Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Parliament’
Seven Suggestions for Scottish Labour to be the Party of Change
The Scotsman, April 20th 2013
It seems to be the age of seven questions as Tony Blair once again acts as an uncomfortable sage for Labour and Ed Miliband.
With Labour meeting in Inverness this weekend and the party’s Devolution Commission interim report out, it is time for Scottish Labour to assess where it is and what it needs to do to change and to start shaping the political weather.
Here then are my seven observations and suggestions for you Johann:
1. Careless Talk Costs Political Lives
Your ‘something for nothing’ speech has gone down in political mythology; not quite the ‘Sermon on the Mound’, but cast that way by opponents. There was a point to your argument, but strategically and tactically, it was ineptly executed. There was no preparatory work, of building advance positions, and signing up significant allies prior to the speech.
The language was counter-productive and damaging to Labour. ‘Something for nothing’ might work as a soundbite from your spin-doctor Paul Sinclair or in a ‘Daily Record’ editorial, but it deeply hurts Labour by embracing right wing populist rhetoric. Read the rest of this entry »
The Scottish Press, Generation Gridlock and Living with Crony Capitalism
Scottish Review, March 21st 2013
The Scottish media and press are not exactly in a healthy state; facing pressures and constrictions from every angle, from the expectations and demands of an independence referendum, to disappearing audiences and revenues.
This is the backdrop to Leveson, the Scottish ‘expert’ response (the McCluskey report), and the debate so far.
Twenty years ago, the atmosphere was completely different, filled with the air of self-congratulation and smugness of everything being labeled ‘Scottish’ and the press defined by ‘Real Scots Read the Record’ versus ‘Rise Now and Be a Nation’ ‘Scottish Sun’.
How things change as Alex Massie’s poignant lament for a world slowly withering made clear. As he also pointed out, parts of the Scottish press with their limited, dwindling resources have been trying their best to do a decent job, unnoticed by large parts of their potential audience.
Yet there are many siren, certain voices who revel in the current situation. The most prevalent strand is that of a nationalist viewpoint who feel independence has not historically and still does not get a fair deal, from what has been until recent decades, a liberal unionist press. This allows them to embrace a rather unattractive schadenfreude and talk of the demise of a declining, failed industry. Read the rest of this entry »
The UKIP Policy Nigel Farage Doesn’t Want to Talk About
Open Democracy, March 8th 2013
UKIP are suddenly everywhere in the aftermath of their second place and 28% in the Eastleigh by-election. Nigel Farage, their irascible leader, is even more omnipotent with even more appearances on BBC ‘Question Time’ to look forward too.
North of the border UKIP have always had a perception, identity and popularity problem. They are widely seen as an English nationalist party, one whose idea of Britain is narrowly centred on a time when the two terms could be used interchangeably. It is a mindset stuck in a timewarp situated between the 1950s and 1970s, between the beginning and end of the Empire, and which yearns for an England which began to completely disappear in the decade of ‘The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin’ and ‘The Good Life’.
Nevertheless Scottish politics is not immune to people harking back to better yesterdays, and certainly there is a similar popular sentiment and aura of anti-politics, which dismisses all mainstream politics and politicians, in Scotland as elsewhere in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »
The Missing Ingredient in Scottish Labour: Leadership
The Scotsman, September 17th 2011
The Scottish Labour Party might be in a terrible place at the moment, but it believes that it is slowly beginning to dig itself out of the mess it is in.
It has started to address the inadequacies of its structures through the Jim Murphy-Sarah Boyack review – which seems so far more cautious, than transformative.
Politics isn’t just about structure, but more tangible issues such as culture, purpose and the issue of leadership. Labour politicians touched on this during and after the election when they lamented that their party did not have a leader who was the calibre of Alex Salmond, or any equivalent of ‘Team Salmond’.
What is missing from Scottish Labour is any sense of public leadership. Leadership is about a number of ingredients – vision, building trust, taking decisions, making things happen, taking people with you, and communicating to colleagues and the public. Read the rest of this entry »
The New Market Man of History and the McCliche View of Scotland
Open Democracy, April 7th 2011
The Scottish Parliament elections are if not in full swing, then reaching a certain tempo. This week has seen the launch of the Tory, Lib Dem and Labour manifestos, next week the SNP, and even the notorious Londoncentric media and political classes have twigged that there something is going in Scotland which they don’t like or understand.
Andrew Neil is a talented broadcaster and ‘The Daily Politics’ and ‘This Week’ both good TV and must watches for the Westminster classes. However, Neil comes with significant baggage, and on many occasions, his right wing, populist views of the world slip through: the state is too big, regulation too over-bearing, the public sector needs culled, and free market buccaneers like himself need liberated.
So on Sunday’s ‘The Politics Show’ it was both revealing and illuminating when Neil came north to give us his take on the Scottish elections (1). What it showed is the deep entrenchment of a kind of new establishment commonsense which extents from politicians and policy wonks to renaissance men like Neil (and Niall Ferguson, Andrew Roberts and David Starkey), who all give succour to the black and white thinking of the market order. Read the rest of this entry »