I’m not an Extremist, I’m a democrat.

I don’t know about you but I know I am really bored, if not a little pissed off, with the continued implication that the fact I will vote SNP in the General Election makes me an extremist as far as the establishment is concerned in this country. I am sick of the implication that somehow a vote for the SNP is an anti-democratic vote, that somehow my vote for the SNP is worth less than a vote for Labour, Conservative or Liberals.

I am sick of the comments from politicians of the three unionist parties and various commentators accusing our democratic right to vote for who we want as some form of threat to democracy. That if we vote SNP we will be holding the rest of the UK’s voters to ransom, the implication here being that England must be allowed to decide who the Government is for the United Kingdom.

The arrogance of the assumptions regarding the make up of any Government in the United Kingdom is astounding, if not actually frightening and enlightening. If you didn’t know where Scotland stands in the United Kingdom pecking order you do now. The unionists begged Scotland to stay in the ‘union’, please don’t leave we are Better Together. How hollow that must feel now to all the no voters.

Now I have been very clear on my views, I think the SNP have played the campaign wrong in many ways but none more so than all the talk about holding the balance of power, of being willing to be the kingmakers to Ed Miliband and Labour, of Trident being a red line in the sand etc.

I totally agree with scrapping Trident but it will never happen within our Westminster system, I totally agree with ending austerity but it will never happen in the way the SNP are demanding. However, where I don’t believe the SNP strategy helps and where I don’t agree with the SNP is that they should not be publicly seeking any deal with anyone at this point, win the bloody seats first and then see where the cards fall. The SNP strategy makes a Labour/Conservative coalition more likely than it does any other, the SNP strategy makes another general election within a few months more likely. The SNP strategy runs the risk of, as we are seeing, the right wing media and unionist parties painting my vote as some form of extremist protest which not only damages the SNP’s chances of really making an impact in this election, but also those right wing attacks seriously damage our democracy at a time when it has never been under greater threat from the three right wing unionist parties and the racists of UKip.

Now some might argue that all of the talk of SNP extremists, and Scots not being allowed to influence UK politics brings independence that little bit closer and they may well be correct, but I absolutely do not accept the implication that because I am a Scottish Democrat I am somehow less worthy and that my vote means less than an English, Welsh or Irish vote, that somehow an MP from Scotland is worth less than an MP from other parts of the UK.

This is a very dangerous game that is being played in my opinion, it plays into the hands of more right wing parties like UKip and takes us down a path that the UK cannot afford and that parts of Europe may already be going down. I accept that language within politics gets extreme, that passions on all sides get worked up, I accept that I may have used language in the past that might have upset unionists. But what I have never done is called people extremists, I have never questioned their right to vote for who or what they want, so my point is this. When you call SNP voters extremists, when you question our right to vote, our right to influence the union, our right to influence Government, our right to our political beliefs, you put at risk the very nature of our democracy and you might actually be creating the very extremists you fear.

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4 comments

  1. Joseph Tierney

    Hello Bruce, I am a card carrying member of the SNP but live in England so I cannot vote for them this year. I will be giving my electoral dividend to the Greens, pointless as that is because I live in a Tory safe seat. I have to say that I disagree with your analysis of SNP strategy in choosing to declare publicly and loudly what their red lines are. This is a UK GE, the SNP have no chance of forming the UK govt. and they cannot, as a matter of principle, enter a formal coalition and take ministerial posts, if you think the media are hysterical now imagine what they would have been like if the SNP hadn’t ruled it out straight away? Miliband was pushed and pushed to deny any ‘coalition’ deal from the off, despite the fact it wasn’t on the table so the SNP were ahead of the curve. If they hadn’t made clear their position then Miliband’s refusal to enter one would have been used as a giant stick to beat them with. They also had to reassure wavering Labour voters in Scotland that they would never do a LibDem and prop up a Tory government, this seems to have paid off spectacularly well given the latest Ashcroft polls.

    Early on in the campaign, polling emerged to show a majority of prospective Labour candidates were against the renewal of Trident. There are two points to consider here from an SNP point of view based on that information and our own, much vaunted opposition to Trident. Point one, a minority Labour govt may offer a free vote on Trident to prevent a backbench rebellion so it is conceivable, though I fear unlikely, that the SNP could prevail by pushing for this, point two, any lapse, stumble or back step from the moral high ground on this matter is manna from heaven for the press pack eager for a sniff of SNP blood.

    With regard to austerity, Sturgeon’s pitch in the first national debate gave her exposure to a UK audience, unfiltered through a prism of MSM negativity, and set the social network on fire. For the SNP south of the border it is all about calming the horses. For the SNP north of the border it’s all about the seats. They will be won by campaigning hard on the doorstep. The SNP may become the third biggest party at Westminster but we will always be outsiders – as much through our own choice as anyone else’s – so there is little point in hiding our light under a bushel.

    The media rhetoric is always going to be nonsense for the most part but occasional pieces of sanity erupt now and again, even among diehards on the Daily Telegraph. James Kirkup – yeah I know, crazy- wrote a very candid, thoughtful piece on the equality of MPs and how dangerous it is for supporters of the Union to force a division in value between them. A house divided against itself cannot stand, pragmatism will out in the end.

    • Anonymous

      Joseph

      Thank you for your excellent reply, I really appreciate you sharing your opinion with myself and for anyone else who might stumble upon my rants.

      I can see where you are coming from but I’m afraid we will have to agree to disagree in some areas. Miliband, I agree, had no choice but to rule out any coalition with the SNP even though the SNP had already said they wouldn’t enter into one anyway. Trident will remain no matter what happens, the unionist parties, no matter what even their members or MPs might think will retain Trident at all costs, it’s nothing to do with security but everything to do with vanity and how they actually still believe Britain is a world power, which of course it is not.

      The SNP by declaring their position have allowed the other parties to know their thoughts and whatever we might think many English voters don’t like it. It doesn’t matter that England has dominated UK Politics for over 300 years the thought of any of the smaller parties holding the balance of power gets them really angry, and none more so the SNP. Many also think that Scotland voted to stay so the status quo is how it should be. For many in England they really do not see the UK as a union at all, many feel that they put up with Wales, N.Ireland and the Scots. All bollocks but it is what it is.

      The other thing for many in Scotland is that Labour have walked all over Scotland for 100 years, enriching themselves at the cost of poor outcomes for many Scots. Any deal with Labour is equally as toxic as a deal with the Tories and the SNP could end up paying a heavy price for that in the future because labour will shaft the SNP at the first opportunity. The other thing is that Labour and the Tories are very weak now, they have in many ways nothing to lose. Given their feeling of entitlement in this country they might just form a so called coalition in the national interest and hope for the best. Now I think that would really push Scotland even quicker towards independence but it would not surprise me at all, the unionists are at the last throw of the dice stage before they have to be forced to bring about serious political change be it PR or the UK becoming a federal system where only defence and foreign policy are shared, now that suits me but scares them.

      I really would have preferred the SNP to keep the powder dry until after the election, and many SNP members here in Dundee agree with that. Time will tell I guess who called it right or who didn’t but I am still very nervous about this election and it’s outcome. We were well and truly shafted during the referendum and if we are not careful we will fall into the same traps again.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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