Kezia’s Subway Moment

Something seismic is going on in Scotland and the descent of Scottish Labour is a big moment for Scotland’s radicals argues Gerry Hassan.

It has been a turbulent few days for the Scottish Labour Party.

Its leader, Kezia Dugdale, on Friday, quietly came out, choosing the time, place and manner of her announcement. There was no controversy following this – beyond the use of the word ‘admitting’ in ‘The Scottish Sun’ piece – with all the prejudice that implies.

In the same ‘Fabian Review’ interview Dugdale stated that in the scenario of a Brexit vote in the June 23rd referendum and Scotland voting to stay in the EU, it was ‘not inconceivable’ that she would then support independence. This was a rare moment of clarity and honesty, even bravery. But it was quickly followed within a couple of hours by a retraction and rewriting of what she had said in the ‘Daily Record’ – with her repeating the standard line that she was, of course, in all circumstances against independence.

Labour colleagues have not minced words: using words such as ‘an almighty clusterfuck’, ‘a massive gift to the Tory party’ and calling it Dugdale’s ‘Subway’ moment. This is more than a new leader misspeaking or being lent on by party heavies. Instead, Labour is caught between a rock and a hard place – damned if they do or don’t between unionist and trying to accommodate the independence dynamic. In the indyref, up to 37% of Labour’s Westminster vote supported Yes, and following on from this, many of these voters have shifted to supporting the SNP. To compound this, from the opposite direction, the party is hemorrhaging votes amongst No voters, with the last survey showing the Tories outpolling Labour in this group (35% to 30%).

Where this leaves Labour is that an uncompromising unionist message (no to more powers) loses it some of these indy voters, while a more soft on independence line is seen as weak and loses Labour unionist voters, and infuriates some of the party’s hierarchy here.

There is in this confusion and chaos a simple human element. Kezia Dugdale is decent, humane and not a machine politician or operator. But she is the party’s eighth leader in seventeen years – a sign of a party where something fundamental went wrong a long time ago. She was only elected to the Parliament in 2011 and became leader after serving as an MSP for four years. In short, she is a rookie, learning as she goes along, and importantly, she has no one behind her with the grandees off earning big bucks or nursing their wounds after electoral defeat. There is very little left for her to draw on in the party in terms of resources, organisation, policy or personnel.

Something seismic is going on in Scotland. Part of this is the effect and aftermath of the indyref and the ‘Big Bang’ of democratic engagement it facilitated. First, there has been the explosive growth of the SNP membership wise – which has yet to fully impact on the nature of the party and politics. Second, has been the rise of a new current and generation of radical activism  – which has found some home in the Greens, Scottish Socialists and RISE, but is more located beyond parties, in a disparate and ad hoc array of groups and energy.

This is the context of Scottish Labour’s accelerated decline – aided by the Tories finding a new purpose. Yet, Labour’s malaise is about much more than siding with the Tories in the indyref, and recent events. It even dates back further than the 2007 and 2011 defeats, limits of New Labour, Blairism and Brownism, to the nature of the party and its dominance: a caste party based on patronage, clientism and even kin politics – with a subterranean culture of inter-generational Labour favouritism and insularism.

All of this: long-term and immediate trends point to some big dynamics about the future. Scottish Labour have lost their place, purpose and any feel for how they do politics effectively. The party which in 2010 won 42% of the Scottish vote is now trundling along regularly at or below 20% in the polls, and worse, in a number of them, coming in third place behind the Tories.

The defining feature of post-indyref politics is the appeal of the SNP. But this is not the left vision some hoped pre-2014 and in its aftermath; the rhetoric and hype of ‘Red Nicola’ which was always misplaced has mostly dissipated. In its place, there is a soft centrist, slightly centre-left nationalism which dominates the middle ground.

If the Tories finish in second place then politics could become about a soft, moderate nationalism versus a measured, but unapologetic unionism. This would also have a centrist-left versus centrist-right frame, which could aid discussion on specifics, rather than generalities, and leave lots of room for radical voices at either end of the political spectrum, most obviously on the left. The SNP’s centrism, Tory small rise and Labour Armageddon could create conditions where new spaces open up for the new radicals: the Scottish Greens and maybe beyond 2016, RISE and the wider forces which emerged in the indyref.

The SNP’s front-runner status in this year’s election – is rather like a football team facing the run in to win a league championship. There is now a different culture in and around the Nationalists: they expect to win, are becoming defined by power and the aura it holds, and face increasing pressure not to do anything to jeopardise their new found popularity, while everyone else takes pot shots at them trying to bring them down.

This produces in the SNP leadership an inherent caution which was always evident in the party, but become even more accentuated. The Sturgeon-Swinney leadership is one combining some social democratic sentiment with fiscal conservatism, and for now the latter seems to have come to the fore, on public spending, taxation and local government finance. There is even an element of strategic triangulation in this redolent of New Labour: saying look at Labour increase wholesale taxes, and the Tories propose no change, whereas we have a sensible middle position.

Scottish Labour’s saga is a historic moment for politics to depart from the safety first script. Labour is the product of a politics pre-devolution which was successfully British and Scottish at the same time and which now cannot bring off this balancing act since the Parliament was established. The SNP have taken the Scottish card, while the British angle has become more difficult to navigate and explain, leaving the party bereft of any real political message.

As Scottish Labour potentially sinks – it is important to remember that even in its golden era it was never a very convincing social democratic party (and never ever a socialist party, even in the 1920s and 1930s). It was first and foremost, a party of organised labour, and then of numerous vested interests. But then again the SNP are not a social democratic party – as this isn’t the DNA or soul of the party – but instead one with social democratic sentiment which is a very different proposition.

Scotland’s radical tradition have been ill-served by Labour and the SNP – who have occupied the energies and spaces where a more considered and challenging politics of the left could emerge.

This is an opening to make sure politics isn’t just about consensual, ‘Big Tent’, power, patronage and pretending that ‘we are left’ because most of us reject the ‘‘effing Tories’. Instead, Scotland’s radicals – can if Labour shrinks further and faster – use this opportunity and begin to showcase the limits of SNP Scotland pointing towards a politics which doesn’t postpone all bold and imaginative possibilities until the day after independence. That was never a Scottish future offering much beyond party loyalists, risk aversion and a conservatism which dared not call itself such in nationalist and progressive circles. The 2016 election could witness historic changes which have been a long time coming.

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  1. muttley79 says:

    Scotland’s radical tradition have been ill-served by Labour and the SNP – who have occupied the energies and spaces where a more considered and challenging politics of the left could emerge.

    Interesting, surely to be developed further.

    1. John Murphy says:

      A fair point made. We need radical policies to develop our economy further. Labour have become irrelevant due to their subservience to London. The SNP have embarked on the road to proving they can be trusted and therefore have to a degree not wanted to cause uncertainty. Time for socialist policies

      1. PeterPansSon says:

        Why do we “need” radical politics?

        I would argue that we pretty well know all the bloody problems, and 80% of the solutions already. The “problem” is your beloved working class, who a century and a half into advanced capitalism won’t follow the sodding script, and never will. Good luck with the f*****s, in Scotland. Here, their Pigmee cousins in Thailand share everything with their Scottish cousins; obese in one generation, thick as two short planks, high and mighty attitude to their neighbors. Oh, and if course, the “I’m way to good” for that shitty job attitude to just about everything.

