Having just read Theo Smith’s letter (Always someone else’s blame; SN, 02/06/2017), attacking his former(?) friend Peter Malcolmson for having had the insight and courage to change his mind about what is both best politically and in representative terms for the future of Orkney and Shetland in relation to Westminster, he himself seems to demonstrate the same illiberal behaviour he wrongly accuses Peter of.
The Liberal Party has, since the formation of the Labour Party in the 1920s, really struggled to define, and more importantly ethically stick to a core set or moral values.
For long a half-way house between the freedom of individuals to exploit each other and the needs of the masses, I always assume change was part of liberal, small ‘l’, philosophical tradition.
However it seems to have lost its way politically for most of the 20th century, until David Steele re-invented them and dragged them into the 20th century and then the Lib Dems were formed with disaffected Labour MPs – the notorious Gang of Four – who pre-Blaired Blair.
The modern illiberal tradition continued, when it spectacularly revealed its true nature, choosing the rich and powerful over the poor, seeing and supporting massive increases in inequalities by supporting austerity.
They rightly paid the price for that, and will do again at this election. People do not have short memories. Choosing the historically elitist and powerful – years of lawyers and lairds to represent them and keep ‘moothless Shetlanders’ in their place, now hopefully seems to be coming to an end.
As much as I wish Jeremy Corbyn well in England, as an honest and honourable man, never mind politician, unlike man Lib Dem MPs, it is clear that the SNP have acted as a credible opposition in Westminster, if perhaps not delivering as they could and should at Holyrood.
Like Theo, I assume, I’m not a Scottish nationalists (they are not all SNP supporters), I am not any kind of nationalist, unlike Theo who is clearly a UK nationalist, despite years of unachieved Lib Dem federal ideology – like PR.
It took New Labour to bring these things to Scotland, but unfortunately not to England, due to Blair and Brown’s obsession with control. Such a pity then that people like Theo sided with a Tory government, who in addition to impoverishing millions, helped set out the roadmap for Brexit, through supporting a ridiculously Tory inspired, ill-informed referendum based on a non-entity of a deal from Cameron’s ‘talks’ with the EU.
Instead Lib Dems in government stupidly allowing fear, xenophobia and false promises, all to ultimately try to bring UKIPers back to the Tory fold.
The real test for Scotland only comes after it achieves much needed independence, when the SNP, like UKIP, will have lost its raison d’etre and the true development of Scotland as a federal progressive pluralist democracy can fulfil its destiny as a global player and partner, and can then determine its own deal, not not with the EU, if the European project and the Euro survive the next 10 years.
Scotland’s future globally is, like Eire’s, assured due to its non-colonial, non-arrogant past and much more tolerant, respected and friendly diaspora.
Ms Brett will make a refreshing, energetic, engaging, moral and visionary change – much need at Westminster and assist Scotland achieve the courage to fulfil and complete its new enlightenment.
James J Paton
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