Asking a flea how to cure the bubonic plague

Earlier this week Ruthie Davidson got down off her tank long enough to stand up on a podium and give a talk to the Rowntree Foundation on how to combat poverty. The invite to the Tory leaderene followed the successful speech about blood donation given to the same foundation recently by Dracula. To be fair, the invitation wasn’t quite as out to lunch as it might appear at first glance, Ruthie does know a lot about poverty seeing as how her party is a leading cause of it. Asking Ruth Davidson to give a speech on preventing poverty is like asking a flea for its opinions on the best way to prevent the bubonic plague.

Unsurprisingly, Ruthie shares the view that poverty is best challenged by threatening recipients of social security with sanctions. In the world of the Tories the poor are out to lunch, but only as they trudge to the nearest foodbank in order to find something to eat. Poverty is the fault of poor people not striving hard enough. The view that people who subsist on £67 a week need to be punished in order to learn that living on £67 a week is no picnic is commonplace amongst people who think little of paying considerably more than £67 on artisan cheese and wine for a picnic. And funnily enough Tories like Ruthie believe that that sort of big cheese person needs to be rewarded in order to get them to strive harder.

Ruthie once infamously stated that she was too young to remember Thatcher and denied the damage that her heroine had wrought on Scotland’s working class communities was in any way relevant to modern Scotland. Ruthie doesn’t recall the rampant homophobia that Thatcher stoked as a weapon to use against her political enemies. But some of the rest of us do, and we’re revolted by the image of a gay Scottish woman who parades in Thatcher’s cast offs like a third rate drag act in a down market bar. Ruthie’s message is that the need for social progress, the need to right injustice, the need to achieve equality, it all ended as as soon as Ruthie got hers.

Ruth Davidson, Davie Mundell, and the gay Scottish Tory commentators who defend their misogynist pals, might not remember the struggles of the lesbian and gay rights movement in the 70s and 80s, but I do. We were not seeking social justice just in order to prove that if society stopped being nasty to LGBTI folk then lesbian and gay people could be selfish and intolerant arseholes too. If this was the 1980s they’d be hiding in the closet and condemning those who challenged society for being divisive.

The speech to the Rowntree Foundation was really about positioning the Tories as contenders for the runner up prize in Scottish politics. It’s not so much that the Scottish Tories have recovered in their fortunes, there remains a ceiling to Tory support that would force even the dwarvish intellects of the mad bag of spanners which constitute the coprophagous Scottish Unionist media bubble to bend over double. It’s just that there is no floor to prevent Labour’s support plummeting even lower than the barrel bottom that the party scrapes in order to locate some policies. By comparison with Labour as it sinks to the Marianas Trench of Scottish politics, the Tories are doing the doggy paddle.

Even when Labour can manage to come up with a policy, it has to be presented to the public by the same old tired and discredited politicians who’ve spent the last ten years screaming SNP baaaad ever louder and louder with less and less effect. Labour is led by politicians who would react to the news that a Glasgow SNP MSP has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by insisting Sturgeon should condemn the ones who haven’t. When you’re a political party which thinks that Anas Sarwar is the best person to represent Glasgow you’re a political party that has long since lost sight of the difference between principle and patronage. What is the point of Labour in Scotland these days? No one knows, least of all Labour in Scotland.

Into the void between the ears of a Sarwar steps the Scottish Tories, draped in a Union flag and waving a benefits sanction score card. As Labour desperately flails every way at once as it drowns in the public sea of disgust, and makes vague noises that it might rethink its opposition to independence, the Tories make a pitch for those voters whose Unionism is more important than any lingering sense of social justice that might cling to Labour like the faint whiff of a perfume from someone that the party stood beside on the train home from Anas’s selection meeting. Their only message is vote Tory, because everyone hates us and we don’t care.

The heady days of the 60s and 70s when the Conservatives could count on the support of over a third of Scottish voters are never going to return. Any increase on the meagre 15% that they were able to secure during last year’s Westminster General election will be hailed as a massive success and a vindication of Ruth’s tank posing politics. The truth however that a party which thinks it’s doing well to get over 15% is a party that’s given up all hope of ever being a party of government. Yet this misbegotten bunch of benefits sanctioners, these parasites causing a sickness of the body politic, get an influence over Scotland that is grossly out of proportion to their insignificant electoral size.

And then they complain that Scotland is a one party state. The only reason that the Scottish Tories don’t have the same reputation as Labour for lying is that most people stop listening as soon as they open their mouths. The way to remove the curse of poverty from Scotland is to remove the curse of Tory governments that we don’t vote for. But that’s not a cure that Ruth would have suggested to her audience at the Rowntree Foundation.

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82 comments on “Asking a flea how to cure the bubonic plague

  1. Cloggins says:

    Poetry of jawdropping nobelprize quality. Thank you.

  2. […] Source: Asking a flea how to cure the bubonic plague […]

  3. Bill McDermott says:

    It is interesting to read the forces at play in Scottish politics at the time of the National Covenant. That was when the Tories were wholly within the ambit of the Unionist Party.

    Two million people signed up to a home rule agenda despite only one MP being supportive of devolution. The real motivation at play seems to have been a reaction against the Labour government’s nationalisation programme. Curiously the Unionist Party called for nationalised Scottish industries to counteract the withdrawal of decision making to London. So the real basis of the Unionist’s popularity was a combination of protestant rejection of nationalisation, the Orange Lodge and an anti Catholic vote, which was wholly supportive of Labour.

