The day has finally come, The Cook Report is getting Serious!
After a spell of writing about wrestling, a spell of not writing at all, followed by a brief return to wrestling, for this blog, the Cook Report is brought to you by the letters P, O and litics. On a day when Google search was lit up by people in England asking if they can vote SNP, its time to jump on the bandwagon.
I will preface this by stating for anyone who does not know, I am a Scot, from Scotland.Politics in Scotland has, for many years been a fairly simple procedure. We vote Labour, occasionally we vote for the Scottish Nationalists, but in general, the default setting is Labour.
As the Labour party in the UK drifted from its Left Wing roots, first into the centre, and on into centre right, more and more Scots saw the Nationalists as the more left wing option, and consequently the SNP grew.
They grew enough to gain a majority in the Scottish Parliament and to call for an independence referendum. In case you missed that, it took place last year.
Now that independence referendum is important. The result was a continuation of the United Kingdom, but for quite a while, the result appeared to be too close to call. What may have swung the result was a few weeks of love from a few politicians South of Hadrians Wall.
Now I don’t want to bore everyone with the details, but the gist of the rhetoric was that everyone loved Scotland, everyone would really miss Scotland, while at the same time, Scots were told we were too small to go it alone, too poor to make it as a nation, and that the best thing all round was for Scotland to remain an important part, an equal partner in the Union.
We were SO important, the three party leaders in the UK made a fair few promises to Scotland, more devolved powers, and more say in how Scotland was run.
These promises, so far anyway have failed to materialise, and while that may be a bit of a bugger to Scots, to the guys making those promises,it seems to have turned out a bit worse.
Scotland has remembered those promises made six months ago, and has remembered how the Labour Party sided with the Conservatives to make those so far unkept promises. Scotland was never a big fan of the Conservatives anyway, and now seems to have decided to take its socialist principles and move en mass to the perceived left wing Nationalists.
The normal reaction to this from Westminster would be a shrug of the shoulders, the Scottish vote generally makes little or no difference to the final outcome in a UK General Election. The SNP wont be able to keep up levels of support, and Nicola Sturgeon will not do well in any TV debates, and the Scots will flock back to Labour.
Right now though, things are a bit different. No way I am writing this whole thing without one wrestling reference, and here it is. Dusty Rhodes could adequately explain how it has been in the UK under the Conservatives. They have been in power, with the help of the Liberals through Hard Times. That may not be their fault, but it is still the case.
Voters are not that happy with austerity measures, and the reality of the current situation is that voters are disillusioned with the government, just not enough to want the opposition in power. But that is in England.
In Scotland, this would be the perfect time to vote Labour and rid the UK of the evil Conservatives. But we wont. Scotland is ready to vote in more SNP MPs than ever before, to such an extent that those SNP members may well be the third biggest party in the UK elections.And English politicians are terrified.
So why is that problematic? as equal partners in this Union, why should 40 Scottish Nationalist MPS out of 600 odd make that much difference?
The truth is pretty simple. It doesn’t really matter. Even if as the polls predict, we end up with a hung parliament, and the SNP hold the balance of power, we are all equal, right? We all should have a say in how the UK government is made up, whether we are in Scotland, or any other part of the UK.
We currently have a government that is made up of two parties, and those two parties think it works a treat, so why would two different parties in power be any worse?
That pretty much covers the background, and the longest intro ever written, so now we can get down to the nitty gritty.
The Conservatives are the party in power, propped up by Liberals. The Liberals are likely to be wiped out after selling their souls to be part of that coalition, so the Prime Minister knows he could very soon be getting his P45.
To avoid having to sign on, he needs some support, and quickly. His chosen method is to demonise the Scots again. By telling England that the Scots are coming for them, that the tail will be wagging the dog, that Labour will effectively take it up the Billy Gunn, basically that Bonny Prince Charlie is back, and marching on their homes, The Conservatives hope to gain votes in England by telling everyone how horrible the Scots are.
Labour want a majority, they will obviously make a deal with the SNP, but cannot say that in public. With the Conservatives painting a picture of marauding Scots, Labour must distance themselves from any possible deal, while trying to win back voters in Scotland. They cant have a go at the Nats too vociferously, because they know they will probably need their support to form a Government, but they still need to win votes north of the border.
