2007 - 2021

The Frightful Sphere


By Peter Arnott

Pascal was the first serious religious thinker to attempt to cope with the new “scientific” View of the Universe that Galileo and Newton had just come up with.  Suddenly the place where he had always lived turned out to be a very different kind of neighbourhood to the one he had thought had been created with humanity in mind and God’s Purpose at its heart.  Instead he found himself adrift in “a Frightful Sphere of which the Centre is Everywhere and of which the Circumference is Nowhere.

So where do we find ourselves this weekend?

It’s not where I or any of the polling organisations thought we’d be.  In fact the only people I know who called this pretty much exactly in advance were my fellow playwright David Greig and the Times columnist Matthew Parris.

I think the rest of us were expecting a weekend of permutations and possibilities, plots and surprises. From the immediately dramatic point of view, the voters of the UK have delivered us something of a let down.  Instead, it feels like the electoral map has caught up with reality, and that the nature of the first past the post electoral system (which rewards half the votes cast with sudden total dominion) has now told us what it feels like we’ve known all along.

As Dorothy once put it after the Tornado had dumped her house on a wicked witch. “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

People have already visualised the new Britain as Maggie Simpson – Yellow on top and Blue down below.  Her being wholly inarticulate and mysterious may also signify something.  Her choice of silence as a strategic response to the mayhem of the world around her also has a good deal to recommend it. However, if pressed for a headline as to “what all this means” historically, I’d maybe hazard this. :

There Is No Unionist Route to Power in Britain Anymore.

Ed Miliband’s Labour Party could not only not reach Scotland anymore – it couldn’t reach outside London and the exhausted and abandoned heartlands of South Wales and the North of England either. Tony “I told you so” Blair has already described Thursday’s election as a traditional Tory win over a traditional Labour Party. As usual with that gentleman, there is both some crass accuracy and myopic instrumentalism about what he’s saying.  He has been proved correct in a narrow sense however in that New Labour believed that it was no longer possible for Old Labour to win in the post industrial UK, that they had to redefine themselves as the Friends of the City and hope that nobody outside the South East would notice.

Well, obviously Scotland noticed. That’s why the electorate here have made the ruthless and simple decision that Labour cannot offer any defense against the Tories anymore, and that they may as well give the SNP a shot. (At least that’s how it feels from my Glasgow-centric point of view.  The centre is now EVERYwhere, remember?)  What is new is that Radical London found its man in Ed Miliband.  What is not new is that provincial working class England and Wales is almost wholly politically abandoned.

Ed Miliband’s New Version of Old Labour represented that wonderful, radical, diverse, maddening city, and how BADLY an intelligent, humane, ruthless North London Jewish Radical Intellectual turned out to go down in the rest of England.  The big surprise this week was not that the SNP swept the Liberal and Labour board in Scotland.  It was much more about how the Tories took all but the Labour heartlands in England, and how in those heartlands which wouldn’t vote Tory in the modern era if you threatened to set fire to them, any more than Glasgow or Dundee would, UKIP came a fairly impressive second.

Friends of mine in London are in shock at the moment, and had the result been a bit closer, they’d be very cross indeed with the SNP right now…but the clarity of the result on both sides of the border takes us into very new territory indeed.  And that territory is Balkan.

London is one centre.  It has one version of the Labour Party to represent it. It is now wholly distinct from the ex-industrial North which needs another version of the Labour party to fight for it. Wales puzzles the hell out of me, but for the moment let’s say it needs yet another Labour party to represent it (in Westminster anyway).  Scotland, which I think is the ONLY one-of-many-centres with a head start on the new rules of the universe…has now got the SNP  as a replacement for the Labour Party – which I don’t think is sustainable in the long term, except as a representative OF Scotland AT Westminster – and a left that needs to reinvent itself from the ground up, in which, I think and hope, the STUC and civic society have now got a crucial and exciting role to play. 

The Tories have got England. Almost all of it.  The Union has got NOBODY.  Except for the Ulster Unionists and the DUP in Northern Ireland.  It turns out that the moral and intellectual vacuity of the Better Together Campaign last year was the harbinger of an empty equivalent vacuum at the heart of the Imperial Project.  The Crown is Hollow.

