Thursday, May 10, 2007

Will He Live In Interesting Times

Reading the Scotsman on line from Sheffield rather than from the rural idyll of the Scottish Borders somehow doesn't seem quite the same. It makes me feel like a foreigner peeking in on another country. Being English and living in Scotland I have never ever felt like a foreigner, except when there's rugby or football when I naturally support England against Scotland, but then I always support Scotland against everyone else. Of course there's always jokes from friends and neighbours about being English, but I always counter by saying I'm living in Scotland because I love it, I chose to be there and if push comes to shove I'm there in Christine's ticket - she being a Fifer.

Reading the reports of the swearing in of the MSPs at which some of them seemed to do some strange things like the one who crossed her fingers while swearing allegiance to the Queen, it's made me think more about the whole business of independence. As I've always said I get 100% the emotional idea of being a separate country, but will it really make that much difference. What will happen in the real world of day-to-day life rather than in the heated world of political debate and the blogosphere? If independence happens will I feel any different about Scotland and living there. The answer is no on every level except one, the boring practical one of how the country operates and is managed.

Now I know that there's a long way between talking of independence and it actually happening, but let's hope the next months and years aren't bogged down in what if debates on independence. Let’s hope our politicians can get on with the job in hand. In that regard it was good to see a lead article in the Scotsman about the fate of the Edinburgh tram under an SNP government. They are against it will all other parties are in favour. So it doesn’t matter a jot what the SNP think scrapping it will not get through the parliament. So independence at this moment is like the tram; we have to find a way forward that is practical and sensible and deals with the fact that £125 million has already been spent on it, roads are being dug up etc .It would be great to think that our MSPs could behave like adults in dealing with the running of our country rather than see the whole thing unravel into a tit for tat match that characterises so much of British politics. And while they have a big part to play in that, so does the media and so do we.

Perhaps most interesting of all will be how the Westminster government and Gordon Brown in particular approach the change in management. I'll put no money of the Scots MPs in London doing the right thing. There’s too much history, too much at stake in the next couple of years for them not to fight tooth ad nail for what are effectively their jobs. I cannot see too many Scots MPs finding a constituency in England. The biggest challenge is the one that will see the English in England growing tired of the Scots MPs. I suspect that the argument that Broon couldn't sort out about in Scotland sufficiently to win will be used against him constantly.

There's an old Chinese saying, although no one can quite work out if it's a real one or not - May you live in interesting times. It is an insult aimed at ones enemies. There's no question that Gordon Brown is about to find out what it means to live in interesting times. Not least because he had a big part in losing the Holyrood elections for Labour.

1 comment:

r morris said...

The whole separatist idea seems divisive to me. Separatism never leads to good things. Look at India/Pakistan, Union and Confederacy in the US, Sunnis and Shiites. It's just a lot of 'us versus them'. We need less of that in the world. And you are right, Richard. Deep down, it opens a whole new can of worms. Separatism means double the bureaucracy, and two bureaucracies are, indeed, three times as bad as one. Good post!