Thursday, 7 May 2015

UK Election: The Good and the Bad

My previous post was getting quite large, so I've split off my opinions about some election things.
Let's start with the bad.  UKIP will win seats in a general election; at least one, quite possibly two.  Whatever issues I may have with the EU, I don't see UKIP as motivated by anything other than thinly-veiled xenophobia. Not to mention other things they may have said and done. Even worse, UKIP could very well end up the third largest party in terms of votes!  It's the sort of thing that makes me depressed for humanity.

The big news is, of course, the rise of the SNP.  I really don't understand why, after losing the referendum last year, they've gotten stronger; though I have read it was because Labour was taking them for granted.  The funny thing is, apart from their desire to dismantle the Union, I agree with most of their political positions; maybe more so than any other party!  If all they wanted to do was ensure Scottish voices are heard in Westminster1, I don't think I'd have any problem with them.  But they want to go further, and that has me conflicted.

However, when it comes to what might cause the Union to dissolve I don't think the SNP will bear the most blame.  The response of the English press and establishment to the SNP has been, in my opinion, offensive and short-sighted.  Nigel Dodds, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, made some good points on this earlier in the campaign.
Take the “right” of SNP MPs to vote in the Commons, or the supposed lack of legitimacy that stems from it. No one who purports to be a unionist can question it. They have the right. That’s why we fought and won the referendum: to enshrine the rights of Scots to go on sending representatives, fully equal to every other, to Westminster. Glib and lazy talk about SNP MPs somehow not being as entitled to vote in every division in the Commons, as any other British MP, simply fuels nationalist paranoia.
The SNP is trying to get out of England the answer it couldn’t get out of Scotland last year. No one who believes in Britain should assist them, least of all in England.
I certainly don't agree with the DUP in a lot of areas, but here I think he is right.  The SNP have argued that England exploits Scotland, looks down on and doesn't respect the Scottish people.  Suggestions that a government with the SNP in it would be illegitimate will almost surely be seen by many as proof that they are right.

Finally, let's end on something a bit more amusing.  Miliband made a bold move in saying something true, namley that Rupert Murdoch has too much media power in the UK.  He was never likely to get the support of the Murdoch press, but the result has been a vicious barrage of attacks from the Sun.  Apparently, the most important attribute for a politician is the ability to eat a sandwich.  But a few heretics have disagreed, and come out in support of Ed by saying that they too can't eat without making a bit of a mess.

1 Because Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and Des Browne where so long ago; not to mention that Blair was born in Scotland. 

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