  4. doreenmilne says:

    On point as always. The current Tory regime leaves Thatcher looking lightweight by comparison.

  5. Dorothy Devine says:

    Bloody marvellous – and on the day the chubby wee tank commander was allowed to take over the Politics Show.

  6. Patience is a Virtue says:

    Quote from The National 8th Feb ‘But alarmingly, only half of the under 35s are certain they will vote. These figures are in stark contrast with the over 55s, of whom 84% say they will definitely vote and just one in ten intend to abstain.’

    The Conservative Party have in the last few years very cleverly planned and ensured the annihilation of Labour in Scotland and have also secured a majority in England for the foreseeable future. One thing the Conservative Party is good at is getting their supporters out to vote.
    Contrast this with the SNP’s last ditch efforts (given the amount of available time in the Independence Referendum) to get all potential voters actually registered. I have seen no campaign leaflets for the forthcoming Parliamentary election from Labour (the SNP or any other Party) – except for the Conservative Party – and I have seen ‘very proactive’ evidence of them contacting all available voters to their cause.

    What proportion (assuming these figures to be correct) of the ‘84%’ of the over 55s are likely to be o’ independent mind?

    I would urge that no election is won by being complacent i.e. if you want to win, and win well, (whatever party you support) then you need to make your vote(s) counts and get as many of similar mind to do the same.

  7. TheBabelFish says:

    Now, I always like to be as encouraging as possible to our emerging political activists. If you are a member of this group, I urge you to remain engaged, you play a vital role and your time (for leadership) will come. But I’m sorry, if you’re too young to remember Margaret Thatcher then you are ill-equipped to put yourself forward as an alternative First Minister at this time. Without a comprehensive understanding of that era pretty much nothing you see before you in today’s political landscape makes any kind of sense.

    An enjoyable piece of well-aimed invective, as we’ve come to expect from the author.

  8. TheBabelFish says:

    Reblogged this on The Babel Fish and commented:
    An enjoyable piece of well-aimed invective, as we’ve come to expect from the author.

  9. Sister Anonymous says:

    Right, to be fair, i don’t think the fact Maggie Thatcher was a homophobe means that it’s a sin to be a gay Tory. Just like the fact Gordon Wilson was an Anglophobe doesn’t mean you can’t be an SNP supporter with English roots.

    • weegingerdug says:

      That’s an analogical fail.

      • Sister Anonymous says:

        Mind explaining? 🙂

        • weegingerdug says:

          Thatcher used homophobia as a weapon against her political opponents. Section 28 (look it up) was a measure designed to limit the influence of Labour local authorities. She deliberately caused misery to gay people in pursuit of her political agenda without caring about the consequences. Homophobia was official Tory policy. I’m old enough to remember the 1980s, I don’t think you are.

          If you have evidence of Gordon Wilson’s anglophobia then say what it is. He referred to the “cancer of South East England” but his remarks make it clear he regarded the south east as much of a cancer for the rest of England as for Scotland. That doesn’t make it anglophobic, nasty maybe but not anti-English per se. He certainly didn’t stoke up hatred of English people in Scotland as official SNP policy. He was anti-Catholic at one point in his life, views for which he has since apologised. I’m unaware of any Conservative apology for section 28.

          • Sister Anonymous says:

            Accept your point, but a politician should know better. It’s the same as when Nigel Farage dog whistles about Polish people- i doubt he’s an actual racist, but he appeals to people’s sense of xenophobia and makes it more acceptable by bringing views like that into public debate. A bit like a (much) less extreme version of the “rivers of blood” speech.

            Only so much i can say about section 28 cause (as you say) i’m not old enough to have experienced it, but Cameron did apologise for it:


            • jdman says:

              You may be mixing Farage up with Ian Smart who made the infamous comment “Better 100 years of Tory rule than a failed Scotland turning on Poles and Pakis” is that what you were referring to? btw(not so ) Smart is a Labour supporter and Ex-president of the Scottish Law society fyi.

    • TheBabelFish says:

      To be even fairer, I don’t think Maggie Thatcher WAS a homophobe, although many of her colleagues undoubtedly were. She simply didn’t give a shit about anything like that. Didn’t think it mattered. She was not a social conservative. Didn’t even seem bothered that half her cabinet were paedophiles. “There’s no such thing as society,” she infamously pronounced. She really didn’t care. But she WAS utterly ruthless, and prepared to use any tactic, stoop to any depth, to advance her vision of, well, the neoliberal dystopia we live in today. The one where people who have deliberately and literally taken food out of the mouths of bairns get asked for ideas on how to tackle the poverty and social problems they and their predecessors went out of their way to create. And THAT is why it’s a sin to be a Tory, gay or otherwise. Sure, you can be a gay Tory, you just can’t be a gay Tory, or a straight Tory, and also a decent human being. That would be an oxymoron.

      • Sister Anonymous says:

        Gonna have to disagree with you there. Morality goes deeper than politics.

        • TheBabelFish says:

          On what basis could you disagree? Are you suggesting that it’s possible to be a moral person and be part of a political organisation that has chosen to put immorality at its very heart, as its fundamental, existential principle? That’s going to take some explaining I’m afraid.

          • Sister Anonymous says:

            Just to clarify, what is the “fundamental, existential immorality” at the heart of the Tory Party? Cause i’ve been a member for five years and i don’t remember any pact with the devil to get in. Sure, some policies like cuts to working tax credit are disgusting (and part of the reason why i may by voting SNP this may), but that’s a bit different from being inherently immoral isn’t it?

