“The inclusion of Plaid Cymu and the SNP in the televised leaders’ debates, the progressive aftershocks rippling through these islands following the independence referendum and the growing realisation that the Palace of Westminster has ceded its sovereignty to people, mean that a permanent rebalancing of power and wealth in the British State is not just possible – it is inevitable.”
Leanne Wood – Plaid Cymru
Was it really 5 years ago? My how the time passes by so quickly. I didn’t watch the debates then and I didn’t watch the leaders debate now so I can only go on the media reaction of both times, I know there was more than one leaders debate last time but that is just a detail, and I have to say that I get the same sort of feeling. The mainstream media woke up to the fact that there were other voices out there other than the duopoly of Labour and Conservative and like some Raj official visiting a distant colonial station were deeply fascinated by what the locals were thinking. Of course they never thought it would make any difference and were happy to patronise the funny sounding people before going back to the safe confines of their colonial ivory towers.
Much the same happened after the Scottish referendum you could hear them saying “You’ve all done very well” whilst patting the supplicants on their bowed heads. The only thing is that the great unwashed didn’t go back and accept the world as it was given to them but now they have the possibility of shaking things up. The only problem with this is that the leaders of the great unwashed are also starting to believe their own rhetoric, Ms Wood’s quote being a good example. I don’t believe that there is any appetite for progressive policies in England, sorry to point this out to the other members of this Union but England does make up over 80% of the population and therefore has a disproportionate influence on how things are. I suspect the English are more likely to be conservative, with a small c, by nature and view with great suspicion any such rhetorical flim flam. I am not convinced that the same is not true in Scotland or Wales as well if truth be told. I certainly don’t feel that there is a burning desire for change either, remember in the recent Scottish referendum almost over 55% of the population voted for the status quo – something that SNP would like to pretend didn’t happen. I guess that given the choice most people would vote for the quiet life rather than storming the barricades. Strangely enough this is what they may well get after the results of the next election are published.
The papers at the moment are filled with horror stories about how the tail will be wagging the dog. How the Jacobites will finally get their revenge and Bonnie Prince Alex will be marching on the Palace of Westminster crying “Freedom”. This is a nonsense – after all we have just had one of the most stable governments in recent British history. A government whose constituent parts were made up of some of the most unstable elements in British politics when brought too close together – yet it worked. No one has come forward with any sound arguments as to why this might not happen again when power can be smelt by those playing the game. So if you thought that David Cameron and Nick Clegg were strange bedfellows then you are going to be really shocked at a David Cameron/SNP accommodation. I know this is crazy but it is less crazy than a ‘ permanent…progressive…rebalancing …’