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Showing posts with label the SNP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the SNP. Show all posts

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The New Right in Scotland? Brian Monteith, the Scottish Tories and C-PAC

Brian Monteith had an article in the Scotsman yesterday entitled Scottish slant on US group could fill Tory gap

My resp0nse is in a letter published in the Scotsman today - New Right Fears  (By the way, I should have said Rush Limbaugh, not Ross Limbaugh – typo!)

If you want to know what the group that Brian Monteith is touting as a model for the Scottish Right - C-PAC – stands for, try Conservative Political Action Conference

Here is what I said about Brian Monteith, his think tanks and his thoughts on Scottish Conservatism back in October last year – worth another look -


I had something to say about Brian Monteith and ThinkScotland back in July

Brian Monteith - ThinkScotland July 2011 and here we are again today...

Calling something a think tank is intended to give it an air of responsibility, conjuring up images of learned, objective academics, highly qualified in their fields, detached and disinterested, considering great problems, offering their pearls of wisdom to the people.

There are probably a few think tanks internationally that more or less conform to that ideal, but many are front organisations for shadowy interests, such as the kind of things American neocons sponsor quietly. The religious right is fond of them too, and these types of think tanks offer lucrative lecture tours and sponsorships for academics and experts who display the correct political orientation, or who are happy to faithfully reflect a line, and compromise their academic integrity for the goodies they receive.

Some of the even manage to fool the charity commissioners and are set up as non-profit organisations – non-profit until you consider the substantial gain to individuals involved in them in fees, lecture tours, expenses, global travel, etc. Indeed we have a recent egregious example that brought down a cabinet minister in the UK.

Think Scotland, however, is not one of the above types, and as my July blog – linked above – shows, there is nothing secretive about them, in who their founder and funder is, and what their politics are – it’s all up there for inspection if you take the trouble to visit their website - ThinkScotland - about us

What they most certainly are not is objective about Scotland, Scottish politics or the Union. And as far as the elected Government of Scotland are concerned, well, this can be judged from today’s effusion from Brian Monteith in the Scotsman – where else – entitled

 Sinister centralism at home in SNP. Monteith's Scotsman article 31 October 2011

In his second column, para 4, Brian Monteith makes the following complaint, after asserting that anyone that is not one of us (i.e.) the SNP) … “will be ridiculed, pilloried or marginalised”.

“ … cybernat bloggers consistently play the man and not the ball when posting comments on”

He goes on to say “Sadly this style on intimidation is something that one has come to expect from the SNP.”

Of course Brian does not ridicule, pillory, or play the man, not the ball. (He can hardly marginalise the Government of Scotland, elected by a landslide majority.) The full text is linked above, so you can read it all for yourselves. But here is a flavour of Brian heroically resisting the tendency to ridicule, pillory and play the man – and woman – not the ball …


“There is a repugnant, sinister centralism in the SNP government’s behaviour …”

“All politicians suffer from hubris and Alex Salmond reveals it with alarming regularity, but what appears to be a bullying nature and a fear of losing control are now coming to the fore.”

“If this type of spinning and subterfuge continues, last week’s apology may not be the last Alex Salmond has to make.”

“Sadly, this style of intimidation is something one has come to expect from the SNP; it betrays an ugly side to nationalism that is as abusively sectarian as anything said at an Old Firm match – “

“Even the nice Mr Swinney has shown bullying tendencies that cannot be dismissed as mere political arm-twisting …”

“Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon will reintroduce her policy of minimum pricing of alcohol despite the evidence debunking the claim that price is the main factor leading to alcohol abuse. Her bullying of smokers will continue unabated …”

“In education, we can see an impatient if not arrogant Michael Russell dropping the arms-length principle; threatening the independent appointment of university principals and condoning the “merger by fax” of Dundee and Abertay universities …”

Russell’s central diktat …”

“Whichever way we look, Scotland under the SNP is becoming centralised, censored or bullied. Is it any wonder so many question privately what independence would be like under an imperious Premier Salmond?”


The above is the language of a right-wing think tank, representative of nobody but the individual who funds it and the handful of people who contribute to its ‘thoughts’. In it, I hear the authentic echoes of Fox News and Ross Limbaugh. It uses highly coloured terms, expresses contempt for individual politicians by the use of these terms, and attempts to engender an air of conspiracy and paranoia around the sober business of government, in a highly challenging time for the Scottish economy and the Scottish people, when the global economy is extremely fragile.

If this kind of journalism is what ThinkScotland produces – and what the Scotsman thinks deserves a platform - I think Scotland can do without its thoughts, and the Scotsman has to reflect on its editorial judgement. Of course, Brian Monteith can dismiss me as a cybernat blogger, part of the great SNP conspiracy and sinister centralism.

And of course he can also say that I am playing the man, not the ball.

Well, this man has no ball, so what’s left for me – or anyone – to play?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

I woke up this morning - England and Scotland

One of the great blues opening lines has always been “Woke up this morning …”, and it almost became a cliché of the blues lyric.