I repeat: There is no Unionist route to power in Britain anymore.  The Tories can win in England and England is big enough to outnumber the rest.  Labour can’t ever win as a British Party again. The only future for the once upon a time British left is federal.

There will be time later for more detailed prognosis.  For now, in my view, what happened on Thursday was that the Westminster Electoral Machine caught up with the political change implied by Scottish devolution in 1999.  It took 18 years for the cultural event of the 1979 referendum to find a democratic mandate.  It has taken 18 years for the events of 1997, both Blairism and the second Devo referendum, to come home to roost politically. The future begins now. 

The SNP now have the challenge not only of herding 56 mostly new, mostly untested and mostly unpredictable MPs without any terribly clear role most of the time in the Imperial Parliament, they also need to define the Independence they stand for now not against a moribund and clearly knackered Status Quo but against a reinvigorated majority English Nationalist Tory Government and a British Media Pack wholly in thrall to its interests. They will also now, I hope, find themselves with a post-British opposition in Scotland.  The radical left and the Greens are already geared up for Holyrood in 2016.  I hope that the many capable people on the centre left here too, who belong for now to the Jim Murphy photo op and sporting club, will find a new channel for their abilities and energies and good will. The EU referendum and the Holyrood Elections will be upon us sooner than it is quite comfortable to contemplate and the challenge is both for the SNP and the wider civic society that they do and don’t represent to get ready for both of these events and the excitements and opportunities as well as perils they afford.

As for the individual stars of our little sideshow up here, I can understand with the busy couple of years ahead why Jim Murphy and the ScotLab hierarchy want to stress continuity.  But their members must surely to God want something better than the nihilistic oblivion that the Better Together nabobs have on offer. All Ed Miliband lost was an election, for God’s sake.  Jim Murphy lost a country and seemed to entirely clueless as to which century he was occupying.  Labour either re-invent themselves as a Scottish Party or the STUC get on the blower to the water walking Nicola Sturgeon. Labour’s future path here path is clarified by the  paradox  that the other cultural winner in Scotland of that electoral campaign just finished, other than Ms Sturgeon, was Ruth Davidson.  The Tories have now adjusted to the end of Britain and have reinvented themselves as a Scottish Party.  Labour have had since devolution to do the same.  Their belief that they could cling to the pre-devolution version of reality has now surely come definitively and finally unstuck. They now have the same number of MPs here as do the Tories and the Liberals after all…(even typing that sentence feels weird!) …and even among the Three Wise Monkeys of Scottish Labour the penny has surely finally dropped.

The other paradox is that the Federalism that the Liberals (all eight of them) used to go on about (and still do occasionally in the persons of David Torrance and (once in while) Willie Rennie…is an idea whose time has surely co0pme if there is anyone left standing to articulate it.

Still, I can’t help feeling, like Pascal, a bit deflated. It’s not so much that the universe has changed as that its nature has been clarified. There are still matters of power and morality to fight over, just like there were last week.  It’s just that, like the polling organisations who got it all so wholly wrong, we’re going to need a new map of the place.


Comments (39)

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  1. Johnny says:

    Until pilot wave theory is more universally accepted our world view will still have a foot in the 13th century.

    1. Dervon says:

      stop speaking collectively please. I find most of your concepts dont represent any of mine. Pascal’s notion of waking up to himself might be similar to waking up to the idea that we all need to wake up to ourselves. Scotland has never been united. Class lives there. Niddrie is not Barnton and good or bad for that.But please drop the we.I’ve been going to both places over the last forty years and i can tell you, not much ever changes.

  2. Holyrood is, or must be, the heart of our democracy, and we should strive to have diversity there. In 2016 we should elect Greens, SSP, and SNP. The SNP may lose its majority, and I actually think that would be a good thing. But it would make Holyrood where we decide things.

