A Disaffection and a Paradox

In perhaps the least surprising turn of the summer Barra’s Angus MacNeil was expelled from the SNP last week stating (with a Kangaroo emoji attached): “The Summer of Member Expulsion, has indeed come to pass. As I have been expelled as a rank & file SNP member by a “member conduct committee.” I didn’t leave the SNP – the SNP have left me. I wish they were as bothered about independence as they are about me!”

Gaelic-speaking MacNeil was one of the SNP’s longest serving MPs, having first been elected to the House of Commons in 2005 but he was suspended from the party’s Westminster group in July after a confrontation with the party’s chief whip Brendan O’Hara.

His departure, while unsurprising, feeds the picture of a party engulfed in crisis and adds problems to the beleaguered leader Humza Yousaf. The Edinburgh Festival has provided a media feeding-frenzy for SNP-Bad stories as a conveyor belt of politicians line-up to disgorge themselves in public as the festering civil war within the party rages on. MacNeil has been very publicly critical of the SNP leadership for a very long time – and his departure has surprised nobody at all. But it does raise interesting questions about how this all plays out.

MacNeil has represented the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency, since 2005. Libby Brooks has written: “MacNeil, one of the SNP’s longest-serving MPs, has been an outspoken critic of the party leadership in recent years, in particular over what he considers its timid independence strategy, but also on gender recognition changes and the Bute House agreement with the Scottish Greens. He is known to be a close ally of the former first minister Alex Salmond.”

But not such an ally as to join Alba?

Why is this?

Despite Alex Salmond’s claim this week that Alba would win 24 seats at the next election, this seems, to be very generous, a stretch of the imagination. A poll by Redfield and Wilton on August 9 put Alba on 1% of the vote for Holyrood voting intention.

An unexplained paradox for supporters of Alba and Alex Salmond is that they want and demand independence NOW! but support a party that looks as if it will take a generation or more to get anywhere near office. So the disaffected MacNeil won’t be joining Alba anytime soon, nor will the other rebel SNP MPS. How do people reconcile the disparity between Alba’s aspirations and the apparent reality of polling over years? One response is to blame the polling companies, another is to blame the media, another is to contend that a huge surge will come around the election as mass desertion of the SNP swings votes across to Alba, or the ISP or one of the other pro-independence groups. This is a variation  of the ‘storm is coming’ meme.

Much of this reasoning can only be sustained by people inhabiting silos of thinking that self-confirm their many views. Social media allows this to happen and solidifies ‘certainty’ around a range of topics. One of the other – darker – paradoxes about this community is the extent to which the constitutional question has been subsumed by culture wars. The disaffected SNP politicians and their wider allies in the independence movement have coalesced less around any coherent alternative for strategies for independence, than around a hatred of the Greens; vehemence against the gender recognition reforms; and a unity against environmental legislation. Whether its gas pumps or HPMAs or Just Transition the Greens and the Bute Agreement stands in the firing-line for most of this group.

Today we’ve seen the latest manifestation of this anti-ecological backlash as Labour drops its commitment to clean air zones in cities. As the environmental researcher Leo Murray remarked: “This won’t make any difference at all to Labour’s electoral prospects. But it will mean a generation of children continue to breathe toxic air that stunts the growth of their lungs. Spineless, clueless, heartless and just unspeakably demoralising.”




It’s everywhere. It’s relentless.

Last week Robin Harper was eulogised to demonise the Greens, the week before we were told Heat Pumps were a useless and stupid idea for Scotland (despite being widely popular across Northern Europe), today the Herald is enjoying weaponising Fergus Ewing in this fight. To be fair there isn’t a point of principle at stake here. The Herald and the wider Scottish media don’t really hate the climate or oppose clean air or sustainable seas or renewable energy or recycling, nor do they really think highly of Harper or Ewing or Salmond, these are just the tools to hand in a proxy war they’ve been waging for decades.

