Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Last King of Scotland

Pressure to remove Baroness Scotland from her job as Attorney General continues but it looks as if the Government is having none of it, even swiftly re-jigging the rules last week that allow Scotland, to claim £170,000 from an allowance intended for ministers in the House of Lords who live outside London, when she has reportedly declared her main residence as being inside London for 15 years.

Until last week the 'Lords' assessed a minister’s entitlement based on their home address and yet the Baroness appears exceptional. However, to avoid more expenses embarassment, it's reported the 'guidance' on such matters was swiftly changed the same week that the claim came to light. This is either a remarkable coincidence or very convenient for Baroness Scotland.

Many years ago, I knew the real 'Last King of Scotland', a certain President Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada. You may have seen the film of the same name, which tries hard to capture his dark personality but falls well short. Given the steady decline of standards in public life, it's hard to tell sometimes whether we are living in an advanced western democracy or a third-world 'Banana republic'.

Remaining with Scotland for a moment, I suppose that a General Election offers a small opportunity to register a protest vote for some kind of English political autonomy, having just watched, Gordon Brown, Douglas Alexander and Alistair Darling holding forth on Sky News this morning. I read yesterday that Police at Glasgow airport have been demanding that passengers on domestic flights show their passports on entering the country, which is quite outrageous but permissable under the anti-terrorism legislation that they have hidden behind.

It does appear bizarre and inconsistent to many people that Wales and Scotland have independent Parliaments but not England and that crucial decisions on the future of our own nation can be made by MPs from one side of the border but the arrangement is not reciprocal. Why we had to destroy the Union in the first place and dismantle our collective national identity is a question that still eludes me and I suspect the consequences will prove rather less than satisfactory as time passes!

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