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Showing posts with label Douglas Alexander. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Douglas Alexander. Show all posts

Monday, 16 June 2014

Labour and Iraq

Extract from my 2013 blog –

Blair, Brown and Mandelson created New Labour and it worked – Labour was elected and re-elected. The results, over 13 years, are now history.

Two wars, one illegal, the deaths of hundreds of thousands, terrorism brought to UK by the Iraq War, the gap between rich and poor widened, corruption of Parliamentary institutions, the prosecution and imprisonment of Labour MPs, the resignation of the Labour Speaker of the House of Commons in disgrace, the corruption of the Press and the Metropolitan Police, the banking and financial collapse, cash for access, etc.

Hardly a success, except in one key aspect – Blair, Mandelson, Brown, Labour defence secretaries, Labour ministers and many Labour MPs got very rich indeed, in the case of Blair and Mandelson, egregiously rich.

The revolving door between government ministers, civil servants and industry – especially the defence industry – spun ever faster and more profitably.

And the military/industrial complex rejoiced and celebrated New Labour’s achievements.

And now, in 2014?

We have the key figures in the Blair Government that led us to war – Gordon Brown, John Reid,  Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy, et al leading the war against Scotland’s independence.

Iraq has exploded into chaos and near-collapse of the Iraq‘democracy’ set up by the United States and the United Kingdom

What of the report of the Chilcot Enquiry? Delay in publication, talk of redaction of major conclusions and fact.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Tories, Labour careerists and old–and young – Lefties and nationalists


When Iain Duncan Smith was leader of the Tory party, he seemed to me to combine in his person archetypal Toryism and LibDem ineffectual wimpishness: he was a kind of harbinger of Nick Clegg, the Labradoodles of politics. But when he lost the leadership, the ‘quiet man’ found a cause – Easterhouse in Glasgow, and was accepted by a man for whom I have unqualified admiration, community worker Bob Holman. In pursuing this new vocation, Duncan Smith seemed to exhibit genuine empathy with and concern for the poor and deprived.

But the nasty party sets the genes, and Tories always revert to type, in an atavistic lurch into their primitive prejudices and convictions. Iain Duncan Smith has  proved no exception. In a decade, he has moved from his great recognition of the plight of the poor to blaming them: the reflex action of Tories in trouble. It’s all their fault, caused by their excessive consumption of alcohol, their laziness – it’s the family again, the lack of traditional family structures and values and poor parenting skills. At a stroke, the Tory sonic screwdriver of blame – also much used by the Labour Party – absolves this benighted Coalition of any responsibility for the havoc they are wreaking on the lives of the vulnerable.

Dorian Gray is dead, and the picture in the attic has come to life and claimed its rightful place in the power structure – or hopes to …


Going in search of Scotland's identity

It is a strange little piece, set up as a dialogue – which it patently is not – and both Gerry Hassan and Douglas Alexander start with the mandatory parade of working class credentials to exhibit their backgrounds as humble men of the people. (There was a television comedy sketch some years ago where two men tried to outdo each other in itemising the horrors of their early life.)

As an old lefty, I can play this game expertly, with the edge of having lived through times that Gerry and Douglas can only imagine and reflect vicariously through their parents.

(My early life as a torn-ersed Glaswegian, soon to be a blockbuster movie of the unrelieved misery genre: born in the 1930s in a Dennistoun slum tenement, unemployed and tubercular father who died in 1940 at the start of a terrifying war: brought up by my mother, who spent her time trying to scrape up an income of sorts from low-paid cleaning work while nursing a sickly child in pre-NHS days, being bullied and patronised by the apparatchiks of the primitive social and benefits system of those days, and patronised by the families around us who had working fathers in exempt occupations – mainly munitions - and had avoided military service. My values and political awareness were formed from the brutal realities of grinding poverty and ill-health, and by the wonderful working class men and women of the Labour party of that era, especially the Barras soapbox orators. How’s that for misery, Gerry and Douglas.? Your move …)

From the perspective of my childhood, both Gerry and Douglas were privileged children: both had working parents, in Douglas’s case both professionals, both received an education that I could only dream of, and neither of them have ever experienced anything remotely like real poverty or deprivation. But that doesn’t deprive them of their right to speak, so what are their themes?


Douglas refers to his “growing consciousness of the Scottish dimension” of his politics, Thatcherism, and says that “it felt like a struggle for Scotland’s soul”. Unfortunately for Scotland’s soul, Douglas’s epiphany was occurring at a time when the Labour Party was well on its way to losing its soul, culminating in the Blair/Brown governments who did more damage to the UK, Scotland and the world than Thatcher could ever have dreamed of.

