I’m sure most people’s first instinct will be to scoff at the suggestion from unelected Lord Empey that the democratically elected Scottish Parliament should operate under the paternalistic oversight of Westminster. But we should be cautious about too casually dismissing such ‘thinking’. It may be that this is no more than some silly notion that occurred to His Lordship during a long afternoon winding down in the bar following an over-indulgent lunch. The arduous business of signing in to collect his daily attendance allowance will fair take it out of a Lord.
It may be that it’s all just as ‘bonkers’ as it appears. But it may also be that we have become overly inured to such ‘interventions’, due largely to the efforts of Gordon Brown. It could be that we hear so much deranged drivel from British politicians that our senses have become dulled. Boris Johnson alone produces enough inanity, idiocy and sheer insanity to overwhelm those instincts which should be triggering alarms.
As a precaution, we should always ask what may have prompted outbursts such as this latest one from Lord Empey. It may seem reasonable to assume that he has succumbed to the hallucinogenic effects of inhaling the spores of a fungus that grows on dead stoat cloaks. But, at the very least, we should reflect on the nature of a political environment in which even Lords a-tripping suppose it acceptable to suggest measures which are, on the face of it, a gross affront to democracy and profoundly insulting to voters.
There is such a thing as kite flying. The political manoeuvre whereby some obscure and disposable individual just close enough to power to be noticeable is assigned the task of running an idea up the flagpole to see what sort of reaction it provokes. This is necessary because those in positions of real power are generally so far detached from real-world concerns as to be incapable of working out how normal human beings will react. What if instead of – or as well as – being under the influence, Lord Empey was under instructions? What if the idea of Westminster taking greater control of the devolved administrations didn’t come to His Lordship in a moment of claret-inspired clarity or by way of an ergot-induced epiphany, but in a whispered suggestion from some worm-tongued functionary in the service of the executive?
If this is all a bit too conspiratorial for your tastes, then consider the possibility that Lord Empey has always viewed the Scottish Parliament as inferior and in need of Westminster’s gracious guidance but that, heretofore, he had felt constrained to keep his own counsel on the matter for fear of being thought a batty old buffoon. Only now, with the rise of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism, does he consider it safe to voice his concerns. Only now is there an atmosphere in which it may be thought acceptable to suggest, on the basis of not a scintilla of evidence or reasoned argument, that the Scots’ innate inability to manage their affairs and tendency to violent squabbling requires preemptive action from their British betters.
Lord Empey may have exposed himself as an arrogant and offensive lackwit. But he has also demonstrated yet again that the British political system is a world in which arrogant and offensive lackwits flourish and bring their mad, malign influence to public policy. This is not something to be lightly dismissed.Views: 3948
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