I’m trying hard to avoid YAPP-ing. (Yet Another Political Post) but it’s not easy to do so……
We’ve just had the most appalling General Election in my lifetime. So I’m YAPPing about the outcome. And it’s only a “so far” post as no-one can yet have a clue what the real outcomes from election for the United Kingdom over the next year, hell, even over the next month, will be. I’m a Scottish nationalist through and through and yet, despite my party winning 35 seats which is a phenomenal result, I’ve been feeling like we lost. We didn’t. We achieved the second best result in our history DESPITE a unified campaign against Scotland coming from all 3 main parties and from the media.
Go team GO!!
Theresa May & the Tories
Remember how Theresa May got the PM job. She was put in it, by the Tory party, with no opposition. Look back on her older performances in Westminster as Home Secretary. Promoted beyond her competency? Yes. Clearly so. The Tories needed a neutral, harmless person to put in the top job when Cameron ran away. They had to find someone in a very short space of time. So they pushed her into the job. They were, as always, putting party first. May never ever displayed the human qualities needed to be a leader. And now it’s shaping up to be an absolute catastrophe for every single one of us.
The Tories *chose* to hold the EU referendum – with no plans at all for either outcome.
The Tories *chose* to put an incapable person into the position of Prime Minister.
The Tories *chose* to hold a General Election.
Every one of those choices made by the Tories was entirely to give their party an advantage. None of these choices were necessary, or for the good of the United Kingdom.
So we’ve got a zombie Prime Minister with a zombie Government which is going to have real difficulty in doing anything at all, never mind negotiating the biggest singe issue in my lifetime – yeah – Brexit. Let’s not even go to deeply into the implications of the plans for the Tories to be propped up by the DUP. That’s just beyond stupid. Especially for Ireland where the leader of the DUP is still facing serious charges of corruption from Sinn Feinn, so much so that for 3 months now there has been no Government in Stormont. Do the Tories care? The evidence suggests they care more about saving their own skins than about the Good Friday Agreement (which any deal with the DUP effectively breaks) and peace in Northern Ireland. This is not good, not good at all. Add in the ongoing omnishambles about what the Tory party will be negotiating for as Brexit negotiations start and we are in a very poor position indeed.
Tories? Competent to govern? Not now, not ever.
Ruth Davidson & the (Scottish) Tories
She ran a campaign which was at best disingenuous. More likely it was just dishonest. Yet it was successful. Why? The simple explanation is because in Scotland Ruth Davidson has no opposition whatsoever from the media. The BBC Scotland news/current affairs programming and indeed their equivalents in STV simply do not ever hold her to account or ask her difficult questions. They give her airtime to say what she wants, when she wants. The cleverness of her campaign though was that she made both the Local Council elections and the General Election about the singe issue of “Say no to Indyref2”. Neither of these elections has any direct bearing whether or not there should be a further indyref. Holyrood has already voted to request a further indyref. Yet Ruth Davidson’s campaign was clever. It ran on this single issue for almost 4 months. It ha full support form Labour and Lib Dems using the exact same message . When will those parties ever learn and spot when they’re being used by the Tories? But the clever part was that every message was all about “Ruth Davidson”. If friends in England thought that the Tory campaign in England was based on the cult of the May personality, the Scottish campaign was all of that and so much more. It was all about “Ruth Davidson”. Her party. Her candidates. Her ability. And it worked. But as the whole Tory party is now engulfed in utter inward looking chaos so she cannot walk away from it. Or can she? Will she dare to cleave the Scottish Conservatives from it’s parent in London? If the Tories are to be “in bed” with the DUP that’s going to give her some very serious personal difficulties.
The TV Media in Scotland
Has gone way beyond what any rational observer would think of as impartial. This collusion lead to some of the most disingenuous “Leaders Debates” ever broadcast as both the BBC presenters (Sarah Smith, Nick Robinson) deliberately invited questioning of Nicola Sturgeon during the televised debates on the SNPs record on education and health. Neither of these topics were in any way relevant to a UK general election, yet they were made to be the focal points of the televised debates. Why would they do this? Bernard Ponsonby in the STV debates was no better. This is an ongoing issue for the SNP to solve.
