Friday 29 November 2013

Lazy post, lifted from the Guardian here. I reproduced it because I think it is appropriate at the moment with Dean's revelation that he has joined Labour for Independence.

It talks of hopes of political revival in Scotland when parties are no longer "branch offices" of London organisations that legislate mainly not just for England, but for the Home Counties and the City... and demand loyalty from the branch offices despite the fact that these policies are actually harmful to the "regions". (Look what happened to Murdo's plans to rejuvenate the Tory party in Scotland in 2011? Look how Allan Grogan's pro independence group within Labour is being treated by the UK/Scottish Labour leadership.)

And he seems to agree with us that, despite all the threats just now, when the deed is done, there will be nothing but welcomes on the world stage for our new country... 

It's worth a read:

It was 1977 when Tom Nairn spooked the political world with his famous book, The Break-Up of Britain. He predicted Scottish independence, a bit prematurely. But last Tuesday, as Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon launched their government's manifesto for an independent Scotland, ancient Britain's citizens were being offered a break-through as much as a break-up.

In itself, the fat policy manual isn't revolutionary. Scotland's Future is a sturdy, sensible, well-written catalogue of aspirations – all of them achievable with luck and skill. But what's so exhilarating is the flock of many-coloured hopes gathering behind this project, like seabirds in the wake of a working trawler. Scotland's departure from the union could mean all kinds of liberations and reinventions for the islanders who live under the crown.

England, above all, could at last disinter its identity and the buried radicalism of its people. Stripped of the "British" comfort blanket, the archaism of England's power structure and its monstrous north-south imbalance would become visible and intolerable. And in Scotland itself, there would be a violent climate change in politics as parties ceased to be London's branch offices.

Scotland is in many ways a naturally conservative country – with a small c. A new rightwing movement, freed from association with "down south" posh boys and Maggie Thatcher, would find strong support. More significant, there would be an insurrection in the Scottish Labour party. With a fresh leadership committed to using independence for social justice, I'd expect such a party to push the Scottish National party aside and form Scotland's government within a few years.

Then there's the factor of opportunism, comically familiar to small countries. I have seen it in Scotland before. When whiffs of independence spice the air, the big Union Jack men talk differently down the telephone at night. "Of course I can't say this openly, Jimmy, but I want you to know that if it comes to it, I've always been privately …" Lawyers, bankers, union leaders and unionist leaders – they'll realign in droves "if it comes to it". Why not?

Much the same applies to the apparently fearsome rebuttals to Salmond's document. On inspection, they are nine parts bluff. What makes cheeky Salmond think an independent Scotland would be allowed to use the pound, or enter the EU, or be admitted to Nato? Well, the answer is another question: "if it comes to it", what sort of Scotland do you want as a neighbour? Does London seriously want to force a currency frontier at the border and screw up trade with England's second biggest partner? Does Brussels really want to expel a loyal member and accelerate the EU's disintegration? Does Nato want a new hole on its east Atlantic flank? No, if the Scottish people do vote yes in September (which is still unlikely), healthy opportunism will cobble up solutions to all these problems.

Reading Scotland's Future, I couldn't at first account for a faint twinge of melancholy, a recognition. Then it dawned on me. The Scotland being here described – or proposed – was the Britain so passionately hoped for by the millions who voted for Tony Blair, back in 1997.

After 18 years of Thatcherism, the longing was for a return to fairness and a stronger regulating and redistributing role for the state. What New Labour did with those hopes is another story. But Salmond's "what sort of Scotland" is also a moderate, statist social democracy that partners the private sector but is not afraid to – for example – renationalise the Royal Mail.

The yes camp is wider than the official yes campaign. Around Scotland in recent months, I keep meeting people who would never vote SNP or trust Salmond, but who are painfully admitting that they may have to vote yes. This is because they are appalled at the way the British state is heading, under Tory or Labour: the downward plunge into the barbarism of neoliberal politics, the contempt for public service, the almost monthly advance of privatisation. Wrestling with old loyalties, they may vote for what Ian Jack called "the lifeboat option" – an independent Scotland as the only way to escape that fate.

It's a lifeboat the SNP government has already launched, using devolution to keep out English "reforms" to the NHS or higher education. Gordon Brown himself used to argue that the health service and the postwar welfare state were the supreme achievement of Great Britain's history. And yet it's only the SNP that has embarked on this astonishing attempt to preserve and grow what's left of that achievement in one part of old Ukania. It hurts to laugh at some of history's jokes, but here's one: in spite of itself, the SNP is the most truly British party in these islands.


  1. Sorry, Tris, missed this comment as I was giving Niko some grand-motherly advice on your previous post.

    1. I saw it John. Liked it too.

      Not so sure Niko will...


