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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Britain at the Polls - but no longer "Great" or "United" - let alone a...Kingdom

As the UK prepares to go tomorrow to the polls, I have a guilty secret to confess - I haven’t actually cast a vote since 1990 (when I voted for myself in the elections for Strathclyde Region)…..As someone who went into politics (in 1968) because it was so obviously an honourable activity, I’m glad that Scottish voters - due largely to the devolved parliament there and the new style of political conduct it introduced - still consider that the vote counts….Clearly that is not the case elsewhere in the UK
Although my posts in The Independence Argument – home thoughts from abroad showed that, ultimately, I had not been convinced by the argument for Scotland separating from the UK, I have been happy (and amazed) to see the speed with which erstwhile Scottish Labourites have shrugged off their tribal affiliations in recent months….......I was always vaguely annoyed when I was chapping the doors at election time to be told that “we’ve always been Labour here” – somehow I needed a more calibrated endorsement!!! 
Who could have anticipated the massive hemorrhaging of the Labour vote since the independence referendum  of last September???  

One pollster who has been focusing on individual British constituencies seems to be giving a boost to the decidedly un-British (but sensible) phenomenon of “tactical voting” – which seems to be empowering a lot of rightwing voters to hold their noses and switch their support to high-profile (but empty) characters such as Jim Murphy and Nick Clegg…..
I was actually moved by the John Harris video of doorstepping (with a 70-year parliamentarian no one has heard of) to write a comment about what an unctuous piece of stuff that particular guy was all the time I had known him on at the Scottish level before he went to Westminster…..and how staggering it was that he considered himself entitled to keep taking good money…..

My views on political parties these days are set out in the second part of Ways of Seeing….the global crisis. Scottish Television actually asked me yesterday to complete a short (and rather stupid) survey on the election – and I duly recorded that I would be voting Green (on principle, not tactics).

We seem, frankly, to be going backwards in British politics – in 2007 or so there was a strong electoral reform campaign (who remembers the Power Inquiry of 2004-06 and “Power 2010”?).
Now we just seem to have comedian Russell Brand’s antics  (intriguingly the German word for “fire”) – although people do seem to be taking more to the idea of coalition government….. 

Understandably, my preferred option would be for a Labour-SNP coalition (given the strong sniff of social democracy the latter exude) – but the collapse of the Labour vote in Scotland (they seem set to lose at least 30 of their 41 seats to the Scottish nationalists) seems paradoxically to have ruined Milibrand (!)’s chances of commanding the largest group of MPs……..
John Harris - in this latest clip whose accents may be difficult to follow.....- shows just how effective the Conservative propoganda seesm to hav been about the idea of a minority Labour Government depending on Scottish nationalist support....... 

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