If your dog dies you can stuff it and keep it in the hall, but it’s no longer your dog. Labour supporters who believe in ‘Labour values’ know in themselves they are the stuffed-dog-brigade when they still remain part of the nightmare that is Brown-Blair Labour.
You know that Labours unionist wheeze is unravelling not when The Daily Torygraph has a good go at ritualistic Labour-bashing, but when Scotsman journos leave the script and start writing about the reality around us.
Joyce McMillan concludes her analysis in today’s Scotsman ‘How the Iron Lady put steel into Scottish resolve’. Reflecting on her own fathers bond with Britishness as a young serviceman in post 45 Britain, she writes of Thatchers anniversary this week :
“On the morning of Thatcher’s election 30 years ago this week, the UK chose a leader whose ideology would never wash with a small northern nation to which a strong element of social solidarity and enabling government seems like simple common sense.”
McMillan concludes: “Something broke that day, thasn can perhaps never be mended; and now that the confused and half-hearted New Labour effort to heal those wounds has ended in failure, then it’s the SNP – the least likely of all Margaret Thatcher’s children – who will probably be shaping our unwritten future, for the next generation at least.”
It’s a remarkable opinion column for many reasons. McMillan is old-skool Labour – without I suspect an axe to grind - and her personal disentanglement from the whole British Union project as described is a revelation. She doesnt want any of this to be the case. She probably thought that Brown’s Labour would somehow be significantly different (to the left) of Blair’s.
She is an intelligent cultural critic who uses theatre as her lens to analyse and pontificate, and she good at it. But New Labours multiple betrayals and Browns incompetence having now completely replaced Tony’s sheen of metropolitan extravagance has just disintegrated any bond between Labour natural supporters.
Now, with the BNP on the brink of a host of MEPS seats in England and the publication of Mark Perrymans ‘Breaking Up Britain’ it seems that at last England is catching up with a constitutional debate. It’s welcome, if at least thirty years too late. Next year David Cameron will be swept to power on a wave of superficial ‘newness’ and a not so discrete agenda of semi-feral right wing economics cloaked Klingon-style behind a waft of vogueish greenery.
Culturally, Camerons arrival will act as a major boost to a hugely invigorated nationalist movement and should help clarify it from a vaguely liberal-leftist movement into one that can articulate why Scotland should become a modern republic in 21st C Europe.
Where will that leave Scotland’s left-art critics, ex-Labour intelligentsia, publishing establishment and theatre world?