  3. George Gunn says:

    What makes you think the Tories in Scotland are a Scottish party? In the last days of the past campaign Ruth Davidson was going around urging people to vote Tory to “save the Union”. It is England that has no left wing party to represent the poor and the vulnerable. Just under 4 million people voted for UKIP who would crush us all like bugs if they could. Don’t be deflated. There is the Scottish election to come, the Euro referendum sooner rather than later and then we’ll see where Scotland is. I believe that for David Cameron this will prove to be a constitutional nightmare and short of quietly gassing the House of Lords I do not see how he will ever resolve or douse the constitutional blaze his party have simultaneously ignored and fed he raw petrol of arrogance. The media are obsessed by process – as are we – but trying to survive on Universal Credit focuses the mind of many Scots as it should focus the minds of the new 56 when the next financial collapse comes around which is as certain as the May Gobs in Caithness

    1. Dervon says:

      George, I fear you are wrong. The limits of so called capitalist exploitation haven’t even started yet.Also the spectre of DrJekyll and Hyde haunts the polling stations. Scot Unionist Syndrome flares up between elections and referendums and shows you where Scotland is: in a healthy state of existential angst.

  4. bringiton says:

    Not sure how things are going to pan out at Westminster.
    We have a Tory PM with a working majority who views the constitutional issue as having been settled for “a generation” and feels he can safely ignore Scottish wishes.
    The London establishment have shown over generations that the only thing they respect is power and how much our representatives are going to have remains to be seen since I am not too clued up on the mechanics of administration.
    Possibly tactics like filibustering may have some impact.
    The fact remains however that Westminster is the domain of England’s politicians and that the politics of England,as usual,will dominate affairs.
    The centre of political power in Scotland still remains in London,for now.

  5. Brian Powell says:

    I judge by how people react when the opportunity comes along. The Liberals supported the idea of Home Rule for 100yrs but when the chance came to truly discuss it, where it could become a reality with the referendum, they blew it and went for Unionism.
    They din’t open the subject when the questions on the ballot paper are ‘discussed’. They didn’t use the No vote they had to demand big changes.
    As a former Labour supporter, though I always wanted Independence, I thought at the beginning there would be a fierce debate among Labour for those who supported and those who opposed Independence. Tere was blanket opposition.
    Both failed the people of Scotland, they didn’t come close to rising to the great event before them. Little party supporters instead of towering debaters.

  6. Tekk says:

    “Labour’s future path here path is clarified by the paradox that the other cultural winner in Scotland of that electoral campaign just finished, other than Ms Sturgeon, was Ruth Davidson. The Tories have now adjusted to the end of Britain and have reinvented themselves as a Scottish Party.”


    I wish you’d “clarify” your writing skills, mate.

  7. IAB says:

    The Scottish Labour Party (if it ever emerges) will come from the grassroots, not the unions.

  8. Douglas says:

    “Somewhere over the rainbow…
    There is a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
    Somewhere over the rainbow, where the skies are blue
    Somewhere your dreams really do come true…
    And Scotland is free of Tory knobs…”

    Or something like that….

    Scotland, land of heroic defeats….the typical canny Scot mentality sees a NO vote when it mattered and YES vote when it doesnay…..what a bunch of dunces…

    This is a decisive defeat for progressive politics, I am curious to see what the SNP can do in Westminster….I don´t think very much, though there will be a few good speeches again, at least that…

    If we don´t get out of this Union there will be nothing left to save…

    Can I say one word? ETHICS!!!! We need an ETHICAL REVOLUTION in Scotland (maybe that´s what is happening? I dinnay ken).

    Gaia against the neo-liberal slaves to money, to pasta, to materialism….Gaia against the knobds and the toffs…

    A spiritual revolution or an ethical revolution or a humanist revolution….

