This goes to the heart of what I think about parliament. Its members are overwhelmingly, in my view, decent, hard-working men and women. They were ridiculously and cruelly lampooned by sections of the Scottish press – though not by Scotland on Sunday.
Gerald Warner, Scotland on Sunday 28th June 2009
Sorry, Alex, most of us have faster mental reflexes than that.HIGH pretensions in low places: the pygmy politicos in the Wee Scotch Senate surpassed themselves last week by passing the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill, their most ambitious excursion yet into self-parody. As legislation goes, we shall not look up – unless the Loch Ness Monster (Protected Species) Bill is in the pipeline.
This was Holyrood at its best: sanctimonious, dictatorial, self-regarding and totally divorced from reality. Stewart Stevenson, the Minister for Climate Change and Candle-Powered Kettles, told the chamber: "Scotland can be proud of this bill, the most ambitious piece of climate change legislation anywhere in the world." One wonders why the rest of the world has passed on this.
Hyperbole became so competitive as to threaten the ozone layer. "World-leading" was a favourite epithet; another refrain ran, "All eyes are on Scotland". When it comes to leading the world in surfing a wave of hysteria, Scotland has previous, for example the witchcraft trials under James VI. Today's condemned necromancers are offenders with inadequately lagged attics, overfilled kettles and lightbulbs strong enough to read by. Their days are numbered.
For it was not to be supposed the Wee Scotch Senate would pass legislation that did not contain severe penalties for heretics and dissenters. Energy criminals can expect the midnight knock. True, the bill only prescribes fines; but be sure more robust penalties will follow. It is for banning and punishing that MSPs live and breathe.
When you are an inarticulate numpty, unemployable in any commercial capacity, and you find yourself translated to the adobe slum at the bottom of the Royal Mile, glued to the public teat for £100k a year and exercising power without responsibility – bring it on, is your natural reaction to the prospect of invading people's homes and inflicting penalties on your fellow citizens. What is power for, if not to abuse?
During its inglorious first decade, which it is currently celebrating amid the passionate indifference of the nation, the Wee Scotch Senate has gradually achieved something fundamentally inimical to democracy: parliamentary unanimity. Now we see the fruition of the aspiration symbolised by the "non-confrontational" configuration of the chamber. The last potential opposition, the Vichy Tories, currently selling out the Union by supporting the Calman Commission, have traitorously joined the consensus.
"This is indeed a great day," drivelled Alex Johnstone, Conservative MSP, in the concluding debate, adding without conscious irony: "The nature of the bill will probably not dawn on us fully for many years." Sorry, Alex, but most of us have faster mental reflexes than that and have already apprehended that the best contribution this bill can make to conservation is by hanging on a nail in the smallest room in the house.
There is probably no other assembly in the world where a contentious topic such as "man-made" climate change would not provoke debate. MSPs, however, have the advantage of being untrammelled by any knowledge or understanding, they bring virgin ignorance to every topic and are guided by whatever the prevailing politically correct consensus may be. Without dissent there is no democracy. Who spoke for the large numbers of people in Scotland who, increasingly supported by emerging scientific evidence, recognise anthropogenic climate change for the scam it is?
Al Gore's convenient untruths exposed, the discrediting of the "hockey stick" model, the cooling since 2000, the resilient polar ice-caps, the fanatics' reliance on computer models programmed with code to produce the desired result, the historic examples of much wider temperature fluctuation than we are experiencing, the sea levels that stubbornly refuse to rise, the unscientific demonising of carbon dioxide, the patronage practised by the IPCC, the growing revolt of scientists against what is actually a political programme to increase United Nations and state power – all of this passes MSPs by.
We are being subjected to a Grande Peur reminiscent of apocalyptic stampedes of flagellants in the Middle Ages. The damage that will be done to developing countries is appalling. Nearer home, last week's fatuous commitment to reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 might better have been titled the Scottish Economy (Annihilation) Bill.
Its punitive powers will create a regulatory gradient between Scotland and England – as Calman would create a tax gradient – repelling investors. There is a cultural void in the landscape too, where 129 Scottish villages are missing their idiots.