Monday, 18 May 2015

Tally Ho! The Tories are out to trap #Team56

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the estimable Paul Kavanagh, aka Wee Ginger Dug. Paul urges that the SNP's 56 MPs should be released from the party whip and be allowed to vote with their consciences on fox hunting in England in Unleashing the dogs of woe.

As I write this, I intend to argue why this is would be a monumental mistake without getting into the argument about fox hunting per se. There is, however, one argument from those who advocate SNP MPs voting to continue the ban on hunting in England which needs to be dealt with. That argument is that hunting with dogs is so cruel and barbaric that the ability to vote on the issue trumps every other consideration, including the SNP's long-standing position of not voting on England Only issues.

First, one has to ask why are the Tories planning to bring this legislation forward before their planned English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) legislation? The interests of a few thousand hunters are more urgent than dealing with the perceived affront to millions of English folk that their laws are, in part, decided by MPs from the other 3 nations of the UK? Of course not. They're doing it now to lay a big fat trap for the SNP and for no other reason.

The Tories have plumped to lay an issue before the SNP and, with the heady mix of poor, defenceless animals and the class emnity for the largely loathsome, upper class hunters; goad the SNP into throwing off an important principle.

Even if the SNP were to contribute to a voting down of the proposed fox hunting legislation, the Tories need only to reintroduce it once the EVEL legislation is on the statue book.  So for the sake of saving a few foxes in England for a few months, the SNP would forever be open to the charge of hypocrisy. 

The SNP will have to rely on the UK Government's wholesale lack of legitimacy in Scotland and will have a tough enough time using the meagre 'constitutional' conventions to protect fundamentals such as our human rights in Scotland, without throwing away any chance of being taken seriously when pleading the relative legitimacy to legislate between the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments on saving a few foxes for a few months. In no way can legislation on fox hunting in England be argued to have any knock-on effect in Scotland, budgetary or otherwise.

That said, I see no reason whatsoever why SNP MPs should not be free to speak in debates on the legislation and seek to persuade the House of Commons, as we might well do in future with any errant neighbour. Under no circumstances should they vote.

Such an emotive issue might well be just what we need to show the English left that, if you don't want the Tories (blue or red), then you have to bother your backside to organise an alternative and vote for it at general elections.

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Turd Man

I'd have preferred the night but my contact was desperate. I'd have preferred a discreet back close in Edinburgh but my contact was holed up in Glasgow. The weather had turned and I pulled the collar of my trenchcoat up against the cold as I boarded the train at Waverley. The saloon was a sea of Separatist Saltires and Common Weal See-Saws as I slid surreptitiously into my seat and screened my face with The Saturday Scotsman. My heart pounded, but my years of training in MI6 and a bottle of statins saw me through till we slid into Queen Street.

One doesn't simply dander round to JD Wetherspoons to meet McDoughnut on a mission like this. Fortunately, Glasgow has a Rickshaw Accompaniment Service made famous when Labour Imperial Master MPs drained their public expense accounts for a 20 minute photo shoot in Buchanan Street. I hired the rickshaw man to follow me so that the humble Andrew Whitaker could be steeled with Anton Karas' zither.

I deftly avoided the 2,000 strong herd of Harridans heading to meet the Heid-Harpie on the doomed Buchanan Street steps. The skirl of separatist bagpipes and the roar of bikers for indy were luckily a distant wail as I reached the pub. With some relief I saw McDoughnut had stationed two of his heavies outside and they held the door for me as I slipped inside.

My eyes slowly adjusted to the dimly lit room. Only the 2 plates stacked Ferrero-Rocher style with pork pies and doughnuts gave away the position of the Blair lair. I remembered the pass phrase.

"The Irn Bru is particularly effervescent for the time of year."

"But we shall still bribe non-University-going teenagers with a £1,890 Irn Bru Allowance". He deftly essayed the pre-arranged respose as I wiped the spray of doughnut crumbs from my trenchcoat.

As he raised another doughnut to his mouth but stopped half way, I saw his eyes narrow. Tension mounted and hands twitched under newspapers but the heavies on the door saw off the wheelchair-bound separatist suicide bomber.

McDoughnut's sidekick McTernan handed me a half sheet of A4. It was a list of a few SNP candidates and comments which could be construed as them wishing for a second referendum at some point in the future. I remonstrated "I risked my life for this pish?" I saw I'd overstepped the mark when McTernan exploded: "Call it a fucking Secret Dossier and fuck off and print it!"

I fucked off and printed it: Secret dossier ‘lays bare SNP push for indyref', narrowly avoiding the secret (BBC®™) gathering of thousands of separatists outside.

See also Wings - I think the Nazis are pretty good.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Nicola should grant Home Rule ... to England

The Tories parked no less than 6 Nicola Sturgeon / Alec Salmond posters outside the Labour manifesto launch this morning. Now that psycho Jim Murphy's 'biggest party forms the government' lie is well and truly blown out of the water, is it time for Nicola to consider granting Home Rule to England?

England is apparently deadlocked, with Labour & Tories both polling around 32 - 34%. If the Tories win most seats in England, but the Left wins in the UK as a whole, we have the prospect of an 'arrangement' between parties to make Ed Miliband Prime Minister of the UK.

However, if Nicola were to stand by the long-established practice of SNP MPs not voting on England Only matters (or to set a very high bar for voting in such matters on the basis of the knock-on effect in Scotland), we have a very interesting prospect: A Prime Minister of the UK whose writ doesn't run for @ 85% of the population of the UK and in the very same House of Commons as he himself sits. Cameron would effectively become Prime Minister of England. It is conceivably within Nicola's power to create a Federal UK by effectively granting Home Rule not to Scotland (which she can't), but to England (which she very much could).