Waving from the quayside

Polly Toynbee, doyen of the Islington Labouristas and one time cheerleader for Tony Blair and Gordie Broon, has ventured north of the M25 and come to visit Scotland – and it’s not even the Embra Festival. There’s true dedication to the cause of writing apologias for you, or is that apologii. Anyway, in the opinion of Polly, Scotland’s about to drift off from the Union, sailing off into a state of independence almost by accident. She takes two conclusions from this, firstly that Scotland drifting off into independence is a very bad thing, and therefore following on from this as a natural logical consequence, it must all be the fault of the Tories. And there was you and me thinking that it was all Alicsammin’s fault, because everything else usually is.

Polly complains that David Cameron has never governed for a united kingdom, but instead has implemented policies which benefit his core voters in the leafier parts of the south. And this is perfectly true, although it’s an observation which is unlikely to make anyone slap their foreheads and go “Oh. My. God. I never realised.” Being selfish evil basterts is pretty much the definition of Tory, so it’s not like this is news. Just look at Iain Duncan Smith, if you can bear it, which few can. But being selfish evil basterts is written into the DNA of Torydom, and it is a fact that the word Tory comes from the Gaelic word tòraigh, which can be loosely translated as ‘selfish evil bastert’. It’s a less well known fact that the word toerag is from the Gaelic diminutive of tòraigh, and when you call someone a toerag you are in fact calling them a dwarfish Osborne, and that could scar a small child for life. And for once I’m not actually making this up. At least not much.

Of course, Polly’s definition of “very bad thing” is absolutely anything which doesn’t benefit the Westminster Labour party. Polly wants Scotland to vote for a party that abandoned it a generation ago to keep out a party that abandoned it two generations ago.

However in her rush to blame the Tories for everything, which to be fair isn’t unreasonable, Polly ignores the fact that Labour has never governed for a united kingdom either, treating Scotland, the North of England and Wales as fiefdoms whose sole purpose is to provide lobby fodder so Labour too can appeal to those better off voters in the leafier parts of the south. It’s what kept Tony Blair in power for over a decade. So maybe it’s just not outside the bounds of possibility that the setting sail of the Scottish independence ship is the fault of all the miserable short sighted triangulating lot of them together. Who’s Better Together now eh.

In Islington Labour commentariat world, Scottish independence is a bad thing because it no longer means a block of 40 odd lobby fodder MPs blindly doing whatever it is that the Labour whips tell them to do. Unlike Islington apologists for the Labour party, yer actual traditional Labour supporters in places like Shettleston and Sheffield have long since worked out that blindly supporting the Labour party by providing placepersons with the personality of placemats to blindly do what the whips say does not do a great deal to improve their lives and circumstances. Labour has given us generations of neglect, generations of apathy, generations of hopelessness. The only thing Labour has positively generated in the East End of Glasgow is the impressive expenses claims of Magrit Curran, following in the impressive tradition of the unlamented David Marshall. He’s kept very quiet over the past few years hasn’t he.

The sense of despair and anger is the same in Shettleston and Sheffield, the difference is that voters in Shettleston have something they can do about it. In the case of Shettleston, that something comes in the shape of Natalie McGarry and the SNP. And that’s why those of us who, unlike Magrit, actually live in the East End are telling everyone we can to get angry, get even, and vote Natalie.

Similar advice applies in other parts of Scotland. If you don’t live in the East End of Glasgow you can vote for the lovely Anne McLaughlin in Glasgow North East, or Emma Harper, the nurse in the Borders who wants to make the Tories extinct.

Scotland getting even is the real motor of this election campaign. We’re out for revenge, and it’s a dish best served in the gloomy faces of Labour commentators on the telly on election night as they desperately try to tell us why losing almost all their seats isn’t that bad really. I want to see Magrit Curran as a runner up. I want to see Jim Murphy as the unelectable leader of a fictional party that doesn’t exist.

Labour can promise whatever it likes, £1 billion last week, £800 million this week, beads and blankets, free pixies and stardust sandwiches for every pensioner, but no one believes them any more. They’ve lied so much in the past that they have no credibility left. They deserted Scotland but demand our votes simply because they’re not the Tories. That worked as long as it was a binary choice, as long as there was a switch with only two settings. The switch got broken in the referendum campaign, and it was Labour that broke it. Now we’re going to get even. This is the long slow run up, the pulling of the foot, the taking aim. Labour’s going to get kicked in the nads. The only question left is how high up their lying throats their nads are going to get kicked.

What we learned during the referendum campaign is that Scotland will not be passive, we will not be silent. We will be the agents of our own change. We are the wind in our own sails and this ship is sailing and we’re setting the course. Labour is left floundering in deep and stormy water of its own creation.

Polly can wave from the quayside as she watches her party drown.

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The definition of fairness

So that’s it then, the Coalition formally ended last night at midnight as the Westminster Parliament dissolved itself in a vat of acid. OK, not that last bit, a spot of wishful thinking there. The really good news, people of the East End of Glasgow, is that Magrit Curran isn’t our MP now. And it’s looking as though she never will be again. That’s got to be worth a wee rejoice or three, or four.

Magrit was in the papers today, trying to save her job. She wants us to know that if we don’t vote for her and her pals, Scotland will no longer become the most fair country in the history of fairness. That’s Labour fairness, the fairness that introduced zero hours contracts, PPI rip offs, presided over growing inequality, let the banks run riot, did nothing to tackle the gross imbalance in Scottish land ownership and allowed one of the most resource rich countries in Europe to allegedly become a financial basket case dependent upon hand-outs from Westminster. The fairness that took what was once a left wing party and moved it further to the right than the pre-Thatcherite Tories. The Labour party whose sole selling point is that it is not the Conservative party that it increasingly resembles. That Labour fairness. And to think if we vote SNP we might put all that at risk and drag Labour kicking and screaming back to the centre ground. No wonder Magrit is appalled.

But then Magrit has become a by-word for counter factual statements which are dressed up in Labour press releases and published in the papers and broadcast on the telly. And are then, gobsmackingly, taken seriously by serious people who you’d think really ought to know better. Scotland is a country whose media lets it be patronised by Magrit Curran. That’s Labour fairness. Vote Labour and be patronised by self-serving morons.

