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Showing posts with label The Sunday Herald. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Sunday Herald. Show all posts

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Scotland on Sunday - on Easter Sunday

The haar has lifted, and our back garden on this late April day is gloriously sunny.

Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote the droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote and bathed every veynein swich licour of which vertu engendred is the flour

I quote the great English poet, because he was an Englishman, one with a great love for his country and its language, which he immeasurably enriched, and because I love the Canterbury Tales, especially its Prologue. And I love him because I am not an Englishman, nor am I British - just an unwilling, and I hope temporary citizen of a disunited kingdom that Geoffrey Chaucer would not have understood. But great art transcends all national and global boundaries in its profound humanity, which is why it is deeply distrusted by tyrants everywhere, in every age, and why the Arts are their first targets when money is tight and the rich and privileged must be protected at all costs.

But art is politicised, and artists must engage with politics, because politics is life and failure to engage is a denial of the Zeitgeist. But that engagement must arise from the artist’s vision, and must not be distorted by being pressed into a politician’s view of Art. That way lies the art of the Third Reich, and that alliance of art and politics defines fascism.

But I must return to the mundane, indeed to the quotidian. Carpe Diem, and the diem that must be carpied is Sunday the twenty fourth of April 2011.

The news today is good, and a continuation of the good news that has built like a great, unstoppable (I hope!) wave over the last week or so. The Scotland on Sunday YouGov poll graphically illustrates the Gray Nightmare - a Holyrood seat projection of 61 for the SNP (+14), with Labour at at 42 (-4). With a Green projection of 8 (+6) that gives a potential SNP/Green coalition or working arrangement of 69 seat out of 129.

No room for complacency, however, because the unionist press are offering increasingly desperate advice to Labour about how they might recover some ground, advice which can be summarised as go negative, attack Alex Salmond and talk up the independence agenda.

(I’ll bypass The Sunday Herald for once, who are also in  the ‘rehabilitate Iain Gray’ mode. But one comment, on Tom Gordon’s piece, Glad to be Gray. His opening paragraph is -

Iain Gray is a paradox. His back-story is far more vivid than that of civil servant turned bank economist Alex Salmond, and more obviously dedicated to public service, yet it’s impossible to tell.

Leaving aside the blatant bias, any journalist with such an uncertain grasp of syntax really needs to take advantage of one of Iain Gray’s ‘pledges’, as listed to the right of the piece - a zero approach to illiteracy. Tom, one question on your second sentence - ‘impossible to tell’ what?)

I choose to focus on Kenny Farquarson’s piece, What Labour needs is some six appeal. Why Kenny Farquarson? Because, based on his previous output, and significantly on his Twitter contributions (@KennyFarq), I believe him to be committed to Scotland and the Scottish people, open to civilised debate, and generally a valuable and informed member of Scottish society. But he is a unionist, and employed by Scotland on Sunday, and neither of these things come without obligations.

So how does Kenny Farquarson address the now urgent priority of giving artificial respiration to Iain Gray’s campaign?

Well, his sub-header, Scots appear to be unimpressed with the SNP record on almost every policy area, appears to signal that it is not only the Labour Party that has retreated from an uncomfortable reality, because in the light of the polls, if that risible statement was accurate, Scottish voters have taken leave of their senses. But we’ll move swiftly on to the body of his article.

Kenny offers six ways for Labour to ‘defy all predictions and ‘win back the lost ground’.

1. Talk up independence.

By this, Kenny means frighten unionists who may vote for the SNP by reiterating the tired and entirely unsuccessful argument, trotted out and regularly demolished by Alex Salmond on almost every media channel, that the SNP is somehow marginalising the independence question. If anything demonstrates how remote the Scottish Unionist parties and their media supporters are from the mood of the electorate, it is this argument. In spite of being peddled by a range of media gandy dancers and railroad men for well over a year, the voters seem unmoved - or rather, moved towards the SNP rather than being put off by it.

If I may celebrate the Auld Alliance in a phrase, Kenny, the Scottish NATIONAL Party’s raison d'être is the independence of the Scottish nation by the free democratic choice of the people of Scotland, a choice that will be offered to them during the life of the next Scottish Parliament, the electorate and May the 5th permitting.

2. Don’t let up on the message that Scotland needs Labour now that the Tories are back in power at Westminster.

Labour voters swallowed that argument briefly after the general election, until they realised that -

a) there would have been no Tories in power if John Reid, Labour power-broker par excellence, hadn’t deliberately wrecked Gordon Brown’s attempt to form a rainbow coalition with the LibDems and the nationalist parties.

b) there would have been no Cuts necessary if Labour hadn’t wrecked the UK economy.

c) that Alex Salmond and the SNP had, week after week in Holyrood, warned of the impending ‘£500 million’ cut to the Scottish settlement by Alistair Darling, a fact airily denied and dismissed by Iain Gray when his party was in power at Westminster, and hastily re-discovered when they were thrown out.

c) that none of it would have happened if Scotland had been independent and/or in control of its own finances.


d) the financial crash would have passed Scotland by - as it has Norway - if the UK Government hadn’t stolen its oil revenues.