            • weegingerdug says:

              You must have been too drunk to remember the bit when you had to sacrifice a chicken to the demon Belshahamroth.

              • Sister Anonymous says:

                I was pretty smashed and the satantic chanting was quite distracting, but i’m sure i’d have noticed if Nick Clegg had shown up… :p

            • TheBabelFish says:

              Perhaps amorality would be technically more accurate. It’s all based on the openly and unashamedly amoral philosophy of Ayn Rand. Summarised briefly, its fundamental principles are: Deregulate everything (except in the case of working class defence organisations like unions of course, regulate them to within an inch of their lives). Greed and self-interest are the ONLY motivating factors, and to be lauded. Privatise everything and transfer as much wealth and capital as possible to the elite. The poor and the weak are prey. And there’s no such thing as society, only individuals acting in their own enlightened self-interest. Deal with it. And if you can’t, no excuses, you deserve your fate.

              When Rand was pushing these ideas back in the 40s and 50s, they were considered weird and extreme. These days we know them as the neoliberal consensus. The Conservative Party wasn’t a neoliberal party prior to Thatcher. It was actually a conservative party. Fo a bit ofnd I suggest episode 1 of a documentary called ‘All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace’ – – as if you’ve joined the party Thatcher made, in the last five years, this will demonstrate the sort of Faustian bargain you have, perhaps unknowingly, made.

              • TheBabelFish says:

                Sorry, ‘Fo a bit ofnd’ should have read ‘For a bit of background.’

              • Sister Anonymous says:

                Right, full disclosure, i’m quite a big Ayn Rand fan, but my reading of her is slightly different to yours, and i don’t think she was close at all to Thatcher. Rand (and remember she was a philosopher and not an economist) envisioned a world free of constraints other than those imposed by talent. That meant full gender and racial equality etc, as well as secularism and free speech/conscience guaranteed for everyone. If you read “The Fountainhead” she’s actually quite pro-Uunion, because she recognised that they were the only tool of defence most workers had against an over-mighty state. It’s a little known fact that Rand was slated from the right as much as from the right for her social liberalism, and i’m reasonably sure she’d have been against some of Thatchers more authoritarian measures.

                • TheBabelFish says:

                  Ah. Then I fear you are truly lost. Yes, she ‘…envisioned a world free of constraints other than those imposed by talent.’ But that was in order that the cleverest psychopaths (yes, she was demonstrably a psychopath, on any relevant test) would inevitably, and desirably, reach the top at the expense of others. That was why she took the libertarian view that the only valid role for government was to protect private property. Just so the cleverest organised psychopaths would win, rather than the strongest and most violent you understand. She would not have approved of institutionalised racism or other forms of discrimination, mainly because that was in her view beyond the purview of the state, but as to individual cases she would merely have dismissed them as irrational, and none of her concern.

                  Social liberalism? I don’t think that’s what most people understand by that term, which is why I opted for ‘libertarianism.’ She certainly wasn’t any kind of philosophical conservative, a far more respectable stance in my view, so yes, she was criticised from that quarter, as you might expect. That ideological struggle was then played out in the Tory party in the 70s. Her side won. She wouldn’t have had a problem with Thatcher’s authoritarian measures, as you suggest, as they were invariably undertaken in the defence of private property and individual wealth.

                • TheBabelFish says:

                  Oh, and just to complete the chain, the link is Rand devotee Milton Friedman, of whom Thatcher as an acolyte. Although perhaps, given that we tend to overestimate the influence of politicians, Alan Greenspan was ultimately her most influential follower.

            • If you had grown up in Lanarkshire or Ayshire or Renfrewshire or Midlothian in the early 1980s you might have had a different opinion.

              You could do worse than watch The Boys From The Black Stuff DVD 9to prove it wasn’t just Scotland).

              For some of us who lived through it (like myself and Paul) the Tories are beyond redemption forever for what they did because, frankly, there are somethings which just can’t be forgiven.

              Does that make me a bad person? Maybe but I’ll live with it.

              • macart763 says:

                You’re not wrong Steve.

                You really did have to be there to understand and I’ll not forget anytime soon. Near as I can tell today’s parliamentary Conservative is merely carrying on where the last lot left off. There is a ‘lack’ in them which allows them to govern as they do IMO.

                Empathy, simple human fellow feeling. Where most people see want and need, they see a drain. Where people see diversity, they see otherness. When looking at the world they don’t look for friends, they divide the world into foreigners or markets to exploit, tables to get their feet under.

                They glory in their manipulation of the public via the media, pulling public opinion first one way then the other to suit their needs and all with a casual disregard for ‘collateral damage’ in the society they govern.

                So no, you’re not a bad person for remembering, as I do, where the rot began.

                • broadbield says:

                  We really have to keep hammering it home about how nasty (and immoral) the Tories are as a party and as certain individuals. Thatcher destroyed the miners (albeit ably helped by Scargill), laid waste British Industry, promoted the financialisation of the economy with disastrous results, made greed good, encouraged inequality, handed over State (i.e. “our”) assets to private enterprise at knock-down prices etc etc. As said above the present lot are simply finishing the job, but in the interregnum we had Labour refusing to reverse the most offensive of Tory policies, indeed in some areas, strengthening them, while laying the groundwork for making themselves fabulously wealthy once they left office.

                  A (bubonic) plague on all their houses.

