Wednesday 30 April 2003

Scotland's politics

George Kerevan sums up the various parties in today's Scotsman.

On the Conservatives:

the Tories were not in favour of cutting income tax in Scotland because their polls told them the Scots wanted higher taxes. Does that include those with the skills who are leaving the country by every plane and train - and who should be the basis of any new radical anti-nanny-state party?
He thinks that a new party is required.

On Labour:

Labour’s primary electorate is the vast army of public-sector workers who grew up in the Sixties and afterwards. To these were added the new under-class that lives in the west of Scotland, spawned by the very failures of this mini Stalinist empire, with its slow economic growth and sink schools.
As for the "Liberal" Democrats:
The Lib Dems were once genuine Liberals with an anti-London, anti-urban base. Joe Grimond would not recognise their opportunist make-over into a mini socialist party of land nationalisers, trying to straddle the votes of Scotland’s state-employed middle class with the electorate’s worry that public services aren’t working.
And the SNP has:
positioned itself as a tax-and-spend Labour Mark 2, thus imprisoning itself and a frightened Labour Party in an obsolete political stance.
The other contenders for power are rightly dismissed as "loony" or "barking". Kerevan calls for parties that meet the real needs of the voters. There's no sign of that at present but perhaps it really is darkest before the dawn. It can't go on like this forever, can it?