Portillo moments on steroids

So that’s it then, the end of an era. Alicsammin has bowed out as leader of the SNP. But it’s not the last we’ll be seeing of him, he’s going to be a thorn in the flesh of the Westminster parties for quite some time to come. Alicsammin is the marmite of Scottish politics, loved and loathed in equal measure, but no one can deny that he’s changed Scotland forever. This is not the same country that it was back in 2007 when the SNP narrowly pipped Labour at the post and became the minority government, putting an end to what was supposed to be the permanent Labour-Lib Dem duopoly set up in a back room meeting between Donald Dewer and Ming Campbell.

Back then Labour thought it was just a wee blip and normal service would be resumed just as soon as the rest of Scotland realised what a terrible mistake they’d made by rejecting the self-described peepil’s party. All Labour had to do was sit back, sling mud, and the voters would return to their ‘natural home’. The mud was duly slung, and has been slung repeatedly and regularly ever since. Mud slinging has been Labour’s substitute for politics. Labour didn’t think it needed to change, after all it was the voters who’d made the mistake. They’re the people’s party, and they decide what’s right for the people, never that the people decide and a real people’s party follows. It was the arrogance of those who accuse others of arrogance, and it bit them in the bum. However such is the size of Labour’s complacent lardarse that seven years later the lesson is still chewing its way through. It still hasn’t reached the Anas.

And Alicsammin laughed and ran rings around them as Labour squirmed and couldn’t understand why there was an uncomfortable itch that anusol couldn’t relieve. Even though the battle of the referendum was lost, the wider campaign for independence is buoyant. Alicsammin’s greatest achievement wasn’t to bring about the referendum. His greatest achievement has been to normalise the idea of independence. That’s the truly historic change that has taken place in Scotland under the government led by Alex Salmond – he’s shown us that Scotland can be a normal country, all we have to do is to believe in ourselves. And many of us already do.

Now a few short months after the referendum was won by the forces of Nawness, we are in a landscape that is alien and frightening to the Westminster hegemonists. Labour is still squirming and still can’t understand what’s gone wrong. They cry for reviews, they promise commissions, they suggest they want debates. But really all they want is for everything to go back to the way it was before that nasty Alicsammin changed everything. The electorate has left them behind and Labour is left clutching an empty bottle of Buckie at a party no one wants to attend.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. No won the referendum, Yes supporters were supposed to crawl away and hide under a rock in the vain hope that they might avoid Ian Davidson’s bayonet. But instead it’s Ian Davidson and his pals who are wounded and looking at the sharp end of a bayonet. They’re bleeding bad – in both senses of the phrase.

So Alicsammin hasn’t sailed off into the sunset, under a cloud, doomed to an ignominious retirement overshadowed by his great failure. Instead he’s off to open a new front and twist that bayonet some more. He’s after a seat in Westminster where he can be a permanent bayonet in Ian Davidson’s quivering flesh – assuming that Ian Davidson is one of those Labour MPs who survive the culling that will befall them in May 2015. The prospects for most of them don’t look good at all. Yet another poll has shown Labour’s chances of avoiding an electoral armageddon are vanishing more quickly than Ed Miliband’s fond regards for Johann Lamont.

A new Survation poll for the Record puts Labour on a derisory 23.9%, with the SNP on 45.8%. The new poll is in line with previous recent polls, and the SNP is now gaining the level of support which will make the first past the post system work in its favour. There are no safe Labour seats in Scotland any more. Glasgow East is certainly not safe for Magrit Curran – it’s where I live and I’ll be doing my utmost to ensure that Magrit gets her jotters. All across Scotland other angry Yes voters will be working equally hard to rewrite the Proclaimers song lyrics. When ye go, will ye send back a cheque for your expenses. Magrit no more, Tom Harris no more, Dougie no more, Smugurphy no more … There will be Portillo moments on steroids.