This is what Andy Becket has called ‘climate populism’: “In Britain and far beyond, anti-environmentalists have a new favourite argument. No longer able to claim the climate crisis isn’t happening, they have switched from denial to class warfare. They argue that green policies and innovations from electric cars to heat pumps, low emission zones to eco-taxes and levies, are all unaffordable for working-class and many middle-class people, yet are being imposed regardless by an out-of-touch elite of politicians, bureaucrats and wealthy “woke capitalists”.

“Most of the people making these arguments in the rightwing media were never previously much troubled by the financial struggles of what they now piously call “ordinary people”. But shamelessly shifting position is a familiar activity for the modern right. Meanwhile the cost of living crisis has given its anti-green message more force.”

It’s easy for people with a healthy distrust of the political elite facing increasing hardship to be consumed with anger against the incoherence of plans to navigate out of climate crisis or the decrepit Union. In this context its incumbent of a new left-green movement to articulate honestly the dramatic changes that are going to be required in the coming years, particularly as few if any of the political class seem able to do so. All the political parties are to a greater or lesser extent being fundamentally untruthful to their prospective voters, apart from, paradoxically, the Conservatives. This week saw Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson saying to the Daily Express that critics of the (now diseased) hulk for migrants: “If they don’t like barges then they should fuck off back to France,” Anderson said. “These people come across the Channel in small boats … if they don’t like the conditions they are housed in here then they should go back to France, or better, not come at all in the first place​.”

The Tories are if anything honest: they hate foreign people and are openly racist. Remember all that bullshit about Multicultural Britain?

If the Tories can weaponise racism, or climate-disastrous policies they will, and so too will Labour. As Zoe Williams has suggested we are facing the ‘stupidest election ever’. She noted when: “Sunak said he would issue 100 new oil and gas licences. It had nothing to do with bills or energy security or Putin or the cost of living; these projects wouldn’t even be operational for five to seven years at the earliest. From an energy perspective, the policy is nonsensical, since nobody in the oil and gas industries thinks for a second that Sunak will win the next election…”

“These licences had only one purpose, which was to back Starmer into a corner where he had to say whether or not he would revoke them – which sure enough, he wouldn’t, because respecting a contract is more important than the climate. So he marked himself out as a lukewarm technocrat without the passion or urgency that the battle for the planet needs, and then it got worse: criticised, perfectly legitimately, by Just Stop Oil, Starmer called them “contemptible” for beliefs that are indistinguishable from those of the UN secretary general.”

This where we are, a sort of political purgatory, with a failed political elite, in a failed political Union, with self-deceit all-around.



Comments (43)

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  1. Tom Ultuous says:

    I contacted Home energy Scotland to have a survey of my house done with the intention of having a heat pump installed. Despite living in a semi-detached house with a driveway and garden probably twice the average size I was told the house wasn’t suitable for a heat pump (something about the heat pump having to be situated a certain distance from neighbour’s house as well). I was also given some excuse regarding solar panels, in fact the only thing they were willing to help with was the installation of a new more efficient gas boiler. As this involved new piping and radiators (something I’d have been willing to accommodate for the heat pump) we decided not to bother.

    If my house wasn’t suitable I’m struggling to come to terms with how they think heat pumps are a solution in anything other than new builds. Either Home Energy Scotland (who I think are working with the Scottish govt) were at it (maybe the mono-blocked driveway or slabbed patio put them off) or there’s a huge gap between what the Greens think is possible and what is possible. For example, what do they do in the case of tenements?

    1. Hey Tom – this FYI

      A new report by WWF Scotland shows that Scotland could successfully make the switch from traditional oil and gas boilers to electric heat pumps to keep our homes warm, affordable to heat and climate friendly. [1]

      The analysis by Cambridge Architectural Research [2] found that heat pumps can be fitted in all types of Scottish home [3] and are likely to be a cheaper way to heat our houses when Scottish Government proposals come into force in 2025 [4]. Around half of homes will require moderate cost insulation improvements to enjoy cheaper bills with heat pumps [5]. With renewables providing the vast majority of Scotland’s electricity, they can also cut a typical Scottish home’s annual carbon emissions by up to 90%.

      Presently homes account for 30% of all energy used in Scotland, with 90% of that coming from fossil fuels. The switch to renewable heat is happening too slowly, with emissions from homes falling only 2% since 2015. With high fossil fuel prices driving the cost-of-living crisis, heat pumps and energy efficiency measures are the best way to minimise fuel poverty and tackle climate change at the same time.

