Salmond forms minority government

The Scottish Nationalist Party leader Alex Salmond has been voted in as First Minister of a minority government in the Scottish Parliament, by 49 votes to 46, with the support of the Green Party.. and by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats abstaining in the vote. His acceptance speech is here. That minority govement should mean, as Michael White points out in the Guardian, “Mr Salmond’s plans for independence are pinned down at all corners.”

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  • Notice, too, the first crisis coming over the horizon. Big Business choses now to beat the drum for more expenditure on cities (particularly Edinburgh). See http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=757472007.

    The SNP has traditionally done less well in the cities (Edinburgh two seats, both gains; Glasgow, only Govan, a gain) than out in the wilds. In their perfect world (as hinted in the SNP manifesto) that would imply a shift in spending away from the cities, from Labour areas to their areas, in other words.

    On the basis of this Scotsman story, it looks as if the initial achievement of Salmond is to create an unholy alliance between Labour, Edinburgh LibDems, Greens and capitalism. This is trimming yet further the SNP wish-list.

    May this fore-shadow some similar middle-term problems and conflicting interests for the Stormont Executive?

  • Tori

    It doesn’t matter the exact number.This government will demonstrate independence is the best soulution for Scotland.We just have to wait for that moment…

  • Prince Eoghan

    Whatever Michael White in his jingoistic piece aimed at his fellow little-Englanders says is totally irrelevant.

    This was a great day for Scotland!

    Malcolm, stand by for more nonsense the longer the Parliament goes on. This is Scots running Scotland for Scotland, no need to ask the masters view in London over policy decisions. I think you will find that Glasgow returned one first past the post MSP, but considerably more from the list voting (Edinburgh also from list). In fact I think that the percentage of Glasgow votes for the SNP was higher than average.

    Hopefully this is an independent Scotland’s first administration in training.

  • Prince Eoghan @ 07:24pm

    [1] Quite frankly, the linking of the two terms “Michael White” and “Jingoism” defies rational analysis. And it is trite to discount that to which one objects as “irrelevant”.

    [2] While I agree that there will be “more nonsense the longer the Parliament goes on”, I doubt that “nonsense” is what anyone wants or needs. Scotland needs and deserves better.

    [3] Of course more were elected from the regional list: that is how the proportional system is designed. I specifically referred to the constituency vote. Glad to hear, by implication, that Prince Eoghan applauds the disaster of the twin-list voting system, though.

    [4] I desperately hope that the SNP is not independent Scotland’s first administration in training. The SNP is and remains essentially a creature of capitalism (I have shown these links in previous postings and do not intend here to waste bandwith). It is a party with some very sinister history to bury, notably the 1937 anti-Irish “Green Terror”. Is the expression “the key to the racial destiny of our country” no longer party dogma?

    [4] Let us remember the title of the SNP, which derives in part from the National Party of the 1930s, a dodgy near-fascist lot who believed “Class antagonism is a thing quite foreign to the Scottish spirit. It was unknown here until it was imported from England…. In Scotland there is no such inherent feeling of a separation between classes.”

    [5] If anyone decries my references to past history, let them not be heard singing Flower of Scotland, and certainly not using the name of the son of Niall Noigíallach.

    [6] For the record, I maintain that the Saxon Empire (yes, my roots are Anglic, Irish and Huguenot) suffered its first and greatest defeat at Easter 1916, and has been in retreat ever since. Far from being a “Jingo”, I look for a saner structure (a confederation) across the Archipelago and beyond. [In passing, is it not strange that the federated Lander the British successfully created in Germany post-1945 are unsuitable nearer home?] I equally aspire to it being peopled by citizens, not subjects. We already have a working map for all this, based on the EU regions and the Committee of the Regions. On the other hand, I cannot stomach this non-politics of “nationalism”, based on banner-waving, sloganeering, and brainless clap-trap, which is ultra-“Jingo”, classist and – yes – racist.

  • Phil

    Sorry PE, Michael White sounds more like a British Nationalist than a Little-Englander to me. I think that most people who fall into the “Little-Englander” catagory would either welcome or be indifferent to an SNP run or independent Scotland rather than hostile towards the prospect of it.

  • jaffa

    I think the LibDems’s let themselves down here. Alex Salmond’s suggestions for a Scotland within the Commonwealth, no more disconnected from England than Canada or New Zealand for example, shouldn’t attract their opposition to this degree. The rest of Salmond’s policy seems entirely LibDem-like to me.