There is a distinct possibility that pro-Scotland MPs may be the third largest force in the Westminster parliament after May 2015. There’s an equally distinct possibility that the Lib Dems in Scotland may be reduced to just Alistair Carmichael all on his tod. Commentators in England view this possibility with horror – not the possibility that the Lib Dems might get wiped out, everyone with a sense of justice who can remember their solemn vow on student fees relishes that prospect – the prospect that a bloc of MPs who put Scotland’s interests first might hold the balance of power is what they view with horror. And there was us thinking that Scotland had voted No so we were all a part of this happy family of nations. But apparently it’s only a happy family when Scotland does as Scotland is told.

There are those south of the border who fear that the dominance of the SNP and other pro-Scotland parties north of the border means that pro-Scotland MPs could hold the balance of power at Westminster after May 2015. Some have expressed alarm that this could mean that England might get screwed over by Scotland. They needn’t worry. England will get screwed over by England, like it has always been. These pro-Scotland MPs, who would be largely SNP MPs, might prop up a Labour government even if Labour gained fewer Westminster seats in England than the Tories do. The notion that England might not get the government it votes for is terrifying – there’s only one response anyone from north of the border can make to that: welcome to Scotland’s world.

I need help from readers this week.  I’m off to visit my daughters in London and will be away for a few days.  And there’s another reason too – readers, I’ve met a man.  I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s happened, and he makes me very happy.  So for the sake of my family life and my love life, I’d like some guest posts! 

Four weeks without a fag now.  I’m not complacent, but I think I might have cracked it. 


64 comments on “Portillo moments on steroids

  1. cuddyback says:

    Great post and excellent news! Give my regards to Westminster….

  2. gmaniac1 says:

    Fingers crossed for you for everything, relationships, family and chucking the ciggies.

  3. […] Portillo moments on steroids […]

  4. gordonkennedy9 says:

    Good stuff as usual Paul. Personally I am still on 50 a day and have no one “important” in my life that isnt feline. Meaban Beag and I are delighted to hear of your success on both fronts though and hope you have an enjoyable trip. London palled for me years ago, but thats no reason for someone else to forgo what it has to offer. Enjoy. And haste ye back, its interesting around here just now 😉

  5. mary says:

    Well said wgd and good luck. You most deservedly should enjoy time out and happiness in your life.

  6. begoniapink says:

    Love reading Your posts , keep up the good work

  7. macart763 says:

    Labour expects.

    Labour’s entitlement.

    All summed up in the words of Katy Clark MP, “it could be Scotland that lets us down”. That is what Labour thinks of Scotland’s electorate, that we’re ‘letting them down’. The sheer arrogance, the lack of self awareness, the complete lack of empathy, understanding and humility it takes to utter that line and feel that it is fully justified is why Labour are unfit to serve or represent the people of Scotland.

    We are apparently only fit to be described as electoral currency. You could cut the irony with a chainsaw. A party who used the subject of currency as a tool to undermine our democracy, considers us nothing more than loose change to be bartered and gambled with in the HoC. They more than any other party need a one nation Britain. They need the very idea of Scotland as a separate nation in a partnership with another nation to be extinguished. In fact they need the very idea of Scotland to be extinguished… and why? Because they’d be forced to face some bitter truths and their acts of social, professional and ethical betrayal would be plain for every single voter to see.

    Scotland IS a separate country and IS in a partnership, party to an international treaty of political union. As such its electorate require of their public servants that their interests are defended and safeguarded as you would expect when party to any bilateral agreement whether it be politics or business. You kinda hope your representatives aren’t working both sides of the fence and pocketing profits from the deal to suit themselves. Labour have been caught out representing no one but their own interests. They let their remit fall by the wayside in pursuit of their own agenda. Career before service. Party before people. They forgot the task they were charged with. They chose to forget the duty they were called upon to fulfil, which was to represent the people of Scotland and safeguard their interests in this partnership.

    No, they chose to ‘rule Britannia’ screwed it up and then pass the blame onto others. Other parties, the electorate, world economy, furriners, Alicsammin and the SNPEEEE, you name it, everyone’s fault but theirs. They all let Labour down y’know.

    How very dare we.

    Paul – Good to hear on the home front. 🙂

    • Doug Porteous says:

      Nice piece of writing both you and the WGD

    • KT says:

      Aye, good read, Paul, neat paras, easy on the eyes, entertaining – (baith o’ ye)

      Keep aff they fags – well-done.