He invokes the ghosts of Donald Dewar, John Smith and Robin Cook, probably the last Labour politicians of stature with any real values, but couples them with the living spectre of Gordon Brown (another son of the manse, but with a seriously defective moral compass), and has to go back to 1997 and the Scotland Act to find anything admirable in Labour. At the end of his first section, Douglas jumps speedily into one of the the two Labour boltholes – he is “more interested in abolishing poverty than abolishing Britain”, a glib unionist slogan that avoids the stark fact that it is the conspiracy of wealth, power, privilege and the concentration of power and wealth – of which he and Scottish Labour politicians are embedded tools – that creates and sustains poverty and deprivation in Scotland. (The other Labour bolthole is its phoney ‘internationalism’ which reached its bloody nadir in Iraq and Afghanistan.)


I am not a fan of Douglas Alexander (you’ve already guessed!) but I am an admirer of Gerry Hassan. I don’t agree with some of his analyses, but I have never read anything he has written that is not cogently argued and doesn't contains key insights that matter fundamentally for Scotland’s future, whatever it may be. He is, and will continue to be a serious voice in the critical years ahead of us. His commitment to Scotland’s independence is beyond question.

In a number of telling phrases, he captures what is wrong with Scottish Labour, but also sees another dimension to Scottish society, one that is little recognised, but vital.

For example – “Scotland is a social democracy for its middle-class professional interest groups. The system of government and public spending work best for those most entrenched in the system.”

By God, I recognise that reality, and fulminated against it as the Glasgow professional classes, blinded – and bought – by the glitz and glamour of Big Sport and the Commonwealth Games - and the Scottish Government - ignored and betrayed the vulnerable people and small business of old Dalmarnock, and the mothers of the disabled children of the Accord Centre, .

He refers to the “profound absence of responsibility” among Labour politicians as they “closed their eyes to the mediocre services the party offered” and to the “pronounced Scottish Labour entitlement culture” in Labour for the last half century.

But he also inveighs against a straw man, “the romanticising of our history” among a sector of nationalist support that denies the reality of the problems Scotland faces. Gerry is above making the tired old Braveheart taunt, but that’s what he means, and he must know that although this exists – and will continue to exist – among a minority of less informed nats (and a few well enough informed to know better), it has not been a defining characteristic of the party for many years now.

Like many intellectuals of the Left, Gerry is sometimes unaware of his own romanticisation of the potential of a new Scotland - a kind of Left-wing, cloth-capped Mel Gibson fantasy of a Scotland that will fearlessly condemn oppression across the globe, will turn away in disdain from the grubby business of trying to persuade amoral capitalists - and sometimes questionable regimes - to invest in or trade with Scotland, and will bring about the long-awaited collapse of capitalism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

As one of my Barras soapbox orators of the 1940s used to say, fixing his admiring audience with a glittering, roving eye – “Aye, that day will come comrades, but it’ll no' come the morra, or even the day efter …”

Gerry, of course, can cloak all this when he chooses in dense prose and arcane economic theory, but the essence of the auld socialist cry is there – the Great Left Rapture, will assuredly come, when Scotland will be lifted to an ineffable state of social and economic morality. Unfortunately, for a century now, this has produced the Great Left Rupture, and the dream has turned to dust again and again, as economic reality, blatant careerism, money grubbing and realpolitik intruded, not to mention event, dear boy, events …

Gerry distrusts the pragmatism of Alex Salmond, and doesn’t like his economic vision. At this time of international economic and social turbulence, with the beast of neo-fascism, unbridled corporate power and religious intolerance slouching towards Bethlehem again, I think our only salvation is exactly Alex Salmond’s ebullient pragmatism, to secure jobs, futures and a life worth living for Scots young and old. But we need voices such as Gerry Hassan’s to balance that pragmatism with core values that still matter and are always, always under threat.

But we do not need the voice of Douglas Alexander, a career politician in the thing that the Labour Party has become, profoundly irrelevant to the future of Scotland – unless he and the Scottish Labour Party can shake off their obsession with the Union, abandon their fake internationalism, and embrace the independence of their truly internationalist country, where, in the immortal words of James Connolly - Séamas Ó Conghaile – that internationalism begins with nationalism.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Douglas Alexander’s speech to conference - takes refuge in the fiction of Labour internationalism

Douglas Alexander’s theme is simple – an independent Scotland would be narrowly nationalistic. The UK -  i.e. Labour in government or Labour influencing government in Westminster - is internationalist, not nationalistic.

The central theme is untrue, and therefore everything that flows from it is untrue. From the flawed premise, the flawed conclusions flow, in a gooey mix of sentimentality and nostalgia, an anecdotal, selective mix, posing as history.

The UK is a nation, behaves as a nation, but on occasion acts internationally from altruistic, internationalist motives. Scotland will be an independent nation, will behave as an independent nation, but on occasion, will act from altruistic, internationalist motives.

The other argument, that the UK can be more effectively internationalist because of its greater size than Scotland is an argument that can be honestly advanced, even though the facts of history do not support it.

Let’s take Alexander’s early examples -

Does he think that the Scots who were part of the International Brigade to fight fascism would not have done so had Scotland been an independent country in the 1930s?