  2. What makes cheeky Salmond think an independent Scotland would be allowed to use the pound, or enter the EU, or be admitted to Nato?

    I think I can answer these three cheeky wee questions for you Tris.

    1. what makes A.S. think an independent Scotland will be able to use the pound as its currency?......well maybe because we are ALREADY using it as our currency, which by the way is a cause of lots of "we don't accept Scottish currency here" comments from people South of the border BEFORE we even get to the referendum date!

    2. what makes A.S. think an independent Scotland will be allowed to enter the E.U,.?......... well maybe because we are ALREADY in the E.U. and the Tories in London are hell bent on LEAVING the E.U.......DOH!

    3. what makes A.S. think an independent Scotland will be allowed to join NATO? well call me stupid but I think the location of NATO's LARGEST ammunition dump in Europe might have something to do with our membership, which by the way if anyone is interested is at Glen Douglas.

    Oh by the way Tris if anyone tries to bring up the recent "outrage" by the British media about the Spanish Prime Minister and his comments about Scotland joining the E.U. just remember the comments reported over the last few days came from a Spanish newspaper which reported the "news" as OLD NEWS! Funny the British media FAILED to pick up on this little insignificant little point don't you think?

    More over the comments made by the Spanish Prime Minister were not aimed at Scotland they were aimed, as all his independence related comments have been, at those people in CATALONIA who are also seeking independence!

    1. Hi Arbroath...

      Yes, they may be a bit silly over these matters, but the rUK is hardly likely to say that they would rather go broke than less us share our pound.

      Nato is hardly likely to want a great big hole in the North Atlantic and the EU would look really petty if it allowed Spain to block membership on the basis that that might encourage its own freedom fighters. Man up Spain.

      I love the way these people bang on about democracy and then do their best to ensure that it doesn't happen.

  3. Well done Dean, welcome to the "Yes" camp!

    As regards the currency, I hate to quote Ronald Ragan but: "we bought it, we paid for it, it's ours and we're gonna keep it!"

    Who cares what Carwen Jones or Ed Balls thinks, or even pussy cat Carmichael? If rUK don't want to have us in a currency union then why does the Chancellor just not say "No", he's hell fired keen for everyone else in Scotland to, so why can't he? Its nothing to do with no pre-negotiating, what's there to negotiate if the answer is no?

    Is the answer really I'd like you all to think its "No" but I wont just say that because in actual fact the answer is more likely to be "Yes". Never mind I can get some Lib Dem patsy to say "No" for me while I just imply it.

    1. They Liberals (and Alistair, who now seems to me to be a Tory) are being used horribly and they are so naive that they don't seem to realise it.

      The Tories will honestly be able to say when they agree to the currency union, that THEY never said no. It was the Liberals and Labour (because Ed Balls has apparently said no too).

  4. If the answer were a definite 'no' from Gideon there would be run on the pound.
    They wont admit that though.

    1. Exactly David. And the fact that the pound is still more or less intact suggests that no one takes Ed Balls very seriously. They don't expect him to have any power any time soon.

  5. Wasn't Dean once a Tory, or is it a different Dean?

    1. No Conan, same Dean, just a lot more experienced and mature than he once was.

      Growing older teaches us stuff. More experience, more knowledge.

      After all, just think of all the ex Labour people in the independence movement.. I think politics is a developmental process, and it's good when it develops towards a brighter future.

      I remember reading something that said that if you weren't a socialist at 21 you had no heart; and if you weren't a Tory at 41 you had no head.

      I suppose it was a Tory that said it...

  6. Welcome aboard Dean!
    I think, now that your decision is made, you will be shocked by the amount of confirmation of it you will suddenly start to see all around you.

    Labour for Indy is also a very good call. Hopefully you and all the other Labour party members that are refusing to be simply herded by the leadership, will be able to save the true, heartfelt principles of historic Labour in a credibly electable, party political form, come the first post Indy elections in 2016. (Are you listening Niko?)

    I want someone to vote for.

    I still can't believe that rather than acknowledge the true personal and wide reaching, non party political nature of the Independence question by allowing it's membership a free vote on the line to be taken, instead the SLabour leadership has thrown it's, and the entire 'Scottish Party's', weight behind what increasingly looks like a rather clever and dangerous Tory trap (whether YES or NO is the result in September)!

    SLabour seem intent on expending any remaining Scottish political capital they still have by acting as human shields for the Tories position of power within The Union.

    I think the Tory's in Westminster can't believe their luck. Their hands will be clean if it's a YES. If it's a NO, Cameron as Prime minister swans in and takes the credit for masterfully saving 'our historic Union'! All they have to lose is the money backing the BetterNO campaign and they can easily afford that!

