Friday, May 11, 2007

Hot, Cold, Warm

We have seen very different electoral outcomes in just a week. First was Scotland, the hot thing, with the Scottish National Party winning, at least in numbers of sits, the Scottish elections – and suddenly Number 10 has a Quebec in his own backyard. Will Alex Salmond’s SNP push for a self-determination referendum in this parliament? They really would like and maybe even try but is not likely. But the very fact that a pro-independence party is the single biggest party in part of the UK is more than interesting in political terms.

Scotland was on Thursday, then Sunday came and the conservative Sarkozy won the French elections, with a 53% of the share, against Royal’s 47% - she moved fast in recognizing her opponent’s victory. That was the “cold water” for any progressive soul in the Hexagon and in Europe in general. The son of emigrants who called “scum” to other son of emigrants is now the president of France.

And on Tuesday, came the hopeful picture that everyone was expecting: Ian Paysley senior (“Mr Never!”) and Martin McGuinness laughing together in the power-sharing Stormont government. If the darkest voice of Unionist supremacy and a former IRA commander can work together for a better future for the people of Ireland I don’t understand why in other European conflicts they can’t find the right formula with much less difficult parameters.

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