If you’ve been following the (ahem) coverage of the recent controversy about The Scottish Parliament investing in Scotland and trying to make it a better place you may be under the misapprehension that Scotland is some pampered area of the UK in receipt of money far in excess of that it brings in.
Ian MacWhirter, as ever calls it almost exactly right in his analysis of the performance of the SNP government, five months on.
The reckoning will come, of course, over next month’s budget. That’s when the opposition hope the SNP will be brought down to earth with a bump, now Gordon has pulled the financial rug out, and Scotland will return to the politics of disillusion and decline. How they’ll laugh as Salmond is forced to eat his manifesto, clause by clause. Yah-hah – see, they’re just as useless as us! Let’s wait and see. I suspect the voters will watch how Salmond copes with the financial situation before withdrawing support.
Of course, Scots could go it alone within Europe tomorrow and thrive, but they don’t because of a sentimental and increasingly anachronistic sense of filial obligation to England. They don’t want to break things up, risk bad feeling, let emotions get out of hand. Like Robert Tressell’s ragged trousered philanthropists, they feed London their wealth and skills; keep quiet about the oil, put up with people like Kelvin Mackenzie and Simon Jenkins because, well, they think its the right thing to do.
He’s not normally an SNP apologist or anything of the sort, indeed most of the time by far the majority of Scots journalists have had much to argue with the SNP as they’ve come from the innate Labour majority. However, much like the ordinary folk they’re starting to think a bit more independently and even if they’ll only vote for the SNP and not for independence it is enough of a shift to change the whole make up of the UK in the longer term. Now if only someone down here in London would start asking for my vote to push Federalism and Proportional Representation into both houses at Westminster. Until then I’m a bit lost on why I vote at all down here, the politics in Scotland at least seem alive.