Friday, January 05, 2007

Scotland the What?

This used to be the name of quite a funny trio of Aberdonians, who were virtually incomprehensible to anyone south of Dundee.
However, the " what" above refers to what might happen after the May 3rd Scottish elections.
Best guess so far is 7 extra seats for SNP and 6 less for Labour. As an aside, I happen to know that Alex Salmond and the SNP bank with Clydesdale Bank, as I met him there the other day.
But what might happen? Well, the most interesting thing is the new party being launched by Archie Stirling - to be called Scottish Democracy by the looks of it. There is no doubt that many people want the Union to remain, and - the Scots actually being deeply conservative - any referendum would almost certainly vote to retain a near relation of the present situation ( we get more money than the English, and we are not turkeys voting for Christmas).
I always say we do not know we are born up here. We have nothing approaching a traffic jam, as long as you are not trying to cross the Kingston Bridge when Rangers are playing at Ibrox. We have three international airports within 30 minutes of Glasgow ( one of which is about 10 minutes from where I live). OK it rains a lot in the West, but the East is as dry as the South of England, and actually has more hours of sunshine. Add to that what is generally regarded as stunning scenary, world class sailing and outdoor pursuits etc etc, and lots of people ( especially from England) are prepared to take a huge drop in salary to lead a better life than being stuck on the M25.
My own view is that the Scots are actually playing this quite cannily. By telling pollsters that they are going to vote for the SNP, they are ensuring that NuLabour will throw scads of benefits and money at them before the elections. Then they will vote in a parliament that is effectively hung, and not much will get done for a few years, which, as every student of political philosophy knows, is the best way forward for any country.
I do know several people who - the minute the referendum result on the Scottish Parliamnent was known - sold up and left for Suffolk. Very much a laissez-faire county.
And lots of major businesses ( down from 108 to 52 at last count, 1997 - 2005) have moved their headquarters south, or been sold to English or foreign companies.
But at the end of the day, what do we ALL want?
Myself, I want to be left alone, be able to earn enough to live on, and enjoy myself when I want to.
Any politician who could deliver that would have it made.

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