Friday, 30 January 2009

Tartan Tribulations

Martin Kelly is on characteristically pugnacious form:

Budgets are like kidney stones. If you don't pass them, you're in trouble.

The budget proposed by the soi-disant, ersatz 'Scottish Government' has been voted down in the 'Scottish Parliament'. The peoples' tribune most directly responsible for thus shutting down the government, our own wee Henry Hyde, is a Romophobic watermelon with some off-the-wall notions on public health and an apparently insatiable appetite for the consumption of public resources.

Over the course of history, governments have fallen for many reasons. The 'Scottish Government' may be the first ever to fall because it wouldn't provide enough funding for loft insulation; a suitably ridiculous end to a ridiculous minority Scottish Executive, itself the bastard spawn of a ridiculous experiment in government, one that should never have been undertaken and only ever likely to end in an outcome guaranteed to make us an international laughing stock - which, after yesterday, is what we deserve to be. Scots wha hae, wi' Wallace bled; Scots wha's hae, wi' Salmond fled - straight back to the Labour Party.

One can almost imagine The Tartanissimo echoing the words of Theoden King, as Saruman's army marches on Helm's Deep -

"The days have gone down in the west,
Behind the hills, into shadow -
How did it come to this?"

He should console himself with the thought that like Theoden, he will have followers who will go with him to whatever end; all four of them.

The reason it came to this was the ridiculous idea that everyone in Scotland thinks the same way and has the same priorities. At no time and under no circumstances will Patrick Harvie ever stop pushing his anti-life, anti-human extremism to the front of the political agenda, even if it means he has to take down a minority Scottish Executive to get what he wants. It says much for the vacuity of his agenda that what he wants is not a chicken in every pot, but a damp proof course in every wall. It says much for the retardation of his political skills that he does not know that taking down a government does not make you popular with the people. I guess Gaia's bigger than all of us, for sure; but Big Earth Momma has no vote, and British people don't like being made to vote more often than they have to.

The idea that the Scots would all pull together for Scotland was absurd from the outset. That it has been disproved over an issue so footling as loft insulation makes me wonder whether Somebody Somewhere is having a laugh.

The Tartanissimo's number was up with the Glenrothes bye-election. One newspaper, I can't remember which, published a wonderful 'compare and contrast' piece at the time, with one picture showing the glamour and razzle of the American presidential election and another showing Alex Salmond holding a loudhailer as he stood beside a burger van on an empty street in Fife. It said it all.

As an opponent even of devolution, one who voted 'No-No' in 1997, it is intensely gratifying to see The Tartanissimo going toe-to-toe with The Sunflower Kid like cats in a bag; a legal anarchist with no concept of the rule of law fighting for his political survival against a moral anarchist whose career disproves the idea that everyone's interested in being part of one big happy Scottish family. Justice is done, and justice always prevails. It was always going to end this way. Good riddance.

Of course, the budget will pass. Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens all stand to lose in an election. In particular, if the Greens are seen to cause an election, then the public blame game, the recession and their lack of a large core support will mean that they will probably disappear. So they will cave first and the budget will pass.

But does not anything that weakens Holyrood suit the SNP? Are they not an anti-devolution party? Is that not why they want a centrally set yet nominally local income tax, rather than simply levying the Tartan Tax? Among much else. After all, do they not want to highlight the weaknesses of Holyrood?

Not any more, no. After all, they run it these days. There will be no independence referendum at least while that is the case. Which means that there will never be one, not because the SNP will always run Holyrood, but because the other parties are not just Unionist but actually reject, albeit with nothing like the necessary force in practice, the framing of Scottish politics in terms of a constitutional question which in Liberalism need not exist and in either Toryism or Labourism cannot exist. They came into politcs to do other things entirely, and they want to get on with them. If even an SNP Executive could not or would not hold an independence referendum, then why should they? They should not. And they will not.

Which means that there will never be independence. Not that there ever would have been, anyway. And not that there ever can be now, what with the goings on in the financial services sector.

Meanwhile, as it has been put to me today (keep them coming, folks), "The best bet for the Unionists is to let Holyrood get on with running social policy and local economic development and, frankly, to sort out a proper backup plan for next time, so they can actually get a Unionist First Minister from an overwhelmingly Unionist Parliament."

I give the whole thing 10 years.

Absolute maximum.