      The Scottish Government has already proposed regulations that would require low-carbon heating and energy efficiency to be installed in specific circumstances – such as when replacing a boiler or purchasing a house [6]. These proposals are vital to increase activity, and are going in the right direction, but WWF is urgently calling for more detail and more ambition.

      These vital regulations could help lower energy bills, but households will need support with initial upfront costs. That’s why WWF Scotland is also calling on the Scottish Government to continue providing grants alongside regulations, with households in fuel poverty having all costs covered [7] with upfront grants provided to others. The estimated cost of installing a heat pump starts at around £12,000, but with current Scottish Government grant support, the amount paid by householders starts from around £4,500. Some of these upfront costs are a one off due to the change of heating system and costs are likely to fall as supply chains expand and mature.

      With regards to the Scottish Government’s own climate targets, WWF’s analysis shows the need for more ambition, or we risk emissions being more than double (2.6 million tonnes more) than its 2030 target for homes. Regulation is crucial to increase installations of energy efficiency and clean heating. To cut emissions faster, WWF is calling on the Scottish Government to set bring forward deadlines for action including:

      Bring forward the deadline for all homes in Scotland to reach a minimum standard of energy efficiency from 2033 to 2030

      Require replacement of some gas boilers (older and less efficient models) from 2025 (rather than 2030)

      WWF also worked with experts to explore the potential for hydrogen heating. WWF also worked with experts to explore the potential for hydrogen heating. The research suggests that hydrogen, if available at all, should not be relied upon to heat homes. It is unlikely to be available until the next decade and heating costs to households are expected to be high. WWF recommends that low carbon hydrogen should instead be used in sectors of the economy such as heavy industry, heavy transport and peak power generation. [8]

      Fabrice Leveque, Energy Policy Manager at WWF Scotland said:

      “Our reliance on gas and oil boilers is driving up our energy bills and creating damaging carbon pollution. Scotland is a renewable energy powerhouse, and we can harness that to heat our homes using electric heat pumps. New rules proposed by the Scottish Government requiring heating upgrades in some homes are a critical step to boost investment, grow supply chains and bring costs down. But more detail about these plans is urgently needed to secure the benefits of cleaner heating that will free households from unstable fossil fuel prices and make the most of our ever-cheaper renewables.

      Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change said:

      “The Scottish Government has big ambitions for decarbonising the economy, but so far there’s been too little action to make these a reality. Cleaning up home heating will require significant investment and this research shows that this is achievable and desirable. A huge amount of value is locked up in housing and accessing this to invest in better heating systems is a vital step to close the gap to our climate targets.”

      Rob McGaughey, Head of Smart Heat at ScottishPower, said:

      “This latest research complements our own findings that electric heat pumps are the best low-carbon solution for many of our homes. We’re already working to make it cheaper and easier for people across the country to access heat pumps and make their properties warmer and more energy efficient. We’re installing heat pumps across the country at lower than the national average cost, and for homes that require fewer updates the price after Scottish Government support can be lower than replacing their existing fossil fuel boiler.”

      David Cowdrey, Director of External Affairs at MCS Charitable Foundation, said:

      “The evidence could not be clearer: heat pumps are the best way to cut carbon and slash bills. It is encouraging to see that the Scottish Government is considering replacement of polluting gas boilers with clean heat pumps; this new report shows that Scotland can and must go faster in switching all homes to heat pumps.

      “To fully harness the potential of this green and cheap heat, Scotland must invest in skills and bring down the upfront costs of installations. We also need reform of energy markets so that the financial benefits of renewables are properly reflected in the price of electricity, bringing down the costs to households even further.”


      Phillipa installed a heat pump in her 40-year-old detached home in Stirling during the winter of 2021. Prior to fitting the heat pump she made several energy efficiency improvements to her home. She also has solar PV panels. [9]

      Phillipa said:

      “We’re really pleased to have been able to make such a significant step in reducing our carbon footprint. In the first month of using the heat pump, the combined amount we spent on gas and electricity was the same or less when compared to the same month in the previous year, which is a good start.”

