31 August 2011

A mendicant nation?

O Lord, protect us from the wrath of expatriate Scots. Here is the ubiquitous McTernan, writing in The Telegraph:

This is the first dirty secret of Scottish politics: that Scotland is doing very well, thank you. When it comes to public spending, it is a mendicant nation, always looking for more. Yet before the credit crunch, Scotland had enjoyed unbroken economic growth since 1980. Yes, there was mass unemployment as old industries closed, but new strengths emerged in banking, biosciences, computer games and energy, whether oil, gas or wind. You wouldn’t know it from the way that Scottish politicians – of all parties – talk, nor from the behaviour of successive British governments.

Of course, the fault here lies as much in Westminster as Holyrood. Ministers in London have been transfixed by Scotland for the past quarter of a century, terrified of getting it wrong. Tory governments mollycoddled the Scots, out of fear of unpopularity. Labour, all too aware of where its electoral support came from, did the same. This wasn’t leading, but following. The normal rules of politics, of making a case or challenging your opponents’ arguments, were suspended. Instead, what Scotland wanted, it eventually got.

I don't recall him writing similar stuff for The Scotsman. But then, after all, he was a political apparatchik ...

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