Whether we like it or not, never mind want it, we’re getting it. So much for the sovereignty of the people. Or even the settled will of the Scottish people.
Apologies for the profanity in the title but the news that we are to get five year Scottish Parliamentary terms released my latent Jim Royle. Apparently, the ConDem Government are prepared to gift us five years of the next Scottish Government and group of MSPs because of their “respect” for we Scots and our devolved institution.
And all because they want to move to a fixed term parliament for Westminster – not before time mind you – and doing so would make the UK General Election in 2015 clash with the end of the four year cycle for Holyrood. So the solution? Move over darling, this bed ain’t big for both of us.
No matter that the Scottish Parliament four year term is enshrined in the Scotland Act, as is the day on which Scottish elections must be held. No matter too that only a few years ago, the idea of tinkering with this Act was anathema to our politicians. And even had they wanted to, there would be no available Westminster parliamentary time. Amazing what a difference political self interest makes.
The burd can understand why the Scottish parties are going along with the suggestion; there are, after all, bigger fights to pick with Westminster these days. But what is interesting is that no one is suggesting that the Scottish people be asked for their view on it all. I’m not talking about another pesky referendum but even just a wee bit consultation. It’s not a perfect mechanism by any stretch of the imagination, but community councils could have been asked for their view through an online survey? Or would that come uncomfortably close to giving the people a say in how long we get stuck with our politicians for?
Apparently Clegg and Cameron making this decision for us is about showing “respect” to Scotland. Clegg was at his most sonorously insincere when speaking about it on the radio the other day and Ms Goldie – glad she has found her voice on something – trumpeted how this was the UK government treating “Holyrood with respect“. Indeed, it may be.
But it shows darn little for the Scottish people, whose Parliament this is, after all.
The burd gets the impression oor politicians forget this weeny fact – here’s Annabel again: “As a group, we will take decisions shortly over when the date of that election should be”. How nice, our political parties in a wee huddle sorting it out amongst themselves. We, the voters, are very much an afterthought and such pronouncements simply confirm what the burd increasingly believes, that elections are far too important to be left in the hands of the politicians.
But let’s not get too cynical or upset. Here is a golden opportunity for them to resolve a few other matters pertaining to Holyrood elections. Voting on Thursdays – why? Like many parents I really resent having to use up a day’s precious annual leave to facilitate the electoral process. Other countries vote at weekends, why can’t we?
How about introducing some methods that make it easy for folk to vote – red button, onlne, by text even – instead of marching us up and down hills to our nearest community centre or primary school (particularly when with all the closures about to happen in the next few years, that will actually be some distance away for many voters). It all might actually, you know, improve voter turnout which would surely be a good thing for democracy?
No, of course not. This would involve putting the needs of the people before those of the political class. And we couldn’t possibly have that.
Respect? My arse!