      Notes to Editors

      [1] Affordable warmth: next steps for clean heat in Scotland’


      [2] Faster deployment of heat pumps in Scotland: Settling the figures


      [3] The study found that air source heat pumps can be fitted in all types of home, with air to air heat pumps an alternative option where space is limited. Individual heat pumps are most suited to houses – they can be installed in flats and tenements but there are extra challenges. These could be overcome by shared systems like heat networks, for example connecting multiple flats to a single large heat pump.

      [4] The study, using forecasts of future energy prices, finds that a majority of homes could have lower energy bills – all homes with oil boilers and electric storage heaters, and many with gas boilers. Future energy prices are very uncertain but policy changes by the UK Government (to remove policy levies from energy bills, and reform electricity markets) would help ensure that heat pumps are cheaper than gas.

      [5] The study found that energy efficiency makes heat pumps cheaper. The recommended level of energy efficiency is broadly equivalent to an EPC ‘C’ rating. Most homes that need improvements to meet this standard will require draught proofing, loft and cavity wall insulation and double glazing;

      average costs are £1,800.

      [6] Regulations proposed in the Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Strategy (2021) https://www.gov.scot/publications/heat-buildings-strategy-achieving-net-zero-emissions-scotlands-buildings/ would require homeowners and landlords to make improvements to homes. The exact details are to be consulted on in 2023 but broadly it is proposed that:

      Energy efficiency: houses purchased, rented, or undergoing major renovation would need to meet a minimum level of energy efficiency from 2025, which is equivalent to an Energy Performance Certificate rating (EPC) of ‘C’. All remaining houses must meet this standard by 2033 (2028 for rented properties). The purchaser of a house could be given 12 months to meet the requirement, should their property be below standard.

      Phasing out oil and gas boilers: no new installations of coal, oil and LPG boilers from 2025 (applies to houses only). No new installations of gas boilers from 2030. Homes replacing these boilers would need to fit low-carbon alternatives. This could also be required at other ‘trigger points’ (e.g. house purchase).

      Flats and tenements and other multi- purpose buildings will need to meet a combined energy efficiency and heating standard by 2045, with earlier deadlines possible.

      Energy efficiency standards are to be enforced through updated Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s). Scottish Government has proposed adding a new rating to EPCs that is more appropriate for getting to net-zero emissions. WWF recommends that this be set according to the energy efficiency of a home’s exterior (walls, roof, windows/doors and floor).

      [7] Scottish Government currently provides the following support to households fitting low carbon heating and energy efficiency improvements:

      Heat pumps: a £7,500 cashback grant (£9,000 for homes that qualify for a rural uplift)

      Energy efficiency: a cashback grant for up to 75% of the combined cost of: loft, floor, cavity/solid wall insulation. Up to a maximum amount of £7,500 (£9,000 for rural homes).

      Households in fuel poverty (to qualify, households must typically be in receipt of a state benefit) can receive partially or fully funded improvements through the Warmer Homes Scotland programme.

      [8] The potential use of hydrogen for heating in Scotland https://www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2023-02/CAG-Hydrogen-Heating-in-Scotland.pdf

      [9] Link to case study https://greenhomesnetwork.energysavingtrust.org.uk/CaseStudy.aspx?cid=1640&cindex=0

      1. Tom Ultuous says:

        Hi Mike, that is pretty much what I’ve been reading but it flies in the face of what they Home Energy Scotland surveyor told me. I may get another survey done by Scottish power to see what they say.

    2. Cathie Lloyd says:

      WE have a heat pump and your experience suggests more about your supplier than the viability of heatpumps. Why not seek a second opinion if its not too late? The alarm bells rang when you mention how the heatpump needs to be situated a certain distance from neighbours, without knowing more it does sound odd. I certainly wouldnt draw general conclusions from the experience you report, its worth going into it more.

      My experience of air source heat pumps is that it works well in a well insulated house. Its not noisy making no more noise than the usual you might expect from a gas boiler, probably less. So if you can, look again and check out a reputable supplier

      1. Tom Ultuous says:

        I will do Cathie. What perturbs me is (from the web) “Home Energy Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government, is a network of local advice centres covering all of Scotland.” Why would they give me bum advice? They aren’t the installers.

