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Showing posts with label Labour leadership contest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Labour leadership contest. Show all posts

Saturday, 5 November 2011

A pastiche of Iain Gray – cybernatophobic

“Look, there’s an example of just what I’ve been saying – that vicious, anonymous cybernat on Twitter, Strathearnrose! Scotsman I can reveal exclusively who she is, because her name’s right at the side of her Twitter ID – Roseanna Cunningham. You can’t fool me – oh, no!

And just look at what she says – she mentions Scotland, and Crieff – blatant Nationalist propaganda. No mention of England, or London, naw, that would never dae! And fireworks – that’s cybernat code for causing trouble, anybody can see that. And the very fact that she doesn’t mention me just goes to show the contempt with which cybernats treat an ex-leader like me.”


Roseanna Cunningham

strathearnrose Roseanna Cunningham

RT @outdoorscotland: Crieff Fireworks saturday 7pm for 7.30. Please come along.

Scotsman EXTRACT

"For those that doubt the connections between the SNP and some of the cybernats, how about “Strathearnrose” who on 5 October tweeted: “At SNP mtg 2 encourage more social media uptake” then signed off “#evenmorecybernats”. Strathearnrose is of course Roseanna Cunningham, the minister currently taking through new legislation against offensive behaviour on the internet. There is that delicious irony again."

Sunday, 26 September 2010

And then there was Ed …

Once upon a time, a young man with the aspiration to make his mark – and the means to do it - got a good degree, perhaps Oxbridge, but maybe a provincial university, then went off and had a career doing something real, a profession, business, or the civil service, achieved something substantial in that chosen career, got some real understanding of life, then in his late thirties or early forties considered a life of public service in politics.

On entering the Commons, he had some understanding of the life of the nation, its people and its problems – he had a broad perspective and perhaps even a modicum of wisdom.

Not these days, they don’t …. Oxbridge is a must, and the degree must be that strange hybrid designed especially for the aspiring politician, the PPE – Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and the career chosen is politics from the start. And so the Asimovian new breed of politicians have their gestation, and walk straight off the Oxbridge assembly line with shining, metallic, inhuman certainty into the seat and the heart of government as a political assistant, as a speechwriter to a Cabinet Minister, as a special adviser.

Of course they have to select a political party to join to achieve this, and this selection is made, not on the basis of experience of life or burning conviction, but on a mix of family tradition, contacts, and cold, calculating assessment of which party offers the best route to power and influence within a short timescale, typically four or five years.

At some point, a sabbatical allows them to work or study in the United States for a year, where they meet senior US politicians and absorb effortlessly the idea of Britain as a junior partner, fully committed to a compliant and subservient role in foreign policy to their US masters.

At the earliest opportunity, with the backing of the established politicians they have served, they seek a nomination as a prospective parliamentary candidate, ideally for a safe seat. But occasionally they may have to undergo trial by fire in fighting a lost cause, in a contest which nonetheless bloods them and provides essential media coverage.

From the start, these strange creatures, custom-designed for politics, are strangers to the true life of the nation and its people, destined to rule them, but locked into the assumptions of a closed world that ensure that they can never properly serve them or serve true democracy.

Sooner or later, they have the right to take the state to war  - with the approval of the United States – and they can assist the US in the pressing of the nuclear button.

They themselves will never be placed in harm’s way by military service, nor will their children, but they will sacrifice the children of others with relative equanimity, and with the glib words of regret and condolence they have learned to parrot at the feet of their mentors, words that they perhaps actually crafted for those who preceded them, in phrases liberally spattered with references to heroes, comrades, Queen and country, never forgetting and eternally grateful – variants on the old, old lie, Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori.

(It pains me to mention that we have a version of this career path in the Scottish Parliament, where some candidates seem to think that proclaiming their ability to “find their way around the Parliament” - i.e. familiarity with the systems, procedures and political levers to push  - constitutes an election address and gives them credibility with the electorate, rather than experience of life as it is lived in Scotland today, with some tangible experience and achievement within that reality . Frankly, if that is all they have to offer, it is not enough – for me, anyway.)

