Sunday 25 November 2012


The campaign to save the union has, it appears, suffered a body blow. Scotland’s trade union movement are refusing to join the Bitter Together campaign, so beloved by the Labour Party, and the last I heard, funded by Tories in the South East of England.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) is expected to say this week that it doesn't want to make any decision about Independence at the moment, and as such it would be wrong for them to come down on one side of the independence argument “for the foreseeable future”.
Worse news still for Johann Lamont and Alistair Darling, it is expected to warn of unrest over Labour's policies among the 630,000 trades unionists it represents and it will point out some benefits that independence could bring.
I hope that Mrs Lamont treats it with respect. 
The Sunday Times has got a hold of the draft of the STUC's report which (and this is even more disturbing for Labour) apparently shows that there is “concern and, on occasion, outright anger at some of the economic, social and international policies which have been pursued at Scottish and UK levels”
I was taught that he who pays the piper calls the tune. I don't know what proportion of the funding that goes into the Scottish branch office of the Labour Party comes from the unions, but at 630,000 members in Scotland, I'm guessing it may be quite substantial. I'm wondering if it is about time that the leadership listened to the people who contribute so much of their hard earned cash to the Labour party. Otherwise perhaps they will decide to stop giving it.
This disconnect between the Labour leadership and much of the membership is what we have all been talking about for so long. 
It's what Niko has genuinely been struggling with recently, as Harriet Harman tried to haul him back into the fold (or some minion pretending to be Harriet Harman, let's be honest) and get her hands once again on his political levy.
The Labour Party and its policies no longer relate to the people it should be representing in Scotland, because they are being dictated in another country, for another country, and no matter how much they tell us that Scottish Labour and English Labour are separate, they are not and can never be as long as they sit on the same green benches in London.
It's time for change.


  1. Here is a link to the STUCs interim report

  2. Thanks Fairfor.

    "This interim report poses many questions, reflecting a general view that the quality of the debate must improve dramatically and it must take place in a far less febrile atmosphere. This is not helped by sensationalist reporting. The early reporting of our draft findings is an illustration of the reason that so many organisations are reluctant to engage in open and inclusive discussion and debate."

    Interesting. I agree with that part of it anyway.

  3. Ha ha... perfect CH

  4. I don't understand the existence of the photo of Johann you've used. It's too high-quality a photo to be a random snapper, but it can't possibly be an official Labour publicity shot either. Surely...?

  5. Come on now Tris, Lamont treating ANYTHING with respect is really stretching the point don't you think?

    Any here's another of my now regular side issues. :D

    Interesting wee piece in the Times under the headline about VAT rise may be needed to help cut the deficit.

    As Sneeky pointed out over on Stu's site they will most likely not raise VAT but the REAL story was buried inside the article where they made mention of the need for more, yep that's right, MORE Benefit cuts!

    Now I don't know where they are going to get the benefit cuts they are currently forcing through far less any EXTRA benefit cuts. Moreover I have absolutely NO idea who they expect will benefit from these additional benefit cuts, except of course their millionaire buddies doing all that tax evasion stuff!

  6. The Sunday Times, Doug...

    I didn't think about that. She's obviously at a conference or something; she's got something in her ear. It may have been another delegate... but how it got into the hands of the ST...?

    Any other suggestions?

  7. VAT up to 25%, would stifle purchasing power, and plunge the whole thing back into recession surely, Arbroath. So I can't see it happening.

    The only way is to starve the poor to death and save vast amounts on benefits, pensions, heating allowances, housing... you name it.

    They can't cut any more from benefits in a cold country without causing real damage, but I don't really think they understand what that might mean.

    But they are doing the independence movement a favour.

  8. All hail the loving caring Tories! :lol:

  9. tris

    UKIP IS a racist party i know some UKIP supporters and members. There views they express to me would go down very well at an BNP meeting.

    Have a gander at the tory diary and other Right wing dont take long to see the truth.

    And yet Ed is standing up for UKIP as they are afraid of losing votes in Rotherham.

    Not a very moral or progressive stance i would suggest.

    I despair I really do

  10. Bless them, Arbroath. They realllllly care!

  11. I wonder if that will happen again in the coming year... with the attendant riots, CH?

    Surely there's only so much that poor people will take of paying for the mistakes and greed of the rich, before it kicks off. I was amazed when there were no riots last summer.

    Maybe Cameron's policy of locking people up for sneezing during the previous riots worked. After all he had to interrupt his holiday in Tuscany, and Samantha wouldn't have liked that.

    His policies regarding the council tax will be driving poor people out of their homes, out of the south east and off to the north, where there aren't enough houses or services.

    I just can't see people taking that lying down.

    I liked the last poster, btw.

