Wanted: Some excitement in Scotland

Is it me or is Scotland feeling unutterably dreary at the moment? America has a pantomime villain sweeping the boards; Germany’s charmed chancellor is unyieldingly dicing with political death but in Scotland it’s just same old, same old, and not in a good way…..

  1. We already know who’s going to win May’s election. Nothing to see here.
  1. We went for Independence; we didn’t get it, turns out it’s just as well we didn’t, looks like we’re going to go for it again.
  1. Higher earners are about to get hammered for being the next best thing to fat cat/Tory/‘WestMunster’ sympathisers, although in truth the super rich have never been here in great numbers.
  1. The EU Referendum is already front-loaded with misery – Brexit  > a tsunami of hatred for England triggering Indyref II; Bremain > revenge for Scotland’s pro-European voting habits via a demand for Scotland to leave UK from Boris’s lot – a semi-permeable membrane of bile.
  1. We’re nervous about the summer – if it’s a rerun of previous years we’ll have to move to Spain. Hardly any of us can speak Spanish.

We need a feelgood cheerleader – a Kevin Bridges fresh from a Merchiston rugby scholarship fuelled by his family’s award-winning micro-brewery. At the very least can someone provide a cheery non-political look on the bright side? There are good things happening on the infrastructure side – the new Forth bridge is looking great; the A9 upgrade is in progress as well as the Aberdeen by-pass – all huge improvements. And leaving politics aside and who’s footing the bill – who’s complaining about not having prescription charges; or tuition fees or, in real terms, a decreasing council tax – TBH life’s good but Independence has so polarised and mesmerised us, it has somehow diminished the benefits we enjoy every day.

You certainly wont find light relief in the Scottish parliament. Every Thursday lunchtime Willie and the ladies squabble over who is best at dissing Scotland like maiden aunts arguing over the last boiled sweet. The dreary litany of employment/productivity/waiting list stats are so favorably sliced and diced as to be pointless to everyone who isnt dependent on them to appear half competent at FMQs. Sturgeon emulates to a T her mentor’s cocky head tilts; triumphalist finger pointing and three point shouted conclusions in a formula that presumably looks super in the bathroom mirror – but in truth it lacks Salmond’s authenticity and makes her look unattractive (as a human, male or female). Mind you it’s still effective against the others whose inability to sound sincerely cross; outraged or incredulous at the Government’s performance on our behalf is akin to P1 shepherds struggling through their teatowels at the Christmas Nativity Play to murmur ‘Lo, what is that in the sky? Is it oil at only $30 a barrel – wouldn’t we be bust if…what’s the next line?’

Why cant we hear of ground-breaking ideas to deliver public services through brilliant third sector initiatives; Scotland’s intention to introduce a digital currency, or even how the political process is going to be transformed through technology. Please can we have some exciting developments delivered with panache and elan.

No wonder people are disengaging from party politics. The whole process of parliament has stood still when everything else is revolutionizing. It’s deadly boring.

Frankly if Scotland becomes Independent in the next 10 years it’s likely to happen because Nicola’s ‘swing 15%’ become so bored with Scotland’s politics and political process they slump from opposition to complacency to resignation and others simply leave to live somewhere that has a more exciting democratic offer – somewhere that focuses less on its status and more on its country’s most pressing issues. For Scotland, the number of homeless young people now living on its city’s streets might be an obvious priority for a newly committed and dynamised parliament to tackle.

new bridge
The Queensferry Crossing under development across the Forth.

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