Sunday, 26 July 2015

Dreams of glory

On yesterday's Guardian there was an article on Mhairi Black and her criticism of some of Westminster's outdated traditions.  In it were listed such things as politicians who are out of touch with ordinary people's lives, not being allowed to applaud and having to make odd noises instead to show approval, the long working hours and the outdated voting system.  Nothing particularly controversial you would think.  A look at the comments below the article is instructive however.

There are hundreds of anti-Scottish comments, of a type we have become used to and which boil down to 'sponging racist English-hating Jocks who all live off benefits that we English pay for'.  I find it amusing that such people are all about how Scottish nationalism is bad, while being apparently unaware that they are indulging in British nationalism.  Either nationalism is bad or it isn't - you can't have it both ways.  The stupid thing about it is, that if such people really want to UK to stay together,  they have chosen a very odd means of going about it.  Why would Scots feel positively about the Union if they are constantly belittled and treated with contempt?  I don't think people think this one through.

A fair proportion of the comments also fall into the category of 'Mhairi Black, she's only 20, what does she know anyway?', along with questioning how she was 'imposed' on Westminster.  Of course the fact that she has a degree in politics might be a bit of a clue as to what she knows, and being elected by your constituents, same as everyone else is the obvious answer to the second point.  And how did she get elected?  By knocking on doors and speaking to people in her constituency, something which some other members of Parliament might want to try, as an aid to being more in touch with ordinary people.  Oh, hang on, maybe not.  Some honest opinions might not go down so well with some of the millionaire MPs.

So far Ms Black seems to be doing a good job as an MP.  She, along with the other SNP MPs, have an excellent attendance record at the House of Commons, as can be seen on the TV broadcasts from Parliament. Long may that continue.  However, it's unlikely that Westminster will drag itself into the 21st century any time soon, preferring instead to cling on to its dreams of a glorious past and the outdated traditions that go with it.

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