  12. Dear Niko

    I feel your pain You would appear to have been cast into the wilderness.Do you not think a rethink of your unswerving allegience would be in order

    How do you feel about J Murphy promoting Portsmouth shipyard instead of Govan, regardless of the referendum

  13. I know you do, Niko, and I really feel for you.

    I've never been a member of Labour, or the Liberals, but I too despair for their members. What has happened to their policies?

    It seems all politics is moving to the right. Presumably this is (as Iain MacWhirter pointed out on Sunday) thanks to Mrs Thatcher's home ownership obsession and the resultant growth of the "middle class".

    Ed can't afford to be seen to be out of line with these "middle classes", otherwise the HUGE vote that they have (particularly in the SE) will go elsewhere... the Tories presumably.

    I've never met anyone from UKIP, so I honestly don't know what they are about. I know that the very few representatives I have heard of have been complete weirdos, or big time on the fiddle.

    But I know that there are racists everywhere and I have no doubt that there are more than their fair share of them in a party that decries multi-culturalism. Presumably we should all be the same. All dress the same. All eat the same food (good plain English cooking; heaven help us).

    Some people accuse the SNP of racism, because they are, after all, a nationalist party. But it's not that kind of nationalism. We just want to be free to run our own country. That that country will include people from all over the world with their different customs and religions, is of no account to the SNP.

    I think Ed is weak. He was more left wing before his elevation, but was frightened off by the Tories calling him Red Ed. (Of course, if they hadn't taunted him about it maybe he wouldn't have moved into their territory and become Blue Ed. Yet another tactical error from Dave the Dense.)

    Courage, Niko. I still think that the suggestion the other day (was it Barney or CH?), that you should rejoin Labour and then join Labour for Scottish Independence, is a corker.

    Lamont needs to be taught that right wing policies, suitable for the SE of England are not wanted here. Although, to be fair, she seems to have ignored all the signs so far that it's not working.

  14. Fairfor... He's done WHAT?

    I seriously can't believe it. He's supposed to be some sort of leading light in the No campaign.

    (In fact I always thought he would have been a better leader, because if I were looking for an actor to play a Scottish Tory, I'd be looking for a spitting image of Alistair. At least Murphy looks like a Labour man.)

    We are all better together: and we will close the Scottish naval dockyard and replace it with one in the south of England. Typical.

  15. From the Portsmouth news The comments think the Scots will be appeased again

    And yes Murphy thinks playing the referendum card is their strong point
    If Govan does not close it will be no thanks to him

  16. I don't think they will Fairfor.

    I think they will close the Scottish one, and blame it on uncertainty caused by Alex Evil Salmond and his foul separatists.

    But in truth they will have to close anyway. It's only top secret stuff that's done in the UK. And we, or they, won't be building any more of them in a hurry. After all, they are going to put the ones they are building now into mothballs.

    Ships which aren't top secret will be built as they are now, in Korea, which can build them much cheaper.

  17. The trades unions need to remember which party they belong to.

    If they don't toe the line, punish them when back in power. Remind them who they are.

  18. It's not just the BLUE Tories who are having a wee bit of a squirm today Tris, the RED Tories must be having a wee squirm to themselves as well.

    One of their trusted ??? Lords has suggested nuking the Afghan/Pakistan border. No I jest you not.

    If you think that the Huff post is making a mountain out a mole hill then check out Hansard for 22nd November. He starts at 3.42 pm and his idea of nuking the Afghan/Pakistan border comes at the very end of his speech, or should that be rant?

  19. I thought the Labour party was supposed to represent the trade unions, not the other way round. That is the problem with political parties these days, voters tell them they're crap (which they are) and the party's answer is to 'punish' and 'show them their place' when they are returned to power.

    That attitude is the very epitome of labour, when blair and the rest of them were hatching their so-called 'new' labour plans, they should've just called it blue labour.

    I'm not a supporter of unions per se, its a balance; but its gone to far in favour of business and government at the expense of the working prole.

    Its almost enough to turn me into a socialist... Almost...

    On JL's picture, it was taken at a conference, specifically a catering/frozen Hors d'oeuvre suppliers trade conference. Although its difficult to interpret the look on her face in the picture, what she is actually looking at is a delegate picking up the last mini voul a' vent, on which she had her eye.

    Pop Quiz: Guess which paragraph above is definitely false?

  20. To bring you joy

    The new life peers list is being drawn up it is expected that there will be at LEAST a further 80 troughers

  21. I thought the picture was taken at the soor ploom convention pa. :lol:

    I admit to being truly shocked fiarfor. Shocked that they could only find 80 future troughers to "anoint". :D

  22. tris

    You really should read this

    Rachel Lomax is practically the definition of establishment: Cheltenham Ladies' College followed by Cambridge and the LSE; principal private secretary to then-chancellor Nigel Lawson; deputy governor of the Bank of England for five years until 2008. Which makes what she said on Friday evening all the more startling.

