2007 - 2021

Alistair Jack. Who am I and who is he and who am I to him and he to me?

You could say about me – that I grew up in a housing scheme in 80s Dundee and made the most of some of the opportunities that came my way, so that I can now say I am educated to some extent and can (mostly) pay my monthly bills. I own no property and have no savings. My politics have always been ‘left’ and I believe in a (much) fairer redistribution of wealth. I am absolutely horrified at the state of the British Isles as a result of Tory-imposed austerity and the bloodthirsty battle for power between the conservative factions (where the blood is let by the poorer in society). It was unjust for the poor to pay for an economic crisis they did not create. I could never wish for George Osbourne to ever sleep soundly in his bed following the horror that has unfolded in the very real lives of people since his and his cabal sold them down the river so as to better serve the interests of the elite. Everything Brexit related since has further cemented my decision. I believe that in an independent Scotland, society would demand better and the politicians would act on our demands so that things would be at least democratically and morally better. If Scotland was an independent country.

Alistair Jack on the other hand is a privately educated, multi-millionaire land-owner, and long-time member of the Tory party. He has other titles than the recently bestowed Secretary of state for Scotland. For example, he is a member of The Queen’s Bodyguard (whatever that is). He is a confide paid-up member of the ‘white men rule the world’ club. A quick look at his voting record and you can see his politics laid bare. And his worldview to a great extent. His is a world away from mine, and I think, for Jack, the status quo is damned worth fighting for! He is perfect establishment fodder. He may think he is at the trough with the pigs, but in the end – like so many before him- he is the one being dined upon for his usefulness. Above all, he is a man who believes in the righteousness and superiority of the British State over both Scotland’s body politic and civil society.

I am nothing to Jack, except in the context of him wishing to deny my democratic rights. In that, I am a scourge to the Scottish Society from which he has so richly benefited. He will do all he can to stop me getting a chance to alter his world. As a supporter of self-determination, I seek to redistribute the dealt hands completely, and see how we could stack those cards so that everyone has a chance to win. I am nothing to this Jack of private-members clubs, one whose just joined the ultimate Jack the lad boys club, populated as it is by so many other white, rich, privileged men who believe it is their right to drive UK society wherever they want, irrespective of the wishes of others.

Who else was Boris going to invite in? Mundell was out, that faithful lapdog was never going to get the offer. Nope, it was always going to be an ‘old boy’, one with money, land and allegiance. All the better that his farm is only over the border, easier for taking up the offers to stay. He is the factor and I am Donald McLeod. I am nothing to Jack Alistair. Yet a doubt gnaws at his mind as to the sheer numbers reported as being ready to agree with me on a question that needs to be asked again, and will be.

Jack doesn’t speak for me at all, his is a voice that serves himself and his masters. His is a voice that would speak at me, telling me what I can and cannot do, that established political behaviour in the UK is to be ignored in this instance because they don’t like the potential outcome. That power is ‘theirs’ to give, that, judging levels of public desire for a referendum, is exclusively theirs to interpret. And to think that some would advocate for a supermajority in any future referendum. Make it even more difficult for Scottish society to democratically invoke change. As if the power pendulum isn’t already pulled off to one side due to the long-rigged scales of Westminster Parliament.

And he to me? Well he is a symbol of lots that is wrong, an obstacle to be worked around, a source of encouragement. And, even though he is an opponent in a rigged game, we know that underdogs can still win. He is responsible for every one of those policies he has signed up to in his career. He is one of the reasons for my own engagement in the debate, and a part of that elite group who hold so much power in their obscenely privileged hands. He makes me sick when I think of the end result of Tory policies, he makes me sad that things are still as they are, that I could pick up a history book from any era of Scottish existence within the UK and find a carbon-copy example of someone just like him – happy to hold Scottish Society back for their own ends, and that of a dominant elite. He makes me angry that it is so difficult to push through change, that ‘dirty-politicking’ costs lives and infringes human rights as we agitate for change. I may be nothing to him, but he is something to me – something worth fighting against.

So, I suppose the question is not if Jack speak for me – that much is clear – but does Jack speak for you? Have you asked your friends? Queried your family as to what they think? Will this man ever argue for a society that they wish to live in. Consider the evidence and answer that question yourself.

Comments (26)

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  1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

    ‘I believe that in an independent Scotland, society would demand better and the politicians would act on our demands so that things would be at least democratically and morally better. ‘

    I admire your faith, blind though it might be.

    1. Indyman says:

      Getting rid of the SNP troughers might not be easy but it can be done.

      1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

        But would that not just make space for others to get their noses in the trough?

        And, in any case, does majority ‘Middle Scotland’ want things to be democratically and morally better, or do they just want low taxes and low interest rates and more privately disposable income to spend on luxuries, just like MIddle England does. What makes it so morally exceptional? Why would it demand better?