  2. John says:

    You certainly like pigeon-holing and categorising don’t you.

    Tell me, what is Social democratic?

    1. tickle says:

      a mix of capitalist production and state intervention to mitigate the subsequent inequality.

      social democrat is actually the easiest ideology to pin down.

      1. Sandy Ritchie says:

        favoured by Blair, Mandelson, Brown …and Sturgeon…snort

  3. JohnEdgar says:

    Wee corrective here. Scotland’s radical tradition not served by Labour or the SNP! Eh? What do you mean by radical? You can certainly include Labour and the early forerunners of the “radical tradition” not serving Scotland. They were “unionist” and only saw these changes being effected through Westminster. They always tacitly deferred to Westminster.
    By serving Scotland first and foremost by declaring an independent Scotland as the only way to move forward radically in Scotland to shift the focus, then the SNP have begun that process.
    The radicals in the past were all through their associates centrist, westminsterite and anti- national, except when it came to the British state which never did national. That was Johnny Foreigner.
    In the context of Scotland, what we have seen os a radicalisation of ordinary people taking the first steps to cast off their subservient cottar mentality vis-a-vis Westminster. Next we see our representatives at Holyrood gaining experience and confidence. These are radical shifts. Radicalism is not a characteristic of the hard left, soft left or any left. The empowerment and rediscovery of the Scottish “voice” and voting power outwith the ” branch parties” of Westminster, that is the start of the new radicalism.
    Lest we forget, the criticism of branch party status was first voiced from within Labour by Johann Lamont, the ScotLab leader after the Referendum 1. Perhaps, this is some indication of hope yet for an independent labour party north of the Tweed.
    ScotLab has one MP at Westminster. They are no longer any use to the head office there. Not much lobby fodder either. Perhaps, they need to rise up and be a Scottish party again – shades of ILP?

    1. Susan Macdiarmid says:

      Thank you: all I would have wanted to say and a bit more I agree with, and all much better expressed than I could have managed.

      1. JohnEdgar says:

        I am sure, Susan, you could have an input from your perspective, background and experience. It all adds to the discourse.

  4. Lachie Macquarie says:

    What’s more radical than independence? With your resource dependent on WM, careful stewardship is an imperative.

    1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Was going to say that exactly, Lachie

      1. Valerie says:

        Totally agree. Folk don’t seem to get the fact that SNP are actually competent in their governance, and that’s important. As a member I get impatient too, but they don’t have to appeal to me – I’m in and working for them, until we reach our ultimate goal.

        It’s simply not prudent to go crazy at this point. They are quietly working away at getting some important economic issues in place – like investment and jobs. They have a lot of plates spinning and doing the best job this country has seen to date.

        The SLab demise is only vaguely interesting. They will provide the history books with an interesting study in incompetence and arrogance, but for now it’s not even a squirrel, it’s a dead squirrel.

        1. JohnEdgar says:

          Slab demise is an interesting phenomenon. Tory demise on Scotland started, or rather the outward manifestation of it, was dramatically seen in 1997 when all Tory MPs in Scotland lost their seats. There had been a gradual loss since Thatcher appeared. Since 1997 they have added one MP to their representation from Scotland at Westminster. Ironically, they are better represented at Holyrood due to the more democratic voting systems there. The Tories were against devolution and opposed the new voting systems!
          The Slab demise was sudden and brutal. Less Than a year after their ” better together” victory, they went from 40 plus MPs to one – same as the. Tories and the LibDems! A real crash! It has not registered with the msm or BBC Scotland yet. They still think in terms of the two party English system and the wee LibDems.
          Not even the toxic Tories collapsed do dramatically. That seismic shift is not even recognized by the Slabbers. Many of their commentators still hope that normal politics in Scotland will resumed – from a Westminster village perspective.
          When the formerly main party in Scotland awakes and sees how far it has fallen, it will either go mad or take steps to redefine itself. We await.

        2. Steven Milne says:

          Are the SNP competent in government?

          Forth Road Bridge closure?
          Police Scotland a shambles?
          NHS in meltdown?

          1. Sandy MacDonald says:

            Are the SNP competent in government? Yes!

            Forth Road Bridge closure? Vindicated by independent inquiry – unionist parties opposed the new bridge the SNP are building!

            Police Scotland a shambles? Policy was and is sound, execution of project and internal communications poorly conducted, with a very sad event. SNP too the hit for this, which was disgracefully fuelled by unionist parties, did labour take the hit for £15Bn wasted in NHS IT Systems in England poorly implemented?

            NHS in meltdown? That will be why junior doctors are not on strike in Scotland and people express high satisfaction for the Scottish NHS?

            If that’s all you have to complain about in nine years of government, eight of those under austerity as a result of labour mismanagement and resulting cut budgets, you should join the SNP!

            The whole of Scotland knows what a shambles labour are and their leaders shortfalls. Compare labour with SNP honestly and you’ll use both votes for SNP, if you have a brain

            labour in Scotland will come across to the independence side, but there will be a split. I would hope those who are independence minded in labour prosper as the unionist will wither on the vine!

          2. John B Dick says:

            NHS in meltdown?

            Who told you so? Never believe anything they have to say, on any subject, ever again.

            If they say “It’s a nice day.” check.

            Would it be the same people who said that the party that gets the most seats always forms the government?

  5. Sandy Ritchie says:

    The word left, even diluted within the phrase centre left, used to describe the SNP, is a joke. The SNP has only a single aim, separation. They have no left wing inclinations or credentials except if the policy is considered popular to Labour voters. To reach their goal of separation, it was obvious to SNP strategists that they had to lure Labour supporters, knowing full well that there was little chance to pick up votes from Tories. To this end the SNP has engaged in populist rhetoric such as referring to SLab red Tories, accusing any opposition of talking Scotland down, and refusing to take any responsibility for the Tory austerity measures they are happy to implement (because it’s useful to blame WM on bad news). Privatising FETA, water services and possibly Calmac western isle ferry services, along with their reluctance to introduce a 50% tax band, are examples of their basic neoliberal instincts which are being foisted on an unsuspecting Scottish electorate. So please refrain describing the SNP as centre left…such a description is an oxymoron.

    1. James Coleman says:

      That rant sounds very much like your “subway moment”. Good God, have you no other ideas apart from SNP BAAAD? The missing link in ‘Scottish’ Labour is a complete dearth of radical thinking, using the word in its fundamental sense.

      1. sandy ritchie says:

        SNP Bad goes without saying…

        1. muttley79 says:

          Sandy, you genuinely seem to believe that there are no left wingers in the SNP, whether members or elected representatives. There really is not much to be argued about if you are going to be this blinkered. The article was very good by Gerry Hassan, it essentially questioned the extent of social democracy ideology in both the Scottish Labour Party and the SNP. This is an interesting angle to take, and yet your posts are all about the SNP. I think sadly that in your perspective only the Scottish Labour Party can be both left wing and social democratic. Have you been asleep since the 1980s?

