The Scottish Genome

Holy crap this is possibly the most stupid thing Johann Lamont has ever said (and that’s a very competitive group):

Labour’s gallant leader appears to have taken levels of self-hatred to new uncharted depths. There’s now a sort of DNA tested democracy, which Scots are uniquely incapable of. Theories abound for why this might be. Is it excessive levels of Irn-Bru over generations? Is it the long winters? Are Tunnock’s Caramels to blame? Early exposure to Glen Michael’s Cavalcade?

Bella is making demands for a parliamentary inquiry. Scrap that, we couldn’t manage that. Oh well, back to bed.

Comments (63)

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  1. While I’m not convinced that’s what she was specifically trying to say, it will forever be construed literally as an official statement to the effect of Scots being ‘too stupid to govern themselves’.

    1. tartanfever says:

      Really Max ? Add it to the ‘virus’, ‘something for nothing’, ‘wee things’ and other classic Scotland put downs that have come from her, this ‘genetics’ thing is extremely uncomfortable.

      Dr Johann Mengele anyone ?

      1. Well who knows the webs of intrigue her masters weave, TF. Either way though, it amounts to a spectacular own goal.

    2. wee 162 says:

      I don’t think Lamont was meaning to say that either. I think what she was trying (and failing) to say was that being Scottish doesn’t mean you automatically make good political decisions. And she’s right. Her reign as Labours leader in Holyrood proves it. That was a decision taken by Scots. Scottish people still voting in any numbers for a party which has the likes of Lamont & Gray as their leaders in Holyrood would be another indication that she’s right.

      But it doesn’t really take into account that we don’t vote tory, so our decisions might be not the best, but they’re far from as bad as those who hold power over us in the marginal constituencies of middle England.

      Who on earth was prepping Lamont for this? Between making a statement which could be seen to suggest Scots were too stupid to make decisions (even if you can interpret it another way) to talking about shipbuilding when Govan in her constituency might be closing, to being “astonished” that someone would make a link between how early people die and the effect on pensions (I’m fully expecting her to be mounting a fatwa against actuaries by tomorrow) it was a total car crash. Sturgeon didn’t come over particularly well in my opinion, but she could have stood there filing her nails for an hour without saying a word and still would have came over better than Lamont.

      I’ve had mates on Twitter this morning in an utter state of disbelief that this is the level of politician which Labour is putting forward in Scotland. Their general opinion is that the entire Labour front bench in Holyrood could have been improved on from any reasonable sized constituency party in the Labour Party 30 years ago. Difficult to disagree with that assessment.

      1. Greig Craig says:

        I disagree, I watched the programme she was under stress ant the time and while i doubt she meant to say it she certainly meant what she said

    3. James Coleman says:

      I don’t often swear but occasionally it is the only way to let one’s true disgust be shown. Lamont is a fucking idiot, and there may be some truth in her statement when it is applied to her.

    4. She said it,if she meant it well it stands up,if she didn’t then what is she doing trying to legislate for Scotland.

    5. JimW says:

      She is the living proof of her own hypothesis.

      1. I’m not remotely inclined to argue that!

  2. indykenny says:

    It’s astonishing how low Scottish Labour MSP’s have sunk in recent times. Did J Lo Lament want her statement to include John Smith, Donald Dewar and Robin Cook? Did she lump in her own Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown and a host of others? The quality (or lack thereof) of Lab talent in Scotland AND WM is truly abysmal. Regardless of the vote on 18th Sept there will need to be a cull of genocidal proportions to “cure” the Scottish Labour Party of their undoubted ills.

  3. atypicalscot says:

    She said Scottish nationalism is a cancer, now she says we haven’t the breeding for political decision.

    Sudden feeling of hypochondria.

  4. Maureen Wright says:

    I’m non Scottish. Do I suffer from the same gene too as I’m voting yes. The import of what she said certainly leads to uncomfortable conclusions. Plays into the notion of superiority that itself in colonial times. She should be reminded of the phrase at every opportunity and asked to explain herself. Better still stick it on a billboard with her photo. I am disgusted by it even if she did not mean to say it.