Not that Magrit can really be blamed, and not only because nothing is ever Magrit or the Labour party’s fault. She can’t be blamed because she’s only acting like Labour MPs have always acted. Besides, if you look up the word magritcurran in a Scots dictionary it’s defined as “to be in a state of self-aggrandising delusion, hallucinatory”. As in: “I’m sorry I can’t do anything productive at work today, I’ve come over a bit magritcurran. But I’ll still be claiming my expenses.”

It’s not just Magrit whose relationship to reality is tangential at best. Jim Murphy seems to have forgotten that he’s a Labour MP, at least if his election leaflets are anything to go by. In a shameless attempt to appeal to the Tory voters of East Renfrew, Jim’s election leaflets don’t once mention that he’s a Labour MP. It’s a terribly Tory tactic. David Mundell’s election leaflets likewise fail to mention he’s Scotland’s only Conservative MP.

It’s not like we were voting Labour for any positive reasons. Labour stopped having anything positive to offer a generation ago. In some ways, the Unionist parties are misnamed by those of us who support independence. They’re not so much supporters of the Union as opposed to anything which might reduce their own power and influence. Desperateselfishbastertists would be a better term for the Labour-Tory-LibDem axis.

Labour MPs in Scotland behave like they do because they’ve been able to get away with it. They’ve been effectively unaccountable representatives of an unaccountable accounting unit. And we must take responsibility for allowing them to get away with it by blindly voting for them in such large numbers that they were able to take us for granted, simply in order to keep out something that was worse. But it didn’t work. Voting Labour doesn’t keep the Tories out. It’s their sole selling point, and it’s not even true. Voting Labour is like buying a toothpaste made entirely out of sugar in the hope it will protect you from tooth decay.

We’ve begged them to change. We’ve pleaded. We’ve sent sharply worded letters of complaint to the editor of the Herald. We voted them out at Holyrood. Nothing worked. Scotland’s Labour MPs remain as entitled as lairds with their vast fiefdoms. So it’s time for a peasants’ revolt. It’s the only way to put an end to being patronised by the self-serving morons in the pages of the press and in the TV studios.

Scotland, despite us being constantly told by the desperateselfishbastertists that we’re the most devolviest and fairest country that’s not really a country in the history of happy unions of nations, doesn’t have a representative media. Uniquely amongst self-governing nations we don’t have control over our own broadcasting. This leads to the surreal situation where the Westminster Parliament and MPs for Sussex had to be consulted when there were proposals for a Gaelic language telly channel. Apparently the issue of whether Postman Pat should be broadcast in Gaelic is on immense concern in the pubs of Lewes as well as Lewis. It also leads to Scottish viewers hearing more on the news about the educational and health systems in England than about those in Scotland. It means we have to keep hearing about bloody Ukip, a party which only got the meagre support it has in Scotland because it’s never off the bloody BBC. It means Nigel Farage is always on the telly with that smug look like a teenager who’s just discovered masturbation. But then Nigel doesn’t really need to masturbate because he’s got the BBC to stroke him instead.

It means Scotland has no national forum in which to discuss national concerns. This is Magrit’s fairness. Scotland’s distinctiveness is subsumed into the larger UK and prevented from being too different in case it gives us ideas above our proper station in life, which is to act as a spot of Caledonian ethnic colour in the patchwork of Britishness, allowing the desperateselfishbastertist parties to pretend that British nationalism isn’t really nationalism at all.

A Scottish national public broadcaster might not let the Labour accounting unit get away with shamelessly conflating devolved issues with those reserved to Westminster. It might ask the Labour party why it’s banging on about the NHS in a Westminster election when the NHS is controlled by Holyrood not Westminster. It might ask Jim Murphy why he’s so ashamed and embarrassed by the very party he purports to lead that he can’t even bring himself to mention it on his own election leaflets. Those would be fair questions. We can vote Labour, and get Magrit’s definition of fairness, or we can vote to define fairness for ourselves.

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102,143 and counting

This weekend is the party conference of a party that’s not a branch office or an accounting unit. And it’s actually being attended by real live human beings who are filling a large hall. Over 3000 folk have turned up to listen to politics on a Saturday morning in Glasgow in March, representatives of a truly Scottish party that now has 102,143 members and counting. Account for that, accounting unit. It’s a nation in motion and it’s not going to stop until it achieves the change we’ve demanded, the change that’s been promised. The change that Westminster said it would deliver but it reneged on. We’re going to take it from them.

Labour won’t give an account of how many members its accounting unit has, and the reason they won’t give an exact figure is because the number is embarrassingly low. 7,000 if they’re lucky, and counting down. Tick tock. And another one leaves. 6,999 / 102,144. It’s a number that is getting smaller every day as Labour’s dwindling band of non-elected activists give up in despair. Tick tock. It’s going to be 6,998 by the time I get to the end of this sentence. They have so few left that they can’t deliver their election propaganda and have to get the post office to do it. Tick tock. 6,997 / 102,145.

Compare and contrast the buzz in the packed hall with anything that the accounting units can manage. Labour’s carefully stage managed speeches before small gatherings of pre-selected safe types who won’t ask difficult questions. The tumbleweed in the Lib Dem room. The Tories who can’t count past one. Yet Scotland is engaged with politics, engaged with discussion and debate about its future. Politicians bewail and bemoan the public disenchantment with politics. Well here were are in Scotland enchanted with the possibilities this country has. We’re exciting and exciting, we’re alive to ideas, we’re more pregnant than a panda. But the Unionist politicians are scared and angry, because we’re not engaged with anything that the Smugurph has to offer. But then Jim is deeply unengaging. Would you want to be trapped in a lift with him? Nuff said. Tick tock, 6,996 / 102,146.

In a doomed effort to wrest some headlines from the force that really will shape Scotland’s general election, Gordie Broon today promised that this election would be the “social justice” election and promised all sorts of goodies for NHS Scotland. Gordie’s going to guarantee that, just like he guaranteed his precious vow, and just like he guaranteed to be the MP for Kirkcaldy. He’ll guarantee it by pissing off and delivering well paid speeches to rich business people. He’ll guarantee it by getting confused between powers that are devolved and those that are retained by Westminster. But that’s Gordie, confused and lost in a political wasteland of his own making. He still believes he’s the king over the water, the rest of us know that he drowned a long time ago. Tick tock, 6,995 / 102,147.

