The People vs the British State

George OsborneThe rights and wrongs of currency union is really not the issue. The core of the matter is that the elite in Westminster have lost control of the argument … Jonathon Shafi on the British regime crisis.

In recent weeks we have seen a combination of panic and unity in the political forces desperately trying to provide a buttress against the decline of the British state. Panic; expressed most vividly by Camerons confused intervention into the debate. From the Olympic stadium his plea was not to the people of Scotland, but to the English population. They were to convince their Scottish counterparts on an emotional basis to stay with the UK. What has been missed from much of the mainstream analysis of this speech, is the intellectual weakness of his argument. The upper class, especially those who have been schooled from an early age to become future leaders, are usually brimming with confidence in their political prowess. Not so in this case: no ideas, no energy, a somewhat pathetic pleading.

But when the argument cannot be won on its own merit, establishments often resort to other measures. The normal divisions of politics are put to one side in a show of national unity against a bigger threat. Party lines blur – if they were not already blurred enough – to make what is conjecture appear like indisputable fact. The currency question has become a point of British political unity. The arguments they use are coordinated, consciously, with one another. The BBC’s Nick Robinson reports: ‘…the three rival Westminster parties were working together to end any doubt that after the next UK general election one or other of them might do a deal to let an independent Scotland use the pound.’

The rights and wrongs of currency union is really not the issue. The core of the matter is that the elite in Westminster have lost control of the argument, feel like they are slipping behind and must resort to a bulldozing strategy, drawing on their most precious resource – that everyone at Westminster wants the same result on September 18th. John McTernan, for example, is a great bulldozer. He repeats lies loudly and clearly, and relentlessly seeks to paint the opposition as an extreme fringe. He is the perfect Blairite spin doctor, but people like him are running out of arguments, and they are not as invincible as they like to project.

Underlying all of this is the need to maintain the current order at any cost. The British establishment is a very old one. The people change, but just as the labour movement has a history of struggles that we remember and learn from, so to do the establishment. Westminster is a university for the ruling class. The political institutions that interact with the economic elite in the City only partially live on an election to election basis. The system itself is permanent, and while managed by different political actors for largely the same, neoliberal ends.

The post-war boom, and the reforms of ’45, so well encapsulated in Ken Loache’s ‘Spirit of 45’, are a distant memory. In the 1970’s the average pay gap between the worker and the boss was one to 30, today it is more than one to 300. The wealth of the top 200 individuals stands at a staggering £318 billion – an eight fold increase since 1989. This is by design. Inequality has led to trillions of pounds in personal debt as to buy goods people have to take more from the bank to offset their stagnant wages. Loans have never been about helping ordinary people, they have been about ensuring an upwards flow of capital. The Labour Party have been part of managing this overall picture of decreasing living standards and increasing inequality, and are thus bound to the overall decline of the British polity. Clear for all to see is the impossibility, short of a split in the Labour party, to generate a mass challenge to the status quo.

Because of the rigid acceptance and implementation of neoliberalism since the end of the 1970s, the Westminster parties are paralytic ideologically. It is not that they only know one way, it is that the system they represent demands it. Defending the union on its own ground is an extremely difficult task for even the most cynical spin doctors. In the last decade the British state has seen a rapid and historic erosion of trust. The great institutions of Britain are widely seen as dishonest, self serving, and as the No campaign are doing a good job of illustrating, intellectually bankrupt. This is a referendum in which the wider context of the ideology and meaning of what passes for British democracy is central to understanding the forces and the interests involved in maintaining the British establishment. Tony Blair’s alliance with George Bush radicalised, and alienated, a generation of people from the formal political process. The war on Iraq, was too obviously about geo-strategic interests, and so blatantly outside international law, that millions of people were awakened to the reality of modern British politics.

The crisis of the regime

Such mass controversies are augmented by the handling of the economic crisis. Like every good capitalist, the establishment have spotted opportunity in crisis. It is worth reading Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine to get a grip on this. But suffice to say the assault on our services is ideological and lasting. Resistance to the establishment is to be crushed. Boris Johnson’s call for water-cannon to disperse potential anti-austerity protests is well within the tradition of the Tory ruling class. Note the concern is not for the growing economic hardship of the people, but about how their discontent is to be managed.