        Who did yours?

        1. Cathie Lloyd says:

          Were they talking about air source heat pump? That’s what we have, understand that a ground source one involves more complicated works. We used a local supplier back in 2016. He comes to give it an annual service. It’s done us well in freezing temps. I hope you can find a decent supplier. But check out air source! Cheers

    3. Ruth Kennedy says:

      You can ask Home Energy Scotland to provide a written explanation for their advice as to why a heat pump isn’t suitable for your property, which you can share here / take to an installer. They’re an impartial source of advice so there’s no benefit for them in trying to dissuade you…

      You need to have a well insulated home to make a heat pump worthwhile so if you’ve not got well insulated walls and roof it could be uneconomical (though still greener) and there are regulations about where you can situate a heat pump, which any installer can (should) tell you. The size of your garden or driveway have nothing to do with it unless you’re looking at a ground source heat pump.

      1. Tom Ultuous says:

        Thanks Ruth. Thinking back it may be because the loft was floored and, as a result, wasn’t insulated when we had the cavity walls done.

  2. Radio Jammor says:

    As the SNP continues to fall apart after having being revealed as having nothing up its sleeve following the Supreme Court decision, The Indy movement finds itself in desperate need of an alternative.
    The Scot Greens are not going to provide such any time soon, due the partnership with the SNP and not standing any prospective candidates for Westminster.
    This, in my view, is a pity. If there is any other party that could currently provide an Indy alternative, it is them. This in part is why they are being targeted by SNP members, alongside the other reasons given.
    Alba? No. Not unless Alex Salmond acknowledges he is electoral poison, puts Indy before himself and steps aside, and perhaps moves into something like an auld grandee role, where no one voting for him is not a problem and his political nous can still be useful. This might enable the likes of, say, Angus MacNeil to take his place. That might be interesting…
    Then maybe we might have an alternative to the SNP – which may then concentrate minds in the SNP to up their game.
    Until such time as either the SNP gets its act together or some viable Indy alternative appears, then yes, I find the final sentence made to be completely and utterly accurate and true.

    1. Tom Ultuous says:

      We need to get people marching.
      The Scottish govt should arrange a wildcat independence referendum.
      If the yoons organise a boycott, the Scottish govt should state that the referendum will go ahead anyway, and if the YES vote amounts to what would’ve been a majority in the 2014 referendum (42.3% of eligible voters) then it’s assumed that independence is the wish of the Scottish people.
      If the yoons continue to advise a boycott that means they won’t be campaigning, which in turn makes it easier to achieve the equivalent of that 2014 majority.
      If you were Douglas Ross, what would you recommend?
      Following a YES vote the Scottish govt should seek the support of the UN who generally take a dim view of colonies being held against their will.
      The compensation money for the police’s collaboration in the Very British Coup should go towards this referendum.

    2. Hi Radio Jammor – how likely is it do you think for Alex Salmond to “acknowledges he is electoral poison, puts Indy before himself and steps aside”?

  3. John says:

    Westminster got an enormous fright during 2014 referendum. I doubt severely whether David Cameron would have agreed the S30 if he thought there was any possibility Yes was going to win. This is also why they have not only refused current Holyrood request but refuse to outline under which circumstances they would agree to a request. The ‘legal’ route to independence appears blocked and independence supporters have turned their frustrations on each other especially the Greens who are IMO a bit politically niaive. This block on a route to independence means, not unnaturally, voters are not prioritising independence at present.
    The SNP have had 2 high profile politically able leaders and the sudden resignation of NS and subsequent leadership election only highlighted this. KF was very disappointing as she not only did not address how to reconcile her personal and political beliefs she did not even try to. In addition she indulged in publicity attacking her own government with lines straight out of Daily Mail. AR came over as completely unprepared for leadership and HY therefore stumbled over line by default.
    Add in the ongoing hyped up police investigation and the media’s hostility to Holyrood government and independence and it is no surprise that SNP support is falling – at least support for independence is remaining reasonably stable which is a shaft of light in an otherwise gloomy outlook.
    The better news for SNP is that the opposition in Scotland is regarded as pretty dire and that though Labour will make some gains there is no rebound enthusiasm for them. Alba support remains minimal and I strongly suspect it is even less in younger people.
    I keep remembering it took 18 years to get from 1979 to 1997 to win devolution and this was achieved by a broad movement working together.
    The independence cause may go backwards in short term but I remain convinced that 2/3rd of Scottish electorate would support an independent country if it they are convinced it will lead to a fairer, more prosperous Scotland based in EU.
    It is up to politicians to work out way to convince the people of Scotland.