But today is Nicla’s day. She’s the good cop to Alicsammin’s bad cop, trapping the Westminster parties in a pincer movement, and grabbing them by the bollocks that they constantly spout. Alicsammin spent the week putting the shiters up them, now Nicla comes with the soothing balm that will dissolve the nasty haemorrhoids of Tory rule. She’s promising to be the constructive force for progressive politics that Labour once said it would be, but instead Labour turned into a bonfire of hope courtesy of Gordie and Tony Blair. Tick tock, 6,994 / 102,148.

Nicla showed why Labour hates the SNP so much, because she is promising the kind of policies that Labour used to promise when it was still a labour party when it really was the party of the workers’ expectations and hadn’t become what it is today, the party of managing the workers’ expectations. The difference is that Nicla means what she says. She means it when she says she wants a living wage, no privatisation in the NHS, no student fees, an end to Trident, abolishing the House of Lords, proportional representation, gender equality. And home rule, the promise made by Keir Hardie all those generations ago. We’ve been promised these things for decades, but Labour’s no closer to delivering them. The British Parliamentary Road to socialism ended in a PPI contract and a toll booth. It’s time to take matters out of Labour’s hands. It’s time to hold the accounting unit to account. Tick tock. 6,993 / 102,149.

The question Labour needs to answer is if the combined number of Labour and SNP MPs can attain a majority in Westminster then will Labour rule out letting Cameron back into power. Jim Murphy doesn’t want an answer to that question. Jim Murphy doesn’t want his accounting unit to be held to account. He doesn’t want to be forced to be the socialist he discovered that he must claim to be ever since he found out that being a Blairite was electoral poison. Nicla’s going to force him. Tick tock. 6,992 / 102,150.

So here we are. Standing at the gates of history. Standing at the door of change, pushing through. Nothing stands between us and destiny except Jim and his discredited lies, the tissue of mendacity that is all that holds back the Scottish tide. We only have to have the courage to walk through the portcullis of Westminster and Scotland will change the world. And we have that in abundance. Scotland has already changed forever, already crossed into the land of self-belief. We’re independent in our heads already, we’re independent in our hearts, we’re independent in our spirit – and that’s all we need. Tick tock. 6,991 / 102,151.

It’s too late to stop us. We’re already here. We are in your town, your street, your house. The numbers are counting the future, and the future is Scottish, the future is here. You are the future. Be it.

Tick tock.

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Except for viewers in Scotland

So what did we learn from the non-debate debate in which Ed Miliband and Davie Cameron didn’t debate? The debate was really just an interrogation with Paxo who was clearly missing the monstering days of Newsnight when he got to dine on the fresh and quivering carcasses of politicians, it did not do much to add to the sum total of human enlightenment. Not that we’d have been any the wiser if the two of them had actually debated, we see them do that every week at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, and it typically consists of middle class schoolboys hurling none too witty insults at one another. Which doesn’t even have much in the way of entertainment value, never mind edification.

So what did we actually learn from the night’s proceedings? We learned that Davie Cameron is an out of touch toff who has not got the slightest idea how the rest of us live our lives. And we learned that Ed Miliband is an out of touch geek who has not got the slightest idea how the rest of us live our lives. It was like being invited to make a choice between a black and white episode of Upstairs Downstairs with no Downstairs, and a 1970s Open University broadcast on computer programming. Most people would choose to switch off, at least anyone with a modicum of sanity.

Ed Miliband was asked whether he was tough enough to be Prime Minister, to which he gave a reply that was a doomed attempt to channel Dirty Harry. Admittedly the only magnum he’s ever come anywhere near is the chocolate covered ice cream variety, but Ed’s so tough he can bite into it straight out of the freezer. Hell yes, Ed’s a tough and thick skinned geek, his fighting skills honed on the mean streets of Primrose Hill. He’ll challenge people who don’t pick up their dog’s crap with really nasty looks, and he’ll tsk furiously at littering, he’ll protect the innocent in posh coffee bars from nasty spillages and bacon sandwiches with a ready supply of paper tissues. If you need someone to protect your back in a fight, you know that you can rely on Ed to organise a letter writing campaign to the Hampstead residents’ monthly newsletter. Hell yes, bring it on. Ed’s got mail merge at the ready. He can wield a Labour policy statement like Thor wields his hammer, how tough is that? Ed’s as tough as guacamole and as threating as a flattened hedgehog. Ed’s so tough that he’s got street creds in two kitchens.

Yes, Labour got lots of things wrong, Ed admitted. They were wrong to allow the banks to regulate themselves. They were wrong about pretty much everything that happened over the course of the Blair and Brown years. But Ed wants us all to move on from that, which is politicospeak for let’s pretend none of it ever happened and let’s pretend that none of it will ever happen again. Even though it probably would, because this is the Labour party we’re taking about here. But most of all, it means let’s pretend that absolutely none of it is the fault of Eds Miliband or Balls.

When it was Davie’s turn, he gave a very good impression of a man who really wished that he’d sent his butler to deal with all these troubling questions instead. The whole point of being a posh Tory is that one gets a little man in to do the heavy lifting. Or indeed the light lifting, or even any sort of lifting at all. Lifting? What’s lifting? Isn’t that a manual labour working class thing performed by oiks on a zero hours contract? Isn’t that what an ATOS assessment is for?

When pressed, Davie admitted that he wouldn’t like to live on the proceeds of a zero hours contract, even though such things are jolly good for the working class students who have to lift things to pay for their education. Davie didn’t have to pay for his education himself, what with having a dad who was a millionaire.

Food banks? asked Davie, the only reason they’re being used more is because – as an act of kindness – the Tories now allow them to be advertised in Job Centres. This also means that there are fewer people begging on the streets, since they can just go directly to the food bank and beg there. It’s tidier all round. Following the success of this policy, Iain Duncan Smith is also now considering allowing Job Centres to advertise cliffs, bridges and high buildings which are ideal locations for depressed people who’ve been sanctioned to throw themselves off of. This will also reduce the unemployment statistics, making Tory economic policies seem like they’re working. It’s a win win, smiled Davie, all my rich pals think so.