In the general strike of 1926, the establishment of the day sent a war ship to Newcastle to quell the uprising. They infiltrated and demonised the strike movements of the 1970s, and infamously terrorised the miners. They published the pictures of the poll tax rioters, and intimidated the student rebellion of 2010 with a brutal show of state power. In this month’s Tube Strike a striker was detained, only to be released with the following conditions:

bail-conditions

The City and Westminster elite may look polished on television. But at the parties of the elite they deride the mass of working people who are seen merely as a natural resource for the system. Those are harsh words, but deliberately chosen, because it is the reality when you remove the sugar coating of the Daily Politics. It is why young working class people are used as cannon fodder whether it be for WW1 or the invasion of Iraq. It is why they cannot understand why so many find workfare abhorrent, and indeed, why the Tories cannot fathom why the bedroom tax is so hideous. When our side says spend the money on services not Trident, they can only think of the damage that would do to British imperial power.

In a recent article, Owen Jones writes that radicalism based on Scottish independence is depressing as it reflects the lack of class struggle. But Scottish independence is part of a broader struggle against exploitation and imperialism that is crystalised in the British State. Independence is not the end game of developing an entirely different infrastructure to the miserable present, but it is part of that process. The Westminster elite have said clearly now: vote No or we are your enemy. Fine. We don’t need a corrupt status quo to assist in the founding of a socially just Scotand – far from it. They have nothing but declining living standards, cuts and privatisation to offer the people of England, never mind a newly independent Scotland. We have the chance work out how an independent currency could benefit the people of Scotland as outlined here (http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/adam-ramsay-peter-mccoll/scotland-should-relish-chance-to-run-its-own-currency)

We should build strength in our own argument that puts a Yes vote not just at the heart of politics, but widely viewed as part of a strategy to displace the present order, and replace them with an alternative so discordant with their world view that it causes ripples of panic to flow through the corridors of political and economic power in Britain. It is in that spirit that we stand in the tradition of the many rebellions and movements against the Britsh establishment. September 18th is a referendum on the history of the British regime. It is the fulcrum of everything that has past: the wars, the crushing of strikes, neoliberalism. And it can be a rejection of everything they have planned: “perpetual austerity”. As the panic and unity of the Westminster elite intensifies, the referendum narrative will be remembered by many as the people versus the British state.

Comments (51)

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  1. Dan Huil says:

    Today we’ve seen the true face of British nationalism.
    An independent Scotland is now more desirable than ever before.

  2. yerkitbreeks says:

    How right you are – I am so glad I read the Claim of Scotland, serialised by Wings, which in fabulous erudite old fashioned language makes it clear today’s pronouncements are just more of the same.

  3. Catrìona says:

    Balls-Osborne wasn’t surprising, disappointing or frightening, just defending a common background and a privileged place in the society to which we don’t all belong. Alexander wasn’t surprising or frightening. He wasn’t even disappointing, just depressing and saddening. Some of the grandeur and glory of Balls-Osborne might reflect on Alexander in the right light, but they will never belong to him no matter how much he may aspire to them. Balls-Osborne live in the big housel; Alexander works there.

  4. Peter A Bell says:

    Has Alex Salmond played another blinder here? He is known for his knack of manipulating political opponents and creating win/win situations for the Scottish Government and the independence movement. Recall, if you will, the apparent ease with which Salmond got the British parties to reject a so-called “second question” on the referendum ballot offering “more powers” to the Scottish Parliament. An option which would almost certainly have won over independence. An option that, despite the nonsense spouted by the British media, Salmond did not want on the ballot but which the Scottish Government could not be seen to reject out of hand. So Salmond forced the unionists to reject it.

    Could it be that Osborne and the UK Government have just been played in much the same way? Could it be that they have given the Scottish Government exactly what they wanted?

    We know that all this talk of Scotland not being “allowed” to use the pound is empty political bluster. We know also that talk of abolishing the currency union is principally intended as a scare story. In that regard, Osborne hasn’t really said anything new. He has come closer to making an unequivocal commitment to abolishing the currency union than anyone in authority has previously done. But he has been careful to leave just enough wriggle-room for a U-turn after a Yes vote.

    The most significant thing about his speech was the far from subtle threat to renege on the Edinburgh Agreement and refuse to cooperate with the process of Scotland transitioning to independence. This bad faith, duplicity and attempted intimidation will surely backfire and play into the hands of the independence campaign. But has Osborne played into Alex Salmond’s hands in another way?