Scottish voters also realised, after Ed Miliband’s Labour Party Conference speech in Glasgow, that Miliband Minor wasn’t up here to fight the Scottish election, he was here to shamelessly use the puppet Scottish Labour Party and its puppet Leader to fight the next UK general election.

The Scottish electorate didnae come up the Clyde oan a bike, Kenny …

3) Go for the SNP’s record  in government.

Well, do so, by all means, Kenny - it is precisely their record in government that has inspired the confidence of a series of major Scottish business figures and the electorate.

4) It’s the economy, stupid …

Yes, it is, Kenny, and since Labour wrecked it, the ConLibs are looting the wreck, and the only hope Scots have is the SNP and Alex Salmond, the polls show that the electorate are not stupid, even if the unionist parties believe they are …

5) Wheel out Laura Norder

Wheel out is right, Kenny - in a broken pram on its way the the steamie, after Andy Kerr, Richard Baker and Iain Gray’s nonsensical statistics have been comprehensively rubbished by a series of unimpeachable organisations, including those they were misquoting. Laura Norder, a painted fraud who has little to do with justice, is the last refuge of scoundrels.

6) Finally, for goodness sake, do something about Iain Gray …

As Mae West once said, goodness has nothing to do with it. It would take a back-to-the future time machine to do something about Iain Gray, i.e. don’t elect him as Leader in the first place.

But then, what did the sea of mediocrity that is now the Scottish Labour Party have to offer? Iain Gray was thrown up, in every sense of the word, by a party bereft of values, ideals, vision and, above all, bereft of talent.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Oh, what a beautiful morning for Scotland and the hopes of its people!

Good news all around today on the polls, although the results clearly stick in the craw of some. The responses range from the objective through the rueful to those still in denial.

No nationalist or fair-minded democrat could quarrel with Scotland on Sunday.

Front page headline - Salmond in poll position as SNP surge, sub-header Labour losing ground in battle for Holyrood. Its Insight section gives excellent three-page coverage with graphical analysis of the polls.

(The fourth page is devoted to an essay on David Hume by Richard Bath, which regrettably tries to paint a picture of the SNP - in one paragraph [para8] and one quote from Professor Moss of Glasgow University - that is entirely wrong in its analysis.)

The editorial comment is headed Salmond turns the tide, and Kenny Farquarson's excellent piece Will hope or fear decide the election? contains  comments that can only gladden the hearts of SNP supporters, even though it closes with a note of caution.

“The SNP lead in our exclusive YouGov poll today is a testament to an exemplary, pitch-perfect manifesto launch by one of the most impressive political machines in the UK , never mind Scotland.”

“The SNP is playing a blinder, and deserves its lead in the polls. The campaign is slick, upbeat and positive.”

Forgive me for picking quotes, Kenny!

The Sunday Times carries the fascinating headline Scots deal may break coalition, revealing that Ed Miliband told colleagues that a Lib-Lab coalition in Scotland could bring down the Coalition, confirming my blog analysis of his Scottish conference speech that he wasn’t trying to help Scottish Labour to get elected on May 5th, but trying to fight the next UK general election using the puppet Scottish Labour group as a tool for his own Westminster ambitions.

It also reveal yet again that the UK parties and media are only interested in Scotland when they occasionally and belatedly recognise that it is their Achilles Heel when it comes to maintaining their hegemony and lunatic foreign policy.

All of this predictably has bypassed the Sunday Post, who are engaged, under Campbell Gunn’s byline, in a thinly disguised attempt to prop up Iain Gray’s feeble campaign and image. At least they didn’t trot out Lorraine Davidson to do it for them.

Meanwhile, back at the Royal Stud Farm, the Queen is contemplating gifting Strathearn, no less, to William and Kate “to cement the relationship between the Monarchy and Scotland”. Auld habits die hard. Any Scots - including apparently Roseanna Cunningham - who welcome this are clearly on their knees already and tugging their forelock (and what else besides) as the mud from the Royal horses splashes in their faces.

The new Sunday Herald thinks Tavish Scott is the big story, then follows with page after page of negativism about the SNP, including a sad little piece on party manifestos by Ian Bell. It does, however, give full coverage to Cardinal O’Brien’s admirable attack on Trident and WMD’s in Scottish waters  while managing to ignore the elephant in the room - the fact that the SNP are the only significant party in Scotland and the UK that is totally opposed to nuclear weapons, WMDs and nuclear power.

The Sunday Herald prefers to present Partick Harvie and his Green Party of two, and CND, - which sadly has been totally ineffectual for half a century in opposing nuclear weapons - as the bulwarks against nuclear power.

Well, as champions of the UK (pro-nuclear) and of Labour (pro nuclear), the Sunday Herald would say that, wouldn’t they? They mustn’t support the only organisation that can actually deliver a nuclear-free Scotland, the SNP - if they get re-elected and ultimately secure an independent Scotland they will undoubtedly do it.