  • Phil

    Malcolm,

    I think that you have some interesting ideas and a confederation may be the way forward forward for the people of these islands, but from an English perspective the EU regions should have no place in the government of my country. England must be treated as a whole and not be carved up into meaningless, competing regions. England aleady has its sub-divisions, 39 of them called counties that have been around for many centuries, some of them older than England herself. I live in Essex in England not “The East of England Region”. My roots are in Middlesex rather than “The Greater London Region”. If we are to become citizens of a confederation then it should be as the nations of these islands with our historic borders un-compromised by beurocratic vandals.

  • jaffa

    I’ve yet to understand why “country” rather than “union” matters can’t be set out in a devolution act and the speaker stand up in parliament, declare the issue a country matter and tell all the Scots, Welsh and Irish to bugger off out to the bar while the English guys debate it. Doesn’t seem so complicated to me for a simple and unwritten constitution like the UK’s.

  • Phil @ 10:26 PM:

    And what, pray, happened to the proud county of Middlesex?

    The counties were feudal conceits: they do not match contemporary demands. We work, shop and play in what amounts to a city-state. Planning for the facilities we require (housing, transport, health) needs to happen at that level. Education (except for higher education) possibly needs to be devolved further. Actually, higher education is a good example of why central determination does not work: 30% of NI’s HE students are obliged to leave NI, because NI is one Uni short of its needs. I am cheering for the Assembly in the hope that these deficiencies can be eliminated.

    jaffa @ 10:32 PM:

    I really do wonder what issues need to be determined at an “English” level (except how to screw the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish, perhaps). Is there some obvious community of interest between Cornwall and Northumbria to which, say, Dumfries and ‘Derry should not be party?

    Anyway, on what evidence are the English ready for self-government?

  • Is there some obvious community of interest between Cornwall and Northumbria to which, say, Dumfries and ‘Derry should not be party?

    Of course. All the areas which are decided for Derry at Stormont, for Dumfries at Holyrood and for Cornwall and Northumbria at Westminster.

  • páid

    MR,
    think Cornwall was a bad example there.

    I have sympathy for Phil’s defence of the English counties though. OK, London has outgrown Middlesex, and Liverpool and Manchester have outgrown Lancashire, but many English counties form the natural dividing lines of culture and local loyalty. The Yorkshire/Notts boundary is particularly sharp, in my experience.

    Surely this matter should be left to the English to decide amongst themselves.

  • Phil

    Paid,

    My sentiments exactly.

    Jaffa,

    The reason why that is completely unworkable is because as thinks stand it is difficult to disect what is English, English and Welsh or UK-wide legislation. It is also somewhat undemocratic for a de-facto English government to be led by an MP elected outside of England which would still be possible if such a policy were adopted . The UK is unsustainable in its present form and must adapt if it is to survive.

    Malcolm,

    The EU regions mean nothing to most people. If we need a regional tier of government then it should be based on historic entities such as counties or the ancient kingdoms (Wessex, Mercia etc.) and not carve through our ancient borders as they do at present.

  • páid

    Phil,

    you think ye have it bad! According to the taxman I live in the BMW region. That is, the border, midland and western region.

    It was cobbled together for EU income threshold reasons to get more grants. Such utter shite!

    We thought the English were bad when they drew up the counties, but at least they respected the Irish provincial boundaries, and in many cases, local clan areas.

    But Dublin and Brussels civil servants…….

  • páid @ 02:38 PM

    On the contrary, I should have thought the implicit contrast of Kernow and Yr Hen Ogledd, and their different fates was entirely relevant. However …

    • Merely updating the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (plus, of course, Strathclyde) attempts to mimic the power-blocs of the first millennium and ignores modern networks.
    • CB Fawcett was proposing regionalism 90 years ago (see http://www.padav.demon.co.uk/englishregions.htm). This proposed 12 English regions.
    • Then there were the wartime defence centres, the eight sectors of the 1950s secret “Rotor” defence system, and the Regional Seats of Government which were maintained until the the mid-1990s for the eventualities of nuclear war.
    • The nine EU regions were designated by the UK government for regional development, and are not some sinister EU imposition. I used the term, obviously unwisely, as a short-hand.

    And are regional structures for England just something to be left to the English to decide amongst themselves? Well, only up to a point. Scotland is 8.5% of the UK & NI population, Wales is under 5%, NI under 3%. But England is 84% of the population and significantly more of the real estate, property valuation and the rest of the “gelt”. As long as that disparity persists in planning policy and general ability to kick-ass, the “minor” nationalities are constantly eyeing whose ass the elephant in the room kicks.