    This being a debate on the future of capitalism in the People's Republic of Bristol, the audience were satisfyingly radical – but Lomax was just as bluntly and disarmingly political. The former Treasury mandarin made no bones about admitting that she had been part of a project of "dismantling a version of capitalism" and replacing it with "Anglo-American neo-liberalism". You'd struggle to get scholars of Thatcherism to speak with such straightforwardness, but here it was coming from one of the era's key backroom players.


    Not for you it'll only hurt yer heid big time;

  23. Reminding people who they are works two ways, Dean. The Trades Unions are major funders of the Labour Party.

    But really teaching people who they are is something the right wing of the Tory party may practise when they call the lower orders plebs. It shouldn't really be something the Labour Party should be doing.

  24. Lord love us, Arbroath, even the old politicians are stark raving bonkers.

    Of course, even when the Labour party was still associated with Ban The Bomb, that particular noble being was all for it.

    Silly old goat.

    If we think it is OK to facilitate a cordon sanitaire in Afghanistan, would it not be appropriate elsewhere: in the middle east perhaps, or between Northern Ireland and Eire, or Scotland and England.

    Silly old bugger.

  25. I knew it. it was a vol au vent.


    There you are, Doug. Pa Broon to the rescue again.

    Untrue paragraph:

    Its almost enough to turn me into a socialist... Almost...

    So, what's the prize?

  26. Oh Lord, if you'll pardon the pun, Fairfor.

    Does that make it overtake the Chinese People's Assembly as the largest parliament anywhere in the world?

    I thought both the Tories and the Liberals promised us a slimmed down HoL? I mean a U-turn is a U-turn, but what the hell....?

  27. Great article Niko.

    Of course many people have told them over the years, that Anglo (note ANGLO) -American neo-Liberalism wouldn't work.

    I was interested too in the proposal that Osborne realises now that his plans aren't working, but hey, it is what Labour would do anyway, so what is there to lose?

    The lost decade and the comparison with Japan is interesting too. Japan started off in a far better state than the UK, and at all time during the decade of stagnation was in a better situation than the UK. Life in Tokyo is like being on another planet, not another country.

    The writer points out too that Japan is a socially cohesive country. The difference between rich and poor is small, because the difference in top and bottom income is relatively small. (Maybe Mrs Thatcher should note that there was no need at all to separate the plebs from the management classes with such staggering differences in income. Japan was a power house of quality without that differentiation)

    How will Britain survive in such a situation? Well simply, the rich will survive very nicely. It isn't affecting them at all. In fact it has driven down wages which means that they pay less for their staff.

    The poor will simply starve or freeze... or both.

    It strikes me too, that they have wasted over £300 billion on QE.

    What would £300 billion pumped into the real economy, instead of the banks, have done?


    Probably everyone would have a job; probably all our roads would be fabulous; our sewers would be renewed; our public buildings refurbished; our schools leak free; our hospitals would have proper equipment and enough staff to ensure that elderly patients didn't die of starvation whilst in them...

    Oh, I could go on forever... but no point, because as the woman says... no one has a radical thought.

    I'd go further. No one has any bloody thoughts!

  28. Sorry Niko I'm having enough problems trying to get my head around Lord "nuke the Afhans" to be bothered with this at the moment.

    I still can't my head round the fact that this numpty used to work in the Intelligence and Security of the UK ARGH!!!!!

    Can some one PLEASE round up all those ermine worshippers into the HoL and then lock them all in and throw away the key. At some point Guy Fawkes will return, probably in the shape of "shut up or I'll burn you curtains down" and succeed in burning down Westminster.

  29. Nuking anyone is surely a line too far to cross?

    I thought the whole point of deterrence was that you don't need to ever use it?

  30. tris

    Well she was a part of the "Anglo-American neo-liberalism" take over I mean she told it like it was and is.
    There are many revolutionary ideas its just the Capitalist cultural hegemony which tends to suppress or marginalise any challenge to its ascendancy.
    A process she herself was deeply involved with.


    you just have nice snooze eh leave the real stuff to the men


    Not often that I would recommend a "Sun" article, but this one I do.

  32. Oh heavens, Arbroath, I'd forgotten about him. I'm not sure I'd feel desperately safe with him in the building, a bar and a box of matches.

    You really do have to be prepared to open your mind to the wildest possibilities where the ancients lards are concerned....

  33. No they still only takes second place to the Chinese but they are getting there
    With 80 new appointments, there would be 900 members on the red benches, making the House of Lords – already the second biggest legislature in the world after China's national people's congress – bigger than the combined two houses of the Indian parliament , a country with a population of 1.2 billion
    Remember the words at least 80 so there could be more than that

  34. Well, yes, Dean. That's what they told us it was for... but, I tend to take most of what they say with a pinch of salt, given that my experience is that most of it is tripe.

