Great British Energy

‘Great British Energy’ is a great slogan and a great idea. Labour have had a good conference, though how they could do any other with the backdrop of the Tories trashing the economy seems difficult to imagine. Labour’s 17-point lead is amazing, but again, how could it be otherwise?

But the idea that this converts across to a gain or a gamechanger in Scotland is hugely wishful thinking.

Starmer’s ‘big rabbit’ that he pulled out at conference that – wait for it – we should have a national energy company – is such a blindingly obvious one that while it deserves plaudits it’s so ****** obvious and about thirty years late. The fact that Labour are saying they’d do something in the future that they should have done in the past and that the SNP said they’d do – then didn’t – isn’t so much a Gold Star for Sir Keir as a black mark for the entire political class.

The sense of euphoria that the media are reporting from the Labour conference could also be delusion.

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray tells Labour conference there will be “no deals with the SNP. None. No, nay, never. The only deal we want to make is directly with the Scottish people.”

They have one MP. One.

The idea that Labour’s British nationalism is going to (re) connect them with “the Scottish people” is a (dark) fantasy.

The fact that Starmer has spent the last two years denouncing any public ownership at all and studiously abandoning the platform he stood for leadership on should be noted.

But the over-excitement of the suddenly uncritical Labour left – and the glee of the media at the prospect of a nice soft alternative to the Tory carnage means that all critical faculties are flung out the window qua Clinton qua Obama qua Blair.

But if poor Liz Truss is discovering that ‘not being Boris Johnson’ has less traction than Starmer’s ‘not being Jeremy Corbyn’ the enthusiasm and the narrative-building that Labour’s recent success means a breakthrough in Scotland is fanciful.

First what we saw of Gordon Brown’s (downloading soon!) constitutional review was more milquetoast and nowhere to be seen; second Scottish Labour don’t have a Ruth Davidson (or even a Kesia Dugdale) to articulate their non-message, they just have Ian Murray mouthing ‘Just Say No’ from his Red Morningside Heartlands like a latter-day Nancy Reagan. Third, and strangely missed in all of this, the economic case for the Union is now irreparably broken. Even die-hards like Kenny Farquharson admit it in The Times:

“I cannot help but feel that if the Union is doomed, history books will count this week as one of the milestone moments on the road to Britain’s break-up. A reliable argument against independence is reliable no more … the hard truth is this: Liz Truss and her chancellor have not only trashed Britain’s currency, they have also trashed one of the best guarantors of Britain’s continued future as a union of nations.”

This is historic stuff and time to put the boot in.

Labour are capitalising from the Tory breakdown, but why aren’t the SNP?

Because to do so we’d need an energised campaign for independence and a cancellation of the ridiculous Sterlingisation plan. The arrival of either (however late) could hasten the demise of the Union that even its most fervent supporters recognise is imminent.

Comments (34)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Torry Joe says:

    We need more of this, Mike. Thanks.

  2. Alan says:

    “Labour are capitalising from the Tory breakdown, but why aren’t the SNP?”

    I think we all know the answer to that. Sturgeon and her party are not serious about independence. They’ll keep spinning until they run out of credibility. In that sense, they are not that different from Johnson.

    1. John says:

      The sophistry is running out of road and Truss and Kwarteng just sped up the treadmill. They’re in control of neither fate nor circumstances, nor interested in becoming so. It’s going to be a shock to lots of folk when the penny drops.

      If the bet is that we’re effectively handed independence when the Brit state implodes, I don’t know how confident I’d be, given the same event will have shown official Yes was made of nothing.

      Anybody seen the Mairi Hunter tweet? A shittily-planned pretendy referendum about asking permission for another proper referendum from the worst shower of C U Next Tuesdays in the country. I don’t remember being sold that.

  3. Robbie says:

    Never a truer word spoken ,Time To PutThe Boot In, so let’s all stop fiddlin aboot and do it .“Great Britain what a Joke”.

  4. Derek says:

    Regarding GB Energy; it’s just another company that’ll have to buy its energy in the same way as all the others. Nothing special.

    What they’re trying to do with all the rah-rah is give the impression that it’s re-nationalisation, which ain’t happening any time soon.

