Posts Tagged ‘Alex Salmond’
An Open Letter to Alex Salmond
The Scotsman, October 13th 2012
Next week you will address the SNP Annual Conference, closer than ever to what you have strived all your political life for: Scottish independence.
You need to give a speech like you have never done before. Here are some suggestions.
1. Stop using the same template to shape your speech. Some of us have noticed that you have a habit of giving a rather similar speech year-in, year-out.
There is a reference to a cultural figure, usually the Makar, Edwin Morgan. Then there is always tribute paid to a prominent left-winger who passed away in the previous year. A year or two ago it was Jimmy Reid, this year it will be Campbell Christie.
Then there is the evoking of ‘the community of the realm’ to showcase our different values and traditions. And finally, just to show you mean business and are radical not conservative, you mention that moral blot on our landscape, Trident. Read the rest of this entry »
Is Scotland Really the Social Democratic Country It Proclaims?
The Scotsman, August 18th 2012
There is a widespread assumption across most if not all of Scotland that this is a land of the centre-left; that we don’t vote Tory, didn’t buy into Thatcherism, and that we are all the children of social democracy.
Leaving aside the Scottish Social Attitudes Surveys on Scots/English differences (which show there aren’t that big differences), there is a prevalent belief that centre-left, left and collectivist values percolate through and define our society.
Some voices on the left believe that they speak for what they see as a wide and potentially powerful constituency. However, if this was the case would not our politics and society look very different and be shaped and influenced by these currents?
This week Henry McLeish, former Scottish First Minister, and Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister, have made significant interventions. McLeish talked of the possibilities of independence leading to the ‘cultural transformation’ which he believes Scottish society desperately needs, while holding back from embracing it yet. Read the rest of this entry »
State of InterIndependence: A Vision for Scottish Self-Determination
May 24th 2012
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in the future
And time future contained in the past.
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets (1936)
This week the Scottish independence debate reaches new levels with the launch of the ‘Yes Scotland’ pro-independence campaign, the emergence of the shape of the pro-union campaign, and the spectre of Tony Blair hovering threateningly over Scottish politics.
Scottish independence has long been viewed by the British political classes as eccentric and unworldly. The Economist’s ‘Bagehot’ column made a revealing comment this week when it stated that ‘the SNP took control of the Scottish Government in 2011’ (1), showing that for many in London this debate (and the threat of Scottish self-government) only really began with the election of a majority SNP Government in May last year.
The week of the launch of the ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign has confirmed the problematic right-wing trajectory of British politics, the Conservative Party and the Westminster village. First, there has been the leaking of the Beecroft deregulation report (2), which proposed that small employers should be able to ‘hire and fire’ at will, and which has been met with derision from Lib Dems. Second, more impressively and worryingly, was the huge report from the Taxpayers Alliance and Institute of Directors, the 2020 Tax Commission (3) which brought together 19 ‘experts’ (18 men and a solitary woman) to propose the toxic mix of a 30% single income tax, abolition of corporation tax and inheritance tax, and the shrinking of the state as a percentage from half to one-third of GDP.
This backdrop has a massive impact on Scotland, as UK politics heads inexorably towards a deregulated, marketised, individualised fantasy world which aspires to be some kind of Singapore or Hong Kong sitting off the European continent. And of course, there is the now nearly inevitable in/out European referendum, posing the question: what kind of union is it that the pro-union forces want to defend? Read the rest of this entry »
Alex Salmond, Rupert Murdoch and the Pitfalls of Crony Capitalism
The Guardian Comment, April 26th 2012
Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, has emerged as a significant player in the Leveson inquiry. This is a result of the release of 163 pages of emails from News Corporation which have publicised the extent of their contacts with the Scottish Government.
The charge is that the Scottish Government were prepared to go into bat for the Murdoch empire as a quid pro quo for ‘The Sun’ supporting the SNP in last year’s elections. This is contested and denied by Rupert Murdoch and Salmond.
What is incontrovertible is that Salmond agreed last March to make a call to Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary, to support Murdoch’s BSkyB takeover bid. This call was meant to happen, but didn’t.
To Salmond, this train of events is about the business of promoting Scotland, jobs and investment, as he has commented, ‘arguing for the Scottish interest is what this government does’. At First Minister’s Questions earlier today, he stated, ‘the job of a First Minister is to advocate jobs for Scotland’. Read the rest of this entry »
Scotland Names the Big Day and the Alex Salmond-Rupert Murdoch Relationship
The Guardian Comment, February 26th 2012
The launch of ‘the Sun on Sunday’ may have caused shockwaves in media and political circles in the corridors of power in London, but its headline about an Amanda Holden exclusive surely didn’t.
North of the border things were very different where a distinct Scottish version of ‘the Sun on Sunday’ was even more eagerly awaited and didn’t disappoint.
This was following Rupert Murdoch’s tweet this week that he was in favour of Scottish independence, declaring, ‘Let Scotland go and compete. Everyone would win.’
The ‘Scottish Sun on Sunday’ lived up to the expectations with a front page proclaiming a ‘Day of Destiny’ and revealing that the date of the independence poll will be October 18th 2014.
This is a massive moment. The SNP Government is in the middle of their own official consultation on the mechanics and details of the independence poll. And while this is ongoing they have decided to breach their own processes, all for gaining the favour and a headline from the new Murdoch paper. Read the rest of this entry »