Does he think that Scotland, never mind just the City of Glasgow would not have embraced Nelson Mandela in the 1980s? You have a short and selective memory, Douglas – I do not. The Glasgow decision was widely derided by the very nation he holds up for our admiration – the UK, still in the grip of its late Empire delusions and deeply confused about South Africa and Mandela. Of course an independent, internationalist, social democratic Scotland would have embraced Mandela.

Does he think that the morality of Gordon Brown in working to write off the debt of the world’s poorest countries – an admirable morality that regrettably was not matched by his or his government’s economic competence in their own country – would not be the same morality that will drive an independent Scotland, an inclusive Scotland that will embrace the very same Labour people that once had such values, and who will recover and reassert them in the new Scotland.

Does he think that an independent Scotland would not make the same demand that a Labour government made at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005? Of course it would, but more effectively than that Summit, when one considers what followed it – utter failure and near-global meltdown from 2008 onwards.

Alexander asserts, with justification, that he and his parent’s horizons – “like millions of their fellow Scots” – were never limited to one community or one country. Nor will they be after independence, Douglas, especially when freed from the suffocating jingoism and Little Englandism that is the UK.

And an independent Scotland will not express its wide international horizons by launching an illegal invasion and an illegal war that brought death and destruction to millions in Iraq, destabilised the Middle East and brought endemic terrorism and paranoia to the United Kingdom. Tony Blair’s immoral and destructive internationalism are carefully airbrushed out of Douglas Alexander’s high-minded and selective agenda.

From the Eurozone Crisis to the Environment, from Export Markets to Mass Migration, interdependence – not independence - is the hallmark of our age.”

So says Douglas – and he’s right. He has missed out the part that includes countries across the globe throwing off suffocating and corrupt regimes that stifle their instincts for a national independence allied to a recognition of true interdependence.

Alexander is part of a nation that is the rump of an empire that denied all of these freedoms, and imposed its exploitative will for centuries on large tracts of our world – a rump that currently has a Coalition Government that is deeply divided over Europe and that very interdependence that he extols. And his own party is not free from such insularity and euro paranoia either.

But Douglas Alexander does eventually drop the Labour –as-internationalist-party stuff, and gets to the nub of his real argument – bigger is better.

DA:If we want to advance international cooperation: Britain has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. A separate Scotland would not.”

Scotland at the moment has no influence at the moment as a result of that UN seat. It has had no influence under successive governments, and indeed it was the Labour Government of Blair and Brown that chose to ignore the UN and its mandate when they launched the Iraq War on a lie in conjunction with a right-wing American regime.

DA:If we want to strengthen our collective security: Britain has a permanent seat on the Council of NATO.”

The same arguments as above apply, Labour and Lord George Robertson notwithstanding. What has been delivered to Scotland by NATO? Defending it from a non-existent threat? Parking outmoded and strategically irrelevant WMDs in Scottish waters, making us a prime target for a nuclear exchange, and polluting our environment? Imposing a crippling financial burden on the UK as a whole and on  Scotland to support these weapons systems?

I have already said a fair amount about the internationalist fiction that drives – and has driven Labour – for most of its history. The nonsensical contradictions of Labour’s internationalist posturing were evident in the post-war period and during the Cold War. They reached their nadir in Iraq and Afghanistan.

See my blog of 10th January 2012 -

Labour's last redoubt - internationalism

Jim Murphy looks foolish on who leads for Labour on the Union – “BBC will pick the Labour Leader for the referendum debate”

Even by Murphys' standards, this was a bummer. "The BBC will pick the Labour Leader for the referendum debate" Goad help us a' ...

His persona, one of slimy charm coupled uneasily with old-guard Scottish Labour bluster fails miserably, as it did in the lead-up to Scottish Labour's 2011 disaster at the polls. I wish he would lead the anti-independence campaign.

Some media commentators refer to Murphy as a Labour 'big beast'. He reminds me of the sad, mangy lion in the old Wilson’s Oswald Street Zoo in Glasgow when I was a child. Wilson's Zoo

Big beast my ****. I almost prefer the unctuous, pompous Douglas Alexander. At least wee Dougie has some intellectual candlepower flaming between his ears.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The YouTube debate - TAofMoridura

I have a YouTube channel, TAofMoridura. Since starting my new blog and channel after my medical problems (I took down the old blog and channel 2008-2009) I posted 460 video clips. All of them were live, and all of them attracted regular comments. I pre-moderate, so I have to make a decision on every comment post - to approve or delete, and whether or not to respond.

Roughly one third of all comments are so obscene, abusive, or obsessionally repetitive that I have to delete them and sometimes block the poster. I never delete comments or block them based on posters disagreeing with me in rational arguement, and I have deleted and blocked independence supporters for the same reasons as unionists. 

This involves so much work in addition to my blogging and capture and posting of videos that I could not sustain it. I was also having some minor hassle from YouTube over protected content. So I decided to take them all down and start afresh.