          1. sandy ritchie says:

            There may well be left wingers in the SNP… But where are they? They defend SNP privatisation, Sturgeon’s 50% tax spinning, loss of of thousands of college places, cuts to uni bursaries… Please don’t make me laugh …if there are any lefties in SNP, they’ve had their tongues cut out

    2. JohnEdgar says:

      Sandy, your word separatism being the only aim of the SNP gives your assumption away. You equate the left and radicalism only with Westminster union!
      Westminster is the last place to foster left radicalism. A useless first past the post system. A House of Lords based on privilege, class distinction, aristocratic hereditism and patronage. A place where many of Labour’s so- called grandees and former red socialists are either in or queuing up to get in. If not there, then, like Gordon Brown (Red Gordon ), they are advising monied institutions how to make more – neoliberal bastions of international finance.
      If,when ScotLab finally imploded, people of your persuasion and temperament will be able to find a party north of the Tweed which you can support. I can tell you this, you will be able to develop radical policies more easily in an independent Holyrood. The SNP re the first to acknowledge that independence and Holyrood are for the whole country to develop a body politic here in Scotland.

      1. sandy ritchie says:

        John ..you’ve made assumptions …that have no bearing on my comments, which to remind you were my criticism of the SNP being described as being centre left. Nowt to do with WM good or bad. Anyway if WMs that bad why is the SNP sending its MPs down there when they are powerless against the Tories…only pointless posturing for their supporters in Scotland …when the power to improve the lot of Scots is now in Holyrood… Assuming the SNP want to make a success of our new powers… which I doubt. Why I support GB is because the Welsh English and Scots steel workers have everything in common..they’re no different. I support the trainee doctors in the struggle against the Tories even though that dispute has no direct bearing on NHS Scotland. Finally I’m looking forward to listening to Jeremy Corbyn this Saturday where he will be supporting Kezia in the HR elections. I may evey get a selfie…lol

        1. JohnEdgar says:

          No, Sandy. I have no assumptions. I was referring to your opening word “separatism”, if you care to look at your opening statement. As to your comment about the SNP being at Westminster, until independence cones about, people here need representation. As the SNP attained 50% of the vote and trashed the other three parties, then progress is being made.
          If you still want to stick to the the Westminster system with its “democratic” House of Lords, then you must think again. Strange that Labour ex MPs and hingers-on are keen to be ennobled. Great socialism that!

          1. sandy ritchie says:

            Well we agree on one thing at least…no 2 things. House of Lords should be democratic…no Lords…but elected “senators”.. and yes I agree ex Labour MPs and Union leaders just cannae let go ..#hypicrites…interesting though neither Blair or Brown have taken up the Lords option

  6. Hamish says:

    I resrve judgement until we see what happened with the Calmac/Serco battle.

    1. Gerry Fisher says:

      But the Calmac/ Serco battle is nothing to do with socialism, centre or democracy – it is only about the rules on services and national ownership enforced by the EU. If we were independent and out of the EU no Scottish government with policies for the whole of the nation would allow Calmac to be outtendered.

  7. John B Dick says:

    “The party which in 2010 won 42% of the Scottish vote is now trundling along regularly at or below 20% in the polls, … ” And my personal benchmark for failure 17.1% is within reach.

    That’s what the rebranded DDR communist party got in the first elections in re-united Germany. They lost the whole country, yet still had 17.1% of loyal followers.

    “…. a new current and generation of radical activism – which …. is … located beyond parties, in a disparate and ad hoc array of groups and energy.”

    …. Including the Salvation Army!

    Recognising the significance of this change, and post-referendum re-engagement will be key to understanding the changes in the next few years.

    1. JohnEdgar says:

      There is a subconscious image of despair in the minds of the Slab and the Scottish Tories. It is image of Edvard Munch’s picture entitled ” scream”. The head offices have jettisoned the branch! They have to fend for themselves. They will be the parties in Scotland too wee too poor too weak too disorientated to do anything. Or they may well accept Tha they have a role in an independent Scotland? Is that wishful thinking on my part? Can you imagine if England actually left the Union what these hapless north britishers would do? They have already in their unionist parties, the three UK parties from Scotland been marginalised by EVEL. Cameron took them for a ride and ditched them the day after the Referendum 1. Gordon Brown in particular has never recovered. Any time he appears on a platform he is agitated, fuming, incoherent and paces frantically up and down with exaggerated histrionics wondering what happened to his fiefdom. He now consoles himself establishing socialism in a merchant bank!

  8. James Coleman says:

    A very good summing up of the current state of politics in Scotland. But:-

    “new radical activism…in a disparate and ad hoc array of groups and energy.”

    ‘Twas always thus among far left groups. Too many of them, too many different views among them, and always sniping at each other or the main parties, so that coming together is well nigh impossible.

    1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Exactly. “Left” and “right” are sound-bite political titles long out of date

      1. Frank says:

        That’s a very grandiose claim to make – would you care to elaborate?

  9. David Allan says:

    Anas Sarwar top of the Slab Glasgow List , says it all about the demise of Labour , a fine example of a working class Labour Candidate or yet another career politician with his nose in the trough like so many that deservedly finally received the verdict of the electorate last May.

    A list vote for Sarwar when real progressive alternatives are available, bring on the Glasgow Vote.

    SLAB just don’t get it!

  10. Frank says:

    For me, candidates shouldn’t be able to stand in the constituency’s and on the regional lists? This makes a mockery of democracy and results in a situation where candidates that were rejected by the electorate still make it into Holyrood. It speaks volumes that the leaders of Labour and the Tories in Scotland can’t win first past the post? List MSPs are second class MSPs and rightly so; they are selected by party hierarchies and not elected by the people – perhaps the time has come for a boycott of the second vote?

    1. John B Dick says:

      Brian Wilson and others took that line when the SNP gained their share of MSPs from the list. PR (like grammar) may be too difficult a concept for you. d’Hondt wasn’t designed to ‘see off the nationalists’ but to reflect what the electorate had voted for.

      It’s much more subtle than you imagine and is inextricably connected to unicameralism as Donald Dewar explained it to me 60 that’s SIXTY years ago. It provides (as he said) “a proper job for backbenchers” and allows a regional candidate such as The Margo to get elected on the list.

      He himself was first on the Glasgow list to ‘brand’ it and Henry McLeish and others were first in their regions too though there was no prospect at all that they would not win their constituencies.

      Sixty years ago, the Conservatives had half the popular vote, and the SNP were further from a majority government than SGP or RISE are today. The notion that d’Hondt was designed to disadvantage the SNP is anachronistic and inumerate. Anyone who thinks it could ever have been thought so is a numpty.

      How’s it working out for 2016 do you think? It will get Labour representation in parliament to reflect their loyal following, no more, no less, and give them a voice in parliament. If they behave themselves, they could present themselves as a viable alternate party of government or coalition partner.

      They can’t do that now.

  11. John Mooney says:

    Anas Sarwar placed top of the “Scottish”? Labour Glasgow list perfectly epitomises the dead defunct dinosaur that Labour has become,a sclerotic rancid cohort of has beens and chanty rasslers as my old granny would say!I listened with hilarity to bbc.Scotland this morning to that ghost from the past,the one and only M.Curran,this motley crew are beyond parody.It will be interesting to ponder if Sarwar gets into Holyrood how long it will take for the knives to come out against Kezia Dugdale perhaps with the serial “Friend”of all the previous Labour leaders the one and only J.Baillie hovering per usual in the background. :0)

    1. gavin says:

      Seems to me Deputy Dug has already been elbowed aside by Morning side Murray.
      Her days in the sun are numbered, and she will surely be glad of that.
      Being a stooge to Ffoulkes then Murphy is bad enough, but to be then persuaded to lead this bunch of disperate, disunited me-firstists is as low as it gets.

