Indeed, even Alex McFarage (OK, maybe it won't catch on) made this point, but of course it's all a bit rich since he claimed to be ready for an independence referendum several years ago, but when he actually gets the chance he needs to delay it for yet another couple of years. And part of Cameron's problem is the state of flux in the EU and the uncertainty thereto, not to mention the no doubt endlessly protracted nature of any negotiations on the UK's future in the (super-) state of the unknown. Which indeed the SNP should know all about because they don't have a clue what Scotland's position would be vis-à-vis Europe, they've been demonstrably less than honest about this, they've only just got round to asking the EU for an application form, and unfortunately the Commission won't even talk to them.
But it wouldn't do to let the facts get in the way of a bit of posturing and selectivity regarding the whole scenario. And, for example, even the ostensibly sober-ish Ruth Wishart uses a Bellyache Caledoctrination piece to haver on about Tory "Europhobes", "headbangers", and an "obsessive compulsive disorder" regarding their attitude to the EU. Which on her logic makes us Scots only marginally less so, and indeed makes the average Bella reader an Anglophobic headbanger with an obsessive, compulsive disorder over the UK. Likewise, Ruthy also talks of "Scottish Europeans", whereas I reckon the average Bellyacher would be in full obsessive headbanging mode at the mere suggestion of dual British-Scottish identity/nationality (as demonstrated by its Union flag-burning editor in the past - wonder if he'll be ceremoniously burning the EU flag anytime soon ["Michty me, whit a fine heat ye get off an auld [EU] imperialist rag"]).
Onywey, another several years of this from the self-indulgent, self-absorbed, self-aggrandising denizens of Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels (and their hangers-on) will highlight how they've caused so many problems in the past, and now they'll spend a good chunk of my remaining years ignoring the bread and butter issues, which in turn merely underlines the rest of this post, most of which was drafted much earlier in the month.
Apart from the increasingly tiresome - and pointless - slew of articles about the need for a civilised/constructive debate on the indy question and previews of 2013 that seemed remarkably similar to reviews of 2012, there hasn't really been that much interesting material in the media recently.
So I bravely ventured onto the Telegraph website and found a couple of articles which, while relating to the UK/Westminster context and not specifically mentioning Scotland at all, seemed equally pertinent to the Holyrood/independence context.
The first is by commentator Peter Oborne and is well worth a read, but for those pressed for time and/or of a nervous disposition, a couple of the more insightful paragraphs are included here. Thus he says of politicians generally:
"Members of the political class consider themselves exempt from the routine constraints that apply to their fellow citizens. They feel certain that they are making extraordinary sacrifices, and therefore deserve exceptional compensation (this emotion is the psychological trigger that sets off a great deal of low-level corruption). Once in government, they are soon part of a parallel reality, in which they live and breathe a separate world than the one experienced by voters."Oh yes indeedy!! And while Oborne states that the EU is even worse than Westminster in this regard, the relevance of such a critique to Holyrood should be obvious. Indeed, what he says about the EU per se is perhaps also of particular pertinence regarding the SNP's determination to be a member of the great Brussels bureaucracy. Oborne also critiques the whole European project and its self-evident 'existental' problems in the following terms, drawing on British v Continental intellectual/philosophical traditions:
"Anglo-Saxon empiricism and the idealism found on the Continent therefore prescribe directly opposite courses of political conduct. Empiricists are trained in scepticism and caution: if you put your hand in the fire once, you will not do so again. Idealists, by contrast, are much less likely to renounce a course of conduct or set of beliefs because reality gets in the way.
"Empiricists, alert to the lessons of history and conscious of man’s tragic imperfection, are wary. So they concentrate on specific rules – honesty, decency, accuracy, compassion to friends or care for a particular community. Idealists tend to embrace grand plans for social reconstruction or for general human salvation. They are much less worried by rule-breaking, especially if they believe that it serves the greater good."Which again resonates with my own rather cynical/realist view of Holyrood generally, and independence in particular. And combining Oborne's view of the EU with my own take on Holyrood perhaps explains why the latter's tribunes seem more predisposed towards the former than their equivalents at Westminster.
The other Telegraph article that caught my attention was by Janet Daley, who (paradoxically, given the dominant view of Westminster's Tories from the Scottish perspective) essentially critiques the Conservative-LibDem as being a bit too lefty-liberal and touchy-feely:
"There is nothing inherently modern about the totemic modernising issues that are (as defined not by me but by the standard-bearers themselves) green policies, gay marriage and international aid. They are simply the preoccupations of a specialised metropolitan elite, which takes pride in regarding the anxieties of the great mass of the population with contempt.
"To adopt those issues as political priorities is modern in only the disreputable sense: it is designed to indicate that you have embraced the fashionable snobbery – a kind of post-democratic chic in which the concerns of ordinary people are unworthy or unenlightened. Is this where the party leadership wishes to position itself? What is attractive about cultivating the influential rich of Islington and Shepherd’s Bush? Especially if that means despising, or relegating, the problems and genuine fears of most voters about, say, mass immigration, crime and economic hardship? And that brings us to the other notable misuse of language in this phoney war: the policies inevitably identified as being demanded by “the Right of the party” are, in fact, the ones clearly, and unabashedly, favoured by most people in the country."Of course, Scotland and the UK/England can hardly be characterised as identical in this regard, but from where I'm standing there's definitely certain parallels between what Daley describes as a "kind of post-democratic chic in which the concerns of ordinary people are unworthy or unenlightened" in London, and Scotland's uber-politically correct hoi oligoi, even if the pro-independence liberal left in particular would clearly baulk at such a comparison.
Onyhow, both Oborne's and Daley's articles seemed particularly apposite in view of Planet Politics' own existential crisis. And perhaps one reason for that is because it goes against the grain of Scotland's dominant political ethos (even ignoring the constitutional issue) and thus even after four years of tireless struggle this blogger's influence is self-evidently sub-marginal. And it's not even as if it's a case of trying to defend a minority viewpoint, because on the Ghandi scale - first they ignore you, then they call you a raving fascist racist bigot, etc - Planet Politics has never really gotten past first base!
But Peter Oborne's article in particular brings to mind this blog's original raison d'être, which - as the title and sub-title suggest - was to use my own personal experiences to hopefully shed a little light on some of the issues. But in recent times in particular even this has all but disappeared from the blog, with the vast majority of posts dealing with political process and other mainstream issues (perhaps because the level of interest in the 'real world' stuff is even less than that for the latter!) thus merely pontificating from the margins in an already crowded arena. [The remainder of this post in its original form, which wittered on at some length about the reasons for discontinuing this blog and also contained some observations and critique regarding Scottish politics and social media, was subsequently removed for brevity's sake.]
(And in other news, people with too much time on their hands have recreated how Alex Salmond looked before he bought lots of curries on his Westminster and Holyrood expense accounts. The graphic shows the young Mr Salmond contemplating his smash hit, "A Union's Nae A Union, For A' That".)
[Please note that this blog is no longer being updated.]