    1. Alan C says:

      ‘It is up to politicians to work out way to convince the people of Scotland.’
      The problem is, the SNP don’t want to convince the voters as they are quite happy with the status quo.
      The fight for indy needs to be taken head on by the people and away from ‘polititions’

      1. John says:

        Please enlighten me how the people are going to lead the way in persuading a significant majority of their fellow countrymen about independence and how they can actually achieve it with the consent of the international community especially EU.
        Make no mistake as much as I believe an independent Scotland will prosper in medium to long term the first few years are bound to be challenging and we will need support from international institutions especially if Westminster is hostile which it almost inevitably will be to some extent regardless of how we achieve independence

      2. Duncan Sutherland says:

        The window of opportunity for Scottish independence has closed. Forget it. Move on.

        As for the climate, no number of dubious heat pumps in Scotland will make any significant difference to it. Enjoy the warmer summers. Joe Soap certainly will.

        The planet is enduring climate change and will no doubt fail to prevent further climate change. Embrace the horror, but be thankful that you are living in Scotland, where cool air still wafts in while most of Europe bakes and the insufferably arrogant Greens will soon be removed from office together with the SNP, which has no reason to hang around any longer.

        1. Wul says:

          Duncan, there must be a forum elsewhere where your despair, hopelessness, negativity and cynicism would be more welcome. Why not spend more time there? “Joe soap”. FFS.

          1. John says:

            Look at his previous posts he is not someone putting a counter argument he is an ignorant troll.
            If Mike does not want to edit anyone the best thing is to simply ignore him.

          2. I’ll remove people if they are wrecking things but not if they’re merely annoying

  4. Michelle S says:

    I agree with all that is said about the weaponising of Green transition by right wing actors. There is a massive however though, and that is the Scottish Government and their partners the Greens are doing not nearly enough at a nationwide level to help everyone to install sustainable energy systems, making it easy for such weaponising. We looked into heat pumps and got 3 quotes all coming in at £16000-£20000 and that was before increasing the necessary insulation. We went down the increase insulation and put in a new gas boiler at a cost of £5000 which has reduced our energy usage and bills. Even with £7500 grant for heat pump it’s was a no brainer for our finances.
    The scotgov simply has to do better and start listening to the likes of commonweal and their idea of a national insulation programme etc. reducing energy use is what’s needed. If they want to win trust back then don’t push for things like Harvie’s heat pump plan which frankly is them following in Tory or labour footsteps of foisting the costs onto individuals rather than the state or energy companies (I do understand the energy market in UK doesn’t help).
    As for voting well I am one of the increasing number of independence supporters feeling politically homeless. Outwith social media I am hearing a lot of people feeling like me. The SNP will lose due to us not turning out, as they aren’t offering us much.
    I would never vote Alba or any unionist parties. The greens are a party who appear to have forgotten all their ‘green’ social justice policies, and decided to have the one policy of do it our way or no way.
    If I had an ISP candidate I might vote for them.

  5. florian albert says:

    The Tories . . . hate foreign people and and are openly racist.’

    The leader of the Tories – and Prime Minister- is the child of immigrants of Hindu Indian background.
    The third most important person in the Tory government, James Cleverly is the son of a black woman from Sierra Leone.
    The fourth most important person, Suella Braverman, is the child of immigrants from India, one of a Hindu background.

    The Tories don’t appear to have quite got the hang of this ‘racist’ thing.

