A guest post by Samuel Miller (Macart)
‘Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including meteorology, sociology, physics, engineering, economics, biology, and philosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions—a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for such dynamical systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general.’ (WIKI) (IFS and OBR TAKE NOTE)
Well folks, we’ve just witnessed one of the most historic votes in the UK’s chequered political history, a vote which has registered on the international media Richter scale and for very good reason. The political map of these islands is telling us a very interesting story indeed today, quite literally a tale of two nations and their preferred choices. Most especially in Scotland’s case the message couldn’t have been made more clear, so seismic was the popular shift.
Apparently though, that message is yet to register in some quarters. In the corridors of power only one word echoes in ministerial offices and conference rooms whenever the ‘Scottish question’ is raised. A word, which is then blasted all across these islands with the aid of a very helpful and deeply concerned meeja… CHAOS. A word they appear awfy fond of using whenever Scotland’s representatives are discussed on telly or in the big daily titles. Not that they’d like to cause a panic or anything you understand, but it does conjure some wonderful imagery.
You can picture it now as 56 SNP MPs take their seats in the Mother of Parliaments (wavy lines for cut scene). Policy wonks, civil servants and spads will be defenestrating from upper floor executive and ministerial cludgies (where they find all their inspiration). Cabinet secretaries will be running through Whitehall screaming in tongues and wearing their underpants on their heads. Ministers will be sitting in darkened rooms, deeply depressed, pondering the fall of empire and considering which offshore account to hide their lobbying profits in. Crushed party leaders have fallen on their metaphorical swords (real ones being sharp, pointy and lethal), whilst booking that one-way ticket to Rio they’ve always promised themselves. The Thames will foam with ruined Bolly and the city will implode as bankers and financial services leave en masse for the continent in a wave of uncertainty (its always the uncertainty). The economy will crash AGAIN and all because the people up there simply don’t understand how our democracy should work.
Didn’t the people in Scotland realise there’s only meant to be two (*) properly sanctioned parties of government? So to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness, best to let the plebs know just what they’re dabbling with before they get carried away with the whole political engagement malarky and usher in ARMAGEDDON (more wavy lines as cut scene ends).
*A third smaller party, (also on message), usually acts as an enabler when the other two fall out over domino night skullduggery in the Westminster bar (see under recent Con-Lib coalition or Lib-Lab pacts various). Predictably this third party has recently suffered somewhat of a setback in the shape of a catastrophic lemming like desire to throw themselves into ill advised partnerships and the added hindrance of an enormous dagger protruding from their back.
Yes, the SNP apparently represents one of those small changes in a previously contained dynamic system. The outcome of introducing this whole democratic engagement/change thingy to such a delicate system as Westminster politics? Utter uncontrollable, unpredictable chaos, complete carnage, that’s what. So get it straight people, voting for who YOU wanted was bad for democracy in the UK today. We know all this mainly because its been stuffed down our necks day in and day out for the past month by any title you care to mention, most broadcast channels with a studio couch to hand and by every shark in a suit cruising the lofty corridors of Westminster with a sound bite to spare. Or is there perhaps a more likely explanation for the current narrative of Scots/SNP bad and progressive parties and concepts leading to chaos? I mean they haven’t exactly been clear on just why SNP input would lead to such an awful future.
Perhaps, just perhaps, some deeply self interested people merely wanted to hang on to what they’ve got and don’t care who they have to crap on in order to do it. That the current anti Scottish, anti SNP hysteria deployed by the Conservative party, but used on an ad hoc basis for some time by all the establishment parties depending on who needs to be frightened today, is simply a dangerous, thoughtless political ploy to retain as much power and influence as possible. All of the establishment parties do so love the smell of fear in the morning, it’s their favourite campaign strategy after all. The difference this time? Well this time there were two significant differences.
Firstly, during this election, the target audience was the English electorate. An electorate constantly bombarded by an increasingly right wing dominated media and their commentariat. Readerships and viewers primed through this saturation to suspect all things poor, radical, progressive, or worse yet… foreign. The hope of course was that such fear of the other would deter people from voting for Labour in any numbers in those key marginals. The method? Set some dog whistle headlines, make up any old thing to fill column space, the more outrageous the better, apply some photoshop liberally and hey presto instant villain created for readerships to other and resent. I mean who needs cogent policies to inform a campaign when you can direct people’s anger toward, and their vote away from, a handy set of scapegoats right?
