“The model of democracy we’ve adopted is unimaginative and follows Westminster too closely,” (James Mitchell) – The article in the Herald by Neil Mackay is well worth a read and links to my blog yesterday in some ways but it really isn’t saying anything that we don’t already know while making a few assumptions that may or may not be true. Our politics is broken, not just in Scotland, but in the whole of the UK. Many of us have been arguing this for years so nothing James Mitchell says comes as any surprise to be honest, the failure in our politics sits in many ways with the politicians too afraid to act and do the right things, and ourselves, as I noted yesterday, for our failure to ensure our political parties reflect our beliefs. What he fails to mention is that our political system, while being democratic in some ways, is also corrupt and does not reflect the possibility of change that could take place if it was not designed to maintain an historic elitism and sense of entitlement, hence why we have an independence movement in the first place that around 50% of the voters support.
Scottish politics is “immature”.
If we became independent, we would do so with a “dysfunctional model” of Government. The SNP puts campaigning before governing; it is “fundamentalist”, a “mirror image” of Conservatives. Local democracy is “worse than pre-devolution, which is staggering”; Government accountability is “utterly inadequate”; and “debate too parochial” with everything “viewed through a constitutionalist lens”. “The model of democracy we’ve adopted is unimaginative and follows Westminster too closely,” Mitchell says.
Of course everything is going to be viewed through a constitutional lens when the voters are treated to politics via a FPTP system designed to elect governments on minority votes, Governments that favour parties elected from one part of the United Kingdom who will never ever represent the interests of the majority of Scotland in a Parliament designed to maintain the power of Westminster at all costs, duh. A political system designed with ground hog day in mind and the denial of democracy more important than the growth of democracy.
Centralisation, dysfunction, extremism, power, federalism
We already know that both Westminster and Edinburgh have ensured that power in it’s various guises stays within both of those parliaments. We know that the UK, so in effect Scotland, are dysfunctional politically. Many of us understand that our political parties have been infected by extremists on all sides of the right or centre right where the narrative is power at all costs set up to serve an economic model that is broken. Some of us understand that a more inclusive democratic federal model of democracy where power is actually devolved would be healthier to our model of government with a voting system based on proportional representation, but we also know that in the UK that is not going to happen, so again, it is why there is an independence movement in the first place. It’s not rocket science is it.
Mitchell goes on to talk about how Scotland also “tends to measure everything” against London. “We don’t really raise our eyes,” I agree with that and have argued myself in this blog that the SNP have needed to stop doing that for years, that comparing everything to how bad England is not the way to build confidence in an independent Scotland, good governance is the way to do that.
Scotland “shares illness” when it comes to politics “with the rest of the UK”. Mitchell concludes: “If I were a doctor, I’d say ‘if we don’t do something it’s going to get worse, it’s going to get really bad’.
Mitchell goes on to discuss the treatment of journalists, the Supreme Court Case, the cowardice I suppose of the SNP and the extremism of the Tories. I agree with some of his points and not so much with others but his essay highlights how broken politics is in Scotland and the wider UK, again which we all know, and as I said yesterday this crisis is an opportunity for change if we are just brave enough to reach out and take the opportunity. Have a read of the article, let me know what you think, let others who read this blog know what you think, it’s how we will bring about some change, by learning and sharing our own opinions and experiences we might just get one other person to have a wee think.
It was an interesting read. Like you I don’t agree with everything he said and it’s entirely obvious he’s a Unionist/British nationalist and he’s viewing things from that prism.
“There’s no doubt leaving the UK would be far more damaging that the current situation.”
Actually James there is a lot of doubt about that. Even if it was more difficult in the short term, in the medium term and onwards it would be MUCH better for Scotland as it has been for every cou7ntry that has escaped Westminster rule.
“Mitchell says the SNP has changed significantly. “Since 2014, it’s become very absolutist. There’s a new fundamentalism.”
Yes it has and it has changed for the worse as he points out.
“Nicola Sturgeon is a phenomenal campaigner, an amazingly effective communicator – the best in the UK. However, I wouldn’t say that about her ability in Government”.
Indeed imho she has been the worst FM ever and we’ve had Jack McConnell! He points out that if the SNP governed devolution better it would persuade more people about independence. Yes that was Salmond’s view and exactly what he did. The much vaunted SNP achievements were all delivered or instigated during 2007-2014 bar baby boxes which I don’t really regard as an much of an achievement.
“but what I’ve no sympathy for is the idea we just have a vote on independence. There are other options. We need to broaden out the constitutional question.”
Oh come on mate you’re an intelligent man. If there were other options that were ever doing to be delivered they would have been delivered by now. Instead the Tories are reversing devolution and the only option they are considering is direct rule.
” Scottish Labour must “address this” and provide alternatives “because if the alternative is the status quo or independence, it’s not giving us much choice”.
And HOW are SLAB going to do this. I mean they could offer alternatives, indeed so could I but they have no way of delivering them. It’s like me considering alternatives for spending my non existent lottery jackpot win, pointless! I see later on he mentions the federalism fairy whereby my country, one that it older than England becomes the equivalent of an English shire. No thank you. There is no federal country in the world that has done as he suggests and creates federal states of equal(ish) populations.
“and I’m very strongly in favour of getting back into Europe, but the only route, whether you believe in independence or not, is through the whole UK rejoining”.
Well that’s just nonsense. Scotland could join EFTA and be in the single market but not the customs union. EFTA have a Free Trade Deal with the UK/rUK. And even if it where true, the whole UK is NEVER rejoining. The English nationalists don’t want too and the EU would never let them as they’ve seen what a duplicitous and lying bunch they are.
Anyway that’s enough for now though there’s more to analyse as this comment is article length already!
Couldn’t agree more, for myself it has always been about democracy. Democracy, and the lack of, is why I support independence, even if we/I were to be worse off I am happy to accept that as long as all decisions are made in Scotland, answerable to Scottish voters, in a system based on proportional representation with far more power devolved to local councils. I would also have less local councils to a degree but more representation, more wards. I did find the essay interesting, it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know, and it felt like it was aimed at a high school modern studies student but given the politically illiterate that we still have in Scotland I can see why it has been aimed at a lower level. The EU bit I just found nonsense to be honest, delusional in every respect but that showed his true colours. I know he is reported as supporting independence but a lot of people say they support independence and we know they don’t.
Thanks for commenting.
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