Vote SNP, get Dettol

Ed Balls was in Edinburgh yesterday and together with Mr Hi Jumpy AKA Jim Smugurphy visited an engineering factory in Glasgow. The visit was mainly notable for its absence of anything of note, and as such was a perfect metaphor for the Labour party in Scotland. I’ve never been entirely clear why politicians visit factories, it’s just one of the traditional things that they do. It’s the only traditional thing that they have left when out on the campaign trail, now that they can’t kiss babies in case they get mistaken for a 1970s BBC radio presenter.

Perhaps Jim and Ed, who’d changed his surname to Baws in an effort to blend in with the Glaswegian ambience, were visiting the factory in order to see what real jobs looked like since neither of them have ever had a proper job outside politics. Ed Baws wants to be the next chancellor of the exchequer, which means that if he’s successful then the red briefcase traditionally waved before the press cameras at budget time will be a Bawsbag.

However it is just as likely that Baws and his Murphbag were hoping to discover a new manufacturing process for creating Labour voters out of discarded Barbie dolls. Real live human beings have wised up to Labour, but the party does seem to have cornered the market in plastic airheads – at least if the braying backbenchers of SLAB and their cheerleaders in BBC Scotland are anything to go by.

In a desperate attempt to make out that the visit was more than just a photo opportunity for two not especially attractive men, the Guardian splashed with the story that Ed Balls had used the visit as an occasion to almost but not quite rule out the possibility of Labour going into a formal coalition with the SNP after the next Westminster election. This still failed to elevate the story from a non story, since the SNP have already said that they would not enter into a formal coalition with Labour, but rather would support them on a “confidence and supply” basis as a minority government. Strangely the Guardian’s ace Scottish correspondent forgot to mention this. Perhaps he doesn’t know, since the Guardian’s definition of unbiased when it comes to reporting Scottish politics appears to be “publish a Labour press release”.

In the interests of clarification, this blog does not pretend to be unbiased. It wears its bias on its sleeve. Especially where Magrit Curran is concerned.

Of course the reason it’s not mentioned is because Labour’s strategy is to conflate a coalition with other forms of support, or indeed with the SNP holding a metaphorical gun to their heads. They need to do this so they don’t scare off voters in England. Meanwhile they’ve already got enough problems with alienated Scottish voters as it is. What’s on offer is confidence and supply – which is more like holding a gun to Labour’s head than it is getting into bed with them.

Confidence and supply is a peculiar turn of phrase, but then Westminster is a peculiar place. Confidence and supply does not mean that the SNP would supply confidence to Labour, although it might be interesting to watch Alicsammin try and boost Ed Miliband’s self-esteem. Perhaps he might show Ed how to eat a bacon sandwich. What it means is that the SNP would not vote against Labour in a vote of confidence, that’s the confidence bit, and would not oppose a Labour budget, that’s the supply bit. This would allow a minority Labour government to continue in office, even though the Tories – who would also be short of an outright majority – might have more seats than Labour did.

Many sarf of the Border are outraged by this prospect. It means that England might not get the government it voted for, splutter assorted columnists – mainly on the right. Usually the spluttering is accompanied by a demand that Ed, the other one not the Balls one, rules out any coalition, alliance, pact, understanding, or breathing the same air as the SNP. Tories don’t want Scottish voters to vote for the SNP, they’d much rather we vote Labour instead. Labour plays the same game as the Tories. So we get the Tories warning us that if we vote SNP we get Labour, whereas Labour trots out the old scare story that if we vote SNP we get the Tories.