Both parties have real problems though. Scottish people will vote how they want. And Scotland generally backs Scotland. When Michelle McManus won whatever show she won, when Cameron won Big Brother, neither were really all that great. But they were Scottish, and Scotland voted for them. When England play in the World Cup, ABE means anyone but England to Scots.
The truth is we don’t hate England, we just prefer Scotland. I say that, we still hate English football commentators, being told by English shopkeepers our money is not legal, and Jamie Oliver (although that may just be me).
But most Scots are fairly reasonable people, and if Scotland votes SNP and delivers a hung parliament, the UK could actually do a lot worse that a Labour government with SNP support.
Despite what the English media may tell you, the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon are actually quite good at what they do. Scotland has free prescriptions, free bus travel for pensioners, and free University education, England has none of these things. The SNP delivered those things in Scotland.
The SNP, with some help, managed to get support for independence to rise from 25% to 45% in about a year, before the love bomb from Westminster, that was actually at 52%.
The SNP have been in power in Scotland, and have done a reasonable job of running the country, they could be better, but they could be a lot worse. If they win enough support to form any kind of partnership with Labour, there is no real reason to think they wont do a good job for the UK as a whole.
I am not saying they wont be looking to cause a little bit of trouble for the UK as a whole, but lets not forget, they would be elected to look after the best interests of Scotland, the same way an MP from Manchester is supposed to do his best for Manchester.
But much has been made of the idea of Nicola Sturgeon as ‘kingmaker’. That is the description of those worried about a Scottish Nationalist rout in Scotland. And it is nonsense. It is a description designed to scare voters in England from Labour to Conservative. ‘Don’t end up with Labour/SNP, England will be run by the Scots’.
First off, why shouldn’t Scots have a say, and second, it will never happen. A Labour minority Government with SNP support is obviously bad for the Conservatives…or is it?
Lets get all hypothetical here…If Labour and the Conservatives got 300 seats each, and the SNP got the last 50 or whatever it is, we would indeed have a hung Parliament. The SNP has already ruled out any deal with the Conservatives, while Labour has ruled out a formal agreement with the SNP.
Now as it stands, the three parties are as follows. Conservatives- Right wing.Labour -Right of Centre(traditionally left wing) SNP- Left of Centre.
So Labour enter an informal agreement with the SNP, and Englands worst fears are realised apparently. Any left wing policy labour come up with has SNP support, and is passed. Any right wing policy labour comes up with is not supported by the SNP, but WOULD be supported by the Conservatives, and is passed. Hardly a nightmare scenario.
The big losers in this, may ironically be Labour. They will be in power, and can pass any bill they want, which means the electorate get to see the real Labour, the Labour party they want to be. Anything they do which is unpopular, they blame on the Scots, anything popular was all them.But….. If they go to far to the left, Englands floating voters will punish them at the next election. Too far right, and their own traditional supporters will give them a kicking.
But either way, that will not be down to the SNP, the only thing the SNP can hope to achieve is keeping Labour close to its own roots. The SNP may actually harm themselves if they return 40 MPs, and watch as Labour ignore them completely for more right wing policies. How would Scotland react, after being told it can make a difference, only to find out it cannot?
And here is the real worry, if that hypothetical situation does not come about, the UK could end up with a Conservative/UKIP coalition, and that is something which should chill every sane person to the bone.
The SNP have been castigated by large sections of the English media, just as they were during the referendum six months ago, but the truth is we live in a democracy, one where every vote is considered equal. If Scotland, as part of the UK, votes SNP, and returns SNP MPs, then thats how it goes. that is not the price England has to pay for Scotland staying in the Union, it is how Scotland voted.
Scotland has never tried to tell England how to vote
I know this got a bit serious, and hopefully only a tiny bit boring, I promise next time I will lighten the tone. Probably hating on hipsters with beards… I really hate those guys, and you can find out why next time.
I would like to finish by reminding you all to take a look at all the other excellent articles on the site, and look back regularly, I hear SirIan is planning a blog. I could give out my twitter details, but I hardly use it now, cos I am too cool for that, and nobody really wants to follow me anyway.
Oh and Abrigo Rocks!