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Showing posts with label Holyrood 2011. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holyrood 2011. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Reactions to the victory

I’m still in the woodshed on independence, but popping my head out from time to time to see what’s happening in the big, wide, new Scotland.

The winners - let’s not avoid the word - fall into two broad groups, those who are part of the new Parliament and those who put them there. Those in the Parliament are savouring their triumph today, enjoying the ritual, experiencing the warm feeling that comes from being part of a team that won against what at times seemed overwhelming odds against them. They have a right to enjoy these historical moments, because they worked very hard for them, and in many cases made personal sacrifices and took career risks that no one outside of the political process can ever fully understand.

Those who put them there fall into two sub-groups, the first being those who tirelessly gave of their time and energies to support the campaign on the ground - the canvassers, the leafleters, the envelope stuffers, the telephone teams -with no expectation of reward, no salaried post to look forward to, no expenses, no trappings of status.

I am not a part of that sub-group, but they have my unqualified respect, admiration and gratitude - they won this historic election for me and for Scotland. I am one of the other sub-group, which of course, since it embraces every member of the electorate who voted SNP,  isn’t really a sub-group at all. (A Venn diagram is needed!)

And this total group, the group that put the winners into Holyrood, watches, rejoices - but waits …

I have experienced this moment before, as a ten-year old in 1945, when a war-weary generation threw out the hero of the nation, Winston Churchill, and elected a Labour Government - the Attlee Government - to the incredulity and terror of the British Establishment. While the privileged inhabitants of countless Downton Abbey’s muttered fearfully around their dinner tables and looked suspiciously at their servants, the rest of the nation, exhausted physically and emotionally from the long conflict, rejoiced briefly - then waited …

That government did not betray them but it did not deliver the revolution that some expected - the destruction of a privileged establishment - but it did deliver better housing, the NHS, the welfare state, nationalisation, and it ushered in a period of unparalleled prosperity - the 1950s. It used its mandate and its power to revolutionise British society.

The Attlee Government did not betray the people, but the people betrayed them in 1951. Their failure to destroy the British Establishment left them vulnerable to that pernicious web of privilege and influence - it re-grouped and destroyed them.

Clement Attlee was the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th century, and his Government was a Labour government. Its demise marked the end of the Labour Party as it was conceived by its founders, and the Labour Governments that followed were Labour in name only - the insidious decline in values and morality that led to the thing that the Labour Party became under Blair and Brown began.

Today, Scotland has its bright new day, and its elected representatives have their moment in the sunshine - the Scottish spring has begun, but so has the testing time. The eyes of Scotland are upon you, Holyrood - don’t disappoint us …

Friday, 28 January 2011

Tavish the Evasive - no principle is sacrosanct if a coalition deal is on offer.

Although the Gaelic forename and surname belie it, it has occasionally been suggested that Tavish Scott had some Viking blood in him, presumably because of his Lerwick roots and launching his candidacy for the LibDem leadership among a group dressed as Vikings at Up Helly Aa in 2008.

I must say that, as a short-legged and once black-haired, wee Glaswegian, I would not have been in the least intimidated if Tavish had jumped off a longboat and ran up the beach at me in a horned helmet in days gone by. The instant assessment of the opposition required by a Glasgow east end childhood and young manhood would have instantly classed him as big safty - nae problem, Jimmy …

He’s a nice big guy, but niceness is something I value in people only if they don’t have difficult decisions to make that affect my life, in which case I readily sacrifice niceness for decisiveness, integrity, principle, and bluntly, cojones. And so to Tavish Scott, faux Viking and putative coalition member in the post May 5th Holyrood.

I never know whether to attack the LibDems or not, in these confusing political days we live in, since some evidence suggests that disillusioned Scottish LibDems are shifting their allegiance mainly to Labour. Presumably the closet Tories among the Scottish LibDems are not disillusioned, and are rather like CofE people creeping towards the Church of Rome in search of ultimate certainties. But who knows?

What adjectives come to mind in describing Tavish? The ones that jump to my mind are nice, diffident, ineffectual, vulnerable, uncool, lacking in street savvy. But he got elected and leads his party, you say - he must have qualities other than these? Well, maybe not, since these are the very characteristics that define a certain kind  of LibDem and presumably appeal to a certain group of LibDem voters.

