Sunday 7 December 2014

The aspirations of the Labour Party

Lovely hedge behind her
According to Margaret Curran "Here in Scotland only Scottish Labour has a clear answer".

So what is this clear answer… because I’m mystified?

You see only a few short weeks ago Mrs Curran, you were telling all of the world, and most particularly all the Labour constituencies that voted YES, that you were ditching Blairism and returning to socialism, just like in the good old days when you and your mate, Johann, joined the party. (How is Johann by the way? Seen much of her lately?).

And now it looks like you are about to elect as branch leader, Jim Murphy, a Blairite who’s never had a job outside politics, unless of course you count a 9-year educational career (sans diplôme universitaire), and who was one of Blair’s most staunch lieutenants, supporting all his right wing nonsense that so closely aped Thatcherism… and indeed took it further than even the rusty lady would have dared (Atos anyone?).

Furthermore it looks as if, for a year and a half, while the said Jim is in London, he will be represented in this country, by his doppelganger.

Kezia Dugdale is 33 a good deal younger than Jim (47) and she’s actually got a got a degree in something
Kezia, the thinking man's Jim Murphy
(law), but, like Jim, she’s never had a actual job in the real world.

After qualifying, she worked for the local student’s union and the National Union of Students, before obtaining employment with George (the noble) Foulkes. And when George went to spend more time in “the other place”, (where the booze is cheaper) she got his old seat. The most notable thing on her Wikipedia page, is that she complained about BBC Alba, the Scottish tv station dedicated to Gaelic speakers. She appears to be one of these Scots who believes that everyone should buckle down and speak English.  I wonder if she would use the proposed authority over road signs (should our masters in the Commons and our Lords in …erm, the Lords, approve the devolution of that stunning power to mere Scots) to remove the Gaelic from them.

I’m intrigued then, to discover what this potential new powerhouse, English based branch leadership team will come up with. In fact, looking at Maggie’s speech the policies are all to do with the UK so at least Jim will feel at home with them in the London apartment.

According to Mrs Curran, these are Labour's key policies:

*Freeze energy prices and save every Scottish household £120. 

A creditable aim, although I'm not sure where the £120 comes from.  Some people have so little to spend on energy that they would be getting their fuel free if that were applied across the board.

The privatised and mainly foreign-owned energy companies are at liberty to increase prices as and when they wish, pretty much regardless of energy prices, which, at the moment, are falling steeply.  In France, where the government has a controlling share in the power companies, the president can simply dictate how much rises in power prices will be. Not so here. A sovereign government, of course, can bring in whatever laws it wishes to, so no one is denying that it can be done. However, with what consequences, you have to ask. The English part of the grid is already heavily dependent on imported electricity and is in dire need of investment. I doubt that freezing the prices is the best way for the government to encourage that investment from the energy companies.

*Ensure the recovery is fair by introducing a 50p tax on people earning £150,000 or more and lift people out of tax with a new 10p starting rate. 

Well that is perfectly creditable, but in honesty the 50p won’t make that much difference.  Someone worked out that, in Scotland, as little as £8 million would be raised by this. A great deal more in England, I have no doubt, but hardly substantial.

The 10p tax band is not "new". It did exist until Gordon Brown doubled it. It was certainly helpful for some and I would applaud its reintroduction, but of course the really poor don’t benefit from it, because they earn so little that they already pay no tax. The aim must be to get wages up.

* Fix the economy by drawing a line under low-paid and insecure work by ending exploitative zero-hours contracts and raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour over the course of the Parliament. 

Well, that all sounds very fine and noble, except that aspiring to raise the minimum wage by 25p every year is hardly the great socialist dream, when, let’s be honest, the living wage, even now, is around £10 per hour, and even at that, it’s not much of a living…just enough to keep you from the food bank. Lord only knows what it will be in 2020.

If Labour’s policy is to draw a line under low paid work, it’s hardly a stunning start.

And it’s all very well to say that they will end zero hour contracts, but I would be interested to see how they are going to do this. Even some Labour councils use zero hour contracts… and for some people (students, mothers with young children for example) zero hours are sometimes quite useful. They must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

"That's a fair and funded plan from Labour” says the good Margaret.

