Dear Martin

Dear Martin,

Thank you very much for your lovely letter which was sent out in a mail shot from the Labour party. Oh look, I said to myself, a letter from that guy who plays the hobbit in the movies and it’s addressed to me personally. But sadly the only wizardry on display was the magic of mail merge, and that wasn’t quite enough to convince me that you had actually sat down and directed yourself personally to my concerns. George Osborne might do a convincing impression of Sauron, but this isn’t Middle Earth and Ed Miliband sure as hell isn’t Gandalf. Middle Earth is a fantasy invented by a middle class guy from Oxford University, just like the claim of the modern Labour party to be a party of the left, come to think of it.

Thank you for assuming that I’m too thick to cope with the complexities of modern politics and require everything to be reduced to a binary opposition between Labour and the Tories. It’s that kind of patronising attitude that has caused Labour to lose Scotland. You are offering a fantasy Martin, a story for children like dragons and orcs. In the real world, the one we actually live in as opposed to the fantasy one where Labour lives, we have other choices, and we can make our own minds up about what our choices are. There are other ways to resist the Tories. Labour thinks it can resist the Tories by aping them, by turning itself into little monkeys who perform tricks for the Conservative press and offer working class people the occasional peanut. That’s not resistance, and even a hobbit should realise that.

Despite what you say I’m not confused by different parties claiming different things, I can weigh up multiple options. And I can see that the simplistic choice you offer on behalf of the Labour party is a false one. But then you don’t need to be a mental giant to resist the dubious charms of Jim Murphy. You don’t need to be an Oxford don to see through Magrit Curran’s lies. You don’t need the wisdom of Gandalf to be unconvinced by Ed.

Labour can claim what they like, and even if they were offering a winning lottery ticket for every voter, a free foreign holiday and a guaranteed shag with someone who is actually attractive and who doesn’t look like your average politician, I won’t believe them if I don’t trust them. And that’s your problem right there Martin. I don’t trust the Labour party as far as I could throw it. And I could throw it as far as missile strike in Baghdad. I could throw Labour as far as an ATOS assessment. I could throw Labour as far as Ed Balls and his promise not to undo any of George Osborne’s cuts. Labour has been promising invisible jam at every election I can remember, yet as soon as they get into power they morph into Murphy.

The choice I want to make is to prevent Labour from behaving like it has always done, to make Labour behave like a Labour party should. Voting Labour in Scotland doesn’t offer me that choice, all voting Labour offers is a return to being side-lined, marginalised, ignored and patronised. I choose to hold Labour to account. I choose another way, a Scottish way.

The Labour party started in Scotland you say. And that would be true. And values of community, compassion and fairness still hold true you say. And that would be true as well, only they’ve got little or nothing to with the Labour party in Scotland. Labour sold those values down a PFI river decades ago, then contracted them out to ATOS for a profit. Because Martin, all those cruel and horrible things that the Tories pursue with gusto, Labour wants to keep them – the creeping privatisations, the disability assessments, the benefits caps, the demonisation of the poor, the dispossessed, the migrants, the worship of weapons of mass destruction. In Middle Earth Labour would be on the side of the orcs. Look at Jim Murphy and you can see they already are.

The Labour party was born in Scotland, and it will die in Scotland too. There’s a poetic circularity to that if nothing else. Labour moved away from the communities that gave it root, and migrated to the City of London. Seduced by the precious ring of capital that promised absolute power, Labour deprived itself of its roots. So Labour shrivelled and died, cut off from the communities that gave it life and meaning and purpose. There is no point or purpose to the Labour party any more. They stand for nothing but power for power’s sake, the party of careerists who don’t know the difference between principles and press releases.

But those values of community, compassion, and fairness that you speak of Martin, they do still hold true, and unlike Labour they are alive and strong and breathing in the communities that gave birth to the Labour party. Like most in Scotland I hold them dear. It’s just that they are no longer to be found in the Labour party. Us hobbits, us wee folk with our hairy Caledonian legs, we’ve created another party where we can express those values.

Today Martin, this Monday April 20, another party presented its manifesto to the electorate in Scotland. It is a manifesto that Labour would once have been proud to present. It promises social justice, and fairness and compassion and community. It promises to resist weapons of mass destruction, to fight for the disabled, to include the excluded, to bring tolerance and sense to the media’s racist hysteria about immigration. It’s a manifesto that promises to do all the things that Labour used to offer but never followed through on. Those things that Labour no longer even offers. It’s a manifesto for Scotland, not a manifesto for the Tory press.