    To understand why this may be so we must first appreciate what is actually implied by Osborne’s speech. It is certainly not about Scotland walking away from anything. The Scottish Government has always maintained its willingness to negotiate independence on the basis of mutual cooperation with the shared objective of settling on an equitable scheme for sharing of liabilities and assets. What has happened today is that the UK government has walked away, not only from its obligations under the terms of the Edinburgh Agreement, but from any possible agreement on debt/asset sharing.

    Why might this suit Alex Salmond and his government?

    In the first place, the UK government can now readily be portrayed as the “bad guys”. They are the ones who are acting in bad faith and rejecting the democratic process of self-determination. Salmond need do no more than sound reasonable and conciliatory whilst maintaining the Scottish Governments commitment to cooperation and the UK Government is bound to look like a petulant bully by comparison.

    But there may be even more to it. It may be that Alex Salmond actually wanted the UK Government to reject the policy of continuing the currency union after independence. It may be that he would prefer that the currency union be ended but could not be seen to rule out what is, by all reasonable accounts, the option which offers the best outcome for both nations. Better that he manipulate his opponents into doing it for him.

    After all, Scotland has numerous other options in terms of currency. The rUK has none. It is stuck with sterling no matter what might be the consequences of abolishing the currency union.

    And there is a bonus in all of this for Salmond and Scotland’s negotiating team. Osborne’s effective rejection of a negotiated settlement on sharing UK assets has inevitable implications for the sharing of UK liabilities which can only work in Scotland’s favour. At the very least, rejection of the currency union must allow Scotland to reasonably insist on an appropriate adjustment in the contribution that Scottish taxpayers agree to make towards servicing rUK debt.

    Salmond and his team surely foresaw this situation. Even if they didn’t engineer it – and my Spidey-sense tells me they did – they will have certainly planned for it. There is little indication that the UK Government is planning anything. It seems to be doing nothing more than reacting in a clumsy, knee-jerk and entirely predictable fashion to developments. Much as the British parties reacted to Salmond’s offer of a “second question”.

    Osborne almost certainly doesn’t realise it, and British nationalist commentators and propagandists definitely won’t admit it, but he has surely handed a powerful weapon to the independence campaign. And inadvertently strengthened the hand that Scotland will bring to the table once independence negotiations begin. The likelihood just dramatically increased that we will restore our independence without ties to rUK monetary policy and regulation and with an enviable debt position.

    Apart from anything else, this means that an immediate and substantial oil fund is now a very much more realistic prospect than it previously was, being relatively free of the constraints of high debt-servicing costs.

    Another big hat-tip to Alex Salmond may be in the offing.

    1. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      it may be that Alex Salmond actually wanted the UK government to reject the policy….I do hope so. We need a change of tense and mood, no more subjunctive and conditional. OsborneBalls emphatic negative restyles the discourse.

    2. muttley79 says:

      I think Peter may well have a point. Salmond and co must know that any proposal they make will almost certainly be rejected by the British state and establishment. This is because of the hatred and fear of that state towards Scottish independence. So what do you do? You make proposals that are not what you really want to see implemented. As Peter mentioned, we saw it with the second question issue. Salmond used the second question as a device to get the question on independence, and the timing of the referendum, that he wanted. He knows the British state as well as anyone. Salmond has a great talent for knowing what his opponents are going to do. The MSM/Unionists are so arrogant that they never consider whether it is they that are the ones who have been played for fools. It looks as if they keep on charging into carefully designed traps.

      1. I have had bosses like that. Who can be manipulated by suggesting the opposite of what you want.

    3. Ben Wray says:

      I’m afraid i’m unconvinced about this line that this is Salmond’s engineering all along and it will work in our favour. It’s true Westminster seem like the ‘bad guys’ and the ‘bullies’, but bullies often win because they demoralise people and make them compliant. That’s been No’s strategy all along so there’s not alot of difference from previous approaches they’re just radicalising the same message. Nicola Sturgeon didn’t look very confident today in saying that Scotland might not take the debt – she looked like someone who would prefer not to be saying it. That tells me this isn’t the way they hoped for things to go. I hope you and others are right and the polls show a further narrowing of the gap but I have to say I’m not convinced that’s the way its playing itself out across Scotland tonight. I think this is part of an overall mistaken approach from the SNP which is to consistently articulate a half-way position on things like currency and nato. Nation-states have democratic control, if you leave powers in the hands of intra-state bodies it makes it harder to break with the established order of things and gives the elites a chance to strangle you with your own reasonableness. What’s that saying from the french revolution, ‘you make half a revolution you dig your own grave’

      1. ‘you make half a revolution you dig your own grave’

        If the SNP have made half a revolution, maybe we better start on the other half. 😛

      2. Peter A Bell says:

        If Nicola Sturgeon looked like she was uncomfortable saying that “Scotland might not take the debt” it’s because that’s precisely how she’s supposed to look. the Scottish Government is. quite rightly, continuing to defend its position that maintaining the currency union is, on balance, the best option for both countries. We cannot expect that they will simply abandon this position.