  10. Saor Alba says:

    SNP x 2 in May

  11. David Agnew says:

    Scottish labour: viewed by voters as indistinguishable from the Tories but less competent.

    Imagine losing a popularity contest with a party that 8 out of 10 Scots (the same ones wee ruthie thinks never contributed anything of value to the UK) regard as shit on the heel of Scotland’s shoe. Imagine being that party. Imagine being the leader of that party and being told they need to blame Tory austerity they supported while in “opposition” on the SNP. Know then that this is a party that desperately hopes that no one has been paying attention for the last 5 years. Yet – this is a party that got its balls well and truly crushed last May, because people WERE paying attention.

    Labour had fed off Tory anger for almost 50 years & got fat, lazy and complacent – Now the Tories are going to feed off labour. Now that’s Irony for you.

  12. Punklin says:

    Arcane arguments about dead tories’ morality not much help in struggling to build a better Scotland. Gotta go – some drying paint to watch…

    • TheBabelFish says:

      Well you see, I’m luckier than you. I have a load of washing on that I have to wait for. 😉 And arcane arguments can be fun and educational. History is context.

      • RabMacPhoto says:


        Have to agree with you there – never paid much heed to Rand in the past, but your “argument” above has piqued my interest 😊

        • TheBabelFish says:

          I never paid much heed to her either, for a long time, but her name just kept cropping up. And as you’d have seen, the Tories know about her. Know thine enemy. The time when I’d have expected to come across her, when I was a Sci-Fi nerd in my teens, I didn’t. Her books were considered Science Fiction, but she didn’t receive much critical acclaim and was never nominated for any of the main awards. The books became popular later with an entirely different audience. Some consider her a philosopher but only, I think in the same way I consider (with considerably more justification IMHO) Douglas Adams to be a philosopher.

      • Jan Cowan says:

        Couldn’t agree more.

  13. Being of ‘a certain age’ I lived through ‘Thatcher Rule’ in Scotland including the 84’85 miners’ strike.

    The establishment press launched a prototype ‘Project Fear’ against the strikers, which was completely successful (and ruthless) in turning public opinion against the strikers, e.g. 5 months after WPC Fletcher was murdered outside the London Libyan Embassy, the tory press launched a classic smear campaign against miner leader Arthur Scargill, accusing him of having traveled to Libya and being in the pay of Gadaffi. It was all proven to be nonsense but the truth only surfaced after the strike was defeated.

    The press smeared the miners as being in the pocket of the Soviet Union. Similarly, Salmond was dubbed Putin’s friend in the same vein, not that long ago.

    It was also a classic press ploy to smear miners as ‘violent’; never the ‘brave’ police, none of whom were ever charged for damning filmed assaults on miners. In the exact same mode, the UK press smeared YESsers as the only ‘violent’ & ‘hate filled’ side, quite ignoring all evidence to the contrary, and, in fact, all serious violence stemmed from the NO side.

    Just as Scargill & other miner leaders became objects to ‘fear’ and therefore much press ridicule, so too did Salmond become sinister and a threat to all ‘right minded’ people. Witness the good people of Lewes buring not one but two effigies of the First Minister, thanks to how the UK press ‘worked Salmond over’ in the public’s perception.

    Three years after the strike ended Thatcher came to watch the Scottish Cup final at Hampden, in 1988, right at the height of her ‘popularity’ in Scotland, having introduced the poll tax on Scots as her lab rats. I imagine she wished to rub Scotland’s face into the fact that she was in charge.It was a glorious sunny day in Glasgow; Celtic v Dundee United. At the ground hundreds of Scots distributed red cards to fans on both sides going into the ground. Thatcher was advised by the police not to take her seat until the teams were on the pitch to minimise the risk of any ‘disturbances’ But the fans knew she was appearing and when she did emerge into the Directors Box, the deafening boos & whistles began and continued for many minutes. As Thatcher sat down she was treated to a sea of red cards being waved at her from both sets of unified Scottish football fans, to the endearing ditty, “Maggie, Maggie, get to f**k, Maggie get to f**k.”

    Defeated miner leader, Mick Magahey was seated two seats along from Thatcher in the Directors’ Box. They briefly acknowledged each other. Thatcher tried to engage in a more prolonged chat but Mick looked steadfastly away. He was aware by that point that MI5 has bugged all his phone calls during the strike on Thatcher’s orders. Mick referred to her as the ‘Bubonic Blonde’. She referred to him as ‘the enemy within’. Their brief chat, in the sun, was not, sadly, recorded for posterity.

    And here we all are, nearly 30 years later. Mick & Thatcher both dead, and Scotland still being worked over by the Tories. Fluffy & Ruth Davidson both in denial, hanging by a few threads, thanks only to their rotten, lying press & their rotten, lying BBC.

    But one by one the threads are being cut.

    • Scottish journalists peddling their daily dross should hang their heads in shame. BBC Scotland 2016 is an outrage to democracy. Yet we have to put up with this Fourth Estate propaganda…Not long now…

  14. Davy says:

    I also remember the tories in the eighties, I remember the absolute sense of helplessness in Scotland during that time. No matter what scotland said or protested against, that bitch from hell and her tory party didn’t give a shite.

    Thatcher and her minions could do whatever they felt like to Scotland and freqently did, they had no scottish government to hold them in check and labour was as effective as a choclate ashtray.

    God help Scotland if the tories ever got even a sniff of being in government here, only with independence will our country be free of the stench of thatcher and her ilk. Ruth Davidson may be the press’s new head girl but I will never forget what her party did to this country back in the eighties and just have a look at the people who attend their conferences, their mostly from that time and then remember the evil they did.