  5. one to add why are we not providing steel for the new Forth Bridge why- why- why ; Answer Johann we cant make it -,we cant make it-,we cant make it and it still never registered ,when she stands up the only thing she gets right is-To ask the first minister after that the script is followed to the letter she cant change her line even after her question is answered ,if you notice when she stands up in the wee parly even her own party sighs oh F/k not again here we go again what is she going to say now ha ha oh god what a bloody pantomime act

  6. Abulhaq says:

    She is the apotheosis of “The Scotch Cringe”; the summation of the Scottish region of the Labour party and of Scottish Unionism in all its treacherous, timorous, supine, subordination.

    1. PSH says:

      That should be put on the headstone of her credibility since it is, with the entire Scottish labour tribe, dead and bankrupt of ideas. I am surprised her lips were not being moved by drone control from London last night: Scottish Labour, the nodding servants of London bosses. Whatever happened to the real and genuine Socialists of a once great Party? They shed their skins like snakes and crawled to the Right of politics with the snake Blair.

      1. Abulhaq says:

        There was a Red Clydesider called Emanuel Shinwell who finished his days in the House of Lords. Softly, softly catchee monkey….

  7. Catrìona says:

    What interests me about this is what Lamont meant by “we in Scotland”. Did she mean that the genes of people born and bred in Scotland are different from those of the rest of humanity or also those of all people living in Scotland regardless of where they come from? If the latter, I know quite a number of people who came from elsewhere to live in Scotland, and I would love Ms Lamont to tell us when exactly their genes changed? Was it as soon as they crossed the Tweed, the North Channel or the North Sea or did it take longer, and if so how long? Does genetic mutation affect tourists on extended holidays? If so, I fear for the political decisions they will make should they leave Scotland and move elsewhere: the political systems of quite a number of countries might be badly affected by the Scottish “disease”.

    1. atypicalscot says:

      Just add boiling water…;-P

  8. Thanks for cutting out this little snipped. I wanted to check if she actually said this but I could not bear to watch last night’s travesty of a debate a second time.

    And there it is. It’s is absolutely incredible. Flabbergasted.

    What a stupid individual.

    We are not like you Johann.

  9. Stripped of its blunder she is saying that it is conceivable that Scots post Indy would be capable of introducing noxious policies like the bedroom tax.

    Even minus the blunder she is saying we can’t trust ourselves to manage our nation in a more humane way than Westminster does.

    Sorry for you, Johann, but I’m glad I CAN trust Scots to put the people first and that is the very best argument for independence.

  10. Dan Huil says:

    Ms Lamont “apologises on behalf of all the people of Scotland” ?

  11. Craig says:

    “If there is a human moral to be drawn, it is that we must teach our children altruism, for we cannot expect it to be part of their biological nature.”

    ― Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

  12. macart763 says:

    Another classic quote in a long and ignominious line of them from Ms Lamont.

    Dear God, vote no and forever be doomed to this franchised political mindset running the show. That’s the level of cringe and contempt from our representatives, its no bloody wonder they were useless at standing up for Scottish interests over the past forty years.

  13. Catrìona says:

    I was so taken aback by Johann Lamont’s views that I found an article on ‘Cultural Constructs’ by Dilys Davies concerning Welsh people. It applies not only to Lamont but, sadly, to many of our fellow Scots

    ‘The Significance of the Welsh Language & Culture in the Health Care Services’, in Jones, G. (ed.) Speaking the Invisible. Cardiff: NHS Wales. 37-40

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Thank you

    2. Thank you Catriona. Useful insights there.

  14. This must top the poll as THE most insulting thing to be said in one sentence, about the Scottish people in the entire Independence debate, so far!
    There’s still 7 months to go, god alone knows what she will come out with next!

  15. To be fair I think she meant the double negative, not programmed ‘not to’. She missed out a word under pressure, big deal.

    1. You think she never meant it! then why is allowed to try and legislate for the good people of Scotland. This is what she thinks of the folk who voted for her? Please awaken from your dream,its a nightmare.

    2. Catrìona says:

      I think the point is that this person could be First Minister. What kind of negotiations could someone like this conduct with people who are actually capable of expressing themselves?

      1. Yes she never meant it and no she couldn’t.

    3. Krackerman says:

      And your evidence for this is???? No I think this is a clear and simple Freudian slip – Johann in the heat of the exchange said EXACTLY what she thinks – that the people of Scotland are not capable of making a political decision as they proved in 2011 by not voting Labour back into power… combine this with her later comment that despite winning the election “the majority of people did not vote for you (the snp)” – well yes Johann that’s how majority democracy works… unless of course you are a traumatised labour “leader”…..