      1. JohnEdgar says:

        Yes, and none of the fabled ” big beasts”, or so-called ” grandees” came and ” supported” Kezia. Corbyn did not even turn up to patronise the gullible and thank them for being “lobby fodder” at Westminster. That signal means that Kezia is already on a shoogly peg. After her contradictions last week, she is treading water until the election is over. The head office or politbüro have spoken.
        The ScotLab branch are not in a good way.

    2. John B Dick says:

      Six weeks.

      What odds are offered?

      1. sandy ritchie says:

        If I were a Bookie….my books would be closed…#realisticSLab

  12. Vronsky says:

    I’m shocked you haven’t died of exhaustion from telling us we should vote Labour – telling us over and over again. Never before in the history of human endeavour has a dead horse been beaten with such relentless cruelty.

    Of coure the SNP is not the answer to our problems, nor is any party. But the Labour Party is just a very bad joke. Throw a handful of soil on the coffin, step away from the graveside and let them rest. We need to be up and doing.

  13. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    I had a conversation with an acquaintance, a humane, decent, well-educated person, who has had a successful career, concerning the decline of the Scottish Labour Party. My acquaintance had had membership extending over six decades and had held senior public office.
    During the conversation, I had an insight: my acquaintance believed sincerely that socialism and the Labour Party were the same thing; socialism is what the Labour Party does.
    This assertion was not made, but as the conversation – agreeable and good-natured – continued, it became increasingly clear that this assertion was an article of belief.
    Now, I know that the Labour Party and every other party has its chancers, opportunists and self seekers, but this person was not one of those. This was a committed member and someone who, in a long career, had had achievements which improved the lot of many people.
    To criticise the Labour Party was to criticise socialism and socialism had no other conduit than the Labour Party. The SNP is an existential threat to the Labour Party, so, to this mindset, it must be compressively opposed.
    The principle of charity always merits respect. Humiliation, contempt, ridicule – these are unlikely to change the sincere believer.

    1. Jim McIntyre says:

      If you know the Labour hierarchy in Scotland, you’ll know they find communists and socialists *hilarious*. In fact, if you claim to be far left, you’ll be considered toxic by Labour.

      1. C Rober says:

        The socialist decline of Labour started earlier than most folk think , when Kinnock decided to bring in the middle class privately educated career minded politician , thinking that centering left would mean him in no10 while he culled the union and councilllor tested politicians that Scotland once followed blindly.

        Tragically like the story mentioned , of dyed in the wool generational socialist scottish voters , they still voted in the faith like a religious zealot , that their “religion” was true and still existed , but all that changed post indy , and Ironically where Socialism would have both prospered and been the posterboy for Labour once more South of the border with it…. thus empowering them through going backwards to go forwards.

        I for one would like to see an extinction level event of Slab , and like the song says “send them homeward to think again”.

        The fact that Dug has been doing the mushroom politics of late , keeping in the dark and throwing the merde about , then recanting , reeks of desperation in keeping the voters guessing , purely for the sake of her income and something that will see , mark my words , Baillie as the leader of Slab by the end of June and the total demise of Slab with it , that is unless she brings indy to the table…. ie a veneer of SNP to Slab , just as the SNP added a veneer of Socialism to become more than Slab.

        Others have already mentioned that they doubt the socialist case within the SNP , I think that there is more than in Slab of today , but less than the the total number of SNP politicians that are private landlords.

        http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/pages/history , first paragraph , home rule for Scotland mentioned , every time they utter Kier Hardie on your doorstep remind them of it , 100 odd years still waiting on the last original Slab policy to be introduced.

  14. bringiton says:

    The fundamental difference between Labour in Scotland and the SNP is that the Labour “executive” never had to be seen as a competent administration.
    They were simply there to implement policy made in England and aided and abetted by HM press could get away with it.
    The current membership of the SNP is overwhelmingly of the political left and that is what will determine future party policy.
    Gerry doesn’t seem to understand that.
    These people do not need the remnants of Blair’s Labour party to tell them what isn’t possible and what is best for Scotland.
    It just doesn’t wash any more.
    British Labour are toast in Scotland and are increasingly being seen as a party of English politics with little or no relevance in Scotland.

    1. impossiblysmoothcobra says:

      “The current membership of the SNP is overwhelmingly of the political left and that is what will determine future party policy.”

      Let’s assume for a moment that’s true (I don’t have a dataset of research on the position on the political spectrum / compass of SNP members old and new)

      However the membership has increased dramatically recently, and it is not unreasonable to assume that a substantial proportion, possibly a majority of the new members are ‘left leaning’ – i.e. socialist / hard left oriented people (old and young) from ‘The Yes Campaign’.

      But the current membership (while very high in absolute numbers / proportionately) is only 105,000.

      Scottish Voters = 4.28 million.

      “The current membership of the SNP is overwhelmingly of the political left and that is what will determine future party policy.”

      The current membership might have an influence on party policy in the immediate future. But no more than that.

      Scotland is a country that is fundamentally (small c) very conservative.

      All the social attitudes surveys show that (top to bottom) people are interested in taxes being raised to pay for services and nice things – as long as they are levied on someone else.

      Someone else who earns more than they do. Even if its only a penny more. Anyone – as long as it isn’t them.

      “Me? I am (insert argument for being entirely deserving of all income and wealth, and for no more of this to have to go into the communal pot) ..

      Tax me? Not me. Don’t tax me, Tax THEM – !!!”

      If you think that Scotland’s (in fairness, increasingly confident) aspirational lower middle class, and the increasingly affluent above them are going to vote for left – i.e. “progressive” and “redistributive” policies, that they have to pay into the communal pot for, then you are a deluded fantasist.

      Ah, of course, I was forgetting. You are.

      1. Broadbield says:

        “people are interested in taxes being raised to pay for services and nice things – as long as they are levied on someone else.” This is the challenge for politicians – instead of cowardly arguing that we need low taxes, which means low taxes for the rich, they have to develop an argument in favour of higher taxes, which WILL mean higher taxes (mainly) for the rich, the very wealthy, the moderately well-off to some extent, but especially for corporates. The very rich and much of big business have avoided (in some cases evaded – see Panama revelations) most taxes, they have captured the UK Treasury and helped devise taxation policy to suit their interests, while making sure the rest of us pay for it. We will not achieve a fairer, juster more socially responsible, caring Scotland unless we pay for.

        We have to make this argument and persuade people.

  15. impossiblysmoothcobra says:

    “Time for socialist policies”

    On the basis of – what?

    “socialist policies” and Socialism i.e. broad state control and ownership of the commanding heights of the economy has been, and continues to be, a disaster everywhere it is tried, bringing sustained wholesale misery to entire populations.

    Seriously, on what basis is it ‘time for Socialist policies’ – ?

    Oh wait, of course, let me guess:

    “It will be better next time”.

    1. Frank says:

      What a silly comment and one straight out of Cold War caricatures of socialism.

      Out of interest, what would be your advice to the government regarding the steel workers in Wales – Avoid nationalisation because it will bring misery?

      1. Steven Milne says:

        No government has any business using tax payers money to prop up chronically loss making businesses.

        As old industries die new ones take their place and the world moves on and becomes more prosperous.

        RBS ought to have been allowed to fail but two wrongs don’t make a right.

        1. Frank says:

          This is just fantasy politics based on a misunderstanding of both capitalism and socialism. The reality is that governments intervene and prop up markets all the time – there is no such a thing as a ‘free’ free market. Far from the world becoming more prosperous the reality of your (mis) conception of capitalism would be devastation on a mass scale. It is precisely because of government intervention that the capitalist system you appear to admire has been so productive.

