is in order to ratchet up the powers and role of the existing Scottish institutions within the UK.
Ken Baker sounded hysterical to the point of apoplexy and possibly in need of incontinence pants at the prospect of any such deal ‘breaking up Britain’.
Now I have to tell you I interviewed Baker many years ago on the subject of devolution and he was against it then, albeit covert under the idea that Scots should not benefit uniquely – that is, everyone must have devolution. That is literally cover for opposition to any change in governing structures in Britain – ‘the country I love’.
But I wasn’t to think he was anti-Scottish. Oh no. ‘Even my wife is Scottish, you know’.
The indyref should be the point of reference since throughout it, the Unionist call from the top of government down – and even, remember from the Monarch – was Don’t Go. We’re stronger together. You have a strong voice in the decision-making of the UK.
They seem to have completely forgotten the entire process and are now openly telling us that they will not allow our voice to be used at the top table because they don’t like what we’re saying. There isn’t in all this a trace of embarrassment or apology, leaving me to think they are saying in effect – More fool you for voting No. We said and did whatever we had to in order to win and you fell for it.
Now they even dare to dream of a return to National Government with echoes of wartime to counter the threat…the Nation is in Peril (from a dangerous enemy).
How that idea must make the Better Together remnants in Scottish Labour’s HQ squirm. I wonder how many Malcolm Tucker moments they have in there. First Gisella Stuart, a Labour MP, suggests the grand coalition…then a Tory lord and it turns up on the Today programme with Kezia having to refute it. ‘Has Armando Iannucci joined the fu**ing SNP? Who’s writing this?’
On Kezia…you know how you feel when you hear a presenter say ‘Nicola Sturgeon joins us now’. I feel optimistic and keen to listen and afterwards often mouth Good for you, darling. Well done.
When they announced Kezia my eyes widened in alarm – Kezia, Ken Baker and Jim Naughtie. How would she bear up? Well first of all, there is an unfortunate tone to her delivery which slightly infantilizes her. When I hear her voice I think of an earnest member of the Youth Parliament or maybe a sixth year student from Eastwood High describing the school referendum. She doesn’t so much sound youthful as just a touch childlike. For what it’s worth, I really would work on that because the voice is a crucial tool at every level and neither her lispy student studio voice nor the insistent shouty chamber one convey either maturity or vigour.
Of course it’s content that matters and again her one trick is to repeat the agreed line even to the point of learning it by rote – you can actually finish her sentences for her.
(Am I missing the Labour conference?)
Well I did read the advance of Miliband’s effort in the Herald which left me puzzled because he appears to be saying the Tories can wreak havoc on Scotland without actually winning the election.
‘They could do it without a majority.’
Does he mean in coalition, as we have today, or does he mean they can wreak havoc if they are a minority in parliament (and still require support from elsewhere to approve cuts?) Why doesn’t he tell us what happened when we voted Labour last time?
‘We will end Tory austerity.’
Is he saying Labour will reverse Tory spending cuts?
‘It would mean £1bn of cuts to the NHS.’
Why is he saying this when he told us the NHS would be saved with a No vote?
Will he categorically rule out any arrangement with the SNP?
I must go and check. I’m sure it’s just me who’s confused.by