        1. Elspeth Forbes says:

          I remember reading a comment about the diffrrences between Middle Scotland and Middle England years ago: that, at least, Middle Scotland had heard of the Poll Tax. I think that there are differences between the two and the ‘Middle Scotland” of which you speak only really exists in small pockets around the country (Morningside comes to mind: Bearsden, parts of Perth, Cults and Bieldside in Aberdeen.) The point of all this is, that while there may be a lean towards lower taxes etc, I think that many members of Middle Scotland have working class roots (like myself) and would not choose people or processes that would piss on making Scotland better for everyone.

      2. Indyman says:

        I see where you’re coming from and you’ve certainly got a point, but that’s assuming that things will stay the same. My feeling is that we’re on the cusp of some major changes which would have been unthinkable even a few months ago. Me, I’ve got popcorn on standing order.

        1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

          I can’t think of a time in my growing years when ‘major changes’ haven’t been predicted by those who were hoping for major changes. I call such delusionality the ‘Jehovah’s Witness Syndrome’ (others call it ‘eschatology’ or ‘apocalypticism’), and I’m not holding my breath.

          1. Indyman says:

            So things with the impact of covid and brexit were happening throughout your growing years? What planet was this because it sure wasn’t the one I’ve been living on.

          2. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

            My point is that we don’t know what the political impact of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit will be, any more than we knew back in the day what the impact of Cuban Missile crisis, or the HIV/AIDS pandemic (which, 40 years on, is still with us – globally, there were 60.7 million cases and 1.4 million deaths in 2018), or Britain’s accession to the European Community, or the collapse of the Soviet Union would be. None of the messianic/apocalyptic predictions that were being made by the chatterati in those ‘end days’ came true, which is why I’m not holding my breath during this most recent iteration of the trope.

            But we’ll see (if I’m spared, as my mother used to say in her end days).

          3. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

            Sorry, I got my HIV and Covid figures muddled up (auld age daesna come itsel, as my mother also used to say!). That should be 37.9 million cases and 700,000 deaths of/from HIV infection in 2018, according to WHO.

    2. Iain macphail says:

      I like the article, and think your comment is futility itself (sorry)

      What are you saying here?

      That we should not train our focus on the likes of Alister Jack, because “oh what’s the point?”

      Sorry but Scotland has changed.

      We have the minerals to make change now.

      I hope you vote Yes but I dont see the point of futile thinking – when 14 polls in a row show we are approaching the port, in a Eueopean nation called Scotland, where university tuition is already free, prescriptions are free, there’s baby boxes & better covid responses, minimum pricing & a more social democratic ethos established (a good launch pad, no?)

      1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

        Alister Jack is a distraction. Demonising him only serves to sustain the grudge and grievance of the faithful; ressentiment is a slave mentality, and it’s f*ck*ng despicable as such.

        Yes, Scotland has changed. The social attitudes of its peoples have changed largely in line with the changes that have taken place on the Isles as a whole. And Scotland will continue to change in ways we can’t predict or control, let alone engineer through our politics. History (the process of change), in prospect, is incalculable; only in retrospect is it determinable – which is what historians are for: to help us make sense of what the hell’s just happened.

        I’ll look at the package the Scottish government offers at the next referendum (if I’m spared!) and vote ‘Yes’ if I like the look of it and it contains adequate provision for holding it to account. If I don’t, I’ll spoil my ballot as I did last time.

        1. Susan Macdiarmid says:

          ‘Scotland’s social attitudes have changed largely in line with these Islands as a whole’. Really? When were these Islands’ social attitudes ever in line? Is that not part of why we want independence?

          1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

            Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) surveys suggest the contrary. While they might not be exactly in line, they’re largely in line, especially on issues that matter. MIddle Scotland isn’t all that different from Middle England in respect of the aggregate of its social and economic aspirations.

            And while your ‘we’ might want independence, is this what MIddle Scotland wants? Isn’t your political task yet to convince it that this is indeed what it wants and should vote accordingly in the next referendum?

  2. Pete Roberts says:

    Mr. Anderson, you speak my thoughts.

  3. Jim McElhill says:

    Very good piece, raising questions we all should be asking ourselves and particularly Tory voters in Scotland.

  4. Dougie Blackwood says:

    We do not like tho inactivity of the a
    SNP government in Holyrood. There are many things the could and should be doing but the have valid excuses meantime. They are in thrall to the Greens who’s whim can bring them down.

    They are however the wagon that will get the supporting numbers up and maybe get us to another referendum. We must win that one or we really are lost for a generation.

    Jack is a sideshow, just another of the entitled clowns that hold the reins of power. We must stick together in our quest to achieve the freedom we desire; the freedom to break up the SNP into its constituent parts, the freedom to decide on the rules and actions that we follow in OUR country. Only after we win independence should we argue the detail of what we want to do with it.

    Meanwhile we must shoot down those that would splinter and divide the independence MOVEMENT, not party.

  5. Achmacath mac 'ille Motha says:

    Jack trousers about £100k pa single farm payment subsidy for his place Na Caorainn (Courance) (welfare for landowning toffs) but has a voting record limiting social benefits for the poorest. His brother, as well as being something in the city (London) owns the huge Dornell shooting estate at Clachan Pluic (Lauriston) in Galloway. These are seriously privileged folk we are talking about here.