To give an idea of the work load involved - and the nature of comments (you can see them all on TAofMoridura) here is one video clip posted on 12th January 2012, with so far 2500 hits - high for my kind of clip. I have left a couple of nasties in (apologies, Nicola!) to give a flavour of the abusive nature of some who claim to be British and unionist, and sometimes Scots.

Douglas Alexander and Dimbleby gang up on Nicola Sturgeon

They dont like it up em Mr Mainwaring. The nasty SNP on the back foot what a turn up.

I wish she knew about Tom Harris MP at this time!
Next time!

SNP maybe biggest party but Scotland we Scots (majority) don't want to be Independent. We have our own government, we have the best of both worlds we make our own decisions but are part of the UK getting billions extra each year.
Scotland could survive on its own but we would have to pay more tax, no British army, likely have to join the Euro in long-term. No more Royal family, no more free education, Scotland would take debt burden and we wouldn't control all the oil in North sea!

HA HA HA it was great to see the little mongrel get her yap SHUT

What's with the griping - she didnt answer a simple question
Nats r very well trained in the art of badgering. Ms Sturgeon was as evasive and as slippery as a Salmond. It really wasnt a hard time. Ok she didnt get protected by the tv people we have up here. Who r cowered by belligerent nats who smear people as anti scottish.
I am Scottish with no political affilations. The twin threats to a proper open informative debate is the wee scots gerrymandering and daft english comments

I agree that Nicola Sturgeon was treated badly and I felt uncomfortable watching it. She comes across as a very nice genuine person. (Don't trust Salmond!)
I also thought Kelvin Makenzie was a little "Londoner" arsehole.
I'm English and I support the Uk but this is no way to debate such an important issue.
If this type of discourse continues for another 2 years then the SNP will have independence in the bag!
The Unionists have to make a far more mature case and accept Devo-Max FTW.

Shes like a chattering rat.

Douglas Alexander, weak, spineless, glass jawed. abour R.I.P

What an odious little wanker Douglas Alexander is, let the woman bloody talk instead of being so childish and badgering her.
This is appalling behaviour from an MP supposedly an adult during a live televised discussion.

Douglas Alexander is disgraceful

get used to it folks. there's worse to come. bear in mind Alexander and the rest are fighting for their political careers. independence means no membership of westminster club.

I watched this live and was amazed at the lack of respect to Scotlands Deputy First Minister. This will probably be the same on all debates from now until the Independence Referendum in 2014. 5 against 1 is hardly fair.
Let us have a grown up Debate with fairness and equal air space.

I thought nats liked being oppressed - it gives them a sense of purpose. Maybe they just don't like being oppressed by fellow scots, of questionable patriotism

This is a mugging by dimblebore and douglas alexander. BBC has been swamped with complaints.

  Yep how awful to question the commitment of those Labour members of the * Scottish * parliament who take their instructions - verbatim! - from the Westminster Tories.

Classic! Typically editing a quote and taking it out of context. It was the democratic point that the Unionists never wanted a referendum and therefore Westminster should not impose conditions on the referendum that should be coordinated by the Scottish Parliament.

This kind of thing is all the unionists are good for - being as those who actually watched the full 2 and a half hour long debate from holyrood (and therefore are aware of the context) will be few and far between. To deny the Scottish electorate the right to have their voice according to the timescale of their own democratically elected government IS anti-Scottish, but the phrase is too easily taken out of context, and Joan McAlpine should have known better.

Out of context. Sentence was clipped! Original quote was longer.
Here is the abridged quote confidently delivered by Alexander: "I absolutely make no apology for saying that the liberals, the labour party and the Tories are anti-Scottish."

The full quote:
"I absolutely make no apology for saying that the liberals, the labour party and the Tories are anti-Scottish in coming together to defy the will of the Scottish people, the democratic mandate."
Bit different.

I guess we're going to seean awful lot more of these types of tactics in the coming couple of years, and it's only going to get worse. It's going to be down to those who support independence yet have know real or tangible link to political parties and the SNP in particular to rebuke such underhand political tactics.

Lord Ashdown made a considered contribution but I found him comparing his painting of independence elsewhere in the world, which had been brought about through war, conflict and genocide, to be an unfair comparison with the likely aftermath of Scottish independence.
Don't know what happened to Kelvin MacKenzie last night. The Levinson jab must be starting to work :-).

I thought Wee Duggie was actually being quite rude in his continued barracking of the Deputy First Minister as she tried to make her point. David Dimbleby really should have intervened as Chairman to stop this rude behaviour and then ensure Nicola responded to the "question" from DA.... and we wonder why common courtesy is disappearing from society!
Apologize for what?! You fools are not patriotic, you do not love your country as Scotland, because your country is the United Kingdom and there's where your allegiance lies. You belittle it all the time, your policies do no good for Scotland, you gang up on, and ignore the significant (and growing daily) population of Scots that favor independence, but yet, you present no positive points for Scotland to stay in the Union, only negativity about us leaving. You are indeed a disgrace to Scotland.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Douglas Alexander and Dimbleby gang up on Nicola Sturgeon on Question Time

Douglas Alexander rejects "A politics of grudge and grievance." Judge for yourselves from this clip who is engaged in such a policy, entirely representative of the entire programme, where all the panellists, including the Chairman, David Dimbleby, were ranged against Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, who acquitted herself with dignity in spite of the contemptible and bullying tone of the programme..

