Strictly come Ed

Ed Miliband is coming to Scotland to stick it intae Alicsammin.  Can you feel the frisson?  Are you getting a thrill?  Is there not just the tiniest wee damp patch in yer knickers?  There is in mine, but I’ve been sitting on top of the washing machine when it’s on its spin cycle.  Ed’s spinning gets no one moist, not even the damp paper bag he can’t punch his way out of.

Ed comes to Scotland fresh from triumphantly making no impression at all after Osborne’s budget promised more austerity, more cuts, more making the poor pay for the avarice of the bankers, and some giveaways for “hard working families and pensioners” – Westminster code for “people who could be persuaded to vote Tory”, and the fact they are so persuadable is also the reason both the Tories and Labour spend so much time courting them.  Ed can only carp about the details, about Johann Lamont’s wee things, because when he’s in power he’s going to implement the same cuts and reward the same Tory leaning constituency.

Ed’s in Scotland to give a wee speech to the demoralised band of fratricidal comrades at Labour’s Scottish conference. He wants Scotland to vote no to honour the legacy of the late John Smith. Perhaps he mean honouring it like Tony Blair honoured it when he went to war in Iraq. Or like Gordon Brown honoured it when he abolished boom and bust and encouraged the bankers to get rich quick. Introducing the bedroom tax on private tenants was honouring John Smith, who knew? Privatising, and PFI, they honoured his legacy too. Giving ATOS loads of juicy contracts was a socialist act that would have made John Smith proud.

If the leadership of the Labour party can’t honour John Smith’s legacy they have no business expecting it of anyone else.  Least of all people who understand what his legacy really was.  John Smith’s legacy lies buried on Iona, and Labour’s leadership danced on the grave.  Ed’s not in Scotland to honour John Smith’s legacy, far less to build on it.  We need no lessons in what John Smith stood for from a man who was a government minister under both Blair and Brown.  Ed danced with the worst of them.

Apart from the unseemly appeal to the dead, Ed’s big idea is to revive the SNP are Tartan Tories trope.  That might have worked back in the 1960s, when my Irish Republican grandfather was convinced that Scottish independence meant surrendering to Presbyterians – who according to him would always be Tories even if they dispensed with the Unionist bit.  But my grandfather has been deid for 40 years.  Even so, he’s not buried as deep as Ed’s chances of reviving the fortunes of the Labour party with his tacky sequins and torn ballgown.

But credit where credit is due, at least it’s not quite as behind the times as the Tories’ Victorian era One Nation slogan which Ed believes best represents the aspirations of the British centre left in the 21st century.   Ed’s catching up, and if he keeps going at this rate he’ll be starting to grasp the real issues around the independence debate about the time that HS2 finally gets to Scotland.

Ed claims that Alicsammin apes Tory policies.  He’d know a lot about that then.  Margaret Thatcher taught Tony Blair the steps of Westminster’s dance to the seat of power.  Ed has every intention of following in their footsteps.   Labour is happy to ally itself with the Tories when it comes to screwing over Scotland, Ed Balls and George Osborne practised the choreography for their currency routine for ages.  But the voting panel of Scotland’s Strictly judges was not impressed.  The dance did not wow the audience and was received with an arched eyebrow and bitchy comments.  They should have got Eric Pickles to do it, the overweight comedy turn may screw up the dance steps but at least it gets the sympathy vote.

Ed’s basic problem, and it’s not really giving succour to one’s opponents by pointing out the fatal flaw in their thinking when the fatal flaw is bleedin’ obvious, is that he thinks Alicsammin is a word meaning “Scottish independence”.  All this time we thought Westminster was personalising the debate and making out that the future of an entire nation is entirely the same as a single individual, but it turns out it’s just Westminster politicians getting confused by the Scottish vernacular.  That’s what happens when you rely on Magrit Curran to translate.

However there are a number of problems with the attacking Alicsammin approach to the independence debate, not the least of which being that a not insignificant number of people who intend to vote yes don’t give a toss what Alicsammin thinks about Corporation Tax, or indeed anything else.  At this stage in the proceedings, we should take it as read that the yes campaign has already hoovered up all the SNP voters that it’s going to get, but the yes campaign cannot win on SNP votes alone.

SNP supporters are unlikely to be moved in their opinions of Alicsammin by anything Ed says.  The very large number of non-SNP voters who have decided to vote yes have already realised that they’re voting for independence, not for Alicsammin, so they are scarcely any more likely to be discouraged from voting yes when Ed attacks Alicsammin.  It’s not going to shift the poll movement back towards no.  But in lieu of any deeper comprehension of what’s happening in Scotland, it’s all Ed’s got to go on.

It wouldn’t be the first time Westminster politicians have been confused by what Scotland is saying.  In 1997 when Michael Forsyth led the Scottish Tories into the General Election and lost every one of the party’s seats, Scotland’s verdict was the most definitive “away you tae fuck” it’s possible to achieve in an electoral system.  But Westminster thought we’d said “Give this man a seat in the House of Lords so he can keep influencing our laws.”  Easy mistake to make.

But it’s not Scotland’s accent.  It’s their ears.  Ed has come to Scotland to make a speech, not to listen.  Westminster’s ears are still not working.

