For some time now I have been contending that this week’s council elections will be decided in the main not on local matters, but on the voters’ views of politics at a national level.
We got the proof of that last week when the unionist parties started attacking the Scottish Government and the First Minister, levelling misguided criticism against Alex Salmond for having talks with Rupert Murdoch, and blasting him for kowtowing, or not kowtowing, depending on the point of view, to Donald “I am the Evidence” Trump.
As a member of the SNP, I am happy about that. The switch to attacking Scotland’s best politician by far is proof of my contention that national politics will decide this election. And actually, I don’t blame the unionist parties for this tactic.
It’s entirely understandable because their laughable manifestos show they have offered nothing of substance to the people of Edinburgh. Their pathetic efforts at formulating policies are truly shocking, and the voters have been given nothing but pap and hype.
The main issue locally has been who should be blamed for the trams, and there is no doubt that Labour, the Lib Dems, the Tories and the Greens must take the responsibility for the fiasco. For there is no getting away from the single most salient fact in the whole debacle – that these four parties inflicted the trams on Edinburgh and Scotland in the Scottish Parliament in 2007, against the wishes and votes of the then SNP minority government.
Some say the Scottish Government should have stopped the trams afterwards, but can you imagine what the unionists would have said if the SNP had ignored such a comprehensive majority vote? “One party state” would have been the nicest comment.
It was parliament that decided, and if the trams issue is what makes you cast your vote, remember which parties voted for them at Holyrood, because that’s where the blame really lies. In a fundamental way, however, it will be the current state of national politics which will determine how people will vote.
I watched last week as Labour, the Tories and their wee pals the Liberal Democrats went on what was laughingly called the offensive in the Scottish Parliament. Johann Lamont, Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie are the Three Stooges of Scottish politics, though I leave it to you which is Curly, which is Larry and which is Moe.
Why is it that no political commentator has the guts to say what every sensate citizen knows – that these three nonentities are by far the worst political party leaders in the history of Scottish politics.
Even though they are aided and abetted by the unionist press, they can do zilch to advance their parties’ causes, because they have no discernible talent except for ignoring inconvenient facts. They tried to ambush the First Minister last week, but only succeeded in making fools of themselves. Indeed, I sometimes think I am living in a parallel universe to the Stooges, so bizarre is their take on things.
At First Minister’s Questions, Lamont questioned the First Minister’s legitimate dealing with Rupert Murdoch, conveniently forgetting that Labour’s Great Transformer, Tony Blair, had his lips to the Murdoch bahookey for years – he went to Australia to seek Rupert’s approval and is godfather to his daughter. The First Minister merely invited him round for tea, which according to the hypocritical and hysterical Lamont was just about on par with a war crime.
Ruth Davidson continues to be a wee lassie out of her depth, and on the Donald Trump issue was so off-message with her own party’s policy of sucking up to tycoons that I’m sure David Cameron will be giving her the chairman’s vote of confidence very soon.
As for the pipsqueaking Rennie, words fail me. He is not the cause, but the symptom, of his party’s forth- coming demise.
Now let’s deal with Donald Trump, and the great mystery of why the bouffanted one changed his mind recently about his love-in with the Scottish Government. If I told you that in January, the massive Doral Golf Complex in Florida went bust and was swiftly bought by Trump for $150 million with another $200m promised to develop it, would you be surprised? And $350m is possibly what Trump needs to complete his Aberdeenshire project. If that’s a coincidence, I’m a supermodel.
But that’s enough of national politics. Where the outcome of the election will definitely be local will be the bargaining that goes on after the result is known.
The simple fact is that no matter the “winners” in Edinburgh this week, there will have to be an arrangement between at least two of the parties to run the council. No single party can run Edinburgh from next weekend without the active participation of another party, or we will have a minority administration with all the attendant difficulties that presents – for a start, which party would supply the Lord Provost?
This will call for grown-up politics of which quite a few of our existing councillors are quite capable. It may be that the SNP and the Greens, or even the SNP and Labour, will have to carve things up, once the people decide. Let them do so in calm and fair fashion, laying out a binding coalition agreement in public. The people of Edinburgh deserve no less.