        Don’t expect Sturgeon to gloat over the fact that Osborne has effectively ruled out kind of arrangement on sharing debt servicing costs that the Scottish Government has proposed. That would be most unseemly.

        I am always amused by people who assume that the SNP has got it wrong in spite of the overwhelming evidence of their uncanny tendency to get things right, Note how Osborne assiduously evaded questions on how abolishing the currency union would affect businesses in England and the wider economy of rUK. So long as the British parties avoided being too explicit about their plans to end the currency union they could avoid such awkward questions. Now they are going to be forced to answer them. The mainstream media can only cover for them for so long before the clamour for answers from both sides of the birder becomes too much.

        This is far from over. The backlash from businesses and commentators in rUK is yet to come. Osborne, Balls et al will not be exposed until they are required to defend their decision.

        Right now, the SNP doesn’t really have to do anything other than stick to its position and maintain a tone of reasonableness. The stuff about abolishing the currency union will unravel soon enough.

      3. derryvickers says:

        This discussion looks to be more about Westminster and the Scots; not about the people south of the border and the Scots. Let’s hope so because after Independence we still will have the English and the Northern Irish as our nearest neighbours.

        Vernon Bognanor in his book ‘A new British Constitution’ comments that devolution has just transferred the elite from Westminster to the devolved parliaments; could these elites be stronger in an Independent Scotland? And there is just a possibility that Scotland will not be wholly left of the Westminster elite; Michael Fry’s Wealthy Nation group may well be a little right of Caledonia.

    4. Thom Cross says:

      ALEX has just played Kirsty W off the park. She flushed, she blushed she roared but the more she stormed the more she lost the head and lost the gemme.

      1. mackisimul says:

        Just looked at this on the iPlayer. Brilliant, poor woman was getting very het up and ended the interview in a style reminiscent of her infamous strop after the election interview. Give it up Kirsty.

    5. Ewan Lamont says:

      So Alec is a Caledonian necromancer. He somehow makes his opponents ridiculous
      by Dark Arts he has mastered, not by their own ridiculousness.

    6. andyshall says:

      Scotland can use any currency it likes. What it can not do is force other countries to act as a lender of last resort. That is what the reality of a currency union is about regardless of if it is with London, Frankfurt or Oslo.

  5. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    It’s all about power, in England since the Normans acquired a nice possession in 1066, in Scotland since that parcel of rogues sold us for London siller. However the SNP surely anticipated the Osborne pitch, now we must be told about alternatives? Assuming, that is….

  6. fehvepehs says:

    Jiñgs crivvens an help ma boab!
    Inspiring stuff. Wi commetators like Bella an Wings over Scotland on the side o right…shairly might canna win.

  7. very surprised the British state showing its hand so soon, usually a clever negotiator does it with a smile and a soft soothing voice to lull the opponent into a false sense of security not with baseball bat in full view however don’t be fooled by this clumsy ill timed effort, this British state has no conscience or moral compass they will stop at nothing to end what is for them slowly becoming a nightmare ! things are not going to plan and they are reluctant to admit it , any dirty trick -spoiled ballot papers – missing ballot boxes – miscounting of votes in short anything a corrupt third world regime has done in the past they will learn from and perfect just as well its a paper ballot because it would be so much easier if it was electronic you could probably read the result tonight

    1. fehvepehs says:

      Jeeso! Here’s me thinking that eh wiz the only ane that thought they wid be capable o that skullduggery. Mind you they hiv previous. Ask Sikhs aboot the Golden Temple incident

    2. Marga says:

      Robert – skullduggery indeed but no match for the Spanish government (OT sorry but a bit relevant!).

      Among other things, there’s a suspicion that it was the Israeli government’s increasingly (apparently) good relationship with Catalonia that prompted the Madrid government to suddenly offer Spanish citizenship to Sephardi Jews, expelled from the Iberian Peninsula en 1492! Yes, really!