    A little advice : Never think the tories are Scotlands friend – EVER.

  15. TheBabelFish says:

    This is what I mean about history. It’s important. And this is not ancient, it’s living history we’re telling here. I can hardly believe it myself, but I have kids who are grown up and highly opinionated and politicised, who were born in the post-Thatcher era. We need to keep telling them how it was. And it was bloody horrific. I suffered through the first five years of her, campaigned against her as a student, remember the miners’ strike. I never had a proper job other than casual labouring and washing up, and I had to go to London to get even that, then I effectively became an economic refugee. I was able to come back for a year in 86/87 with some Australian savings as a safety net. I saw in graphic detail what she did to my community. You can walk around Clydebank today and see how much of it’s just not there. You’re in the centre of town and there are huge empty spaces everywhere. She and her policies literally ripped the heart out of the place. I conceived a deep and abiding hatred for her, the Tories and everything they stand for. I’m not a hater. I rarely use the word. I could count on the fingers of one hand the people I’d say that of, and still have enough fingers left to tell them what I thought of them. But she has always been at the top of that extremely short list.

    • RabMacPhoto says:

      I lasted until 86 then, after a spell in the Outer Hebrides, moved to London, an economic refugee like yourself.

      Made redundant twice by the age of 21, unable to find work (except cash in hand; if you didn’t live through it, don’t judge me!) what other choice did I have? I should say rather *we*, there were a lot of us around Camberwell.

      30 years on and I’m still here, but that’s been more necessity than choice for the last 16+ years.

      • TheBabelFish says:

        Oh, I’d be the last to judge you Rab, we’ve all done it. In fact it was in effect government sanctioned. I was in Chelsea when I first got to London, and the irony was not lost on me. Some of the most indecent displays of ostentatious wealth side by side with a load of internally displaced people on the dole, living in a big backpackers hostel. When I inquired, I was told to try Fulham Broadway Job Centre for work. It was the clearing house for all the casual jobs in West London. You would show up there at 4 or 5 in the morning, and when they opened whoever was first in the queue had first pick of whatever casual jobs had come in early that morning. The vast majority were cash in hand. The Job Centre operated a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.

  16. Morna Kirk says:

    I just love WGD and all the comments. It’s always incise, witty and the comments are always educational. Thanks for the history WGD, Bibbit and BabelFish. I too remember the Thatcher years and in my eyes she was the font of all evil.
    It’s good to hear Sister Anonymous’s point of view, but …really? Shakes head in disbelief!

  17. braveheart1314 says:

    There is no argument the Tories are inherently evil ,no other word comes close to describing them.
    Just as Labour have a sense of e titlement the Tories have a sense of superiority over us filthy,lazy poor plebs.
    However much as I loathe even the very word Tory, I hold my greatest contempt and disgust for the Labour lot.
    Let us not forget they held sway throughout Scotla d cor nigh on 60 years.
    In that time the poor remained poor wbile they e riched themselves.
    While Thatcher rode roughshod all over Scotland and our induztriez the famous Feeble Fifty dix next to f@@@ all to halt her and her stormtroopers.
    They only ever (and still do) acted on behalf of what was good for the Labour Party.
    Tbey have corrupted and polluted ever part of our country with their placemen and women.
    Tbey have said for decades TINA to Westmi ster Rule.
    Even tbough tbey know that to be a lie.
    However it is best for Labour Party not the people of Scotland.
    The Tories are open in their intentions, the sneamy Labour Party promise the poor sal ation at every election just as tbey are stealing tbeir purses and wallets.

  18. macart763 says:

    I tend to judge people by their actions.

    The Tories, with all their years of power, have only been ‘good’ for a small section of UK society, that being those and such as those. As a government the job is to administer for ALL of your electorate, that is ALL of the people within your care from the least able among us, to the most fortunate. How you treat the poorest and most disadvantaged among you marks your progress as both a human being and a society. How you communicate with other fellow human beings, can tell you a lot about an individual or indeed a collective. I’ve seen decades of disrespect and abuse handed down by the political elite, but the recent Scotland debates in Commons should pretty much leave no one in any doubt as to what true blue Conservatism stands for.

    Their speakers literally oozed condscension, righteous entitlement and lack of respect. Their speeches reeked of triumphalism and as for their responses to any amendment put forward by Scotland’s representation? I’ll not forget the cheering and laughing any time soon as they binned, out of hand, all twenty amendments, but most importantly FFA. Near empty chambers during debate, near full for the ballots. That should also tell you all you need to know about their idea of respect.

    But they don’t just reserve this attitude toward Scotland, oh no. No, they pretty much have no respect for anyone unless its someone who weilds more power and wealth than them. The rest of us are there to be taxed used and abused right up until we are of no further use to the state and then the hounds of hell, the media and DWP, are unleashed on our sorry asses.

    So yeah, the Conservatives, then as now, are pretty much elitist, self serving, divisive and greed driven.

    As for how they conduct their politics? You could write a book that would make War and Peace look like a pamphlet on their ruthless use of patronage, privilege, scapegoating, demonisation, division, lies, misdirection, broken pledges and outright fucking treachery.

    But ‘that’s politics’ right?

  19. Davy says:

    I try very hard not to be a hater and I try to explain to my 12 year son not to hate just because something or some person does not agree with him.

    But that woman was the worst of the worst and I do hate her with every fiber of my being, and for those who do not understand this, you had to have lived in that time then I can assure you, you would understand.

