The SNP – A British Political Success Story

Following on from my blog on a new era in politics, I want to specifically address this to the issue of the SNP.

A remarkable thing happened at the recent General Election in that a party who were supposedly sworn to seeing Scotland leave the UK suddenly found themselves to be the third biggest force in Westminster.

I believe there is prophetic import in this – after all, Scotland leading the Union is a message I happily preach a great deal. Having said that, Sturgeon’s Stormtroopers – or should that be Salmond’s? – are not the fulfilment of this vision.

They could be a sign of it, though.

The SNP’s Westminster success is maybe not altogether a surprise but it is very possibly an unwelcome development for the SNP strategists to deal with following on from other electoral highs in recent years. It shows that the fervour shown by nationalists last year has not abated but there is something much deeper going on here than a William Wallace renaissance.

Much of the voter drift to the SNP has come from disaffectation with Labour in particular and of the present political system in general. People want change and they want it at a much deeper level than politicians are prepared to give it to them. The SNP shrewdly became a conduit for that type of thinking and channelled it into separatism. People went along with this but only because it was radical change. It means, however, that there is a soft underbelly to SNP support that is recently procured from other parties. These people might not be Unionists but their prime motivation is not to have a Scottish indepenedent republic but to see radical transformation culturally, socially and politically. The question is will these people trade their new-found nationalism for a better alternative that brings changes they desire but within the structure of a United Kingdom?

Make no mistake – the disillusionment with Westminster politics is real and it is ingrained. It will not be assuaged by cosmetic overhauls or meaningless rhetoric. It will not be eradicated by tweaking the system but by ripping much of it up and starting again.

In a nutshell, the SNP has gained massive populist support because of a deep and as yet unslaked thirst in many for social justice and a fairer society.They have addressed this need by promising a radical alternative but they have conscripted those seeking social justice and dressed them in nationalist uniforms. The more gullible have become convinced that leaving the UK is the answer but the challenge for Unionists is to convince people that their desires for a fairer society can be met in a vibrant Union. A compelling reason is the argument that justice and equity should be equally enjoyed and experienced in every corner of the British Isles, not just in Scotland.

rampant shieldTaking the parochial and narrow-minded path of nationalism is not social justice or equality – it is its polar opposite. Nationalism breeds hatred and a sense of racial superiority when it is not founded upon concepts of service, equality and fairness.

Perhaps the 56 SNP MPs elected to Westminster are the key to eradicating this ugly and racist nationalism that we see in so many SNP supporters. By being obligated under oath to serve a wider community than their own, maybe these representatives of Scotland will catch a sense of destiny as well as responsibility. They might just see their role as it truly is – to bring transformation and much-needed change which will not only elevate Scotland but will also benefit and enhance our neighbours in the UK.

They might also see that the system at Westminster is far more equitable than their propaganda claims.

Yes, Westminster needs changing but so does politics in general. This can only come through societal and cultural transformation. The old partisan spirit and hostille attitudes have to go. Everyone must work together to lift the nation out of the decadence and despondency it is mired in.

The 56 can be a catalyst for change. Or they can be the bunch of nasty See-you-Jimmies many expect them to be. If they see themselves as 56 Wallaces down to force Proud Edward to think again, they will meet Wallace’s fate. Metaphorically speaking, of course. They will also see that the Confessor is long gone, just like Wallace.

As Alistair McConnachie pointed out in his recent excellent blog, the SNP are now a big part of the system. The curious thing is that they now stand to lose much more than they could possibly gain by extricating themselves from that system. Ironically they are now integral to the system they claimed to despise, their electoral triumph being a true success story of British politics. This has also created a whole new wing of the party which has different objectives and purposes than the Holyrood MSPs.

It might be too early to suggest a name change but it will not be long before it dawns on the wiser heads in the party that the Westminster they hated so much has afforded them an opportunity they could never dream of.

It is how they deal with this that will determine if they have any say in the future. It will very much go against the grain for hardcore separatists to hear it this early but the simple truth is that there is a far better option now available.

That option is vastly superior to narrow-minded separatism. It is Scotland fufilling its destiny as chief of the nations.

A Light Amidst The Gloom For Scottish Unionists

Alex Salmond’s Scottish lion may have roared yesterday but it will be a toothless one when it enters the real lion’s den at Westminster.

Thanks to the late surge to the Conservatives predicted by yours truly, the 56 SNP MPs will constitute a tame moggie when it comes to Westminster politics.

Salmond and his sidekick the First Minister (or the other way around if we are to believe the spin) walked straight into one of the oldest traps in the book with their supposed victory yesterday.

By that I mean they were lured by the prospect of power to commit heavily to a system they hate. This makes them part of the system and gives them a great deal to lose. A similar strategy worked in Northern Ireland where being part of the apparatus of the British State has cooled the Home Rule ardour of Irish nationalists.

The SNP is now the third largest party in the Commons and that is prestige undreamed of for Salmond and Sturgeon only a short while ago.

