This article was written for the Subrosa Blog and is reproduced here with permission.
All that was needed was for enough of us to vote Alex and we’d be off. And we did. Naff helicopter moments apart, things went fairly swimmingly. In power! A more than workable majority won. (If we all sit nice and still and quiet we’ll maybe be able to hear dear old Malcolm spinning in his grave or having a good laugh at how things worked out for his party).
There was of course the opening of parliament with Queenie present and then there was a lull. The opposition girded their loins, considered their options and started shooting themselves in the foot. Not to be outdone, those spiffing chaps from Westminster steeled themselves and set to rubbishing everything that wasn’t Union friendly. On every occasion both sets of chaps and chapessess decided to say something to the press, they got it really, really wrong. It was as if they were doing a party political broadcast FOR the SNP. Everything they said boiled down to the Scots being too daft, too poor and too frightened. Excellent for the SNP.
Then another lull. Well it was holiday time you know.
Then we’re back. And things started to go a bit less well. It was nothing to do with the opposition. It was all to do with the SNP. The adversarial system used in our Parliament is old, tired and negative whilst our parliament is very new, shiny and should feature modern debating with a new approach to governing Scotland. The SNP looked like the tired old, established and completely lost London parties when they should have looked fresh. The SNP should be using a different approach to politics, which is unlike any other political party.
Sadly it’s beginning to feel like we have a new set of the same sort of politicians we have always had. You know the type. They don’t answer the question they are asked they answer the question they wanted to be asked.
The SNP have to get their act together. So here’s a list of things they need to do with some urgency, according to me anyway.
The SNP are not the Labour party so they really should stop doing the silly leftie things the Labour Party would do if they were in charge.
They should not introduce any policy, which is based on being the first to do it or being the toughest in the world or any other stuff like that. Posturing isn’t an option. What is an option is mainly doing things that will result in better lives for the people of Scotland.
Ditch the hippy renewable energy policy. Just stop. Now. There isn’t a day that goes by now when someone somewhere is pulling out of renewables or are demonstrating it is the most expensive energy production EVVAAA. Evidence is beginning to suggest that the new IPCC report will not be the soaring endorsement of global warming it has been in the past. So, invest the money in real long-term quality projects which will deliver real energy as cheaply as possible for the Scottish people.
I don’t smoke or drink so it bothers me not what fags and mans beer cost. Forget plain fag packets and minimum pricing for alcohol. People will get alcohol one way or another. They’ll get it over the border in England. They’ll make their own. They’ll bring it back from Europe. You will enrich Tesco, Asda and their big mates and anyone else who has a license to sell alcohol. A licence to sell alcohol will become a license to print money. It’s not the job of the state to set prices.
People don’t buy fags because they like the colourfully designed packets. They buy them because they like smoking them, that’s the fags not the packets, mostly anyway. You will drive them to buy from dodgy sources who will greatly benefit from plain packets. You will make it easier for bootleggers to sell their version of cigarettes whilst paying no tax.
If the SNP are serious about Independence then being in the EU just isn’t an option. The events of the past few weeks, not to mention the events of the next few months will make it a disastrous move. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Germany will recognise Scotland as a positive member of the EU? For how long? Just long enough to sign us up. Then who cares as long as we pay the bill every month.
There’s the new Forth Road Bridge too. There are other cheaper ways to achieve a higher traffic flow. Add other lanes. It’s been done in loads of other places. The cost of the new bridge is ridiculous in the present climate and probably would be in any financial climate. They’ll argue that it’s a capital project and it will create jobs. Maybe it will. How about duelling the A9? How about a dual carriage way all the way from Edinburg to Newcastle? How about investing in at least one project for every town in Scotland? Statement not big enough? The intent would be bigger and viewed much more positively by the Scottish people.
Get on with pushing BP and anyone else interested to start producing shale oil and gas. Get the North Sea really moving.
But mainly do something. Live up to the hype. Be bold. Deliver.
I dare you Alex.