I don’t like pulling the legs off flies, or watching them being pulled off, and my toes curl when I watch Tavish’s attempts at humour in Holyrood, reading his laborious jokes and bon mots intently from his notes, flanked by equally nice, nodding colleagues, smiling bravely as their Leader dies the death, but with no hook coming from the wings to drag him offstage. Alex Salmond tries not to make it look too effortless as he swats him away at FMQs.

But here he is on Newsnight Scotland with Gordon Brewer, who is only too happy to pull the wings off anything that moves, and regards Tavish as light exercise, a limbering-up before the main bouts with other, more worthy opponents.

The LibDem leader deploys his limited arsenal of pea-shooter and water pistol against the Brewer Magnum, with the inevitable result - the diffident smile, the engaging laugh, the please-don’t-hit-me-again body language and the self-deprecation are no match for the Brewer neo-Paxman assault.

But unlike many of these often sterile encounters, this one actually illuminates an essential political truth of LibDemmery in the Coalition era - nothing is sacred, expediency is everything, and every value and principle may be sacrificed, every promise broken on the altar of power in coalition. Tavish will do what he has to to get into the big boys’ gang, just as Clegg, Cable, Alexander, Martin and the rest did.

Just tell me what I must do to join the club …

Of course, a pretence of Scottishness must be maintained. The beaming Tavish, on the studio backdrop image, sports a saltire badge, and in the interview he claims his independence of Westminster - “I'm not one of them …”. Nonetheless, he lists the Coalition ‘achievements’ that “didn’t happen under Laaaybah …” And so Tavish ducks and weaves, and dances round the ring on tiptoe until Gordon Brewer is ready to hit him, and then the principles fall, one by one.

Brewer asks, in essence - what are the deal breakers? Give me one policy, one principle, one value that you won’t trade for a place in government. “Can you give me a single Liberal Democrat policy that you would commit tonight - personally - that you would not sell in a coalition deal?”

The opposition to tuition fees, or any form of student charge, dies painlessly under the questioning, and incredibly, so does the refusal to rule out a coalition with the SNP despite the heretofore implacable opposition to Scotland’s independence. Tavish’s desperate and feeble attempts the throw up a smokescreen over the Scottish Government’s ‘failure’ to present an independence bill (to witness its inevitable defeat by the united unionist opposition presumably) is blown away effortlessly by Brewer pointing out that independence is going to be central to the SNP’s campaign.

So Tavish goes off home to don his Viking helmet with the marshmallow horns, make fierce faces at himself in the mirror, and dream of coalition after May 5th with - well, anybody, really …

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Graduate Tax and the Moridura Tax

Let’s cut through the cant – a graduate tax, however qualified and sanitised, is deferred tuition fees as an alternative to upfront tuition fees. It operates on the assumption that a graduate who is successful has profited from the state and should pay back something for this privilege.

My instinct is to reject that proposition absolutely. It is the state that profits from the graduate, not the other way round. Education should be free because it is vital to the state and to all of its citizens. Education is a right, not a privilege.

However, desperate time demand desperate remedies, and I have one, which I offer without fear or favour to all parties.

There should be a tax on those who benefited from their education at any level. If they went to school, college or university in the United Kingdom, they must pay it. However, there should be an income threshold at which they start to pay it, and I set that level, as arbitrarily as the parties have set their much lower figures, at £75,000 per annum. It should be levied on income at or above that level, however obtained - earned or unearned – from salary, profits, dividends, capital gains, bank interest or pension. It should be 5% of total income and payable for life.

It is manifestly fair, being levied on those who have profited most from being educated in the United Kingdom. It is progressive, in that the higher the income, the greater the profit from education and therefore the greater the payback. It protects not only the poorest in our society, but also those who have achieved modest but not extravagant success from their education.

To help the nation in its present dilemma, it should be made retrospective for five years.

It will be argued that such a tax will drive entrepreneurial individuals - e.g. recklessly gambling bankers, drug dealers, cheap booze peddlers and politicians on the take - from our shores, to which I say – **** off, good riddance, bye-bye and don’t come back! We only want citizens who recognise their obligations to the society of which they are a part, and who wish to put back a bit of what they have taken from it.

I modestly suggest that this should be named The Moridura Tax, and since I do not wish to be ennobled or gonged by the British Empire, that I should be awarded a lifetime supply of saxophone and clarinet reeds from a grateful nation.

Of course, if this tax proves – as it might – unacceptable to those who wish to impose a graduate tax at or around £21,000 per annum income, I say – then shut the **** up about taxing graduates and we might let you off The Moridura Tax.


