God loves a tryer. Gordon “Grodon” Brown – unstable former PM, dad, hubby and MP (in the English parliament) for Kircaldy & Cowdenbeath – was recently described in The Grauniad as being the UK’s best hope for a No vote in the upcoming referendum on independence. But Mr Brown lacks the sensitivity to keep his head down in light of the disastrously one-sided Devolution Act bequeathed to the nation by the last Labour administration, of which he was a member.
In a very cogent opinion piece in The Timestoday, John Major today underscores not only the foolhardy authoring of the Act itself, but also the current sneering and intellectually-bankrupt posturing of the SNP and Yes lobbies towards the UK (Labour’s deadly legacy puts the Union at risk). It’s all the more noteworthy in light of how Scotland has benefited so enormously through its membership of the Union – and specifically via Conservative initiatives.
If you wondered what it is specifically that makes you uneasy and mistrustful of Alec Salmond, here’s something to ponder. Count how many issues have united Britain’s three major political parties over the last parliament (or the last hundred years if you prefer), that perhaps resulted in an event like today’s, in which Messrs Cameron, Miliband and Clegg are all traveling north in an attempt to prevent a dissolution that will have very bad long-term outcomes. There won’t be many. But whereas persons with any modicum of common sense, restraint or forethought might be given pause to consider, Mr Salmond is not. Instead, we are invited to envisage the unappealing picture of a self-aggrandizing leader-in-waiting (sic.) convulsed with giggles at an opposing force he describes as being in total panic. This is about as helpful to the legitimacy of his cause and as perceptive as it is statesmanlike – that is, not at all.And into this fracas bounds Grodon with his own new-found sense of statecraft (just ten or so years too late), with his tuppence worth.
Any hope of presenting his case as an intellectually legitimate and politically mature strategy is betrayed by the Kircaldy MP’s inability to resist being Braveheart. Reportedly ‘jumping the gun’ he surprised everyone by promising a modern form of Scottish Home Rule within the United Kingdom, published by St Andrews Day on 30 November, with the draft laws due around 25 January – interestingly enough, Burns Night.
With characteristic monocular lack of vision, our Grodon has picked the two most emotive dates in the Caledonian calendar to hold a gun to the head of the UK’s constitutional apparatus, inadvertently placing the entire enterprise on a knife edge. Or, should we be asking how inadvertent that really is? Our northern Union neighbours – not known for being reluctant to vent the odd pent-up frustration or two – will be expecting the goods delivered on two nights where sales of alcohol and cancelling of police leave are traditionally at a peak.
Overly-refreshed hordes of Scotsmen (and women) from Sauchiehall Street to Stornoway will be waiting in breathless readiness to show how extremely reasonable and democratic they can be.
Even giving Grodon the benefit of the doubt, believing that his soppy old sentimentalism got in the way of anything approaching common sense, he’s reassuringly consistent in his lack of judgement.