They took a knife to a gun fight. It’s got to be difficult when you’re trying hard to be honest with people when all your opponents are happy to be deceitful and dishonest, especially when you face far more rigorous cross-examination by the media than they ever do. Yet the campaign the SNP ran was lacked focus and was far too often having to be responsive. The SNP let the other parties choose the ground on which the battles were to be fought. This was a strategic mistake by the SNP and meant that Nicola Sturgeon and all the activists on door steps were having to explain the Scottish Government’s positions when they ought to have been talking about the UK Governments positions. That lost time, very valuable time. On the doorsteps people only give you a few minutes of their time (and if you’ve got a long street ahead of you as an activist you haven’t got all that much time to give either). Having to use half that time to defend the the Scottish Government before being able to move the conversation to the relevant matters of the UK Government was a soul destroying task. And it happened far more often than it didn’t. (I know, I canvassed and leafleted and knocked-up, sometimes in the company of MSPs)
Somehow I can’t escape the feeling that the SNP were perhaps more affected by the terrorist atrocities in Manchester and London than any other party. The manifesto launch was delayed by a week and TV interviews were also delayed. This is not in an way a criticism, but a statement of reality. While other parties had their messages out and about, the SNP did not and could not get their message out. Until pretty much the week of the vote. Highly unfortunate for us.
Our reliance on Nicola Sturgeon is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because she is a remarkable lady. She is human, yet has astonishing stamina. If we could bottle whatever she runs on and sell it our energy problems would be solved! However, she was perhaps worn down and not as feisty as she has been before. The TV debates, predictably, became 4 against 1 bear-pits (Lab+Tory+LibDeEm+BBC) with the result being that the following days newspapers headlined the “Sturgeon flops as nurse/teacher attacks”. All the while Ruth Davidson got off scot-free. Somehow or other, this needs to change. How we change the behaviour of the BBC and STV I don’t know. But taking a firmer stance, strongly refuting. We put Angus Robertson into one of the debates which was a great idea and he did as well as he possibly could. Again in a 4 against 1 environment. Somehow, that didn’t help him though as on the day he lost his seat. However, we’ve not lost his skills and experience in Westminster and should be seeking to put them to good use, perhaps hounding the inexperienced new Tory MPs and helping us communicate every time they trip up in Westminster. I’m put in mind of the Police song “Every Breath You Take”…… Having an experienced and astute man like Angus Robertson, with Alex Salmond too if needed, helping us see what’s going on could be a really useful thing to do.
A long standing bug-bear of mine is that the SNP has another communications problem to overcome. There is no effective ‘horizontal’ messaging between members and branches. In this day and age, where every ‘club’ one joins has extensive email and private on-line forums I find this difficult to understand. But this is very easy and simple to fix.
How We Vote
Here’s a suggestion. As we’re almost certain to be heading back to vote again really soon, maybe our 35 MPs ought to be tabling a motions for the very first act of whatever Government we end up to be the scrapping of FPTP voting system. Just use the AMS system used in Scotland. Then, and only then will we be able to move beyond the narrow, divisive, adversarial two party system which has served the UK oh so well. A small modification, restricting “List” members to being only allowed to serve a single term as “list” might actually address much if its shortfalls as a system. A further modification to the AMS system as used in Holyrood would be that no member elected on the “list” should ever have previously served in any other parliament or parliamentary position. Make the “List” very clearly about bringing through new, fresh talent or about giving people who only wish to serve for a short time a very clear way of doing that. How to solve the bias against independents which is kind of inherent in a “list” system? Dunno. This is just an idea as a starting point.
This has been on my screen for a couple of days now, so although it’s not really as complete as I’d like I’ll press the publish button anyway. Something I’m learning about blogging on politics is that getting stuff out quickly seems important. Not sure how many people will read this anyway……