A guest post by Samuel Miller (Macart)
I’m seeing a recurring theme across the interwebby and the meeja these days and it boils down to ‘there’s only 56 of them, they can’t do anything, they don’t have any support or why aren’t they more effective?’ Torn faces left, right and centre, despair, black dugs biting bums the length and breadth of an editorial bear pit. Oh its carnage so it is, or maybe no.
Even amongst independence support and the wider Scottish electorate there’s a general theme of frustration and apprehension, and believe you me its being cultivated, encouraged even, by both media and big government. Though I’d guess in reality they have more reason to feel panicked or depressed than the Scottish electorate should. After all its them that are on final notice, not the public.
I think its time for people to step back and take a look at what’s being done, why things happen the way they do and what’s been achieved.
I’m assuming that we’re all aware the upsurge in rhetoric from oor fav meeja on the subject of those 56 MPs, yes? They’re unruly, disrespectful, noisy, argumentative and downright unkulchurred? Here’s a wee bit of perspective on the subject:
That’s right folks, they are getting stuck right in and they’re using Westminster’s own rule book to do it too. As a block they are using the rules to make as big a noise as it is possible to make in those chambers. They are quite literally the noisy uninvited guest at table and about as popular with the establishment as a fart in a spacesuit. When you don’t have the weight to win votes you can still affect them. You can still make an impact on the committees, the legislation, the process of legislation and it appears those 56 are doing exactly that. So much so that the meeja are almost literally foaming at the mouth, no doubt whipped into a frenzy by their chums on Westminster speed dial .
No, when all is said and done, they can’t prevent much of what Cameron and Osborne are bringing to bear in terms of austerity. Our 56 MPs couldn’t prevent the enactment of austerity legislation even had Labour been in power and sadly we’re, for the moment, obliged to abide by Westminster government. Labour themselves had signed up to most of the same austerity measures and could have counted on Conservative backing in any such vote, but any delay, any change that the 56 can affect? You better believe they’re doing it even as we speak. They are doing precisely what they were voted in to do, protect Scottish interests, fight at national and constituency level and hold a government to account as best possible. Most especially they will be highlighting the clusterfudge that is the ongoing Scottish powers debate.
Remember, willing legislators are required to carry out legislation quickly and effectively from a government standpoint and I’d say the last thing those 56 are, is willing to pass on yet more suffering or hardship to an already hard pressed electorate without some form of protest or fight.
On to what’s been achieved and can be achieved, or rather, let’s talk about you.
Since 2007 you’ve begun to engage in politics again, you’ve been part of a reawakening and a sea change in Scottish politics. Your aspiration brought about a majority government in a parliamentary system which was designed never to have one. Your voices made real the claim of right (*) and Scotland’s right to independence if it so chose (and may still do). It took enormous effort on Westminster’s part simply to slow your aspirations down last September and if anything made you more determined than ever. Your continued engagement since the referendum has brought about the greatest political upset in these islands in over three hundred years and not all the power of big government, big media and big business could stop you. An on-side, or even moderately objective media would only have speeded things along to what looks now like an almost inevitable conclusion. The fact that it has been anything but, hasn’t stopped you from pulling off an unprecedented, peaceful and democratic revolution in our politics.
YOU did all of that and you are capable of so much more. If, as seems increasingly likely, the Smith Commission’s agreement becomes a complete and undeliverable mess, you may well get the opportunity to prove that sooner than you think. A referendum vow undelivered is just what it says on the tin, its a promise made on condition, but not fulfilled. If the Scottish electorate feel that after having given the Westminster system of government the green light to continue governing, it hasn’t done so in the fashion they were led to believe, then it is fully within their rights to rectify the situation. The same can be said of the upcoming EU referendum or the possible repealing of the Human Rights act. Any outcomes which may adversely affect our laws and interests will be brought to our notice by Scotland’s MPs.
Again remember, no government, no representation can act without your say so. When the First Minister says ‘only the will of the Scottish people decides’, its the literal truth. If the Scottish electorate so will it, they can empower their government and Westminster representatives to revisit that constitutional settlement at the very next opportunity open to them.
All you need do is give your representatives permission when they ask.