And so we have Ed, although it was a close run thing – it could have been David. Does it matter which overall? Yes, a little. Does it matter to Scotland? Probably quite a lot, at least in the spring of 2011, since it will influence the Labour vote in a contest which will be a straight fight between them and the SNP.

We might usefully remind ourselves that this new Labour leader has a special understanding of Scotland. He was deeply involved in Labour’s manifesto for the 1999 Holyrood elections, and in fact resigned as Special Advisor at the Treasury to devote himself full-time to that campaign, and Labour’s rebuttal strategy. He will be a formidable foe of the SNP.



Monday, 12 July 2010

Andy Burnham, loyalty and Labour

Anything is preferable to the gruesome Miliband Brothers, and since Diane Abbott has no chance, Labour supporters are left with Andy Burnham. I suppose he is the least worst option. He apparently disliked everything about the Blair/Brown years, but did sod all about it. Excuse? He was loyal.

Yes, loyal to his own career, unlike Robin Cook, Claire Short and others who did act on principle. Make no mistake, Burnham is cut from the same cloth as the Milibands - the brand is just less visible... But he won't get elected - Labour supporters - especially Scottish Labour supporters - have lost all capacity to tell shit from Shinola these days, especially at Westminster elections.

Illegal wars, lying to Parliament, attacks on legal freedoms, money grubbing, rampant municipal corruption, failure to address, in 13 wasted years, everything the People's Party ever stood for, MPs and Labour Lords on criminal charges - nothing removes the scales from their eyes.

Tick the Labour box. Why? Because that's what we've always done…

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Tories’ moral mandate in Scotland

A letter from a Tom Gill appeared in Monday’s Herald, critical of Alex Salmond’s comments about the Tory Party’s moral mandate to govern Scotland. I sent the undernoted reply, but it wasn’t published. As a great admirer of the Herald’s Letters page, let me say that I am sure my response was simply crowded out by a number of fine letters on other highly important topics, and that this was simply a question of space and priorities.

Nonetheless, I would like my argument to be on record, and here it is -

LETTER TO THE HERALD (unpublished)

Dear Sir,

Tom Gill (Letters 17th May) criticises Alex Salmond’s statement that a Tory government has no moral  mandate to govern in Scotland. Under the UK’s deeply flawed electoral system the new Tory/LibDem coalition - with the Tories as the dominant partners – has a legal and constitutional right to govern Scotland, but morally, they have no mandate. That is what the First Minister said.

85% of  Scottish voters did not vote for a Tory government – they voted for a centre left government, with the majority voting for a Labour government. Every commentator and media pundit has recognised that Scotland and England voted, to quote one such view, “as if they were on different planets …”, and that the implications of this for the Union and for democracy are deeply disturbing.

Tom Gill also advances the familiar, but deeply flawed argument that this is equivalent to an area of Scotland opting out of a general election result. Others have used the same argument for an English county opting out. Both analogies are utterly false and misleading.

No one, least of all the First Minister, is suggesting that we should opt out of the result – we are bound by the electoral outcome.  But Scotland is not an area of the UK – it is not a county, nor is it just a region - it is a nation of over 5m people, with its own legal system, its own church, its own Parliament and its own proud history and unique culture.

Scotland, a sovereign nation,  entered into the treaty of union voluntarily,  but reluctantly, with profound misgivings and with many dissenting voices. For the last century at least, that union has not served the Scottish people well. At the very least, a substantial minority of Scottish voters now believe that we should end that treaty and withdraw from the union, and no one constitutionally denies our right to do so if a majority vote for it in a referendum. The deeply undemocratic outcome of the general election has now caused many more Scots - and a great many English people - to question the continuing relevance of the UK as a political entity.

My belief is that a great political watershed has been reached, and that radically new thinking about political alignments in Scotland between the Labour Party, the SNP and the trades unions is urgently required. The outcome of the Labour leadership election will be a catalyst in this process, especially if it results in David Miliband as the new Labour leader  reviving the deadly power cliques and disastrous policies of New Labour.

yours faithfully,

Peter Curran