    1. John says:

      I would judge somebody to be racist based on policies and actions not on the colour of their skin. You are being racist saying they cannot be racist to others because they are people of colour.
      The fact that children of refugees such as Braverman & Patel appear to be so hostile to refugees leaves many puzzled.

      1. 230814 says:

        Let me try to ease your perplexity:

        Suella Braverman, Priti Patel, and Rishi Sunak aren’t the children of refugees; their families migrated here as British subjects when administrative units of British East Aftica became Western-style independent nation-states.

        In an interview she gave to the Spectator last year, Suella (a practising Buddhist) said that she considers herself not to be South Asian but British, a child of empire. She said that it was British subjects like her parents who brought infrastructure to countries like Mauritius and Kenya. She was also critical of the racism implicit in the assumption that, because of the colour of her skin, she should think a certain way. She describes herself as a ‘natural conservative’ and eschews ‘identity politics’.

        Notwithstanding her cosmopolitanism and anti-racism, however, Suella also holds that any migration should serve the common good (be economically beneficial to the nation) and that it should be regulated accordingly. One of the main reasons that Suella supported independence in the 2016 referendum was that, by seceding from the [European] Union, the UK government would ‘take back’ greater power to so regulate the free movement of labour across its borders for the common good.

        Of course, which of our rival conceptions of ‘the common good’ or ‘national interest’ is the ‘correct’ one is an endlessly moot point that, ultimately, only the electorate can decide.

        1. Derek Thomson says:

          See when they were “bringing infrastructure” to Kenya, was there anything else they were up to at the time? Anything involving broken bottles being stuffed into rectums, the shooting of “coal-black bastards” in cold blood because one of them kept smiling as he was being tortured? You wonder how they found the time. Still, the bridges were nice, I’m sure. Aye, she’s British all right.

          1. 230814 says:

            Indeed, Suella’s attitude to empire as the civilisation of backward people smacks of colonialism, which was often indeed prosecuted by barbaric means.

        2. John says:

          Yes both Patel and Braverman were strictly speaking immigrants not refugees but their families were fleeing from persecution like many of the refugees being castigated by these two today.
          I would contend that the attitude of Tory party to immigrants has pockets of racism. a large dose of xenophobia and a lack of humanity purely for political reasons and is proving completely ineffective.
          The 2016 Brexit Referendum was about the UK remaining part of EU – it has always been an independent country as are all countries within EU.
          The statement I was challenging was that the Tory Party policies cannot be racist because they have several people of colour in senior positions- which I state is in itself not only incorrect but possibly racist.

          1. 230814 says:

            I’d be surprised if there were no racists in the Conservative party. Racism’s everywhere. Suella has herself encountered it among her party colleagues in their attitudes towards her and called it out. She has likewise challenged the misogyny of those same colleagues and that of her parliamentary colleagues in other parties.

            But the main problem is that much of the recent popular support for the Conservative party, which gave it a massive parliamentary majority in Westminster after the last general election, is down to its success in riding the wave of popular xenophobia that’s been sweeping through the Westminster electorate, which has given it a democratic advantage over the other parties, who have so far been more wary of going down that road.

          2. 230814 says:

            ‘…that the Tory Party policies cannot be racist because they have several people of colour in senior positions…’

            Yep, that’s a fallacious ‘ad hominem’ argument. A speaker’s skin-colour is irrelevant to the nature of his or her utterance.

          3. 230814 says:

            ‘…it has always been an independent country as are all countries within EU…’

            Of course you can be independent within a Union.

            But Suella and her ilk would argue that the UK’s membership of the EU inhibited the British government’s power to regulate the free movement of labour across its borders, which pointed to a loss of independence within the EU. Scottish nationalists frame ‘independence’ in similar terms, pointing to the curtailment of Scottish government powers within the UK.

          4. John says:

            Reply 230814 comment that Suella & her ilk would argue UK leaving EU is equivalent to Scotland becoming independent – this type of comparison only shows how I’ll informed Suella and her ilk are with regard to Scotland and EU constitutional politics.
            You are however right that they will and do say that.

      2. florian albert says:

        I am commenting on Mike Small’s statement that ‘Tories hate foreign people and are openly racist.’

