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Showing posts with label 2010 general election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2010 general election. Show all posts

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Sept. 2009: My hopes for 2010 and the General election (The Brown Labour Government was still in office)

Three years on, two heart attacks and a cardiac arrest later, a lot of water has flowed under many bridges – and over them. We have had the destruction of New Labour, the benighted Coalition Government, the wonderful SNP victory in 2011, the referendum confirmed at last, the Arab Spring, and second term for Obama – but also the endless litany of death and destruction in Afghanistan.

“Don’t look back - no good can come of it” HUMPHREY BOGART

Well, maybe sometimes, Bogie – remember your history or be condemned to repeat it …

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I watched the Brown speech, keeping a sick bag handy just in case. I didn't need it, but it was a close run thing. But I was caught off guard by the introductory sequence before Sarah Brown. Manipulative though it was, the early part reminded me sharply of what Blair, Brown, Mandelson and Campbell destroyed - the old Labour Party and its values, or as Gordon Brown would put it, its 'volues'. Much use was made of the flag of death - the Union Jack - fluttering on the screens on either side, and also visible on the centre screen, in the hope that this would deflect the faithful from remembering just what these carpetbagging Scots had done to the Labour Party and the English nation.
Sarah Brown was as effective as she was at the last conference. A formidable public relations professional, she judged the mood perfectly, and although it was more than a little saccharine for my taste, it pressed the right buttons. As a Scottish Nationalist, I am grateful that she is not the Prime Minister, and I suspect many of the Labour faithful wish fervently that she was.
Her personality, however carefully crafted it is, comes across as natural, warm and sincere. It contrasted sharply with the personality that followed her - a Frankensteinian creation as false as a Hollywood facelift, reminiscent of Peter Boyle's performance with Gene Wilder.
Brown scattered new radical policies like party favours, promising to do all the things New Labour has spectacularly failed to do in its three benighted terms of office. His voice at times shook with emotion, but emotion prompted by the thought that this was most probably his swansong. The conference focused my mind on a question I have been wrestling with for some time - what outcome do I want from the UK General election?
I am driven by a primary emotion to see Labour punished for Iraq, for Afghanistan, for the British banking collapse, for their attacks on civil liberties, for their obsession with war and nuclear destruction and for their betrayal of the traditions and values of the Party.
But I recognise that I must look objectively at the consequences of their electoral destruction - a Tory government that might last for another twelve years. Although this would almost certainly yield a Thatcher Factor advantage to the SNP's electoral prospects, it would be bad for the nations that presently comprise the UK, bad for Europe, and bad for world peace. I am still an internationalist, and must recognise that an independent Scotland can never be indifferent to its huge neighbour nor to the regimes that it elects. So I must hope for something other than the obliteration of New Labour and the Brown Gang, and the humiliation of their Scottish servile cohorts. What would be an ideal outcome?
Firstly, I hope for an significantly increased SNP presence at Westminster.
In my dreams I see Scotland returning only SNP members of the Westminster Parliament, but that is not going to happen. There is also a nagging doubt in my mind that too many Nationalist MPs at Westminster might find that, as a group, they develop an affection for the House of Commons, and succumb to its blandishments and its perquisites. After all, it has happened to men and women with principles and beliefs as deeply rooted as those of the Scottish National Party, as the widespread corruption of Labour values has demonstrated. But I must suppress that doubt, and trust Scotland's Westminster representatives, a representation that will last only until independence is achieved..
Secondly, I hope for a governing party for the UK that has only a narrow majority, perhaps even a minority government.
Whichever it is, the balance of power would lie with the LibDems and the nationalist parties in a Rainbow Coalition, and I believe that such a delicately balanced democracy would be better for the UK, and more realistic about Scottish independence.
My greatest fear of all is that England slides insidiously towards neo-fascism and Powellite parties. English nationalism - the dog that has not barked - clearly runs that risk.
Those who come, as I do, from the liberal, internationalist tradition, like to believe that the native good sense of the people will recognise the threat, and will recoil from the views of the parties that pose the threat.  This is the thinking behind the view that the BBC is right to permit the BNP to appear on a Question Time panel - the great, fair-minded democratic British public will see Nick Griffin and his party for what they are.
Well, I'm not so sure. I have watched that great British public on the media, and have seen what pushes their buttons, and the sight does not inspire confidence. I know from my own range of contacts that beneath the democratic veneer, many otherwise admirable upright citizens have a rather uncertain grasp of the great principles of democracy and freedom, and have the political mindset of the saloon bar Tory at best, and the neo-fascist at worst.
It is not only the deprived sub-culture of the shaven-headed that might be sympathetic to the simplistic, brutal, divisive policies of the extreme right - remember the kind of people that put Mussolini and Hitler in power.
Perhaps the BBC has no choice but to permit a legal party that has made recent significant gains to offer their views on Question Time, but we should be fully aware that, at a time of widespread distrust of our political and financial institutions, in the wake of the banking crisis and the expenses scandal, and during a recession when many people are being deeply hurt by the venality and short-sightedness of their elected representatives, that simple, brutal messages that pin the blame on minorities within our society will resonate dangerously with many voters.