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Showing posts with label Tory Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tory Party. Show all posts

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Pete Wishart’s speech in Commons EU withdrawal debate 15th May 2013


Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP):In the few minutes available to me, I want to confine my remarks to amendment (b). When the history books are written and we come to the chapter that describes and explains the UK’s exit from the EU, this week will go down as an important and significant week. After this week, the UK’s departure from the EU becomes almost unstoppable.

The UK, already a surly, sulky, semi-detached member of the EU, always available to offer some withering criticism to one of its few remaining allies within the EU, already halfway out of the exit door, is like some sort of staggering drunk looking for the oblivion of last orders, on its way out chanting, “We are the famous United Kingdom. No one likes us. We don’t care.” That is the reality of the UK within the EU. Its exasperated, declining number of allies in the EU do not know whether to boo, cheer or sing hasta la vista, such is the state and condition of the UK’s membership of EU.

It is clear that the UK is on its way out. It will either be out on the basis of the salami-slicing favoured by the Prime Minister—let us renegotiate a new terms of entry, which will obviously be rejected by most of its European allies—or, more likely, it will be wrenched out following the yes/no referendum plan by the Government, in a sort of in-your-face Barroso gesture from the UK electorate. What we actually have is an irresistible momentum for the UK to be taken out of the EU.

Of course, the EU was not even mentioned in the Queen’s Speech—that now appears to be an unfortunate oversight—but it is centre stage, because we are entering a new Session of Parliament, the UKIP session. It is the age of Farageism, a desperate creed characterised by an obsession with departure from the EU and with immigrants. It is an unpleasant, intolerant, neoliberal creed with a disdain and hearty contempt for minorities. That is what will underpin this Session of Parliament, because the Government know that UKIP will win the next European election.

That is not my country and I do not want it. I want my country out of all that. My country is very different.

The reason UKIP does not do well in Scotland, and the reason there is the lone panda of one Conservative Member in the Scottish Parliament, is that that agenda simply does not chime with the collectivism and the social attitudes and values of Scotland. That is why UKIP got less than 1% of the vote in the most recent Scottish parliamentary elections. I am proud that my country is so different from the one we observe south of the border. I hope that England and the rest of the United Kingdom do not go down that road, but they are entitled to have the Government they vote for, just as my nation is entitled to the Government we vote for.

There is now the real prospect of a party whose members the Prime Minister refers to as fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists having a share in the running of the United Kingdom.

What will the Government do to ensure that does not happen? They have tried to name-call and disparage, but that has not really worked, given UKIP’s success in the local elections. They could try to buy UKIP off, but that would not work either. They are absolutely stuffed. My advice to the Government is that they had been doing all right and should have stuck with the hoodie-hugging and huskie-mushing new Conservatism. They simply could never out-UKIP UKIP, which is the master of European obsession and grievance. They should stick to their guns and ensure that they are different from UKIP.

It used to be said that Scottish independence would lead to Scotland being taken out of the European Union. Not many people are saying that now.

Henry Smith: Does the hon. Gentleman think that an independent Scotland would have to join the euro, or does he want to keep the British pound?

Pete Wishart: The hon. Gentleman is not on particularly steady ground when it comes to the debate on Scottish membership of the European Union. To answer his question, we will not be joining the euro but instead will follow Sweden’s example.

The Scottish people are observing two futures. In one future they remain shackled to the United Kingdom, which will become increasingly shackled to an intolerant, right-wing agenda.

The hon. Member for Mid Bedfordshire (Nadine Dorries) has already said that she will have a joint UKIP-Conservative candidacy at the next election. I do not know how many more Conservative Members will adopt that stance. What we are seeing is a realignment of the right. All I have heard from the 1922 committee, which has not been very pleasant recently, with all the disagreements about Europe, is that there is a faultline running through the Government. The Scottish people have a choice: they could have that future, or they could have their own future, determined by them and based on their values.

