A guest post by The G-man Yes Scotland’s Future
Despite the rise in people engaging with politics since the Independence Referendum the media still focus on leaders not ordinary people. Leaders are figureheads but its real people who put flyers through letter boxes and convince no voters to change their attitudes.
There are different approaches to leadership in Scottish politics. There is leading by example and past performance or leading by soundbite and media spin. The SNP have a good track record of the former and Scottish Labour and the Tories the latter. In the Scottish Parliament and Westminster we have what Joe Strummer would have called ‘cool operators’. In Holyrood Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney holding out to Treasury pressure to stop the theft of £7 billion. In Westminster Stewart Hosie regularly blasts away at Westminster elite, and Mhairi Black at just 21 has made a mark for herself in defending women’s pension rights – no other takers for that cause it seems from Unionist parties.The 56 MP’s and next years Holyrood intake look like providing our parliament with the three ’S’s and I don’t mean Sun,Sex and Sangria. SUCCESSION, because there are new people coming through who look inspiring. SUSTAINABILITY, because even though the next independence referendum may be sooner than we had hoped, we need a strong Scottish Government, and STABILITY. We need it and that is why splitting the second vote is not a good idea until we achieve independence.
Driving home I was reminded of a theme in a radio phone-in show this week where they wanted listeners to highlight performers they liked but gave very disappointing ‘live’ performances.
People cited a range of duff live performers. Bob Dylan turning his back to the audience. Van Morrison playing what the audience thought was the first half then heading off to the airport to do another gig. Van Halen failing badly at performing their classic ‘Jump’ due to excess alcohol, and Dead or Alive being booted off of ‘The Tube’ just for not being able to play at all. You get the picture? All of the comments had one thing in common, the ‘image’ of the group or performer that was conveyed in the video or the studio album was just not followed through to the actual stage show. Plenty of stage shows in Scottish conference season right now. We just had an amazing one at the SNP’s jam packed SECC event. It was inspiring and while the pre- conference news was all about playing down the news about next steps to Independence it delivered. The announcement about a new campaign for Independence was warmly welcomed and it feels like the Yes movement has been listened to again!
The Scottish Labour Conference for me is looking more like an early Kraftwerk gig. The German electronic outfit were famous for experimentation, unlike Scottish Labour! On a few occasions the band fooled people by having concerts simultaneously in two cities at the one time. They used robotic band members and played the same songs.Ticket paying punters either got the real deal or the artistic/robot performance. Isn’t that what every Scottish Labour conference is and has been for decades? It is a ‘branch office’ clone of the national event- one which Jeremy Corbyn will not attend this year, allegedly to give ‘Kezia her place’. What he is actually doing is distancing himself from failure. Both Corbyn and deputy Leader McDonnell will not be attending, despite the latter being in Scotland. A report in the Statesman on Labour’s disastrous 2015 election highlighted how far the ground has shifted for Labour in Scotland. In our opinion, this may be why Jeremy is giving it the big body swerve.
Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, whose recent re-shuffle turned out to be more of an old shuffle does not have much if any ‘new blood’. Who will succeed? Jackie Baillie, Neil Findlay- whose outburst at parliament nearly got him expelled, is he worthy of governing or is he just taking an MSP salary? Old establishment links are still showing. Alistair Campbell, Blair’s spin doctor, was up here helping old BBC chum Ken MacIntosh. He tries to call the SNP arrogant when Chillcot still has not reported on Blair’s war crimes. Campbell also has a bash at Boris, London Mayor, for scaremongering on EU. Coming from a Labour spin doctor that is rich! Reminded of a twitter joke which came out during Indyref- you know who you are Sangiv. ‘There is a spare unit between our local fishmongers and ironmongers, would Better Together/AKA Scottish Labour/ The Tories and the Lib Dems like to open a Scaremongers shop there?’ Alistair Campbell is a spin doctor by profession but we can assure him that his party were among the worst scaremongers during Indyref by terrifying our pensioners with threats of independence costing them their pensions.They were worse than Ian Duncan Smith, (recently portrayed as Nosferatu by Steve Bell, Labour’s favourite cartoonist).
When speaking at conferences you need to be careful what road you take. The ‘Donald’ has been unleashed in the U.S. by the right wing inciting hatred against Barack Obama. Let us remind the media, we stood up to Trump long before it was ‘cool’ to do so. We hear now that his followers have declared themselves the ‘Lion Guards’ in a similar way to the ‘Brown Shirts’ who protected Hitler in his earlier political days before he swept all opposition away. This reminds me of that wee but quite significant input by an ex-Labour candidate, seen most recently and surprisingly on a BBC Question Time from Dundee posing a question from the audience, who at one time likened young people joining their families in a protest against the BBC of being like the Hitler Youth. Nazi jibes from Labour politicians against our democratically elected politicians will not win votes. Over the last few days Clydebank has commemorated the bombings of houses, factories and shipyards by Nazi German Planes in 1941. Despite the years going by there has never been a proper commemoration of this event at a national level- we hear there is now going to be one. At the time the information was suppressed. No one has yet made the link to peace in the EU debate. For us the memories of Clydebank should highlight this.
In our opinion, when it comes to actual ‘Live’ performance, Labour of recent times have been shocking. The Labour conference website is inviting people to attend and having checked out their website for how to attend, we were unable to find any comments just a day before the event. They are apparently a party in terminal decline. It appears the heather is not going to be even slightly scorched let alone be set alight. Kezia Dugdale always disappoints at FMQT because she has somebody sensible to challenge her assertions. At the conference this weekend she will make some statements without having such a challenge and she will have the full spotlight of the BBC and Murdoch media to fall back on. Her performance will be finessed by exposure in the main stream media arena. She will still not be a patch on the performance of our democratically elected leaders who have kept our dream of Independence alive and are looking for our support in May to make a fairer Scotland a reality.