What can a new party bring to Scotland and to Britain?

What can a new party bring to Scotland and to Britain?

by Jonathan Stanley
article from Saturday 14, March, 2020

THERE ARE TWO natural roles of political parties in democracies. To form governments and to form oppositions. This is where the UK has a small problem. We don't have either. We have had no effective opposition since Blair. We have had no effective government since Thatcher and no direction since the creation of the Coalition in 2010.

We have had instead 30 years of managed media, and massaged messaging, from the political establishment. They do not care. There is nothing I can find to convince myself otherwise. This is the consequence of a system unable to self-renew. Like the Soviet Union in its final years we have a cohort of apparatchiks who have never dealt with crises and have never worked outside the system. 

In place of representative democracies we have a form of Soviet parliament. There are regions represented by factions of social democracy. They compete not for ideas and ideal but for turf. It is a zero sum game. There is a red wall, there are the English shires, there is Scotland. Only a tiny fraction of the constituencies change hands every general election. 

The selection of candidates is done behind closed doors, with excellent contenders blocked by secret backchannels while passive nodding dogs and donkeys are promoted according to the Peter principle, to their natural level of incompetence. Be it Corbyn, Abbott, Long-Bailey, Black or Tories too numerous to mention why do we have such mediocre characters in our moribund parliament? 

Because within political parties this is what we are given and we led to believe we have to take what we are given. The system is bust. It is the worst kind of inertia, no better or worse than many declining European empires of a century ago. To achieve an evolution in our politics we need a revolution within our party system.

In Holyrood it is no better. There is no vision and no direction from any party. With the former First Minister on trial for serious charges we have heard from the current FM or opposition leaders nothing whatsoever about encouraging possible victims from coming forward. Humza Yousaf wastes no time attacking Boris Johnson for any imagined indiscretion but try as you might not a single SNP MP or MSP has called for young women to have the confidence to come forward, as they would never hesitate to do if it were anyone but one of their own. That is bankrupt. That is broken and that is normal in Holyrood. 

We need a new party that is free of baggage. We need to have a movement that has no loyalty at all to the status quo and no sorry shoddy record to defend either in Westminster or in Holyrood. It is quite normal and sensible in other countries to have people in government who can govern because they can and have done things outwith the maelstrom of relative truth that defines modern politics. 

Imagine a health spokesman who had medical experience, an education lead who had taught, a defence spokesman who had served, a business spokesman who was and is a businessman, who understands about training and taxation and regulation. There will be no vision so long as we are led by the blind and the blinkered. Instead there will be contrived managed messaging with identikit identity tellydollies and grifters telling us all how we should live our lives. 

A new party need not be based at the political fringe in Scotland. On migration, economics, taxation, crime, social values and housing the public is quite to the right of the consensus that has emerged among the social democrats in Holyrood. What was once the Scottish School of Common Sense, of seeing the world as it is, has been marginalized for too long. 

In its place an inward looking parliament that is harsh and uncaring, staid and repetitive, content to phone in the salaries by regurgitating confected animosities. There are few in there who have not had their spines broken by the monstrous regiment of woke. In the midst of a viral pandemic we debate the gender recognition act and any of many social justice projects that belong in student debating societies. 

We have never had a national audit of who is on the tit of the taxpayer, no annual general meeting with government accounts audited by an external agency, and no Audit Scotland is not an external agency. We have no formal record of who has been hired, fired, paid off, given golden handshakes and how open selections have been for chief executives of local authorities. Our venerable beloved third sector is never held to account. Who do we even fund charities from taxation? How is that not simply a left wing slush fund? 

Opposition MSPs have been far too cosy with the SNP. Derek Mackay has tributes paid to him, about how foolish and sad this whole affair has been. The new finance secretary has been praised of all things for being young and female, just as we are about to gralloch £600m from small businesses through rate rises. Apparently this is fine and just a bit of a shame. 

Perth high street has a bucket load of shops left empty. North of the Clyde, there is no A&E for miles around in one of the poorest parts of the central belt. It doesn't get a shoulder shrug. There are so many of these disasters that go unchecked it becomes another part of the routine.  There is no evidence I can see that either the SNP or their opposition care.

Back in Westminster we see obsession over investment in London's transport, a willingness again to keep fisheries on the negotiating table and a migration policy so full of holes the Swiss Cheese Federation must be preparing for copyright infringement. The basic advice and actions about controlling a viral pandemic are not being delivered. There are no public information films, no recruitment into vaccination programmes and bizarrely no one has told the public the basics that stopping smoking for the next few months would help cut death rates from Covid19 even though the evidence is clear that it is an independent risk factor for death from viral pneumonia. 

No one has suggested maybe, just maybe, that ensuring every person coming into the UK filled in an arrival card would a very good way of having data to hand to contact trace. 

Imagine for a moment, if the UK really was hit by a biological attack. We have come to this by habit not accident. This is the consequence of decades of dealing with sophists and spin-doctors. 

Worse, none of the politicians are listening. Until their seats are threatened I do not believe that they will care. Like ageing apparatchiks they will cling to power until power is taken from them. They will do anything and everything to assure us no change is needed.  They are the reason we voted for Brexit, more than any other, to take power back from them.

That is exactly why a new movement is needed, both for the UK and for Scotland. 


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