Why Scottish voters should care about any of this is harder to understand, we’ve regularly had governments we didn’t vote for. We get governments we didn’t vote for all the time. And even when we do get the government we voted for we get one which has tailored its policies to attract Tory leaning voters in the rest of the UK. Ed and Jim know all about that. But that’s what happens in this wonderful Union and aren’t we all Better Together for it? If England does get a government it didn’t vote for the response from Scotland can only be: welcome to our world, suck it up.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty fed up of being told to vote Labour because people in England won’t. It should be known to every politically literate person in Scotland by now, and thanks to the referendum campaign that’s a large majority of the electorate, that it makes no difference how Scotland votes. We get the government that England votes for. This is not an anglophobic point, simply an acknowledgement of the reality that England is far far bigger in terms of population than Scotland is. And in turn this means that if Labour can’t get elected it means then it’s the left in England that has a problem. Voters in Scotland can’t fix that problem for them. We deserve better than to be the perpetual airbag that gets burst in England’s frequent Tory car crashes where the only choice we’re offered is to vote for the Red Tories in order to stop the Blue Tories. Don’t dream, don’t aspire. And for god’s sake don’t hope. Leave all that silliness behind, all that matters is that Labour gets to wave its Bawsbag in the Commons.

But the SNP is poisonous, it kills the germs of a Tory government stone dead. It kills the infection that keeps dragging Labour to the right. And this is all the more reason why Scottish voters are all the more inclined to vote for a party which will go through the lavatory of Westminster like a laxative and a gallon of bleach. Vote SNP get Labour? Vote SNP get Tory? The real political equation facing Scotland’s voters in May is simple: Vote SNP, get Dettol.

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23 comments on “Vote SNP, get Dettol

  1. Bill Hume says:

    Vote SNP, get Dettol. ……lovin’ it. Thank you Paul.

  2. macart763 says:

    Still laughing at ‘Bawsbag’.😀 Outstanding dissection as usual surr. Bone fir the dug.

    Mr Baws doesn’t like Scotland very much, does he? He’s one of the chaps that was all for categorically ruling out a currency union, who sat on a sofa beside Gideon laughing at the economic proposals contained within the white paper. Chortling away like old chums so they were. Awww those jocks, what are they like eh? Laff a minute Giddy old boy. Here, have another peach schnapps.

    This is the guy who doesn’t want to even consider talking to representatives of the Scottish electorate unless they’re wearing a red rosette. Apparently we’re beneath his notice otherwise.

    What does that say effectively about the union and democracy under the the ‘mother of parliaments’? I mean this is a partnership of equals isn’t it? Scotland narrowly voted to retain this partnership didn’t it? Our representation, regardless of its make up, should be respected as a democratic choice of the electorate and treated accordingly, yes? But according to Mr Baws and Tories of all hues the answer to that premise is … no. Westminster’s establishment would rather pull their own nails out than deal with Scottish representation that isn’t tamed or reading from the same page.

    It doesn’t take a degree in particle physics to work out the answer.

    They’re not interested in democracy. They’re not interested in treating you as an equal, respecting your choices, your needs or your aspirations. They certainly don’t want you to have the ability to protect your interests, ooft, hack, kaff, whooaaafff. Oh no, they certainly don’t want that. Jeez that would be too near the bone for all those movers and shakers in the city who decide what to do with your taxes and resources. You know, real voters.


    The answer is ridiculously simple. They can’t legislate for the whole of the UK unless they have MPs willing and able to enact said legislation. Remember Scottish law is already a separate entity. With an SNP majority Scottish government and bulk SNP Scottish representation to the Westminster parliament, Scotland to all intents and purposes becomes ungovernable by the establishment. Worse, so long as that representation adheres to the spirit and word of the treaty of union it actually has a shot in having a significant say in how the UK is governed in event of a commons with no clear majority. They certainly could cause electoral chaos in commons and possibly force a second GE if no one agrees to play nice and get along in the ball pit. Their rules remember and they did so want us to stay and participate. Well OK then.

    You want something other than a feeble forty in Westminster? Representation with real teeth, who can make certain folk keep a promise?

    You know what to do.

  3. says:

    That was a really good read, bawsbag ….. it made me laugh out loud (at 5am) and my wee ginger dug wondered if I’d gone mad. I choose Dettol, with the possibilities of the chaos it will cause making me very happy. Thanks

  4. If Ed Balls changed his surname to Baws to be more Glaswegian, should he not have changed his forename to Heid?

    Now if only his middle name was Robert…

  5. INDEPENDENT says:

    Brilliant as usual Paul.

