Tha Murray MacLeòid ag ràdh nach robh poileataigs a-riamh cothromach

A thaobh a bhith a’ glacadh aire an luchd-bhòtaidh, tha na sgilean pearsanta ceart aig Anas Sarwar: briathrach, nàdarrach, blàth agus eirmseach.

Anas Sarwar aig Companaidh Feamad Innse Gall ann an Steòrnabhagh, còmhla ris a’ mhanaidsear Ali Mac Ghiollsa

[English-language version below]

Fhad ‘s a bha e anns a’ Ghàidhealtachd agus na h-Eileanan an t-seachdain-sa chuir e a’ chorrag air nì a tha ag adhbhrachadh gu leòr a bhith gu math mì-thoilichte leis mar a tha cùisean a’ dol.

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Ann an abairt fharsaing, ach gu math fìor an dèidh sin, thuirt e: “Tha poileataigs na h-Alba ag amas fada cus air meadhan na h-Alba.”

Tha fhios gun robh e gu math mothachail air cò bha ag èisteachd – na daoine air an iomall – agus a ’ cumail air san aon duan, thuirt e, “son ro fhada a-nis, chan eil am Partaidh Làbarach air a bhith air a’ phàirce agus chan eil sinn air a bhith a’ tarraing dhaoine ann an dòigh choileanta is cheart mar bu chòir”.

Uill, innis rudeigin ùr dhuinn. Gu mì-fhòrtanach dha-san, tha eachdraidh a’ sealltainn gu bheil faighinn na freagairt cus nas duilghe na a bhith mothachail g’ eil duilgheadas ann. Tha sin ag iarraidh fada barrachd na cuideigin a tha faisg nan nàdar.

A’ fàgail gu aon taobh staing a’ Phàrtaidh Làbaraich, agus mar a gheibh iad air slighe a dheànamh air ais am measg sùilean an luchd-bhòtaidh, tha e follaiseach gu bheil sgaradh air a thighinn eadar sgìrean dùthchail na h-Alba agus na bailtean mòra.

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Tha Murray MacLeòid a’ foighneachd eil càraichean cho sàbhailte sa bu chòir

Bha còir aig teicneòlas ar beatha a dheànamh nas fhasa agus ar toirt nas fhaisge, ach an àite sin ‘s ann a rinn e cùisean nas miosa, a’ cruthachadh barrachd ana-ceartais ann an cothroman.

Tha seirbheisean a’ bhann-leathain, agus gu leòr eile, fada nas fheàrr sna bailtean agus mar as fhaide a-muigh a thig thu, ‘s ann nas cugallaiche a tha iad a’ fàs. Dè a tha còir aig an òigridh a dheànamh?

Bha farsaingeachd a-riamh ann an Alba – bho ghàrraidhean togail Ghlaschu, gu uaisealan Dhùn Èideann, gu na tuathan sna Crìochan, gu bailtean beaga iasgaich a’ chosta, gu na beanntan is na glinn air a’ Ghàidhealtachd.

Ged a bha a’ mhòr-chuid dhen t-sluagh a-riamh a’ fuireach ann a meadhan na h-Alba, bha na coimhearsnachdan dùthchail cudromach, a’ cruthachadh ìomhaigh, a’ toirt beatha dha daoine agus a’ cur ri mar a tha sinn gar faicinn fhèin mar Albannaich. No chleachd iad a bhith cudromach co-dhiù.

An-diugh far an robh tuathan traidiseanta teaghlaich tha an talamh fo chraobhan – na h-oighreachdan a’ gabhail a’ chothroim nam pocaidean a lìonadh ‘s gun fheum aca air – na h-iasgairean air am fàgail làn feirg le butarrais Brexit agus masladh mòr aiseagan nan eilean a’ leanntainn.

Bha àm ann nuair a bha poileataigs gu lèir ionadail; a-nis ‘s ann a tha poileataigs mu dheidhinn a' bhun-reachd agus anns an t-suidheachadh sin, chan eil ach aon chàil a’ cunntadh – àireamhan.

Sin as coireach, ann am faclan Sarwar fhèin, gu bheil “poileataigs na h-Alba ag amas fada cus air a’ mheadhan”. Chan e turchartas a th’ ann. ‘S iad an fheadhainn ann an Glaschu, Dùn Èideann, Dùn Dè is Peairt a dhearbhas dè an slighe a bhios mu choinneimh Alba ann an reifreann nuair a thig e – ma thig e.

'Eil e ceart gum feum na sgìrean dùthchail – a tha a’ fulang mar-thà ri linn mar a tha beatha dhaoine ag atharrachadh – call a-mach air a sgàth? Gu deimhinne fhèin, chan eil. Ach, cò riamh a thuirt gun robh poileataigs cothromach?

Fios bhon neach-deasachaidh:

Tapa leibh airson an aithris a tha seo a leughadh. Tha sinn an eismeil ur taic nas motha na bha riamh agus buaidh a’ Choronbhirus air buaidh a thoirt air luchd sanasachd. Mur eil sibh air a dhèanamh mar-tha, ma se ur toil, nach beachdaich sibh taic a chumail ri ar obair-naidheachd earbsach, a tha sinn a’ dearbhadh a tha fìor, le bhith toirt a-mach ballrachd digiteach.

For someone who has the ambition of connecting with a wide electorate, Anas Sarwar has at least the right personal credentials: engaging, warm, non-condescending and able to string together a few coherent sentences.

During a visit to the Highlands and Islands this week, he tapped into what is becoming a growing sense of resentment and disenfranchisement.

In a sweeping statement, but no less true for all that, he declared: “Scottish politics is far too Central Belt focused.”

He will, of course, have been all too aware of his audience – the rural periphery – and, continuing on his theme, said that for too long “the Labour party has not been on the pitch and hasn’t really been engaging in a full and proper manner with the people”.

Well, quite, but, perhaps unfortunately for him, recent history suggests that finding a remedy might be a good deal more difficult than identifying the problem. It will require a lot more than a personable approach.

Leaving aside the travails of the Scottish Labour party and its road to electoral recovery, a clear disconnect has grown between rural Scotland and the urban centres.

Technology, designed to make our lives easier and bring us closer, has instead exacerbated the divide, creating even greater disparity of opportunity.

Broadband connections, and much else besides, are far superior in our cities and the further out you go out from the centre the more unreliable they – and a whole host of other services – become. What are the young meant to do?

Scotland was always a diverse land – the shipyards and industry of Glasgow, the commerce and civic centre of Edinburgh, the farming lands of the Borders, the fishing communities of the coasts, and the hills and glens of the Highlands.

While the vast majority of the population has always resided in the heaving cradle of the two major cities and the 40-mile stretch in between, the rural communities mattered, providing a strong sense of ourselves, a place to live and work for many, and helping to project a positive image of Scotland. Or at least they did matter.

Now traditional farming communities have been decimated – family hill farms replaced by trees across large swathes of the countryside, with estate owners cashing in – fishermen left floundering after a disastrous Brexit deal and a continuing fiasco over ferry services to the islands, which surely if it had happened at any other time would have resulted in huge recriminations at the highest of levels.

There was a time when all politics was local; now all politics is framed around the constitution and in such a scenario one thing counts above all else – the numbers game.

So that’s why, in Sarwar’s own words, “Scottish politics is far too Central Belt focused”. It is no coincidence. It is the residents of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth who will decide Scotland’s future in any forthcoming referendum by sheer weight of numbers.

Is it fair that Scotland’s rural communities – pushed to the brink already through societal changes that have removed the populace from the countryside – suffer as a result? Certainly not. But politics never was fair.

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