    I want to know why the SNP have done nothing on a land tax. That would sort the likes of Jack out.

    1. Donald McGregor says:

      Land tax ( lack of discussion or progress) is an issue that I try to stop myself thinking of as signalling ‘the future’ even if we do win this election and a referendum.
      The SNP need to change more than just their ‘slowly slowly and slower’ approach to independence.

  6. Justin Kenrick says:

    Great piece.

    It’s a simpe democratic fact that the voting system in Scotland means we can get the government we vote for.

    The voting system in the UK as a whole means that people have to almost always choose ‘the lesser of two evils’ and so ‘evil’ always wins. The Tory party is increasingly captured by Mad Max money that wants to wreck society to scavange on what’s left. Labour is yet again captured by those who say they have to seem much more like the Tories in order to win.

    It’s a simple economic fact that the City of London – an onshore tax haven – and the billionaire press barons have captured the political and media scene. In fact there is not much difference between key social attitudes north and south of the border – most want nationalisation of energy, railways, etc, most want a strong NHS, etc etc – but you wouldn’t know that from the media.

    Scotland, independent, showing what real democracy can enable us to do could be a bright light for our neighbours lost in the fog.

  7. Adrian Roper says:

    Hi David and all
    I agree that Jack is a toff whose interests are different to most Scots (especially those with little or no property), and that he aligns himself with a UK politics in which accelerating wealth inequality is accepted.

    But what if some degree of wealth inequality is a human inevitability? What if there will always be Scots who want to live in castle-type houses and have a pile of silver in the vaults (or even just a nice place in Morningside and a yacht)? What if there is even some value in a future Scottish society that offers opportunities to “succeed” in these material ways?

    (? Perhaps middle Scotland needs to believe this before they really embrace independence).

    Is there some merit in envisioning a better bunch of toffs for Scotland, and planning ways both to nurture them and control them?

    A wealth cap would be a logical starting place.

    “Live in Scotland and enjoy being a billionaire! If you can’t be happy with a billion pounds, live somewhere else!”

    Land reform is another essential.

    Scottish toffs of the absent landlord variety need to be replaced by castle dwellers surrounded by publicly and community owned land.

    Living in the “castle” would bring obligations as well as status, and the status would be publicly judged by how well obligations were met.

    Did the laird support the community? If not, they can stay in their castle and have diddly squat to do with the traditional estates, now safely in non-private hands.

    But so much better to have successful (or even lucky-by-inheritance) Scots who take pride in their status and obligations. Who feel their success and their silver is safe in Scotland.

    And who, if push comes to shove, will put themselves on the line to defend Scotland, just as the Bruce and other Scottish toffs did, back in the day.

    1. Achmacath mac 'ille Motha says:

      Fair points Adrian however at least we can start by not paying the toffocracy obscene amounts of public subsidy. Why the simple step of not placing a maximum limit on SFP in Scotland was not taken by SNP is beyond me. One individual farmer here in Galloway pulls down £1m pa in subsidy.
      Another concern is Forestry Grant aid: this has been for several years very generous in Scotland which has resulted in what Savills call a gold rush by (often) city investment companies for marginal land. This subsidy money then washes straight through to the owners of such land which has spiralled in price in direct correlation to the public money being given out as subsidy. Thus making the likes of the Duke of Buccleuch a very happy man. Not only does he avariciously avail of the grants but his huge land portfolio has appreciated massively in value.
      If some of these basic problems were sorted out your meritocratic Scot could buy some land (capped amount I’d suggest) but without relying on the poorer members of society to subsidise it.

      1. Adrian Roper says:

        Agreed. The amount of land in private ownership should have a tight cap.
        Let the rich buy nice things, and be patrons of the expensive arts. But land is too important to leave at scale to the market. By all means own a farm or a nice bit of parkland around your castle, but all the big acres should be owned by communities or publicly accountable agencies.

        1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

          Return all land to the commons and charge rent to anyone who wants to use it for whatever purpose, then distribute the revenue raised equally among the population in the form of a universal basic income. Easy!

  8. Willie says:

    “Above all, he is a man who believes in the righteousness and superiority of the British State over both Scotland’s body politic and civil society” an excellent article but dinnae forget the Scottish/UK Labour party who are in cahoots with the Tories regarding Scotland.

  9. James says:

    All of the above is right. Its cold anger, the resolve, all of which our people need going forward. We must use whatever vehicle we can to change this establishment led, elitist cabal. Yes change will take a generation but in Scotland we have the great gift of being able to change things in a day or at least turn our own wee ship of state on a new course .
    A war ravaged Europe took the precious gift of democracy and made it sacrosanct… we let our elitist establishment bend it to their will because we think they must know best…. but within a year we can change this and join hands with our true friends in Europe. They care for their people as I believe we do but are constantly beaten down by our overseer masters. Let’s change it.

  10. Frank says:

    The line in this article, which genuinely made me laugh out loud was this one:

    I own no property and have no savings. My politics have always been ‘left’ and I believe in a (much) fairer redistribution of wealth.

    Classic.

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