Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mr Cock-Up Comes To Town!

On Monday, wee Jack was clenching his fist with fury at SNP plans to 'wreck' the union (which on closer inspection, just meant he wasn't happy that the SNP wanted to discuss things like getting more powers from Westminster). However, in today's Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin, a motion appeared in the name of the Scottish Executive, calling amongst other things for more powers for Holyrood.

Embarrassing enough, you might think. However, not content with shooting a hole clean through one foot, this afternoon, they took careful aim at the other, then fired by amending the part of the motion which called for more powers for Holyrood 'where appropriate'.

Since it was an Executive motion, Jack would have known all about it at the time he was in full rant mode against the SNP (wouldn't he?), and presumably, was therefore in favour. He can therefore stand accused of rank hypocrisy, but now that it's been pulled, we can surely add rank cowardice to the charge sheet as well.

Who at Westminster, do we think, might have pulled his strings to get the motion amended? Where does Labour really stand on more powers for Holyrood? Who on earth is running their campaign - Gordon Brown, or Jack McConnell? And perhaps more importantly, will Scottish voters manage to emerge from their convulsions of laughter in time to cast their votes in May?

You couldn't make it up. Would the last strategist to leave the Labour party please turn out the lights? :-)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that the inclusion of control over North Sea oil and gas in the 100 days document was a major faux pas (in terms of campaign strategy).
It certainly allowed New Labour and the unionist media to portray the SNP as gauche impossibilists.
We had been handed a gift in the shape of a majority of Scottish MP's opposing the renewal of trident on the Clyde.
Limiting our 'rebellion' to this and this alone would have, no question, produced the same constitutional unravelling as any number of other potential flash points, with the huge advantage of carrying the Scottish electorate (and maybe even elements of the press) with us.
It also seems naive in the extreme, prior to an election, to even think of raising income tax - regardless of the fact that council tax will disappear.
These seem to me to have been eminently avoidable cock-ups and I wait in trepidation for our next move.
Regards,
David Park.

P.S. I always enjoy your contributions to 'The Flag' and look forward to your next incumbency (when?).

Richard Thomson said...

Hi David,

I'm not sure if I agree. We were always going to be portrayed in certain quarters as being 'wreckers' and 'impossibilists' no matter what we did, so I can't say I'm all that surprised at the reaction to the 100 Days document.

Some commentators have spoken about 'fiscal autonomy', but what sort of fiscal autonomy could you have without control of oil revenues? And here's the rub for me - the Lib Dems base their opposition to an independence referendum on the grounds that there's some other 'middle way' on the constitution, whereby Scotland gets more powers and can stay happily in the union.

Their big problem is, they've supported federalism for over a century, yet still don't have a viable plan on how to bring it about. All they have in their locker is to call for powers which Westminster would have to cede and over which the Lib Dems would have no leverage.

The only leverage for getting the powers worth having will be a strong SNP vote. If it can be shown through the rejection of some fairly modest demands that further reform of the British State is either impossible or won't come until many years into the future, I reckon that will make it easier to say to the doubters that Independence is the only way they can get the type of parliament they want.

As for the Flag, thanks for your kind words. I'm next due to do it week beginning 2 April, but you'll probably find a fair bit of overlap between my next outing and this material on this blog. There's only so many hours in the day, after all!

Regards,

Richard

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply Richard.
I agree that the unionist parties (and elements of the press) were always going to push the 'constitutional wrangling' line of attack. However, I doubt that would have resonated to any harmful degree with the floating voter.
However, the strategies outlined in the '100 days' document give a degree of psuedo-credibility to their argument which was hitherto lacking and could certainly convince many faint-hearts to 'play safe'.
If the SNP were standing on a ticket of fiscal autonomy, then that should have been made crystal clear.
I agree that the rejection of
'modest demands' would strengthen the hand of an SNP led executive. The salient point is, however, that we have to win the election first.
Handing ammunition like this (and the rise in income tax) to the unionists may well have scuppered any chance of that happening.

Regards,
David Park.

World of Jack said...

Never mind Mr Cock-Up. Mr Finger Up has equalled him.