Davie was forced to admit that he didn’t actually know anyone personally who didn’t have a personal fortune of less than ten million, or who earned less than his good friend Malkie Rifkind – who won’t get out of bed for less than eight grand for a morning’s work. Except his cleaner, he does know his cleaner, although he can’t quite recall her name. Lovely woman, salt of the earth, and she does wonderful things with a can of Pledge. How do you think that Davie’s face got so shiny?

By this time, faced with the utter bankruptcy of the UK’s traditional two party system, the average voter will have switched off in disgust. This is it, this is what it’s come to, our democratic choices reduced to picking between a useless geek who dreams he’s Clint Eastwood, or an entitled Eton schoolboy who’s had his entire life handed to him on a silver platter. Both of them offering slightly different flavoured servings of the same austerity pie – and you won’t be getting a slice of anything anyway. Vote Humpty, or vote Dumpty, your prospects will still be falling off the wall.

You don’t get any other choices UK voters – except, of course, for viewers in Scotland.

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Caledonian cahootment

So have you cahooted with anyone recently? Labour says that if you vote SNP you’re in cahoots with the Tories, meanwhile the Tories say that if you vote SNP you’re in cahoots with Labour, while they themselves cahoot with Ukip. The only party no one is cahooting with is the Lib Dems, but that’s only because it’s difficult to conspire with a body which is already dead, and even Derek Ancora can’t raise Danny Alexander’s career from its well deserved grave.

You may, oh simple minded Scottish person, think that you’re voting SNP and are going to get the SNP, but in fact you’ll really be voting for Labour and the Tories and Ukip all at the same time. The only party you won’t be voting for when you vote SNP is the SNP. But also at the same time, it is dreadfully un-British of Scotland to vote for all those British parties simultaneously, and it’s a sinister threat to the integrity of the YooKay.

Faced with the prospect of being kept out of office because of Scottish votes, the Tories are in a particularly sour faced mood, although it’s not easy to tell the difference because being in a sour faced mood is the default condition of the Conservative party. According to assorted Tory spokesranters, it would be a disgracefully sinister subversion of democracy if they were prevented from forming the government because Scottish people won’t vote for them. Scottish people haven’t voted Tory for a generation, but that’s never cramped the Tories’ style until now. However that was because Scottish voters previously elected Labour MPs, who are a byword for uselessness. Look up Scottish Labour in a dictionary of political definitions and you’ll find that Scottish Labour doesn’t actually exist. It’s hardly surprising that a fictitious party can’t successfully resist the depredations of the very real malice of the Conservatives.

Faced with the prospect of a big group of SNP MPs giving them the finger, the Tories are purple faced with anger, making them indistinguishable from Ukip. The Tories have been unable to attain a majority in any general election since the 1990s, and the occupation of Scotland by an anti-Tory bloc doesn’t make life any easier for them. No more Danny Alexanders to sook up to them, and no more a Labour party which will adopt Tory policies in an effort to make itself electable in Bedfordshire.

The Tories could end up being the largest single party in Westminster, yet still unable to form a government. They think this is unfair, everyone else thinks it’s what they get for doing all they could to undermine the Lib Dem demand for proportional representation. They also did all the could to ensure that Scotland remained in the Union, and so ensured that the SNP remained a British political party. Now they’re complaining that the SNP isn’t sufficiently British for their tastes and warning voters in England that Ed Miliband is in Alicsammin’s pocket. Like that’s a bad thing. What happened to the love bombs and telling us that Scotland’s voice was a valued and much loved addition to UK national life, eh? Suck it up Tory boys and girls, suck it up.

Meanwhile Labour is equally convinced that the SNP is conniving with the Tories to get people not to vote Labour. In an effort to shore up what little support they have left, Jim Murphy is now promising all sorts of goodies, which will apparently be paid for by taxing mansions in London, or something. Jim’s real problem is that no one is listening to his guff any more. Whenever he appears on the telly, all anyone hears in that creepily soft spoken tone of his is blah blah blah patriotic Scot blah blah football blah irn bru blah blah. It doesn’t matter what Jim says any more, because most people in Scotland are already convinced that if it comes out of Jim’s gob, it must be a lie. Whereas for normal people, what they say is considered truthful until proven to be a lie, Jim’s now crossed into that dangerous territory where those who’ve lost trust live – what he says is considered to be a lie unless there is overwhelming proof that it’s not. When that happens to a politician, they really just need to acknowledge defeat and seek employment elsewhere. Fingers crossed that will be Jim’s fate in May.

Labour’s only real talent is the ability to inspire odium in such a wide and diverse range of people. Labour is the giant ego at the party, the one who thinks it’s all about them. They seem unable to understand that SNP voters and Tories are perfectly capable of hating the Labour party for entirely different and unrelated reasons, so it has to be cahooting.

Labour’s giant ego was on display in the House of Commons on Thursday, as Gordie Broon actually turned up for once – but only so he could give his last ever speech. Gordie thinks that everyone is in cahoots with everyone else, but whatever it is they’re cahooting, none of it is Gordie’s fault. Mainly however he was annoyed, not that Tory proposals for English votes for English laws threaten to make Scottish residents second class citizens, but worse, far worse, that they threaten to make Scottish MPs second class. Gordie would have few problems with the first of those propositions. He just wanted to put it on record that none of it has anything to do with him. Funnily enough, that vow he was supposed to be shepherding through the Westminster Parlie seems to have slipped his mind entirely. But then Gordie is in cahoots with his inflated sense of self-worth.

As a simple minded Scottish person, my wee brain can’t quite comprehend all this rampant cahootment. All that is really coming across is that the UK media and establishment are shitting bricks at the prospect of Scotland’s voters taking them at their word and believing them when they told us last year that they valued and loved our uniquely Caledonian take on all that is British. Being a cahootsy Caledonian conspirator, the British establishment crapping itself seems to me to be a good thing. So feck it – I’m just going to vote SNP anyway. It will get rid of Magrit Curran, and everything else is a delicious bonus prize.

