Five years ago, just after the last election, The Knife posted a piece called Vote Labour and Die. It actually became my most viewed piece, simply because it got highlighted by Guido. It resulted from a paper in the BMJ, on Public Health (which is purely the specialty’s name, it doesn’t necessarily mean the actual health of the public). Written by a leftie (as are many PH docs, see Prof Ashton), published in a leftie journal, it noted that in Labour voting areas, you were more likely to die young. This was the fault of New Labour, and by extension, wicked Tories etc.
Fast forward to the imminent general election. Here is Scotland’s First Minister:
‘The Tory/Lib Dem government’s plan to further increase the state pension age is a worry to people across the UK who are planning for their future, but the failure to take Scotland’s specific circumstances into account is particularly unfair. SNP MPs will reject any plans for a further increase in the state pension age Our comparatively low life expectancy rate is an issue which I will do everything in my power to change but in the meantime it would be completely unacceptable for people in Scotland who have paid in to a state pension all of their lives to lose out. That is why SNP MPs will reject any plans for a further increase in the state pension age.’
Note that phrase ‘Our comparatively low life expectancy rate is an issue which I will do everything in my power to change’. Ms Sturgeon, in case anyone had forgotten, was Scottish Health Minister from May 2007 to September 2012. Much of that time was spent bossing hospitals about arbitrary targets. The Scottish life expectancy remained dire in the usual areas of the country. Despite her careful phrasing, Ms Sturgeon’s schtick is quite clearly that we’re dying young, give us the money now. There is no meaningful attempt to rectify a serious social issue. The answer is certainly not more dependency, more welfare state.
Basically the SNP now regard Scotland as a block vote client state, to do their bidding. It is likely that one day their emerging capacity to take the populace for granted and avoid genuinely improving their lot will rebound on them. How do I know this? It is because it is exactly what Labour did for years, with their Scottish block vote, and for which they are about to pay a very high price. The absolute high priest of that movement was Gordon Brown, now a broken figure, despite his referendum swansong. His prolonged bribe of the Scottish electorate has utterly failed.
All of this begs the question, what is wrong with the Scots? Why do they lurch from one unambitious greedy socialist regime to another?
Most commentators invoke the Enlightenment, and the spirit of Adam Smith as the example of Scotland at its best, what it could still be. The truth is there has been no thinking of that kind, no figure of stature in power or influence in Scotland for a very long time. The country actually did pretty well in many ways under the bogey figure of Thatcher, but such a claim doesn’t suit the narrative of either Labour or the SNP, for whom droning on about misreported events of thirty years ago is almost a form of prayer.
Here is one person, Chris Deerin, who gets it:
Scotland has become a soft and sappy nation, intellectually listless, coddled, a land of received wisdom and one-track minds, narrow parameters and mass groupthink. It slumbers, like a once-feared dragon now hidden away in a mountain, dozily coiled around its ancient, pointless treasures, interested only in its own welfare…..The Scottish Labour Party, now perilously close to oblivion, has only itself to blame. For decades, it has gleefully demonised the Tories, blaming them for all of Scotland’s ills even as it made a pig’s ear of running the Edinburgh Parliament. This cheap tactic, aped since the 1980s by the then newly left-wing SNP, created a sense of otherness, of moral superiority, in relation to England….
The relationship between business and the Government is comically bad, beyond a few pro-separatist oligarchs.
We have become a land peppered with conspiracy theorists who believe in secret oil fields and MI5 plots and rigged polls, all of which is tacitly encouraged by the Nat government. If anyone on social media – especially, God forbid, a non-Scot – dares to challenge these ludicrous myths they are descended on by the ‘cybernats’, a swarm of angry oddballs who refuse to read the ‘mainstream media
Deerin references another Scot, Bruce (the Brute) Anderson, who in a very eloquent piece, correctly entitled ‘Never before has Scotland been quite this deluded‘ spells it out:
The Scottish public mood is extraordinary. Over the past few months, millions of Scots have been baying at the moon. The most bizarre fantasies have not only circulated; otherwise sane people have given them credence….How can this be happening? The Scottish Enlightenment represented the triumph of rationalism, always in a calm and restrained fashion. Its philosophers and economists believed in using reason to improve the human condition, not to reshape human nature. They virtually invented free enterprise; they elevated Scotland to the intellectual leadership of Europe. In a splendid setting, the Castle on one side, the sea on the other, their contemporaries laid out the New Town. Calm, rational and beautiful buildings: it is the Enlightenment as architecture.
While it would be absurd to claim that every Scot has read Adam Smith, there were grounds for believing that Enlightenment values had influenced the Scottish character. Keynes poked fun at so-called practical men, dismissive of theories, who were actually in thrall to some long-dead economist. If that economist had been Scottish, the thraldom would be benign.
…(after Thatcher) there was a quarter of a century of demonisation, which drove economic common sense out of Scottish public debate. By the end, many young Scots had come to believe that Scots’ values were superior. Scotland stood for social solidarity, and indeed socialism. It stood for the public sector, not for private enterprise. Mrs Thatcher and her English capitalist friends hated the Scottish ethos, which is why they had set out to destroy the Scottish economy. This brainwashing explains why Nicola Sturgeon will have earned huge applause in Scotland for attacking Ed Miliband from the Left. Scottish Labour helped to sow the dragons’ teeth, never expecting that the dragons would turn on them. They ken the noo.
Not since the Thirties has a once great nation been in the grip of so many delusions. This is malign thraldom
So there you have it. One day, probably sooner than anticipated, Sturgeon et al will meet hard reality. I do not believe, even if there is another referendum, that the result will be any different. No Scots Nat has in living memory produced a coherent plausible argument supporting an independent economy, and the country knows that. However, as long as Labour and the Tories continue to assuage lunatics like the SNP with large tranches of public money, and no real responsibility for obtaining it, the current ‘malign thraldom’ will continue.
In the meantime, vote SNP and die. Just make sure you get your pension early, it’s what the First Minister wants.