      • KT says:

        Meant to say ‘Good read, Macart’..
        Good read, Macart!

        • macart763 says:

          😀 I’m not a morning person either.

          • hektorsmum says:

            An excellent comment Mac, have you been over to Derek Bateman yet, If you have I will return, I would be interested to get your take on this?

            • macart763 says:

              I know its not the usual tone from Derek, though for myself I see no problem with people speculating on a future referendum. Keeps the pressure on our Westminster friends knowing we’re still up for it. 🙂

              I know the man is dedicated to an independent Scotland. I suspect he’s worried that with calls for recounts, re-running the vote immediately, the various theories on vote rigging and such which were doing the rounds, that the movement and associated parties would be dismissed as sour grapes cranks. I get it, I see what he’s trying to say, but I also think we need to go through this process. I think people do need to be upset and to work through the profound pain of the result in their own way. Its only natural, its only human. I think political pros like Derek need to be aware that the rest of us aren’t political anoraks, indeed our interest has only just been reawakened. He may be able to dust himself off and look at things with a reasonable facsimile of objectivity, the rest of us still feel like a bag of broken glass. 🙂

              For myself I’ve put the result into a corner of my mind marked motivation (in case of emergency break glass). It happened yesterday and today is a day where we deal with the situation at hand and build on the gains and successes of the referendum past. There will be another, though not tomorrow or indeed for perhaps a few years, but how this one was conducted by the opposition and their treatment of our electorate in the aftermath will almost certainly lead to one and it won’t be no bloody twenty years that’s for sure.

              Forget yesterday’s result, tomorrow’s is the important one.

    • david agnew says:

      Well said macart. Its clear that UK labour has embarked on a programme of equivocation and triangulation. It’s done purely to win. It’s not even an ideology with them anymore. The soundbites are old labour, the reality is increasingly conservative. The message of One Nation Labour is inconsistent and confused. Miliband attacks JD sports for victorian working practices, while claiming that he will withdraw support from school leavers, forcing them to work zero hours or take up one of his “workfare with a sandwich” schemes. Thatcher was right – her one towering achievement was New Labour. It’s soul has slowly changed into a conservative one. Its ideology spent and bankrupted. Even if by some miracle Labour win in 2015, its really the conservative party that’s won.

      It is with Scottish labour that one sees how badly damaged the party is. It is a party that has dined out on anti-tory sentiment for so long, it has gotten very fat and lazy on it. Its media machine is fantastically swivel eyed. Its elected representatives seem incapable of thinking off script or articulating anything resembling a vision or goal. You only have to look at Neil Findlays interview on GMS, to see that “Labours best hope for finding its soul” is just as inarticulate and hopelessly directionless as Lamont was.

      A party that had a sense of what it stood for would have stayed true to its roots. But that party has gone. If they had any sense of self preservation, that one would expect of careerists, they would be triangulating the SNP. But their irrational hatred of the SNP runs way too deep for that. So, amazingly, they are attempting to ape their UK branch, and triangulate a party they have vilified for 50+ years.

      • hektorsmum says:

        Another excellent comment David.

      • macart763 says:

        They hate the SNP because they picked up what Labour dropped in their pursuit of a big chair. They’ll never forgive the SNP for that, and moving on, or admitting fault isn’t in them. They had the ideal chance for that in the referendum and threw it aside out of hand.

        Their choice.

  8. jdman says:

    i think it goes without saying Paul I wish you all the happiness you would wish for yourself, you go off and visit your Daughter
    wee ginger Sam for deputy!

    • macart763 says:

      The great thing about Paul’s site is that he gives everyone a shot at venting above and below the line. More importantly we’re not politicians or journos or writers. We’re not celebs with an axe to grind and a public image to enhance. We’re just folks and if anyone needs to be heard in all of the furore created by the great and the ‘good’ who generally run our lives, then its us.

      Give it a bash John, its good for the soul. 🙂

  9. diabloandco says:

    Life gives unexpected bonuses every now and then Paul – enjoy ( hope wee ginger likes him!)

