Examining Michael Moore's voting record, http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/michael_moore/berwickshire,_roxburgh_and_selkirk I see a principled man - or at least one who voted as I might have done on most - but not all - key issues. Then I remind myself that most of this voting was done in opposition, when the LibDems had - or claimed to have - liberal, democratic principles. All of that, as we now to know, vanished when they entered the Coalition, and the thin veneer of principle was rapidly stripped off, revealing the rotten Tory woodwork underneath.
And of course, there's nothing like a ministerial car, salary and perks, not to mention the hollow trapping of being a colonial governor, to erode principle and give free rein to a natural inclination towards pomposity. But, as a leading member of a party that has welshed on its manifesto commitments, betrayed those who voted for it in May 2010, and which has reduced the party in Scotland to a pathetic little group in Holyrood, Michael Moore entertains no self-doubt about his right to lecture the Scottish Government, elected by a decisive mandate by the people of Scotland, who also gave the LibDems and Tavish Scott two fingers in May 2011.
If he had taken the trouble to read Your Scotland, Your Voice Nov. 2009 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/11/26155932/16 he would have found most of the answers in a document almost two years old, produced as part of a conversation with the people of Scotland. And of course, that thinking has been developed and refined and is the subject of on-going research and development within the party in the lead-up to the referendum on independence.
But Michael Moore's imperial mind has been focused by the prospect of losing his plumed hat and his white horse when the Scottish Office becomes redundant and is consigned to a sordid footnote in history (except for Niall Ferguson, who may wish to publish several tedious volumes on its glorious past) and by the fact that if a general election was conducted in the next year, his party would face UK-wide obliteration, and even the border voters of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk might wish to think again about their MP.
What does the Scotsman have to say about all of this? Michael Kelly, in an article on sectarianism http://www.scotsman.com/opinion/Michael-Kelly-Sorry-Mr-McBride.6828659.jp and the deeply non-productive and unfortunate comments by Paul McBride, QC has, for once many considered and important things to say, and I am in broad agreement with him - a first for me! But Oor Michael cannot risk being thought to be in favour of independence when he rightly criticises McBride's doomsday scenario, so he has a little disclaimer in his second paragraph. I quote -
"I am as keen as the next home rule unionist to prevent the creation of a state, socially, economically and politically inferior to the one we have in which we currently enjoy living."
The state "in which we currently enjoy living" - the UK - is the one that is nearly bankrupt, bleeding itself to death with foreign wars and interventions, corrupt in its Parliament, in its institutions, in its banking, and in its unelected power and privilege.
This is the state that for over 300 years has exploited Scotland, its people and its resources, a state that is still being disproportionately funded by Scotland, not only in economic terms but in the blood of its servicemen and women, who have consistently sustained a casualty rate, proportionate to population, higher than the rest of the UK. Their reward has been to be called heroes - which they are - and to have their ancient regiments eliminated, merged, in a sustained attempt to remove their Scottish identity, to be inadequately equipped by an incompetent M.O.D. Ask Rose Gentle, a Scottish mother whose 19-year-old son, Fusilier Gordon Gentle, was killed in Basra in 2004.
Scotland's reward for the rape of its people, talent and resources has been poverty, poor housing, destruction of its industrial infrastructure, and a lower life expectancy for men and women than the rest of the UK. This lethal colonial ravaging of Scotland has only begun to be ameliorated by the Scottish National Party, who in just over four years of government - most of it in minority government, blocked at every opportunity by a cynical and expedient unionist opposition - have given news spirit and new hope to the Scottish people, who have rewarded them with a giant vote of confidence.
Michael Kelly's party, in contrast, presided over the decline of Scotland for half a century, until their dead and cynical hegemony was successfully challenged by the SNP in 2007. Before the Scottish Labour Party we had an equally dead hand, that of the party of empire, blood, death and privilege, the Tory Party, now an irrelevancy in Scotland.
And what of the Scotsman lead article? It has the front to talk of honest answers. Under its present editorial team and proprietorship, it rarely asks honest questions - they are loaded unionist propaganda - and even more rarely provides honest answers. In its instincts it is Tory, but recognises the death of that party in Scotland. It is now in a dilemma - it is anti-Labour, but pro-Union, but the only hope for the Union is Labour. It was forced, in a fit of realism during the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary campaign, to recognise that the SNP had the only managerially competent politicians in Scotland, so it backed them, but was emphatically not backing an independent Scotland.
It was utterly taken aback by the election results, and now is in an even greater dilemma, trying to balance the twin threats of declining circulation caused by its progressive irrelevance as a voice for Scotland, and its irrational and emotional attachment to the Union. It gives occasional - and very welcome - space to real Scottish voices such as Joan McAlpine, but the balance is never in doubt, with columnists such as Alan Massie, Michael Kelly, et al, and of course the consistently unionist voice of its editor, Bill Jamieson. The Scotsman has never really recovered from Andrew Neil, Thatcherite and Unionist par excellence.
So let me close with a message to Michael Moore. If you care for Scotland, resign from your post as Scottish Secretary, ask Willie Rennie to stand down as leader of his tiny group, and lead your party in Holyrood. God knows, the Scottish LibDems need a leader, after Tavish Scott - and now Willie Rennie. They will welcome you with open arms. The spirit of Joe Grimond will be with you, instead of the ghost of Jeremy Thorpe. You can keep the plumed helmet ...
Meanwhile, stop asking stupid questions - you can render that service at least to your adopted country.
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