      1. My evidence for this is fuck your evidence it’s common sense. Watch it again.

    4. Morag says:

      I thought maybe she meant “not programmed to make better political decisions”. As in, we’re not any better than Westminster, so why should we aspire to do better?

      If she flubbed her lines she should issue a statement clarifying what she meant to say. She’s only able to avoid doing that because the media let her off scot free.

  16. Grant says:

    She is just another employee of Westminster.

  17. Andy MacK says:

    Why not just take out the first “e” in “Genome”?

  18. Tamson says:

    Regardless of stance on the referendum, this is a horrific remark for any politician to make. Try the Jew/Muslim/Black substitution test on it.

    If it had been said by a Home Counties Tory backbencher or someone in UKIP, it would be called out for what it is: racism. Yet here it is, said clearly by the supposed Scottish Labour Party leader. Is it actually possible someone could get her up on a race hate charge?

  19. This is what she thinks of the folk who voted for her? Please awaken from your dream,its a nightmare.

  20. Mel Spence says:

    Must confess I have had some fun with this at Ms Lamont’s expense. However, there is a serious side to this. The left in general, and the labour Party in particular have a long and troubling history with Eugenics. From the Webbs through Laski, Stopes, Keynes and even Beveridge, Eugenics was a part of Labour’s DNA.

    Ms Lamont’s remarks, have brought that dark legacy into stark relief, at a time when the NHS in rUK is selling confidential medical records to insurance companies, there is a serious debate here which needs to be held. The information available to be sold and manipulated, is no longer just emails and phone records, it is you, right down to what determines your eye colour.

    1. bringiton says:

      Mel,couldn’t agree more.
      The next thing will be DNA testing at birth to decide whether you are a suitable person to be allowed life or not.
      If your parents have enough money,and you have genetic defects you will be allowed to live but for anyone else it will be the chop.
      Life determined by the bottom line of Health Insurance companies.
      A dangerous game when you play God with genetic selection and the results may not be as expected.

    2. tartanfever says:

      Mel, it’s difficult to mention eugenics without thinking of The Fabian Society, whom Lamont has a long history with.

      This from Wikipedia:

      ‘In the early 1900s Fabian Society members advocated the ideal of a scientifically planned society and supported eugenics by way of sterilization..’

      Indeed, when the Fabians launched their Scottish conference in 2012, it was Lamont they asked to give the inaugural speech.

      In that speech she came up with such belters as these:

      ‘Part of that is change will be showing that Labour is thinking again, and is prepared to engage in and win the battle of ideas.

      In a time of scarce resources and falling budgets, coming up with those fresh ideas, that new way of thinking, is all important and necessary.

      With less money, how are we going to tackle the big challenges of the day?

      How are we going to create opportunities and jobs for our young people?

      How are we going to create prosperity in Scotland that we can all share in?

      How do we ensure elderly people are given the care and dignity they deserve in later life?

      How do we protect hard-working families being buffeted by the rising costs in living?’

      Funny, I haven’t heard anyone from Labour come up with any solution to the issues she mentioned nearly 2 years ago.

    3. atypicalscot says:

      “The left in general, and the labour Party in particular have a long and troubling history with Eugenics”


      Labour are centre right. And what of the right? That does include UKIP and the Nazi’s.

      By your rationale, the full spectrum of politics has a problem with eugenics.

  21. There can be no other country on planet earth where a significant proportion of the political class (especially one with a belief that they can form a government) view their country as unable to govern itself.

    Johann Lamont and New Scottish Labour clearly do not even get to the question “should Scotland be independent” as they are unable to get past the basic “could Scotland be independent” that everyone else has passed, including David Cameron and Alistair Darling.

    Economic facts, figures and reasoned argument are lost of this type of mentality.

    1. Krackerman says:

      Johann’s country is not Scotland – it is Britain or as we now know it from a Westminster paper… an enlarged and renamed England..

  22. joan says:

    she was very clear “we in Scotland are not genetically programmed to make political decisions”. Sack her she’s an idiot. Everything in life is basically political, if we weren’t programmed to make decisions we wouldn’t be able to function.

