Red white and blue complacency

There’s an important question to be asked in Scottish politics. Important like it’s important to ask how much life remains in a zombie. That question is, what precisely would it take to get the leadership of the Labour party in Scotland to recognise that Scotland’s best interests would be served by independence, and not by remaining a part of the UK. We got an answer to that question yesterday, and the answer is “nothing at all”.

There are no imaginable circumstances under which Kezia Dugdale and Anas Sarwar would concede that the Union gemme is a bogey as far as Scotland is concerned. Theresa May is taking the UK out of the EU, out of the single market, out of the supervision of the European courts which guarantee our employment and civil rights, and Labour is fine with that. We’re deeply disappointed, said Labour in Scotland, but it’s not an excuse for an independence referendum.

Theresa May could announce that in order to tackle the UK’s eye watering national debt she had decided to sell off five year olds into a life of servitude in the slave army of the extraterrestrial lizard people from Alpha Centauri, and Labour in Scotland would put out a statement saying that they were deeply disappointed that children were being put on spacecraft and sent off to the radium infested dilithium mines of the Cygnus Quadrant, but it wasn’t an excuse for another independence referendum and we should welcome the opportunity that being a part of the UK single market gives Scotland to strike trade deals with our alien lizard overlords.

It would be just another example of what Theresa May called on Tuesday Britain’s proudly internationalist history. Which is an interesting way of describing the slave trade, colonialism, genocide, and imperialism. She chose to present her Brexit speech while dressed in a clown costume, because it’s the only way that anyone could make Boris Johnson seem like a serious statesperson.  And she chose well, because today the world is laughing at Britain, the toothless mangy cat that thinks it can roar like a lion.  Britain is an embarrassment.  There is a justifiable cringe in Scotland, and it’s the cringe that comes from the realisation that these selfish self-serving arrogant fools represent us on the world stage.

The Tories could announce that as a cost saving measure they were replacing the NHS with a wire brush and a bottle of dettol which could be hired for a very reasonable rate simply by calling a premium rate phone line, and Labour in Scotland would put out a statement saying that they were deeply disappointed but it wasn’t a reason for another independence referendum. And then they’d add that it’s important to show solidarity with working people in Birmingham and Bristol by scrubbing disabled Scottish people with disinfectant and poking them with brooms.  Showing solidarity with working people in Barcelona or Bonn or Bologna doesn’t occur to Labour, because they’re not nationalists at all.  Oh no. They’re British.  Nationalism is an affliction of lesser breeds.

Labour’s Scottish leadership doesn’t grasp the difference between solidary and a suicide pact. The UK government is driving their bus with its lying £350 million message off a cliff, and Labour in Scotland doesn’t want us to use the emergency door. Saying that there are no circumstances under which you could possibly conceive of a Scotland which would be better off escaping the nasty and vicious state that the UK is becoming is suspiciously cultish behaviour. Although that may possibly be a typo.

To their credit, at least Labour did support a motion in Holyrood on Tuesday to defend Scotland’s place in the single market, albeit with the caveat that it had to be within the UK. The Lib Dems, who like to present themselves as the most stalwart defenders of Britain’s EU membership, voted against the motion along with the Tories. And so Wullie Rennie’s wee band of bus passengers managed to prove that it is actually possibly to be more hypocritical and duplicitous than the Labour party in Scotland. That’s quite an achievement, like having worse hair than Donald Trump.

The Ruth Davidson Fan Club is desperately hoping we forget that just a few short months ago she was telling anyone who would listen that leaving the EU and the single market would be a disaster for the Scottish economy. But within twenty four hours of the EU vote she was bigging up Brexit as the best thing since a bacon butty. Although we’ll be paying a lot more for those in future as most bacon is Danish and the arse has fallen out the pound. Ruthie’s getting off very lightly in the Scottish media for her 180 degree change of mind, but that’s why she likes tanks, because the turret can swivel in any direction.

We know now that the Unionist parties in Scotland are not remotely interested in what’s best for Scotland. Their loyalties lie with the Westminster parliament. What May presented us with on Tuesday was the absolute worst case scenario for Brexit, and for good measure she foolishly threatened the rest of the EU with an economic race to the bottom that the UK can only lose. We’re heading off a Brexit cliff to smash on the rocks of right wing extremism, and what remains will be left to sink or swim as the rich head for the privatised lifeboats. And this foolish arrogant government has the nerve to demand unity.

Yet still Labour and the Lib Dems don’t want Scotland to examine all and every means of escaping the dystopian right wing neoconservative nightmare that is in store for us. A future in which Scotland will be little more than a glorified English region, stripped of all political significance and bereft of influence or any ability to shape the course of UK politics. It’s a state in which Scottish interests are not considered or even noticed.  A state in which Scotland’s role is to allow English nationalists to pretend that their Britishness means they’re not nationalist at all.  We’re destined to be the last vestige of a lost empire, a balm to Britain’s post-imperial angst, existing solely to boost the ego of a decrepit state and to reassure it that it still possesses something.  Britain is the Norma Desmond of Europe, manically cackling that it’s still great even though the role it can play has got small.  If the horrific magnitude of May’s economically catastrophic vision of a hard as nails Brexit won’t shake Kezia or Wullie Rennie out of their red white and blue complacency, nothing will.

Some folk are always going to be a lost cause. We must strive to persuade the less strident and the wavering No voters of last time that this time the disadvantages of remaining a part of the UK far outweigh any risks of becoming an independent country. If you value social democracy, if you treasure public services, if you believe that a country should be run in the interests of the many not the few, if you espouse tolerance and acceptance, if you understand that kindness and dignity go hand in hand, and equality is the lifeblood of a fair and just society, then you have to support independence.  The alternative is a future without a state pension, without the NHS, without public services in a down at heel version of a tax haven where most people struggle to make ends meet and must work like slaves in the dilithium mines until they drop dead from exhaustion and age.

