Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A Tartan Tory Is No New Statesman

Since that august journal's comments facility seems to be a bit overwhelmed at the moment, herewith.

I could post this one:

Who gets to vote in this referendum? If it is the same franchise as for Holyrood, then that is the local government one, which means every EU citizen living in Scotland. Polish plumbers or whoever get a say in the continued existence of my country, the United Kingdom, but most of that country's people get none? I don't think so.

Of course, everyone knows that there will be a No vote. The vote for the SNP at Holyrood is at least middle-class (Scotland has an average income at one hundred per cent of the national figure, and the SNP victory only confirms how well-heeled the place is) and anti-Labour rather than pro-independence. But Labour couldn't care less, being concerned only with the Westminster seats from which it is manifestly irremovable. It says it all that, even in the current situation, the SNP's supporters are rich enough to care so much about constitutional change.

Neither the SNP nor, politically, Alex Salmond (good but overrated - an example of how the best Scots still either head for Westminster or stay out of politics altogether) could survive a No vote after the last Holyrood result. That is why there is no sign of any referendum. It will only ever happen if Westminster calls the bluff of the SNP in general and Alex Salmond in particular. It, and especially he, are desperate not hold it.

And this one:

Rich, posh (or wannabe posh), mildly Keynesian but no further left than that economically, mildly socially conservative in that Church of Scotland way, and backed up electorally in working-class areas by white Protestant supremacists with nowhere else to go? Sounds like the Scottish Tories of old to me. Now known as the SNP.

My Confessions of an Old Labour High Tory will soon be published by a leading think tank, and my articles have appeared in The First Post, Comment is Free, and elsewhere, including as a regular contributor to The American Conservative’s PostRight blog, which is currently in abeyance while that magazine pursues other projects.

I have exactly 1000 words on the demands that Labour should make in return for supporting the Scotland Bill, on behalf of the North of England that is now Labour’s unambiguous electoral heartland, as well as on the arrangements that the North should make if Scotland and Wales were ever to secede from the United Kingdom.

But not this one, in reply to another contributor:

"if the SNP are a Tory party alive and kicking in Scotland, why do they support free prescription charges, free travel for the over 60s, no tuition fees, and so on. Hardly Tory policies those, are they?"

They were, or would have been, in the days of the old, Scottish Tories, yes.

"And how come Labour seats in Glasgow were lost to the SNP?"

Because Labour doesn't care about Holyrood any more than the SNP cares about Westminster. They have a thoroughly cosy duopoly, which suits them both down to the ground.

Because Glasgow had a Tory council into the Seventies, and regularly used to return Tory MPs. And, related to that point, because of the votes of ... oh, what's the term? ... white Protestant supremacists.

"Cardinal O' Brien and other prominent Catholics have come out in support of the SNP"

Well, Cardinal O'Brien, for a start, has not actually said that, since it is not the sort of thing that Cardinals say. Like Cardinal Winning, Bishop Devine and others, he got thoroughly fed up with Labour. But there's my point again: the SNP vote is not pro-independence, it is just anti-Labour, the core of it for old-fashioned class reasons.

Like visible ethnic minorities, and like the fifth of the Scots population born in England (while the number of Scots-born people in England is equal to the total, one fifth English-born, population of Scotland), Catholics know perfectly well that they would be burnt out of an independent Scotland.

"an assembly for the north of England. I'd certainly support that"

I bloody wouldn't and nor would anyone here, as the North East referendum result made abundantly clear. Someone needs to publish my article. In the meantime, note well that the grievance here (and in the West Country) has nothing to do with assemblies. It is cold, hard cash. Specifically, it is the obscenely preferential funding of two very affluent areas indeed, Scotland and the South East, both of which seem to be convinced beyond argument that they have an absolute entitlement to this largesse.


  1. I wish they would bring back PostRight. Are the PostRight boys planning on doing anything collectively to keep the flame burning?

  2. We do talk about it among ourselves from time to time. Watch this space.

  3. If the stuff you posted under Nile Gardiner's latest outing for his Telegraph Falklands post is in your next book, then it cannot possibly be published too soon. A vitally important contribution, one among many on your part.