Getting rid of my local Labour waste of space is the political principle I care most about anyway. Magrit’s sole claim to fame is having a vegetable based plastic used for making fishing rods named after her. It’s all that she’ll be remembered for. Coincidentally it also explains a great deal about the demise of the Labour party in Scotland – the party has sunk so low in public esteem because it consists of vegetables on fishing expeditions who pose as lumps of bent plastic. And nothing Jim Murphy can say or do will alter that impression in time to save his party.

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Vote Labour, vote stupid, vote glue sniffer

Ed Miliband was in Clydebank on Monday, speaking to what Labour calls a mass rally. Once upon a time, way back in the mythical age of fairy stories and magic wireless and inventing the NHS, Labour had mass rallies which involved a Labour leader addressing a cheering crowd of thousands who’d flock to hear him because the telly was in black and white and Jimmy Savile still had a career on the BBC. Nowadays Labour’s definition of a mass rally is collecting the useless tubs of lard who sit for the party in the House of Commons into one room, calling on some obliging full colour TV cameras, and hoping that their combined inertia can be mistaken for weighty.

Ed was in evangelical mode, mostly because only divine intervention is going to save Labour in Scotland now. He was preaching to his small and rapidly diminishing flockette about the evils of the unholy alliance between the SNP and the Tories. This came as something of a surprise to the SNP, and indeed to the Tories, who are even less on speaking terms with one another than Labour is. And Labour has spent the past eight years sulking in its bedroom and refusing to talk to anyone, perfecting the pouty spoiled entitled brat school of politics. It’s safe to say that Labour has that off pat by now, and has thoroughly mastered the art of spoiled entitlement, proving that the party is good for something after all.

As the little group huddled together, fearing just how flocked they are, the Labour adenoid told them how immensely upset he was that the SNP was diverting Labour from its historic mission to adopt Conservative policies wholesale so that Ukip voters in Essex will vote for it. The SNP is forcing the Labour party to act like a proper Labour party and preventing it from being just like the Tory party, he complained. Even worse, they’re doing it on purpose, he thundered. Well, not thundered exactly, this is Ed Miliband. Instead he sounded like a kitten with a bad head cold which was annoyed that it couldn’t reach its ball of wool.

Because of the nasty SNP, the only way Labour can get elected in Scotland is by being left wing. But because of the nasty Tories the only way Labour can get elected in England is by being right wing. Ed Balls has a right not to find George Osborne’s budget objectionable, and the word of Gord tells him to announce to the press that he wouldn’t change anything if he was in power. However in Scotland, Jim Murphy has to adopt an unconvincing socialist drag, like a creepier version of Dracula’s minion trying to pretend that the Garibaldis he proffers to the voters do not contain actual flies. All Labour in Scotland has to offer is a graveyard of insects.

Ed thinks this is unfair, and Labour’s current difficulties are not because Labour has spent the last twenty years in an ever rightwards triangulation dance with the Thatcherite tendency of the UK press. It’s all the fault of those horrible Scottish voters for getting pissed off and saying they’re not going to put up with it any more. That’s just unholy. Indeed it’s blasphemy. The job of Scotland’s voters is not to think, not to expect anything, not to have any expectations. Their job is to shut up and vote for Magrit Curran and Jim Murphy, like a good little flock of Labour sheep.

In aid of this Labour has been putting another leaflet through people’s doors. Another effort delivered by the postie because Labour doesn’t have enough activists on the ground to do it for them. It boasts, amongst other things, that Labour is opposed to tuition fees, that it will ban “exploitative” zero hours contracts, forgetting to tell us that it was Labour which introduced tuition fees and zero hours contracts in the first place. They hope we don’t remember. That’s Labour for you, it’s the party of glue sniffers with advanced dementia.

The leaflet repeats the lie that Labour clings to like a lifebelt – the lie that only the largest party in the Commons can form the government. But it’s simple arithmetic – 323 is the size of a majority. So if Labour has 275 seats, the Tories 280, and the SNP 50, then the Tories can’t form a government, because they can’t come close to a majority. Labour could be a minority government reliant upon the kindness of the SNP. If Labour can’t cope with simple arithmetic, then how can we expect them to cope with the more complex sums involved in budget calculations? Labour hopes we can’t count. Vote Labour, vote stupid, vote glue sniffer.

Meanwhile, the sordid squirming can of worms of Labour local government has had its lid prised off again. In North Lanarkshire a Labour cooncillor is suing the party for allegedly damaging his name and reputation after he raised questions about a deal done by the council with a company run by the husband of Glasgow’s Labour Lord Provost. The leader of North Lanarkshire council has admitted being a personal friend of the Lord Provost and her company director husband, but has denied that this friendship influenced the decision to award the company the contract.

It’s all a depressingly familiar tale. Move along, nothing to see here … and don’t expect an in depth investigation on BBC Reporting LabourScotland any time soon. We will instead be invited to sympathise with the emotional trauma that the stalwart Labour party members have all been put through.

However the interesting point here is not so much that there are allegations of nefarious and underhand doings in a Labour cooncil – because that’s pretty much a given with a Labour cooncil – it’s that the Labour cooncillor doing the suing can’t sue the Scottish Labour party because no such entity exists in law. It turns out that there is no such thing as the Scottish Labour party. He has to sue the Labour party headquarters in London.

The question is then, what exactly is it that Jim Murphy claims to lead? It turns out that he’s the fictional leader of a fictional party, spouting fictional policies. How can a party that doesn’t exist separately from Labour UK claim to have policies that are distinct from Labour UK? Is that even legal under electoral law? Quite probably it isn’t. These are yet more questions that it is unlikely you’ll see being investigated in depth on Reporting LabourScotland any time soon.

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Black armbands, glue, and sleepless nights

The Unionist party leaderships have the attitudes to Scotland which are typical of the less enlightened tourist to furren pairts. Nice country, shame about the locals. If only they could just drop all that silly nonsense and vote like England does, then everything would be just fine. This is the closest thing that the Labour leadership has to principles, and with this principle in mind, Labour has a plan to win the General Election and stem the haemorrhaging loss of redness to the SNP.