  20. Thank you Paul.

    ‘Ruthie doesn’t recall the rampant homophobia that Thatcher stoked as a weapon to use against her political enemies. But some of the rest of us do, and we’re revolted by the image of a gay Scottish woman who parades in Thatcher’s cast offs like a third rate drag act in a down market bar. Ruthie’s message is that the need for social progress, the need to right injustice, the need to achieve equality, it all ended as soon as Ruthie got hers.’

    For me, one abiding piece of imagery as a direct product of the Thatcher years was the AIDS advert of 1986. When seen now, thirty years on, you feel the same revulsion and astonishment as you would when looking at the BBC’s Black and White Minstrel Show. And yet, at the time, this type of public information film was passed as ‘acceptable’ albeit much discussed at the time.

    Under the guise of a public information film, the ‘film/advert’ was made by the ‘Goebbels’ of the Tory Party, Saatchi & Saatchi, and clearly invoked the wrath of GOD him/her/itself (played by the voiceover of John Hurt) on homosexuals (primarily). The Charlton Heston/Moses type judgement was delivered on a tablet of stone replete with Beethoven music and white lilies (the flowers of death). But, the language used was even more chilling. The commentary used the divisive adjective, ‘infected’ as if the disease’s victims were ’28 days later’ zombies. Which is simply to say, not human.

    This was evil. All her children should acknowledge this.

  21. Francis Mooney says:

    Chilling. Excellent piece.

  22. Luigi says:

    “By comparison with Labour as it sinks to the Marianas Trench of Scottish politics, the Tories are doing the doggy paddle.”

    That’s a keeper!. 🙂

  23. mogabee says:

    Yes, Thatcher was evil. She surrounded herself with evil sycophants who did her bidding. She set out quite deliberately to destroy communities and industries which many of her more recent sycophants condescendingly argue was due to “market forces”.

    And here we have again the Tories imposing those same arguments to various sections of society today.

    Well, Scotland has a government led by people who will fight FOR us all and that gives me hope, both for the country and indirectly the rest of these islands.

  24. Thatcher could only afford to break the unions from the billions of north sea oil & gas tax revenue.

    What a curse oil has been to both the ordinary people of the UK as a whole and the ordinary people in Scotland in particular.

    Oil is why the rUK will never let us go willingly. Oil is why we had Project Fear.

    Thank God for the internet. The truth is out there.

    Why else does China & North Korea allow no internet freedom?

  25. Sister Anonymous says:

    Ok, sorry for the delay, i fell asleep and had work, currently typing this out on my lunch break so apologies if it’s a bit rushed.

    Obviously i’m not going to convince anyone here to vote Tory, which is fine, but i think it’s wrong to say that it’s morally wrong to be a Tory, or that the party exists to defend the privileges of the rich. If the second one was true, then why are there so many working-class Tory voters? I grew up in a council flat, i shared a bedroom with two of my brothers, so i suppose i’m living proof that the Bullingdon Boy stereotype doesn’t apply to all right-wingers.

    Because my parents were very hard-left and nationalist, and because i had a rocky relationship with them, as well as because i grew up seeing the stultifying effect of socialist government (both SNP and Labour) on the community i grew up in (and because i sadly have a tendency to be stroppy), i fell into the trap of thinking that all left wingers and nationalists were bad people. So i understand where you’re coming from. However, it was a mistake by me the think like that, and i would really recommend you not to do the same from the other end of the political spectrum

    • ‘Why are so many working class voters Tory’? That condition is more prevalent in England & Wales than Scotland. In Scotland, working class tories whom I have met, appear to hail from the unionist orange order mentality which fears losing the monarchy.

      • Sorry someone rang and I posted too early. Can you give an example please of the ‘stultifying effect’ of an SNP policy in the community you grew up in? I’m not sure what you can mean. I have an aunt & uncle who are working class tories. They did not like Thatcher so are small c conservatives. they honestly tell me as they are well off that they vote Tory because they protect the elderly pensions and savings. I love them despite their tory views!

        • PLUS they both voted yes in the indy ref, so not all tories are automatic no voters.

        • Sister Anonymous says:

          Well for example free tuition: sounds like a good idea on paper, but in practice it means that Scotland has the lowest proportion of students from the poorest background anywhere in the UK. IMHO if you can afford to go to private school, the state shouldn’t pay for your prescriptions or your Uni fees.

          • Can you explain how your above assertion works please? Are you saying that if the ‘poorest’ have to pay educational tuition fees, this will encourage more of them going onto further education?

            As you mention private schools, why don’t Dave, Boris & Gideon remove the ‘charity’ status to their old school, ‘Eton’?

            The dictionary definition of ‘charity’ in this sense is:

            “an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need’.

            IMHO if you can afford Eton’s fees, you are hardly in the “in need” category.

            Why does the Tory party create an unfair burden on ‘the poorest’ tax payers and taxed pensions, whilst Eton et al, avoids tax?

            Shouldn’t all sections of society act responsibly and pay their fair share? This would lessen the load for ‘the poorest’.

            • Sister Anonymous says:

              Sorry if i didn’t make that clear: The poorest shouldn’t have to pay more, i said wealthy people shouldn’t be subsidised by the state. Unfortunately universalist approaches to welfare (as used by the SNP) tend to help the middle classes at the expense of the poor (something that has been brought up by the SNP’s own anti-poverty adviser.)