      Don’t know if it’s true, but there’s more where that came from. Would the UK go that far?

  8. Mark says:

    Right that’s me off to get a blanket, then go and hide under the kitchen table until those pesky Nats and their pinko fellow travellers are put firmly in their place.
    To be honest I have my doubts that outside we political junkies the mass of the population even notice these issues. I can’t but help think that they may be onto sonething. Firstly this whole farrago is about something that one bunch of Tory twats might do if we by some miracle come to our senses and actually exercise our democratic right to leave this so called union. Then providing we do so, we might want a currency union with in all likelihood another bunch of supposedly less Tory twats.
    Then we are all supposed to cower and say”cor blimey g’uvnor was only aven a laugh, was all, was that fat kid Salmon’s idea weren’t it?”

  9. barakabe says:

    This is world class political pamphleting- an erudite and sublimely lucid Shafi AND Robin McAlpine- it’s frightening just how many great figures are emerging from this movement for autonomy: Mike Small, Gerry Hassan, David Hayman, Wings over Scotland, Bella, National Collective, Alan Bissett, Loki…the list is endless- the old guard are on the run. The world will never be the same. Hallelujah.

  10. bringiton says:

    The best thing about all this is that people can see that Scots do not have a democratic system of government and are being treated as a possession by the London elite.
    A government that Scots did not elect is issuing threats against us should we exercise our democratic rights.
    This will give other authoritarian governments around the world a huge boost in propaganda when next the British state threatens their interests.
    These school boys are playing in Alex Salmond’s adult playground….never a wise thing to do.

  11. alistairliv says:

    Reblogged this on Radical Independence Dumfries & Galloway and commented:
    Much food for thought in this post by RIC’s own Jonathon Shafi.

  12. mhairi says:

    Excellent article. It is honestly amazing me how inept the Westminister government actually are and how exposed the cosy relationship of the three UK parties is becoming.

    The destruction of the UK state is in our hands.

  13. When Scotland becomes independent and begins to develop an entirely different political and economic structure, we better watch out for the USA. Remember what they did to Grenada, Chile and other Central and South American countries. The British state is the handmaiden of the US state. The USA is backing the British Capitalists.

    1. Catrìona says:

      Absolutely, but before then we need to watch out for UK security service black ops. They’ve done it before.

  14. Brian Dash says:

    Fantastic read. Couldn’t of written a better one myself. I have always been a labour activist, My Gradparents were war heroes and from working class backgrounds and Thatchers name nor face on TV could never be mentioned or seen in the house without a serious energy of fire and rage. But now recently even i can see should Labour get into power they are too self obsessed and are not doing these jobs for the state, only their own greed and selfishness. They too are in total denial of the real issues such as banking and corporate greed.

    You mention “the spirit of 45” this is an excellent film, now seen by thousands across the UK. Even in my own small Parish, we are showing this to people of all ages to let them realise that Britain was once Great and we did once have a United Kingdom. It is all over now i believe. But Ken Loach has created a new political party called Left Unity and who knows a real shift to the left could be what UK voters, especially younger ones want to see and in fact i know of Labour members shifting across. It took the Green Party 30 years to gain a seat in London and there isn’t time to wait for this. Left Unity appears to be growing very quickly already and could have Councillors standing in Locals in May.

  15. barakabe says:

    What this three way alliance of Cons-Lab-Libs demonstrates more than anything is the overarching orthodoxy of neo-liberlism and how it transcends party politics- capital is god. The will of capital is absolute. The problem for the likes of Osborne is that playing the politician may actually alienate capital- who in the business world wants to lose out on trade/resources from Scotland. The ‘threat’ of a credible political-cultural-economic alternative challenges the orthodoxy of the neo-liberal meta-narrative. This is why a war has been declared ( fiscal and cultural): this is about a small entrenched highly remunerated Westminster elite vs the people of Scotland. Shafi is quite right. Yesterdays declarations of intent from the mainstream parties clearly shows the contempt they have for democracy: like all elites they have no real respect for democracy ( to them it’s merely another name for mobocracy); at least as much respect as multinationals have for their environmental impact. A necessary mask to be worn for the appeasement of the mob- yesterday that mask slipped big time.

