Thursday, 13 May 2010


Those living in the UK can't have failed to have noticed that an election took place last week. For non UK readers, two centres of power control my life. One is the devolved parliament of Scotland which is based in Edinburgh. Its representatives are elected using a proportional representation system. The Scottish National Power has the biggest share of seats but not enough to claim a majority of government. They have 47 seats of a potential 129. At the moment they are puttering along and doing reasonably well. Although I strongly think they will lose their hold in the next Scottish elections but that's for another time. The Scottish Parliament deals with a lot of issues excluding taxation and foreign policy. These powers belong to Westminister, which was the subject of the elections last week.

Despite having a devolved parliament, Scotland is not a sovereign country. As much as I would love to live in a completely independent country, I do not think we have the economy to support this. Scotland has been hit badly by the recession (not as bad as previous recessions but still.....) and would have probably been crippled if we had been operating outwith the UK political framework. Anyway, the representation system at Westminister is slightly different. It operates on a First Past the Post system. The party that reaches 326 seats first wins the election. So far, so unfair. But that didn't happen this time round. The problem has arisen due to the Conservatives only polling 306 seats. Not enough to make a majority government. The British political scene has been interesting to watch the past couple of days. Unfortunately talks have resulted in a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition.

Having the Conservatives in power does not bode well for Scotland. I am too young to remember the Poll Tax protests yet the effects are still being felt. In my last job an older colleague admitted he was still paying back his Poll Tax 'debt' after refusing to pay for it. It speaks volumes that Scotland only has one elected MP at Westminister. Scotland was once the jewel in Britain's heavy industry crown; the Clydeside in Glasgow had hundreds of shipyards churning out ships day and night. Now there are only two active shipyards if my memory serves me right. The Tories do not care about what happens in the UK, outside of their southern English strong hold. The Scottish Parliament's purse strings are controlled by Westminister. With the Tories in power, I can see those funds being dramatically cut.

Alas the SNP became something of a joke during this election, with their attempts to the broadcast of the televised debates. It smacked of a child spitting its dummy out of the pram. I do believe that more parties should have been present in these debates. It was the first time such debates had been broadcast. I understand these are a staple part of the American Presidential campaign and I hope we keep them. The SNP could have teamed up with the other 'minority' parties and presented a united, dignified front for other parties to have a chance at the debating podium. Instead they cried "WAAAAAHHHHHH!" and stamped their feet.

All I can say is that I did not vote for any of the big three parties (Labour, Lib Dems or Conservatives) or the SNP. I vote but rarely find a party that corresponds to all of my political beliefs. Yet I find myself unable to not vote. Perhaps it's because I'm a woman and am well versed at the struggle for female voters. To be quite frank, the struggle for women is still going on. At least I live somewhere that I have the freedom to vote, for whichever party I please and for my political voice to at least have the illusion it is being heard.

With the Conservatives in power, I hope for more people to engage with politics. Not to think politics is boring or a waste of time or useless. This time I am old enough to take part in the protests because there will be protests. Anyone who is not exclusively white, male, upper middle class, married with children and leans politically to the right of the centre is going to be fucked over by this new government.

Will the revolution be televised?

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