Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Election fever, dear reader, really is at fever pitch.

I've just come back from my local post office. Almost home, I bumped into (not literally) my local Liberal Democrat council election candidate. I confided in him my sexuality, how upset I was with the SNP not responding to me four years ago when writing to them about civil partnerships and the lack of movement on equality and other social issues since 2003.

The Liberal Democrat candidate, Stuart Bridges, told me that the little progress we have seen over the past fours years is all thanks to the Liberal Democrats' presence in the executive. Difficult to prove and difficult to believe, though I will give him benefit of the doubt.

And at least he's engaging with the local community. He's the only candidate to have knocked on a door so far - and was very much in favour of reinstating the South Suburban Railway here in Edinburgh.

This is good news. The Liberal Democrats want to open up the railway and extend the tram network. The SNP want Scotland to rely on North Sea oil and other fossil fuels and stop the tram project, if you'll excuse the pun, in its tracks.

So, you see, my love, twenty four hours is a very long time in politics. This morning, I was adamant that my votes will go to Labour and Margo MacDonald in the parliamentary election and Labour would get my #1 vote in the council elections. I'm now questioning this and may change my mind. I may not, of course, but I am thinking about it. Yes, even a jaded old socialist like myself might turn away from a Labour vote.

Still unsure what will swing it for me, but an enquiry into the 2003 constituency result probably provides the answer. Probably. Labour stands a greater chance in beating McLetchie, so I suppose I'll bung my X in their box. If the Liberal Democrats looked more likely, well, I'd bloody well vote for them. They don't, but am still considering my options. Thankfully, here in the South of Edinburgh, the SNP don't stand a chance in hell.

My dear, outlandish, fabulous and exciting friend, Alan, the one in Japan, not the one in Luton, is a nationalist. He's currently trying to encourage me and his other friends to vote for the SNP. I refuse to do so and on receiving an email from him this morning, I responded outlining my reasons why.

I'm sure Alan won't mind if I will reprint our exchange here, unedited (though I'd love to tinker):

Before you vote have a look at this. It's a non-biased economists guide to Scotland's viability to be an independent nation again. He states quite clearly that Scotland would be pretty much be the same outside the union as inside. It all depends on the policies put forward by succesive independent Scottish governments. Just as is the case now in the UK.

So, go on. Vote SNP, vote to be a nation again... You know you want to!

I saw Evan present that piece on the news about a week ago.

Basically, the crux of his argument then, was, if Scotland leaves the Union, it will be worse of by £Xbillion. However, that sum is equal to the oil revenue it would receive from the North Sea... But what happens when the oil runs out, when it's too expensive to suck out or when no-one wants it?

And in any case, a reliance on fossil fuels is terrible. The SNP are simply giving more power to the Green Party argument over this.

I really do have an open mind about an independent Scotland. Although I do feel a certain sadness when any divorce is mentioned. But if it's best for the people, then it should at least be considered.

My huge problem is with Alex Salmond and the SNP.

First of all, there's the money the party took from Brian Souter. Half a million pounds. Half a million pounds from a vile, homophobic bigot. Taking money from Souter means that for a party in need of funds, they will shy away from legislation and policy in favour of equality in order to receive more cash from this vile little shit.

Second, Roseanna Cunningham and her homophobic views, her dreadful rant about gay people and the adoption of children. She thinks children aren't safe in our hands? I don't think Scotland's safe in the SNP's hands.

Then Fiona Hyslop, one of my Lothians MSPs. Of all the representatives with whom I corresponded over the civil partnerships debate, only she was adamant not to reply, not to state a view, not to stand up for equality, for one of her constituents. Christ, even the Tory, Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, took time to respond to me.

Then there's Alex Salmond himself. In the party election broadcast last night, he claimed the first vote is for First Minister. Wrong! The Parliament elects the First Minister. The first vote if for the election of a constituency MSP. I'm shocked that he's prepared to lie about it and that he's not got into trouble for it.

Also, his swagger, his sneering and the way he sems to constantly laugh at other politicians and journalists is horrible. He will do this in the political arena if we elect him. People will be disgusted at this vile behaviour and do Scotland's cause no end of harm.

Then there are the bizarre statements he makes. That an interest rate set in London is no good for someone paying their mortgage in Bathgate. Sure, ok. But Alec Salmond wants us to join the Euro. And an interest rate set in Frankfurt is better than one set in London? Je ne pense pas!

And that Scotland has no voice in the EU or in the UN and he wants us to be on an equal footing with England on these matters. So he thinks England has a voice in the EU and in the UN? What planet is he on?

He walked away from the parliament once. He stood down from the leadership and declared he'd never stand for it again... It's ok to change your mind, but in politics, people need assurances and clarity, not a change of direction every time the wind blows. His latest comment about re-joining the Union if it all goes horribly wrong is shameful. He doesn't know where he's taking us, if we might go into reverse or if England will want a new Union with us at some later date. I hated Thatcher, but at least one knew what one was getting with her. With Salmond, it's all guess work. Scotland's future is too important to be played with like this. Alex Salmond's constant deceptions will be seen through eventually. I just hope it's before tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Now is not the time for a reckless gamble, now is the time for social and economic progress, neither of which we will get with a party in the pay of a nasty and homophobic fool. A Jew would not vote for the Nazi Party and I will not vote for the SNP. In the words of Ian Paisley, "Never, never, never!" Ha, ha, ha!

I'm actually in favour of joining the Euro, but his argument for it is bizarre and is no reason for breaking up the Union, a union that has served Scotland well, has served England well, has kept both from bankruptcy and made us the country we are today. However, if Union is bad for us or if we'd be better served an an independent Scotland, then the matter should at least be put to the people. But not through the SNP or with Alex Salmond, please!

If the only way to get a referendum on independence is with a nationalist executive, there are other parties one can vote for: Green, Solidarity and SSP are three which spring to mind! And my second vote is going to Margo MacDonald. I know which way she'd vote in a referendum debate in parliament, but she gets my vote nonetheless. Why? Because she's there on the issues that matter. She took time to write to me every time I've written to her. Because she cares.

The SNP do not.

I do think the SNP might end up as the largest party in Parliament after tomorrow, but I do think it will be a flash in the pan. I think it will be the result of an anti-Labour protest vote as parties tend to lose elections, not win them. I think that if the SNP is the largest party, they will make a horrid mess of our economy, never be re-elected again, wither and die.

As I said, independence is one issue (over which I genuinely do have an open mind) but Alex Salmond and the SNP are another.

I'm genuinely worried that after tomorrow, Scotland might be entering a new dark age.

For a brighter future, vote Scottish Labour.



No comments: