Cheers and Jeers #7

Here's my latest news roundup, in which I cheer or jeer the week's events.

Cheers to John Barnes for providing both context to Liam Neeson's misquoted words on race and also for helping to aid a much-needed conversation on understanding the thinking behind prejudice in order to combat it.  That Mr Barnes had to do this at all when it should have been obvious to anyone that Liam Neeson was clearly not proud of the thoughts he admitted to once having speaks volumes about the quality of reporting at a time when sensationalist headlines trump critical analysis.

Cheers to Altrincham FC for introducing a new third kit especially for Football v Homophobia. Some of the reactions to this announcement on social media underline how far society has come in the last 15 years, but also the need for the work Football v Homophobia continues to do. It might be a small gesture from a well-meaning football club, but it represents a huge statement in support of LGBT+ inclusion.

Cheers to Welsh football star Jess Fishlock for speaking openly about her experiences of homophobia in school. I am sure her honest reflections and her attempts to normalise same-sex attraction will help to further change a culture that for too long was tolerant of intolerance.

Cheers to Sayeeda Warsi for admitting that David Cameron's decision to hold a referendum on Eu membership was "reckless, awful politics" and that neither Mr Cameron nor the Conservative Party had any developed plan for what would happen in the event of a leave vote. "I'm not sure sorry is enough" said Baroness Warsi. Well, no - it isn't, but it's a welcome start.

Jeers to the Scottish Conservatives for their determination to reinvent themselves as the party of ineffective and counter-productive short-term prison sentences. In criticising the SNP's decision to abolish short-term sentences as "soft on crime", Ruth Davidson's party refuses to accept the evidence-based recommendations of, among others, the Howard League for Penal Reform. With so much to legitimately criticise the SNP government on, it seems bizarre that they have chosen this.

Jeers to Peter Bone for deliberately misconstruing what Donald Tusk had said in his misadvised "special place in Hell" comments. Quite what basis Mr Bone had for complaining to the Speaker of the House of Commons I don't know, but I might suggest he could have been accused of deliberately misleading Parliament.

Tears for the family of Emiliano Sala, whose body was found along with aircraft wreckage this week.


East Neuker said…
Hi . Re your line above saying that there is so much to criticise the current Scottish Government about that you would not have started there. Please provide a list of your substantive criticisms so that they may be analysed and examined. If you do so, I will respond, and also give you a detailed list of criticisms of the British Liberal Democrats for you to respond to. I think your task would be the more difficult one.
Andrew said…
I could give you a rather lengthy list of criticisms of the Liberal Democrats - probably more substantive than your own! You mistake me for a tribal politician, which I never could be.

There has not been a party of government, or even opposition, that is beyond criticism. My own view of the current administration in Scotland is rather mixed - there are a lot of positives of course, and I have often been reasonably complimentary on this blog. I'm certainly not going to indulge in a several thousand word explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the current Scottish government simply because I happen to say in a brief news roundup that there's much they can be criticised for.

This is a very quick little roundup I do, and not an in-depth analysis of the merits of particular parties. My point is that the Scottish Tories always seem to miss the mark, and where there are opportunities to legitimately take issue with policy direction and propose an alternative they resort to this kind of thing. It's petty and should be beneath them. It was indeed a point about the tribal nature of the Conservatives and their lack of constructive thinking rather than an aside at the SNP.

Although you might like to suggest how the Scottish government is beyond criticism? I would have thought given the way it handled the Alex Salmond accusations for starters that SNP supporters may well have one or two issues there. And that's before we get onto more pertinent issues...

East Neuker said…
Hi Andrew. No, I don't think that the current Scottish Government is above criticism, and like you can find things that I don't agree with, frustrate and even annoy me. I'm not a member of the SNP, but currently vote that way. Previously I voted for Ming Campbell for many years, but will never forgive the Lib Dems under Clegg and Cable for what they have done.
My reaction was perhaps oversensitive, conditioned by the mainstream media's relentless anti Scottish Government bias and constant "SNP BAD" approach to almost everything, even when comparisons to England and Wales show they are performing better. Tory politicians are even worse, as you say.
Your "throw away" remark touched a nerve.
What I really want is an independent Scotland in Europe with a government based on liberal, social democratic principles . in the long run that might need a new party to evolve. I am not tribal either, but England seems a lost cause and is shackling us to a society and a politics that does not appeal to me at all.
I read and enjoy your blog. Keep it up. Thanks for responding.
Andrew said…
One of the positive things about blogging is the interactions with people who often think differently, but one of the problems is we don't know each other and motivations can be misunderstood.

I was no big fan of the coalition - more specifically, the way the Lib Dems handled coalition - and I was often critical of it when I felt the need to be.

I make the distinction between the SNP and the Scottish government, although I can be reasonably complimentary towards both at times and critical at others. I certainly don't subscribe o the "SNP bad" approach, which is (to be kind) a rather juvenile way of doing politics.

I remain a Lib Dem because I am a philosophical liberal and for all the faults of the coalition this is still my political home. I naturally welcome pluralistic approaches to politics, which is why the Scottish Tories' social media strategy annoys me so much. It's divisive, personal, negative and tribal.

I generally concur with your views on Scotland's place in Europe. Thank you for the compliments about my blog. I don't have the opportunity to write as frequently as I did during the independence referendum campaign (children change things!) but I hope to keep going for a while yet!