    I was wondering when the media will stop feasting on Mr Salmond. It seems they are content to keep writing crud , insult and pettiness.

  10. Anne Lyden says:

    Congratulations on this piece and your new partner. Enjoy your break!

  11. Morag Martin says:

    So pleased, you deserve to be happy, just keep posting, Scotland needs you!

  12. Isn’t it amazing how Scotland has changed in the weeks since we stood there watching the tide go out?
    Now in some ways it seems like it was more a case of the water withdrawing as it does before a tsunami; but in a good way!
    I’ll never be Pullitzer material, but I’ll enjoy seeing others’ efforts here while Paul’s away.
    Pleased as anything that you’ve found yourself a new fella. Hope it all goes well and I commend your resolve in getting this far into the smoke free world. It gets easier every day so keep going chief!

  13. frances coyle says:

    How dare you have a life! We need you to entertain and enrage us!

  14. Nana says:

    I’m so pleased for you Paul. Enjoy your holiday, and may I recommend Macart take the helm for a few days.

  15. mo Mhorag says:

    I second that, Nana!

  16. Carol Jardine says:

    Good things happen to nice folk. So pleased to hear your news. Enjoy your visit with your daughters.

  17. Craig McLaren says:

    No one is writing about north British Labour’s slow motion destruction as devastatingly accurately yet sidesplittingly funny as you do. I hope you have a nice wee break with the family. You really deserve it.

  18. Catherine says:

    I knew somebody would snap you up! Hope he makes you very happy and well done on the cigarettes, I gave up yesterday, ha ha ha!!!

  19. Devereux says:

    Have a wonderful time and all the luck in the world with new beginnings……..but haste ye back!!!!!

  20. Joe Baxter says:

    Another brilliant read from Britain’s best political commentator.
    Be careful in Mordor, and congratulations on the romance front.

  21. Steve Asaneilean says:

    Will get my thinking cap on…

  22. CyprusJag says:

    Good luck and I hope you have all the happiness you could wish for in your new relationship.

  23. All the best, Paul. Congratulations, enjoy the family time and haste ye back.

  24. macart763 says:

    Folks you have to check this oot.

    Oor Mags has dropped a legendary howler. 😀


  25. Alex Smith says:

    A great read as always – Enjoy the break, and look after your life – you only get one!

  26. My gran always used to say that as one door closes another opens. I suspect that only applies to the good folk, though, those on the Yes side of politics! So go through the new door and enjoy yourself, live it up, and come back refreshed for the next round. And let’s hope the door bangs in the face of the bad guys, like those who sneeringly deride AS, Nats, indy, and folk in Scotland.

  27. scotsgeoff says:

    As usual, well said.

    Enjoy your time away.

  28. hektorsmum says:

    So nice to have another Blog Paul, but quite understand that you need time to yourself with your family. Glad to hear that you are romantically involved, hope all works out fine for you. As long as Ginger likes him and he likes Ginger.
    I am sure Alicsammin is well aware of you and your goodness.

  29. liz says:

    Great read as usual. All the best for the future for you and your new partner. Enjoy your time in London seeing your daughters.

  30. Jan Cowan says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your writing once again. Have a great holiday – but not for too long – and the best of good wishes with your new partner.

  31. A Meringue says:

    I am busy myself these days but had to comment that I am so glad that you are finding some happiness. You deserve it. That and giving up the fags.

    Sincerest congratulations on both matters.

  32. […] Portillo moments on steroids. […]

  33. Laura Anne Gibson says:

    Paul, I’m so happy for you! Will need to catch up on all the gossip soon. Have a great time with your girls.

    PS Portillo moments on steroids……hahaha, love it!

  34. Natasha says:

    I’m torn between joy for you and disappointment at not being able to read one of your entertaining posts for a few weeks! All the very best and have a lovely relaxing time with your family.

  35. Tatterdemelon says:

    Four weeks for me too! Enjoy your time with your daughters. Good luck with finding happiness!