  16. Abulhaq says:

    This intervention by the centre is a strategy changer. The days of the stay at home independista are over. As in France, Spain, Catalunya, Italy, Greece or Germany, or God help us, Egypt we have got to get our citizens into the streets, in their hundreds of thousands. Attempts at mass demonstrations have so far been unremarkable. We need to actively and publicly demonstrate our commitment to radical political change in our country in the face of hostile media and the posturing of Westminster’s united reactionary front. Standard part-time democracy through the ballot box no longer suits this case. The regime smells blood.

  17. thom cross says:

    The British state has form in warning natives on the question of their demands for sovereignty.
    .Listening to Mr Osborne i felt he might have come to Edinburgh dressed in the white-cork hat (with feather and sword: white horse optional) in order to address us in appropriate colonial attire.
    With a slight segue of metaphor, the overwhelming image in his speech was that the mother country was warning her children colonies that if you ‘walk away/leave home,you are on your own, you walk away from mummy and daddy’.
    It was a familiar imperial scenario but in this case Osborne projected what is best described as aspec ts of latent coloniality.
    But we (who have had children grown in adulthood) also know that in the objective reality of actual departure we hardly ever create familial rupture. Especially when the departing sibling still lives right next door.
    A more mature approach is to negotiate the ‘leaving’ not using paternal bombast but rather offering a tone freed from legalist omnipotence that is quickly recognised as largely theoretical framed in political bombast and in contradiction to eventual future mature relationships.
    Might I suggest Mr Osborne and others within the No campaign re-examine the more successful decolonizing constitutional processes. After all Westminster/ Conservative Governments have a considerable library of case studies from which to learn important lessons. Then both parties may better arrive at a conciliatory arrangement over the pound and other post-Yes matters. Otherwise it is simple:fk-off!

  18. Gordon says:

    There’s a salient piece in Tuesday 11th of February’s Guardian G2 by Aditya Chakrabortty, headed ‘What’s that sucking sound? It’s the public money and private wealth being swallowed up by London.’
    Can’t find the link, but just Google the title and it comes up. The whole article is about, not just the societal inequalities, but also the geographical and the mopping up of the nation’s wealth by London. He goes on, ‘The result is not just the emasculation of Scotland, but of Newcastle, Oldham, the Midlands and countless other places not featured on the Circle Line.’
    He goes on to outline the massive capital spending in London, itemising public works like The Thames Tideway, the Channel Tunnel rail link, Crossrail funded by money from all the regions of the country to benefit businesses in London, both those that use the new facilities and those employed to build them – presumably exacerbating the multiplier effect that keeps business down there overheating.
    To illustrate the point in figures, he quotes the IPPR North thinktank’s conclusion that ‘Londoners enjoyed public investment of £2,731/head, far outstripping any other region. The north east received a measly £5/head.’
    75% of the PFI and PPP companies work out of London and the south east, so they are assured of a bloated income for many years to come. Chakrabortty omits the rip-off that is the City of London, where annuities from pensions are swallowed up in expenses and management fees, insurance policies don’t pay up and endowments subscribed to over many years fail to finally pay for the house you bought.
    Isn’t it time we freed our country from this imperial city state that is keeping us all poor? If we do, the rest of the regions may follow and quibbling over currency is trivial by comparison.

  19. Paddy S Hogg says:

    Well Written Jonathon. Good piece. Some quality replies too.
    More and more people are catching on that the neo-liberal right wing austerity policies of the Tory elites is legitimised by an ideologically bankrupt Labour partry leadership and realise the stand being made in SCotland is a collective response to the politics of the new money-elite who encircle the Empire walls of Westminster like beasts from Dante’s Inferno, beasts who have engineered poverty, engineered unemployment to keep wages as low as possible and whose ulitmate objective is the death of democratic dialogue and control over the British economy as if it were a new Feudal Order where the working and the poor bleed as the vital life is sucked out of them by the rishest minority. Those who need wealth the least engender the most power and gorge themselves with more wealth and those who bleed the most are the poorest who cannot afford to be without a voice, people who are units and commodities and casualties of an economic war where rampant greed rides triumphant like an invincible deluded lunatic grinding the face of the poor and working people into the dirt with their maxim that they are born to rule, born to be the wealthiest and born to make all our decisions for us. It is the last stand of the British Feudal Order before real democracy triumphs. By now I expected their normal historical reaction of provoking a war overseas to bring in draconian oppression to galvanise their rule over the plebs, ie us. It wil get dirtier before we win the ideological battle we are in.