Thursday, 9 December 2010

The snow – and the politicians …

From the moment Stewart Stevenson, the Transport Minister appeared on his ill-fated Newsnight Scotland interview, I knew there was trouble ahead, and in a way, Raymond Buchanan’s (BBC) approach foreshadowed what the Holyrood Opposition approach would be – blame, demands for apologies, with no attempt to explore the issue in any depth.

Stewart Stevenson was, I am forced reluctantly to say, was badly briefed and badly advised, if indeed he had received any advice or training in how to handle such an interview. (I have already addressed such sterile political interviewing styles blog 18th Nov. 2010 at some length.).

Although the weather crisis was not quite a disaster, it came close – Scotland’s main trunk roads closed, thousands of motorists stranded and at risk, commerce badly damaged, the passage of emergency vehicles hindered – and the first political imperative in such situations for politicians or organisations involved is acknowledge responsibility and apologise. From Piper Alpha on, governments and global companies have understood this principle and applied it.

So we had the unedifying spectacle of Stewart Stevenson refusing repeated – and quite pointless – demands that he apologise to stranded motorists, making his valid attempts to explain the problem and congratulate the work of the emergency services appear as evasions.

Given five minutes before the interview, I would have offered him the following simple words to say -

"I am deeply sorry for the plight of motorists, and for the fact that the herculean efforts of dedicated transport workers and the police in these exceptional and unprecedented circumstances were unable to to alleviate the full effects of this freak weather. I take full responsibility."

Any neophyte PR junior could have offered the same advice. Surely the resources of the Government run to this at least?

Events then followed an entirely predictable path. The failure to apologise would become the issue, rather than how to solve the problem. The opportunistic -and almost entirely contemptible - self-serving opposition in Holyrood would demand Stewart Stevenson’s head and demand a debate. They would, of course, offer no solutions or analysis, only blame, and would attempt to extend the issue into questions of the wider competence of the SNP Government, aided by a media press pack only to eager to join the gadarene rush.

There has been one notable Opposition exception to this – Jackson Carlaw, MSP and Tory Transport spokesman. Interviewed yesterday afternoon at Holyrood and last night on Newsnight Scotland, he offered the only solid, statesmanlike contributions to have come from any opposition MSP, recognising the quite exceptional nature of the freak weather conditions, acknowledging that no government would have done better, and focusing on the real failure (that of communication to the public) and the real issue – what do we do as a nation to avoid this disruption repeating itself.

In modern society, we often act as if we believe we are in control of the elements, and if they don’t behave, someone must be to blame! In our more rational moments – and as we know from recent event, politicians and financiers are only partly rational beings –we try to predict the occurrence of extreme natural events, and prepare for them.

So we have building regulations, civil engineering standards, fire services, emergency services, flood defences, emergency supplied, contingency plans, rapid response and rescue services, etc. We have an infrastructure that tries to ensure that as far as possible, civil, commercial and industrial life – and personal life – can continue with some approach to normality even in the face of disaster. We try to ensure that the road, rail and communications networks and health services will continue to function, and the continuity of gas, electricity and water supplies. We also try to recognise the vital inter-dependence of these components of modern society.

As a society, we are not too bad at these things. What we are lousy at is the political process that is meant to oversee these elements, and the decision-making processes that are supposed come in to play to act on information received from experts.

What is the worm in the apple of this decision making? It is, without any doubt, short-term political gain considerations and electoral timing.

Let’s look at weather and its impact on infrastructure.


I have lived in the central belt of Scotland for most of my life, in both the west and the east – Glasgow and Edinburgh. In all of those years, I have never seen any government, local or national, fully and adequately prepared for adverse weather. In the distribution  and transport industry, we used to have saying on the East Coast – “Edinburgh Council is always astonished when it snows in winter …”

Firstly, the weather forecast and the MET Office. A weather forecast is an informed prediction of what is likely to happen, given all the meteorological information available to the forecasters. Although the accuracy of weather forecasts has improved immeasurably in my lifetime, they are not exact – there is a margin of error. Politicians, emergency services, businesses and public services and drivers can only make plans based upon what they are told about these weather predictions by the media: we can effectively discount the press, because the immediacy of radio and television is vital in this regard.

What must be considered by Government and the emergency services and what must their priorities be?

The priority must be to keep major trunk roads and motorways open and viable, and keep the rail network functioning. Certain other routes, e.g. those to major facilities such as hospitals, fire stations, power stations and routes necessary for access to essential services must also be kept clear.

