Posts Tagged ‘Scottish politics’
Power to the People not the Political Class
Sunday Mail, March 1st 2015
The airwaves this week have been filled with the sound of politicians crashing and burning.
Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw were caught in yet another ‘cash for access’ scandal, while on the next day, English Green leader Natalie Bennett found it impossible to offer the most basic costings of her party’s housing policies.
These instances – and the reactions of politicians and public to them – raise questions about what kind of politicians voters want to represent them. And what kind of politics. Once upon a time both parliamentarians and public felt they knew the answer to this. No longer.
People can talk about the sad state of the Westminster Parliament and the quality of debates and representatives. But there is a much deeper set of issues. If we look closer to home to the Scottish Parliament or across local government, who beyond a couple of the prominent figures in the main parties shine and connects to people? Read the rest of this entry »
Can Ruth Davidson persuade us to listen to the Scottish Tories?
Sunday Mail, February 22nd 2015
Two of Scotland’s established parties had a good independence referendum: the SNP who are now prospering in the polls and the Scottish Tories who have been gathering this weekend in Edinburgh.
For once the Tories have something to cheer about. In Ruth Davidson the party have a personable, likeable leader who is comfortable and growing into the job.
Her Conservative video released this week was another talking point – modern, relevant, human, showing her with her parents – and her partner, Jen.
There is more. On several issues the Tories have been scoring hits. Take John Swinney’s stamp duty reforms. The Tories have hit a political home run and forced the Scottish Government to retreat. Read the rest of this entry »
Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and the Age of Anti-Austerity Politics
Sunday Mail, February 15th 2015
It has been a week filled with economic news and controversies.
There was the imploding crisis of HSBC’s secret Swiss bank accounts and tax avoidance; the on-going Greek-German Governments European stand-off which threatens the future of the entire euro zone; while Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, is getting people ready for a year of flat or even falling prices.
At the same time after years of public spending constraints and cuts, across large parts of Europe there is a widespread movement and force for anti-austerity politics. This can be seen in the rise of Syriza in Greece, the newly created popular Podemos in Spain, and – this week – in Nicola Sturgeon laying out the SNP’s position in a major London speech.
Sturgeon’s speech attracted lots of London media interest. And whether people agreed or not they took her and her agenda seriously. It was a considered and timely intervention, and seen as that by even her opponents. Read the rest of this entry »
Scottish Labour and how the World As We Know It Turned Upside Down
Sunday Mail, February 8th 2015
The Scotland we have known has been turned upside down.
Once Scottish politics followed certain, predictable lines. Scottish Labour had become the dominant party of the land. It sent 40-50 MPs to Westminster, ran most of local government, and in huge swathes of Scotland no real opposition existed.
All empires come to an end. And so it has proven with Scottish Labour.
The party which was on the winning side of the independence referendum now finds itself facing electoral Armageddon in a few months in the forthcoming UK general election. That has been the consistent picture of national polls since last September, and now Lord Ashcroft’s constituency polls paint a bleak scenario of what once were Labour heartlands.
How has it come to this? The immediate background and explanation put by many is only part of the story. This states that Labour fought a politically inept, ill-advised campaign in the referendum. Most seriously, it is argued that it made the strategic mistake of aligning with the toxic Tories in Better Together and is now paying a heavy price. Read the rest of this entry »
The Myth of ‘Glasgow Man’
Sunday Mail, February 1st 2015
‘Glasgow man’ is expected to be a critical factor in the forthcoming general election contest in Scotland.
He, or it, is central to Jim Murphy’s attempt to save Scottish Labour and win back 200,000 Labour supporters who voted Yes in the referendum. It is also pivotal to the SNP’s attempt to breakthrough in traditional Labour seats.
Glasgow man is shorthand for a certain political demographic – the equivalent of ‘Basildon man’ who supposedly won it for Thatcher, and of ‘Mondeo man’ who contributed to Blair’s three election victories.
Glasgow man is meant to represent men in the city, and in North and South Lanarkshire, aged between 25-40 years, who voted Labour in the 2010 Westminster election and didn’t in the 2011 Scottish Parliament contest, and who voted Yes in the referendum.
Glasgow man implies a certain outlook: masculinist, certain and sure of their views, and reflecting the city, its politics and culture. Underneath there is a definite whiff of caricatures of working class men – of football, drink and tobacco, and more subtlely, of a sepia tinged radicalism and potent nostalgia. Read the rest of this entry »