SNP - Tom Wills

Letters / Scotland’s a different country now

It has been curious watching the ubiquitous ‘Live TV Political Debate with Party Leaders’ programmes.

Anyone who has watched these events, or heard the odd interview on the radio, will be able to tell you what the parties are advocating – thanks to the well-learned sound bites of the party leaders.

However, I happen to think the support for the SNP is not a result of everyone being convinced about their policies, or indeed because this election is seen as a re-run of the referendum.

Instead, something more profound is taking place. It is the end of the road for a parliamentary system that is no longer fit for purpose and is dominated by two parties, neither of which has guts enough to show real leadership when it comes to the interests of ordinary people.

When Cameron, Miliband and Clegg talk about ‘British values’, what do they mean? The reality is it is one set of values for us, and quite another for those in power.

There has been no moral leadership shown by those we elected when they not only use their position to earn fabulous sums on the side, but at the same time fail to rein in the excesses of those who have done great damage to our economy – those who sit at the top taking in millions, while so many rely on foodbanks.

* Who will take some action against Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw and declare them unfit for public office?
* How much has Malcolm Rifkind earned through extracurricular activities over the past 30+ years?
*Are HMRC investigating these charlatans?
* Why is unelected Lord Janner fit enough to sit in the House of Lords influencing decisions of governance, but not able to stand trial and answer the accusations made?
* Why, when the late David McLetchie MSP was toppled from the top Tory job in Scotland because of a £4 taxi receipt, does the Westminster expenses system still allow MPs to claim up to £200 without a receipt?
* Why the police cover-ups and the apparent corruption of cash for questions?
* What about peerages?

The list is endless, and it grows as the years go by. These are the reasons why few can bring themselves to vote for the parties which are perpetuating this unfair system and who are determinedly pushing their manifestos through letter boxes as though we cared.

Clearly the establishment is shaken by the thought of a large number of SNP MPs being elected in Scotland, and it is seemingly ignoring our democratic right to vote for who we like.

We need to ask why the BBC, the House of Lords, the MPs, some sections of the press and even some journalists of normally reasonable candour suddenly have produced extraordinarily hateful articles about the very idea that votes in Scotland could ever influence decisions taken in Westminster.

We now learn that the Conservatives, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats all decide which one of their candidates has the best chance of winning in any one constituency and encourage the supporters of the two other parties to vote for them. Fascinating stuff.

Do you think that the Tories might get a few more seats in Scotland then? Will the Liberal Democrats keep their 11 seats after all and will Margaret Curran, Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy all breathe easy ‘til the next time?

And there’s the rub – regardless of what happens on Thursday, it won’t be business as usual.

After the Referendum, on the morning of 19 September, the Unionist parties thought that it was all over, and back to business as usual. They were wrong. And they shouldn’t make the same mistake again.

Ordinary folk in Scotland have felt their own strength and Scotland is now a different country.

It’s not Nicola Sturgeon or Alex Salmond who will be making decisions for Scotland. With the great rise of political involvement and debate, with information distribution more accessible than ever before, with genuine interest in what plans we need to make to fight poverty and best of all, the real power of realising that we can influence the priorities of government, there can be no stopping us now.

These things don’t just happen.

Jean Urquart
Independent Highlands and Islands list MSP

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