Private businesses and private individuals must come second to these major priorities, and must accept a significant measure of personal responsibility in maintaining their own access routes.

The citizens who fulminate that the gritter lorry never came up their street, and demand to know why they are paying their council tax must be politely ignored. (They are usually the same people who can be found abusing the drivers of the gritting lorries, utterly contemptible behaviour. They are the kind of people who know their rights, but not their duties and responsibilities.)

The other priority must be to keep the public informed. This is easy to say but hard to do. Governments of all colours and at all times do not have a great success record in communicating with the public. In another age, when the only broadcasting medium was radio, and the cinema and the newspaper were more significant than they are today, a Government could make a major impact in communicating, as demonstrated during the  Second World War.


Today, the media and the new media are dominant. Radio has acquired a new and different significance in the television age, and may be considered the main medium of communication with the motorist and the professional driver. Television, in the form of news bulletins, weather forecasts and current affairs programmes, plays an vital role in keeping the public informed. The new media have an increasing role, but tend to address a limited demographic.

Any government attempt to communicate with the public must recognise and utilise all of these mediums, but they do so against the background that the people at large are infinitely more sceptical about the views of politicians and about their motives than they would have been a couple of generations ago. The loss of political innocence among the population may be tracked back to the Macmillan Era and the paradigm-shattering impact of the satirical television programmes of the early 1960s.

In these circumstances, Government must choose its spokespersons very carefully indeed, especially when they are faced with a hostile, opportunistic and cynical opposition, as the SNP are in the Scottish Parliament. When that difficulty is allied to a biased and hostile media, the problems of communication become formidable indeed.


Investing in infrastructure to cope with major weather events that have to date been extremely rare, and which cannot be predicted in the medium to long term is unpopular and difficult for politicians in normal times. (This is demonstrated by the climate change debate, when the utter cynicism and wilful blindness and denial of major interest groups threatens the planet.)

At a time of major financial stringency, brought about by the criminal incompetence of the bankers and the equally criminal incompetence of the last Labour Government, it is infinitely harder to do. But this bullet must be bitten, and there are rare, responsible opposition voices such as Jackson Carlaw’s to support the Government in the interests of the people of Scotland.

To date, the role of Labour in this debate has been both totally predictable and utterly irresponsible, and the hapless Tavish Scott has been little better, since his party  is facing electoral meltdown in May 2011, and expediency reigns. Perhaps there are new forces at work in Scottish Conservatism, and perhaps Jackson Carlaw is a harbinger of things to come. We can only hope …

I close with a story told to me by a Diageo distillery manager in 1990, about a Baron Munchausen-type local character from the town of Keith in Speyside, about snow and extreme weather.


Dinnae talk tae me aboot snaw!

In the winter o' 1978, Ah wiz drivin' ma horse an' cairt alang Keith Main street, and  the snaw wiz comin' doon an' comin' doon. It wiz hard tae see onything, ye ken, but Ah decided to tether the cairt. But whit to tether it tae

An' then Ah saw a wee bittie spike, stickin' up oot the snaw, so Ah tied the horse tae that, ye ken.

Ah went intae the pub, an' ah had a wee goldie, then Ah had anither wan, an' Ah felt even better! Ah thawed oot, an' aw the ither drinkers thawed oot, an' we a' had a rare auld time!

An' ootside the pub, the weather thawed oot as weel ..

So, Ah thocht - Ah better go an' get ma horse an' cairt. So Ah went oot intae the street, an' the snaw wiz all but gone. But Ah could see nae sign o' the horse and cairt.

Then the church steeple bell chimed, an' Ah looked up.

An' there wiz ma horse and cairt hingin' doon frae the
wee bittie spike oan tap o' the steeple

Snaw! Dinnae tell me aboot snaw ...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The words of a great English historian on a great Scot

George Macaulay Trevelyan was the great nephew of Macaulay and the last historian writing in the Whig traditions. The Whigs were the forerunners of the Liberal Party, but God knows what they would make of the present LibDems and apparatchiks like Danny Alexander.

Here is an extract from his History of England (1937) -

A guerilla chief of genius, a tall man of iron strength, who suddenly appears on the page of history, as if from nowhere, defeated at Stirling Bridge an English Army under its blundering feudal chief, the Earl of Warenne, of quo Warranto (link) fame. Thence William Wallace broke ravaging into Northumberland and Cumberland.

