It’s been an interesting week in Scottish politics as well as elsewhere in the world. We had the death of the old Suadi tyrant with the UK government proclaiming that government buildings in England should fly the union flag at half mast, a move which was widely criticised but not followed here in Scotland. Even Buckingham palace flew the butcher’s apron at half mast in honour of the dead king who’s regime had sentenced a Saudi blogger to 10 years imprisonment and 1000 lashes. But then in a very unusual move Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Conservative party in Scotland, tweeted the following:
That’s not following the party line and it is clearly a swipe at all those who lowered their flags, including the palace. An MSP told me that she is entitled to voice her opinion, and I say good on Ruth for doing so. But there’s a cynical side to my nature, made all the sharper during the indyref, which says that there is something else going on here. Something more than simply voicing her outrage at the honouring of a tyrannical monarch’s departure. I believe that it is DIFFERENTIATION.
That’s a term which used to inspire fear into my heart back when they were trying to teach me sums at school, but I believe that what we are witnessing is a clear attempt by Ruth Davidson to distance herself, and her Scottish accounting unit, from the policies of her masters down Westminster way. That’s right, she is trying to Jockanise her wee bit of the tory party. Presumably she can see that the Tories will be going the way of the dodo at GE2015 and she wants to have some kind of a platform to fight the Scottish Parliament elections from next year.
Of course she’s not alone in this sudden recognition of Scottishness. The local accounting unit of the UK Labour party have been shamelessly plugging the Jock angle ever since Jim Murphy got the manager’s job. We’ve seen him running in a Scottish football strip, playing keepy=up in the same strip (while he should have been voting in WM), promising to tax wealthy Londoners and use the cash to pay for 1000 nurses more than the SNP promise, the false spat with Dianne Abbot and rewriting the branch constitution (which does not exist). You could almost say that he is desperate to portray his branch as being distinctly Scottish and not just an extension of the main UK party, which of course it is.
Even Nick Clegg was at it. He wrote a couple of pieces in the Press and Journal, one of which attempted to talk up the Lib Dem candidate for the Gordon constituency Christine Jardine. Unfortunately he couldn’t quite remember the name of the Unionist’s biggest hope to beat Alex Salmond and he called her Justine. Now that’s embarrassing. But lets give Christine her due, she is engaging with the voters of Gordon but I’m afraid that the task before her is going to be too large (especially with that sort of backing from the dear leader).
I would dearly love to bring you news of Labour’s great hope, Braden Davy. But he hides himself away and does not engage in debate. I suspect that he is being carefully managed by the Scottish branch but the voters will not be voting for a boy who they know nothing about. I wonder if Jim Murphy knows his name?
I expect to see more Jockanisation on our TV screens and on social media soon as the Unionist parties desperately attempt to distance themselves from their Westminster counterparts and the stench of corruption which emanates from them. Interesting times.