And unlike Labour’s litany of lies and broken promises and shattered dreams – I can actually believe it. It’s a manifesto that comes from a party that promises to lock out the Tories and to keep Labour on track. It’s a party that really is a mass movement, born in Scotland’s communities, unlike Labour’s hollowed out shell, focus grouped to death. It’s a party that can make sure that Labour has a spine, because Labour needs a moral conscience. When the Labour leadership are left to their own devices they find their moral conscience in Daily Mail editorials, and then they hope to convince us with children’s tales of orcs and hobbits presented by starry eyed stars. But we have our feet on the Scottish ground.

I vote for moral conscience, I vote for hope, I vote for compassion and care. And that Martin, is why I’m voting SNP.

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44 comments on “Dear Martin

  1. Wonderful!
    How I remember Neil Kinnock and his prophetic catchphrase (albeit i think from spitting image) of ‘Lots and lots and lots of lovely lovely power.’ – And that’s really all they are about. Its no longer a question of ideology anymore but like everything else its only soapsuds they are selling and mustn’t forget the dogfood.

  2. Robert Graham says:

    Well that’s a novel idea a conscience I guess this is removed during the indoctrination to labour Scottish branch so will be an added extra too any of their MPs left standing after the vote,if anyone gets a chance have a look at the more rabid London papers view on the SNP manifesto shock horror world devastation are some of the more conservative comments very entertaining

  3. INDEPENDENT says:

    Couldn’t have put it better.
    Spot on the money as always Paul

  4. Steve Bowers says:

    Excellent words displayed in the correct order Paul, love it.

    Hope you’re coping with the world after the hard times of last year.( and staying off the fags !)

  5. macart763 says:

    Superb fella, absolutely right on the nail (cheering).

    I don’t know when or who it was decided that the people of these islands should have only two parties granted the sole ownership of our futures, but whenever it was, whoever it was, it was wrong. It was wrong in the worst possible way.

    The electorate doesn’t work like that. Humanity doesn’t work like that. There is no red or blue, black or white, left or right. There are no absolutes and neat pigeon holes. There are no parties that are all things to all people (though the feckers try to convince you otherwise).

    I wish there were a hundred bloody parties, PR voting and consensus driven politics. I’d want to see a representative rainbow of opinion in any parliament. A rainbow of opinion which truly reflects the nuanced views of the entire electorate. A representative diversity of viewpoint as it were, because THAT is how we are as people… DIVERSE. Its what makes us special, unique, interesting, a thing to be celebrated, not crushed to grey apathetic sludge or turned to a polarised conformity. More importantly, it would allow us to vote our conscience and not what the media or their chain pullers would have us vote for.

  6. Ruth says:

    Thank you that was great!

  7. imacg says:

    Fantastic, well done, love the line.. In Middle Earth Labour would be on the side of the orcs. Look at Jim Murphy and you can see they already are.

  8. Doug Porteous says:

    Paul this is Seriously good strong writing your best piece yet ‘the Labour Party was born in Scotland, the Labour Party will die in Scotland’ RIP.

  9. Deedee says:

    just spot on, exactly how I feel 😁

  10. adam591 says:

    Superb as ever.
    If Murphy is an orc does that make McTiernan a troll??

  11. Isabel says:

    Think you’ve surpassed any previous articles with this! Keep them coming.

  12. Cag-does-thinking says:

    There is nothing more powerful than the truth and it’s here in abundance. Great piece.

  13. Hector says:

    I arrived at the polling station in Cambuslang in 2011 and didn’t have any clear idea who I would vote for. Standing in the polling booth, I had mental images of Labour and SNP and voted SNP because I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for Labour. As a life long Labour voter, I was disappointed, embarrassed and repulsed by “Scottish” Labour. I find myself at this 2015 election, with a heart full of confidence, hope and optimisim. Milliband has done the right thing in throwing “Scottish Labour” overboard. You couldn’t hope to meet a more unlikeable, dismal, and untrustworthy bunch of individuals , Jim Murphy, Magrit Curran, Ian Davidson…..they represent Scotland in the House of Commons….. Jeez….not in my name!

  14. Steve Asaneilean says:

    “You have nice manners for a thief and a liar” said the dragon…

    Fantastic response Paul to what can only be called drivel from (Not) Labour.

