Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Tale of Two Votes

A few months ago, the House of Commons voted on the mechanisms that would allow the Lloyds takeover of HBOS. One Scottish MP, the First Minister, despite his expressed view that this was not the best thing for the bank, couldn't find time in his diary to get his arse down to London to the vote. I believe that same week he did manage to find the time to visit his party's doomed campaign in the Glenrothes by-election. He also managed to get down to somewhere in deepest darkest Englandshire for Question Time.

A few minutes ago, I saw a very gloaty looking Mr Salmond being interviewed on Sky News announcing to anyone listening that he intended to go down to Westminster to vote on the Nationalists' motion for the dissolution of Parliament. Yes, an important issue, but I think the HBOS one was more vital to thousands of Scottish jobs.

The Nats haven't had much to say on expenses, despite a couple of them, including Mr Salmond, having questions raised by the Telegraph. The only sort of change they appear interested in is independence which I don't really get. As a Liberal Democrat, I'm happy to see power devolved to its lowest practical level but I think that Scotland does ok out of the current arrangements and would flourish within a federal UK with greater powers for the Parliament.

So, despite their raison d'etre being independence, the rest of the time they are quite socially and politically conservative - the Sunday Herald reported the other day that Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education, has been helping the Catholic Church find ways to get round the equalities legislation as regards adoption agencies, they also bowed to the Church's wishes on providing the HPV vaccine in Catholic schools and their rather draconian solution to teenage alcohol consumption was to stop all under 21s buying booze from off licences.

Is this motion next week another example of their new found friendship with the Conservatives as evidenced by the love-in between them in Holyrood where the Tories often vote with them? What are they up to? Are they trying to revisit 1979 where their motion of no confidence brought down the last Labour Government? They would do well to remember that they got their backsides whipped in the subsequent election despite the glory days of the early 70s as Scotland braced itself against Thatcher.

I've not been aware of them having a great deal to say about the sort of political reforms that Nick Clegg has been setting out. It's quite typical of the Nats to emit a great deal of hot air but not to come up with any real, practical solutions. They expended a whole load of energy trying to impeach Tony Blair while he had a whacking majority in the House of Commons. Not in a million years was that ever going to succeed.

As much as you can predict anything in these turbulent times, it looks like their dissolution motion will fail despite Conservative and Liberal Democrat support. If every non Labour MP votes against it, the Government still has a majority of 57. The MPs who are standing down because of expenses are actually more Tory than Labour and I would have thought that none of them would vote against dissolution so if they vote at all it will be for the motion. You'd still need a fair number of Labour turkeys to vote for Christmas for that motion to succeed.

I just wonder what they're up to, and what's in their minds by setting down this motion. I'm fairly certain that long term and radical political reform doesn't figure so highly in their thinking. If they were serious about change, then they need to get their heads round major political reform at Westminster level, otherwise why should we send any of them there?

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1 comment:

Clair said...

sorry this isn't really about the post but just wanted to say how disillusioned I am about the Euro elections. Does anyone even care? Almost no one is talking about it...aaaaaaaargh. For the first time ever i considered not even bothering to vote and I LOVE voting.
I thought I'd share that with you since you seem to be one of the only people who cares if people bother to vote or not!


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