Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Devolution's Test...

Getting a bit nippy between Holyrood and Westminster, isn't it!

I mean, we've had the fun fighting since the SNP came to power - it was inevitable under any situation where there were different parties in control, and has been heightened by Salmond's bombast and the need of a minority Government to use rhetoric to keep itself in power. Heck, let's be honest and impartial - it's also been used by a majority Government in Westminster to keep itself in power, often with greater desperation.

The public have pretty much enjoyed this. It's fun to see a Scottish Government 'sticking up for us' even if we don't actually know what it is they are doing. It's making a change from the 'business as usual' of the first two SPs, and keeps political commentators in employment.

Things have changed now though - it's all got a bit serious. Suddenly major Scottish banks are in trouble, the UK economy is hurtling (or at least trickling - never sounds as impressive though) towards recession and the world is on the edge of the abyss. And other apocalyptic signs of poor journalism which fill our media sources like some sort of Biblical plague inflicted on the modern world.

Now, we want our politicians to be, well, politicians. Y'know - boring, serious, dedicated and understanding of the concepts that we as the public do not want to bother with. We don't really have time for the playground politics which parties normally engage in.

Of course, this doesn't stop them from happening. We had a wonderful moment, the kind you tell your grandkids about (poor Baby Cooke hasn't even been born yet and I'm planning the next gen!) where the parties agreed. There was an awkward moment where they all sat round looking at each other with nothing to say, unable to be pleased about their consensus but also scared to break the silence.

Luckily the break came. Not entirely sure who is responsible - I'll leave everyone to make their own partisan accusations - but politics sparked back into life. "We completely support the decision but...", "This is not the time for party politics, however..." et cetera et cetera.

The apocalypse hasn't come, normality has been resumed.

But whilst I love this witty banter as much as the next man/woman/child/animal/inanimate object, it has to be kept under control in the current climate. The public are looking to their politicians to deliver, and are vaguely aware that we're probably in this mess in the first place because of them. Petty arguing between Holyrood and Westminster does neither the Union nor the cause for independence any credit - it instead leads to the situation of a curse on both their houses.

It is important, nay vital, that Holyrood and Westminster, and the different political parties, argue and debate and propose the best ways forward. But now is not the time for name calling and face pulling. Those delights can be saved for the future - for now, we're all in this together.

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