        That three of the top four jobs in their government have been given to people of foreign, non-‘white’ background suggests that this comment is – to be charitable – silly.

        1. Not really. I mean they are so racist that the first time round they elected Liz Truss over Rishi Sunak.

          1. florian albert says:

            Alternatively, racism in the Tory Party has shrunk so far to the margins that three of the four ‘great offices of state’ are held by Tory MPs from a ‘non-white,’ immigrant background.

  6. SleepingDog says:

    The Tories are honest? No, they are practioners of hypocrisy and deliverers of cant, led by liars, supported by crooks, are international promise-breakers and systematisers of dishonest dealings.

    As for the Scottish Greens, why don’t you delve into dissent in their ranks, their unusually entrenched leadership and differences with the Greens of England and Wales?

    1. They’re honest in their openly racist, they are honest in that they have no shame for their repellent views.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Editor, I meant ‘practitioners’. Perhaps ‘brazen’ would be a more accurate adjective than ‘honest’, then?

        1. 230815 says:

          Phenomenologists seek to bracket all adjectives (and adverbs) from their discourse. They frown on them as prejudicial expressions that vitiate the objectivity of our discourse with subjective biases.

          Accordingly, the best (or worst) that could be said ‘scientifically’ about ‘the Tories’ is that they characteristically say ‘x’, ‘y’, and ‘z’, and that, by the application of some criteria of truth, ‘x’, ‘y’, and ‘z’ isn’t true.

          But, of course, this kind of speaking doesn’t serve the political purpose of whipping up sectarian hatred against ‘the Tories’ (or any other ‘Other’).

  7. John says:

    I would suggest the reality of upcoming Westminster election is that under FPTP every constituency in Scotland is now SNP vs Labour/Tory/Lib Dem.
    Any loss in SNP seats will be spun by opponents and reported by media as a reduction in support for independence.
    The only possibility of achieving independence in next 5 years is a hung parliament with SNP holding balance of power and getting a S30 in exchange for supporting the largest party and then Yes winning the independence referendum.
    The odds on this happening are not high but I have heard of no other feasible route for independence in short term which public in Scotland would support.

    1. 230814 says:

      That seems to be the most likely prospect. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      1. 230814 says:

        But would the SNP in Westminster support Tory policies in return for a leave to hold a second referendum should the Conservatives constitute the largest minority in a hung parliament? I find that prospect unlikely.

        1. John says:

          The paradox is that while the SNP are more likely to both support Labour policies in exchange for a S30 the Yes side would be more likely to win any subsequent referendum if there was a Tory government.
          There are, at present according to all recent polling, only two major political issues that command an overwhelming majority support (>66%) and these are dislike of the Tory government and dislike of Brexit both of which have been imposed on Scotland despite having minority support from electorate in Scotland.

          1. John says:

            This post obviously refers to electorate in Scotland. Though UK electorate do appear to be going off Conservatives and Brexit if recent polling is to be believed!

  8. Collie Dog says:

    There is nothing whatsoever ‘lukewarm’ about Starmer. He is brutal enforcer par excellence, silently indifferent to all pushback against whatever it is he will be grimly determined to do after the coming election if England is unwise enough to elect him with the idea he will change anything. His election will be sold to us as new dawn, but it’s obvious (even if he never says so) that he sees his his job rather will be to enforce everything the Tories are putting in place and I guess take all the shit for the worst consequences of those policies as they start really hitting home (with the Tories safely dodging all blame). I’m using the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ metaphor about him, and it isn’t wrong, but does ave the slightly surprising and depressing distinction in his case that he isn’t actually wearing fleece and doesn’t even bother trying to pretend. Yet people still read him more as ‘sheep’ than ‘wolf’. Maybe that’s partly due his (completely misleading) look of implacable shell-shock most of the time whenever he is busy being interviewed saying nothing. England will rue the day he is elected. And Scotland needs to look to its defences… Except for, we currently are busy dismantling these at a rate of knots.

    1. Collie Dog says:

      Yikes. I clicked ‘post’ too soon without quite sorting typos and infelicities! Is there an option to edit??!

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