Saturday, 28 March 2015

The demonisation of the Scots

Above, a Conservative Party campaign advertisement. At bottom, a misogynistic excerpt from the English Sun on 10 March 2015. (It didn't run in the Scottish Sun; the two often run articles that are diametrically opposed.) And here, a transcript from an interview with Nicola Sturgeon on the Today Programme, 28 March 2015 (interview begins at 1:50:30). The transcript doesn't capture the way John Humphrys speaks over Sturgeon, in order to call her arrogant three times in arrow.
Humphrys: Put yourself in the position of somebody in an English constituency listening to a Scot saying we can lock the Tories out of government. It's entirely possible the Tories will win the most seats, certainly the most votes, in England, and yet here we have a Scottish leader saying we can lock them out of government even though we ourselves want to be independent of that country. It's surpassingly arrogant, isn't it?
Sturgeon: Governments at Westminster have to be able to command a majority. Firstly, it's a matter of simple arithmetic that if there are more anti-Tory MPs in the House of Commons then Tory MPs then we can choose to lock the Tories out of government.
Humphrys: I know, what I'm saying is that it looks incredibly arrogant of you.
Sturgeon: Let me come onto that in a second.
Humphrys: No, no, I take the arithmetical point. But it is breathtakingly arrogant of you. You want independence yet you're saying that we're going to deny the English people the government that they want.
Sturgeon: Let me speak to the listeners in England. You know Scotland right now, just as a matter of fact, has a Tory government when the Tories have one MP in Scotland. Now in the UK it is who can command a majority.  What I'm saying is the kind of policies that the SNP would want to pursue in the House of Commons I think would find support not just in Scotland but in the UK. But the fundamental principle here is that if you want to be the government in the House of Commons then you have to command the majority, and if the Tories can't command the majority then they don't deserve to be the government.
Am I the only one who finds Humphrys argument profoundly anti-democratic? Demon = No Dem.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Cobblers, common sense, and civil servants

Labour keeps banging on `Vote SNP, Get Tory', claiming that the party with the most seats will get first crack at forming a government. Common sense says this is cobblers, and it turns out the high-ranking civil servants agree with common sense. From Common Space.
THE civil servant who was crucial to forming the current UK government has said that a deal including the Scottish National Party is a “feasible scenario” based on current polling figures.
Sir Gus O’Donnell - whose name is abbreviated to ‘GOD’ inside the political establishment - made the comments to The Guardian when questioned on the implications of a hung parliament.
And from the Guardian.
O’Donnnell said: “The one thing we need to be aware of is people thinking that what Nick Clegg said last time constituted an iron law that only the biggest party, somehow defined either by seats or votes, gets to have the first say. That is not true.”
He added that current polls suggest the most likely government would involve a Labour-Lib Dem coalition supported by the SNP. “If you look at the numbers that looks like a feasible scenario,” he said.