The plan is not a very good plan. It is in fact a rubbish plan. It is actually a plan that makes any reasonable person guffaw in derision. But then it’s a plan that was most likely devised by John McTernan and Blair McDougall and approved by Jim Murphy, so what did you expect exactly? It is however all they’ve got. For once the plan doesn’t involve making vowsies and pinkie promises that Labour has no intention of keeping, and for this small mercy we should be grateful.

It’s just a pity that the plan doesn’t involve anything except pouting, carping, and harking back to a mythical grudge in a past that only exists in the imagination of a Jim Murphy which, he told Andrew Brillopad on the BBC politics show on Sunday, he is too young to remember. This isn’t really a new plan, since it’s exactly what Labour has been doing without success for the past ten years, but as already pointed out, it’s all they’ve got.

Incidentally, the past time in question was 1979, and according to Jim Murphy’s Wiki page he was born in 1967, which means he was 12 years old when the grudgesome events took place. It’s surprising that Jim can’t remember. I can remember lots of things which happened when I was 12, but then I wasn’t sniffing glue.

Anyway, back to the plan. In a desperate, if not to say pathetic, attempt to deflect criticism of Labour for cosying up to the Conservatives during the referendum campaign, for signing up wholesale to the austerity agenda, for privatisation, for PPI schemes, for abandoning Clause 4 and for demonising the poor, the plan is to tar the SNP with the Tartan Tory brush and blame them for ushering in a decade and a half of Thatcher in 1979 and the destruction of the mining industry. Back in 1979 the SNP voted against the then Labour government in a confidence motion, a government which in any event had only a few months left at best – but only after the self same Labour party had betrayed its promise to create a Scottish Assembly by imposing the infamous 40% rule which ensured that dead people counted as No votes. Those of us who were at least 12 at the time can remember these things, at least those of us who weren’t sniffing glue.

In a further attempt to rewrite history, Labour MPs are going to wear black armbands and lay a wreath saying SNP RIP at the miners’ memorial, because that will make us all forget that the only red thing left about Labour are the shamed faces of those who used to vote for them but will do so no more. And it will make us forget that the Labour leadership refused to back the miners during the strike of the mid 80s and betrayed them because that played well with the Tory press. We can remember these things because we weren’t sniffing glue Jim. Labour wants to stem the SNP tide with a display of mourning, but they only thing they’ll really be mourning is the death of their own careers.

Meanwhile, according to the Guardian over the weekend, a senior Labour figure fears “civil disobedience” if the SNP acquires “power over the English”. Labour is terrified that the Scottish tail may wag the UK dog, because the only tail that’s allowed to wag the UK dog is the financial sector in the City of London. It’s unclear what form this civil disobedience may take, a mass letter writing campaign by Outraged of Tunbridge Wells to the Telegraph perhaps. People will leave sharply worded comments in the Guardian and will tsk and raise their eyebrows. The very fabric of British existence will be threatened.

It will not go unnoticed in Scotland that senior Labour, and Tory and Lib Dem, figures were quite happy for English votes to impose power over Scotland, but somehow when it happens the other way about it’s a dreadful threat to the fabric of the Union and fundamentally undemocratic. And there was us thinking that we were valued and much loved partners in this greatest family of nations that the universe has ever seen. The obvious conclusion is that it’s not really a Union that the leaders of the Unionist parties want, what they want is a tame wee Scottie dog which doesn’t demand to sit at the table with the humans. Scotland’s not a partner, it’s a prize. They’re in for a big shock then, because this wee Scottie dog not only snaps and bites, it will also piss and crap on the rug that passes for a British constitution. A rug under which all sorts of nastiness has been swept.

Alicsammin said over the weekend that Scotland can hold the balance of votes in Westminster after the next election, pointing out that if you hold the balance you hold the power. This was described as “terrifying” by Tory Defence Minister Anna Soubry, who said it like Scotland having access to any sort of power was a bad thing. They wanted us to stay in the Union, they threatened, they begged, they pleaded. Now we’re staying and they’re complaining that we might have the audacity to define our own role within it. They think that this Union is theirs, but if it is really a Union then it is ours as well. Now it’s up to the Unionists to step up, to put their money where their mouths are. Unions mean compromises, and that means they must compromise too. They’ve not learned that lesson, they’ve spent too much time sniffing glue, so Scotland is going to have to teach it to them.

If we’re terrifying the Tories that can only work in Scotland’s favour. They’re not terrified by Labour MPs. Let’s give Anna sleepless nights. They want a Union? We’ll show them what that means. The Tories and the Labour party will have plenty more sleepless nights in the five years ahead. Scotland is coming to Westminster, and it’s angry.

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This wasn’t supposed to happen

This wasn’t supposed to happen. We were supposed to be quiescent and quiet little drones, grateful for the scraps we were tossed, eager for the bones we were given to gnaw on. We were supposed to be eating our cereal, silently, shamefaced, and grateful. We were not supposed to be where we are, riding on the crest of an avalanche that’s wiping away a century of Labour’s wasted opportunities. Riding on the lead wave of the deluge that’s drowning the entrenched interests of Tory rule. Riding on the landslip that’s erasing the Lib Dems forever. Riding on a landslide and laughing and joking, feeling alive and vital, noisy and loud, changing the world with conversations in the street, in the pub, with blog posts, tweets, and comments. Running, jumping and never standing still.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. But it is happening and it feels so good. Liberating like coming out into the fresh air after being trapped in a lift on a hot summer’s day with a pub bore with bad breath. Blindfolds are off and we’re at the top of a Scottish mountain taking in the view – and this land is ours as far as the eye can see. No wonder the lairds are terrified. We’re their nightmare, and we’re awake. We’re going to take their privilege from them. This land is our land, and we will be the masters in it.

The truth is we are unstoppable. The people of Scotland are a force of nature, an organic mass of ideas, a living pulsing interconnected network. We cannot be halted, we cannot be corralled. We will not be dictacted to by the media, we will make our own. We will not go back into the shortbread tin, our spirit is too big.

The depression of the 19th of September did not last long. It was a brief pause for breath, a change of tack, not the end of the journey. It was a slap in the face that invigorated not castigated. Because it was a highly conditional No. It was not an absolute negative, a final say. It was the settled will of Scotland to say “not yet, not now”. A No that said we’d give Westminster one last chance. A no that said we’d see if they fulfilled their vow. And now we know what happened to that. How now Brown’s vow, discredited like the paper it was printed in. Pensioned off and vain like the man who created it.