That Labour singularly failed to combat this obvious and societally corrosive ploy speaks volumes in and of itself. I mean surely Ed would stand up for his concept of ‘One Nation’ UK? Simply put, Labour HQ had no answer, its a narrative they had a hand in creating themselves during the referendum. Labour’s own divisive, bitter, tribalist anti SNP tactics pumped full of steroids and fired right back at them from their erstwhile partners in crime. Ohhhh, can you feel the Karma?
Secondly you had the unintended audience of the Scottish electorate themselves. Right on the back of a hard fought referendum, a now politically clued up and engaged Scottish electorate looked on in horror as the government and establishment, who mere months earlier had begged them to stay, now turns on them like a rattlesnake and drags their democratic choices, their name and their culture through the Westminster sewers in pursuit of that big chair in Downing street. It used to be you could count on the fact that most papers had cross border titles and it was one message for this electorate and another for that electorate, no one being any the wiser. Well not in this digital age its not.
No, today thanks to the wonders of social media, the interwebby, 24hr news coverage and hi tech communication we see what’s being said about us on both sides of the border and doesn’t it make eye watering, not to mention informative and instructive viewing? You can see how party politics, government and the media really work to manipulate perception and influence voting. Its cold, deliberate, callous and utterly self seeking. No one who claims to represent a state body or the people in its care and exercises such a campaign of orchestrated resentment, between two neighbouring cultures in a supposed ‘partnership’, is fit to hold the post of leader. No system of government which exists upon such a structure of manipulation is fit to govern and no media worth its name as representatives of the fourth estate should be caught dead capitulating in the societal division and othering of their own readerships for either material or political gain. Yet here we are with a majority Conservative government no less.
Our governmental system of choice is broken, with countless instances of economic ineptitude, democratic imbalance, corporate compromise, corruption, and calculated manipulation of public perception on display. The mainstream media is both corporately and politically joined at the hip to this system and last year we, as a nation, narrowly chose to give both yet one more chance at making the partnership work. At the moment though, I’m not really feeling the love coming from either Downing Street or the meeja anymore, are you?
So what can our new parliamentary representation do in the meantime? Well they can do what they were invited to do by both Better Together and in particular Prime Minister David Cameron…
“It’s only Great Britain because of the greatness of Scotland, and the thinkers, writers, artists, leaders, soldiers, and inventors who have made this country what it is. So a NO vote means faster, fairer, safer and better change. And this is a vital point: Scotland is not an observer in the affairs of this country. Scotland is shaping and changing the United Kingdom for the better … and will continue to shape the constitution.” (My bold)
… they can join in, just not necessarily in the way Mr Cameron would like or expect clearly.
Our representatives can bring a little of their own particular brand of Chaos Theory to Westminster, altering outcomes with the smallest of changes at crucial stages in the creation of legislation. That raft of SNP MPs can use their newfound visibility to introduce people to the concept of the Common Weal, voting in parliament with conscience, with empathy and with care for the electorate’s needs to the fore. But more importantly they can use the committee panels, parliamentary procedure and political weight to effect change within bills and amendments. They can use such leverage to NEGOTIATE on our behalf as any partner should do. Remember, government isn’t just all about the debating chamber and the vote, it’s also about where and how the bills are created.
On the public level, we have demonstrated through our own personal vote that neither the media or big government owns our choices and that being independent of thought isn’t a bad place to be. In fact, as we are all aware, its quite empowering and THAT I believe is what truly scares the bejaysus out of the establishment parties and their media. That their ability to manipulate and direct others should lose its hold, that it may even come to an end if enough people start thinking for themselves. Imagine, people may even decide to change not just how politics should be conducted, but how politics should work for them. Oh, the horror.
Last but by no means least, the SNP representation we have chosen to send down with our democratic mandate CAN and WILL hold all of the establishment parties to account for their referendum pledges and force them one way or another to either back their referendum rhetoric with action or publicly declare them undeliverable. As for what happens should Westminster’s establishment declare those referendum pledges constitutionally (as they see it) undeliverable?
Who knows? Its chaos theory and can be extremely unpredictable, but I’d say even casual observers have a damn good idea.