Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Another 8 Weeks Of This...

You know, the idea behind burying bad news is that bad news is buried under a huge news story.  Yesterday's announcement that the SNP will begin their arguments for independence in May felt a bit like sneaking the news out while everyone was looking at the man formally known as Saint Vince.  It's bad news for SNP supporters on two counts.

Firstly the upcoming council elections will be even more under the shadow of the forthcoming plebiscite, as a result they will take on the feel of full blown military manoeuvres.  The other is that we have about 8 weeks more of the frankly flim flam arguments we have had over the past couple of weeks.  Mostly concerning every "Scottish" Labour spin doctor's favourite bunny - Joan McAlpine MSP.

Ms McAlpine first achieved notoriety (well, post her "thoughts" during "Scotland's Best Album") with her tweet "Last poll had SNP on 51%, perhaps because of the negative anti-Scottish behaviour of the unionist parties".  Cue pandemonium as politicians from all sides bristle at being called anti-Scottish while not bothering to think about whether siding with the Tories and agreeing with absolutely everything they said might not actually make them look anti-Scottish.  But hey, why think about that when being offended is the new black.

For her next trick, Ms McAlpine made me go on to the Daily Record's website.

But really, the next trick was to pen a column for the Record, which the failing relationship between a married couple was used as a simile for the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK.  This time cue pandemonium across the Macblogosphere as Kirsty at Better Nation towers and televisions own Caron focused in on the phrase "Eventually she recognises the relationship for what it is – an abuse of power”.

From a certain point of view, this phrase could refer to domestic abuse.  There are many levels of domestic abuse, not only the physical type.  In this respect the timing of the article was not the best.  On the other hand, bearing in mind that to many Scottish voters who have had more than a passing knowledge of Scottish affairs and know about Crone's report in the mid 1970's - this phrase almost perfectly describes Scotland's position.  A better description would have involved the "husband" falling in with new friends and changing beyond recognition as "Margaret", "John", "Tony" and "David" exerted their influence on the chap.

As "Planet Politics" Stuart points out, "abuse of power" is different to "abusive relationship" or "domestic abuse", so the shrill hectoring falls down on that score (Stuart, does also point out the ignored flaws in Ms McAlpine's article).  Yet the point is that once again an otherwise innocuous piece (which carries the inherent flaws in Salmond's vision) is shouted down as the arguments descend into a he said she said shouting match - which leaves those undecided in the middle feeling ignored.  One hopes that in the middle of all this screeching and shouting, to paraphrase the Glaswegian joke, in the middle of it all a sensible debate about our future starts.


douglas clark said...

It is clearly the case that Joan McAlpine's article has caused 'faux' offence in the unionist community. It is not at all clear that it isn't a decent metaphor.

Stuart Winton said...

Douglas, she's portraying the situation as England v Scotland, whereas the reality is that Scotland is a constituent part of the United Kingdom.

Thus you could just as well argue that the SNP is abusing local authorities regarding the council tax freeze, for example, which would be a tad over the top.

And thanks for the mention Alan. Couldn't agree more with your analyis, but of course if it wasn't for stuff like that we probably wouldn't have much to talk about ;0)