Friday, 22 November 2013

A STATEMENT FROM CHARLES GRAY... support of the Labour voice in the independence campaign. 

This was written exclusively for use for Labour for Independence. 

(Please share far and wide. Allan)

Even as the Festive Season approaches there is still a continuing interest in next year's Referendum to decide Scotland's future. It's subject to sometimes intense discussion in pubs and clubs, in homes and carefully, but formally in schools, colleges and universities. While many may still have to make up their minds, a fast growing number of Labour Party members and voters, and many more Trades Unionists are already determined to vote YES.

Older persons are mindful of the early Labour & TU movement of Hardie, McLean, Gallacher, Wheatley and Johnston and their like: men who birthed a vision of social equality and equal rights for all and in whose simple, but ardent ambition was Home Rule for Scotland.

Given, and recalling, the suffering endured by hundreds of all ages in those not so far off days, it would be foolish to contend that the present Scottish Parliament would be sufficient to satisfy their hopes; hopes which had clearly contained the dream of an Independent Scotland.

And now there is the increasing call by folks from all walks of life: ordinary men
and women, scholars, business and young people all joining in the call for Independence for our beloved ancient land : SCOTLAND.

Hasten the day!


  1. Sadly the older persons you refer to (Niko and co.) still stubbornly cling to the notion that the Labour party is the party of the poor and the working class despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    It is obvious that after a No vote, should that occur, that the Labour party will be gearing up for a general election. In order to capture the UKIP-inclined their policies will have to, at least, be as right-wing as their main rivals. Will that be enough? Doubtful, and the possibility is not too-far fetched of a UKIP/Tory coalition when the Lib.dems are side-lined. If that is the case dark days will be upon not just those in Scotland with the temerity to seek independence but on the entire country. You will, I hope, excuse my pessimism - blame it on John Barleycorn.

    1. Hmmmm. This was supposed to be an inspirational message.

      But you are right. Not everyone can see like Mr Gray.

      People surely remember what has happened in the past.

      Last time we turned something down, a sharp elbowed shrew of a shopkeeper’s daughter clapped her hands with glee; told her stupid self that she had put the Nats back in a box, and when asked by her colleagues “what about that promise we made to look at devolution?”, she snarled, “I’ve dealt with that you wets. Now unless you find yourselves in Northern Ireland, I’d shut up, if I were you” We have become a grandmother!”

      Then they will remember the promises that Labour made after the 18 years of mrs Thatcher and mr Major that was forced upon us by the UK. Remember the renationalisation of the railways; the Major disaster that makes the UK railways the least modern, least efficient and most expensive (by a long way) in Europe, just for starters. Instead the privatised air space!

      And yet they think, when 2015 comes Ed, wee Ed, will sweep to power, scattering Cameron to the four winds. Then Labour will not hold a referendum on the EU, all the vile changes made by Blair and Cameron in health and education and what they now call Welfare, because it sounds more disparaging that the Social Security for which we have all paid, will be reversed, and everything will be fine. Aye dream on. They rolled nothing back last time. Not even the restrictions on their funders, the unions. They had been gagging for laws like that, but never had the nerve to do anything about it. Thatcher did it for them.

      I think you’re right. Polling shows that it’s likely that only Carmichael and Kennedy will have seats in Scotland. On that basis it seems likely that the Liberals will have about 12 seats overall in the UK.

      No one will pay them much heed.

      I don’t see Farage doing that well in a UK election, but I bet that they will be spectacular in the EU elections, and that will scare the living daylights out of the Tories in particular, but Labour too (because easy going, chaps chap, Farage and his pint will capitalise on Eastern European immigrants “taking all the jobs” in working class areas. And that always goes down a bomb. Give the m an excuse and they are with you. “No wonder all our young can’t get jobs. Eastern Europeans are taking them. How can you penalise them when it’s not their fault?” they will propose. I’ve worked long enough with long term unemployed to know that, even in a place like Dundee with a relatively small number of immigrants, the “foreigner” card is always held up.

      So, for the UK general election in 2015, there will be a sharp move to intolerance and hatred to the right, in short, from the two parties that remain (the Liberals having disappeared from serious contention). It will be a competition for who can win the disaffected colonel and his memsahib in Eastbourne, who are fed up listening to foreign voices when they stroll along the prom and the disaffected country youth of Norfolk and Suffolk who are unable to pick berries at the seemingly impossibly fast rate that Eastern hands seem capable of, and the disaffected of Sheffielders who, not unreasonably, are fed up of Roma youth who use the street as a litter bin (because of course Brits are the tidiest people in the whole world and never drop litter).

      Good luck to Britain then.

      Moi, je vais franchir la frontière pour retrouver une vie plus agréable.