Keith Hopkins: The hon. Gentleman is making the case that Euroscepticism is an entirely right-wing view. In fact, across Europe the majority of Euroscepticism is on the left, among socialists, trade unionists and working-class people.

Pete Wishart: That might be true, but that is not how it is being demonstrated politically.

What we have observed is a total realignment. There are two different countries, and one is emerging south of the border with increasing UKIP results. It is absolutely certain that UKIP will win the next European election, and Conservative Members should be very careful about all that. They are right to be wary, because it could deprive them of office. I do not know what will happen, but Scotland has a choice—thank goodness—to do something different. We can remain shackled to an increasingly right-wing United Kingdom, almost relaxed about its continuing decline, or we can decide to have a future of our own, a future determined by the Scottish people, based on our social values and the type of community we want to develop and grow. We can choose to be a consensual and helpful friend in Europe, rather than one that likes to criticise, is semi-detached, does not really enjoy being there and is on its way out. Thank goodness we have that choice.

I know the type of future that my fellow countrymen and women will choose. They will opt to ensure that their future is in their hands. They will determine the type of Scotland they want: a Scotland standing proud in a coalition of nations around the world. That is the country I want and I am absolutely certain that that is what my fellow Scots will choose next year.

(N. B. Red highlighting is mine, and reflects my view of its importance. and is not in Pete’s original Wordpress text.)

Monday, 10 October 2011

Jo Coburn demolishes a Grayling and buries a Fox

A superb, perfectly judged example of what a political interview should be. When BBC political interviewers challenge the powerful, they should always do it as effectively as this.

The choice of Chris Grayling to champion Liam Fox's cause was profoundly misconceived - his involvement with Atlantic Bridge should have been enough to ring the warning bells. He was probably selected for his emollient personality and style - another misjudgement, since this was his undoing - a champion with a lance made of putty.

With friends like this, Fox needs no enemies ...

Monday, 4 April 2011

Andrew Neil advances the arguments for Scotland’s independence

Andrew Neil, of whom I rather prematurely made some complimentary comments on my blogs recently, has entered the arena with all gun's blazing last night on Newsnight and today in The Daily Politics.

All pretence at objective journalism has gone in the lead-up to May 5th, and his native Scottishness is forgotten - the Union is under threat again, not to mention screw-the-poor, favour-the-rich Toryism, so the glove are off. The London media suddenly remember the postern gate to their failing empire, the Disunited UK, and scrabble vainly to understand Scotland

But, as with so many attacks on Scotland's commitment to serve its people through first-rate public services and social benefits - coupled as they always are with sneers at the UK block grant to Scotland, and cries of "How will they pay for it all?" - it is self-defeating, because it reminds Scots of what they have and how they differ fundamentally from the UK, and manages at the same time to infuriate English voters at the perceived 'unfairness' of it all.

This creates a gradual groundswell for an independent England - all grist to the Scottish independence mill.

Keep going, Andrew, keep digging in your Tory hole - and keep trotting out the bearded one, Alan Cochrane, growling in his basso profundo,  shaking his head and expressing his bewilderment at why his countrymen don't embrace Tory values of screw the poor, suck up to the rich and privileged.

Andrew Neil also says there is nothing between Labour and the SNP - no real issues. Nothing that is except Scotland’s independence, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, WMDs in Scottish waters, and the unelected House of Lords, etc.

Of course these are minor issues to metropolitan media types, especially rich ones like Neil. They are also just a little inconvenient …

You're doing a grand job, Andra - keep it up!

Saor Alba!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Tobias Ellwood avoids every question on Defence Cuts

Tobias – there a name one doesn’t often come across. But hold on, isn’t Toby its diminutive? There are lots of Tobys, not counting the jugs. And there was Toby in the West Wing – a passionate man of liberal values. There’s Tobias Mead, of Britain’s Got Talent notoriety.

Tobias comes from the Hebrew Biblical name טוביה which becomes in Greek Τοβίας  - it means Yahweh is good i.e. God is good. If God exists, and is good, then he or she has some explaining to do when contemplating the religious wars that ravage our little planet.

