Something from Nothing


Now that we’re done scratching our heads and picking ourselves off the floor after Johann Lamont’s “brave,” and “bold,” policy shift in which she announced the total abandonment of any principles her party may once have stood for, we should probably get onto looking at how we can exploit this for the political advantage of everyone else in the country.

At least as far as I’m concerned the really shocking thing about Lamont’s policy “initiative,” was that I wasn’t really shocked. I may initially have thought the BBC had picked up one of the Onion’s stories and run with it again, but that didn’t last very long. What washed over me very quickly though was the insidious sense that this was both inevitable, and nowhere near being the end of a party which, after all, brought us devolution in the first place. Granted that came 13 years ago, and 1 year before the death of the man who was apparently the last of the Labour leaders with the intellect and political vision to match legitimately leftist reasons for their political involvement.
Since Dewar it seems like Labour have been trudging, all-too-knowingly toward the sort of non-event typified by Johann Lamont’s speech two weeks ago. There was McLeish who resigned in disgrace over property deals, then the self-congratulatory blandness of McConnell, the brief tenure of Alexander, and then the stupefying drudgery of Gray. Now we see Lamont, fuelled by a singular loathing of all things SNP so strong it could only reasonably have been engendered by an unrequited blood debt.

With such dynastic inertia as a backdrop her “Something for Nothing,” speech seems more like the beginning of a prolonged end-game for her party, so long marred by inaction that it has no recourse against the opportunity and enthusiasm inspired by the notion of independence but to turn on its own historical supporters.

Those supporters will not suffer this for long though. In Shettleston, Inverclyde, and South Ayrshire there will be little support for a party apparently so out of touch with the needs of their constituents that they would turn on them mercilessly, and in such an unfounded way, for no other reason than to ingratiate them with a party of people who just don’t know how life is in their areas.

While this situation has been precipitated by Labour, and theirs is to wonder how they could have allowed it to happen, ours is not to wonder but to engage, at community level, with these areas. By taking our enthusiasm and vigour for Independence to areas abandoned by their traditional political set we can fulfil the promise of our movement while leaving others’ mistakes to them to sort out.

If we are serious about Independence and the benefits it can bring we have to show those in communities we may previously have thought unreachable that we will care about them regardless of whether they support independence or not. As Labour has failed them by slipping into a myopic stupor we will work with and for everyone in Scotland, regardless of their political background, and without the aim of winning over their vote in 2014. If we want to win Scotland in 2014 we have to win Labour’s voters also.

That means changing the political and social climate in the West though. We can’t tolerate the soporific vacuity of a politics based on decades-old notions of what industry used to look like. We’re better than that. All of us. We just need to prove it by living it.

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  1. Dmyers says:

    Great article, but does nobody proofread before publication? You used ‘principals’ instead of ‘principles’, and ‘aciduous’ (not a word) instead of assiduous.

  2. bellacaledonia says:

    Fixed, thanks. I’ll chastise the team of proofers we have working on this shockingly amateur comic!

  3. JS Jones says:

    You’d have thought the author would have at least given it a once-over as well…

    Apologies!

    Simon.

  4. Effie Deans says:

    The consequences of a country living beyond its means, and failing to have a grown up conversation about economics and public spending are ably shown in countries like Greece and Spain where the poorest are suffering the most hardship, because their leaders were unwilling or unable to make hard choices.

  5. douglas clark says:

    We’ve always puzzled over Johan Lamonts pronouncement. What if it’s more personal than political?

    It is pretty plain that she is not First Minister material, at least not in the Alex Salmond role, What she would really, really like is a First Ministership that played to her strengths rather than weaknesses. Assuming that there would even be a Hollyrood then one might imagine it being no more than a conduit for applying such favoured policies as privatisation and demutualising any contract whatsoever between the state and the electorate.

    Just passing messages back and forth between Westminster, where the real power would lie, and councils. Is that perhaps Johann Lamonts view of what a Scottish First Minister should do, and co-incidentally be a role she could see herself fitting in to?

    It’s been a long week.

    1. “Assuming that there would even be a Hollyrood then one might imagine it being no more than a conduit for applying such favoured policies as privatisation and demutualising any contract whatsoever between the state and the electorate. Just passing messages back and forth between Westminster, where the real power would lie, and councils. Is that perhaps Johann Lamonts view of what a Scottish First Minister should do …”

      Precisely; Westminster are planning to make Scotland a vassal state of Westminster. There’s no posiyive prosperity future for Scotland if Scots’ vote no in the indpendence referendum; Scotland is only going to get one chance at getting away from the horrrendously dire and bleak futre of mass poverty, and ‘impoverishment’ as a state ‘benefit’ !
      This section 30 order Westminster wants Scotland to sign has effectually finished any further referendums on indpendence for Scotland; it’s absolutely imperative the ‘word’ gets out to all cities, towns and villages in Scotland that this is our last chance at avoiding horrendously hard times, and massive impoverishment as a state policy. We must vote ‘Yes’, for our children’s sake, at least !

  6. douglas clark says:

    I have chastised my proofreading team too!

  7. vronsky says:

    Buy the proof-reading team a dictionary while you’re at it. I don’t think ‘assiduous’ means what you think it does.

    1. Leisure Suit says:

      Doesn’t it mean a tree which drops its leaves in winter?

  8. Wullie says:

    What Lamont aspires to is the First Ministerial salary.
    Fully agree with Vronsky about the hyphen, I think if you can understand an article that should be quite sufficient, pedantry is such an irritating trait.

  9. bellacaledonia says:

    I’ve gone for ‘insidious’. I think we’ve just invented crowd-prooofing.

  10. douglas clark says:

    Effie Deans,

    Is there any evidence whatsoever that Scotland should be compared to Spain or Greece? Given that we pay more into the exchequer than we get back, I would have thought not. Any Scottish government has to balance the books, so what we have is, by definition, affordable. Lamont is a fool for raising this.

    1. Effie Deans says:

      Scotland like the whole of the UK is running a deficit at present e.g. http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/politics/scotland-has-a-12bn-finance-deficit-report-says-1-2113648 This means that we are living beyond our means and have to either cut public spending or raise taxes. Raising taxes would further harm our chances of seeing the economy grow any time soon. Therefore it is necessary to cut public spending or we are liable to end up in the same sort of situation as Spain. This would especially be the case if we chose to remain in monetary union (with rUK) without fiscal and political union, which is exactly the position that Spain finds itself and which is one of the major causes of the economic catasprophe in that country.

  11. vronsky says:

    “pedantry is such an irritating trait.”

    Bad writing loses the reader’s attention. Quickly. Sometimes that doesn’t matter, but on a blog like this it does.

    1. DJ says:

      I would say that depends on the reader.

    2. Leisure Suit says:

      Well said, Vronsky, it completely undermines the writer’s point.

  12. I can’t believe people are more interested in Englsih spelling, (it says more about the person’s ‘personality’, than it does about their prediliction for existence), grammar, and how a sentence is composed, when this article asks highly pertinent questions about our futures; there’s nothing like prioritising concerns, and this is nothing like ‘prioritising concerns’ ! Considering Westminster have tried to wipe-out our language, I see no harm in eroding theirs !

    1. Leisure Suit says:

      As long as people understand it properly… but we can’t look like idiots.

      p.s. Languages surely?

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