TIME FOR QUESTIONS

TIME FOR QUESTIONS?

I watched a recording of Question Time from Glasgow, which I think was broadcast on 5 March, and am still reeling in astonishment.

I am no longer resident in Scotland (although still Scotland Forever in my heart) and therefore I cannot claim to read the groundswell of current opinion on any issue of the day. I discuss these matters with family and friends of course, but I do not claim to have a typical Scottish reaction any more.

Since the Referendum, the issue has subsided somewhat I thought (and certainly here in the Deep South most people sincerely hope it’s dead in the water) and I wondered if the Scots would lose their stomach for the fight, and just settle for the status quo. Judging by the passionate response of the audience, this does not appear to be the case. (I should state that the city was Glasgow, which voted Yes, but I still believe the views expressed by the audience were representative of Scots views in general.)

Scotland, since the dark days of Margaret Thatcher, has loathed the Tory party with an intensity that I doubt if our fellow nations realise, far less understand. Whereas once the Tories had a strong presence in Scotland, since that unhappy time their support has dwindled to a paltry one or two MPs.

Labour, on the other hand, has always been the natural party for the left-thinking Scotland. I had wondered if after the failure of the Yes vote in the Referendum, Scotland would revert to its ‘normal’ position. I was astounded at the outright hostility the audience repeatedly displayed towards Labour, almost indeed that same intensity of loathing it has for the despised Tories. One characteristic of the Scots – I have it myself and it’s not one of our more charming attributes – is that once our resentment is aroused, (and believing ourselves to have just cause) we can hold to our position in perpetuity and be spectacularly unforgiving. I was quite shaken by the depth of feeling which accompanied the audience’s loss of trust in Labour. I think this resentment will take decades, if not actual generations, to dissipate.

I was also extremely surprised that all the politicians of whatever party admitted that they thought their party would lose to the SNP in Scotland and quite evidently the majority of them felt they were at a high risk of losing their own seat in the first following election that would affect them. Since politicians are generally tiresomely upbeat about their prospects even in the face of the most discouraging of polls, for them to admit these fears in public before the election was unprecedented.

I can think of three possible reasons for this reaction. (All three may apply.)

1 It is possible that the Scots despised the Tories so much that even for Labour to share a platform with them would lead to condemnation by association.

2 Since it appears that Labour’s sole preoccupation in its support for the No vote was to preserve its power base IN WESTMINSTER, it was evident to the Scots that though they had supported Labour for decades, their loyalty was not returned, and that Labour did not give Scotland first priority or have its best interests at heart. I think Scotland felt like a woman who discovers that her fiance has only proposed to her because of her wealth, which he plans to spend on another woman whom he actually loves.

3 It would seem that more people than the 47% who actually voted Yes wanted either independence or (more likely in the case of No voters) devo-max; and were persuaded by Gordon Brown that they could still obtain this if they chose the safer and less disruptive No option. But as soon as the vote was cast and the immediate danger over, Cameron (he is a politician after all, what did they expect) began re-adjusting his position, and Scots whowanted Yes but voted No may have felt duped. They can’t dislike the Tories any more than they already do, but they feel Labour has betrayed them and they intend to lay the full burden of their resentment on Labour.

In a previous blog, (Referendum: Winners and Losers) I listed those persons whose reputations I felt had suffered damage in Scotland because of their actions in regard to the Referendum. I counted the loss of Gordon Brown as a champion of Scotland as our greatest grief, although even his neutral advice would have been acceptable if that was all he felt he could in conscience offer. But behaving as he did, I felt he was the greatest betrayer of our trust and affection since Bonnie Prince Charlie. However, I thought this was just my private opinion, as I had read no public condemnation of him. But I begin to suspect that this judgement is more widely held than I had supposed. Gordon Brown is not standing for his Westminster seat in the May elections. I wish he were. He had a majority of 23,000 and I’d really like to see him lose.

We are not a nice people when we are well and truly offended and once we are in that mindset, empires can fall and kings be overthrown and it all makes no difference to our view. On reflection, I think those politicians have good reason to be pessimistic on their chances of retaining Scottish seats.

Scotland forever!

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About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

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