          1. Steven Milne says:

            Government intervention does not make capitalism more successful. Our improver economic record since the 1970s is due to LESS such intervention.

  16. Rod Robertson says:

    Wanting to secede from the Union seems pretty radical to me.
    A lot of people and “parties” trying to ride on the coat tails of SNP.
    The so called parties of the left will end up with no seats.
    Greens a few ,nothing more.

  17. Quo Vadis says:

    “They were simply there to implement policy made in England and aided and abetted by HM press could get away with it.” So you’ll be able to reconcile this statement with Donald Dewar pushing forward with scrapping University Tuition fees? Or the creation of Scotland wide free bus travel for the elderly? Or free personal care for the elderly? Or Scottish prescription charges being lower and more people benefiting from free prescriptions? Or the banning of Fox Hunting? These were all English policies that Scottish Labour were compelled to impose on Scotland?

    1. C Rober says:

      Lets not forget here that Donald was pro FFA if not indy too.

      When asked on BBC Scotland about the opening of Holyrood he quipped ” its a start” , somehow the party seems to have hidden away his views as they stood at the foot of his statue during indy…. as ordered to do so by Milliband , and where is he now again , perhaps following the money like his brother?

      1. John B Dick says:

        60 yers ago Donald (and he claimed it was official Labour policy, not his own idea) was for d’Hondt, Founding principles, seating arrangements, standards, unicameral committees “a proper job for backbenchers” convenors, PO, FM and the rest of about 35 things that the Scottish Parliament does differently from Westminster.

        A Home Rule parliament, he said, could be a model for the reform of Westminster.

        Maybe it will in a century or so, when an independent Scotland with EU backing, invades a failed state on our borders and annexes it.

  18. Jim McIntyre says:

    The problem is obvious: you cannot be ‘radical’ and a unionist.

    “Scottish Labour’s saga is a historic moment for politics to depart from the safety first script.” The problem for Slab is that we know they are lying. They are in power in Wales and they have also been the major party here for decades. The problem is that you have people like Blair McDougall and Kezia Dugdale spending huge portions of their time dismissing these ‘Trots’ as unelectable morons.

    Even the Greens do not have a hugely radical platform, they can’t in Scotland. This is entirely down to the fact virtually no new powers are being devolved that actually allows a party to be ‘radical’. We cannot nationalise (or otherwise) industries, we can’t change our drug laws, our piracy/data sharing laws, etc. All because Scottish Labour prefers the Tories to manage these things.

    As for “Kezia Dugdale is decent, humane and not a machine politician or operator.” – Dugdale is a machine politician just a crap one. Her being First Minister would be farcical.

    1. MBC says:

      Completely agree. Parties are shaped by the power available. You cannot be radical within the union unless you are plotting violent insurrection.

      1. Anton says:

        “Parties are shaped by the power available. You cannot be radical within the union unless you are plotting violent insurrection.”

        Is this right? It might have been at least slightly radical, for example, for the Scottish Government to base Council Tax on current valuations rather than those of 1991 (yes really, 1991) following the recommendations of a cross-party commission in which the SNP took part last year which estimated that more than half of Scottish residential properties would be in a different council tax band if current valuations were used.

        The Scottish Government has the power to make a radical change but chose not to use it. Personally, I’m disappointed.

  19. Alex Beveridge says:

    I can sum Gerry’s article up in one phrase we keep getting on the doorstep of former Labour voters over the last two election campaigns. “They stood with the tories during the referendum campaign, so we no longer trust them”.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      I am confused why people in Scotland continually castigate the Tories yet no party attempts to reverse the policies of the Thatcher years, eg:

      Reducing basic rate tax from 33p to 25p
      Right to buy council houses
      Selling off loss making state industries
      Curbing power of militant unions

      Could it be that they recognise that all of these policies actually benefited Scotland?

      1. Alf Baird says:

        The Tories also sold off many profitable businesses and monopolies, again at heavy discounts, e.g. energy firms, ports, airports etc. However it was not a condition of sale that these businesses should make specific investments in new infrastructure, hence UK infrastructure today is largely outmoded. Moreover there were few sensible/if any price controls, which has meant fuel poverty for many, and the left the rest of UK industry no longer internationally competitive in terms of energy costs or access to modern infrastructure. You appear to have a rose tinted perspective and are unable to scan the current business or economic environment very well.

      2. C Rober says:

        Most of what you mention is not devolved Steve , so hardly changeable , that is unless you include labours terms under Blair and Brown – whom failed to redress those and many other things while in power… another reason why Slab or Lab are a dead duck.

        The tory sell offs , in part you are right , large industry ruled by unions , preventing modernization that meant industry removal instead of job losses.

        The RTB , that the SNP are removing , well the money was never returned to councils to make further housing , simply used to fund the wealth creation of London and the south east , creating wealth for banks and removing the power of the next level of government that had sizeable unions , which just happened to be Labour led councils from lancashire northwards.

        But you also seem to forget the sell offs of these things which was already owned by the taxpayer , but they had the option to buy shares in something they technically already owned , things like electric , gas , telephone and rail , where instead of the competition that was promised from deregulation and privatization it actually meant market protection , and of course the taxpayer still funding the likes of rail in subsidisies even today.

        But I get your tory unionist points , nearly peed a little.

      3. Frank says:

        Didn’t Thatcher openly state that she won the economic argument but lost the political one? I think there is a grain of truth to this. Scotland prides itself on being ‘anti-Thatcher’ yet being anti-Thatcher and anti-neoliberal are not the same things. For example, neoliberalism rather than something which is done to people by wicked governments – a narrative that the left is stuck in, is actually a complex set of relationships and practices about how people and governments behave in a market place. Moreover, the fact that power no longer resides in one source (i.e. the power of the sovereign) it has become very difficult for leftish or social democratic governments to challenge neoliberalism. I suspect that you will celebrate this, but you also need to understand that the side effects of neoliberalism – inequality, de-politicisation on a mass scale, and widespread alienation.

        1. MBC says:

          @Stephen Milne:

          The Scottish Government recently cancelled the right-to-buy.

          1. C Rober says:

            @MBC ie RTB

            Rather than to improve it you mean , after all the FM herself grew up in a RTB ex council house , which for all chances probably gave her family the extra cash to enable her to study law , then join politics.

            Theres more than meets the eye about the removal of RTB , more than simply an attack on Thatchers ant union debt slaves brainchild by the SNP , or they would have come up with a better one geared towards new council housing building programs.

            They should have modified it , thus creating affordable housing for the median and minimum wage worker , where RTB was and still is the only affordable home ownership option , sourced from mostly council stock that has been paid for in rent many times over. There has been 250k houses and flats demolished in Glasgow alone ordered by Westminster since the late 80s …. to decrease supply deliberately , increase private rented , and increase the rate of home owners , thus banks land owners and developers profits in the process.

            Since devolution of housing to Holyrood no change there , the dozing of schemes and the council sell off continues , thus a psudeo socialist govt chooses to remove RTB – rather than the prevention of council land being sold to developers.

            But then again why would a party whom openly admit a drive for a 30x supply rate of bought vs council is the norm , and where that supply is financially out of the reach of minimum wage income workers and median wage workers alike forcing them into private rented?