    “I would say that there is no country better placed to challenge the neo-liberal orthodoxy than Scotland. A medium sized, English speaking European nation with one of the most literate populations on earth, politically awake, mobilised, keen for change. I call for the formation of a Scottish Civil Rights movement, because our civil rights are being undermined by austerity, it´s that simple. And a Scottish Civil Rights movement avoids all of the tired and hackneyed jargon of the old left, and situates the question squarely in the field of fundamental rights and in very concrete and detailed goals. If we can widen the circle of human rights to include a house and a universal living wage then we will have achieved a great deal…”(Drew Spiers)

  9. Douglas says:

    Here´s what Peter Hume says in his introduction to Early Travellers in Scotland..
    “Even to the close of the 17th century, Scotland was still a terra incognita, which men thought of as a half mythical country where strange things might exist which it was irrational to look for at home.Till past the middle of the 16th century, it was a common belief on the Continent that Scotland formed a distinct island, that it was considerably larger than England and that it lay not north and south but east and west, in the direction of Denmark and Norway…”

  10. Douglas says:

    So, Scotland, the Scotland most of us want, is indeed, “somewhere over the rainbow”…..or a half mythological land….how do we will a new Scotland into existence…? How, how how? How do we reach the other side of the rainbow…???

    Now what, Scotland????

    Aye, auld Scotia, bella Caledonia, the source of so many joys and so many frustrations….

    I see a gap, friends, I see a space, and that space or gap (or niche) and it is called ETHICS or SPIRITUALISM….the neo-liberal is a materialist who cannot satisfy the spiritual needs of humankind….he has no capacity for anything other than the proliferation of needs….humankind has spiritual needs, just like she has materialist ones…

    Those of us with the capacity to hear, to listen to Gaia as she is plundered…mother earth…..

    “Green, green, I love thee green
    Green the wind
    Green the branches
    The boat on the sea
    And the horse in the mountain”

    Ay. Lorca…

    The Spanish anarchist movement….well, they eschewed coffee and cigarettes and alcohol of any sort because they identified those as unwanton needs….the capitalist system, as Adam Smith rightly identified, proliferates needs….reduce your needs to the basic minimum and you strike a blow to the whose shebang…

  11. Douglas says:

    More Lorca (Manuel Rivas, El Pais, today)

    “He who saves a life, saves the entire universe. That sentence from the Talmud which shines out…, refers us to the inverse: “He who takes a life, kills the whole universe.” That is the shudder we feel every time Federico Garcia Lorca is named. His work is a body which hosts all of the lives and his death incarnates a defeat of the whole of humankind. That crime keeps coming back to shake us from our amnesia….the latest revelation, the report by the Francoist police from 1965, which clarifies the political intentionality of the crime of Granada, its nature of “crime of crimes”, a genocidal metaphor. There was no “accidental” death of Lorca. a priority of the Francoist pen-pushers was to leave the language soulless. The document talks of a “confession”. Which means that Lorca suffered torture. Lorca was an Ecce Homo. In Lorca, they killed everything they hated….”

    1. Saor Alba says:

      Brilliant Douglas.

  12. Douglas says:

    Poema del Joven…

    Yo vuelvo por mis alas,
    dejadme volver.
    Quiero morirme siendo,
    siendo amanecer.
    Quiero morirme siendo,
    siendo ayer.

    Yo vuelvo por mis alas,
    dejadme tornar.
    Quiero morirme siendo,
    siendo manantial.
    Quiero morirme fuera
    fuera de la mar.

    Yo vuelvo por mis alas,
    dejadme volver.
    Quiero morirme siendo,
    siendo amanecer.
    Quiero morirme siendo,
    siendo ayer.

    Ay, Federico, siempre contigo….

  13. tammcgarvey says:

    Hi Oz lovers, I represent the Lollipop King.

    I guess I’m just like most Scots at this juncture of our story. I feel bittersweet about the recent election. Bitter that we are still chained to Tory Westminster and the Britsih Establishment, like the Scottish unicorn on the Royal coat of Arms, watching- as the lion, remaining unchained, is left free to devour all it desires.

    The result in Scotland however was very sweet. Here’s hoping we can start meddling with the status quo and vested interests in the City of London to create changes, not only for Scotland but for others in the UK who have seen their futures melt away as the Houses of Commons and Lords devote most of their energies towards serving and protecting bankers and corporate oligarchs.
    I hope our 56 remember why they are there and avoid being contaminated by the heady environment of Westminster- though the contingent who are already there seem to have avoided it so far.