  20. James Morton says:

    What we saw from Osborne that day, was the most idiotic thing I have ever seen. It’s not so much the statement of “No currency union” – it was the larger implication. The unintended message was that Scotland has no stake in the UK. It never has. It is merely allowed to use sterling at the moment, but clearly contributes nothing to it. We would not be missed. The oil revenues would not be missed. The trade, the water, the energy, the food…none of it is needed. So when we leave, we won’t get to use sterling, but further more, if we even dare try to walk away without taking more than our share of the debts…why then we will move heaven and earth to destroy Scotland. Don’t take my word for it…listen to Mr Kelly, he and his party will in the event of Independence, join forces with us to destroy Scotland.

    It was a coldly calculated and coldly delivered threat…not to Salmond. Not to the SNP. Nor to the yes campaign. It was a message delivered to all Scots, regardless of where they sit with regard to Independence.
    it was a threat delivered by a man who failed in life upwards. He is a man who has doubled the debt Brown left the UK with in 2010. He is man who is selling misery and austerity, while lining the pockets of bankers and the very rich. But lastly he is a man, that Scottish labour fell over to agree with. You could see the glee and joy in their hearts. their Britishness pouring out of every pore.

    It was sickening. It was also a catastrophic blunder. It was the last argument they had, that could be made to make Salmond sweat nervously. And now…they gave blew it up in their own faces. There is not a single argument that they can make for union now, that won’t make them look weak and spineless.

    Looking back on this, we can probably point to time and say “This is the moment that the Union ended”.

    Any attempt after a yes vote to kill the result – they can kiss the union goodbye. Even if they win, it will be by a narrow margin. It will also have destroyed the reputation of Scotland within the Union and also tarnished the Union in Scotland. There will a be a lot of anti=British sentiment and Unionist parties will suffer quite badly.

    The reason I say this? The political history of Scotland, shows that it reacts very badly to threats from bully boys from Westminster. The old Scots word for it is Thrawn. Better together call it grievance politics…by god! after this they’ll soon know what grievance means.

    yes or no…this union is finished.

  21. Ewan Lamont says:

    So Alec is a Caledonian necromancer?
    He somehow makes his opponents do and say things
    by Dark Arts he has mastered?
    What I found presumptious in the recent London utterances is the notion that a decision on agreeing currency union can be ruled out permanently; politicians are of the day and five or ten years from now another view might prevail in Westminster.

    1. Ewan Lamont says:

      OOPS, “presumptious” for “presumptuous”. I blame the pub’s guest ale.

  22. andyshall says:

    Just to play Devil’s advocate, if the SNP are committed to a race to the bottom on Corporation Tax and “business friendly” regulation in an Independent Scotland why should rUK not refuse to act as lender as last resort for Scotland’s banking sector or indeed act in any way that undermines their own competitive advantage?

    1. Peter A Bell says:

      There’s some awfy s***e talked about issues relating to independence. If we were to rank them, the stuff about Corporation Tax might well make the top ten. Bladders like Anas Sarwar talk about Corporation Tax as if it is something that can be considered in isolation. The reality, of course, is that Corporation Tax is only one of many economic levers that are used in combination by governments which have the normal powers of an independent nation. It simply makes no sense to talk about Corporation Task abstracted from the wider context of economic conditions and policy.

      Companies take many factors into account when making investment decisions. They do not, as bladders such as Sarwar assume, look only at the tax regime. For example, if a nation’s transport infrastructure or healthcare facilities are poor, lowering Corporation Tax might be one way of compensating for this and attracting inward investment despite these disadvantages. Which is perfectly fine if the revenues from this inward investment are used to improve transport infrastructure and healthcare provision.

      Another oddity about the whole Corporation Tax fuss is the fact that those whining about the fact that Scotland might compete with rUK on this are frequently those who embrace the neo-liberal orthodoxy, including that crypto-religion’s dogma relating to the supposedly entirely beneficial effects of unfettered competition. Unfettered, that is, except when their favoured interests stand to lose.

      London and its environs are massively favoured by the “system” within the British state. Remuneration weighting, property value inflation and disproportionate government spending being just some examples. Not satisfied with this built-in advantage, the London-centric ruling elites want to further secure it by stifling the very competition that they claim to hold as an essential driver of economic progress.

