Anyone who thinks that the turmoil of the past month on Scottish Independence was over on Friday 19th September 2014, has another think coming, surely?
The fallout (in more than one sense of the word!) from the Referendum campaign, we can dread, is going to be felt far and wide for a considerable time?
Nearly half of Scotland voted to ‘leave’ the Union, and it is almost certain that many others ‘wanted’ to debunk, but were beset by fear. That situation will remain a running sore no doubt, with consequences that none of us can predict nor envisage.
That though is simply only one factor – there are many more new issues arising, and hares running now, aren’t there?
You can start with a simple basic one certainly – the ‘NO’ winners got their result by making bribe-like promises to the Scots to secure their votes. Inducements, produced in a frenzy of panic, when they thought that their ship was sinking no less. Offers made without legitimate authority, with no prior knowledge or agreement of the British public, no mandate from Parliament, no sanction from Party MPs, no voices of acclamation from activist members or supporters – no, just ‘sweeteners’ cobbled-up by a cartel gaggle of political insiders. There are bound to be harsh recriminations and cruel repercussions, don’t you think? People don’t like to be walked all over do they?
Scotland had been promised, in the desperate final few weeks of decision, EVEN further ‘devolution’ in return for their NO vote , when the vast majority of UK voters don’t approve of the devolved power they have already been given. The ‘electorate-rejected’ ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown was authorised to commit yet as well ‘Home Rule’ and a concertina’d timetable implementation to boot! They were also told that despite other rewards, they would continue to benefit forevermore from the higher ‘headcount funding’ for Scots that rewards their remoteness (the ex-Chief Treasury Secretary Joel Barnett’s ‘approved’ resources formula of the 1970s) – a unacceptable reckless promise say some. Understandably Conservative MPs were furious at the announcements, but they kept their mouths shut didn’t they, until the votes were in the bag (honest, principled, trustworthy, politicians are they?), but their gobs won’t be shut now will they?
PM Cameron was got off the hook on the Referendum by Labour’s trench fighters Brown, Darling, and Miliband. With the vote finally won for him, he appeared on TV at 7am yesterday to speak to a ‘relieved’ Britain. Was he humbled, thankful, respectful of the result, magnanimous & acknowledgeable to the defeated opponents? Dream on. He was his normal, arrogant, born to rule, self justificating self. In one of the most cynical of political manoeuvrings imaginable, he abused the momentous occasion to try to make capital from our current constitutional arrangements – by claiming he was tying Scottish devolution to demoting and stopping (Labour’s) Scotland MPs voting fully at Westminster (to thwart any future socialist government from having a majority and hamstring any such administration).
[Fallen-on-his-sword, Alex Salmond, recounts that Cameron ‘from their chat’ looks like backsliding on the promised further devolution timetable – says he thinks the PM can’t deliver the support of his backbenchers! That should create a furore, shouldn’t it?).]
Predictably, when others in the UK see powers going willy-nilly to Scotland, then they feel discriminated against and unfairly treated. They ask what about devolved authority to England (or even INDIVIDUAL regions like North East, or Manchester, or Cornwall, or Greater London), or perhaps more to Wales or Northern Ireland? Those and other worthless, senseless, costly analysis & debates will exhaust our political willpower and money for the next decade at least – well done the Scottish referendum!
A bit hidden behind the scene props, is the question of voting age – the Scots let their 16 year old kids have an equal say. Our leaders will be now weighing-up the stats to see if a similar move would benefit their own electoral chances – not what would be beneficial or right for our Country of course!
But don’t forget either, the NHS issue which became a bitter battlefield of dispute in the referendum – the scars of that confrontation will be inevitably carried forward into the General Election (when we will get a further indigestible diet of misinformation, false opinions, bad statistics, and no doubt blatent lies – so we can make informed judgements?).
Where does this all leave the other political Leaders themselves, apart from PM Cameron then?
Well, for a start Ed Miliband, already under critical leadershipability comment, has been shown-up as not to be able to muster his core Labour supporters in Scotland, and that could lose him the Premiership next year. Then he has also been unexpectedly cornered by the Downing Street ploy & trap on ‘english votes for english laws’, which will be a high tightrope wire for him to walk to safety.
Nick Clegg and his LibDems have been marginalised, sidelined, and deemed irrelevant as far as the referendum was concerned, and can only hope for a walk-on role in the aftermath.
Man-of-the pub person Nigel Farage UKIP, has as might be expected, bounced on the referendum trampoline, fanning the flames and milking the anger & frustration of the Tories. He denounces the promised changes as well as the indulgence of Scottish MPs voting rights at Westminster – manor to heaven for disillusioned Conservatives – it is a calculated political move of course, so what he really thinks, goodness only knows.
[A further Post will be published later to cover the ‘Constitutional’ debate – the so called ‘West Lothian question’].