Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Alex Salmond... the luckiest man in UK politics?

What a difference a year has made. On November 30th 2009, Alex Salmond must have surely hoped that today would have been the first step on the road to Scottish Separation. Instead, he must today be thanking his lucky stars that he has been saved what surely would have been a crashing humiliation from the Scottish electorate if his dream referendum had ever gone ahead.

As I mentioned at the time and on occasions since, I think the pro-Union parties should have taken him on and delivered that crushing humiliation even earlier. Due to a complete lack of courage, however, they cobbled together the constitutional dog's dinner that is Calman, now translated into the Scotland Bill as of yesterday.

Despite his whinging, Salmond knows today he has been delivered a piece of respectable consolation from what should otherwise have been  a complete rout.


Chekov said...

Can't disagree with Cochrane that the Scotland Bill represents an extraordinary gain for the SNP in extremely unpropitious circumstances.

O'Neill said...

Gerry Hassan speaking about Calman from a slightly different perspective:

The current Calman proposals show the political and historical illiteracy and wish-fulfilment of the British political classes, state, government and wider political community. They tell a wider story of crisis, loss of confidence and a misunderstanding of the nature of the UK, the nations and regions within it, and the obstacles and resistance which will be posed to challenging the centralist order which Britain has become. Calman in this isn’t part of the solution, but part of the problem

The Aberdonian said...

Just Hassan's full article and it is very interesting. Goes back to my theory (not mentioned for a while!) that the UK is going through many of the problems of Austria-Hungary in its last decades - that of steering military and economic decline, rising nationalism within the state (linked to the decline, lets be honest) and the refusal of the powers that be to anything about it except throw ramshackle solutions in an effort to save themselves and keep power firmly in their hands.

I welcome Calman on principle but Hassan is correct that it has not really been thought out.

The Scotsman this week said the present SNP government's longest lasting legacy will be bringing about Calman by its very existence. The SNP victory (marginal though it was) was the spur for this.

Lemin said...

The overall trend over many decades, indeed since the mid-19th century, has been in the direction of independence, and I don't see it stopping now. Similar movements abroad that I have studied have all proceeded in a series of waves, with each one reaching a higher point than the one before. Minor fluctuations are bound to occur as a result of transitional developments like the recent financial debacles, but there is no reason to believe that the long-term trend is going to change.

The UK is one of the last conglomerate states in Europe, and the same trend is clearly evident in Belgium and Spain, for example. Since 1989 a total of 24 new states have gained their independence in Europe and Western Asia. Any reasons Scotland may have had for remaining within the Union have now largely disappeared.

We are living in a very different world from that of 1707, and the functions of the Union from Scotland's point of view are now largely exercised at European and global level. Scotland just doesn't need the Union any longer. Unfortunately, England badly needs Scotland's economic wealth, and quite a lot of people are not fully up to date with the realities of the modern world, so I suppose that the controversy will continue for some time yet.