I was a child when I heard Jeffrey Archer say it, but even then I could see that it was an intellectually bankrupt argument from anyone who claimed to be a democrat. He informed Scotland that it was high time we learned that if we were going to be stuck with a Tory government anyway (because England kept voting Tory), it would be in our own best interests to start electing Tory MPs ourselves, because that was the only way we'd ever get the government to listen to us.
A variant on the same theme appeared on this blog a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of our eccentric commenter "ScotBrit2014", who claims to be two (possibly three) different people. He insisted that by voting against the London parties on May 7th, we had somehow chosen that Scotland's voice should not be heard, and therefore we had no-one but ourselves to blame for the consequences.
Democracy, UK style : You can vote any way you like, but just be aware that you'll be punished if you make the wrong choice. You can vote unionist, or you can SUFFER. Entirely up to you.
And now even the Liberal Democrats are inviting us to wake up and smell the coffee. An article at Lib Dem Voice arguing that the party should be hoping that Liz Kendall wins the Labour leadership contest concludes in the following extraordinary manner -
"This won’t deal with the larger part of “the fear” that a minority Labour government would be propped up by the SNP. I don’t see this going away until the Scottish people realise that Conservative government is a consequence of their supporting the SNP in such large numbers (though they have every right to do it.) That may well take another parliament or two, unless anyone has a bright idea."
Hmmm. Alternatively, the Scottish people may come to the more rational and accurate realisation that Conservative government is a direct consequence of their decision last September to listen to the advice of the Liberal Democrats (among others), and vote against independence. That mistake will only take another referendum to be remedied.
Even if this guy wasn't barking up the wrong tree with his unspoken assumption that Scotland is "trapped" and will eventually learn to be more "realistic", his argument wouldn't make sense anyway. The theory that fear of SNP influence was a decisive factor in England at the general election has yet to be credibly proved, but if there's any truth in it, the responsibility lies entirely with Labour and the Lib Dems for failing to tackle that fear head-on, rather than fuel it. They could have had a mature conversation with the electorate, and pointed out that if it is considered desirable for Scotland to remain in the UK, it's inevitable that Scotland's democratic voice will eventually have to be accommodated and compromised with. Our political distinctiveness is not an infection that can be stamped out, but that was the delusion they chose to peddle instead.