    PS Wee donation fur the dug as promised (set it as a monthly donation), may your pen continue to dissect the lies and myths.

  6. Seeing as i’m well on the autistic spectrum and find any plot difficult to follow (especially The Mentalist, NCIS, CSI et al) this is why your blog is so useful for numpties such as me. I can follow your writing! It is a model of clarity! Poetic!

    As well as Dettol, I’m for the cillit bang whatever it’s called. Some dog biscuits to follow and hopefully things will change for the better for you. I do wish some journo-type will find you a niche. Best of luck.

  7. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I read the headline and then the first line, Dettol and Balls and then waited for the wire brush.

    Excellent and so much so that the paragraph on the visit to the factory to see what real working is like was copied, pasted and diffused Worldwide. There is a whole World of career politicians out there and the SNP is very much in the minority out there.


  8. aitchbee says:

    Most people by now know that when a politician says ‘Nope, won’t be doing [whatever], no way, nosirree bob!’ they mean they definitely will be doing it. Nevertheless they continue to trot it out, treating the rest of us as if we were not-very-bright children. Time to give them a lesson🙂

  9. handclapping says:

    Disappointed, we had to meander through ” Ed, the other one not the Balls one, ” when you could have cut to the quick with “Ed no Baws” and it is perfect Glaswegian too, … though I’m not a native, perish the thought.

  10. david agnew says:

    I can’t do it anymore. Confronting the collective stupidity of labour is like being faced with the task of scaling a mountain of made of dung. I have exhausted all means of engaging with it and criticising it in a meaningful way. All I have left is polemic. But i have reached the point where I can’t even be bothered deploying it. I want to engage is something meaningful, I don’t want to keep stepping in poo and then trying to scrape it off my heels.

    I will keep looking in as the dugs approach to polemic does make me laugh at the absurdity.

    I’ll discuss issues till the early hours. What I won’t do is spend precious time trying to exorcise the stink of Scottish labour’s brain farts from my head.

    • A Meringue says:

      Im with you on that David. I have commented before that dealing with Labours politics is like snorkeling in sewerage.

      Their compliant media make me just as pissed off with their “Will he, wont he” stance on whether murphy will stand at the GE. Anything to keep his mug on the front pages.

  11. Taysideterrier says:

    Another great read, thanks paul.

  12. hektorsmum says:

    For me it will always be bleach, the Other half is always saying we need more bleach in the Gene Pool. I think that is what the Labour Party needs more bleach, but given a wee bit Dettol for the virus that they are.
    Great post Paul.

  13. Albaman says:

    This is the sort of short viewpoint I’d like to see in the “National”, which
    claims to support an independent Scotland, but it’s a “soft” support, when you read its editorial comments, naw, it needs a much more direct approach, such as yours Paul.
    So fellow readers, why not always send Paul’s blogs to the editor of the National.
    He can’t ignore Paul for long.

  14. Laura Anne Gibson says:

    Paul! I resent the connection you made between Barbie and supporters of ‘scottish’ labour! That was grossly unfair of you my friend.

    After all, Barbie is a true icon, much loved by generations of people. She has brought happiness and joy to millions, and serves as a useful, defining cultural symbol.

    Please don’t insult her that way😉

  15. lastchancetoshine says:

    “if Labour can’t get elected it means then it’s the left in England that has a problem”

    That problem being that Labour no longer represents them of course. Only the greens come anywhere near, but not enough people take them seriously yet.

  16. mumsyhugs says:

    Hi Paul – long time reader but first time poster on your brilliant blog! Regarding your request for donations could you give account details so that I can set up a monthly standing order? It won’t be for much but lots of wee amounts from everyone gradually makes a difference – just look at Wings’ current fundraiser – awesome people power!
    Mumsyhugs from me and my 2 wee dugs to you and yours x

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