“It is also lacking in real aspiration”, says Munguin, and of course, he’s right.

A socialist party would be a sight more radical. What are the policies over the post office? Can we expect to see the railways renationalised and made a service for both public and industry? How about power companies? What about the lamentable levels of social security and the appalling treatment of the sick and disabled? What about pensioners living on handouts on one of the worst pensions in the developed world?

What about the obscenities of nuclear weapons, which Mr Blair in his autobiography admitted were only kept as a status symbol? Is it defensible that while children are going to school hungry and pensioners shiver with their outdoor clothes on in front of a one bar fire, the country will spend well over one hundred billion pounds buying a status symbol?

No. Instead Mrs Curran contents herself by wishing to ensure that workers will, in five years time, be earning £8 an hour.

Bravo Labour. 

But I accept that they will never be able to do what they should do until they change the underlying fundamentals of the British economy, based on what is accepted British policy across the UK parties. And that will never happen while the city of London rules the roost.

As Derek Bateman so clearly points out on his blog, this is the situation in Britain. If they want votes then what is Labour going to do about it?

“The underlying truth is that Britain is bankrupt, living on sovereign debt and personal credit cards, buying imported goods instead of equipment for industry, creating low paid jobs which need benefits to eke them out, still borrowing massively because tax receipts are too low while opposing the immigration that can boost economic activity and dividing the country by stripping away the benefits that are the glue of British society.”

Incidentally, I have no earthly idea where Margaret got the impression that Nicola Sturgeon was advising people to vote Labour to keep the Tories out. It's like no message I've ever heard form the First Minister.  I can only assume Mags has been sitting to close to Gideon in the members' dining room. As the song goes "Things go better with Coke".
How's that again Mags?


  1. Of all Lab MPs I dislike Curran the most. Especially when she opens her mouth and blabs the most stupefying nonsense. I don't why but I dislike her so much. If she loses her seat, that will be most gratifying.

    Plan in motion now. All hail Alex Salmond!

    1. I'm not sure if I dislike her the most, AH. She has some steep competition. She certainly seems to be the least bright though! Even Anas seems more rounded than she does.

      Eck for Westminster. The funny thing is that His Nobleness the Baron ffoulkes of ancient heritage... well 10 years or so, was making a fuss last night on Twitter about it.

      How many pensions, he asked, would Eck be able to receive?

      Given that Alex donates his FM pension to charity, I thought that was cheap. But even cheaper adn more than faintly ridiculous, when you think that George has an MP's pension, an MSP's pension and £300 a day plus expenses for turning up unelected and largely unwanted in a house of Bishops, Placemen and Aristocrats.

      Glass houses, people who live in them, stones, and throwing... come to mind.

    2. Let us not forget that there are also decent, honourable Labour politicians. For a start, there is Glenda Jackson, and then.... Sorry, I can't think of any others who are still alive. Can anyone nominate any Scottish examples?

      PS Tris, your comment on my blog had been treated as spam. I don't know what WordPress has got against you.

    3. LOL ... It hates me. It won't let me comment on any Wordless blog these days. Thanks for investigating.

      I can't think of any Scottish examples currently alive.

      I always liked Dennis Skinner though, I'd add him to Glenda Jackson. John Mann seems to be a decent man as does Simon Danczuk.

      Doubtless there are other decent people in Labour's ranks, as there may be in Liberals and even Conservative ranks.

      I think they have to keep their heads down low though.

    4. A needle in a haystack might be easier.

  2. An excellent page Munguin and Tris, when you let rip you certainly never miss your target. Time for Labour to be sent away to think again, mind I seriously doubt they have the ability, there is a definite shortage of brain cells amongst them.
    Once upon a time those who were involved in the Labour Party actually wanted to improve the lot of their constituents, now they want to ensure that they get the improvements. Keir Hardie, where ever he is if able must wonder why he and the rest of those who formed the Party ever bothered.

    1. True. The party of Home Rule... what a joke. The party of the working man... what a joke.

      That they even call themselves Labour is a joke.

