Wednesday 18 October 2017

Salmond lost, but he still matters

Salmond seems not to understand the dangers of unleashing nationalism

He hasn't gone away: Though the referendum vote was lost,
Alex Salmond, and his demagoguery, will remain in politics.
He hasn't gone away: Though the referendum vote was lost, Alex Salmond, and his demagoguery, will remain in politics.
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

I went to Pride last week, an entertaining if over-praised movie about how in the 1984 strike, a group of London gays and lesbians befriended and won acceptance from a striking Welsh mining village. Predictably, the villain was the Wicked Witch, who was determined to smash the industry despite the heroic resistance of those described by their eloquent leader, Arthur Scargill, as "part of the greatest struggle on earth".

Time for a reality check. During the 11 years when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, 160 pits were closed: 290 had gone in the 11 years when Britain was ruled by her Labour predecessors, Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan. Scargill was no hero. He led his own people to impoverishment in their losing fight against the inevitable.

Thatcher is such a useful bogeywoman that she was being used during the independence debate by both nationalists - to whom she symbolised uncaring, oppressive Westminster - and left-wing unionists, who hurled at First Minister Alex Salmond allegations about how he approved some of her economic policies.

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