    Labour however, is being seen (in Scotland) to side with the Tories if It's a NO, and be a bunch of losers, loyal to a 'furrin' country's government if it's a YES. An impossible image to have and hope for votes to an Independent parliament in 2016!

    I just don't see the political angle for such a fool hardy piece of Party positioning by the Leadership. It's surely mad?

    To me now (if I was a joiner, which I am not), it would be all about trying to save some credible and functioning remnants from the burning wreck of the Labour Party in Scotland, after the referendum.

    That can only be done by folk like yourself (and Niko?) joining Labour for Indy. Making your loyalties to the electorate of Scotland clear, as first and foremost, and NOT be seen entering into a pact, to play the role of the acceptable Scottish face of the Tory party funded BetterNO campaign.

    Scottish Labour seem totally incapable of thinking strategically in order to consider their political position AFTER September 2014 (YES or NO). Their time is running out (it might have already) for the development of a credible position, believable to a Scottish electorate.

    That's Labour for Indy's historic role I hope, so good on you Dean, and more power to your elbow!


    1. Good piece Braco.

      Like you I find it hard to believe that Labour hasn't seen the consequences everywhere of sucking up to the Tories.

      I'm not for a second saying that the election of the SNP means that everyone wants independence, but it says that they like the policies and the competence of the SNP government, and/or it does not trust the negativity and the ill will of the Labour campaign.

      The Willie Bain principle is not a winner with people who, for example, are paying bedroom tax. Fight for your constituents guys, not for your party in London. Ed and Ed aren't cold, hungry and worrying how they will pay the rent.

      As you say, Labour have allied themselves closely to the Tories. I read the witness of some people on Dean's blog who had made the same journey as he has, and hearing a Labour "leader" say that Scotland was a something for nothing society was for at least one, the last straw. The woman has become a Tory. She supports weapons of mass destruction, on the basis that they create jobs!

      No thought to what could be done with the obscene amount of money that is spent to support these jobs... Billions for 600 jobs.

      I could come up with job creation schemes that would be thousands of times more value for money. Unfortunately of course, they wouldn't create the 1 job that these people seem to think is worth the money. The job of sitting on the UNSC!

      Margaret Curren with her "foreigners" speeches, while protesting that socialism crosses borders has made a complete tit of herself.

      They have all lost all credibility.

      But as the guy says, without head office telling them what to do they could earn themselves credibility again. Them and the Tories too.

      Scotland only hates the kind of spivvy nasty hateful Tories. Just like it doesn't seem to care much for the nasty hateful spivvy Atos loving London Labour Party.

      Even the Liberals might manage something approaching rehabilitation, although I'm not exactly sure how.

    2. That is the thing, I'm pretty sure the labour leadership has lost complete touch of reality.

      Labour MPs laugh at labour for indy, arguing that it represents a total departure from labour values. It seems they have a short reading list, since Keir Hardie called for home rule for Scotland, as part of a UK.

      And if we apply logic, and take bittertogether at their word, we now know home rule within the UK isn't possible. All three party leaderships have ruled out monetary and fiscal separation!

      Thus, labour for indy clearly represents the natural constitutional home for the heirs of keir hardie.

      But lets be fair, its much more widely authentically labour. I'm impressed by the commitment to the labour founding charter!

      There is a tangible momentum about, and it isn't with bittertogether.

    3. I've read and listened to Mr Bisset. he is begging Labour to return to its roots and be a Labour party.

      The thing is that in at least some of them, including Ms Lamont, I suspect that it is where they would rather be.

      I just don't understand her type being for WMDs to keep Cameron at the right hand of Obama, while people depend from Christmas for their kids on the Red Cross, and food parcels.

      People like Harris and the Blairites maybe, but not these real Glaswegians.

  7. Socialism is now so far from being a realistic political alternative you couldn’t find it on a mainstream political map. It has been completely abandoned by the Labour Party who barely mention the word. Yet Labour voters in Scotland want left-wing, pro-working class, progressive policies. If a large part of its traditional vote supports independence, the Labour Party will be ‘out-of-touch’ and finished as a credible electoral party in Scotland. If the Labour Party cannot get elected in 2015, interest in independence will return; the party will be finished. If the Labour Party is elected, it will decimate the Scottish working class with the £4 billion cut in Scotland budget income caused by abolition of the Barnett formula and its wholehearted embracing of right wing policies to placate the south-east. It will be finished. If it supports taking Scotland out of Europe, it’s finished. If it can’t stop Scotland from leaving Europe, it’s finished. The Labour Party can save itself only by swinging behind the ‘Yes’ campaign and re-fashioning progressive policies for an independent Scotland.