  23. chicmac says:

    She cant have meant what she said surely? but it must remain an indictment of her ability to communicate. Much like the virus comment.

  24. Matt Seattle says:

    It’s easy to laugh but I don’t think she’s very well. Seriously. I feel sorry for her. If she really is a puppet she is being abused, there is a duty of care involved.

  25. Wes Wemyss says:

    I think Johann has realised, late in life, that she is good for f-all. She couldn’t teach to save herself, politically she’s a joke and you sure as hell wouldn’t want it breeding! The truth must hurt.

  26. Marian says:

    Unionists frequently claim that they have never said that Scotland is too wee, too poor, and too stupid to be successful as an independent nation.

    However we have seen at first hand this week Cameron in a speech claiming independent Scotland wouldn’t have have “broad shoulders” and “deep pockets” to run its oil and gas industry (funny how little Norway (5m people same as Scotland) does a far better job of it than UK), and now to add insult to injury a Scot no less (a proud Scot as she likes to style herself) makes a stupid racially motivated claim that Scots “aren’t genetically programmed to make political decisions”.

    So there you have the proof that the unionists cannot deny any longer that they have claimed that independent Scotland would be too wee, too poor, and too stupid to be successful as an independent nation.

    The Project Fear attempt to brainwash the Scots into not voting YES has reached a new low.

  27. Ken MacColl says:

    The real concern here is not that Johann Lamont, the Labour leader in Scotland, is a particularly ineffective communicator as anybody who watches her weekly, weakly performances at FMQ will readily see. She is incapable of deviating from her prepared script and her lack of talent is cruelly exposed week after week. This event is rarely even mentioned in the MSM so most Scots are unaware of the ladies deficiencies.

    When Ms Lamont digs for herself a spectacular hole as in the recent STV debate she can be fairly confident that the event will be unreported; and so it proves. No press and no broadcast media has reported far less commented upon Ms Lamont’s latest howler.

    Can you Imagine how the media would have reacted if a gaffe of similar proportion had been made by the Deputy First Minister?

    Douglas Fraser was commenting today upon the woeful performance of the Scottish (sic) printed media but resolutely ignored any analysis that would help explain the reasons why and these, I suggest, are that the MSM does not, in any meaningful way, reflect the views of their potential customers. It might also be interesting to learn how much income is presently being withheld from our national broadcaster..

  28. Helene Witcher says:

    I laughed like a drain on seeing this (its good telly) but watching it again, I realise she meant that Scots aren’t genetically programmed to make predetermined political decisions, (wish I could embolden the ‘predetermined’). Basically, she was saying Scots have free will when making their political decisions. Her wording was clumsy and made us laugh but her point was very reasonable. Just because I’m Scottish doesn’t mean I’ll make exactly the same political decision as my Scottish neighbour. And although many Scots are campaigning fiercely for others to agree with them (on both sides), we should all want a country that respects, accommodates and includes (almost) all views …. a democracy, not a totalitarian state

  29. EphemeralDeception says:

    JoLo gets confused when she goes off the script. She is absolutely not a Leader and just can’t take the stress on her own two feet. It is strange though that she never caught her own error immediately after the statement.

    Surely she must have known what she said after the fact. Anyone can miss-phrase a statement, but you recognise it as soon as it is uttered. JoLo did not say anything whatsoever to correct it, she just went straight on. That is just plain weird.

    So, while I am sure this is not what she wanted to say, it does say something about her inner feelings. She often mentions ‘in the real world’, well her various statements over the past year or so are starting to show the ‘real’ Jolo

  30. rabthecab says:

    She shoots, she scores! Unfortunately it may well go down as one of the most spectacular own-goals in Scottish history.

    Ken, you are absolutely right – I live in London and if I didn’t follow Bella’s blog I possibly may never have heard about this at all; if the SMSM didn’t mention it what are the chances it would’ve been reported this side of Hadrian’s Wall?

  31. fudgefase says:

    Note to politicians. Never, ever, ever, ever allow the word genetics to pass your lips. Just never. And we can’t go back to bed, Bella. We have to be at the dole office for 10 to claim some more handouts from our keepers down south.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Of course, just go and get my begging bowl now.