    There has been quite a lot of conversation over the different political and social realities that exist between Scotland and England. I believe that one thing we all have in common is that we all want shared prosperity. However, what we have in the Tories is a party who use the language of prosperity but whose true intent is to protect the historic greed and interests of the establishment.
    The huge mistake Labour made was to pretty much align themselves with this intent, this is why they have become increasingly meaningless and hugely discredited and as a result are now ultimately disintegrating. Thier caving in leaves a vacuum that has been filled by other “parties of the people” mainly the left leaning SNP or even the right wing UKIP who present themselves as trying to re-live some period of a white prosperous Britain in a “good old days” that probably never existed. We would be wise to remember, while they recieved the support of an impressive 3.7 million of the electorate they only won a single seat in Westminster. SNP got 56 seats with many less votes so lets value what we have achieved and make best use of it.

    Maybe the task of our SNP MPs will be- the discerning between models of real prosperity and models of top-end greed disguised as prosperity. Figures are figures, numbers are numbers.They can be manipulated, taken out of context and whole swathes of information left aside for political expediency and a skewed analysis can be fed to the population through collusion with the media. You only have to walk through streets in the poorer areas of the UK to see the real picture.
    The UK is in massive debt,(no one seems exactly sure who we are in debt to, a guy on the radio says -“to ourselves” if so- its ridiculous) but the wealth that would pay it exists in the pockets of a tiny minority and could end austerity almost overnight. The trickle down effect we expect of capitalism has now become trickle up, a draining of the lifeblood, with the debt being socialised and profits being privatised.
    The British establishment with its jaded memories of the glory of empire still haunts our politics as we meekly move on to assist in the “New American Century”.
    Britain is still a power junkie with oligarchs being sustained by state subsidies and handouts to keep them out of trouble and stop them demolishing what’s left of the economy.

    I think the SNP and other parties should spend effort towards identifying and exposing the places where the greed masquerading as prosperity hides, on behalf of all of the UK.
    I myself, in my own small way, might be a tiny example of how figures and stats presented do not mirror real life. I’m self employed and just getting by which is satisfactory enough.
    The Tories have me down as off the unemployment register and also have me down as a new business, sounds great, like – a big sucess! I don’t earn enough to pay tax, though I would like to pay tax if I thought it would keep our NHS and help pay for worthwhile services.
    I’m probably one of those who is just about getting through it. Other “new businesses” who, like me, are no longer unemployed struggle to a greater level. I guess many of us are among the “working poor”.
    However, I’m pretty skint and always in fear of the next big bill that will throw me back into the downward spiral again.
    God forbid I end up back on the dole which is just about the worst of all options.
    I can deal with my situation I guess but I have always had full time jobs until recently, now its almost impossible to find one.
    I had always been lucky enough to be invited into jobs without needing an interview- now Im failing at interviews, which often results in despondency. Will you mention that side of it Mr Cameron, or will you set Katie Hopkins on me to put me right? I still consider myself lucky in respect to what others are going through.
    That’s fair enough too but when we see how much of the nation’s wealth is squandered by the financial sector on say, un-earned bonuses, massive profits for debt swaps and dodgy financial trading -or on arms deals- which create further instability in far off lands I realise that we are continually fed a big lie.

    And while I see my mates who are commiitted to doing an honest days graft but have little or no prospects of a real job then it is obvious we have to do something radical.
    And may I add, many of them volunteer to graft with community projects for no pay so this whole “strivers and skivers” labelling is utter bullshit in my opinion and merely creates a myth which gives the Tories a licence to come down even harder on the poor.
    Blighting then selling off of services, delibertately setting things up to fail, creating favourable environments for the corrupt greed merchants, (remember Libor) misrepresentation and disinformation, stigmatising the vulnerable- expose it SNP! You will get even more support- because most of us do not support these values and do not recognise this as the Scotland or UK we want to live in. There must be a ton of stuff we could hold their feet over the fire for- say involvement or covering up of insitutional child abuse for one-, though we must remember, they are sly and ruthless and experienced and will do anything to stop cracks appearing in the old gravy boat.

    And it’s sadder to think that we reside in the UK, a nation in austerity mode, whose foreign interventions are behind some of the instability causing infintely greater suffering and injustice for people in other lands. I hope soon that a new political dynamic will shine a light on these dark practices.

