I get the distinct impression this entire article was written as an excuse to use the joke about Deliverance being a feature film about Donald Trump supporters. There’s nothing else of substance here.
We may be thankful that Kevin McKenna devoted a paragraph to disowning the comparison between Nicola Sturgeon and the Trump/Brexiteer mob which, until then, he had seemed to be leading up to. The fact that that he considered it necessary to include such a disclaimer might have given him pause for thought, had he not been so carried away with the threadbare ‘peak SNP’ that he was using to prop up his oh-so-witty jibe.
The stuff about supposed the ‘failures’ of the SNP administration in the areas of health and education might have been more credible if the parroting of the British parties’ propaganda had been tempered with at least a nod in the direction of the very real achievement of even maintaining standards in the face of the British state’s efforts to force Scotland into line within the rest of the UK. And maybe some recognition of the fact that the Scottish Government simply doesn’t have the powers that some imagine.
Patrick Harvie can afford to be dazzled by the glittering generalities of ‘More Powers’. He has no responsibility for the deployment of those powers. Nicola Sturgeon and her government have to deal with the reality of an imposed devolution settlement which has nothing whatever to do with empowering the Scottish Government and everything to do with making things as difficult as possible for an administration that the Westminster elite desperately wants to fail in every imaginable way.
Take the new powers over taxation and welfare, for example. It is a truism that the tax/benefit system should function as a coherent whole. It follows that it must ideally be managed as a single rational system. Just about the worst arrangement possible is for the Scottish Government to have partial control of bits of a system which is already so disjointed and fragmented as to be massively dysfunctional.
It is less a case of using those ‘More Powers’ to achieve anything positive and more a matter of avoiding the political and fiscal traps whilst ensuring that no actual harm is done.
All of this signals a significant failure of analysis on Mr McKenna’s part. But what caused me to gasp in astonishment is his claim that the rise of the SNP and the decline of British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) are disconnected phenomena. That it is mere coincidence – or a “happy accident” – that the SNP has come to the fore just as BLiS has hit a bit of a sticky patch.
This is the kind of arrant nonsense that we would expect from a blinkered British nationalist like David Torrance. What it tells us is the extent to which, for all his lukewarm and often unconvincing support for independence, Kevin McKenna continues to be mired in the notion that the old Tory/Labour faux rivalries represent ‘real’ politics. The clear implication of his woefully glib remarks about the SNP being “gifted” the opportunity to govern is that, like so many of his journalistic colleagues, he persists in seeing the current state of Scottish politics as an aberration.
The distinctiveness of Scotland’s political culture, relative to the rest of the UK (rUK), is regarded from a British perspective as a disconcerting but temporary departure from the comfortable norm of British politics. A disturbance in the ‘Matrix’. And KcKenna seems as susceptible to this shallow-minded attitude as any of the rank and file of mainstream media commentators.
Things don’t just happen. BLiS is where it is because that is where the SNP has put them. Or, to be more accurate, it is where the electorate has put them as voters turned to a party offering a positive message on Scotland’s potential; a progressive agenda; an evident commitment to serving the interests of Scotland’s people; and principled pragmatism in government.
Scotland’s distinctive political culture is no accident, happy or otherwise. It is the outcome of a process in which the people of Scotland are engaged in a substantial and meaningful way. It is not a passing phase that will soon give way to ‘business as usual’. It is a self-perpetuating and self-reinforcing democratic process that inevitably leads to Scotland’s government being brought home and Scotland’s Parliament having the normal powers of an elected national assembly.
The idea that the better, fairer, more prosperous society to which we aspire can be delivered by any devolved administration from which essential powers are withheld is an insidious diversion from the absolute necessity of independence. Nothing less!Views: 3950
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