      Hope your head is OK this morning... :)

    2. Yes, I have long thought that UKIP's 2014 European election campaign will be instrumental in finally separating out the undecideds into either the YES or NO camp. In Scotland's current electoral mood, I would bet, most will be driven screaming into the a YES vote.

      I don't even think UKIP will have to be particularly electorally successful (although they probably will be) to ensure this effect.

      It will be the election coverage given to them by 'our' BBC that will do the trick. Farage is already easily the most invited guest on Question Time by a long chalk.

      Add to that all the press coverage, along with the general underlying unionist desperation to try and prove that Scotland, just like England, is under the same threat from the UKIP 'populist wave'.

      We are just the same as the rest of Britain after all. Never mind that we steal their deposits in every election they come up to stand in!

      The EU elections are held at the end of May 2014. The referendum is 18th of September, just four and a half months later. I would say Salmond and his advisers plotted it all out when considering the most helpful date to select, and as time goes by, are being proven to have gone and played yet another blinder!


  2. It strikes me that any socialist who places a nationalism above his internationalist socialist duties is not a comrade of the historic movement.

    1. Ok, but...

      What about people in the Labour movement who are intrinsically against the EU then... like say Tony Benn?

      Why do people like Johann keep on saying that we cannot abandon the English working classes? What about the German working classes? What about the grinding poverty og the Romanians, and the Romany in particular that Blunkett was railing against last week.

      I mean I agree that international socialists see no borders and I can understand their desire to keep the 4 countries/regions of the UK together, but why would they not press for greater integration adn complete freedom of movement within the EU including the adoption of a single currency and the handing of most powers to Brussels?

      Besides, it's not nationalism, like Marie le Penn or Rick Griffiths define nationalism/ It's exactly the opposite in many ways.

      One of the things we would be able to do would be to target our aid more effectively to help poor, rather than to finance the buying of arms.

      And you must be aware that in parliament the SNP has a MSP of Italian extraction, a Frenchman and a guy who, although born in Scotland, is of Pakistani origin.

      It's not a hate kind of "we are better than you" kind of nationalism. It's inclusive rather than exclusive.

      Unlike the kind Cameron and his "there is a corner of a foreign field that is forever ...ENGLAND" nationalism.

    2. You know me Tris, I'm a passionate Europeanist. One Europe without borders and all that ;)

    3. Dean,
      Scotland in one UK, post 2017, or Scotland in one Europe, post 2014?

      Have a good look at the odds Dean, because it's all coming to a head in September and (most rarely in our 'democratic' UK) it's being put in your hands.


    4. We vote YES in 2014 and we will be in Europe, every main stream Scottish Party supports that position.

      Come 2017 and England votes to leave the EU, it will take Scotland with it no matter what we vote for (unless the vote is unrealistically close, by historical experience).

      On the other hand, lets say the rUK votes to remain in the EU. That would mean that both Scotland and The rUK would still be full members of the European Union, something I know you value highly as a matter of principle.

      Shouldn't you, on such an important matter, be playing the percentages here Dean? Everything is pointing towards good sense voting YES (that's in my opinion of course).


    5. It's the only way to stay in Europe, I think.

      Farage will be financed to the hilt by right wingers. Ex Tories.

      They already dislike Europe and being bossed around by a load of foreigners. Add to that the number of immigrants which England has (as opposed to our relatively few... and the kind of headlines we are getting from the Xenophobic press. The Express is fomenting racial tension, even violence.

      Cameron is't strong ebnough to resist this. And neither is Miliband.

      It would take a strong person to say no, and put the xenophobe right in its box.

      Neither of these "leaders" is really strong... and they have too many enemies in their own parties (most of the Tories seem to hate Dave, and Miliband has all the Blairites blaming him for the fact his Brother is now in NY, and not leading them).

      We are being led by weak men.

      England will almost certainly leave the EU unless they fiddle the referendum results.

      And even if Scotland votes by a healthy majority to stay (as it wins from EU funding (at least when the UK doesn't steal it from us) and will do much better when we have a seat at the table, we will be overruled by England and be taken out.

      End of a lot of our trade as our goods become too expensive for the EU.

      Can Cameron get concessions?


      He would need 100% agreement from other countries and I don't see that happening in a heartbeat, unless everyone else gets what they want.

    6. Braco,

      I hate to always say this, but its honestly central to my current indecision... but it depends on what Labour says.

      If the Labour leadership come out either against a referendum on leaving the EU, or promise to have one, but pledge to passionately lobby on staying in... and I believe the party leadership... it removes the Pro-EU advantage from the Yes column.

      However if I think labour are too equivocal, or unable to really convince me they could win a referendum on staying in the EU, independence would get the pro-eu tick to their column.

      On the issue by issue weighing over the coming year, you are right it will come down the the percentages. The percentage of which column, yes or no, has more of my 'ticks' under it.