              Undecided on the whole private schools issue, tbh

              • So, as a tory, are you advocating the abolition of the (universal) state pension & the universality of the NHS?

                That’s puzzling to me. After all, tories advised that the safest option of preserving the universal state pension and the NHS was to vote against ‘separation’.

                I come from a working class background and I obtained two university degrees. I used one degree to set up my own company. I could not have obtained any of this without the state’s assistance. The state helped me and now I help the state, by paying my taxes & my NI. I employ others and they too pay their taxes. Far from free education ‘stultifying’ my future, it liberated it.

                I rubbed shoulders at Uni with an Earl whose godmother is the Queen and I rubbed shoulders with a then brilliant young actor (who now appears in Game of Thrones). My grandfathers were Greenock dockers and here was the Queen’s godson asking to borrow my lecture notes. I met a Polish girl and for years sent her pots and pans in Poland as the Cold War endured.

                My point is, we were all there on our own merits. We did not buy our way in. (Unlike Eton). In Scotland, our students are still all there on their own merits, and I am rather proud of my country for that and for the unique and precious start in life which it entrusted in me. Stultifying? Not for a single moment.

                • Sister Anonymous says:

                  Inspiring story. People like you are exactly why capitalism works :p

                  This isn’t the Tory line, but if it were up to me, then yes i would get rid of free healthcare and pensions for the very wealthiest. No need for it.

                • Sister Anonymous says:

                  Also, facts are facts: Scotland has a lower proportion of working class students than anywhere else in the UK. You may have done well out of it (and i applaud you for it) but the vast majority of people haven’t:

                  With that in mind, unless you think that working class people have less of the aptitudes needed to go to Uni (which i’m sure you don’t), you might want to consider your position about Scottish students all being at university “on their own merits.”

                  • I have noticed the Telegraph, Glasgow Herald & Scotsman have all been running this story of a smaller proportion of students in Scotland from the poorest backgrounds. However these percentages have been disputed by the Scottish Government and although it is true to a ceratin degree, the differences between Scotland and rUK has been distorted in rUK’s favour by differences in how both countries categorize ‘poorest’ and the time periods in question were more historical in Scotland than in rUK.

                    But if we wish to stick to to facts, here are some facts, which should make the UK Tory government hang its collective head in shame. Latest published figures 13/14: ~

                    1. While relative poverty in Scotland fell, it remained flat in the UK.
                    2. Poverty has fallen faster in Scotland than in the UK.
                    3. Incomes increased in Scotland but remained flat in the UK,
                    4. Child poverty before housing costs decreased in Scotland, but no change in the UK.
                    5. In Scotland 14% of children were in poverty before housing costs but 17% in the UK. This was a decrease from 19% in 2012/13 in Scotland, with no change in the UK. Since 2000/01, child poverty before housing costs in Scotland has fallen from 27% to 14%. In the UK the decrease has been smaller, from 23% to 17%. After housing costs, child poverty in Scotland remained at 22% but increased to 28% in the UK (from 27%). Child poverty after housing costs has fallen faster in Scotland than the UK. Since 2000/01 child poverty in Scotland after housing costs fell from 32% to 14%, compared with a fall from 31% to 28% in the UK.
                    6. After housing costs, working age poverty is lower in Scotland than in the UK.
                    7. 15% of pensioners were in poverty before housing costs in Scotland, compared with 16% in the UK.
                    8. The proportion of children in poverty before housing costs living in working households decreased in Scotland but increased in the UK.
                    9. Working age adults in in-work poverty decreased in Scotland but increased in the UK, both before and after housing costs.
                    10. After housing costs, 50% of working age adults in poverty in Scotland were in working households, compared with 64% in the UK. In Scotland, the proportion of working age adults in in-work poverty after housing costs decreased from 56% to 50% in the latest year, compared with an increase in the UK to 64% (from 62%).
                    11. Absolute poverty before and after housing costs decreased in Scotland in 2013/14, but remained unchanged in the UK.
                    12. Scottish equivalised median household income was £24,000 (£460 per week), up from £23,700 in 2012/13. In the UK it remained at £23,600 (£453 per week).
                    13. Average real terms household income in the UK was at levels last seen in 2000/01. Average real terms household income in Scotland was at levels last seen in 2003/04.
                    14. Income inequality in Scotland decreased in Scotland but not in the UK


                    Unsurprisingly, you will not find any of these facts printed in the tory ‘Telegraph’, ‘The Herald’ or ‘The Scotsman’. but across all policies, the SNP is outperforming the UK tories. That’s why I am voting SNP/SNP in May. Just think what the SNP will do with full independence.

                    • Sister Anonymous says:

                      Right i’d dispute that but a) I’d need to look into them in more detail and b) i’m not sure if this is the place to get into an argument over whether the Tories or the SNP are better, i was just trying to point out that you can be a Tory without necessarily being an arsehole.*
                      Just a couple of wee points:
                      1) The article wasn’t from the Telegraph, it was from the BBC, which if anything has a left-wing bias
                      2) I might be voting SNP this may actually. I love Ruth Davidson but Cameron’s a liar and Corbyn’s a lunatic, so Sturgeon looks a bit like the best of a bad bunch.

                      *Paul/wgd has my email if you’re interested in having said debate btw.

    • macart763 says:

      Fair response, but one minor point. The SNP aren’t socialists, more social democrats I’d say. I don’t think they’re out to end world capitalism and burn down corporate temples any day soon. Having said that, Labour aren’t the very picture of left wing socialism either and haven’t been for over twenty years.