The landslide that began its journey down the rockface of Westminster’s implacable opposition during last year’s referendum campaign was not blocked or deflected by the No vote. It slides on, changing the face of the landscape, erasing old certainties, gouging out the old patterns, striving still for the shore. It’s uncertain how the dust will settle, no one knows what the moving earth will reveal. All that we know is that the future is being written, right here, right now. And we are the makers of that story. We are the story, the active ingredients, the agents of change. We are the avalanche. We are the rocks in motion. We are the future and we are here now.

It’s a story that’s being written by ordinary people doing remarkable things. It’s a story that’s being written by people who refuse to accept the tales we are told by those who have held power. It’s the story of a Scotland that refuses to accept that it cannot define itself.

What changed last summer was that the rock called Mary and the stone called Tam realised that the story of Scotland is their story, not the story of the rich and the powerful and the well connected. And they started to move, they started to tell their story. They connected. They refused to listen to those who tried to define their choices for them, to tell them how the story must end. They became the avalanche, they’re moving still. And the story is still being written.

The avalanche didn’t stop because the Westminster parties confused the willingness of a generous people to give them yet another chance with subservience. They mistook magnanimity of spirit for submission. They were given generosity and thought they had the PIN number to our bank accounts, their hands in our pockets, the keys to our hearts. They thought they’d be given permission to go back to their old games while we would watch passively, and accept the inevitability. They were wrong.

And now we are scaring them. They can see the strength of our determination. They can hear the rumble of distant voices that combine into the earthquake that will demolish their entitlement, that will rewrite their rules without them being in control. So they rant, they scream, they insult, they threaten. They write panicked editorials in the press. They draw cartoons that have no understanding or humour. They proffer little bribes, a few crumbs to the starving, a drop of brackish water to the thirsty. It always worked in the past, but it’s not working now.

The old certainties are as dead as Magrit Curran’s career. The old way of doing things has the credibility of Jim Murphy’s spin and lies. The old structures are as risible as a speech by Wullie Rennie, and crumbling like a Labour safe seat. There is nowhere safe for them now. We are everywhere. We are Scotland.

We’ve learned how to feed ourselves. We’ve learned how to educate ourselves. We’ve learned how to articulate what we want. We’ve learned that we are the judges of what is best for us. We’ve learned that we have no need to beg. We are not asking nicely any more. We are going to take what is ours, and we will not be stopped. Scotland is angry. They don’t like us when we’re angry, because when we’re angry we will get our way. And if they get in our way, we will remove them. The removal vans arrive on May 7th. They’re going to be busy.

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Little yellow minions and Wee Dougie’s delusions

Danny Alexander’s other boss, the Cleggy one not the Osborne one, is in Scotland today in a vain attempt to rally what troops the Lib Dems have got left, which basically consist of Wullie Rennie, the Orkney Koalamichael, and those half dozen or so Lib Dem cooncillors who have not yet committed ritual suicide by throwing themselves under the wheels of Clegg’s election battle bus.

Nick made the bold statement that he discounted the polls which show the Lib Dems are facing almost total wipe out in Scotland, a statement which politicians always make in public when faced with impending doom. However unlike the leader of Labour’s Scottish Accounting Unit, who made the delusional claim that his party was going to increase the number of seats it holds at the General Wipe Out in May – sorry, General Election – the Cleggy one simply restricted himself to saying that people were going to be surprised by the number of seats that the Lib Dems held after the election, predicting that his party may not lose as many of its 11 seats as the polls forecast. This is a claim which is much easier to fulfil, as most people will be gobsmacked if the Lib Dems manage to hold onto as many as two seats. Danny Alexander, most assuredly, will not be amongst them.

On Thursday, looking exactly like a prisoner making a plea of mitigation before sentencing, Danny Alexander stood outside the Treasury brandishing what looked like a yellow Black and Decker case. The yellow case may have contained the tools used by the Lib Dems to drill into their skulls during coalition negotiations with the Tories and then extract that part of their brains where their social consciences formerly resided. Or possibly it was Danny’s school lunch box, and contained a half eaten austerity sandwich, his CV and a reference from George Osborne saying “best minion ever”. Danny’s going to need it because he will be looking for a new job very soon, having already been convicted in the court of public opinion and sentenced to vanish like a plook drowned in Clearasil. Whatever it was he was waving sheepishly before the cameras, it was yellow, plasticky, and deeply unconvincing, which is also a fairly accurate description of the person who was holding it.

Allegedly the box contained the Lib Dem’s alternative budget, which bears the same relationship to the real budget as Jim Murphy’s policy diarrhoea bears to socialism. Danny intended to present his fantasy budget to the House of Commons, despite being told off by the Speaker beforehand that he could do no such thing. Apparently the budget speeches in the House of Commons are not the place for making party political points – who knew? Certainly not Danny. Danny’s words echoed round an almost empty Commons Chamber, a pointless charade in a venue dedicated to pointless charades. Even Nick Clegg was too embarrassed to remain longer than ten minutes – proving that he does have some slight sense of shame after all.

Danny’s pathetic attempt to pretend that he’d have done everything differently might have had a modicum more credibility if he’d not spent the past five years enthusiastically out-Osborning Osborne, and giving every indication that he was enjoying himself in the process. However now that Danny is staring electoral annihilation in the nads he cut off and handed to the Tories on a plate, he’s desperately trying to distance himself from the public perception of him as George Osborne’s little yellow minion. The little minions in the animated movie are yellow too, but unlike Danny they’re funny on purpose.

But no one is convinced by Danny’s cunning stunt, Danny is the cut price Dracula in the Blood Bank, the Hammer Horror B-movie variety when they’d just got camp and were no longer scary. Danny and his party are just the supporting act to the main feature. The Lib Dems are merely a side-show, populated by freaks.