  3. Curran, spouts that Nicola says vote Liebour to keep the Tories out. We all know that is drivel but, as we seen during the referendum campaign, people only catch the headline, even if the story is bollocks, the jobs done.
    No doubt Spud and his minions, will repeat the lie ad nauseam, so the non-thinking lumpenproletariat fall for it again.
    However I don't think it's going to work, if the polls are accurate, though I don't really trust opinion polls, Liebour are dead in the water.


    1. Not a fan of opinion polls either. That's to say I really don;t trust them, but when they show a trend over a sustained period of time, they are probably not far wrong.

      Perhaps Labour are going to get the kicking that they deserve from becoming a right of centre party of the working banker and aristocrat, warmongering their way to congressional medals and millionaire status.

      Serves them right. I can forgive Tories for being like that. it's what it says on the tin. If you are poor and vote Tory you can't blame anyone but yourself for the fact that they will knock you down and then kick the living daylights out of you.

      But Labour? Atos? Nuclear weapons? Illegal wars? Benefit caps? Means testing? Doubling bottom rate of income tax? Fees for education? pPivate Medicine?


  4. tris

    A socialist party would be a sight more radical
    ( how many strikes you take part in how many union meetings
    you been to ??? )

    had to laugh at this now be honest i Know socialists I worked
    and lived with socialists tris your no socialist nor the vast majority
    of the old snp.

    If the newbies were to push real hard lefty policies you and many others
    would have hearty attack ..........Ole bateman makes laff about as leftwing
    as Norman tebbit and Iain Mcwhirty another middle class lets hold onto our
    privileged life style they are as Blairite as any new labourite.

    Talk about doing a real no they certainly haven't

    Jimminy Labour dont need Scottish MPs to win an election

    See Alex is off to the sound of bow bellls why ? he should rest on his laurels
    and all that I think he was a blowhard fantasist tosser who led his men up the hill
    and was beaten back down by the loyal Scots......and LOST in contradiction
    to what he SHOUTED from the rooftops...

    But he earned his time to put his feet up and let the new team to take the field
    and play the game the way they want to play it.

    I can see Alexs life ending in embarrassment to hiself and the snp

    1. Dunno what the strikes have to do with it Niko.

      I'm just saying that as aspirations go, they are very tame.

      In 5 years we will need to have maybe £12- £15 an hour to keep our heads above water. Mrs Curran suggests that they would like to get it up to £8.

      Freezing electricity/gas prices for 2 years is a good idea. I applaud it. But I doubt you'll get the better of the electricity companies. It will be all fine having cheap electricity if it goes off at 5.30 when the UK is cooking dinner. And if the countries that sell it to the Uk want to put up their prices, what is Ed going to do. We are dependent on France, Belgium, Holland and Eire for electricity. meanwhile Scotland over produces and sends it to England, because around London there is nothing like 50% of the generation required.

      I think that the rich should be taxed at 50% and I agree with that move, but as no one actually insists that these people pay taxes, it won;t make any difference. Certainly being able to do it in Scotland will simply drive business owners to buy a house in England and have their tax paid from there.

      The 20p reduction to 10 is a good idea. I criticised Brown when he doubled it. I welcome its halving, but so many people are living on a lot less than the tax threchold.

      We need to see rent controls and a minimum wage that reflect what it costs to live in the country.

      I'm not talking strikes here. I'm talking government policies to make life liveable for people at the bottom.

    2. As for A;lex... he's still relatively young. Too young to retire.

      Your lot promised devo max, he accepts that that is what Scotland voted for. He knew it was what they wanted more than anything (it seems they like going to war). I doubt that what people imagined when brown said Federalism, was the right to jiggle a few social security benefits to stop the people from starving, and a useless income tax power, along with teh right to change a road sign here and there.

      Alex is going to try to ensure that they keep their word.

      The Tories aren't well known for that sort of thing.

    3. Hey Niko. I was a shop steward for five years, took part in one strike, was on a committee with Tam Dalyell and knew Ron Brown and some of the founders of the SSP.

      I was even on a march with Alistair Darling...

      Am I socialist enough for you?