Lord Ashdown was the epitome of grandiose and vacuous British imperial pomposity, and was therefore given extended licence to pontificate by Dimbleby. It is deeply ironic, yet highly significant that the only member of the panel who was seen to extend reasonable courtesy to the lone representative - yes, I repeat, the lone representative of Scotland's interests, was Kelvin McKenzie.

For the benefit of Douglas Alexander, I repeat and endorse Joan McAlpine's comments - the behaviour of the three opposition parties, on full display at the Commons debate on the referendum, was a shameful example of Parliamentary bullying, and their opposition to the Scottish Government being allowed to carry out its mandate to call a referendum and hear the voice of the Scottish people is an attack on Scotland's interests and does betray a lack of concern for Scotland.

To my surprise, Michael Moore was the only member of the combined Tory, LibDem and Labour parties to come out of that debate with some credibility. I actually think he was embarrassed by the behaviour of his allies in their mob tactics against the Scottish nationalist group.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Scottish unionists–and Michael Moore - inch towards their exit strategy

Someone once said that a Scotsman would do almost anything except harm his career. That is certainly true of Scottish unionist politicians – Scotland and the Scottish people have always come a poor second for most of them in their scale of priorities, with the high road to England and Westminster and a place on the gravy train way up front.

In fairness, some have not started out that way: the insidious lure of preferment, high office and money, money, money has come later, then that ultimate flight from all things Scottish - ennoblement, the ermine and the Lords - and freedom from the tedious business of getting elected every so often, not to mention listening to constituents. And the strange satisfactions of the title – Lord Poodle of Auchterselloot

A tiny number have believed in Scotland, albeit within the Union, and have consistently stood up for their ain folk. Wha was like them, but maist o’ them are deid. But among the living I would certainly number Henry McLeish and he is not alone.

But the rest of them are now looking at a career abyss when independence comes – they would say if it comes. The political agenda in Scotland has been totally dominated by the Scottish National Party and its vision and values since 2007: the unionists have moved through stunned denial to vitriolic opposition, but now, faced with the stark reality of the May 2011 election result, to moving inexorably towards a reluctant recognition of the inevitability of change.

It is astonishing to consider that the Scottish Labour Party is only now at the point of electing a new leader seven and a half months after the resignation of Iain Gray. What was left of the Lib/Dems at least got off their erses and elected a leader, and the Tories, having almost rent themselves apart in the process, managed to get someone in post. Neither of these two leaders exactly looks like the kind of leader their respective parties needed if they were to have any hope of restoring their fortunes.

Consider the fate of Scottish unionist MPs after independence.

At a stroke, they cease to be MPs. Those among them who are ministers – a single Tory and some LibDems – will probably cease to be ministers, although being an MP is not a requirement of being a government minister. The Scottish Lords are in a strange no-man’s land. The Queen is still the Queen, and in theory at least they owe their position to her, instead of the sordid reality of a political appointment.

But can they sit in a chamber that no longer has any relevance to Scotland, part of the democratic process of UK Minus?

How will the English, Welsh and Northern Irish people regard the Lairds of Auchterselloot voting on legislation and drawing their expenses?

The Scottish MPs who lose their seats - among them some very significant individuals for their parties - could look to the party managers to find them a safe seat. But who will have them? The good electors of England are unlikely to look kindly on having a Scot parachuted into their constituency, and the risk for the party of putting a Scot up for election in the period immediately after independence would be to great an electoral risk.

It is even less likely that some obscure but worthy English MP is going give up his or her seat to make way for a big Scottish beast. It will be difficult enough in all conscience for Scottish MPs in English constituencies if they face re-nomination and a campaign soon after independence – or perhaps before it.

But some might take comfort in the fact that if an independence referendum in say 2015 resulted in a YES vote, it would take years to reach that bright day when Scotland will again be a nation.

However, another spectre looms for the Scottish unionist MPs …

As yesterday’s PMQs demonstrated very clearly, David Cameron’s coat is on a very shaky nail over Europe. The future of the Coalition looks increasingly uncertain, and the LibDem mice, while not exactly roaring, did emit a cheeky squeak in their recent Commons vote against the Government. Not quite a rebellion, but certainly a fart in church …

If the Coalition falls, especially in the context of global uncertainty, most of the nightmare for Scottish unionists MPs would come early, and the Douglas Alexanders, the Murphys, the Tom Harrises, the Danny Alexanders - and the sole Mundel - would risk being oot on their erses in a general election.

