2007 - 2021

The Battle for No 10

At one point in last night’s awful #BattleforNo10 experience, the artist formerly known as Strong and Stable uttered the immortal lines, with teeth and fists clenched in barely restrained fury, as if to explain everything: “We have a situation where there is a devolved government in Scotland”. Sadly, we do Dear Prime Minister.

The event was deemed a win for Corbyn, who, despite the odds seems to be growing into the role, and seems to be getting more relaxed in the campaigns as the energy visibly drains out of the Tory leader like a political sump. The audience laughing at Theresa May last night as she reeled in the face of Jeremy Paxman’s onslaught. It was great bloody theatre even if it was terrible politics. But if this was the media equivalent of the stocks, Paxman’s pantomime routine seemed to go off the rails when he came up against the unflappable Corbyn, even when, in a bizarre rant, he started attacking the Labour leader for hating the monarchy. He was berating him for something that wasn’t in Labour’s manifesto.

This kind of pure ideological attack interview is just ‘Gotcha’-style media infantilism.

On Common Ground

There are two election campaigns going on – and many Scottish politicos high on binary tribalism – can’t really cope with this level of complexity.

If Corbyn is shaking the Tories over-confidence to it’s core, as the May campaign scrambles to re-brand and re-position in the onslaught of public ridicule, the situation in Jockistan is a bit more tricky.

ON GMS this late May morning, the parties only Scottish incumbent, stout defender of the Red Bastion of Morningside spoke eloquently and solely about the referendum. Ian Murray had only that to say and indeed, its been the distinguishing feature of Kezia Dugdale’s every public utterance. So imagine the gnashing of teeth as Corbyn once again left the door open to a conversation with the Scottish Government about a second referendum.

In an interview he said: “I’ll obviously open discussions with the government in Scotland and listen very carefully to what the Scottish Parliament says.”

‘Labour in turmoil as Jeremy Corbyn says yes to indyref talks days after Kezia Dugdale said no’

Immediately afterwards Scottish labour rushed out a media release saying it had all been a terrible misunderstanding. It’s becoming a bit of parlour game, but Corbyn’s statements are consistent and you’d have to be a fool not to realise that there’s something more than bungling and botched arse-to-elbow miscommunication going on. The statement has not just sent Scottish Labour into meltdown – it’s also confused some Scottish nationalists who are mired in such tribalism that the concept of campaigning to win in Scotland, while hoping for antiTory victories in England and Wales is too much to compute. You wonder, do they hope for an SNP breakthrough beyond the 59 out of 650?

This is dangerous ground for everybody, until it happens.

The reality is that a Labour victory would send such shockwaves through the British State that everything would be off the table. It would be such a game-changer of historic proportions that Dugdale and her Scottish Labour team would be deemed utterly insignificant.

When asked if she would prefer May or Corbyn in Downing Street, Sturgeon said: “I don’t want a Tory prime minister. I don’t want to see a Tory government.” Pushed further on that during an interview with Sky News yesterday , Sturgeon said if such an arrangement, she’d “want to get as much of SNP manifesto implemented as possible”.

This is so blatantly obvious, it’s surprising that some people can’t get their heads around it. The are two simultaenous opportunities emerging, a strengthened renewed mandate for Scotland and social justice agenda for England and Wales alongside an alliance that explores common ground, of which there is plenty.

The SNP manifesto has a key section on  which states simply that the party winning a “majority of Scottish seats” would reinforce the indyref mandate  . Of course it would, and any suggestion otherwise is both disingenuous and unsustainable.

In Perth today Nicola Sturgeon talked of creating a Fairer Society, and we shouldn’t be scared of finding common ground with other forces to achieve that. The are some significant and crucial policy differences between the SNP and the Labour Party and the Greens, but there are some commonalities and some space for developing an anti-Tory alliance.

We have been so riven by tribalism that the chance for alliance and collaboration seems alien, even when the opportunities are clear. Parties may have to pretend otherwise but it’s blindingly obvious.



Comments (27)

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  1. Alex Grant says:

    Mike you’re missing the point that if Nicola responds as you suggest the media would use it against Labour in England. Damned is she does damned if she doesn’t

    1. I’m aware of that: ‘Parties may have to pretend otherwise but it’s blindingly obvious.”

  2. Monty says:

    Nicola won the last GE for the Tories and without that they would have been no Brexit Things are beginning to look a bit shaky for the Tories at the moment so please Nicola don’t do it again. Too many loose words and putting party before country really mucked things up in 2015 lets hope 2017 can be different

    1. Iain Ingram says:

      You are wrong Monty. The tories have an overall majority. No matter the Scottish vote, England voted in a Tory majority. Only English voters can change that. What Scotland needs is a Scottish based party putting Scotlands voice forward strongly in Westminster. Scottish labour can’t do that, only SNP or Scottish Greens can. If there is not an overall majority for the tories then that Scottish voice will be powerful.

