The Democratic Deficit

In June 2016, every one of Scotland’s council areas voted to stay in the EU. Today, 58 of 59 Scottish MPs voted against the triggering of article 50 and the exit from the EU, in accordance with the wishes of Scotland.

A UK government, roundly rejected at the ballot box in Scotland, with just one Scottish MP, who voted against the wishes of his constituency, will now force Scotland out of the EU.

This same government now seeks to do business with Donald Trump’s US government, spurning our closest neighbours and abandoning conventional wisdom in the process.
They will trade away the English & Welsh NHS to curry favour with the new US regime, which in turn will result in funding cuts to the Scottish NHS. They will continue their brutal assault on the poor, vulnerable and disabled under the guise of austerity, whilst simultaneously funding renewal of a pointless, obscene nuclear weapons system.

Meanwhile, an ineffective, disorganised opposition, hopelessly caught between winning back votes from its traditional base (typically leave voters) and appealing to the middle ground it needs to win an election, seem incapable of mounting any kind of challenge – certainly not in the next 5 years.

In 2014, many people were unconvinced by the Yes campaign’s assertions on the EU and our place in it, which became a major factor in many people’s decisions. This is now a moot point – remaining with the UK, we’re guaranteed to leave the EU.

If, as many suspect, the Scottish Government calls a 2nd referendum, it really boils down to this: Do we trust a right wing Conservative government to account for the wishes of Scotland? Should we expect it to bargain hard for our trade and industry? Can we trust that our social services, pensions and workers’ rights will be protected?

All evidence suggests that we can’t.

So, if we get another chance to vote for independence, it begs the question;

Why not?

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Slow Hand Claps All Round…

Nearly three months on from the referendum, and where have we got? Osborne announces cuts described as “colossal” by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (the same institute much lauded by the No campaign), as the national press report cuts to Barnett funding for Scotland and the “death of the state pension”.

Meanwhile the promise of further devolution, trumpeted as “effective home rule” by Gordon Brown, turns out to be little more than lip service, being swallowed whole by a comically compliant press.

To confound matters, the Labour party continues to march to the beat of UKIP’s drum and seems even less electable at Westminster than it did six months ago. The politics of Scotland and the rest of the UK continue to diverge as more than 75,000 people join the SNP in the last few weeks alone (not forgetting the Green party and SSP, who also saw huge increases in membership) and core Labour support implodes.

Based on current polling, we’ll see the complete collapse of the Liberal Democrats (no tears will be shed over that), the Tories and Labour falling short of an outright majority, UKIP in the frame to form a coalition government, and the SNP holding all but a few Scottish seats, and with it a huge (some might say disproportionate) amount of sway at Westminster.

Again, based on current polling, we can reasonably expect to see an in/ out referendum on Europe result in the UK leaving the EU, contrary to the wishes of Scotland.

So, to recap, a likely Tory/ UKIP coalition, cuts to Scottish funding, the “death of the state pension”, “colossal cuts” and an exit from Europe.

Slow hand claps all round.

Something else to do with my time…

Having spent the last two years obsessing about the Scottish Independence Referendum, now that it’s done, it occurred to me that I have no idea what to do in my spare time.

Some have suggested that I get more involved in politics. This may yet happen, however, for now, I’m content to sit back and see what emerges from the fall-out. My hope is that the Scots’ new-found political savvy is put to good use at a grassroots level. I look forward to seeing how the likes of National Collective, Radical Independence and The Common Weal carry forward the momentum gained in recent months. I may even lend a hand, time permitting.

So expect some political posts, particularly in the run-up to the General Election (that will be interesting), interspersed with my musical escapades with EastCoastDefector, and perhaps the odd travel piece. Movies will probably feature too. Oh, and games.

Whether or not anyone pays any attention isn’t really important. It’s just something else to do with my time…

A.