Despicable BLiS

Anybody who supposes that yesterday’s vote at Holyrood was about fracking is an idiot. The unionists media are, predictably, touting the vote as a “blow” to Nicola Sturgeon and a victory for the opposition. in truth, if there was any “victory” here it was the triumph of venality, dogma and naked expediency over principled politics and plain good sense.

Let’s start with the British Tories. With one exception, they voted en bloc against an outright ban on fracking in Scotland. (For some reason that I’m not even going to bother trying to figure out, Oliver Mundell abstained.) Effectively, they voted in favour of allowing fracking operations. This is totally unsurprising, of course. Relative to others occupying the opposition seats, we might even have some respect for their position. At least it is honest. They really do want fracking to go ahead, and are brazen enough to say so quite explicitly. That their motives are contemptible is another matter. The British Tories are keen on fracking because it will enrich their clients – and doubtless generous donors to party coffers – in the energy companies. And because revenues from fracking might help George Osborne cover up his economic incompetence for a little while longer. Maybe even beyond the next UK election.

Mostly, Ruth Davidson’s lot voted against the ban on fracking because that’s what their bosses in London told them to do. I don’t suppose many people imagined it had anything whatever to do with the needs, aspirations and priorities of Scotland’s people. For Davidson, the “defeat” of the hated SNP was merely a bonus.

We can forget about the Liberal Democrats. (I know! You’re way ahead of me on that!) It seems they didn’t even turn up. Willie Rennie was probably getting his photie taken for the papers again, standing by some monumental landmark desperately hoping that a wee bit of significance will rub off. No idea about the others. I’m not sure if anyone noticed their absence. Or cared.

The Greens voted for the ban. In doing so, they indulged in an act of the most puerile gesture politics. An act driven by mindless dogma with absolutely no regard for practicalities or consequences. Patrick Harvie’s little gang of self-righteous ideologues seems to be seeking to cement its reputation as the petulant brat of Scottish politics.

Of course, they knew that the vote was meaningless, in the sense that it could not have any impact on government policy. All the more reason, then, to take the opportunity to set aside party dogma and vote responsibly. Instead, they effectively voted against gathering the evidence needed to provide a sound legal basis for the ban that they supposedly want. And they voted against a public consultation that would provide unchallengeable evidence of the widespread opposition to fracking that they claim exists.

The Greens chose to adhere rigidly to the party line in preference to supporting effective action to bring about the outcome they say they want. What the hell is the point in that?

The best we can say about the Greens is that it’s unlikely there was any malice in their action. Although Harvie is as prone to pointless anti-SNP sniping as any of his colleagues in the British parties, we can be reasonably sure there was no intent in this instance to damage the administration. To be frank, it is doubtful if they even considered such a thing. Party policy is to insist on an immediate outright ban on fracking regardless of the implications. No further thinking is required.

If a ban was actually implemented and subject to a successful legal challenge, allowing fracking to go ahead unhindered, the Greens would deny any responsibility whilst revelling in noble failure and the purity of their cause. Devotion to that cause takes precedence over  the needs, aspirations and priorities of Scotland’s people.

If the Greens were without malice then British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) makes up for it – and then some. Who can doubt that their vote for an outright ban on fracking was motivated by the rancid resentment of the SNP and offended sense of entitlement that is their sole driving force.

The merits or otherwise of fracking don’t enter into BLiS “thinking” any more than do the needs, aspirations and priorities of Scotland’s people. Look at their demands for an outright ban on fracking and all you will see is brazen political opportunism. Be in no doubt! Kezia Dugdale and here crew are supporting a ban solely because this serves their narrow, shallow partisan agenda. They see it as the best way to land some kind of hit on the hated SNP, and that is the only thing that matters.

Think about it! If they were genuinely opposed to fracking, why would they demand action that makes it more likely rather than less? Have they even considered how the Scottish Government might respond to a legal challenge? Why are they, like the Greens, so keen to prevent the Scottish Government assembling evidence against frack? Why are they, like the Greens, so anxious to prevent the Scottish Government establishing beyond doubt the extent of public opposition to fracking?

Make no mistake! So long as BLiS can rely on a compliant media that will never ask them the awkward questions, supporting a ban on fracking is politically expedient in all manner of ways. They can be sure that the media will neglect to remind people that it was British Labour who helped their Tory allies withhold from the Scottish Parliament the powers that it needs in order to implement a ban effectively. Meanwhile, they can be sure that the media will portray their petty politicking as a principled stance, while playing up the “blow to Sturgeon” spin that makes BLiS look like an effective political force.

