Collective amnesia governs instead of the SNP in Scotland. Local councils have been stripped of their budgets, the NHS endures a roller coaster of budget cuts, disastrous waiting times and a shortage of nurses. Education has been mismanaged and colleges closed, despite promises not to, and dissenting voices across the political spectrum are treated as unpatriotic by representatives and supporters alike, particularly on social media.
If this was a UK Government, particularly a Tory one for that matter, it’s an impossibility that they would be let off the hook as easily as the SNP have been in Scotland.
The problem? People don’t listen. Nationalism has overridden pragmatism and the default blame game passes the buck onto Westminster cuts (despite the Scottish Government controlling, through its own spending, the aforementioned policy areas).
Nevertheless, the wildfire is now spreading south of the border. All indicators, particularly those polls from Lord Ashcroft, suggest the SNP will take most of Scotland’s 59 constituencies, including those of Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, and Charles Kennedy. Sir John Major recently called on Labour to rule out a pact with the SNP at Westminster. Lord Baker, the former Conservative Party chairman even called for a Labour-Conservative coalition to maintain the unity of the UK after the May General Election.
Why bother? Let’s use the opportunity to expose these people for what they are.
Even if every single constituency in Scotland fell to the SNP, and even if they may ‘hold the balance of power’ or be ‘kingmakers’ the same nonsense that passes for government in Scotland will not be tolerated at Westminster. The fact that the party felt the need to issue a directive demanding that no member of the Westminster group “publicly criticise a decision, policy or another member” is a telling sign as to how they think their MPs will hold up under scrutiny and pressure.
Labour under Ed Miliband may not be the most competent, or effective, opposition to have ever sat opposite Her Majesty’s Government, but they are certainly one that is listened to, and more importantly, reported on in the national press. The bubble of Scottish politics will no longer be ample protection for a bloated SNP group at Westminster – they will be caught out in as much the same way as Green leader Natalie Bennett has been repeatedly embarrassed by not being able to account for her own party’s policies.
The SNP has a hubristic arrogance to governance; condemning every other representative under the sun whilst accomplishing little to nothing of the radical change, the prosperity or the fundamental improvements they think make them morally superior to every other political party in Scotland. When called out on it? ‘Only independence can solve every ill’ – despite the bedrock of their post-independence economic policy, North Sea oil, all but collapsing in price to the cost of several thousand jobs. Who do they call on to protect people’s livelihoods with tax relief? The UK Government.
Business is stifled in Scotland and the public sector, once the jewel in the crown of Scottish altruism, is being degraded under a barrage of hypocrisy. Bloated management, overworked staff, from teachers to police officers to nurses, are bearing the brunt of a government that preferred to waste two years deferring every problem to ‘it will be solved after independence’ while doing nothing to address chronic issues with the power and money that they had.
The problem is not just the SNP. Scottish politics remains a graveyard of opposition, despite the only real talent of Ruth Davidson making a fight of it every day of every week. An absence of character and of tax-raising powers to make every debate about every penny in your pocket has allowed ideational concepts to replace the debates that matter to people every day.
It’s a sad state of affairs for Scotland, but it’s a storm that’s spreading and one that looks ready to hit the rest of the UK come May. The UK still has a chance. Do not allow these people to remain unaccountable. Give them all the power they want, watch as their hubris is eaten alive by Westminster but do not, do not, do not allow them to turn the rest of the UK into the same Orwellian petri dish that they’ve turned Scotland into.