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?