  5. Niemand says:

    The SNP are clearly now a failing party, and failing evermore badly. It is not going to bring about independence any time soon and has had years in power to further it with very little progress indeed. It is not unreasonable to think they are actually fearful of the prospect of leading an autonomous country. My hunch? The SNP will collapse at some point soon and Labour will re-assert itself in Scotland. There is certainly no other party that could and no one party can stay in power forever and the SNP’s time t the top is nearing its end. In terms of what might be good for the country in the short term, voting Labour makes more sense than voting SNP right now.

    1. Iain Macphail says:

      I can only speak for myself but the natural next step for a progressive, who is left-leaning & internationalist, is to the Greens. Unlike Labour- with its “union Jack at all costs” Nationalism – the greens would take us back into Europe, return our freedom of movement, as an independent European country.

      Labour are in La-La Land.

      Hard Brexit Britain can’t staff its NHS without access to EU Free Movement, yet Labour rules out a return to Europe, as just one (obvious) example of where its rhetoric will fall (Tory style) at the first fence, if it gets near power

      1. 220929 says:

        We couldn’t staff our NHS even with the free market in labour, to which membership of the EU gave us access. The problem is that doctors and nurses are a scare resource, in the purchase of which we can’t compete with other nations. As with energy, we need to improve our labour security by producing and retaining more of that resource ourselves, and the way to do that is to invest more in training and in making our terms and conditions of employment in the NHS more competitive than they are at present.

        1. Mr E says:

          It may have more to do with Sturgeon cutting beds and training places when she was health minister (so we could have a Council tax freeze).

          I can’t see how the lack of doctors is because we don’t have enough French doctors. I’ve never met one here. Getting BMA acreditation if you have a non-English degree is onerous – like a year’s full-time language training, with additional speciallist technical language training before you even sit the exam – which you may fail. None of it is free).

    2. 220929 says:

      My hunch is that the SNP will lose Nicola and the asset of her charismatic presidential-style leadership, lose control of the Scottish parliament as a result, and we will return to the happy state of minority government in which no single party can impose its will on society generally.

    3. Derek Thomson says:

      You are Ian Murray and I claim my £5.

      1. Derek Thomson says:

        That was for Neimand by the way, although there are a few others on here would fit the bill too.

        1. Niemand says:

          I make no apology for thinking Labour look like a better prospect for a party of government than the SNP right now. The SNP have had years and years in power and have had enough of them. They will only get worse and need time to reflect on what they’ve become.

          (£5 in the post but just as a charitable act)

  6. Dougie Blackwood says:

    There is a problem. Our Unionist media will now hype Labour as our Saviour and many will believe them. When it comes to the next vote a large number will switch from lackluste SNP to useless Labour and Hey Presto we have Tory resurgence in Scotland after a split in the Anti Tory vote.

    1. 220929 says:

      I don’t see that as a problem. It would only be a problem if the Tories (or any other party) won overall control of the parliament, which is highly unlikely. The majority of seats that the SNP commanded in its second term in government was a bit of an aberration, and the democratic situation in that respect can only improve.

    2. Niemand says:

      You might be right Dougie but it does depend on how much the Scottish Tories are tainted by the ‘Liz Truss Experience’.

  7. Mr E says:

    Saying that the SNP can tackle the big problems of the day by saying ‘independence’ a lot and dropping pretty much their entire economic policy is a combination of big-time cop-out and wishful thinking.

  8. Alex McCulloch says:

    Am I mistaken in thinking that Bella is a pro- Scottish Independence platform and that I could expect to see articles, commentary and related comments that support that aim?

  9. James Dow says:

    The trouble with Scotland is that there is not enough Scots, archetypal Scots that is.
    Scotlands once deep and wide genetic pool now reduced to scattered shallow puddles.

    Own goal
    The modern Scot has little to cheer
    Comatose, tranquillised with football and beer
    James Dow

    1. 220930 says:

      There are 5.51 million Scots. I’m not sure how many of them are archetypal or ‘true’ Scots, however. Maybe you can enlighten us as to which Scots are ‘archetypal’ and which aren’t, and why.

    2. Derek says:

      I like both
      Football and beer
      Both in moderation
      Improve my situation.

  10. 220930 says:

    ‘…a cancellation of the ridiculous Sterlingisation plan.’