  36. Capella says:

    I know London is a very remote place but I hope you find a computer with an internet connection somewhere. I can’t see you keeping off the blog for four weeks. But your success in giving up the fags shows you have a will of iron!
    I hope you have a great holiday and enjoy meeting up with your daughters. Best wishes with your new man.
    That’s three wishes!

    • weegingerdug says:

      I’m only going to London for a few days – it’s four weeks I’ve been off the fags, not that I won’t be blogging for four weeks. Some addictions I don’t plan on giving up!

  37. Your a total joy to read, every blog has been fantastic. Great to hear you’ve found new happiness.

  38. arthur thomson says:

    Thanks as always Paul. Best of luck in all departments. On the political front, we have to spare a wee thought for the SLABS. They really thought that betraying Scotland would give them some clout in the eyes of their comrades down south. But the truth is that they just lost every shred of respect from everyone. Let’s face it – who has any time for people who won’t even stand by their own. Who could possibly trust them?

  39. A Meringue says:

    I came across this interesting article on the terrierman blog. It is about some research carried out in America (I am positive that it applies here as well) The results shows that as you get richer you are more likely to have less empathy with your fellow humans and more likely to cheat.

    We kind of know that but some of the research is very interesting. (The article itself is not over long)


    • A Meringue, have you ever noticed, no matter how rich a rich person is, it is never enough?

    • MarkAustin says:

      At least some of that has been shown as true in the UK. Low to low-middle income people give more (as a proportion of their income) to charity than the rich. Further, the rich are more likely to give to charities that benefit them (cultural bodies etc), and the poorer givers are more likely to give altruisticly (disaster relief etc).

      I can confirm this anectodally. I’ve done a fair bit of collecting in my time, and, although you couldn’t always tell, it was the identifiably richer who were mor likely to make a production of putting in a few pennies (or indeed fail to see you), and the poorer ones who slip in a pound.

  40. greenwrage says:

    Hey Paul – as regards guest posts, I’ll have a think about providing something new, but you are more than welcome to use something from my blog if it helps! Just added one on Monday equating Interstellar with the Indyref, though it might be a bit spoilery for some tastes…otherwise feel free to take a look further down the page!


    I also have a new one up my sleeve which you are more than welcome to once it’s finished (should be later this week).

    And I’m delighted to hear about your happy new life situation! Long may it continue 😉

  41. jimnarlene says:

    Brilliant as usual, congratulations on the ciggies and personal front and enjoy your holiday.

  42. paulamrose says:

    Are you staying long enough for us to say hello on Saturday at either the Yes bar or the Horseshoe? Please, pretty please xx

  43. xsticks says:

    Mair power tae ye Paul. So gladdened yer picking up the reins and keepin’ on keepin’ on.

  44. Luigi says:

    Paul, we have all been on an emotional rollercoaster during the past few months, but you probably more than most of us. It’s really great that you are continuing with your blog – your sharp analysis and even sharper humour brings a smile to so many people everyday. Best of luck in this next phase of your life. Have a great trip to London and I look forward to your next side-splitter of an article.

  45. HelenEarth says:

    Enjoy your visit with your girls and good luck with the personal stuff . I hope the visit so near to the enemy camp doesn’t prove too traumatic since we need you well and strong and as sharp as always .

  46. Mark Potter-Irwin says:

    Four weeks, …..Keep Calm, enjoy breathing…you have cracked it…….. It would be silly….wouldn’t it ? Another great blog, laughed a lot. Thank You xx

  47. Mac says:

    Good on ya meeting yer man, Paul. Hope you’re happy. You’ve reached the nub of this; that the bad, nasty, evil alicsammin has normalised everyday thinking that independence is a reality. This democratic progress is going to happen.
    I’ve been banging on for quite some time now that in Russia they have one Pravda (truth). We’ve got about 14 of them – plus the BBC!
    I distrust ALL polls, despite the fact there seems to be broad analysis reaching the same conclusions.
    God forbid that Scotland would actually have TRUE political representation in the ‘Mother of Parliaments’. And that England doesn’t get the result it wanted.
    Welcome to our political world! Comfortable, isn’t it?

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