Last night’s showing on the BBC of Ant Baxter’s “You’ve Been Trumped” (iPlayer link for as long as that lasts) led to an awful lot of discussion on Twitter last night about the way the SNP, and particularly the First Minister, let down local residents in their haste to suck up to the bewigged billionaire. I even saw a fair few people say they’d voted SNP last time but after watching the film: never again.
The SNP did let down David Milne and Molly Forbes and the rest, of course: I couldn’t disagree. However, I couldn’t let Labour or Lib Dem folk pretend their side were innocent bystanders.
There was also a tone abroad of “so who do I vote for, then?”, which is another fair question. Obviously Greens backed the local residents and their unique ecosystem from the start (that word gets over-used, but it’s true in this case), and I’m always happy to recommend a Green vote.
But thinking about the bigger picture in discussion with Scott, it struck me that none of Scotland’s parties are properly fit to run this country right now. One day I’ll do a post about the achievements of each and every party, because I do see both sides (even with the Tories), but every one of them has at least one overwhelming flaw.
Leaving aside those not in Parliament right now, and leaving out many many more examples:
The SNP: weakness for the interests of the rich (not just Trump: 1, 2, 3, etc), failures on climate change (1, 2, 3 etc), regressive tax policies (Council tax freeze helps the richest most, LIT would exempt wealth and share income etc), snouts in the trough, Health Minister opposed to women’s rights, quiet u-turn on nuclear power.
Labour: authoritarianism, setting up the market in higher education, illegal wars, spending their lives complaining about the Tories or the SNP not delivering on issues they never delivered on in office, pretending Labour austerity is better than Tory or SNP austerity, snouts in the trough.
Tories: economically incompetent, generally incompetent, greedy and incompetent, blatantly cruel, anti-education, anti-environment, anti-women, most committed to sucking up to Murdoch, the NHS again, snouts in the trough, essentially everything except some of Ken Clarke’s now-abandoned justice agenda.
Greens: simply too small, too stretched, and nowhere near the votes we’d need – it’s not plausible to say Greens are ready now to run the country instead of the four parties above. We can’t even afford to stand in the constituencies, for a start.
As a result I think politics here is desperately in need of a realignment of the sort which is commonplace elsewhere in Europe.
In Greece, as the country comes under enormous pressure, the landscape is shifting to try and respond. The centre-right ND absorbed a somewhat more rightwing Orthodox party, SYRIZA went from a minor party to lead the polls, etc. In Italy the Five Star Movement has come from nowhere. In Canada the New Democrats have overtaken the centrist Liberals, and there’s talk of a merger.
Scottish and British politics alike can be characterised as static, stale, partisan, corrupt, and inadequate (although the UK-wide problems are worse: one reason I’ll vote Yes). The revolving doors between government and business twirl far too predictably, and participation withers. Perhaps the referendum, whichever way it goes, will lead to a political realignment of some sort. We desperately need it.