So all of this brings me to today, and that extraordinary manifestation of the Union, Michael Moore, the Scottish Colonial Governor. If there is a figurehead for Scotland in the UK, it is oor Michael. But his job – and his MP status – both end with independence, as does the Scottish Office. In a general election, he might well lose his seat as a Scottish LibDem. Lordships will be hard to come by for such as he in the present climate.

And so to the Herald’s astonished headline - Surprise as Moore says that he is not a ‘Unionist’.

Is the Pope not a Catholic? Is King Billy not an Orangeman?

In the tones of Peter Kay and garlic bread, I say “Not a unionist? Not a unionist?

Be kind to the man – as a kind of Scot, one who will do anything rather than harm his career, he is simply gearing up for his exit strategy, as is Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy, Auld Uncle Tam Harris and all.

Because there is nothing so terrifying as being alienated from your ain folk, and finding that you have nowhere to go. Being on the wrong side at a pivotal moment in your country’s history is not a happy place to be.

But don’t despair, guys – somebody will have you. The new Scotland won’t keep you out – it’s an inclusive, forgiving nation. You may have to spend some time in the wilderness doing penance in sackcloth and ashes, but you have talents and experience and providing your contrition is genuine, Scotland will find a place for you.

But don’t submit yourself to the electorate for say, twenty years or so. After all, we haven’t forgiven Maggie, and she wreaked her havoc on Scotland a generation ago. Scots have long memories …

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Douglas Alexander at Stirling–the final ‘What Labour Must Do’ speech?

I pose the question in the title, but the answer, sadly,  is no – Gerry Hassan could not resist, and yet another example of the genre is up under his name in The Scotsman today – Scottish Labour must find a new, dynamic story. Perhaps Gerry is encouraged by the fact that the doyen of the genre is off to the antipodes and the field is clear. However, Gerry is always worth reading and his heart and his heid are in the right place, and his voice is and will continue to be a powerful one in the new Scotland.

And so to Wee Dougie’s speech

In my estimation, Douglas Alexander is the most intelligent unionist politician on the UK scene from any party, and therein lies his tragedy, because he is also a Labour careerist whose brightest prospect has always been the high road to England, to Westminster and to an international stage. I have no objection to him being any of these things – the Scottish lad o’pairts whose ambitions are not bounded by national boundaries is a recognised historical figure, prominent in the British Empire and world affairs, including, regrettably, in some of that crumbling empire’s worst excesses.

I just don’t want him to have anything to do with the future of Scotland, or to pretend that he somehow speaks for that future or advances Scotland’s interests in any way by being part of geopolitics based on the US/UK military/industrial war machine and the pretence that the UK is a player of significance on the international stage.

He is a Scot out of the same mould as George Robertson, John Reid, Jim Murphy and Liam Fox, not the infinitely superior mould of Donald Dewar, Robin Cook, John Smith and Henry McLeish.

Fortunately his penetrating intelligence is not accompanied by charisma, his persona being that of a young Minister of the Kirk. We have seen what the lethal mixture of unbridled ambition and charisma can do in Tony Blair, and one of those in a generation is more than enough to leave a trail of death, misery and destruction across half the globe. I also believe that he has a core of genuine values, rather in the way that Gordon Brown does, values that conflict with ambition. In both cases, greater fulfilment might have been achieved by pursuing a career in the ministry. (They both are sons of the manse.)


Douglas started his speech with a reference to Dunsinane, and posed the question “Stands Scotland where it did?”

As I observed in my clip of his Newsnight Scotland interview with Gordon Brewer, he seems oblivious to the fact that the wood of Dunsinane was advancing on a murderous king who had lost his moral compass, and the closest analogy to that is of the Scottish People, represented by the SNP Government that they placed their trust in so decisively, advancing on the party, Labour, that lost its moral compass by associating itself completely with a murderous regime, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The only question is who will play Banquo’s ghost in this new version of the Scottish play?

Douglas then ranges widely in his metaphors, dragging in General Custer with the unlikely figure of the Wee Laird O’Drumlean in the role of the blonde, charismatic Custer in his last stand.

But he goes on to a sober, clear-eyed recognition of the scale of Labour’s Scottish humiliation, and takes as his main theme “Scotland’s political future and Scottish Labour’s place therein”. (The old cadences of the manse and the pulpit echo!)

He claims that the great debate on Scotland’s future will not be “an exercise in accounting but ruefully acknowledges his central role in just such an exercise – Divorce is an Expensive Business 1999 and says that he does not resile from those fears.

Douglas is being disingenuous – he knows that he is now dealing with a sophisticated and informed Scottish electorate who have experienced directly what thirteen years of Labour economics and eighteen months of Coalition economics have done to their lives and their futures. And he is dealing with a Scottish Government who are able to cut through the miasma of scare tactics and media distortions that the unionist parties and their compliant media have traditionally manipulated to misinform the Scottish people. And of course, the exponential growth of the new media has cut through the lies told by the powerful across the globe like a laser beam.