            Then again how many MSP (or thier partners)on the housing planning committee in Holyrood , Westminster and Local councils are landlords themselves , well rather than tell you I will let you google it or check up on their declarations to Holyrood- which does not include their partners holdings.

            That 3 billion announced by the Holyrood Govt in October , for the affordable housing lie , just how many councils houses , combined with RTB income actually being kept by the councils would that provide ? This as 250k people are on council waiting lists in Scotland , which at current legislation supply rate means up to 117 years before the council waiting list is removed – at least in North Ayrshire – the FM herselfs childhood area? She should be very embarrassed by that supply rate , not championing it.

            And lets not forget here that councils are and have been selling off hectares of land since the late 80s , former schemes to private developers , free land for councils to use that could and should have been for the resupply of housing , or to enable the councils themselves to supply affordable housing – while employing and training locals , while supplying housing at a cheaper rate than private developers through NFP or self build?

            Labour too had the chance to remove or modify RTB while in Westminster , yet did not.

            They had the chance to restart council building and halt the demise of estates , and did not.

            Again unsurprising when banks , those that supply mortgages , hire retired politicians like Brown , Blair and Darling whom are also millionaires in taxpayer funded property or even landlords. Hardly surprising they were also members of the BT campaign , and integral to the creation of intensive biuld quotas per acre , increasing profits for developers , that mean houses where the gardens are smaller than the houses lounge are now commonplace.

            Allowing anyone with a property portfolio near the creation of housing legislation is criminal , but is sadly part of UK politics.

  20. Willie says:

    If outright socialism was popular then we would have been a Marxist state years ago. Every one bar the left understands this and that is why the SSP, Respect, Solidarity et al are bit players on the edges. The SNP through taking power has shifted Scotland leftwards and if has been very welcome. No tuition fees, no prescription tax, reversing NHS privatisation, nationalising Prestwick Airport, stepping in to purchase steel plants and take on liabities, supporting free school meals and other such stuff unthinkable in Tory – Labour land. But to do more they need the power to do more. The minority left may have not noticed it but Scotland has a devolved government without anything like full fiscal autonomy. They also fail to realise that Scotland has been kept in the shadow of neocon Westminster governments since Thatcher and that the legacy of Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron has been a never ending programme of privatisation. And now with the SNP having made progress the loony left howls in outrage at the lack of burning socialism. Well revolution brothers, you have let us down these last forty years and now you find voice to slate the SNP. Clowns to the left of us and just empty barrels making noise is about the best that can be said of your strategic vision that has let us down all these years. SNP 1 and 2 and let’s make more real progress to where we want to be.

    1. JohnEdgar says:

      Exactly! Well said, Willie. ScotLab were laid back and paralysed when in power at Holyrood. They were so “wee”, they did not even call themselves a government.
      They are so gormless at present, they cannot even account for their successes. They did, spurred on by the LibDems in their more honest days pre ” better together”, introduce a more democratic voting system for local authorities in Scotland. They never talk about that being thirled to fptp. And that hammered them in 2015.
      Let us also remember Big Beast Brown for abolishing the 10% income tax band. When he did that, some low paid had their income tax doubled. Great socialists!

    2. Frank says:

      I’m not so sure Willie. There is a difference between socialism and a ‘Marxist’ state – when you consider that Marx advocated somewhat famously that the state would ‘wither away’ surely it’s an oxymoron to argue for a Marxist state? Only someone who is unfamiliar with Marx or whose knowledge of Marx derives from his detractors would advocate such a proposition. In regards to socialism, I see socialism as existing inside capitalism rather than seeing it as capitalism’s anti-thesis. Universal education, the NHS, what remains of municipal socialism in local government (publicly owned libraries, community centres, swimming pools, etc), these are examples of socialism within capitalism and for me it’s important in the current context that the traces of socialism within capitalism are defended.

  21. Peter Clive says:

    There is something about Labour that is on hold until they come in from the cold regarding independence:

    http://moflomojo.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-prodigal-party.html

  22. arthur thomson says:

    ‘If the Tories finish in second place then politics could become about a soft, moderate nationalism versus a measured, but unapologetic unionism.’

    So removing Slab from their role in cowing the people would result in the above? I don’t think so.

    I anticipate that the ultimate demise of Slab would further expose the media as they openly promoted the Tories against the SNP; would allow the SNP to turn its focus on the organ grinder, ignoring the the monkey and; would make it abundantly clear to the electorate that they now have a straightforward choice between the rubbish put out by Westminster and a good Scottish government.

    Coincidentally, Slab’s line in emotional blackmail – promoting the notion of socialism as a cover for appropriating power – is then available for someone else to use. Maybe that is the opportunity that this post is pointing to. I keep getting an image of Darling carrying that banner and wonder who the ‘radicals’ are today who are intent on following in his footsteps.

    @ Peter Clive

    Your blog is well worth a read.

  23. Calum McCormack says:

    kez is continually confused, flip / flops on policies faster than george osborne, has no political leadership capability and is a constant state of flux.

    I truely feel sorry for kez, she should never have been put in this position and she is completely out of her depth and looks as if she will burst into tears at any moment.

    It’s not a happy time for kez, I hope she finds her true vocation outside of politics post the election.

    Post election, best wishes to kez!

  24. Bibbit says:

    Funny how everyone ‘forgets’ 56 out of 59 SNP MPs elected last year.

    For the first time EVER the people of Scotland are represented by people who put the people of scotland first.

    I think that’s pretty radical, even revolutionary and certainly subversive in the eyes of the Britnat Establishment.

    Also the so-called ‘new powers’ ‘given’ by unionist Britain to Holyrood are weak & ineffectual tools, as they will always be designed to be.

    The so-called new powers are not designed to carry out radical reforms. Heaven forfend!

    Yet Mr Hassan herein blames the worker wielding the shoddy tools, not the master handing out the shoddy tools. The ‘master’ being Britnat, red/blue tory Westminster.

    Shame on you, Mr Hassan, shame.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “Funny how everyone ‘forgets’ 56 out of 59 SNP MPs elected last year.”

      I don’t. But what exactly are the “56 roaring lions” doing? What is their objective/purpose?

    2. Sandy Ritchie says:

      I’d rather have MPs who represent their constituency first whichever part of the GB they have been elected to. Lets face it the 56 (is not 54 at the moment…lol) SNP MPs are a waste of space except to posture for Nats back home. No power what so ever in WM. The real representatives of Scotland are based in Holyrood where the SNP government can do plenty to mitigate Tory austerity if it was so inclined. Scottish people shouldn’t hold our breath in that respect.

      1. JohnEdgar says:

        That’ right, Sandy, you have hit the nail on the head. Scottish MPs have no influence at Westminster. You said SNP, but during the long years of Tory Governments under Thatcher, Major, when Labour were the majority Scottish party at Westminster, they were powerless. Ergo, time to leave Westminster to the English. Simple. With the advent of EVEL, the signs are ominous. The better together remnants were dished by the English Tories and they will continue to reanglicise Westminster. EVEL was the outward expression of anglicising the supposed UK parliament. The Scots unionists of blue left, who keep bleating about solidarity with their workers, have been taken for a ride. You have always been lobby fodder at Westminster. Now there are only three “unionist” MPs from Scotland in the Commons. You are a minor entity to your head offices. You do not count. You have shrunk to insignificance. Your so called class comrades could not care less either. Corbyn never attended the last Labour conference in Scotland. Read the signals! Your right wing, left wing unionist colleagues dahn sath have written you off.