    1. Hi Marian.

      Good post. Thank you for contributing.

      I wonder that people like Lamont cannot see this. I mean she's not the best performer in the world, but equally she's not stupid. She must see that what you said there is absolutely true. She, Iain and Wendy before her are driving/have driven the Labour Party towards oblivion in Scotland.

      And then there is Mr Grogan with a proper pre Blair vision of what Labour could be if Ed and Ed weren't pulling the strings.

      You have to wonder who Maggie Curren and people like her talk to...

      How many of their constituents say, yes, we like Atos; yes, we want the bedroom tax; yes we think these bombs just up the road are a good idea and £100 billion is a good spend for 650 jobs in Scotland and all the building jobs in the USA?

      Seriously, do they ever meet real people?

      I can't understand why the people at the top of Scottish Labour do not see that they will never succeed here with powers like that.

      The only conclusion I can come to is that like Murphy and Alexander, Curren and Davidson, they see the "Parish Council" as no more that at most a stepping stone to power in England.

      Real power, ordering such things as the bombing of Baghdad and the murder of hundreds of thousands of people; the building of HS rail links to "the North" Manchester, "joining the north and the south of our country".

      And of course they can always tell them that a vote for the SNP in London elections is a vote for the Tories.

      Sheesh... or should that be "sheep"?

    2. Great summary of Scottish Labour's sticky predicament, thanks Marian. It's so utterly complete, that you really would think that it was designed on purpose by someone, wouldn't you?


  8. It may be too late for them, but the 'Scottish' branch of the Labour Party could still escape the Tory trap.
    They could say they take note of the different opinions within the party, and have decided to take a neutral position. The 'Scottish' branch would have to resign from London Labour, and form a true, independent Scottish Labour Party.
    This would mean the removal of Lamont as 'leader', so it probably has zero chance of happening.

    1. Nope, too many ambitious people in Labour.

      Margaret and Dougie and Jim and Davidson and the hard right like Harris.

      As I said, it#'s true that the SNP won't form the UK government and one more SNP seat is one fewer Labour seat, giving the Tories advantage, so they have their backsides covered.

      Sod us though.

    2. Juteman,
      got to agree with Tris on this one. I think Labour for Indy is going to be the only seed available for a Scottish Labour Party rebirth come Independence (or even a NO vote, god forbid).

      The strength of that seed, and the speed that it grows would be greatly enhanced by some high profile (and elected) pre referendum signatories to the Labour for Indy cause, (the more and the earlier the better)!

      Otherwise I think it's going to be a long, painful and well deserved fall, for many of our so called political leaders.


  9. Off topic (I guess I can do that), I was horrified to read of the terrible accident last night in Glasgow.

    I rarely go to Glasgow, but have been there twice recently, to see Pet Clark and to visit the Science museum. On the second occasion we drove past the bar.

    Someone, in my mind that makes it more real and more awful, although of course, if it were on the other side of the world and I'd never seen the town, never mind the bar, it would be just as bad.

    Stories of bravery of people trying to rescue their friends and fellow bar customers and the unremitting work of the emergency services are touching.

    I was impressed to read in the Scotsman that Jim Murphy MP, who was nearby, helped to get people out of the pub, like so many other people with no nationally recognised name.

    This blog has frequently criticised Murphy. On this occasion it salutes him.

    Death toll is still at 1, but both the police and the First Minister expect there to be more deaths as there are still people trapped in the rubble.

    1. Murphy showed decorum and humanity whereas its a pity the MP for the area couldn't wait to prostitute himself over the airwaves.

    2. Who are the representatives CH?

    3. I saw Jim Murphy being interviewed. He looked totally stunned. He was possibly even in some sort of shock. But I was much impressed. I might not like his politics, but I've a new found respect for him as a man.

      I also saw the FM and was impressed with his gravitas, and Nicola too, but more with her practicality.

      I've not seen Sarwar.

      The new Chief Constable looked close to tears at times.

      But I think that these folk in Glasgow who, as Nicola said, ran towards the danger rather than from it, are the real heros.

      Jeeez, I wish I could guarantee that I would do that.

      Humza was on Facebook saying that the Central Mosque is staying open to offer shelter to victims and rescuers, and there is a taxi company in Glasgow saying that if people need taxis to get them to and from the hospitals, they can have them free.

      Decent folk, huh...

  10. Replies
    1. Bloody hell...

      I think that Private Eye should be required reading for everyone.

      Taught at school even.

      I love the "Double" standards committee.

      Why do we put up with this. Even establishment news[papers don't hide this scandal and e nothing happens.

      I wish I could get a part time job doing nothing at £50,000 a year... or even a full time one doing a lot!