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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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On a Referenda Bender
I wonder what position the SNP will take regarding the forthcoming EU referendum? They're a pro-EU party, so can hardly be seen campaigning to leave; and yet, if the UK votes to leave it will give them their best shot in the foreseeable future to demand a second independence referendum, which they will almost certainly win on a Scotland-stays-in-the-EU slate.

It's an interesting dilemma for them; but certainly a lot more pleasant than the corollary dilemma faced by the rest of us, which is that of how to live in a rump UK with no EU, no human rights and a permanent Tory majority, being governed by wankers for the benefit of bankers. But such is apparently the earnest wish of many.

If the SNP, which supports membership in the EU, makes a tactical move against it in the referendum, that would be what is called in Marxist theory "heightening the contradictions," i.e. making things under the current regime worse so as to increase the likelihood of your own eventual victory. If they did that, they would certainly lose my support were I a Scottish voter. But my trust is that they won't be as ruthlessly cynical as the Communists.

I think I have already proven that the "permanent Tory majority" of the rump UK is not real. However, "governed by wankers for the benefit of bankers" is what you'll get from either party, with Labour having spent the election anxious to prove it can be more economically austere than the Conservatives. No wonder they lost. I see that Tony Blair, whom I thought nobody wants to hear from any more on any subject, has weighed in on Labour's future, opining that it needs to move more towards the centre. I agree. But Blair thinks the centre lies somewhere over to the right, whereas it seems to me that Labour needs to put considerable policy difference between itself and the Tories, which would entail moving far to the left, where they haven't been for some time. Being the only practically centrist political party is what got the LDs, despite all their handicaps, so many votes in 2005 and 2010; now they've given that up and look what happened to them.

My first answer got swallowed, but in short - yes, you're right of course that it's not necessarily a permanent Tory majority - though it will be a pretty stubborn one with the boundary changes they're proposing, especially if the Left vote is split. (In a post-EU world I imagine UKIP will be less relevant and dwindle to negligible proportions, if they don't do that before.)

The SNP won't be as nakedly cynical as the Communists, but I'd love to know how they're going to play it.

On the other hand, Cameron may be planning to use the prospect of a post-EU referendum break-up of the UK as a tool with which to keep his own side in line, and voting to stay in. But having spent much of the recent campaign vilifying the Scots as nasty foreigners that tool may turn out to have two edges.

Otherwise, total agreement here.

The SNP could say, "If the UK votes to leave the EU, we're having another vote on leaving the UK," uttering it more as a threat but leaving it up to those who want Scotland to leave to make it happen. But by the demographic nature of things, those people would be less Scots who want independence than English who want Scotland to go. On the other hand, as you point out, by having the referendum at all Cameron is just encouraging UKIPism. On the other other hand, Thursday's election shows that, though UKIP is the third largest party, it's not that big.

I agree. But Blair thinks the centre lies somewhere over to the right, whereas it seems to me that Labour needs to put considerable policy difference between itself and the Tories, which would entail moving far to the left, where they haven't been for some time. Being the only practically centrist political party is what got the LDs, despite all their handicaps, so many votes in 2005 and 2010; now they've given that up and look what happened to them.

Absolutely. I mean, it isn't just Scottish nationalists who made the SNP landslide happen; they had a clear message of being against pretty much everything the Tories stand for. When faced with bad choices and worse, people don't bother with change, but when offered a choice that seems 'good', they take it. (Except, apparently, in Wales. :p)

What did happen in Wales, anyway? Is there some problem with PC locally that didn't make it into the outside news? Or are the Welsh just content with the regime they've got? Perhaps it's that Wales, unlike Scotland, is perceived as too small to be an independent country. But I don't see why: it's more populous than Slovenia or any of the Baltic republics, not to mention Luxembourg, and they manage.

The problem with Plaid Cymru is that they aren't popular in the South, where a lot of people are anti-Welsh language and have always traditionally voted Labour. Of course most of the population is in the South, so therefore there are just 3 PC MPs, one of whom is our MP. More recently, Plaid have been playing down the language issue in an attempt to appeal to South Walians, but with limited success.