        1. sandy ritchie says:

          Your reply contains lots of you this and you that John…not hard to imagine yer finger pointing. Firstly SNP MPs at WM will never have any influence except when they support Labour…ironically in the recent Sunday opening in England Bill. When Thatcher and Major were in power, Labour was the opposition. It makes no difference which part of UK had the majority of MPs be it Scotland Wales North of England or else where in these islands. It’s called parliamentary democracy. Of course yer hated Labour party then ensured that Scotland would have it’s own parliament with control over issues that have always been Scottish such as Education, Legal system and yes the NHS. EVEL was the answer to the West Lothian question ..previously supported by Nats until they realised that with power now at Holyrood, they were redundant… on a nice wee salary. As for being taken for a ride, coming from an SNP supporter, that’s just a bit rich. A party who talks social democracy but implements Tory austerity. Blinded by braveheart Nationalism. Supporting every policy even when SNP do a volte face eg getting rid of LA council tax, and the 50% income tax rate on top earners.
          Also please don’t insult me by lumping me with Tory and Lib Dem MPs in Scotland. There’s only one Labour MP more’s the pity. But of course your comment clearly identified you as a single issue braveheart..yer either a Nationalist or Unionist. Pathetic if I may say so..and sadly typical of those like you who have signed up to the Nationalist cause. Yer for or agin…nowt else matters. Rubbish.
          Finally just to bring you up to speed Jeremy Corbyn will be in Edinburgh supporting Kezia (yes she needs it) on Saturday. I’ll be in the audience ..does matter if he’s English..to braveheats like you obviously..to Socialists like me..does matter a f.ck…apologies for the lingo..it just seemed the right word to finish my ….rant…lol

          1. JohnEdgar says:

            .EVEL was not a response to the West Lothian question; that is a misnomer. The Scottish Parliament with Scots still at Westminster is the Westminster question. After all, Westminster passed the legislation and chose not to have a separate English Parliament with a block grant. The inconsistencies in the set up were Westminster’s mistake, kr rather Labour’s mistake as they needed Scots Labour lobby fodder to pass legislation.

        2. sandy ritchie says:

          My earlier rant has a few key words missing …blast…you’ll just need to guess what they are…that’s what happens when typing on a mobile

  25. ian says:

    Its always easy to be radical when you never will be in the position to put your ideas into practice,talk is cheap.As someone else has already said whats more radical than independence and more importantly its looking more and more possible under the competent guidance of the SNP.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Odd that a supposedly ‘competent’ SNP administration should fall for the smart suited offshore investment banker ‘private equity’ charm of SinoFortone; its no wonder they wanted to keep that quiet considering the Panama revelations. As it happens, most key utilities within the Scottish economy as well as much of Scotland’s land is today already offshore owned and the SNP are pushing for more of the same as far as I can see; they are certainly doing nothing to address what is a serious issue. What might be termed ‘investment’ by the offshore ‘private equity’ bankers is merely stacking up debt for the public here, and high cost debt at that, aside from the fact nobody knows where the ‘private equity’ money actually comes from, or where the profits end up. That aside, the consquence is a less competitive economy, as we see with collapsing export trade, underemployment, low wages and rising inequality. This is not ‘competence’, it is merely more of the same neocon PFI type nonsense we are used to dressed up as something else. Economically it is incompetence. In any case political ‘competence’ never won any nation its independence; independence depends on the people. Useful case study here on offshore private equity ownership of Scotland’s major ports and its long term impacts on the economy: http://reidfoundation.org/2016/01/sort-out-our-ports/

      1. ian says:

        Try and keep your posts short and to the point they tend to get a bit repetitive in their Unionist ramblings.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          My apologies, Ian, however you and others claim ad infinitum that the SNP are ‘competent’ yet such claims are often made without much evidence. My own academic research demonstrates that ‘offshore private equity’ and associated ‘financial engineers’ is something no ‘competent’ state should get involved with, yet the SNP (to my surprise) appears to ‘sign up’ to it. The ongoing Panama revelations actually reflect where much of Scotland’s key utilities, assets and land (i.e. Scotland’s economic ‘surpluses’) are held and the SNP even now has some powers to act on this but has refused to do so (e.g. via land reform, transport policy/regulation, planning etc). Even after independence the SNP has no plans to alter their approach in this regard -it is never even mentioned in their ‘economic policy’ to effectively deal with ‘who owns Scotland’. To me their ‘strategy’ looks more centre-right than centre-left I’m afraid, more or the same old…

  26. MBC says:

    I think it is going to be hard for any party to be radical when we are not independent and do not control all our resouces.

    What Gerry is forgetting here is the power that is at our disposal. The SNP have defined themselves within the constraints of the possible so as to be electable and to best serve the country in its current bound status. The SNP have opted for a soft-left competent managerialism within the union, so as not to avoid alienating the middle ground, and to avoid the onslaught of the unionist furies if they dare ‘bring it on’.

    It’s all very well for Gerry to dream of radicalism. But it’s not a practical option and no party which attempts it is ever going to do anything else but ‘carp from the sidelines’.

    1. JohnEdgar says:

      That’s right. Within the constraints of the “union”. But what is radical? 200 years ago being radical was about getting the vote. In the 1790’s, if you campaigned for that, like Thomas Muir, you were charged with sedition, and if you were not hanged, you were transported.
      When you look at a document issued by the SNP, “131 SNP achievements and counting”, it is extensive and wide-ranging. Eliminating the effects of the Westminster bedroom tax, the better legislation from the better union!
      If the pseudo lefty labourites want to trump radicalism, what did Dewar, McLeish, McConnel do that you would term radical or Brown and Blair at Westminster? Radical to alleviate the pressures on working people?
      Austerity was the byeword when Ed Milliband was aspiring to be PM?

  27. MBC says:

    Anas Sarwar has got himself put at the top of the Glasgow list. Dugdale must have agreed to this. She’s leader. That’s one Lab b*****d that’s going to get in. Likewise that s**t heap Adam Tomkins is on the list for the Tories, probably also near the top. That’s two unionists who are going to attack the SNP.

    The new parliament looks likely to be far more confrontational and polarised than the current one has been.

    In that context, the SNP are going to look radical.

    1. John B Dick says:

      Not at all. AS will be the next Branch Manager within 3 months.

  28. Alf Baird says:

    Sarwar/Tomkins “to attack the SNP”? Like being “savaged by a dead sheep”.

    “the SNP are going to look radical”. Why, are they to campaign for independence? To the SNP ‘radical’ is taking yer tie aff in the chamber.

  29. Lochside says:

    Scottish Unionist Labour…what a fucken joke ….Dirty hypocrites standing alongside their ‘enemies’ the Tories to deprive one of the oldest nations in Europe from self determination. You diehards want to take along hard look at your bullshit hypocrisy…Labour are and have been the ugly neo-Liberal twin of the Tories for at least over 35 years. Gordon Brown, Darling, Murphy( members of the Henry Jackson Society and friends of Israel…nice socialist groups eh?)….supporters and placemen of English Capitalism run by the City of London.