    Nicola Sturgeon is right when she says that austerity must not cut the services that help create prosperity. I would further like to urge our new MPs to find out how much debt the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK are actually liable for and how much of it is about the poor paying the gambling debts of the powerful and greedy. Who are the greedy? lets find them, get them to pay their share of the bill and let’s get back on track with dealing with the host of other problems facing the planet and it’s people.
    Prosperity breeds success and success increases prosperity. Greed is immoral and corrupt, is a failure that should not be tolerated and must be exposed. I hope the SNP get in and about the Westminster old boys club, but even more I still wish we could break away from it altogether.

    1. Andrew Milne says:


      1. tammcgarvey says:

        Thank you amigo.

    2. Guy from exotic Bristol says:

      You want to be both in the Westminster old boys club….and break away from it altogether.
      Pretty much sums up the Scottish position – enjoy the benefits of a union whilst wanting full independence!

      1. tammcgarvey says:

        Thanks GTB.
        The last place we want to be is in Westminster, but while we are there in numbers, face to face with the political elites, lets start asking the questions few have dared to ask. There is little or no evidence that they have Scotland’s interests at heart. The probably don’t have the interests of the people in exotic Bristol at heart either. I hope we get independence soon but leave a legacy of transparency and accountability in Westminster that also benefits the rest of the UK who will hopefully demand better politics.

        1. tammcgarvey says:

          Oh,by the way GTB.Just noticed why you respnded to that, getting “in and about” in Scotland is more about getting fired into a melee as opposed to joining a club. Cheers.

          And Darien (Below). Independence is without doubt the priority, the sooner we are out of Westmonster the better. I just think we should cause a much needed stooshie while we have the chance on behalf of everyone who suffers at the hands of Westminster politics. The place badly needs a political laxative to clear out all that shite. Wouldn’t it be great to get independence and give them a kick in the ba’s as we leave?
          All the best

  14. Methusalada says:

    The Labour Party HQ in London Has obviously got much to think about to restore peoples trust. Obviously the first stage is the appointment of a new leader selected by it’s members. As long as this is not a Blairite or any of it’s incumbent devotees it could survive. My only contribution comment is that it cannot or should not be a champagne Charlie socialist & Lord Darth Vader should be eliminated in any & all of the selection processes. Personally I would like to see somebody with strong trade union links & who is trusted as a man of the people with political experience of Parliament such as Andy Burnham MP.

    1. Darien says:

      “…such as Andy Burnham MP.”

      Aye he wid fair set the huis on fire in auld Scotia. (‘burn them’ for slow yins). No way back for SLAB methinks. Guid riddance, as the polisman on allo allo would say.

      1. Methusalada says:

        Darien & George Gunn I am not a member of the Labour Party I was attempting to give some credence to whom I personally believe would make an honest broker for the English Labour Party !
        I understand only too well the feelings of many in Scotland after Gordon Brown lies & faked & false hopes of truth last year. Whom ever becomes new UK Labour Party leader I hope that he or she is not a Blairite & has a bigger enough heart to apologize to the people of Scotland & a bigger brain to present it in a meaningful way. It is my personal hope, wish & desire that Scotland grows & develops into the nation it is truly desired upon by the people & Government of Scotland .
        I hope & trust that Scotland shall gain it’s rightful independence as I do Wales, but Wales has more rivers to cross & more Labour MP’S to remove first.
        I hope you now realise I meant no offence to the people of Scotland it’s the people of England who now are in need of quality leadership that matches that within the SNP.
        I look forward with relish to following the newly elected SNP politicians in that blasphemous place of inhumanity known the House of Commons, Westminster. Collectively the SNP elected MP’s might to start with cleansing their Augean Stables, which I think may even be too big a task for Alec Salmond MP.

        1. Darien says:

          “I look forward with relish to following the newly elected SNP politicians in that blasphemous place of inhumanity known the House of Commons”

          Thanks Methusalada. Like many Scots, I simply want to see the 56 SNP MP’s depart the English Commons as soon as possible. The longer they sit there the more worried I will be.

  15. George Gunn says:

    methusalada; the Labour Party cannot appoint a leader to a thing that no longer exists.