  15. JGedd says:

    Great writing as ever, Paul. However, it brings to mind all the luvvies who signed that letter before the referendum last year, asking us not to vote for independence – can’t recall if Martin Freeman did – but there was Emma Thompson, Eddie Izzard, Jo Brand for example. Not one of them seems able to find their voice when it comes to the horrendous monstering of the Scots they professed to love and didn’t want to go.

    Didn’t Emma actually give an emotional interview some time before the referendum in which she told us of her long standing love affair with Scotland and how upset she would be by us casting off and floating away so far that she wouldn’t be able to get to her holiday home.? ( Yes these people do appear to live in fantasy land.) So far,as far as I know, Emma Thompson has not expressed any public sorrow at the way Scotland and its democratic choices are being traduced on a daily basis in the media. Preserving a discreet silence this time Emma, Eddie and Jo? Not career-enhancing to criticise borderline racist attacks from the media on the Scots?.

  16. gavin says:

    Well said, Paul. You speak for us all.
    These Lovies don’t seem to articulate any angst about the rampant Scotophobia emanating from Cameron and the right wing English press. Oh, and repeated artlessly by the BBC.
    I wonder if Cameron’s ‘Carlisle Principle’ extends to the huge infrastructure spends in England ? These consume large sums of UK taxes, and carry no Barnett Consequential for the devolved parliaments. HS2 will badly affect Scotland. Its estimated it will cost Aberdeen £220 million every year. Much of Scotland will also suffer, yet its a subject ignored in this election. Perhaps the Carlisle Principle will change that.

  17. fillofficer says:

    didn’t see the wording of mr freemans circular, but whatever it says, you certainly gave him what for. how could he possibly retaliate with any credibility, luvvit

  18. mumsyhugs says:

    Wow! Wonderful – and we recognise the truth which is why it strikes a chord with all of us who read your blog. I hope some day (hopefully soon when we have our independence) that you will publish a book of your writings that can be passed on to the generations that follow so they can have a sense of this amazing time and our fight for freedom and a better life.

  19. Maureen says:

    Born in Scotland, Died in Scotland. Brilliant as ever Paul. I for one will be dancing on Labours grave.

  20. terry says:

    Terrific! And I agree – I’d love you to do a book – your writing makes me laugh, cry and everything in between. Powerful stuff and with the biting humour and compassion that really has reflected this whole movement. I look forward to your posts so much!

  21. emilytom67 says:

    Totally agree with macart 763 I will vote SNP of course but lean more to the commonweal as I believe that everything about/concerning our country should be out in the open dis-cussed in the open and decided by/for the benefit of all the people ,that for me is true democracy the way it was meant to be.

  22. manandboy says:

    Sparkling! I enjoyed that immensely.

  23. AlanR says:

    I think we should have a reverse Carlisle Principle, which I will now call the ‘Berwick Priciple’ where the Scottish government audit the UK government every 12 months.

  24. Edulis says:

    # Hector

    Add Ian Murray of Edinburgh South to that list. A more odious individual it would be difficult to meet. That, Murphy,Davidson and Curran will be my Portillo moments.

    • MBC says:

      What’s odious about him? I don’t agree with his party and won’t be voting for him but I have always found him OK. He’s come out against Trident.

      • Giesabrek says:

        Ian Murray claimed last year that independence supporters defaced his constituency office, without a shred of evidence. Furthermore, he didn’t report this alleged criminal offence to the police, indicating that this was fabricated.

  25. Still Positive. says:

    Wonderful, Paul, just wonderful. More power to you – would love a book.

  26. benmadigan says:

    thought this was a great article paul – really from the heart. well done11

  27. Cherry says:

    Paul you have excelled yourself with this blog! I was so caught in your passion, that I was moved to tears. Although I think they were tears of hope for our future. Please put your blog postings into a book, I’m certain many of us would buy them. Power to your pen. X

  28. bowanarrow says:

    Amazing article, I got up this morning a little depress but, after reading this. You have given me strength for another day. THANK YOU.

  29. Andrew Brown says:

    Bravo. Well said.

  30. hektorsmum says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed that.

  31. Rod McCaslin says:

    Today’s Labour is not Keir Hardie’s Labour, not least (amongst a thousand other differences) because he supported Scottish Home Rule and undoubtedly would have voted YES.

  32. Albaman says:

    When did E Baws change his name to Balls?!.

  33. Stephen Watson says:

    Thank you, such a passionate and pertinent response!

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