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      The Labour Party bears responsibility for losing the 2015 General Election all on its own. Milliband pandered to Little England xenophobia and look where that got him.

    3. Heidstaethefire says:

      According to post election research by Prof John Curtice at Strathclyde, and Prof Jane Green at Manchester, the S.N.P. had only a very marginal effect on the 2015 vote in England.

  3. Jim Bennett says:

    Very good article, Mike.
    It makes additional sense to look at the local government ecosystem in the light of anti-tribalism. SNP/Labour coalitions should seem the norm as opposed to Labour/Tory coalitions which for even for unionist labourites must seem entirley indefensible.

  4. Juteman says:

    As I’ve said before, the Establishment can’t lose Scotland and its assets. A Labour minority, propped up by the SNP, will see an indy ref postponed.
    May probably thinks she actually called the election.

    1. Why will it mean that Juteman? On why basis do you say that?

      1. Juteman says:

        Many Labour voters that voted Yes, because of unending Tory rule, will think twice if they can see a ‘socialist’ future at Westminster.
        Of course it will simply be lie. Never underestimate the British Establishment.

  5. bringiton says:

    Corbyn is beginning to agree with much the SNP are trying to do in Scotland which is what a real Labour party should have been doing all along.
    What is left of New Labour in Scotland are clearly more comfortable with Tory policies,as we saw with Better Together and the recent council elections.
    Dugdale and friends should just pack up the tent and move in with the limo chasers or the real deal,the Tories.
    The split in Scottish politics isn’t about independence,as the Tories are trying to make out but between social democracy and the culture of the individual as espoused south of our border.

  6. Blair Paterson says:

    Anyone with a brain knows Scolands wealth has been bankrolling England and the rest of the U.K. For years the true facts speak for theirselves the only ones who deny this are the very ones who know it true and try to hide it the macrone report hidden for 30years and only brought to light under a F.O.I. Act no we must win ref2 and to ensure this no lncomers to have a vote only those who are born and live in Scotland should have the right to decide the future of THIER country no one ELSE last time 70 to80 per cent of Incomers voted no and it is not their country and no postal voting it is proved to be open to fraud no honest person will deny the Scots the right to decide the futur

  7. Blair Paterson says:

    Why are my posts not being printed?

    1. Jack Collatin says:

      Blair, your: ‘why are my posts not being printed?’ ranks with the AI conundrum, ‘I am a liar, disregard everything I say.’
      Multivac and HAL would shut down, since by reading your statement it is logical that your posts are being printed.
      In the past 48 hours we have witnessed Rennie, then Dugdale, and finally Davidson, deny the sovereignty of the Scottish Parliament.
      They no longer recognise the democratically elected Scottish Government, and 56 out of 59 MPs last time wasn’t a resounding victory for the Independence Movement. Fuck Scotland is their Better Tethered whine in three part harmony.
      Corbyn may indeed hit the cross bar next week, and require to form a ‘coalition of chaos’ with the SNP, Greens, and others, but I doubt that ousting the Tories would make a difference with regard to Brexit, and the timetable for Indyref 2.
      We must hold a plebiscite within the 2 year window, but when the terms of Brexit are known.
      October 2018 seems the optimum slot, since it is assumed that there will be a six month period when the EU team will consult with the 27 nations, and rUK finally leaving in April 2019.
      There are 180, 000 EU citizens who work in Scotland, have settled married and bore children in Scotland, who must have a vote in Indyref 2. After April 2019, they will be excluded.
      Brexit is the game changer this time.
      EU Nationals switching from No to Yes is why the Unionists want any second Referendum to be deferred until the Ultra Right Wing Unionists’ Iron Curtain envelopes Britain.
      180,000 pro EU votes may well swing it ..and they know it.
      You may recall May’s ‘now is not the time.’
      She was correct. October 2018 is ‘the time.’

  8. Alf Baird says:

    Scotland does not need another referendum. A simple majority of Scotland’s MP’s is all that is needed to end the union of parliaments in the same way it began. The SNP MP’s just need to find a backbone.

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      It seems as if we are the only two people that can see this massive missed opportunity. The SNP have put The Party before the country. Safeguarding all the well paid Westminster jobs is more important than taking the fight to the Tories.
      The Tories fight dirty. They promised consultation on Brexit and then ignored the Scottish government. They called this election for no other reason than to consolidate their powers. They are about to take Scotland out of Europe against our wishes and without regard.
      When you are in a fight and the other guy picks up a stick what do you do? The SNP have made a massive tactical error by not taking on the Tories here. This general election should be a one issue election in Scotland. The SNP should have made it clear that a majority of SNP MPs will be a mandate for independence, but they’ve bottled it. What sickens me is they know this and that preservation of the apparatus is more important than the cause.

      1. Calum MacRae says:

        I am tending to agree with Alf on this topic, why are we imposing upon ourselves the fences and hoops unionists would have us jump through?

        A mojority of mps in 70s up to 90s was seen as the hurdle the SNP would have to overcome to gain independence.