The main feature, for which Scotland is already stocking up on popcorn, is of course the impending doom of Jim Murphy’s Accounting Unit. Earlier this week the other Alexander facing doom, the Wee Dougie one, mused that his party’s demise was all the fault of people talking to one another on the interwebbies, and nothing to do with the fact that the Labour party is inhabited by, and a wholly owned subsidiary of, chancers, shysters, placepersons, balloons, doormats, Neanderthals, creatures who make even Danny Alexander look like he’s got some moral fibre, and worse, much worse – Magrit Curran.

The last time Scotland gave Labour a kicking, in 2011, Labour solemnly vowed that it would learn and it would listen, and it made a similar vow the time before that too, back in 2007. Not a great deal happened except for an awful lot of blaming the SNP for everything up to and including increasing the threat of alien invasion and the end of civilisation. Then there’s that other vow that Labour had a central role in just days before the independence referendum. By now it’s clear to just about everyone in Scotland who has a functioning neo-cortex and who isn’t an editorial writer for the Daily Record, that Labour’s definition of “vow” is remarkably similar to that of a junkie who promises they going to change just before they steal your wallet and piss on your flower bed.

In Labour’s case the drug of choice is political power, and since the party shows no signs of reforming itself, nor shows any signs of being capable of reforming itself, and indeed displays no concept that it understands what listening to the voters actually means, then the only solution is to force it to go cold turkey. If Labour won’t change itself, then the voters will change Labour for it, because it clearly takes a voter to do a politician’s job for them. We’ll change Labour from a party of careerist politicians, into a party of ex-politicians who’ve lost their careers. And as a bonus, Danny Alexander and the Lib Dems will get locked into a little plastic yellow box, which will promptly be put in the shed, and forgotten about for the next three decades.

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Homophobes and LOL kats

This isn’t going to be a particularly funny blog post, because homophobia isn’t funny, but apparently the most significant thing that has happened in Scotland this week is that some anonymous and childish wee airse has been saying nasty homophobic things to Ruth Davidson on Twitter. I have no time for Ruth’s immature politics, but homophobic abuse is never acceptable.

I’m much older than Ruthie, and can, unlike her, actually remember the damage that Thatcher did to Scottish communities and the gross homophobia which the Conservative party inflicted on LGBT people. As someone who came out as gay when Ruthie was still at primary school, or quite possibly before she was born, the Dug has been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse for many decades. And some of that abuse has been of the variety that left yer actual physical hurt, with bruising and contusions, not just hurt feelings. So I know all about homophobia. The Dug belongs to that generation of LGBT who taught folk like Ruth what homophobia is, how to combat it, and how to challenge it. You learn an awful lot about homophobia when you realise you’re gay in Coatbridge in 1975. But this is 2015, and we live in a different Scotland now – a much better Scotland.

I suspect that Ruthie, like any well adjusted gay or lesbian persion, was not hurt and wounded by the comments on Twitter, she was just righteously angered by them. That’s a good thing. Righteous anger is a healthy response to unhealthy attitudes – but that’s not a lot of comfort when you have to deal with the unhealthy attitudes in the first place. Sometimes you just want to put your feet up and have a nice wee cuppa and laff at photies of LOL kats, because that’s the cutting edge kind of sexual politics thing that your average gay or lesbian person likes to do of an evening. It’s certainly the closest that anyone in the Tory party has ever got to advancing the cause of LGBT equality, but that’s by the by. What you don’t want is to have to cope with eejits whose sexual politics would make a caveman blush at their unevolved nature.

The fact that having homophobic things being said about you on Twitter by an anonymous twankmonkey wi a mooth that runs like diarrhoea and stinks even worse should provoke such a storm of outrage and newspaper headlines is a sign that Scotland has, by and large, grown up in its attitudes to LGBT people. Because it wasn’t very long ago at all that those attitudes were mainstream and perfectly acceptable in polite society. It’s a sign that Scotland now has a healthy response to those unhealthy attitudes – and that means that Scottish civil society is itself healthy and mature. This is a Very Good Thing, with the capital letters and everything. However just because Scotland is healthy and mature, on the whole, that doesn’t mean that there are not occasional individuals who are pus filled plooks on the face of society.

But let’s be honest here. The real reason that these comments received the attention and condemnation that they have done is because they were made by a member of the SNP. There is random homophobia on Twitter all the time, most of which goes unnoticed by everyone except the targets. There are even homophobic LOL kats, but I’ve yet to see them being condemned in the BBC’s Reporting LabourScotland’s regular aww-look-adda-cute-kitten spot. Ruth Davidson herself said that she often has to deal with homophobic comments. But those comments don’t get condemned in headlines in the newspapers or make the lead story on the telly news. The lesson is, clearly, if you happen to be a lesbian or gay person who is subject to abuse, just to make sure that you’re abused by an SNP member and then you’ll have the media queueing up to take photies of you looking sad and oppressed.

The SNP now has around 100,000 members, making it a truly national party in the way that other political parties in Scotland cannot compare, and it’s bound to include amongst that number some individuals whose sexual attitudes are regressive and backward looking. But what is important is not that such persons exist as SNP members, what is important is how the SNP responds when those individuals open their snide wee gobs. Or type their snide wee comments behind the anonymity of a Twitter user name.

Nicola Sturgeon immediately condemned the comments unreservedly and the SNP member in question was suspended from the party. That was the appropriate action, and it’s to the SNP’s credit that they acted so quickly and unequivocally. The SNP member concerned has now made an abject apology. Compare and contrast the refusal of Ukip to accept that their MEP Jibberjabber the Hutt had done anything wrong when he made his racist sub-Jim Davidsonoid “joke” about Humza Yousaf.

So this isn’t really a media story about the evils of homophobia. It’s really just another excuse to bash the SNP, and by association everyone who supports Scottish independence. Those who oppose Scottish self-determination have a vested interest in portraying Scotland as a backward province which is dependent upon the advanced graces of the UK to drag it kicking and screaming out of the 18th century. It’s something we heard with regularity during the independence debate – the constant reminders that the SNP has Brian Souter as a funder, although no reminders that Souter’s homophobic campaign was backed to the hilt by the Labour supporting Vow publishing Daily Record.

In that respect this story is a form scottophobia and is an attempt to insinuate – without saying so directly – that all independence supporters and the entire SNP are homophobes. And that pisses me off as much as the original homophobic comments did.

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