  • páid

    Great contribution Malcolm.

    One tiny quibble.

    Any true son of Saxony would never use the ridiculous American bastardization ‘ass’ in place of the resolutely sonorous ‘arse’ 🙂

  • Phil

    Paid,

    BMW Region? I live in Essex, perhaps it should be re-named the Ford Escort Region!

    Malcolm,

    I do not believe that the English regions were imposed in a sinister way by the EU. They are very much a product of the last two UK governments (Blair’s and Major’s) but yes there are many who believe that they were imposed by the EU. As a concept I am not entirely against them, it is just the form that they have taken.

    There is no reason why the county that I live in should be divided between the East of England Region and the Greater London Region. Middlesex, one of the smallest counties in England is divided between the East of England, South-East England and Greater London. Even Yorkshire, by far the largest county with possibly the greatest sense of identity has lost its northern fringe to the North-East Region and some of its western edges to the North-West whilst the rest of the county is lumped into the same region as the northern part of Lincolnshire.

    You are right that the ancient Kingdoms of England do not form practical administrative blocks for modern England but neither do the present Regions. The counties form the most identifiable sub-division in England and it is they to which power should be directly devolved to by a future English parliament (independent of the UK or as a soverign nation in a British-Irish or even European confederation) and it would up to the counties themselves to form inter-county bodies to deal with issues such as transport, health services and policing etc. as they see fit.

  • Prince Eoghan

    I think I’ve rattled a cage.

    >>[3] Of course more were elected from the regional list: that is how the proportional system is designed. I specifically referred to the constituency vote. Glad to hear, by implication, that Prince Eoghan applauds the disaster of the twin-list voting system, though.< >I cannot stomach this non-politics of “nationalism”, based on banner-waving, sloganeering, and brainless clap-trap, which is ultra-“Jingo”, classist and – yes – racist.
    Posted by Malcolm Redfellow on May 16, 2007 @ 09:19 PM

    My dear fellow do be more specific won’t you, I’ve seen none of this in Scotland! Do you really wish to allude that the SNP are racist? I’m sure that Bashir Mann would disagree.

    >>#

    Sorry PE, Michael White sounds more like a British Nationalist than a Little-Englander to me. I think that most people who fall into the “Little-Englander” catagory would either welcome or be indifferent to an SNP run or independent Scotland rather than hostile towards the prospect of it.
    Posted by Phil on May 16, 2007 @ 09:38 PM

    Sure Phil! agreed, it was the eedjit’s tone that caught my ire. Little Englanders deserve better than to be lumped in with the likes of him. ;¬)

  • Dragge

    Prince Eoghan out trolling again, and sooo soon!

    Can I gently suggest that Malcolm’s references to “Edinburgh” (in the “Lothians” for the regional list) and to “Govan” might suggest he was talking constituencies? You know two votes: one for the constituency, one for the regional list. Let’s try that more slowly: One… two. Two votes.

    And “Bashir Mann”? Is he by any chance related to Bashir Maan? A “personal friend” of the new First Minister? You know, the one who just last summer hurriedly left the Scottish Labour Party under a cloud because of homophobic comments? Who was asked to step down from the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations for the same? The guy who was touted as an”expert in family law” (but has no known legal qualification) in the Molly Campbell/Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana case? Would that be the Bashir Maan who was prepared to welcome Mike Tyson to Scotland: “People do realise that he is a convicted rapist, … He is now a Muslim, he is trying to be a good Muslim and therefore the Muslim community will respect him for that.” We can be confident he will ornament the SNP bench at Holyrood.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Prince Eoghan out trolling again, and sooo soon!<

  • This thread died some time back, and I have no wish to revive it.

    However, both the last two contributions puzzle me. I thought it was Bashir Ahmad who was the SNP MSP from the Glasgow regional list. Surely Bashir Maan is a very different kettle of fish?

    If I am wrong (and on this issue at least I doubt it), does that mean the SNP’s “majority” of one over Labour depends on the life of one eighty-year old?

    In any case, I do not believe critical examination of one person’s (no matter what his or her ethnic origin) verbal gay-bashing amounts to racism. A story I have used before: the boy in my class who spouted quite horrendous anti-semitism was reproved: his reply was “I can’t be racist. I’m black.” My response was silence: his co-equals pointed out the error of his ways far more eloquently than I could.