Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 17 August 2006

Scottish Socialism

I've just been watching a segment on BBC2 Neswnight Scotland about the trials and tribulations that have recently affected the Scottish Socialist Party as a result of the recent libel trial involving the party's former Convener (aka Leader) Tommy Sheridan. I've not commented on this whole affair, or indeed the Party, at all or much (respectively), before.

Anyway, the person being interviewed for the programme from the SSP was Alec McComb (have I got the name at least partially correct?) and he was quite calm and matter-of-fact, even quite sensible in a surreal kind of way. One of the questions he was asked touched on a rumoured rapprochement, politically, between Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway. Mr McComb(?) said they represented the 'Unionist wing of Socialism' and that the SSP remained a Party striving for a 'Socialist Republican Scotland';I may mave got those adjectives the wrong way round. This is all part of the falling-out between the SSP and its former Convener, I suppose, but care little.

Anyway, the thought struck me (quite forcefully!) that if I imagined even in my worst nightmares that Socialists of the SSP variety ever stood a serious chance of catching hold of the reins of political power in Scotland then you would not see me for dust! 'Republicanism' (monarchist that I am) I could just about stomach, but as for 'Socialism' - NEVER!!

Luckily the SSP variety of socialism is not soon likely to come to Scotland, in my view. The country is already far more left-of-centre than I would wish it to be (witness the high proportion of the senior figures in both our London and Edinburgh governments who come from a Scottish Labour Central Belt background). So even though I am in the process of splitting my time between the UK and Spain, I don't need to abandon Scotland just yet, although it is possible (to put it no stronger) that I may in the next few years move my UK base to the south coast of England, partly for the sake of the slightly milder climate there, but also (if I am honest) because the prospect of living in a part of the UK which returns a Conservative MP to Westminster attracts me; I have tentatively been exploring my options in this matter for about a year already.

Completely tangential to this whole discussion, I happpen to have switched over from BBC2 to BBC News24 after Newsnight Scotland finished and am now watching the 11.30pm edition of Hardtalk - the guest this evening is former Socialist Prime Minister of France, Laurent Fabius - he was PM during part of the time I lived there during the mid-late 1980s. He is now 60 years old and still has ambitions to become President. Lordy, Lordy what a disaster that would be! Chirac is a pretty poor example of a statesman, but the President during my time there (Mitterand) was much worse. Despite some of the inelegancies which affected Fabius's period as PM (the fiasco over blood transfusions and HIV cross-infections and the similar fiasco at the time of the Chernobyl disaster and how that may/may not have affected France, for example), I have never thought of him as a crook in the mould of Mitterand or Chirac, but I still worry that this socialist intellectual might succeed to real power in France. He would make Zapatero in Spain look mild by comparison - and he at least seems to have some practical and sensible domestic policies.

I don't like Socialism! Regular readers of this blog are, I have no doubt, unsurprised.

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