    4. tris

      Dunno what the strikes have to do with it Niko

      nah !i know you dont you make my point eloquently
      you only get what you fight for and sometimes it is
      pain all around before victory.

      Id like to see a maximum as opposed to a minimum wage say
      three times the average wage .Although the average always seems
      to be much more than most ordinary people get.

      Look we all know what happens when someone who was
      high in a hierarchy moves down unplanned a rung.
      Its always a bit difficult for the person and those he
      previously led.
      What if Alex takes a different view from those snp MPs at Westminster
      or indeed with the new leader of the snp nah i think he is doing a wrong un
      and time will prove me right.

    5. conan

      Yeah course you are Conan but then like me your
      a fecking old but decent dinosaur.

      conan what happened ?

    6. Conan, that was the best reply, I think I've ever seen.


    7. The maximum wage thing works for me. When I was in Albania on a university study tour, in the days of socialism, they had a system where the president (Ramiz Alia, the highest paid person in the country) was paid exactly 4 times what the lowest paid person was paid.

      I'd not, in fairness hold up Albania as a shining light, but that system meant that there were no incredibly poor.

      Recently a friend in Iceland asked a tour guide where she could find the poor area of the town of Akureyri, because she had seen plenty of prosperous bits. He puzzled for a while and said that he didn't actually think there was one. Likewise the Danish foreign minister, when asked what they did about the poor people in Denmark, said that they didn't really have anyone who was VERY rich or VERY poor. Minimum and maximum wages might do that.

      But a decent rent control system would be another good idea. Charging rents that everyone knows people can;t afford in the sure knowledge that the state will find the difference is just immoral.

    8. And yes. Tony Blair is the problem. Although in fairness Brown and Mandelson were right there with him.

  5. Your are absolutely right Nico, Labour do not need Scottish MPs to win an election. So why do they insist on pedaling that lie at every opportunity?
    I believe that everyone in our society should have the same, rights, opportunities, access to free education and health care and be cared for in hard times and in old age. If that doesn't make me a socialist, what the hell does?


    1. Do try and tell Maggie next time you see her, Niko.

      She's telling everyone that if they don't vote Labour the Tories will walk the next election.

      After all that they have done to the country, they are more hated than any government I can remember, but they'll still beat Labour unless they are returned in droves by the Scots.

      Very democratic too... England votes Tory band gets a Tory lite government wished on it by the Jocks.

    2. So why do they insist on pedaling that lie at every opportunity?

      Because when they don't have a single thought in their heads other than getting into power for personal gain what else can they say. I blame the MSM especially the BBC who have protected them years from interrogation.

      Last week SNP councillors were tarnished for burning a worthless piece of paper with sMYTH in its title yet where are the MSM over William Young spouting this @markmcdsnp is going on about Autism. SNP in Abdn closed down Raeden School then opposed our plans for new state of art school. Unbelievable as a Labour councillor.

  6. Magrit Curran liar down to her last breath who when in her late teens was a staunch Labour activist had never heard of the then Labour chancellor Dennis Healey shows lying knows no bounds with her.

    1. That was a corker. She was apparently chair of the Students' Labour club at the time...

    2. Possibly not of this world at the time, as in using the bar, or some thing else.

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  8. Kezia certainly isn't the thinking man's 'totty'.

    If that's a recent picture she definitely looks 'off colour'.

    To even it up Eck looked a bit 'jowly' in his interview with Brewer

    1. Eck's getting on a bit...and he does like his curries

      I actually thought I'd picked on of the more flattering pictures of Dugdale...

    2. To quote Churchill who some Labour MP thought was a "Great Man", when told by a woman that he was drunk, said " “I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”
      Give Alex his due he is dieting, I reckon Morag has a hand in this, nothing worse than watching you Hubby killing himself, In my case it is the other way round, I am the wee round person, married to a large thin one.
      I have yet to see Ms Dugdale in the flesh and everyone uses that picture so I think she obviously thinks it flattering.

    3. That Churchill was a bastard! My Bessie was not ugly! Anyway he borrowed that remark from some MP in 1882 while I was still at school.

    4. Did you go to school?

      Well, damn me...