  16. Darien says:

    “Maybe the task of our SNP MPs will be…”

    ……to secure independence, I would have thought is their primary task. And sooner rather than later. The expectation of most Scots who voted SNP is that the 56 should not get too comfortable warning their bums on tartan seats at Westminster. The objective of the SNP is in fact NOT to represent Scots in that place.

    “….define the Independence they stand for”

    Is this a serious question?

    “nihilistic oblivion” sounds too good for SLAB. At least Murphy should now have time to finish his first degree.

  17. Douglas says:

    Hala Madrid!!!

    1. Devron says:

      Madrid, the royal version, comes a poor second again in anthems. Singing of brotherhood in their beautiful Catalan language the anthem of Barcelona is a song for everyone. Please judge for your self.

  18. Saor Alba says:

    Why don’t you think that having the SNP instead of Labour is sustainable in the long term Peter?
    I fail to understand this statement.

    1. Saor Alba says:

      I can only see a phoenix arising from the Labour for Independence group and/or those others who could not identify with the Blairites and New Labour and consequently left the party.
      However, I don’t think that you can or should dismiss the SNP, or indeed, the Greens. We are moving into new territory and do not need the Labour Party that has just left the building.

      1. Dervon says:

        Saor, the SNP are not a homogoneous group of political thought. Its’ a ten pee lucky bag of in there.

  19. fraise says:

    The tories have always held the right and loathed the left. The S.N.P. hold the left and loathe the right. Labour hold no ground but continually shift according to the stance of the tories.
    Thus without s fixed and firm grip on your own beliefs labour fears everyone and subsequently falls into cracks of oblivion.
    labour will next week try to reinvent itself but will again fail because you cannot be all things to all men whilst only occupying a vacuum left by others.

  20. Guy from exotic Bristol says:

    Why is Wales a “mystery”? Perhaps they know that they need the union what with 25% of all jobs being in the state sector, little in the way of industry and coal that is too deep and too expensive to extract. Oh and to top it all there is the Welsh party which spends most of its time and money keeping alive a minority language.

    1. Darien says:

      There are other major historical and institutional differences between Scotland and Wales:

      – Wales was ‘subsumed’ by England; Scotland was never ‘subsumed’ by any state, not even the Romans
      – The creation of the UK is a joint-venture state formed by two independent states, Scotland and England, both of which formerly had their own parliaments
      – Wales is referred to as a ‘Principality’, whereas Scotland, like England was/are Kingdoms
      – Distinctive national Scots Law
      – national Church of Scotland

      I would also tend to agree with Guy on the different economics of both nations.

    2. Peter Williams says:

      Travel over the Severn Bridge and you may learn something positive about the country.
      Welsh has equal legal status with English, is used as the medium of education in many schools, most of which are over-subscribed, and does not need Plaid Cymru to spend its time and money- nor does it-to keep the language alive.
      We know that people like you want to portray Wales as a basket case, but when the people of Wales realise that the Labour Party doesn’t give two shits about Wales, then we will see a political change such as has happened this week in Scotland. Remember, only 5 years ago, no one in Scotland would have dreamed that at the next election, the SNP would sweep the board.
      So my friend, travel over the Severn, meet us and talk to us, and maybe you will become enlightened.

      1. Guy from exotic Bristol says:

        Being half Welsh myself including having a very Welsh surname which begins with the letter J and ends in S I should perhaps side with all things that side of the border but yet I don’t.I notice that you don’t deny the fact that 25% of the workforce relies on the other 75% to sustain it.Plaid Cymru didn’t exactly set the map of Wales alight now did they and two cousins of mine who live there have pointed out that keeping alive the language seems to be all that they are interested in.The contrast in the leaders debate on TV between the female leaders of SNP and Plaid was quite startling. As with Scotland I’m all for full fiscal independence and we can all see just what happens when Westminster leave you to it. Wales is indeed a basket case (as any visitor to the ex-mining towns would testify) although the scenery of north wales is pleasant, the lava bread from Swansea market is to die for and I’m a huge fan of the Manic street preachers.

      2. Well said, Peter. Five years is several political lifetimes.

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