The failure of the SNP minority administration to get its budget passed was a momentous day for Scottish Politics, but not as some might think. It does not mean the end of the SNP Government. That will not happen. They still have time to bring back another bill, but more significantly its difficult to think of an occasion when a party who brought down a Government, especially a minority party, have benefited. The SNP know this from bitter experience, dropping from 11 in 1974 to 2 in 1979 having brought down Jim Callaghan . So the Greens will not, if they have any sense, put themselves in that position, and for the Government to fall, they would have to be so.
No the significance is that there is now a real opportunity to again grasp the nettle of consensus politics. I was in the public gallery today and the debate was not a pleasant experience. I am used to the hurley burly of politics and we need to know the differences between parties. But we need to put energy not into scoring debating points but discovering what it will take to find common ground which will allow us to have grown up conversations about whats possible, plausible and frees the potential of the people (I really do sound like a politician don't I!). We don't need to agree with everything to find common cause.
The trouble is that all parties are still obsessed with power and hanging onto it rather than letting it go and having influence instead. The opposition, (even the descriptions of our political roles are confrontational), need to let the largest party take the lead. The SNP, as the Government, need to have conversations with the other parties that are not couched, as the recent ones were, in terms of "what will it take to buy you off"..."but what can we do together" Then a consensus can be created that respects difference but finds a way through for the people instead.
Keith Simpson's Summer 2019 Reading List
1 week ago