13 comments on “Strictly come Ed

  1. JGedd says:

    Wonderful! Trenchant comment and biting humour as well. I did laugh LOL.

    Only slight quibble – please don’t join in the deification of John Smith. He was a very accomplished man but a career politician and Party man to the hilt. Had John Smith lived to become Prime Minister I think we could have found him to be much like Blair and Brown. Tony Blair was John Smith’s own choice to be groomed as a potential leader; I don’t think that they were too far apart politically. Also remember, Smith was a Bilderberg member. I think that New Labour would still have happened as a project if Smith had survived, it was just accelerated under Tony Blair.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I didn’t idolise John Smith. He was a Labour politician who knew how to play Labour’s machine. But I also felt that he was playing the machine for a purpose greater than his own interests and his own career, and that fact alone made him a far better human being than the entire bunch of no-marks who lead Labour nowadays.

      • JGedd says:

        I agree with you on just about everything, Paul, and this was only a very, very small quibble.

        But the reason it came up I suppose, is that I’ve been getting a little bit irritated by various references on other websites – and personal encounters – which give certain politicians such as John Smith and Donald Dewar a status I don’t recognize. Something to do perhaps with their untimely deaths and also that the present contingent of Labour politicians are so dreadful, they appear retrospectively to be so much better by comparison. Certainly, intellectually they were ahead of what we have now and were much more polished performers but I also remember Smith, Dewar and Robin Cook as among the very Labour politicians who helped to begin my disillusionment with Labour at that time.

        Granted, Smith did not make it into government but the others around him did and there they were revealed with all their flaws exposed. We will have to differ then on whether Smith was simply using the party machine for a higher purpose, because we can only speculate on his future actions but you don’t get taken into the Bilderberg Group if you have an earnest socialist programme and Smith had made it clear that he was very much a ” reformer” as the future New Labour people then called themselves.

        The reason why this niggles me is, I suppose, because it’s all part of the Labour myth-making machine and image-projection which I don’t buy into and is so happily maintained by our corrupt media to the detriment of real political discourse.

        Sorry to have hogged your site with my minor preoccupation at the moment, not really directed at you. I just feel that people should present their appraisal of what they lived through to counter the myths. John Smith is after all dead and gone while his successor, a truly dangerous politician – Blair- did govern and is with us yet. Let’s just leave it at where we can agree; we can only judge people by what they do and John Smith was not around to be involved in the catastrophic descent of the Labour party into its present moral morass.

        Anyway, keep blogging. I don’t know how you manage to come up with such quality writing and pertinent observation on a regular basis, I always look forward to your daily blog and recommend you to others who haven’t come across your site.

        • weegingerdug says:

          If Barrack Obama had died just a few months into office, today he’d be hailed as the late lost hope. – it’s the JFK syndrome. Instead he continued as president and trashed any hopes that were going. I rather suspect that if John Smith had lived, the popular assessment of him would be more like Obama’s than like Kennedy’s. Because Smith is dead, he represents the Labour party that people would have wanted, rather than the party which actually exists.

          As for Donald Dewer, I was never convinced by him at all. Father of Devolution my arse.

          But feel free to express your thoughts. That’s what a comment section is for. I appreciate it when people take the time and effort.

          • bringiton says:

            Totally agree with you about Dewar.
            Why would Dewar and Blair collude to transfer 6000 sq. miles of Scottish sea bed to England on the eve of the reconvening of the Scottish parliament?
            After all,as far as British Labour are concerned (or so they say) Scotland is just a region of the UK state so why do it?
            Devolution always was and still is a mechanism to ward off Scottish independence and in the case of the sea bed transfer was just an insurance policy for London in the event.
            Dewar was just another London servant doing his master’s bidding.

            • hektorsmum says:

              Dewar was well enough paid for his work and has encouraged many another to do the same. I felt a sadness at the loss of John Smith, but mostly because my Husband forecast that this would mean that “Smirker” Blair would now become leader. Now why am I not surprised to read that he was a member of the Bilderburg Group, seems they all become just another tool for the World Establishment.
              Paul, the article was superb, really enjoy your way with words which I often wish I could emulate. On a cold March Saturday it made me laugh.

  2. JGedd, agree entirely about John Smith, he was a Unionist through and through.
    A rare read, Paul.

  3. Papadox says:

    My old man used to tell me “you’ve got two ears and one mouth, that should tell you something”

  4. bringiton says:

    It is going to come as a big surprise to Westminster politicians that we actually have a democratic system of government in Scotland.
    If people don’t want Tory policies in an independent Scotland (unlike at present) they simply do not vote for it.
    If people hate AS so much (I think this is a Labour tribal thing) don’t vote for his party.
    British national Labour (along with all the other London controlled parties) have No future in an independent Scotland.
    So,it will be goodbye Mr Ed. and hopefully most of his cronies.

  5. cauld tattie says:

    Great post as usual😀

  6. bookie-from-hell says:

    Labours latest devo + effort,is a turning point?Not even a sniff of Home rule.Im sure Independence base will solidify 40%+ .but only poll that count is 18th sept.

  7. purplebadger says:

    Just a wonderfully written piece. Bravo.

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