When the SNP say so with their new £100,000 vanity project — to rename the Scottish Executive to The Scottish Government. A few have been noticing the creeping use of the phrase ‘Scottish Government’ over the past few months, but I did not foresee the full-scale name change (despite what SNP supporter Scottish Politics says).
Nationalists are dead chuffed. According to them, it is monumental. Not from my perspective. This is just the Executive deciding it wants a fancy new name just as arbitrarily as a ned gets a personalised number plate for his car.
I’m not sure what the point of the name change is (beyond making the SNP feel more important than they actually are). For a start, officially changing the name would require a change in the law in a reserved area. The change is cosmetic. Mind you, that is probably enough for nationalists. But beyond that, Alex Salmond’s justifications do not quite add up to me.
Normally supporters of independence line up to criticise unionists of claiming that Scots are too stupid and incapable of making an independent Scotland work. But today ask a nationalist and all of a sudden Scots are just too stupid to understand what “Scottish Executive” means. This is despite the fact that the phrase has been a part of everyday language for almost a decade.
Perhaps I am being a bit harsh. Maybe this “Scottish Executive” business is too taxing for those little voters. So what do they do to alleviate the confusion? They change the name. Because that won’t muddy the waters one bit!
It’s a tweak to the political lexicon that is not needed. Since the inception of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 there has been a need to differentiate between the bodies that govern us.
So the legislature in Holyrood is the Scottish Parliament (or sometimes just Parliament, if there is enough context to allow you to ditch the ‘Scottish’). There the Scottish Executive is formed and is led by the First Minister.
Meanwhile, the legislature in London is called Westminster (to differentiate it from the (Scottish) Parliament). That is where the government, led by the Prime Minister, does its business.
I didn’t think that was too confusing, but there you go. Obviously I, unlike Alex Salmond, am not in the sort of position to say when and when not Scottish voters are too stupid to know what’s what.
I was used to saying “Executive” for things that the Scottish Executive did and “government” for things that, er, the Government did. Now we have a homonym. So what do I say now? I suppose it will all be “Scottish Government” and “UK Government” from now on.
Except, that is, in bills. These will still contain the phrase “Scottish Executive” even though it was the Scottish Government that put forward the bill. The whole situation is crystal clear now. I really am glad that helpful Mr Salmond has cleared things up for us!
Of course, the Scottish Executive hasn’t given itself a new name because the voters are just too, too confused (although that is the SNP spin on it). Bellgrove Belle lets slip the real reason behind the name change:
[O]nce we are called a Government, act like a Government, people will begin to demand the powers of a Government.
So there you have it. Not only is this name change a piece of spin to the nth degree deliberately designed to make voters more likely to vote in favour of independence. But also the Executive is not a real government with “the powers of a Government”. It wasn’t me who said that; it was Bellgrove Belle.
So just what is the justification for the name change?