Sunday, 13 May 2012

Nothing's happening

I always blog on a Sunday night. A bit like I always have a curry on a Friday.

(Alright, those of you who have been following my every move will know that I didn't have a curry on Friday past but that was only because I was "going out". Actually, with the benefit of hindsight, I'd have been better off sticking to my normal routine, but that's another story.)

Anyway, the habit of habitual blogging, ("the habit of habitual"? Can't imagine that's proper usage) proceeds from the assumption that there will be an event or events upon which I might reasonably pass informed comment.

Last weekend was a bit of a bonanza with the fall out of the local government elections. prompting my discourse on not one, or even two, but three occasions, helped by the holiday weekend.

The elections are now over however and what has happened since, involving closed door negotiation to form administrations, doesn't seem to me to be as exciting (or indeed outraging) as some are at least pretending it to be. What's won is won, what's done is done and what's lost is lost and gone forever.

And as for today's salvation of Rangers, let's just wait and see if it lasts as long as last weeks salvation of Rangers.

The English football was exciting but it was a live event and it's over.

And that's about it.

I might claim some credit that my increasingly confident assertion that Salmond has no intention of having a Referendum is beginning to get the occasional outing in the mainstream media but even I don't think he's actually going to call it off, or even start that process, for at least fifteen months. And I can't imagine the "official launch" of the Independence Campaign on May 25th is likely to be a hold the front page event unless May 26th proves to be a very slow news day indeed. Or that the inevitable conclusions from the Scottish Government's "consultation" some time in the Autumn will be any more surprising than we already know them to have been before the whole charade commenced.

Even Westminster politics are in something of a hiatus. Levenson is proving entertaining in a gossipy sort of way but once you've heard once, twice, several times over that politicians were too close to the Murdoch empire then you do really wonder what new you are learning, or even whether any of more of the same is now going to matter very much until the Inquiry actually reports.

Everything else is the economy, stupid. And in that regard the die is cast, we can only wait and see how it rolls to rest. The Tories are clearly intent on seeing out their five years and the Libs still determined to stand by them, if only to maximise their redundancy payments.

The idea of mass popular resistance might yet achieve some sort of policy reversal surely saw its last hurrah last Thursday when, had it not been for the media, the day of action might well have gone off entirely unnoticed. I heard one of the Trots on the radio try to attribute this to the weather! His interlocutor should gently have pointed out that St Petersburg in October was hardly tropical..

And so you find yourself wanting somebody to do something bold. Like the President did last week.

And this, I fear is where Scottish Labour, at least, is still missing the boat. I know there is a logic, in normal circumstance, four years out from an election, not to be making policy commitments. But these are not normal circumstances. The SNP are clearly intent on doing absolutely nothing to offend even the fringe elements of their fragile independence coalition. It's small enough already. So surely it is incumbent on us not simply to criticise their inactivity but to actually suggest some activity they might be getting up to. Johann, not for the first time, seems to have been prepared to tell Saturday's Fabian Conference that everything is up for discussion. And that's good. But how about starting to give some indication of how that discussion might travel?

Sure, the reply will come, there's plenty of time for that, and regrettably on one view that's true. But if people want competent stasis then we should realise that, even without a referendum, the SNP will, come 2016, still be likely to offer that. Our only hope is if we can frame the terms of change needed to Scotland and then become its delivery vehicle. And that is a long term project which will be wholly incapable of being constructed in the few months leading up to the next election, even assuming the will is there.

So let's get started.

1 comment:

  1. "The SNP are clearly intent on doing absolutely nothing to offend even the fringe elements of their fragile independence coalition."

    Seriously, Ian, where do you come up with this utter pish? The SNP has passed (or is about to pass) two of the most controversial bills in the history of the Scottish Government in its first year - the minimum pricing and anti-sectarianism acts - and is well into a third in the shape of the gay marriage consultation.

    The first two arguably contributed to the SNP doing less well than expected in Glasgow, and the third is already upsetting huge swathes of the electorate - Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, and God (whoever He is) knows who else, including elements of the SNP.

    By all means spout your mince about Salmond cancelling the referendum - that's just an opinion, however mental. But to claim the SNP are playing softly-softly with their majority so as not to frighten the horses is just empirically bollocks, as even a child could tell you. They're tackling things Labour have never had the guts to, even when it costs them votes.