This unknown knight, with little but his great name to identify him in history, had lit a fire which nothing since has ever put out. Here, in Scotland, contemporaneously with very similar doings in Switzerland, a new ideal and tradition of wonderful potency was brought into the world; it had no name then, but now we should call it democratic patriotism. It was not the outcome of theory. The unconscious qualities of a people had given it reality in a sudden fit of rage.

Where is Scotland’s rage against what the Labour Party did to it over 13 wasted, blighted years and the ConLib coalition is doing to it now?

Where is our democratic patriotism now?

It cannot be summoned for the tattered, bloodstained flag of a vanished empire, Great Britain, great no longer…

It can be summoned for the spring of 2011 – a momentous year for the nation of Scotland.

Vote for your ain folk – vote for the Scottish National Party, not for The Three UK Stooges – Gray, Goldie or Scott.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Edinburgh Trams – a Labour, LibDem and Tory shambles

The Edinburgh Trams project, misconceived and doomed to fail.

The previous Labour/LibDem coalition conceived this folly.

The SNP vigorously opposed it before they were in government and after.

The Tories compound the Labour/LibDem folly by refusing to back the SNP   government on cancellation of the project.

Now we have a high-profile resignation,(David Mackay) and a train wreck of an interview of Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, LibDem convenor of the ill-fated project, who can offer no explanations, no figures, no completion forecasts, but is resolute in one thing only - he won't resign.

God Help Scotland if we let any of these people - Labour, LibDem or Tories - back into government in Holyrood in 2011.

Labour wrecked the UK economy while in government.

The ConLib coalition are busy compounding their failure by their ill-considered and economically lethal savage cuts programme.

Vote SNP again in 2011 and save Scotland - and your future and the futures of your children and grandchildren.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Saltire in the sky over Kirkliston

Sunday morning in the ancient Scottish village of Kirkliston, where the first recorded meeting of the Scottish Parliament was held in 1235. A vapour trail intersects with a cloud in a perfect blue sky to form a Saltire - the flag of the nation of Scotland. An omen, perhaps? Not quite the Angel of Mons, but good enough for me.

Saltire over Kirkliston

Of course, it won't please the man who aspires to be Scotland's next First Minister (assuming it is visible from where he lives).

Iain Gray, at his Labour Party conference, uttered the crass words that will now haunt him for the rest of his political career - "I love my country too much to be a nationalist." This is the man that Ed Miliband calls a statesman.

God help Scotland if Iain Gray ever attains the post he aspires to, where we can confidently assume that he will defer in all things to the London office of his party, and to the UK Westminster Parliament. The people of Scotland will come a very poor third in Mr. Gray's scale of priorities.

Saor Alba!

Iain Gray loves his country, but not enough to claim its freedom.

At the beginning of his Conference speech, Iain Gray predictably and depressingly used the tired metaphor stepping up to the plate, and this was a harbinger of the leaden rhetoric to follow.

Stepping up to the plate is a metaphor derived from baseball, meaning going in to bat. Baseball is at the heart of the American psyche, as cricket once was representative of the English character. American baseball metaphors therefore have little or no relevance or resonance in England, and even less in Scotland, but this does not deter various public figures, politicians, media commentators and businessmen from stepping up to the plate at regular intervals, often oblivious to the origins of the idiom.

(One senior politician, when asked what exactly was the plate he was stepping up to, looked puzzled, then offered “The tectonic plate?”).

One cannot imagine Winston Churchill rallying the people in 1940 by using such a tired and irrelevant phrase.

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall step up to the plate …”

However, there was worse to come from Iain Gray – much worse …

I will wade my way through his fractured rhetoric and dubious claims in a later blog, but for the moment, his closing quote is enough.

IAIN GRAY: I care too much for the future of my country to see it risked for separation, Conference.  I love my country too much to be a nationalist. Scotland deserves better.

This man aspires to be the First Minister of the nation of Scotland, although he does not recognise it as a nation, but as a devolved, subordinate region of the UK.

Try putting Iain Gray’s statement into the mouth of any of  the Prime Ministers of the great nations of Europe, most of which have thrown off the shackles of one empire or another and proudly asserted their independence.

Try putting it into the mouths of the Premiers of the countries who escaped from the Soviet tyranny.

Try putting it into the mouths of the Premiers of the proud independent nations across the globe who were once part of the blood-red map of the British Empire – India, Pakistan, Canada, the United States, the African nations.