      As well as being a bladder, Anas Sarwar is a hypocrite. (I shall not bore you with a more comprehensive cataloguing of this individual’s defects.) While he bangs on about the SNP’s proposals to use Corporation Tax in the way that it should be used, he conveniently forgets to mention his own party’s repeated slashing of Corporation Tax for no purpose other than to oblige British Labour’s big business clients.

      Did I mention that Anas Sarwar is a bladder?

  23. Anthony McGowan says:

    The Plan is as it always has been. I was an civil servant when the plan was reviewed in the early 1980’s and was excluded because I was Scottish from the discussions, but others let me in on the details. In a nutshell the Civil Service will do all in it’s power to prevent a yes vote, up to and including releasing faked data and study’s to scare the Scottish public, coersing Companies into making misleading statements. threatening overseas Governments out of public support for yes vote. the list is pretty endless as it see’s any tactic no matter how low or imoral as justified to protect the state. I suspect the frame up of Tommy Sheriden was a dress rehearsal for a similar attack on a leading member of the SNP, which has so far not happened, maybe bad relations with Rupert Murdoch and other Newspaper owners has queered the pitch on that one. The one thing you will never find is a written record of these plans, they were not even shared with Ministers only senior civil servants. ( Its amazing what a good Islay single malt can find you out ) there were no minutes taken at the meetings no memo sent ( days before email ) just a few handshakes and that’s the way the civil service operates in the shadows to circumvent any democratic control. I did a couple of years ago try to warn justice minster Kenny MacAskill but he just muttered about Scottish civil servants being “onboard,” having “gone native” So don’t say you were not warned Kenny, from what I have seen the Civil Service in Whitehall has not even begun the attack

  24. Stevie says:

    “””Owen Jones writes that radicalism based on Scottish independence is depressing as it reflects the lack of class struggle.”””

    Owen’s British nationalism has coloured his vision – rather it has limited his outlook to what to what he is used to out of habit – to what he already knows; he’s not much of a revolutionary. He has unintentionally become an establishment mouth piece and a de facto BritNat – though if you challenged him on this he’d probably deny it. He spends forever obsessing about the right-wing establishment and yet when it comes down to it he chooses British nationalism as his default position over socialism. Billy Bragg has no such conflict and argues a coherent socialist vision for Scotland. Owen isn’t even pushing a weak argument of a unified UK socalism (because he knows it no longer exists – I suspect the Labourite British nationalists who mumble on about it don’t believe it exists either). Owen seems to think we should enter a political/social suicide pact and all go down together. Perhaps they should stop singing the Red Flag (they have stopped singing that of course but anyway…) and adopt the song, The End by the Doors from Apocalypse Now:

    This is the end
    Beautiful friend
    This is the end
    My only friend, the end

    Of our elaborate plans, the end
    Of everything that stands, the end
    No safety or surprise, the end
    I’ll never look into your eyes…again

    Can you picture what will be
    So limitless and free
    Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
    In a…desperate land

    Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
    And all the children are insane
    All the children are insane
    Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

    There’s danger on the edge of town
    Ride the King’s highway, baby
    Weird scenes inside the gold mine
    Ride the highway west, baby

    Ride the snake, ride the snake
    To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
    The snake is long, seven miles
    Ride the snake…he’s old, and his skin is cold

    The west is the best
    The west is the best
    Get here, and we’ll do the rest

    The blue bus is callin’ us
    The blue bus is callin’ us
    Driver, where you taken’ us

    The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
    He took a face from the ancient gallery
    And he walked on down the hall
    He went into the room where his sister lived, and…then he
    Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
    He walked on down the hall, and
    And he came to a door…and he looked inside
    Father, yes son, I want to kill you
    Mother…I want to…fuck you

    C’mon baby, take a chance with us
    C’mon baby, take a chance with us
    C’mon baby, take a chance with us
    And meet me at the back of the blue bus
    Doin’ a blue rock
    On a blue bus
    Doin’ a blue rock
    C’mon, yeah

    Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill

    This is the end
    Beautiful friend
    This is the end
    My only friend, the end

    It hurts to set you free
    But you’ll never follow me
    The end of laughter and soft lies
    The end of nights we tried to die

    This is the end

    That would cheer the troops.

  25. NMac says:

    Go for it Scotland. Don’t let these toffee nose Tory clowns frighten you. They are political lightweights.

  26. JOhn Gourlay says:

    Does anybody think that if the labour party had denounced Osborne’s uneconomic stance on no currency union they may now appear more electable.

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