      Right now, if it were held tomorrow, I'd probably vote No... like most unionists however, my heart really isn't in it.

  3. Dean, are you really that confident and sure that Labour will definitely win the 2015 General election? I mean, after removing your Labour Party membership hat that is.

    To me, if I held the principle of Europe and our continued membership of the EU supreme, then it would be the uncertainty as to whether Labour were able to regain power at the next election that would be foremost in my thoughts. After all we know where the only real alternative to a Labour Government will take the UK's relationship with the EU should Labour fail for any reason.

    Weighed against that uncertainty, I think a YES vote seems the only sure fire way to keep Scotland within the EU, actually enhancing our representation and so further cementing our position, rather than weakening it.

    One last thought that might appeal to your Europeanist tendencies within the context of our current constitutional decision. I take it that your top priority is to see the entire UK (in what ever internal constitutional configuration we decide, independent Scotland or devolved) remain within the European Union?

    If that is the case, then please consider this. Should Scotland vote YES in 2014 and opt for Independence within Europe, which I think we both agree would be the most certain outcome of a YES result, then think of the serious consequences that would have on the economic case for rUK leaving the EU come their IN/OUT referendum in 2017.

    Scotland is currently rUK's second biggest trading partner (according to betterNO's anti currency union arguments). If Scotland is independent and a member of Europe, then rUK's economic argument and position post EU accession obviously becomes a lot less viable.

    Should Scotland vote NO in 2014, then come the UK's IN/OUT referendum in 2017, I can see the old Island empire mindset and comfort blanket so beloved of the OUT's, actually being enhanced, while emphasis on the scale and value of the UK's internal 'trading zone' will most certainly be played up as a great strength by the OUT economist's and their media friends.

    An Independent Scotland within Europe, will puncture that emotionally powerful 'Island England' delusion, and at the same time remove a large plank of any sensible economic argument for a 'British trading zone' free of European interference and able to turn and face the world.

    So Dean, by voting YES you will not only be ensuring Scotland remains within the EU, but you will also be strengthening the case for rUK to stay within the EU, when the rUK hold that promised IN/OUT referendum in 2017.

    In my opinion, Labour will be unable to go into the 2015 general election without at least matching the Tory promise of that EU referendum (especially after what I suspect will be a frighteningly influential EU election campaign for UKIP).

    As I said earlier, it's a case of just playing the logical percentages, in order to get the best final over all result.


    1. It's worth noting that we are starting to see English ministers (of all parties) speaking out against foreigners.

      There was Blunkett on the Romani and their litter dropping (like the indigenous Sheffielders never drop any litter. Clegg got his oar in too.

      And then we had Dominic Grievous, an educated (Westminster School and Oxford) legal brain and the attorney general of all England who said that Pakistanis are all corrupt. (Of course he should have been sacked. That’s the kind of idiotic statement you’d expect from a lout who’s taken too much beer, not a member of the British cabinet, who is surrounded by corrupt and fiddling colleagues.)

      I see a campaign for little England coming here... Is it to show Ukip that they are not the only people who can hate foreigners loudly and clearly?

      I know I am far more accepting of other people's cultures than many others, and I also accept that in England there are parts of the country which don't look much like England, whereas in Scotland this is not the case. So I don't mean to judge English people who are afraid that the English way of life is being diluted by foreign culture.

      But again, Scotland actually NEEDS to encourage people to come and live here. Both Labour and the SNP have done that, and we used to have a great scheme whereby people who came to Scottish universities (and paid a lot of money to do so) from outside the EEA, could stay for 2 years, and put something back, as long as they got a job. Of course with different priorities, England has pulled the plug on that. I don’t know why, because the people were only allowed to stay if they had a job, and they were only allowed to work in Scotland. But Theresa May knows best.

      The FM was, only the other day, in answer to the debater of the year, pointing out that the predictions of the Tory think tank report that Labour and the Liberals were so in were of, based its findings on the notion that Scotland would follow exactly the same economic plan as the UK. In that case, Scotland would not be viable. Neither is the UK. To get out of the mess, we require to have austerity (that means the poorest living on the breadline) for the next 50 years. Even the supping Brits are not going to tolerate that while the bankers, politicians and royalty ive high on the hog.

      One of the ways that Scotland will differ is to encourage well qualified people to stay int eh country after they get their degrees and to pay taxes here and help keep the aging population, for which no money has been put aside.

      Leaving the EU or the EEA would be disastrous for Scotland.

    2. Yes Tris, I think it's becoming obvious what way the current 'UK' wind is blowing. That's why I am talking to Dean in all seriousness.


    3. An I am glad that you are braco...

      I love the levity of this blog... I enjoy the crack between us, but we do make serious points sometimes... and that is excellent.