Sunday, 22 February 2015

Enter, stage left

This week has seen the Scottish Conservatives' annual conference in Edinburgh, and the gloves are off.  First we had a speech by David Cameron, in which he said that:
The SNP and Labour are halfway up the aisle together already. They’ve picked out the wedding list. They’ve booked the honeymoon, probably in North Korea. They’ve set up the joint account – unlimited overdraft, obviously.
 The we had David Mundell, who said that:
Let’s face it, Labour and the two Eds are a real and present danger who threaten all this country has achieved.  They would plunge us back into the dark days – our worst nightmare.  Or so we thought, but just when you thought it was safe to return to the polling booth, enter stage left Alex Salmond, the self-styled puppet master.  He’ll be pulling the strings of both Nicola Sturgeon and Ed Miliband.  And I say stage left because the dangerous economics of socialism are shared by Miliband and Salmond.
It's clear from this that the people the Tories are most scared of in the coming General Election is the SNP.  Why should that be?  After all, they won the referendum, albeit by a smaller margin than they anticipated.  However, they got what they wanted - one big happy family of nations together.  So what's the problem?

One factor in this is that Labour and the Tories no longer have a great deal to differentiate them.  Sure, Ed Miliband tinkers around the edges, with his promises to stabilise energy prices and so on, but fundamentally they're both singing from the same hymn sheet.  Austerity is the only way forward.  Labour feel really bad about the people who are suffering from the effects of these policies, the Tories less so, but hey, what can you do?   Enter Nicola Sturgeon, with an anti-austerity agenda shared by Plaid Cymru and the Greens, and no fear of expressing it.  We can't have that.  It gives the lie to everything the two big parties have been saying for the past few years.  Got to discredit her before the proles catch on.

Then there's the apparent opposition to Scotland having any form of power within Westminster.  There have been Scottish minsters in the past, usually Labour party members, but they knew how the game worked and wouldn't upset the apple-cart.  A large block of SNP members would definitely upset the apple-cart and frighten the horses into the bargain.  They are going to be looking after the interests of Scotland first, UK second, thus threatening the cosy life to which Westminster MPs have become accustomed.  Next thing their constituents will be insisting that their MPS start looking after their interests, and then where will party politics be?

Finally there's the actual bogey-man - Alex Salmond.  Despite the fact that Mr Salmond resigned after the referendum and has rarely made the news since then, he still scares the living daylights out of the other party leaders.  Thus, they paint him as the evil genius, the man pulling all the strings to bring about the ruination of all they hold dear.  Next thing they will be telling us he eats babies for breakfast and slaughters kittens and puppies on a whim.  Coming to a front page near you soon - 'Alex Salmond ate my hamster'.

People dislike change and it's understandable.  Big changes are stressful and mean learning new behaviours.  Our brains prefer what we know as it takes less effort to process things we have dealt with in the past and know what to expect.  It's a problem that becomes more apparent as we get older, and explains things like lack of success in dieting, going to the gym and so on.  Your brain is your own worst enemy when it comes to changing habits.  Voting Labour or Tory in a General Election is a habit, and it will probably prove hard to break for many people.  After all, better the devil you know.  Labour and the Tories have a long habit of running Westminster and have things off to a tee.  It's no wonder then, that they are trying to scare people off voting in a new way this time round.  For them, change is scary, and we're going to see a lot more of them trying to frighten voters away from doing something different.  This is just the beginning.

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