Wales is actually still Labour-ruled in the Cynulliad Cymru/Welsh Assembly, with Plaid Cymru as a supporting left wing party. We don't like the Tories here, but PC haven't made the leap to being the popular party of protest like the SNP have, partly that's because there is less appetite here for going it alone. However, we do very well out of being in Europe, so if the Tories try to take the UK out of the EU, the Welsh might get more uppity.

Perhaps the SNP is fortunate, then, that trying to revive Gaelic would not be a practical proposition.

I think most of their energies in that department have gone into pretending arguing that Scots is a separate language from English.

Well, if things like Bislama are considered languages, I don't see why Scots shouldn't be. Even if it doesn't quite feel like one!

There are moves to revive Gaelic, but it's complicated by the fact that an awful lot of Scotland never spoke it. All of the North of England and the South of Scotland spoke what we now think of as Welsh, until it was supplanted by English. Gaelic was the language of the Western Isles and Highlands. There is a movement to campaign to have Scots accepted as a language rather than a dialect, but only time will tell whether anything will come of it.

Gaelic is being revived. (Not that it ever actually died out, but it did get pretty well endangered.) The number of speakers have been growing steadily, and a new Gaelic-language school that opened in Edinburgh about two years ago was booked solid before it even opened.

Language revival is a slow process and takes a lot of teensy, tiny little steps! Though I suppose I should say this only applies to Gaelic in Scotland--Gaelic in Canada is still apparently doing fine. :)

My uncle-by-marriage is a native Gaelic speaker; when I was a child he taught me a little, even less of which I have retained (I'm from about as south of England as you can get without falling into the Solent, so not an obvious candidate!) But he is in his 70s now, and my cousin is not a native speaker, so definitely part of the 'endangered' element. It is good to hear of revival.

A few things happened, I think. First is that insidious inferiority complex the Welsh have had eight hundred odd years to be infected with; there is a general malaise about the idea of being able to run our own affairs to the point that even pushing for devo max makes you into a raving nationalist apparently. :p

Some is anti-Welsh attitudes by English transplants in Wales. The man who stood on the PC ticket in Ceredigion, where I live, used to be a journalist and found that a number of BNP supporters, back when BNP was a thing, moved to places like Gwynedd to get away from all that nasty diversity they had to deal with in other places. The fact that rural Wales is homogenous because there has never been any reason to immigrate there (people usually want to move somewhere with the possibility of a job and a decent life) is beside the point, as is the fact they do this without the slighest respect for the local language and culture. :p

And as heleninwales says, much of it is language-related. Even though the south used to speak Welsh, and the Beasleys lived in Llaneli, and there is a tradition of activism there (or used to be) it has become a divided place where non-Welsh speakers feel attacked by attempts to revive the language. So much of Plaid has always been about the language. Plus, if nationalism is your main binding feature, you will lose people. I have been a bit lukewarm on PC in the past because there is a conservative faction I am uncomfortable with--social conservatives who just also happen to want Wales to run its own affairs. Which is fair, but I think the competing factions then drive away people who have other chief concerns.

Plaid is only recenty getting a clearer message out about anti-austerity, pro-Europe, and general progressive socialist policies, but they haven't had quite enough time at it, I think. They did actually make great strides in getting votes from places they aren't traditionally a challenger for. Where I live, it was a very narrow margin indeed. We're one of the few LibDem holdouts, and I think that is because people are generally afraid of change, and our MP, while not especially useful, is a decent bloke who a lot of people know, or feel like they know.

Wales could absolutely be an independent country. Not immediately, but they could do it. As it stands at the moment, they won't. Inferiority complex again.

Yeah, I'm still depressed. And Wales continues to vote against its own existence.

I'm very sorry about your government. I may need to apologize for mine being a trendsetter, which nobody needed.