I woke up this morning, ready to pen my riposte to Kenny Farquharson’s article in Scotland on Sunday, which he had trailed in advance on Twitter last night was to be about the SNP embracing Britishness.

But having come out of my corner swinging, I find I have nothing to fight. This is a perceptive and insightful analysis of the sea change that has occurred in the SNP in the last decade and a half over their concept of independence. For me, it is one of the best things Kenny has written, and is a vital contribution to the independence debate. He has rightly said that some in the party won’t like it, but they would be foolish in the extreme to ignore it.

So I have no comment to offer at this time, because I think it is that comparative rarity in the great independence debate – an objective analysis from a senior Scottish journalist who I think would accept that he is a supporter of the Union. He also cares about Scotland. Read it carefully and reflect …

Cultural revolution as SNP learns to love the Brits

Friday, 3 February 2012

The butterfly emerges, flaps its wings and triggers – what?

Autumn 2014 starts on the 23rd of September, so  the earliest date for the referendum is 23rd September 2014, and the latest date before the winter solstice is 20th December 2014. Seasons calculator (Don’t ask me about the shortfall of two days 2012-2014 – ask an astronomer.) So we have between  32 months and 35 months to go until the most important decision facing Scots since 1707 arrives.

It will also be the most important event facing the United Kingdom, a highly significant event for the Republic of Ireland, an event of vital interest for the European Union, and an event major interest for the rest of the world. It may spell the end of Britain as a nuclear power, and therefore the end of the US/Britain links on the so-called ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent, it will have a fundamental and incalculable effect on NATO, and on the perception of the rest of the world of ‘Britain’, in the sense that it still exists, as a world power.

Is this responsibility one that is too great to bear for a little nation at the north end of Europe with a population of just over 5 million?

Chaos theory often uses the metaphor of the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, Lorenz having postulated that this tiny event could lead to a hurricane.

Already there are those in the UK - and on the right-wing of American politics - who are asking if this emergent butterfly should even be allowed out of the chrysalis, much less flap its wings.

A coalition of the British right-wing - that is the Labour Party allied to the Tory/LibDem Government - has formed to frustrate the efforts of Scotland to achieve self-determination as a nation.

But because of a highly inconvenient commitment to at least the semblance of democratic politics, in nations that have long since neutered the voice of the people in a conspiracy of wealth, privilege and power, this is proving hard to do.

And the global financial crisis, allied to the manifest failure and incompetence of the UK government, and the increasing tendency of the US government to retreat from international entanglements and put its own shaky house in order, not to mention the great upheaval of the Arab Spring haven’t helped. Confusion reigns in the corridors of power.

And so there is to be a great public debate. But behind the scenes, the profoundly undemocratic forces of patronage, threat and bribe, the military industrial complex and structurally undemocratic organisations and ad hoc groupings formed for this purpose alone, will exert an insidious influence on that debate.

What will counterbalance this? The crisis of capitalism has now arrived with a vengeance, and the brutal impact of the attempts of the rich to solve it by attacking the poor and vulnerable are just beginning to be felt, with the full horror yet to unfold. The UK Party that should have been poised to be the defenders of the ordinary people, the Labour Party, has for half a century or more instead been a fundamental part of the power structure, and is impotent because it has fundamentally and fatally compromised its core values.

England is left bereft of a political voice, and has only the trades unions, themselves compromised by their links to Labour, as their last best hope. There are some welcome signs that the trades unions recognise this, and are beginning the painful process of extricating themselves from the Labour Party’s dead grasp.

Scotland, in contrast, has a political voice, has a political party, and a vibrant new spirit is emerging, a new awareness, and a new resolve to embrace the spirit of the age - the zeitgeist -and make a new nation.

This butterfly will flap its wings, will fly freely, and its flight will not trigger a destructive hurricane, but a great, cleansing wind of positive change.

Saor Alba

Friday, 21 October 2011

It’s that indy thing–ye cannae rattle a Nat

Every time Andrew Neil questions a Scottish Nationalist politician, it's worth 1000 votes for independence. Gordon Brewer knows, understands, but has to go through the motions of Paxo-like faux naivety.

But the metropolitan media just don't get it, and persist in the same ludicrous, simplistic questions.

You can't rattle a Nat, Andrew. Historical inevitability - and their country - is on their side. But keep it up, please, you're doing a fine job for the independence of your country - that was Scotland, wasn't it? Or is all that long forgotten?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Why the SNP won in 2011 - and why the unionist parties lost

A fascinating analysis, and one we must study closely. The electorate liked the SNP and the SNP team, and regarded them as competent to run Scotland under the present constitutional settlement.

Now we must extend that perception into a recognition that an independent Scotland can be run even more effectively by Scotland Party - the SNP, and only a decisive referendum vote by the Scottish electorate - and by them alone - will deliver that.