Firstly, I’d like to say that once again today we’re thinking about the victims of terrorists. This time it was in Notre Dame de Paris on the Ile de la Cité, one of my favourite places to sit and watch the world go by.
Secondly, I’d like to mention that Robert Salmond, Alex’s dad, died today at 95 years old. So we’re thinking of Alex and his family too. Sad time, but it’s worth reading what Alex says his dad would tell him now.
As the election campaign draws to a close, we find ourselves in a very different situation from that which we expected when it kicked off.
After telling us over and over that she would not call an election, Mrs Strong and Stable wobbled and called one. She was hoping, I’ve no doubt, to establish herself in her role (not with the EU, who are happy to negotiate with her based on the referendum result), but as prime minister and leader within her own party, which is split over Brexit among other things. Mr Corbyn was leader of a split party and miles behind her in the polls. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, try EVERYTHING!
It seems that being appointed by the Tory party, the least offensive of a really bad bunch, meant very little scrutiny for May, and the BBC and the Press, with the cooperation of members of the Labour Parliamentary Party, were able to talk Mr Corbyn down.
But the scrutiny of a general election campaign, particularly one which was unnecessary, has put both the potential prime ministers under the spotlight.
In the case of Corbyn, it has given him an opportunity to display that he can be calm and measured, even under fire… and that he never loses the plot (OK, except one time on the radio where he forgot one figure). And most of his opponents in his own party have at least kept quiet over the campaign. (Well, with some exceptions.) Corbyn has shone as a potential statesman.
On the other hand, Mrs May, who has been standing on a platform of “strong and stable”, has made a mess of every appearance she has made; every interview she has done, and frankly, she’s become a laughing stock. As people have said, if she can’t face Corbyn in a tv debate, how will she be able to deal with the EU representatives?
I tend to think that people should be careful picking catch phrases like “strong and stable”. And before they chose them, they should be absolutely sure that they haven’t been used before. In this case, “strong as stable” was previously used by Adolf Hitler. It would only have taken a few clicks on Google to find that out.
Now she’s come up with “Enough is Enough”. A reaction to the terror attacks that have plagued London and Manchester. Surely that would ahve applied after the first attack… Did she not think that THAT was enough? And again, it’s a massive pity (for her) that she didn’t check back to see if the phrase had been used before!
Whatever the result it looks very unlikely to be one anywhere near the massive majority that she was hoping for, well counting on, when she launched this campaign. Indeed some polls suggest she will have a smaller majority that she has now, Some say even no majority at all. Her rivals are starting to count their support!
But as all politicians say, the only poll that counts is the one on Thursday. And on Friday morning, and not before, we will know.
Finally, the 2015 (correction thanks to Hugh) result was amazing for the SNP. 56 out of 59 is an extraordinary achievement. It was never going to be able to be repeated. The Tories have been bragging that they may take 18 seats; Labour think that they might get some, as do the Liberal Democrats. SNP supporters should expect to lose some seats and should take it on the chin. When the press gleefully announce that the SNP and independence are dead in the water we’ll know perfectly well that they are not.
Scotland above all needs a strong voice in London. Brexit is about England (and Wales). They wanted it (very narrowly). We did not. But because of their population size, they will get what they want and we can go hang. We are not being listened to by London. None of the solutions proposed by teh Scottish government will be aired in the talks. No Scottish voice in negotiations. Only England’s. Scotland’s concerns NEED to be heard. We have friends in Europe, but when the negotiations start they won’t be allowed to hear what we say. We need someone like Angus to make sure that we are heard, loud and clear.
In my opinion, Angus Robertson has been a superb leader in London and an excellent opponent to Mrs May, and Pete Wishart has been a staunch member for his constituency and put up a brilliant fight against the anti-democratic and expensive House of Lords. Let’s hope that they manage to keep their marginal seats. Scotland, and indeed Britain, is the better for them being there.