The Sheridan verdict and the future of devolution

A scary think-piece in the Sunday Times about the possible fall-out from the Tommy Sheridan case:

Imagine if, say, the Greens (seven at present) and two or so Independents and the pensioners’ MSP and a few other disaffected single-issue loons who may enter the parliament in May all decided to unite beneath a Sheridan banner.

It is not such an unlikely scenario. He persuaded seven jurors to believe him in the face of a large body of evidence against him. If he was able to do that he should be able to convince Holyrood’s waifs and strays, mostly politically inexperienced, that he is on their side.

If he once cajoled members of the famously fractious hard left to follow him, a handful of ambitious Greens would be child’s play. In a parliament with no overall majority and no parties inclined to form coalitions with each other, this rump could exercise a control way beyond its capabilities.

You only have to listen to the arguments of the Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who believes the Scottish parliament’s role is to bring America to its knees, to appreciate how debilitating this would be for devolution.

An anti-Bush, anti-Blair, anti-war, ban the bomb, pro-Hezbollah, pro-bicycling tendency, eager to feed the world and express its global citizenship, would be very bad news indeed for the vast majority of Scots who once believed devolution was a good idea.

The political agenda could be commandeered by militants without a mandate, and the state of Scotland’s health service, its schools, its transport infrastructure and its deprived inner cities would continue to deteriorate. Far from addressing every day domestic issues and making life better for the working classes, for any classes, nothing would be achieved except mayhem.