Hold your nose and take the brave pills

Hold your nose and take the brave pills

by Brian Monteith
article from Thursday 7, May, 2015

SO HERE WE ARE after a six-week-long general election campaign and we seem to be no clearer about what the real costs and honest intentions of the main parties are. 

In a clever example of how to do a manifesto that has shown the other establishment parties up for the charlatans that they are only Ukip has gone to the trouble of having its manifesto independently audited – and given a clean bill of health. Such is the distracted nature of this election that Ukip could be forgiven for wondering why it bothered.

Writing in The Scotsman on Monday I called the campaign the “most asinine and fatuous general election since universal suffrage gave us all a say in our country's destiny.” Over the remaining few days my opinion has not changed, indeed it has only been confirmed by the behaviour of the broadcasting media and the political leaders who live in their own private bubbles.

The media is fixated on discussing the power-broking and deal-making that is likely to follow the election to the detriment of in-depth discussion about the real issues. If we are to go down the road of more TV debates why can we not have a whole night given over each to welfare & pensions, defence and foreign policy, healthcare, education, the economy and our environment? 

How many times must we be told the latest meaningless polls and how we have no written constitution (with the implication we need one) – when we know the polls are snapshots with a large degree of variability that rarely compare like with like, and that our constitutional process is laid down by many separate laws that have allowed us to evolve our democracy over time. 

Meanwhile political leaders have tried every PR stunt in the book to provide pre-staged events that are as souless as the participants are lacking in real-life expereince.

The chief example of how vacuous the election campaign has been is the extent to which the economy has hardly figured at all. This state of affairs says much about the intellectually-lite and philosophically-averse leadership of the Conservative Party and wholly benefits the socialist parties who all wish to pillage the impressive recovery for their own schemes and bribes. 

The Conservatives have frequently wandered off the core message of how they have delivered jobs, growth and eventually earnings – despite the many external economic shocks they could not forsee when they made their initial economic plans. The result is a general lack of awareness of what is at stake and how easily it could all be thrown away. The Conservatives have no-one else but themselves to blame for this.

Add to this thoroughly depressing scenario is the fact that Scotland is apparently indulging itself in the false belief that the SNP offers some anti-establishment balance against the main austerity-driven UK parties. Firstly, as I have argued before and Ewen Stewart has shown in these pages, we have hardly endured austerity in the UK. Secondly, we seem to have forgotten that the SNP has been in office for eight years and has had more centralised power and money then any Scottish Government since 1999. As our ThinkScotland research shows – the SNP's record demonstrates it is neither competeant or trustworthy.

Nicola sturgeon's purpose in trying to engage with a Labour minority administration is not to join with it in "locking the Tories out" but to suffocate and supplant Labour so it is never a force in Scotland again. After that it believes the hop, skip and jump to independence will be a doddle.

The threat to our country of nations – the UK – would be bad enough in itself, especially as we have just come through a bruising referendum that left the nation bitterly divided as we fought to remain together, but we also know from copious reports and examples that the SNP’s nationalism is not as cuddly and civically inspired as it likes to say. Effie Deans for one has catalogued the abuse she has received for defending the Union and Chris Deerin at the Daily Mail has written about the same during the referendum and now

The fact that all this intimidation is happening following the rise in fortune of nationalists should come as no surprise. This week we have seen yet more threats and abuse - something that in all my 40 years in politics I have never witnessed on such a scale. 

It is this, together with the complete lack of any economic compass that tells me that in Scotland the imperative should be to stop the SNP rather than simply put any one Unionist party first. Alex Massie explains it well in The Spectator – but the essence is simple – if we are to have a Labour government it is better it is composed of Labour MPs that one that requires the support of even one nationalist.

Once we are able to reverse the growth of Scottish nationalism that turns us against ourselves we can then return to debates about individualism versus collectivism and seek to find how to maximise freedom with prosperity, compassion and security for all.

Hold your nose. Take the brave pills and vote tactically to deny ugly un-civic nationalism the scale of victory it that will use to silence opposition across the land.


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