        We have jump that hurdle gaining 56 out of 59 seats and won three Scottish parliament elections on the trot.

        Richard – do really think that consutant oncologists, musicians and night club owners wish to remain in westminster one minute longer than needed?

        Largely the SNP has got to where it is by playing the game and being competent, there merest chink in their arour is misrepresented and twisted by the bbc and press, that is the back drop they have to work against.

        But I do agree they could be more bold and put up a combative firebrand speaker (but safe pair of hands) to complement the first minister – in front of the media.

        1. Richard MacKinnon says:

          You are a funny guy. Westminster is the best club in the world and you get paid a fortune just to be a member. Ask Alex Salmond he’s addicted to it.

      2. Gordon Benton says:

        Of course it is not that easy. Certainly now we in Scotland have to be tougher, a lot tougher, but ‘picking up sticks’? – surely not the way to go. Despite 94% of the MSM violently agin us, we still convincingly, politically outperform the opposition; but agreed, we have to get angry now.
        We can argue between ourselves as to the capabilities of the SNP and its leaders, but only through that vehicle will come our Independence: but with the YES groups? – of course.
        From those that I know I would suggest that our MPs in Westminster are tackling an impossible job with great credit, with salary considerations being of little consequence. Can we see the day not too far away when we up-sticks there and bring them back to sit as a Senate, say in Perth, becoming our instant ‘second house’? Time to act believing we are Independent; it is my belief that we will be kicked out of the UK, rather than, faced with the inevitable, they suffer loss of face. Let us put that on the table, and start believing.

        1. Richard MacKinnon says:

          It was a metaphor. When someone makes a fool of you and treats you with contempt then shame on them. When they do it again then shame on you. If you don’t stand up to bullies they just carry on. The SNP in backing away from this golden chance to make this GE a mandate to Keep Scotland in Europe has just given T.May the go ahead to ignore the 40 or 50 SNP MPs that are returned.
          And if you think May’s attitude to Scotland and Nicola Sturgeon has been disrespectful so far, if she wins an overall majority just watch how bad it will become. Trust me if the Tory’s win an outright majority May’s contempt for any mention of a second referendum will be unbridled. And you what, it is no more than what the SNP deserve.

  9. James Mills says:

    Anybody born in Scotland should have a say in what happens in regards to the wellbeing of their nation, regardless of where they live. As they say you can take the boy out off Scotland, but you can’t take Scotland out of the boy.

    1. Gordon Benton says:

      James, I don’t need to tell you that this is a very difficult issue.
      Laying my cards on the table, I was born in Kuala Lumpur to Aberdeenshire-born parents, my father, a millwright, went to Malaya to get a job. Being born in Scotland surely is not the only factor that determines, from my point of view, a Scot. I was educated in Scotland, joined the SNP in my late teens, but I too had to leave my country to seek meaningful work. After half a century, I and my family, most of which were born overseas, have all returned to their native land. We will all be participating in ‘YES’ March in Glasgow this coming Saturday. What does that make us? Would you allow us to vote?
      Secondly there are perhaps 25 million (Alex says there are 40 million, and he kens!) in the Scottish Diaspora today. Until we have Scottish passports, (the criteria for which we could set out and issue tomorrow), how would we decide who would be entitled to decide on the future of the country where 5.6 million today live? I have tried to explain the problem to my overseas Scottish friends, but better minds than mine will need to look at that.
      Finally, we can express considerable concern at what today is a ‘no-go’ area, the 70%-80% of rUK citizens living in Scotland and thus eligible, who voted against Scottish Independence in 2014. On the face of it, to some of us, it seems ungracious to accept the undoubted advantages of living in Scotland but at the same time, abusing its generous hospitality by rejecting its ability to manage its own affairs. But then that is the World we live in.

  10. Duncan Chisholm says:

    Follow the money, where is money spent in the uk, in London.

    London is a virtual building site literally hundreds of high rise offices and flats being built, cross rail, high speed rail, refurbishment of main line stations, Buckingh palace refurb, garden bridge and another runway for Heathrow to be announced post election, etc, etc.

    When you look at development across Scotland it is a tiny drop in the ocean compared to London.

    We let this happen and should be ashamed of ourselves. We do so in the belief we get something out of this uinion, primarily because we are to.d this is the case from birth.

    This instills a culture into Scots where we don’t question those from outside Scotland who have ultimate influence over our country’s future and direction, but we do hold to account those inside Scotland who have limited influence over our country”s direction and future.

    Part of this process is to con Scots into believing we receive more than we put into the central pot.

    To seal the deal, those from outside Scotland tell us we should not decide our own future and will not be allowed to. The place men and women within our society in the payroll of those from outside of Scotland, plus their plans in the state boroacaster and press, reinforce subsidy junkie culture and highlight bogus concerns about wishing to decide our own futures and directions.

    In sum, Scotland has become a colony of England!

  11. Redgauntlet says:

    She’s a Liar, Liar….

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