  32. Ken MacLeod says:

    When this quote is seen in context it looks quite different:

    RD (interrupting): But it [the bedroom tax] was introduced under Westminster rule, Johann

    JL: Yes of course, but it could be introduced anywhere if people believed it was a good idea. We’re not genetically programmed in Scotland to make political decisions, we choose the world we want to live in. And we have to win the political argument. My frustration with this debate is the idea that by changing the constitution you presume that the arguments around equality, around justice around women’s rights have been won. They have not. You win them by political argument. And I think the fundamental..

    Shame on Bella Caledonia for misrepresenting it.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Ken I see your point. Though of course I dont see anybody claiming independence by itself achieving these goals. I also find Lamont’s argument would be greatly strengthened if her party was at the forefront of justice and equality issues showing leadership and vision.They are not.

    2. Taranaich says:

      In context, I’d say it looks worse. If you took “we’re not genetically programmed in Scotland to make political decisions” at face value, then you can just say Lamont’s being a giant idiot and cannot even take the phrase seriously. Wouldn’t be the first time she’s said something preposterously boneheaded – it isn’t even the most idiotic thing she said in this very debate, that’d be her complete lack of awareness of the shipbuilding issues.

      But let’s look at this bit by bit:

      “Yes of course, but it could be introduced anywhere if people believed it was a good idea.”

      The point, of course, is that the Scottish Government did NOT believe it was a good idea, whereas Westminster did. So the people of Scotland have had something neither they nor their elected representatives agreed with with foisted on them by a government they did NOT elect. Lamont doesn’t see the problem. If Westminster thought bringing back the death penalty was a good idea, I doubt she’d fight it.

      “We’re not genetically programmed in Scotland to make political decisions, we choose the world we want to live in.”

      Perhaps Lamont chooses to live in a world where the decisions she makes are overruled by her masters at Westminster (such as her proposals for devolving Air Passenger Duty, met with such outcry from Scottish Labour MPs that she might as well have asked for a golden carriage), but we sure as hell don’t.

      “My frustration with this debate is the idea that by changing the constitution you presume that the arguments around equality, around justice around women’s rights have been won. They have not. You win them by political argument.”

      Lamont doesn’t seem to understand that the reason to change the constitution is because THE ARGUMENTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN WON. 91% of MSPs opposed the Bedroom Tax suggests a victory in the argument against the Bedroom Tax even before it was proven to be a crime against humanity. 81% against Welfare cuts, 79% against selling off Royal mail, 82% against VAT increase, etc – all show that 4 out of 5 MSPs agree on something. Is that not an argument that is “won”? Or will Lamont not be happy until we have an impossible 100% consensus in any decision?

      That’s bad enough as it is. In any case, it seems clear to me that Lamont’s point was that independence doesn’t automatically mean politicians won’t make poor decisions if they thought it was a good idea – which is a stupid strawman, because NOBODY is saying that Scots are immune from that sort of thing. What we are saying is that Scottish politicians are BETTER PLACED to make decisions that reflect the wishes of the people of Scotland than Westminster, as amply demonstrated by the fact that the people of Scotland agree with their MSPs on Bedroom Tax, Welfare Cuts, Royal Mail, VAT increase etc.

      Maybe not as comic as suggesting Scots are too stupid to run their own affairs, but it’s no less offensive.

  33. Ken MacLeod says:

    That’s a different argument entirely from the claim you made in the blog post above.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      What claim is that?

  34. Andrew says:

    She clearly is saying nothing of the sort. Her point is not that Scots aren’t genetically programmed to make political decisions it’s that *nobody* is genetically programmed to make political decisions. The implications of this is that Scotland being independent does not mean that it will automatically make perfect political decisions (just as nowhere in the world does), they will still need to debate these matters, as politics is necessarily discursive rather than natural. For one to disagree with this point one would have to have some sort of notion of natural Scottish cognitive superiority (over every single other human being).

    There is a serious argument to be had about whether or not Scotland would be more likely to make ‘good’ political decisions than the UK government, and related to this important questions about what makes a political decision a ‘good’ one in the first place. However the willful ignorance, and worse, intentional mischaracterisation of Lamont’s comments by some people is shameful.

  35. eyvindtheeasterling says:

    If Scots are incapable of political decisions, then Scotland leaving the United Kingdom would seem a boon for England when we consider how many Westminster PMs have been Scots or the descendants of Scots. Hmmm, some like Gladstone have been very good.

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