British Labour in Scotland is behaving despicably and irresponsibly. while the Greens would actually be upset if fracking went ahead, BLiS would be delighted – so long as it happens on the SNP’s watch. That’s how low they go. That’s who repugnantly self-serving they are. That is precisely how obscenely corrupt they are.

And what of the SNP. They abstained. Well, of course they did! What else might they have done? Assorted zoomers are asserting that this is “evidence” the SNP actually wants to allow fracking. This idiocy disregards the fact that it is successive SNP administrations which have prevented fracking over the past decade. It dumbly disregards the fact that, if the SNP did want to permit fracking, there is absolutely nothing to prevent it doing so. If they wanted to, they could simply abandon the moratorium and the public consultation and let the energy companies off the leash.

If they wanted to avoid the public backlash that this would almost certainly occasion, they could simply accede to the demands for an outright ban, knowing that this would be an effective way of enabling the energy companies – albeit after a short delay.

The SNP abstained in yesterday’s vote because they are not opposed to a ban on fracking. They didn’t vote against the ban because such a vote would not reflect the party’s stated position. They didn’t vote for the ban because they know that this is not the most effective way to ensure that fracking is never permitted in Scotland. They didn’t vote for the ban because they know that a ban would be massively irresponsible.

What we see in the SNP administration’s approach to the issue of fracking is the principled pragmatism that has consistently informed their approach to government since they first came to power in 2007. An approach which has won the repeated and unequivocal approval of the Scottish electorate. There is no political or economic expediency here. There is no dogma overruling sound policy and considered action.

If we want to stop fracking in Scotland, who are we to trust? Those who have cleverly contrived to prevent it up to now? Those who are continuing to prevent it? Those who have a discernible, even if not (for legal reasons) explicit plan for preventing it on a permanent basis?

Or those whose motives in seeking an immediate outright ban are as questionable as the practicality and effectiveness of such a move?

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6 thoughts on “Despicable BLiS

  1. Cameron Gazzola Black

    Peter, gaunny call the buggers UKLiS? BLiS is a far too blissful name for them.

  2. Kate

    Agree with everything you wrote Peter, but would add one more reason as to why they didn’t vote against the ban, to do so, would have had LABOUR & the MSM in Scotland accusing the SNP of voting WITH the TORIES, & that would look really bad to those that are gullible & believe every word they read or hear on the likes of the BBC…

    LABOUR knew this too. & hoped they would fall for the bait. LABOUR is now the lowest of the lowest as far as ever being the party of the people or the party that fights for Scotland…

    The quicker we can get away from these UNIONIST parties the better for all of Scotland…

  3. Ian Clark

    Starting an article by suggesting that certain people are idiots might not be the best way of getting your point across and thus influencing their views. In this case, I would have thought that your comment would apply to most people who were aware that some kind of vote on fracking had taken place. I am reasonably well informed and I thought it was about fracking. Being called an idiot gets people’s backs up.

    In fact the vote was about fracking. It was also – as your article clearly and informatively explains – about party politics, especially the machinations of the despicable Labour party. Your article ran to over 1300 words. That’s a lot of words to explain why most people are idiots.

    After reading your article, I read an article on CommonSpace, which included the following quote from Labour spokesperson Claudia Beamish: “Today the will of the Scottish Parliament has been made clear – there should be an outright ban on fracking. The SNP may have abstained on the vote, but they cannot ignore the clear position of Scotland’s Parliament.” When I read propaganda pish like this I understand why you would get angry. Knowing that the vote was being misrepresented by other parties and then amplified by their allies in the Britnat media makes me angry. But here’s the thing. I only partly realised what pish it was, because I had read your article beforehand.

    Your analysis and evaluation of the context of the vote – not the attention grabbing first line – is what undermined the spin and deception. Ignorance (unless wilful or negligent) should never be confused with idiocy. Many of us just need to be informed. Anyway, thanks for continuing to keep us informed.

  4. Kevin

    Don’t sweat the small-stuff; starting the article by highlighting certain people as idiots is hardly a heinous crime, we’re all adults here, and we’re all curious. It’s probably fair to assume that 90% of visitors to this site are of an Independent mind, and would therefore already be pretty well-informed regarding its contributors’ political leanings. Any 10% of remaining visitors will most probably be smart enough to realise this is indeed an informed political site, and would immediately pick up on Peter’s tone. Carry-on, Pete.

    Have to say, I didn’t realise the author of this piece until I got to the comments. The article held me until the end. It’s absolutely vital that we reinforce our message to the activists and potential activists in Scotland, as well as informing those who are vague on individual political events; articles such as this achieves this.
    You are an undoubted asset, Peter, thank you for this and other contributions.

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