      You’ll note most of the posts aren’t aimed at the Conservative voter, but at the parliamentarians.

      As for who people vote for? Well when it comes to general elections, people in Scotland tend to get whoever the people of England vote for. Why do they vote the way they do? Why does anyone vote the way they do?

      Well that’s one for you to have a think about. 🙂

      • Sister Anonymous says:

        Well i’d argue that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is as close to left wing socialism as you’re gonna get but rest of your point taken.

        • macart763 says:

          Heh, jury is out on Mr Corbyn’s Labour. I suspect the man wears a dagger proof semmit at the moment and has developed eyes in the back of his head. His party is most definitely going through a dark night of the soul and the Blairites are, I think, going to move heaven and earth to ensure that they retain the positions they’ve become accustomed to.

          I have a strong feeling that Mr Corbyn would be fortunate to survive in post beyond 2020.

  26. brewsed says:

    Well summed up.

    One might find it a bit incongruous to find Ms Davidson giving a lecture about poverty at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, whose web site has an ‘about’ statement: ‘Our vision is for a prosperous UK without poverty where everyone can thrive and contribute’, but, know your enemy and all that.

    Ms Davidson’s lecture started with the argument that all individuals are able, through will power and sheer guts, to make it in life, an argument she seems to agree with and thereby lies (and lies) the problem; not all individuals are so enabled and, unassisted, may not make it in life. The rest of the lecture is waffle, somewhat summed as ‘I met a poor man the other day’, the voluntary sector will solve the problem followed by the un-costed dreamings of someone whose aspiration is to come second, or worse – doggy paddling to stay afloat indeed. Going through the motions in an effluent society.

    I too remember the blight of Thatcher upon our country, the one chosen as the guinea-pig for the poll tax.

    Frank Field, Chair of the Department of Work and Pensions Select Committee Chair notes that, in Birkenhead, the DWP has ‘benefits advisors’ (though they are also referred to as ‘work coaches’) working in a food bank and return visits for a second bag of food has dropped by 65%. I leave you to ponder whether the advisors have provided useful advice or scared them off.

    • hettyforindy says:

      What, how low can these people get, when people are so destitute. Also remember these people are paid to go and harass the starving. Should they even be legally allowed into the foodbanks, I would call it harassment of the vulnerable, which is illegal.

      Chances are people are staying away, dread to think what they are surviving on. Hope the perpetrators rot in hell.

    • RabMacPhoto says:

      It turns out that the “benefits advisor” in question is an independent advocate, who actually helps people in dispute with the DWP.

      Although it has to be said that the DWP have been paying close attention & will try to place staff in foodbanks.

      I’ll have a search for the link to the article, which is somewhere in my phone,and post it for you.

  27. Tinto Chiel says:

    Another great article, Paul. Ruthie Tank-Straddler really should be really ashamed of Thatcher’s anti-gay campaign in the 80s, which was vicious.

    Macart has summed it up really but always remember what the Conservatives want to conserve is their vice-like grip on wealth, preferment and entitlement. Their sense of the latter, and their contempt for the rest of us, is limitless.

    I was brought up in a working-class Tory household in the fifties. Remember the Tories achieved a majority of Scottish voters in 1955! In Lanarkshire I feel sectarianism played a part in voting intentions: working-class Protestants tended to vote Tory and Catholics, Labour. I still remember seeing Cummings’ cartoons of Mick McGahey in the ghastly Scottish Daily Express, his scar in the shape of a hammer and sickle.

    The world of work soon found me sympathising with him rather than any Tory and I remember a great speech he made at Motherwell Town Hall at the time of the Miners’ Strike to a hall full of steelworkers: not an easy audience, I might add. His simple but elegant sincerity carried the day.

    To think that the Tories are vying with Labour for a distant second in Scotland shows the appalling depths Labour have reached. I am not sure they have plumbed them completely yet.

    We in Scotland are on the verge of something big: the walls of Unionist Jericho just need a few more blasts and the whole rotten edifice will come tumbling down. Ruthie’s going to need more than a tank for this one, I feel.

    One day our children will wonder how we could have tholed such a dreadful and disadvantageous relationship for so long. Were we mad? Were we blind?

    • macart763M says:

      Not surprisingly, I’ve already fielded both of those questions from my two teenagers (who are very pro generation yes).

      I had no answer for them. How could you explain the attitudes of 60s, 70s, 80s to 21st century youth? I simply replied, ‘its a work in progress’. 🙂

  28. Jan Cowan says:

    Keep telling someone they’re worthless and in time they believe it. Remove confidence and you have a virtual slave.
    So we were neither mad nor blind but trampled upon. Luckily, some are born with an independent mind and now many, having gained the confidence to think clearly, follow them.

    SNP x 2 ……..naturally!

  29. hettyforindy says:

    Great article.
    Some really great comments and discussions here. Not really interested in what Sister whatever says, but to hear people’s accounts of thatchers rule is a good reminder just how horrendous she and her extreme right wing cabinet were. The ‘on your bike’ lot, and the, ‘only buy whats on your shopping list’ (thatcher herself said this to the starved jobless, and those desperate for work due to her fckg destruction of our industries) were savage, yet look at what they were up to while raiding the public coffers by god.

    The privatisation of the peoples’ industries, the chipping away at the amazing, world reknowned NHS, they were utterly immoral, greedy, troughing gits and nothing has changed.

    Scotland has to get out of this destructive, backward union before it is too late.

    SNPx2 in May.

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