In fact, if God is Yahweh and Allah and the Christian god – usually just called God or God the Father - not to mention a few hundred others, give or take a god or two, then He (or is it She) really must have a word with His most dedicated followers in Israel, in the Muslim world and in the West about settling their differences amicably, instead of massacring each other at regular intervals and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and unspeakable horror to wreak further carnage, called – in the euphemism to end all euphemisms – the nuclear deterrent.

However, I digress, and in the process offend many good people who prefer not to have to consider such fundamental questions.

Let’s come down to earth and have a look at a more mundane Tobias, one Tobias Ellwood, Parliamentary aide to Liam Fox, UK supremo of WMDs, warship and all things designed to attack other nations - called Defence of the Realm – and custodian of the defence budget.

Poor old Liam must at times wish he was a humble doctor again, ideally a country GP, handing out pills and comforting his patients in a quiet Scottish country village, instead of trying to balance the conflicting needs of sustaining Trident as the emblem of power in the remnants of the British Empire, aircraft carriers as a lynchpin of the Tory - and apparently all the other parties’ - job creation scheme, and the embarrassing requirement to stop starving our brave boys of critical equipment in the illegal, immoral wars they are sent to fight in foreign climes. Leaked letters may have been one little weapon in this struggle, even if it backfired a little.

Who better to stonewall to the media on all this than a New Yorker with a European education in Vienna and Bonn, and a former British Army captain, one Tobias Ellwood? Tobias left the Army in 1995, and thus missed the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan by six years. (He may well have faced combat with the Green Jackets between 19991 and 1995 – I don’t know whether he saw combat in this period, but I’m sure he served honourably.)

Today, Tobias faced the politician’s nightmare adversary, Andrew Ferguson Neill. (Paxman has long since become a caricature of his former incisive self.)

Tobias turned out to be an exponent of the torrent of words technique to attempt to overwhelm interviewers, one used by Baroness Warsi, Chairman of the Tory Party, who doesn’t know how many members the Party has. The technique has not been working well for its practitioners of late, since under pressure, it descends into the frantic babbling defence. The Baroness has already failed spectacularly on the electoral fraud allegations debacle, and now today on whether or not Tory Party membership has declined under Cameron.

Poor old Toby must think that God was not so good to him today, since he rapidly followed the same downward path in the face of Andrew Neill’s implacable questioning.

The torrent of words technique fails the Baroness yet again - she doesn't know how many members the Tory Party has. Andrew Neil unkindly point out that she is Chairman of the Party.

The Tories have now raised obfuscation to the status of an art, especially since the coalition - or to put it another way, disingenuousness now reigns supreme.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Baroness Warsi in trouble over electoral fraud

I like political interviews that turn into a train wreck, such as the Eric Joyce/Gordon Brewer one of some time ago – a classic of its kind, but probably unique. (Falkirk voters re-elected him at the general election: perhaps they don’t watch politics on television or read the newspapers. The bold Eric is now a candidate for the Shadow Cabinet.)

Today, it was Baroness Warsi’s turn, with Jon Sopel, not my favourite interviewer, but here commendably tenacious.

The Baroness was plucked from obscurity by David Cameron because she was a North of England working class women of Asian origin with right-wing views and a Tory supporter, God’s gift to a Tory Party desperate to play down its party-0f-the-rich-and-privileged, racist, jingoistic, militaristic image.

The Baroness, who is now probably modestly well-off and privileged, inexplicably decided to give an interview to Mehdi Hasan of the New Statesman on electoral fraud in northern, predominantly Asian constituencies.

 This is not putting your head into the lion’s mouth, it is going in arse first.

Warsi and Mehdi Hasan New Statesman

Her normal interview style of flattening her critics with a non-stop torrent of words failed her spectacularly here, because Jon Sopel is notably economical in his style, and the sweating Baroness descended into frantic gabbling.

Judge for yourself.