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.

5 thoughts on “The Sheridan verdict and the future of devolution

  1. Tony Kiernan says:

    Tommy Sheridan Might today be hailed as a hero by sections of the media. So too was Jeffrey Archer when he won his defamation case back in 1987. But, Archer was eventually exposed as a liar, a fraud and a forger.

    SSP EC “All members” bulletin

  2. McGazz says:

    A generic far-right windbag smears the SSP (and the Green party, for good measure) in a Murdoch paper. Big wow.

    “the state of Scotland’s health service, its schools, its transport infrastructure and its deprived inner cities would continue to deteriorate. ”

    *Continue* to deteriorate? In other words, it’s deteriorating now under Labour, but that’s okay, cos they’re ‘people we can do business with’. Far better that, than have control go to people who’ve committed themselves to reversing that deterioration, but don’t like Israel. Very important that the working classes don’t find out about the left’s proposals for fairer taxation and curbing the power of big business – so let’s tell everyone that their only policies are anti-Americanism and support for suicide bombers.

    Okay, I don’t live in Scotland, but even if I did, it wouldn’t be Patrick Harvie or Margo McDonald I’d be worried about. I’d be slightly more concerned about the likes of this: http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/1290

  3. Gary says:

    A generic far-right windbag smears the SSP (and the Green party, for good measure) in a Murdoch paper.

    Well, that’s their job.

  4. Squander Two says:

    To be fair, the way I read this …

    > 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.

    … was that the problem isn’t anti-Americanism per se; the problem is in thinking that these policies are the job of the Scottish Parliament. Gary blogged about this before: left-wing candidates standing in Maryhill who have lots to say to the electorate about Palestine but not much about unemployment in Maryhill.

    If Scotland ever gets full independence, and therefore a foreign office, foreign policy, and an ambassador to Israel, that’ll be fair enough. Right now, any MSP — on either side — who thinks that their job has anything to do with the Middle East is undermining the Parliament by betraying their constituents.

  5. Gary says:

    That’s pretty much what I took from it too: an attack on grandstanding rather than specific policies.

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