There is something about Alex Salmond I could never tire of slapping, if only he were within arm’s reach. During 2007, this blog would frequently scandalise nationalists by mocking Salmond’s habit of waving claymores over his head to commemorate this or that historical defeat of Scotland in battle. But this photo (right) just takes the biscuit.
It isn’t simply that, under the circumstances, “no they couldn’t,” it is the sheer gall of a narrow nationalist attempting to borrow the fairy dust off a post-racial candidate whose key call to arms was about unity, not division. How on Earth does:
we are not a collection of Red States and Blue States, we are the United States of America
… square with a plan to divide the UK into a patchwork of mini-states? The only candidate in the US election who has expressed support for independence was Sarah Palin. We should, I suppose, be grateful that at least Alex saw the wisdom of not grabbing hold of those particular coat-tails.
It’s good to see Alex Salmond reminding us quite so quickly about why the Lib Dems would have made a terrible, terrible mistake to go into coalition with him. He knows he can’t get this plan through Parliament, so why bother? The answer to that question is too obvious for me to bother answering. Stick to claymores, Alex.
But fundamentally, why would Scotland want the burden that would be its own Olympic Team? Every four years Team GB returns from the Olympics with a handful of medals and the media eviscerates them for not having enough. If Salmond gets his way, Team WLOGB would not be noticeably affected, but Team Scotland would come back with even less. Just what would this do for Scottish pride?
It is fair enough that they insist on having their own football team. It keeps Del Amitri in work, anyway. But why is it such an indignity for the Scots to cheer on their fellow Brits every once in a while? What happened to all this guff about Salmond wanting to be England’s friend?
Now Eurovision on the other hand, that might be a different prospect. If we’re doomed to be screwed over by the Balkans, why not Balkanise our own entries and take advantage of the voting system? We wouldn’t be able to trust the perfidious Scots to vote the right way, but with our Skype accounts we could all rig the Scottish phone-in to give England votes. In any case the incomer English population would probably help, just like those pesky Russians in Estonia rigged that vote. Salmond could do worse than to wash his hands of all responsibility for Flying the Flag.
And, of course, Del Amitri might get some work on the side (on a semi-serious note, I suspect the Proclaimers would kick serious arse at Eurovision: how about it, lads?).
One of the things about elections is that after them there is no shortage of people talking absolute nonsense about what the results ‘mean’.
Take Alex Salmond, who has been quick to claim that Labour has lost the “moral authority to govern”. Leaving a philosophical argument about what morality actually means in this context to one side, the fact is that no single party got a majority – thus no single party on their own has the authority to govern, moral or otherwise. Labour didn’t in 1999 or 2003 either. But, given that the difference between Labour and the SNP was just 0.5% in the constituency vote and 1.8% in the regional vote, is he really suggesting that a mere 20,000-30,000 people are the moral arbiters for the whole nation?
Then Salmond’s mini-me Nicola Sturgeon pipes up with:
“There will be an independence referendum if there is an SNP government.”
That’s for Parliament to decide, not a political party with less than a third of the popular vote. Is she seriously suggesting that the SNP will take its bat and ball home if it can’t secure a referendum? If it’s an all or nothing thing then that would suggest that the largest single unionist party has rather more moral authority than her boss would have us believe.
Today’s poll in the Times alone does not indicate a trend, but it does conform with what I suspected would happen as we got closer to polling day. The only thing that seems to be losing public support more quickly than the SNP is Scottish independence. People want to give Labour a kicking, but the more polling day looms, the more the Scots appear to be realising that a populist demagogue like Salmond at the controls would be disastrous.
Mr Salmond warned of a “huge public backlash” if the unionist parties “cobble together to circumnavigate the will of the Scottish people”.
I’m sorry, but what? If the majority of the Scottish people reject the separatist parties, we should give them what they want anyway? Part of me would quite like to see us call the SNP’s bluff and let a referendum go ahead, but if independence is less popular than the independents – which it appears to be by almost 2-1 – perhaps Salmond ought to be a little less keen in pressing ahead regardless. The more he shrill he sounds, the more his support is likely to peel away.
He may be comforted to find he has an ally in Tom Watson, who appears to think that the fact that PR is preventing the Scots from having independence foisted on them without their consent is a bad thing.
Either I’m psychic or Alex Salmond reads this blog and just does things to wind me up. Six weeks after being castigated for stating that Salmond launched his 2005 General Election campaign by standing in front of that ridiculous statue of Mel Gibson in Stirling on 6 April to mark the Declaration of Arbroath. I suggested this was dog whistle politics. It turns out I had misremembered this, and was instead standing next to an actor dressed as Robert the Bruce.
Well, two years later, he’s ditched the claymore, but he did indeed choose to mark the Declaration of Arbroath by standing in front of Hollywood’s most famous anti-semite (can’t find any useable photos online, but they’re all up on PA Photos if you have access).
No doubt my dear SNP friends will be quick to claim that this is irrelevant, that the SNP are civic nationalists not ethnic nationalists, and that I’m spreading lies again, but let’s be clear. By explicitly posing outside of this statue he isn’t merely associating himself with William Wallace and all the blood and tears that is associated with him – he’s associating himself with the film version of his story which was a pack of lies. Presumably we are to believe that the Queen is Wallace’s distant ancestor, and that’s why he is happy for her to remain the Head of State of an independent Scotland?
Oh, and lest I forget, Mel Gibson is an adherent of exactly the kind of ‘muscular christianity’ that Brian Souter is such a fan of. Are we starting to see a pattern here?
The SNP are correct to point out that claims about passport checks on the border if Scotland becomes an independent country are wide of the mark, but on one issue I’m a little confused.
If they are to retain the pound as currency, who will set the interest rate, and in whose interests will they be set?
Currently the (unfortunately named, but it was founded by a Scot) Bank of England sets this rate, and while independent it does so on the grounds of what is in the UK’s best interest. With independence, surely, the Bank of England would only have an interest in setting a rate that accords with the remaining UK’s economic interests. So, does this mean the Scots end up with less say over their economic policy than they do at present? Or does it assume that the remaining UK will agree to some kind of common economic policy. For it to be meaningful, this presumably would mean that Scotland would have an effective veto, otherwise the UK would simply outvote them every time. In which case, how does it accord with Salmond’s assertion that independence will mean the English will no longer be bossed around by Scots (something which I would question anyway, but there you go)?
The third and fourth options, that Scotland adopts the Euro and that it establishes its own currency have been ruled out by the SNP. This presupposes that they have a right to tell the very country they reject what we can and can’t do with our own currency. The words ‘pig’ and ‘poke’ spring to mind.
Having read this article, I’m having visions of Brian Souter and Alex Salmond bogling together to Sinitta’s disco beat (yes, yes, I know the story doesn’t involve either of them, but it’s in my head nonetheless).
Party sources have pointed out there might be “advantages” to Mr Salmond remaining in the House of Commons beyond the next General Election.
Nationalist thinking appears to be that remaining as an MP would give the party leader a unique weekly platform to raise Scottish issues and goad Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose premiership – should the SNP form an executive in Edinburgh – could be dogged by “the Scottish question”. The 52-year-old ‘s continued questioning at Westminster set-piece events such as PMQs might not only beleaguer the Labour government but also provide a spur for the Nationalists’ key argument: Scottish independence, a referendum on which is likely towards the end of the Scottish parliamentary session in 2010-11.
Sounds terribly clever, but would be completely needless if the SNP had any political talent aside from Salmond. It also emerges at a time when Salmond is under increasing pressure nail his colours to the mast and resign his Westminster seat.
It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you’re afraid you might not actually get a seat in May, could it Alex?