What the Scottish people favour, by Duncan Sutherland

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As a matter of interest, on the subject of the lamentable state of Westminster politics, I might as well mention to you that I was presented by chance with a snapshot providing an insight into that as I strolled up Whitehall in the direction of Trafalgar Square in the week when Parliament voted to hold this general election.

On a sunny morning of another day in the decline and fall of the British empire, a diminutive but dapper little man passed me on foot wearing the standard politician’s dark lounge suit and displaying a highly worried frown plus the most shifty demeanour I have ever seen outside a stage play as he made his way to Parliament from Gwydyr House (the Wales Office), which is directly opposite Dover House (the Scotland Office).

This happened to be the moment when this undistinguished individual, the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, was struggling to keep himself from sliding down the greasy pole in consequence of scandalous revelations by the BBC concerning his support for a former political aide of his who had caused a rape trial to collapse in a wholly indefensible effort to prevent a friend from being convicted of what is rightly regarded as a most serious crime. Several days later Mr Cairns entered the history books as the only UK Cabinet minister to have had to resign during a general-election campaign.

I should add that it is not unusual these days for individuals of this type to be appointed as the UK Government’s overseers in Wales and indeed Scotland. More reputable politicians do not seem to want these cabinet posts any more.

This is the less than confidence-inspiring political scene which I was confronted with in London as autumn leaves fell all around, a depressing scene which the SNP is vigorously urging the Scottish people to reject in favour of a new democracy and an equal partnership within the framework of the EU alongside our Celtic cousins, the Irish, with whom we get on much better than the English.

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