Unless I’ve missed something UKIP have decided to ignore the suggestions outlined earlier from those at the Stirling meeting. The result is clear in the latest opinion poll which shows UKIP now have no chance of a Scottish MEP and are heading for a disaster in the Euro election. Given UKIP England’s attitude to Scotland, it now seems UKIP would rather have this defeat than listen to us Scots with the result that what little is left of UKIP in Scotland is likely to fall apart even more.
We have to admit it, UKIP have failed in Scotland, largely because UKIP England did not listen to us in Scotland. That is such a cliche: the age old problem of English politicians trying to foist English policies and English politics onto a very different political & economic situation in Scotland. It has always failed and it will always fail. UKIP are not the first England party to crash and burn in Scotland and no doubt they will not be the last.
But this now leaves me and many other people in Scotland with no party to vote for. Even if the Tories were not the Eton Old boys club they are, having lived in the SE of England, I know their policies are devised by those in the SE of England, for the SE of England and largely at the expense of those everywhere else in the UK. I can only imagine people in Scotland vote Tory, either because they are part of this “Eton Old boy’s club” or through shear desperation they ignore or don’t care about the anti-Scottish economic policies of the Tories.
But that then leaves the most “pro” Scottish-business in party in Scotland as the left-leaning anti-business SNP. There is clearly a huge gap on the right of politics in Scotland which is not being filled by any party in Scotland!
So with the demise of UKIP in Scotland who are those like me to vote for? The only option I can see is to try to fill that gap with a new party. That means finding people interested in a new Scottish right of centre party with aims not too dissimilar to the Scottish-relevant policies of UKIP with a view to putting together a manifesto to form a new party.
But that still leaves a key question: “why has no right of centre party has been successful in the recent past in Scotland?” Unless we have an answer, any right of centre party seems destined to the same fate as the Tories and UKIP.
The answer seems alarmingly simple and obvious after the recent events within UKIP Scotland: the problem with both UKIP and the Tories are that they are both just branch offices of what is in reality an English focussed party with English focussed policies which like the Tories ends up being largely anti business when those policies are applied in a Scottish context to Scottish business.
So, the e solution appears equally simple: a new a totally Scottish right of centre party.
What would that look like? I think the gap in political market in Scotland is generally for a party:
- Right of centre
- Scottish (not a branch of an English one)
- Pro self-reliance and against state nannyism (e.g. appointing state guardians to replace parents).
- Pro-business, particularly small and medium size businesses (i.e. indigenous rather than multinational).
- Against the social(ist) policy of the EU but largely in favour of business links with Europe
- But as these are important in Scotland, supportive of public sector education and healthcare.
- With a Scottish centred economic policy, not one designed to favour SE England companies. So, far more support for areas where Scotland has done well such as engineering, industry, tourism, free energy markets, etc.
In addition I might also like to add some “nice to haves” but not essential principles:
- In favour of a simple set of human rights for ORDINARY UK citizens (NOT THE FEW who can either afford it or can get legal aid)
- BUT … balanced by human responsibility.
- Pro liberalising the media and particularly freeing the “state” media of the BBC from its state-nannyist culture.
- Pro the “countryside” particularly as a tourist industry asset, so e.g. removing the costly, anti-tourist “clutter” of wind turbines.
- Pro investment in the transport infrastructure of Scotland in order to encourage economic development of remoter areas.
In other words not a UKIP clone because the focus is not an EU independence party. Instead the new party will be above all else a Scottish right of centre, pro-business party. A party which is against the EU, not on principle, but because the EU is a practical failure because of its social, anti-libertarian and anti-business culture.
Scotland within the UK.
One obvious issue which I do not cover above is Scottish independence. This is a difficult issue. In practice as the opinion polls show, Scots are in favour of union, but this is very different from saying they are “unionists” and I think unionist zealotry is another reason why many Scots are put off voting Tory or for UKIP.
Whilst most Scots are proud of their Scottish identity, I don’t think most Scots are too bothered about independence, but neither are we over impressed by the highly inequitable way the Union has been used by the English to favour England and particularly the SE.
We Scots are pragmatic, not principled on Union.
A short aside on the pros/cons of union
There is no doubt in my mind that Scotland would get a huge economic boost from having the key institutions in Scotland. This is not because government is any good with the economy, but because government is so “leeky” in its spending, that any government institution in Scotland would inevitably “leek” to local companies which just happen to boost local economic growth, which just happens to be particularly helpful in nurturing the small and growing business sector which is so important to nurturing future businesses. This is why the SE does so well – not because government is effective, but because the coincidental purchases of government departments are particularly helpful in growing futures businesses.
In other words, the incompetence of the public sector is actually a huge business opportunity which just happens to have a huge knock on effect. However, that incompetence is also a big business drain, and unfortunately, the Scottish government so far seems to be so ignorant of business realities that it is positively harmful to business in Scotland.
But, whilst the actions of the present political parties, media, civil service, etc. suggest Scotland would be an economic disaster if we were given independence now, a party in favour of self-reliance and tending to be against the smothering state nannyism of the EU would be in favour of self-determination and so it would not be against Scottish independence on principle. In practice right now yes! That Scotland might within a few decades be better off as independent country – quite possible.
A pro-business party would be in favour of the economically successful union between England and Scotland for practical reasons and not on principle, however that still leaves the problem that as we all know, the economic benefits of that union have not been equally shared.
So, I would suggest the party view would be:
“not in principle against Scottish self determination, but that at present the benefits of Union with England outweigh the net benefits (less costs) of independence”.
Constitution of UK
Whilst not perhaps a key issue of the party, given the current debate it would be necessary to state some kind of view. I would suggest in favour of devolution – perhaps with a rebalancing so the Scottish Parliament is not just a spending body but also has a responsibility for parts of the economy.
So options would be:
- Devolution (but with less MSPs as most are just anti-democratic voting fodder without much to do except party politics)
- Devolution + (with more powers particularly encouraging economic responsibility, less MSPs, but perhaps an upper chamber to prevent some of the more stupid policies they tend to think up)
- Federalism (which is more a rebalancing of power in England so it has its own parliament)