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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