His campaign in Scotland was fronted by a beaming Tony Blair, with the slogan New Labour – New Scotland, an association that now indelibly and fatally tarnishes his campaign and his party. The voice of the Scots who have died since 1999 in pursuit of that vision cry out for justice, as do some of the bereaved.

The facts – and history – having betrayed him, Douglas moves rapidly on to emotion, philosophy and historical allusions to Plato, David Hume, Ivan Illich, Old Uncle Tam Cobleigh and all.

He focuses on Ivan Illich’s concept of telling an alternative story, and recognises belatedly that “ the stories we tell about ourselves, our communities and our nation are thankfully not the exclusive domain of politicians: writers, musicians, poets and artists help shape our sense of self and also our sense of our nation’s story”.

What should sit uncomfortably with him is that most of the writers, musician, poets and artists tell a story of Scotland, its history and its impending independence, a story of freedom, a story of peace and justice and equality and the common man -  a story that Labour has forfeited all right to tell. Of course, he can always call on Eddie Izzard and Billy Connolly, or Niall Ferguson – or maybe Lord George Foulkes to tell their stories and sing their songs.

He goes on a great length about the idea of Margaret Thatcher as villain, as though she was the SNP’s villain, not Labour’s villain. She was certainly the enemy of Scotland, of the Scottish people and of an independent Scotland, as are her Westminster coterie and her Scottish acolytes to this day. What sits uncomfortable with Douglas is that the Scottish people have progressively recognised that Margaret Thatcher was just the figure head and poster girl for a greater, deeper villainy – the villainy of the UK and the British Establishment, and that one of the Iron Lady’s greatest admirers and sedulous imitators was one Anthony Lynton Blair, a Scot of sorts when it suited him, who became her natural successor.

And the Scottish people also recognised that far from delivering them from this exploitative 300 year old tyranny, Labour was and is totally committed to perpetuating it.

The careers paths of Douglas Alexander, of Tony Blair, of Gordon Brown, of John Reid, of George Robertson – and of the likes of Baron Martin of Springburn, of Jim Murphy, of Margaret Curran et al would not be possible without that poisoned Union, and Labour will be condemned to permanent opposition in UK Minus once Scotland goes.

Douglas refers to the “old Labour hymns” becoming increasingly unfamiliar to the Scottish people. They are not unfamiliar, Douglas, they are all too familiar in the tune that they have become – the Dies Irae – the hymn of death, under the flag of blood, the Union Jack.

All the analysis and remedies that follow in your speech are dust and ashes against these facts, Douglas -  a voice crying in the wilderness of Labour values. You and your party - indeed you and your political breed - are on the wrong side of history, on the wrong side of humanity, and certainly on the wrong side of Scotland’s future.

You, and the army of What Labour Must Do voices cannot, and will not offer the real solution to Labour‘s troubles, but the solution will be there for you in Scotland’s independence. On that first joyful day of Scotland’s independence as a nation state, politicians such as yourself will have a clear choice – stand as a candidate under your party banner for a Scottish Parliamentary constituency, or fold your tent, head south and find an English, Welsh or Northern Irish constituency party that will adopt you as their candidate for the UK Minus Parliament, Westmister. In practice, that means an English constituency.

After Scotland’s independence, that won’t exactly be an easy task for you or your ilk, Douglas. You know it, the Jim Murphys know it, the Tom Harrises know it, the Margaret Curran’s know it.  You have made your bed with Westminster and the UK – soon you must lie on it.

As for all the Scottish Lords – aye, weel, there’s a tale to be told …

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The CBI and the Ipsos MORI poll - panic in the Union, silence in the Press


I thought of doing a piece on the C.B.I. today, but thanks to a Twitter link from Ewan Crawford, I find that Calum Cashley has already done all the heavy-lifting in his piece on 5th January 2011, an-in depth analysis that effectively demolishes the C.B.I. claim to be representative of anything significant in Scottish industry, except perhaps the personal political orientation of some if its senior officers, past and present. Calum Cashley also trenchantly makes the point that if the C.B.I. made the same sustained, quietly productive contribution to the economic debate as the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland, instead of acting as a cheerleader for the Union, it might actually claim to have a real role in Scottish life. I had thought than when Linda Urquhart replaced Iain McMillan things might change for the better. On this week’s showing, they haven’t


Ipsos MORI POLL – Scottish Public Opinion Monitor

Yesterday’s Ipsos MORI poll – the Scottish Public Opinion Monitor – was greeted with rapturous delight by nationalists, and to date, if not quite a deafening silence, a muted response by the Herald and the Scotsman, who give it minimal coverage. The superb graphical presentation of the damning statistics for the Union of the sampled will of the Scottish people, which would have been reproduced lovingly in double-paged spreads by both newspapers had they told a different story, have been ignored, and the figures made as dull as possible.

The Scottish public will have to access the original - Scottish Public Opinion Monitor – online, or buy a printed copy to feel the full impact of the statistics.