Crucially, however, it is not much in terms of power and clout with the Tories in command of the Commons..

Furthermore, with widespread perception that the prospect of a Labour-SNP alliance was enough to scare many English voters into the arms of the Conservatives, it means that many in the Labour Party and those who voted for them will deeply resent the SNP presence at Westminster.

Of course it could be said that a comprehensive Tory victory plays into Salmond and Sturgeon’s hands, strengthening the case for a Referendum. But it makes the Westminster power play look like a totally pointless and even petty campaign. It is also a slap in the face to those voters who sent Salmond’s army down south to shake up Westminster and make the UK Parliament think again.

In essence, what is the point of standing for Westminster if your real aim is to leave it? A point used to obviously devastating effect by David Cameron and one which won him a second term.

The independence card is all that Salmond and Sturgeon have to play now. They could, of course, try and be the disruptive force in the Commons but that will only alienate people more. This includes even those who voted for them. These people have been promised massive change and when it becomes crystal clear that they are not going to get it, then the tide will turn.

If the meteoric rise in SNP fortunes tells us anything, it tells us that decades of ingrained support for one party i.e. Labour, can be undone very quickly.More importantly, it tells us that 21st century political allegiance is a much more fluid entity.

In short, the vast support for the SNP can vanish very quickly if they are shown to be impotent and incompetent.

It’s easy to get support as the maverick, the outsider challenging the corrupt and decadent system. But when you become part of that system then you become susceptible to the dynamics of that system. The 56 SNP MPs had better be very good at their jobs and completely free from sleaze and scandal or they will become part of the problem that voters want changed.

It could be argued that the strategies of Salmond and Sturgeon are playing right into Establishment hands. The House of Commons will be a showcase for the pettiness, spite and grievance-based politics for which the SNP is so well-known in its own back yard. If the mask slips and the hate seeps through, people will see the real Scottish National Party for what it is.

Voters are fickle and increasingly so as old-fashioned political allegiances are not what they once were. This is why there really is not much to fear from the crushing victory that wiped out the UK parties in Scotland yesterday.

Unionism will prevail but not because any Unionist party strikes a fatal blow to the rampant nationalism of the SNP.Neither will Establishment machinations be what brings the SNP down.

When it comes to adversaries, the SNP will prove to be its own worst enemy.

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Winners And Losers

If Stuart McCall doesn’t fancy being Rangers manager in the long term he could not have engineered a more perfect way to tell his bosses than the abject performance he put in yesterday.

Rangers were 2-0 up and cruising when McCall’s pointless tinkering not only changed personnel but also changed the shape of the team and crucially its effectiveness.

The introduction of McCulloch unsettled the back four and taking off Miller and Vuckic meant Rangers would spend the last few minutes on the back foot with no outward ball. The substitutions were disruptive and baffling but played right in to Hearts’ hands.

Rangers had for the most contained the Champions in their own back yard but a late capitulation underlined the frailties of this team. McCall may have improved things but only marginally. His tally of 17 points from a possible 30 is still nowhere near the required Rangers standard.

The Light Blues now face the grim prospect of a six-game play-off shootout. That is six dogfights to the death and a pantywaist Rangers team would appear to be ill-suited for such a gruelling contest. This present Rangers squad has given precious little indication of an ability to scrap and fight in what will be very challenging matches.

It cannot be denied that McCall’s indecisiveness and also poor decision-making have been factors The game was won yesterday when his crazy substitutions handed Hearts the initiative. Lee McCulloch’s trademark poor positioning and slow reactions made him a hand grenade thrown into what was otherwise a solid Rangers defence.

Promotion now seems a very long shot for the men from Ibrox and this will be devastating to the club. Another season in the Championship will not be a great incentive at season ticket renewal time and unless finances are found to bolster things, Rangers might not be able to put together a squad that could be considered favourites next term.

Worrying times for the Glasgow giants and Stuart McCall will have to pull out some rabbits to change this bleak state of affairs.

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The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is over with a fairly predictable outcome.

I’m not sure if this head-to-head could be considered boxing so much as entertainment in the digital age but a lot of people made a lot of money so it was certainly a success on some levels.

Maybe I have too much of the romantic view of boxing where a penniless contender can come from nowhere and win riches, fame and belts but the prospect of two multi-millionaires splitting a couple of hundred million purse without having to do much other than put on a wee show of running round a ring just doesn’t ignite my passion.

Maybe we would see a real fight if the loser stood to be stripped of all earnings made previously in the sport and faced the prospect of going bac k to penury. A daft idea, I admit, but no dafter than the notion that there was any real “loser” in this moneyfest dressed up as a contest – with the possibility of a kerching rematch always in the mix.

If the two “combatants” spend money as much as is claimed then their pensions might be getting another top-up in the not so distant future.

If this fight was the greatest of the 21st century then it really doesn’t say much for the times we live in.

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