    Wouldn’t the question of whether we continue to use sterling, peg our own currency to sterling (‘sterlingisation’), have our own independent ‘free-floating’ currency, or join the Euro, is surely – like the even more fundamental question of our future constitution – best left until after our government becomes independent of the UK. It’s an irksome political distraction that’s best deferred.

    1. No because people need to have a clear prospectus for what they are voting for.

      1. 220930 says:

        Indeed! And that’s what the government’s campaign for independence has always lacked. I suppose because it doesn’t want to alienate anyone who might otherwise support its campaign by giving the prospect of a self-governing Scotland any positive (and therefore controvertible] substantive content. As a result, it’s all just ‘pie-in-the-sky’ stuff.

        1. ‘Scottland’s Future’ Your Guide to an Independent Scotland was exhaustively detailed (some say too much). But your right trying to be all things to all people does dilute the already diluted.

          1. 220930 says:

            It lacked detail on the two most fundamental ‘structural’ issues; namely, on the constitution of the proposed ‘constitutional convention’ that would determine the governance of an independent Scotland, and on how independent the currency of an independent Scotland would be. Otherwise, it just detailed what policies the SNP would pursue if it retained control of the Scottish parliament after the 2016 general election.

  11. SleepingDog says:

    BBC News Arabic and Greenpeace contributed to new documentary Under Poisoned Skies, following a pilot study into harmful effects on Iraqis living near heavily-flaring oilfields, particularly on children:
    Their findings makes a mockery of all the fossil fuel industry’s greenwash on carbon capture; between them, BP and Shell could easily capture the natural gas from these fields that are being constantly flared off instead. Yet nobody seems to take responsibility or even measure anything except barrels of oil and profits.

    What would stop a nationalised Great British Energy Corporation from acting as loathsomely as British Petroleum? Neither the UK nor Scotland has a constitutional block on doing harm to others or the environment. In my view, we need a political system which distributes science-based authority to individuals and groups *outside* our own nation, in this case, the Iraqis and their environment who are suffering under the actions of a British corporation, and the scientists and journalists who are researching and investigating it. #biocracynow

    1. Derek says:

      I doubt that GB Energy will nationalise energy; I suspect that it’ll be a buyer just like octopus and the others.

      1. 221003 says:

        Labour’s proposal is to create a state-owned renewable energy firm to compete domestically with state-owned energy firms from other parts of the world and to drive national investment in green infrastructure. Labour is placing renewable energy at the heart of its economic policy and reckons that state ownership makes most sense for jobs, growth, and energy independence/security. At the moment, many UK energy resources are owned by other states; notably China, France, Norway, and Sweden. The proposal is not for just a publicly owned energy supply firm like Octopus, but for an integrated investment, generation, and supply firm like the French state-owned EDF.

        Of course, because its the Labour Party rather than the SNP that’s proposing it, it’s a stupid idea.

        1. Neil says:

          Are we sure that Great British Energy Ltd will not turn out to be an investment vehicle, investing in private wind farms etc and using income from the investments (dividends and interest) to invest in further schemes. As such an important thing from the point of view of Government might be that investment by the company would not form part of the PSBR (thus not increasing State Debt).

  12. ST says:

    Any articles about Labour in light of The Labour Files documentary by Al Jazeera? After watching that, the need to get away from Westminster is even greater. Once the Tories are out, with Labour we’ll just be getting a new flavour of right-wing.

    1. 220930 says:

      Yes, as I kept banging on deconstructively on Labourite media platforms at the time, there was something sh*t* about how a political party that claims to embrace progressive values had simultaneously produced a hierarchy of racism that discriminated against its Black, Asian, and Muslim members.

      The leaked interviews, internal documents, and social media messages, on which Al Jazeera based its conclusions in its documentary series, vindicates that contention. They betray a racist culture, in which the Party’s most senior staff aimed abuse at their own colleagues, party members, councillors, and elected leaders, and how the party’s campaign to present a tough image on antisemitism, while ignoring other forms of discrimination, drove many staff to resign in protest.

      No doubt, we haven’t heard the last of this; it will be a convenient stick with which to beat Labour in the next UK general election campaign.

    2. SleepingDog says:

      @ST, MediaLens has just published its take on Al Jazeera’s Labour Files (I’ve just watched all four videos myself) with some notable highlights:
      How can the credibility of UK corporate media withstand its ignoring of the story? Perhaps a case of damned if it covers it, damned if it doesn’t.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.