Ajockalypse?

Whilst I know the original this poem is based on explore the incredibly serious and unique evil of the Nazi Holocaust, I was struck with the parallel of how a fringe party captured power and spread hatred.

First they came for the Tories, vilified for the Poll Tax, and drove all their MPs out of Scotland.
But I was not one of THEM, so stayed silent.
Then they came for the Lib Dems, discredited by broken promises on tuition fees and coalition’s dodgy deal.
Still I did nothing for I was not of that party.
Next, they came for Labour, once mighty in Scotland – their votes weighed, not counted – but now seen as male, pale and stale.
And still I did nothing, until I realised the uncomfortable truth…
Nationalists have progressively cannibalised, systematically targeting their opponents and shutting down political debate in Scotland.
Unless we stand together, they will drive us of the Union, building castles of sand on the sinking fortune of oil and destroying our peaceful co-existence.
Reducing everything to binary oppositions, demonising a “Westminster elite” who are elected through exactly the same process as their tartan army and blaming all our woes on their lack of powers, whilst doing little with the authority they already have: it’s intolerable.
The SNP will never represent me!

Interestingly, the SNP polled 1,454,436 votes yesterday (almost exactly 50% of total Scottish turnout), significantly less than the 1,617,989 Yes votes in September 2014’s referendum. What made the result so dramatic was the loss of our “Better Together” unity into old political squabbles and the fact many pro-Union voters stayed away from the polls.

There’s a real need for politicians to engage properly with real people and find out how to heal these deep divides and make politics work for the common good. I believe we must transition to a federal model, retaining the strength of our Union but fostering local responsibility.

We should also drastically cut the number of representatives by creating a system where there is one person elected for each constituency who can participate in the political process across all levels, though initially just regional (Holyrood) and national (Westminster). They would be balanced against proportional-elected supervisory/scrutinising/revising chambers/committees to better reflect public opinion. This would ensure that decision-making is taken holistically and provide an ideal opportunity for the urgent refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster.

Our new government will need to put the national interest before their party/personal interest.

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Don’t abandon Scotland to the SNP!

I’ve been reading with increasing dismay newspaper columnists expressing an increasingly relaxed and resigned attitude about the United Kingdom’s demise.  They seem to equate the surge in SNP support at this General Election with an inevitable loosening of the ties that bind us together and a sign that Scotland will soon declare her independence.  One notable example amongst many is the gloomy Simon Jenkins of the Guardian: “so be it.”

But that’s tragic.  We voted by 10 clear percentage points to stay in the Union, despite all the lies and spin pedalled by the government in Holyrood.  That’s the result which matters most and must be the once-in-a-generation declaration of loyalty, which even both Sturgeon and Salmond have previously conceded (yet since refused to confirm).  This is the one opinion poll that truly matters!

Moreover, if we moved to a fully proportional voting system, or even the model proposed in that benighted AV referendum, the SNP would not be making the dramatic gains that can only be produced by our discredited “First Past the Post” system, which is supposed to deliver solid Parliamentary majorities for governments, but seems set to fail again.

What Scotland (and the UK) needs is a proper system of government that ensures everyone is better represented and served.  A federal structure where decisions are taken at the optimal level, whether local, regionally or nationally.  We need MPs who can’t just put-up their feet in safe seats, but are truly accountable to the electorate.  The SNP are an increasingly noisy and unmissable protest because our rulers have become too distant from their subjects.

Scotland’s departure is not inevitable.  Politicians and journalists must learn to listen to what we’re actually saying.