Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Devolution Dilemma


Every major speaker at this week's Scottish Labour Conference (yes it does exist), has made strong attacks on the Scottish National Party. John Reid, this morning, adopted his best tone of patronising outrage when he laid into the SNP, while Gordon Brown and the rising star Douglas Alexander (yet, I agree, to achieve worldwide name recognition) have also stuck the boot in.

Why? Well, apart from the fact that it is, I suppose, customary to attack one's opponents, all of these very Scottish ministers have got the wind up because of the latest twists in the devolution debate. As the parties ready themselves for the Scottish and Welsh elections next May, the SNP has led the calls to take devolution one step further, to outright independence. What must be worrying the Labour high command even more is the fact that, according to at least one news poll this morning, while 52% of Scots want independence, 58% of English respondents supported the idea. No fools they, as they look to be delivered from the whinging sassenachs and, even better, freed from the tax burden of supporting Scotland. The problem for Labour, the party of devolution, is that they may have unwittingly lit the long fuse that leads to break-up of the UK's present political state, which, by the by, would also force their many Scottish representatives at Westminster to concentrate on the much less glamorous world of the Scottish Parliament. Dear oh dear! As Labour heads towards a British General Election under the leadership of a Scot and his many Scots advisers, do they think they are staring into the black hole of so many bright Labour careers?

1 comment:

Lestaki said...

I was actually discussing this the other day, and it's an interesting issue. Here I find a conflict between my small c conservative instincts and musings on how much the Scottish seem to complain about these things while being overrepresented at Westminster, possessing their own devolutionary parliment on top of that and, indeed, doing well on our taxes. Even so, I can't see how Scottish independance could be good for the UK, and even more for Scotland. What, exactly, would they gain, compared to all they stand to lose?

The tactical aspect of this, leaving Gordon and friends stranded in Scotland is an amusing aside, but an aside nevertheless. Certainly, Labour started to tip the lid off the pressure cooker and may just get a faceful of hot water for their efforts at keeping it in place. Presumably this incident of that phenomena will feature less terrorist groups than tsarist Russia, but as time goes on the comparison may well stand.