But you will find more success if you put Gray’s quote into the mouths of those who defended their country's subjection throughout history, who collaborated in the subservience of their country, who made their political accommodation with the Empire that had placed its foot on the neck of their country for fleeting political gain.

Their names now live in infamy, but I will not name them here, because I am deeply ashamed that a fellow Scot should number himself among them.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Scotland treated with contempt by Cameron and Blunkett at PMQs

Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP): In a few weeks’ time, the Prime Minister will decide whether he will close RAF Lossiemouth, in addition to closing RAF Kinloss, which would lead to the biggest loss of jobs in Scotland since the Tories closed manufacturing industry in the 1980s. As a consequence, that would mean that Scotland would have fewer service personnel, fewer military bases, aircraft, vessels and Army battalions and less defence spending than all our independent Scandinavian neighbours of comparable size. Will the Prime Minister explain why he is concentrating defence spending in the south and cutting defence spending disproportionately in Scotland?

The Prime Minister: We are going ahead with the aircraft carriers, which are being built in Scotland. I have to say to the hon. Gentleman that if we had an independent Scotland, he would not be flying planes but flying by the seat of his pants.
(My thanks to Conan the Librarian for the Hansard text, not quite verbatim, as Conan pointed out.)

Note the glib, contemptuous, Oxbridge-debating society style with which this rich Tory dismisses a serious, well-formulated question that affects the lives of thousands of Scots.

Scots, for God's sake, get your hands off your forelocks, and recognise that Westminster and the UK don't give a damn about Scotland. The Unionists parties (Labour, Tories, LibDems) can't and won't help you - only the Scottish National Party has your real interests at heart

Vote for Scotland - vote for your ain folk - vote for independence - vote SNP.

A former Labour minister attacks the Scottish and Welsh settlement at PMQs and compares them with Yorkshire. That's what Scotland is to the London-based parties - just another subordinate region of the UK, to be treated with either envy or contempt as the mood takes them.

But they can't win -

Blunkett achieves the triple whammy of upsetting the Scots, the Welsh and the English in one ill-considered question, reinforcing the belief of the Scots and the Welsh that they should be fully independent, and making the English feel that they too should have their own Parliament and recover their country from this poisoned Union, and stand again proudly as England - an ancient, proud nation.

Vote in May 2011 for Scotland - vote for your ain folk - vote for the only party that can deliver what Scotland needs - the Scottish National Party. Vote SNP.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Theft and squandering of Scotland’s oil revenues–Norway and ‘Diomhair’

Watch, and weep for what might have been ...

Norway's far-sighted use of its oil revenue compared with the UK's frittering away of the oil revenues stolen from Scotland.

Joseph Stiglitz and Scotland's oil

Prof. Andrew Hughes Hallett

See Part Two for the Diomhair revelations about that shameful theft of Scotland's resources.

Saor Alba!

Diomhair clip - YouTube

Diomhair revealed the full details of the conspiracy to defraud Scotland of its oil revenue. How any Scot can watch this without feeling a sense of betrayal and burning resentment is beyond me, especially when one considers what Norway has has done with its oil revenues.

Saor Alba!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Ed Miliband – friend to Scotland? Dream on …

This is a lifelong Labour activist and supporter, Terry Christian, speaking in Manchester about Labour's record in power and about the likelihood of change under Ed Miliband. He puts Scottish Labour activists to shame with his courage and frankness.

Miliband the Younger a friend to Scotland ? - dream on, working-class Scots. Pull your forelocks, bend your knees to the UK and vote Labour in May 2011. May God help you all if you do ...

Scottish Labour voters - listen and learn to Terry Christian and hang your heads. Your English brothers don't share your enthusiasm for the thing the Labour Party has become. If you can bring yourselves to vote Labour at the Holyrood elections in 2011, at least be aware that you are not voting for protection from the ConLib cuts and the wicked Tories.

Labour are now the Tories Mark Two

And any trades unionists with the lingering delusion that Labour is on their side had better wake up - and fast. Your unions may have voted for this Metropolitan, Oxbridge-educated professional political career man, but only as the least worst alternative.

Trades unionists facing the apocalyptic ConLib cuts - if you thought you had elected a friend - you haven't. This man is Middle England with a vengeance, with a metropolitan bias to the South East to boot.

But Scottish trades unionists have a real alternative - the Scottish National Party. Vote for your ain folk and for Scotland. The Labour Party you once knew has been dead for over 13 years - and so are a lot of young Scots, thanks to Blair and Brown.