This is doubtless in sharp contrast to the panic-stricken quacking that will be taking place in various inner sanctums of the Union, as the deeply confused and deeply threatened Coalition demands explanations of its tame Scotsmen – Alexander, Moore, et al - as to why the natives of the northern province are refusing to recognise their Britishness, and that we are stronger together and weaker apart, etc.  The Colonial governor, the hapless Moore, will take most of the flak.

In the Labour Party, with even more to lose when Scotland says bye-bye to the UK , another Alexander, Douglas of that ilk, and other Scottish Labour MPs who lose no opportunity to pledge their undying allegiance to the regime that offered them the high road to England – Jim Sheridan, Ann McKechin, Tom Harris, Cathy Jamieson, etc. – are being asked what the hell is going on.

Jim Murphy will be exasperated that what he thought was his final escape from Scotland to safer pastures in the deep South - and a cosy niche as Shadow Defence Secretary - keeps being threatened by demands that he involve himself in the messy and confused processes of trying to revive the corpse of Scottish Labour.

And that strange, motley band, the Scottish Lords, will squirm on the leather benches and wonder what will become of them if the people of Scotland have their way.

Lord, Lord! We didnae ken … they cry. Aye, weel, ye ken noo! replies the Lord

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Ed Miliband's speech - Blairite reactions

As Miliband the Younger criticised the Blair/Brown regime's record on the economy, - on civil rights, on freedom, etc. - the camera panning across the audience lingered hopefully on brother David. But just behind him sat Alistair Darling and Jim Murphy, both giving the powerful impression of sitting in an abandoned nest in their still-warm, but rapidly cooling excrement. Douglas Alexander looked much the same.

I didn't see Iain Gray, but then, no judgement could have been formed, since Scotland's would-be next First Minister always looks that way.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The hypocrisy of Gordon Brown and Labour

The deep, cynical hypocrisy of Gordon Brown and the Labour Party is starkly and painfully exposed by this clip of a young girl - Tiari Sanchez - breaking down in tears as she talks of her family's poverty on a Citizens UK platform.

Her mother is a cleaner at the Treasury - yes, the Treasury - run by Gordon Brown for most of Labour's 13 wasted years in office.

The spectacle of Brown moving forward to comfort her, wrapping his arms around her and moving her away from the podium is deeply disturbing in the light of what we now know was the cause of her family's poverty.

 Andrew Neill is merciless with Douglas Alexander, and pitilessly destroys his feeble attempts to shuffle off Government complicity in the girl's distress.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The General Election – the choices

The date hasn’t yet been specified by Gordon Brown, but it has to be on or before the 3rd of June and is predicted to be early in May.

The choice at the ballot box for most UK electors is not a happy one. They have three major parties to choose from, but against the knowledge that the real choice is between two, Labour and the Tories. They can throw Labour out and get a Tory new government that is committed to all the major policies that brought the United Kingdom to its present parlous state – centralised power in the South East of England, the nuclear deterrent and war as the organising principle of the state, a blind belief in the Union and the remnants of Empire, and a foreign policy inextricably linked and subordinate to America.

Alternatively, they can vote LibDem in the hope that in the event of a hung Parliament - now a probability - that the LibDem’s residual principles might moderate the worst excesses of the new government. No voter can seriously believe that the LibDems can form a government.

But Scotland has a real choice – to return as many SNP MPs to Westminster as it can in the hope that they can

exert influence in a hung Parliament on behalf of the people of Scotland while the Union lasts

 get more powers devolved to Holyrood


ultimately secure the independence of Scotland after a decisive referendum result.

This choice is derided by unionists on the basis that, if fully exercised, it would result in a majority of Scottish MPs returned being SNP, thus presenting an unarguable case for Scottish independence that Westminster could not ignore. Since unionists don’t believe this could happen, they use this as their prime argument against a referendum.

Well, they are right - up to a point: it is unlikely to happen at this general election under the present power structure and the insidious pressures brought to bear by the Union – a biased media, ruthless use of patronage to bribe the Scottish establishment and the exploitation of Scottish military traditions to create a lethal culture of militarism, war and glorious death in the service of the rump of the British empire – the old, old lie.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace 
Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; 
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 
Pro patria mori

Wilfred Owen

The Scottish electorate has been brainwashed into believing that they cannot secure Scottish independence at a UK general election and must therefore choose one of the main UK parties if they want to exercise their democratic right to influence the system under which they are so badly governed.

(Douglas Alexander came out with the ludicrous statement on The Politics Show on Sunday that neither Alex Salmond nor Nick Clegg would be standing outside Downing Street as Prime Minister on the day after the general election.

Nick Clegg is running for leadership of the UK but Alex Salmond is not: the Scottish voter at least understands that even if Wendy’s wee brother doesn’t …)

Only progressively extended devolved powers and ultimately a referendum on Scottish independence will bring home to the Scottish people their real democratic choices, an awareness of their identity and a surge of self-belief in the true possibilities for their future.