    ‘I support the steel workers of Wales and England’…well in all the past generations, they never supported ours at Ravenscraig or in the shipyards or anywhere else for that matter. When our jobs were moved south…schtum. During the ’80s Scotland’s heavy industrial base was devastated and I had to listen to SLAB sycophants chunter on about how we had to defeat ‘Thatcherism’ only for Blair, the minute he got his dirty paws on the controls of power, to carry on her evil heritage and SLAB to undermine the Scottish working class by selling out the Referendum to the Tories…a worse collection of upper class scum than even Maggie T could have dreamt about.Borders and national identity are the norm in this world, only not with British Unionist charlatans who support the ‘Scottish’ Labour Party. Your Britishness trumps your class consciousness…how else do you explain it?…Being British is worth food banks and persecution of the disabled?

    A quarter of the working people in Scotland live on minimum wages. That hasn’t changed under the SNP, but at least they have tried to alleviate the costs to our people with freezing of the council tax etc. SLAB apologists continually slabber on about how the SNP could ‘do more’……don’t they realise we have no control over the majority of tax raising and depend by and large on the Barnet ‘handout’ conditional on EVEL decisions?

    Until Scotland has broken free from the Imperial grasp of the RUK we cannot even dream of left wing policies such as land nationalisation etc. Maybe bitter orange SLABS prefer their wet dreams of kid-on Socialism that can never be achieved while an English majority of right wing electorate continues to grow? Wolfie Smith was a tv sitcom parody of a suburban marxist…. it’s sad to see that such sad emulators of this ‘comic character’ still exist.

    1. Calum McCormack says:

      The lack of support from English socialists regards jobs going south of the border is not just shipbuilding and steel jobs, the Tory announcements post election on the closure of Scottish HMRC Tax Offices. Not a peep from unions south of Gretna.

      Same was the case when oil related jobs went to a north of England gas terminal to collect gas from the Scottis sector of the North Sea. So much for solidarity!

      Scotland is in competition with England for jobs. This is within the union and we know where the rules for the union are made and executed from, England. In essence the union shackles Scotland and we end up getting the brown end of the stick.

      As for Lochsides comment:

      “Your Britishness trumps your class consciousness…how else do you explain it?”

      Sums up Scottish labour perfectly, they are all John Bull”s children rather than Jock Tamson’s bairns.

    2. Sandy Ritchie says:

      In my lowest moments when thinking about the attacks by this right wing Tory Government on the poor, sick and elderly of Scotland, I occasionally think, fuck it lets go it alone, the majority of English voted for the Tories. Then I read that rant by Lochside… bordering on racist rant at that…and I come to my senses. I know that there’s millions of people in England and Wales who are poor, sick and elderly who need our support against the Tories. Lochside bollocks about steel workers, ship yards and miners not standing together is in fact pish….we have stood together in all of these industries but been divided by the forces of Capitalism, cheered on by the SNP’s friend’s, the Murdoc media. Divisions are created by Capitalists regardless of country. Kicking them from Scotland is a fantasy. Capitalists are in a win win situation if Scotland stays or separates with mugs like Lochside’s views. Amazon, Soutar et al will still call the shots. Lochside talks of a socialist Scotland…more tripe. Who would want to live in an anti English racist so called socialist country…NATIONAL SOCIALISM at it’s worst. Lochside get your black shirt on and start walking with the SDL where your views clearly more at home with. The much maligned SLab at least is attempting to mitigate against the Tory inflicted austerity unlike the SNP who are implementing it in order to blame WM …and create division…accepting the risk of inflaming divisions like Lochside’s …whilst accepting as collateral damage the attacks on our disabled and poor who Lochside claims to be concerned about…hypocrisy at its worst. Lochside applauds the LA council tax freeze, a freeze that has benefited the middle classes the most to the detriment of the sick and elderly who rely on social services the most. And of course Unionists are SLab Orangemen according to our Nationalist Socialist “friend”. Lets label fellow workers as the enemy instead of accepting that they should allowed to follow their beliefs as much as Catholics, Muslims Jews etc who live in our country. Before I’m labelled as an Orange SLab, I’ve never been to a Orange “walk” or recollect seeing one, except on the tele. But I am Labour and proud to vote in four years for JC4PM…

      1. Sandy MacDonald says:

        Ah, Sandy’s a scholar from the Margaret Curran school of thinking. If there is a granny in England going without, its Scottish labour’s patriot duty to ensure all grannies in Scotland go with out too.

        What does it feel like having no where to go in politics, nothing constructive to say and to perpetually run your country down?

        What I find bizarre about your rant is that you’ve done it in public. The ex labour voters in Scotland I know have switched to the SNP have done so for three main reasons:

        1. The corrupt talentless cabal that is the Scottish leadership who take direction from London

        2. England is a naturally conservative country languishing in the past, Scotland is a possession, not a priority or partner

        3. The SNP put Scotland first, and their raison d’etre of independence has become more compelling as what’s on offer from the union becomes quite frightening

        Sandy, try telling your English MPs that Scottish grannies can’t eat Trident!

  30. Lochside says:

    Sandy….your rant at me displays the disordered thinking prevalent amongst SLAB supporters.
    Because I want Scotland to return to being a sovereign state and am unhappy that for three hundred years our ‘partner’ England has deliberately kept us subordinate economically, culturally and politically..this makes me a’NATIONAL SOCIALIST’?

    Interestingly the only blackshirts in Scotland during the 1930s were led by Billy Fullerton, leader of the infamous ‘Billy Boys’. They were ‘blood and soil’ nationalists who believed in the purity of the ‘British Nation’..their modern successors are the SDL…wannabe Brit Nationalists. Both these groups are and were extreme right wing racists. I and other Scottish Nationalists are not. The composition of the SNP and its support proves that. The presence of English and RUK as well as foreign members demonstrates this, no matter how you’d love to think differently.Animosity to undemocratic rule by another state is not racist, it is political.

    Slabbers like you fail to understand your own contradictions…your allegiance is to the British State and the British identity. Even to the point that in a Referendum you willingly sacrifice the Scottish working class ( of which I am one) who voted overwhelmingly ‘YES’ ,on the basis that ‘pooling and sharing’ in the British context i.e. being shagged for the next decade by aristocratic tory bastards, is preferable to this country running it’s own affairs. But of course that country would only be:
    ‘Amazon, Soutar et al will still call the shots. Lochside talks of a socialist Scotland…more tripe. Who would want to live in an anti English racist so called socialist country’…..Seriously? You betray your own national self-loathing…a total lack of trust and lack of belief in your fellow countrymen. The majority of Scots want equality and fairness in this country and if we wait for England to make those changes……how long will that be? and what does that say about us as a nation?

    Ah but I forgot..you’re not interested in this nation…just the workers in RUK..but why stop there?…let’s have international socialism first…..

    In any other country in the world our struggle for Independence would be clear cut. But in this place….. Scotland we are plagued by hypocritical individuals like yourself, self loathing, backbiting, deluded slaves of British Imperialism who believe the way to break the chains of economic and undemocratic bondage holding you down is to attack the very thing it fears most: not socialism but the breaking away of its last colony, Scotland. That more than anything terrifies the British Imperial mind of which you the SLAB slave adherent, is an integral part. The pity is that you don’t even realise it …yet.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      The SNP should give a commitment to an ‘Independence (Scotland) Act’ in their manifesto, or at least offer a Referendum2 for 2018. Nothing to lose now with 55%+ polling in constituency seats, plus Dave and the Tories imploding, and Slab heading for oblivion. SNP need to up the ante. Panama began the union and Panama could end it.

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