    It is, to be fair, one elderly lord who proposed that. I'd never heard of him. He may well be quite gaga.

    I'm not sure, in any case, that Cameron has adopted it as policy.

    LOL. As if Cameron has anything at all to do with what the policy in Afghanistan is.... Silly me.

  35. Yes, I realised that she was right at the centre of it, Niko.

    And I accept what you say about the hegemony of the capitalist system. I'm wondering about her. I mean, she is still a player.

    She's been at the BofE, which, unless I'm mistaken, was and is at the forefront of the (lost) battle against inflation and monitory policy in general including the lunatic QE...

    Did she ever propose any alternative to this Anglo-American neo-Liberalism? Does she have any ideas, or does she just turn up and collect her undoubtedly fabulous salary without ever rocking the boat?

  36. tris

    just before I sod off for the night
    does any one else see the resemblance between how Scottish Labour reacted to Alex Salmonds election win.

    And Chelsea supporters attitude to Rafael Benitez becoming manager of chelsea

    Chelsea supporters will boo interim boss Rafael Benitez until the end of the season, says a fans' group.

    Benitez was jeered in his technical area during Sunday's match against Manchester City.

    "We want the powers that be to realise we didn't want him," said Trizia Fiorellino, chair of Chelsea Supporters' Group.

  37. Well Fairfor... it's as well we are incredibly rich, because these people don't come cheap.

    Each of them gets more than twice the minimum weekly wage in tax-free expenses (regardless of their actual expenses) per DAY.

    How fortunate that we are an oil rich nation and can afford all these unnecessary people to sit around and drink good wine and eat good food at our expense, and then talk the kind of unmitigated drivel that this idiot warmonger, mentioned above by Arbroath, does.

  38. yes, Niko. I do indeed. Even when (if) he wins matches, they will boo him...

    It kinda reminds me of Wendy, Iain and Ba'Heid. Regardless of what Eck does, we will boo...even if he is following our policies we will boo him...

    Booo, boo, boo, boo, boo ... has he gone yet?






  39. Mind you, this doesn't sound like Labour:

    ".....were quick to dismiss the idea that Chelsea supporters might want their team to lose to stop Benitez getting the job long-term."

    I genuinely believe they want things to go wrong for the SNP, no matter how bad it is for Scotland, so that they will lose credibility.

  40. Here's the vid of Max at Westminster in case you missed it


    and Salmond/Jon Snow via the Herald.

    Video: Alex Salmond in conversation with Jon Snow

  41. Thanks CH. Good stuff.

    I'll watch that tomorrow... both of them.

    Thanks for reminding me. I'd forgotten all about them.

  42. Hilariously... Tom "bomber" harris over at Haver Lame has dropped a wee bit of a clanger by putting down Labour for Independence.

    Harris wrote an article quite a reasonable one, asking if Labour should follow the Tories and have a new logo.

    Well, I say reasonable. I mean it wasn't his usual whining style.

    Anyway, someone said that the Labour for independence GROUP used this one (and put a link).

    Harris, in the form of Admin, said "Does he?"

    Silly really because it's quite a large group now, and putting it down only makes Labour members who have joined it, even more disconnected from the central party.

    Here is the exchange:

    Will says:
    November 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm
    The Labour for Independence group uses this image:

    admin says:
    November 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm
    Does he?

    braco says:
    November 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm
    Carry on like that admin and you will only be ridiculing your own future. That is said in sadness.

    Steven Syme says:
    November 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm
    Cheap admin shot there…expect better than that. There’s a lot more of us than you’d think.

    Besides, ‘we’ have been using that logo for ages now. Go find your own logo….


    I can say that as Harris regularly disallows comments (Specially from SNP supporters), I'm quite surprised to see that he allowed this.

  43. Don't worry Tris they'll all me removed in due course.

  44. Well, Arbroath, I'm surprised he allowed them up in the first place, as his moderation policy seems to be that he checks the comments before they appear.

    He has been really harsh in the past with any SNP commentator. None of my posts ever made it onto the site, regardless of how polite I was.

    Maybe he is more lenient with Labour supporters.

  45. I think Johann’s photo is just a question of one not being able to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. A metaphor for the Labour Party (Scottish Branch) inc?

  46. I am proud that Labour isn't a nationalist force. That makes us GENUINE leftists.

    You cannot be progressive socialist and be a nationalist.

    More evidence the SNP = tartan tories.


  47. Well Dean you ought to know all about progressive socialism! After all you've been one of both complexions now!!

  48. I wouldn't mind her being a tad on teh plain side, Munguin (after all you could hardly call Eck a thing of great beauty), if only she was a reasonable leader of the opposition.

    But she isn't.

  49. How does this mean you are leftists, Dean?

    Nationalism of the brand that the SNP espouses in leftist in nature. That's why they have been building council houses and protecting people from the benefit cuts that will next year wreak havoc in England.