Opposition politics must end as soon as the referendum is over.
The European-style hemicycle in which the Scottish Parliamentary chamber is arranged was meant to steer us in the direction of doing politics as it should be done… our best, elected minds working wi each other to make sure the country is governed well.
Our voting system makes it incredibly difficult to get a clear majority of one party across the chamber, meaning most decision making is done by vote and consent of members right across the board.
The old-fashioned set-up of two groups, with broadly similar views, shouting at each other like you have in Westminster just isny productive. There is no debate to be had there. Both ends disagree on absolutely everything, so the debate becomes a dire game of argument tennis.
You’re no watching Murray v Nadal, on the edge of yer seat not knowing what will happen next… As soon as you know the topic and how one side plans to start the discussion, you could near enough right the script with the sorta hing that’ll be replied wi.
So, the role of half the folk in the Parliament isny to work with and discuss how they’re gonnae go about sorting problems, they basically play the role journalists are meant to do in a democracy. They’re a watchdog. But not only do they find flaws in what the government is doing, they argue that everyone is totally useless in every capacity. There isny a good word to be said. Every action the government does is utter nonsense and would’ve been done a better way had they been in.
Then the government respond wi a list of statistics that directly contradicts everything the opposition’s just said. So fast, you forget what they’re even talking about by the time they’re done. Once that’s finished, they steam in wi their own patter and slag the opposition. So much so it gets personal at times, like when the PM slagged Ian Blackford for eating aw the pies at Christmas time.
This isny a shaudy deal for politicians anaw by way. The arguments they have under this setup is endless. They’ll still get paid at the end of the month and they willny be short of work.
Naw naw, the losers in this set-up are us lot. You and I. The people looking towards Parliament to have a grown-up conversation about how my bills are gonnae get paid… cos I’ve just got a letter fae Scottish Gas saying they’re stinging me for an extra turn each month. How on earth is that gonna be sorted wi this ding dong dafty pantomime.
And this has crept into the Scottish Parliament anaw by way. The parliament is split on independence and, because each side is so staunch, it’s a similar vibe to the stringent red versus blue in England.
To be fair, we’ve asked for this. The run-up to the last election was dominated by the ‘have a referendum or bump it’ debate. Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems going here dinnae bother, we’ve just had a pandemic, it’s a waste of time, effort and resources. SNP, Green and Alba saying haud on a second here, should we no let the Scottish people decide rather than just us lot?
& if you add up the constituency and regional votes combined, mare votes counted for the pro-independence parties. So aye, this patter isny going away until us lot get to vote in the upcoming referendum.
But as I’ve said, unless politicians behave themselves, the losers out of this is us. & I’ll explain why through 3 big talking points in Parliament right now.
Keeping in the theme of independence, there’s been a hoo-ha in recent weeks about who’d be paying for our pensions. It stemmed from an interview with Ian Blackford, SNP’s leader down in Westminster, who argued that people who have paid into the UK’s pot through National Insurance deserve some money back from that pot later in life.
This has caused confusion because the Yes Campaign’s stance in 2014 said that Scotland will take full responsibility for pension payments. As a result, opposition leaders are saying that Blackford is living in a doolally world if he hinks the UK are gonnae pay our pensions… branding all nationalists as ‘fantasy economists’ who, in Alex Cole Hamilton’s (Sco Lib Dem Leader) words find it easy to paint the picture of independence as a “land of milk and honey.” (Untribal Podcast, Episode 4). Sturgeon, on the contrary, says its sound. We’re just cutting out the middle man of Westminster.
I’m sure we’ll get more clarity once the campaigns have begun but this is really dangerous territory we’re in already. This is people’s livelihoods. People are deciding for the future of their kids, and their kids, and their grandkids and so on.
Aye, hold each other accountable but quit the patter man. We need to know, definitively, what the script is gonna be. We canny have broken promises or false accusations from either side on this one. It is absolutely huge. If there is any genuine danger of losing out on money, we need to know. How much are we getting in each scenario? What are the pros and cons of it transferring over? Is there any? This all needs to be laid out in black and white. It canny be an episode ae Two Doors Down.
COST OF LIVING
A biggie. Folk are skint and we need help.
Scottish Government have set out a list of things they’re doing wi the budget to gee us a hand. Amongst other things, they’re giving households in council bands A-D 150 sheets.
Opposition goes ‘that’s naewhere near enough.’
Government goes ‘aye tell me about it, give yer cronies in Westminster a shout cos they’ve got all the dosh.
Opposition goes ‘aye but you can dae more.’
Government go ‘right sound, yous got a hidden money tree you’re no telling us about?’
So what is the patter then? How are folk meant to ken if more can be done when naebody’s working together to find solutions. If the opposition has a political gain to start moaning at the Scottish government then they will do. And the same goes the other way… the Scottish government can say well aye but you’re barking up the wrong tree, it's YOUR mob wi all the power.
Meanwhile, we’re aw sat here hinkin deow, will someone give us a bung already.
This is about the carry on wi CalMac ferries for services to Arran and the Outer Hebrides. It’s been delayed again. There’s been another fault with the internal caballing making them unfit for use. Hundreds of wires will have to be stripped out and replaced. It’s now 4 years overdue and well over budget.
The firm overseeing the project, Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd went into administration in August 2019. It is now a nationalised firm taking charge… and now it’s in state hands, errors cost the taxpayer.
Opposition has called it “another humiliating chapter,” an “endless fiasco,’ a “farce.”
Sturgeon says right settle… the errors were unforeseen and happened because of work installed by contractors before the Government took over.
So who’s fault is this then? How detrimental is it? At a time where public trust between people and government is in the balance, we canny have a pure ‘pass the buck’ routine… if folk are piss fartin about with our hard-earned dosh then we need absolute clarity on where it's gawn. What’s the script? What’s being done?
And that is the recurring theme… the public loses out from a lack of clarity because in the half an hour we tune in (ie through hings like First Minister’s Questions) they’re aw playing politics. Daein numbers on each other by any means. It’s so backwards.
Whatever we decide in the independence referendum, we need to give politicians a wee reminder what the Scottish Parliament is aw aboot. If you look at the party manifestos, they agree on heavy. Education is important, so is people’s mental health. Keep the NHS afloat, make sure folk still have their job next year. They’re aw wanting to throw money at, near enough, the exact same hings.
So rid the idea of ‘strong opposition,’ dividing politics into us vs them on every issue despite plenty of agreement on what matters most. It’s outdated. Leave the petty, childish, moronic and yet absolutely brilliant-to-watch arguments to Twitter whilst the Old Firm is on.