Wednesday, 28 February 2007

The Scottish Handgrenade

History is about to repeat itself and once again, Scotland plays a leading role.

In 1990, Thatcher was driven from office by her own Party after 11 (great) years in absolute power. Scotland delivered the final blow in its reaction to the trial of the infamous Poll Tax. Heseltine, the big noise of the then Tory Party, had previously dithered over the assassination, trying all manner of underhand tactics to prompt revolt. The departure of such a powerful leader exposed the shallowness of spirit in those left behind and the complete absence of talent or leadership.

In the end, the apparently dominant Heseltine failed to secure the leadership as the Party chose to “play safe” behind the featureless charisma vacuum that was Mr Major. The Government and, frankly, the country descended into unseemly decay. Scotland did for Thatcher and the Tories haven’t managed to win more than one seat North of the Border ever since.

In the next few months, Scotland will once again provoke political chaos, and, albeit in a slightly different way, the outcome will be the same. Power will be usurped, a talentless inner lining will be exposed, and the dominant figure will stumble in the final straight as a divided and rudderless party loses its nerve.

Scotland, Gordon Brown’s personal fiefdom, is set to go to the polls in 60 odd days to elect MSP’s to a Parliament that only exists because our current Government made it so. The polls suggest however, that they will express their thanks by voting Labour out of office in favour of the Nationalist SNP. Thanks indeed. Scots were never known for their sense of humour.

This time Scotland will do for the “Prince Regent” at the moment of transition, and the Labour Party will panic and play safe. This time, however, the Opposition are ready and waiting and there will be no extended death throes.

Gordon Brown, broken and furious, will never understand how his own people conspired to use the liberty he helped to give them to betray him.

The moral of the story, if that is what you are looking for, is that politics is a ruthless business not for the fainthearted. Power must be acquired and retained by fair means or foul. Most of all, if you don’t take control of your destiny, your destiny will crumble to dust before your very eyes.

Oh yes, and Scotland may be very beautiful but its residents are a political liability! I feel the onset of a new metaphor. Alongside the "Trojan Horse" perhaps we should have the "Scottish handgrenade".

Brookes - the new Hogarth

HAT TIP to Peter Brookes, the Times Newspaper cartoonist. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
So, I have been bullied back into Blogging after a severe dose of apathy. A few notes on the most prominent themes while I have been away:

Alan Johnson truly deserves contempt. At the height of a wide ranging national ‘youth’ scandal (worst place to be a child in the developed world, youth gun crime, gangs and male displacement), Mr Johnson commits himself to the single policy most responsible for the problem – the abandonment of marriage. Marriage and family are the essential building blocks of society. Withdrawing Government support for marriage in search of some liberal utopia is criminal dereliction of the youth it ultimately betrays. New Labour have made their bed, and they must now lie in it. Never has a cartoon ever summed up my feelings as this one by Brookes. If the rights were acquired by the Tories and used properly, this single cartoon could and should bring this government down.

The contest for the Leadership of the Labour Party is hotting up in true New Labour style. Milburn and Clarke’s launch of their ‘debate’ is little more than we have come to expect from this tawdry bunch. Its deceit is so transparent. Its propagators lie and spin their way through a press conference claiming that their purpose is to raise policy issues – but not one single policy is discussed. This cowardly, deceitful approach to politics is precisely the legacy that Blair leaves behind and precisely the reason why this leadership campaign is doomed to failure. All Cameron has to do is be honest, decent, open and true, and he will sweep these desperados from power.

The contest for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party interests me not. With one exception. The very fact that it is underway before we, or more particularly they, know who the next Leader of the Party is. They appear to be saying that they are happy to be deputy leader to any of Brown, Meacher, McDonnell, Miliband or Milburn and as such their political credibility is shot and their self serving rush for power is beneath contempt.

If I see another moment of media coverage of either Jade Goody, Anna Nicole Smith or that other brainless female, Danielle, I will lose all sense of decorum. The media does many great things but its creation and propagation of the cult of celebrity is an evil that must be brought to a rapid end.

Ireland have finally grown up. Patronising though that may be, I speak as man with significant quantities of Irish blood but who has grown up knowing nothing but Irish petulance and violence. I have stood between them and witnessed their bigotry first hand. As such, I expected little from the crowd at the highly charged, Nationalist venue, Croke Park in Dublin for the Ireland vs. England Rugby international. For those unaware, Croke Park is the now impressive Gaelic Football stadium in which, in 1920, British troops took revenge for the killing of British agents by opening fire indiscriminately during a football game killing 14 people. Since when the stadium has stood as a bastion of nationalism and until just two weeks ago had NEVER played host to any international team. I was deeply moved therefore, by the all round decency of the crowd last Saturday. Their applause for the English team, their silence (to a man) for the British National Anthem and their generosity in victory. Fantastic game of rugby!