Ironically, if we want to protect and defend the positive things about Britain, the NHS, our public services, an open acceptance of difference, an understanding that diversity is a strength not something to fear, we can only do so with independence. The Britain that 2014’s No voters thought they supported doesn’t exist any more. It has killed itself in the fires of hatred and fear. Scotland doesn’t have to follow. Let’s choose a different path.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-18th-jan-2017

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46 comments on “Red white and blue complacency

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug Red white and blue complacency […]

    • I agree with every word you said, add to Kezia Dugdale and Anus Sarwar Alex Rowley’s performance on Sunday Politics when he dodged questions 4 times. And as for Wee Wullie Rennie and his mini bus of members they no longer count as a political party in Scotland.

  2. John McLeod says:

    Another great piece of writing, Paul.
    British internationalism is built on double-dealing and a sense of entitlement and supremacy. This is the vision that Theresa May has for the future of Britain. Its not a vision I share for the future of Scotland. I want us to work alongside others to make a reality of sustainable ways of living, and do our best to ensure that every person has the opportunity to have a fulfilling life. A central task in all of this is to find ways to massively reduce the use of militarism as the solution for tensions between nations and groups, and replace it with structures that promote dialogue. Flawed as it is, the EU explicitly and actively works toward these goals, with some success. What would a world be like, that was dominated by China, Russia and the USA, without the EU as a counterbalance? Listening to Theresa May yesterday, there was a sense that what she was saying was that we are not Europeans. We are not part of that historical tradition, that complex and enriching set of interconnection of people and institutions. We will be friends with it, and perhaps even acknowledge its value, but we are not to be a real part of it. For me, and I guess for many of us in Scotland (and other parts of Britain) this is physically painful, morally wrong.and points to a bleak future. In my younger days I was drawn to the culture of the USA, which powerfully shaped our inner lives through reading, cinema, music and therapy. It has taken me a long time to realise that the way of life that I grew up with in Dundee is much more aligned to that of our neighbours in Northern Europe, than it is to New York or California. Yesterday, Theresa May offered as a global Britain. Global is everywhere, and also nowhere. We are drifting into the Atlantic – a tax haven with workforce, army and security service for hire to the lowest bidder.

  3. Les Bremner says:

    The big fat lie has not gone unnoticed….

    “And that is why both sides in the referendum campaign made it clear that a vote to leave the EU would be a vote to leave the Single Market.”
    – Theresa May yesterday.
    Compare this to :
    “There is no question about it, Britain will still have access to the single market after we vote leave”
    – Matthew Elliot, chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign

    A transcript of the full speech is here, courtesy of The Telegraph : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/full-text-theresa-may-brexit-speech-global-britain-eu-european-union-latest-a7531361.html She says ‘I’ on 62 occasions.

  4. Macart says:

    That’s a keeper. 🙂

    Well said Paul.

    • For once, I am lost for words, Sam.
      Tax Haven grouse shooting England and its colonies.
      Madness stalks these isles.
      Paul, magnificent.

      • Macart says:

        Basically May told the nation partners of the union to sit down, shut up, eat your cereal and threatened the EU with ‘do it our way, or we’ll take your business’. Just, wow! 😮

        As for Labour’s leadership? They’ve just endorsed isolationism, protectionism and Tory government in perpetuity. Economic hardship, constitutional sabotage, a suffering population and hate crime are apparently prices worth paying to retain a hold on something that never really was there.

        • And the Lib Dem voted with Davidson and the LisTory Boys yesterday.

          • Macart says:

            You know what I find truly sad about that?

            That I am no longer shocked or surprised about anything the Libdems do in Scotland. They’ve betrayed everything they ever stood for, or rather claimed to stand for. The one time they got to power since the days of the great war and their own actions in office destroyed any credibility or trust they may have had. Reversal, betrayal and political scandal have dogged them from 2010 to this very day.

            I’d have been more stunned had they voted with the SG (shrugs).

  5. Weechid. says:

    All the things we warned would happen with a No to independence vote. The nay sayers wouldn’t believe it then and I don’t think they will believe that things will get that bad now either. All you get it “Ach, they’d never do that” while in reality the bad stuff is happening but folk are too wrapped up in the big propaganda cyclops in their homes showing them how wonderful life is if you can buy and sell rubbish at a miniscule profit, learn to dance like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers or just bake that great british cake. Please, someone, tell me how to wake these people up and get them to smell the stench of their own rotting brains before May and co earmark their corpses for Soylent Green. The hardcore britnats, I imagine, are actually very pleased with the way things are. To them anything that damages Scotland, the Scots, our culture and language is good. The conditioning in them is deep and the height of their ambition seems to be limited to whether their “maister” deigns to speak to them, almost like an equal.
    Please, please, someone assure me that we can win this time. I can’t afford to emigrate and won’t have a british passport anyway so I’m stuck here. I want to be stuck in Scotland. I don’t want to be stuck in the Empire’s final outpost.

    • In May’s Brave New England there will be voluntary euthanasia suites, Weechid.
      This time we cannot fail.

      • As an aside, Weechid, I cannot fathom how such a gun totin’ right wing neoliberal nut like Charlton Heston agreed to, and more pertinently was offered the chance to appear in three of the most anti New World Order dystopian movies of the ’60s: Soylent Green, Omega Man, and of course Planet of the Apes.
        The closing scene of POTA when he discovered the Statue of Liberty buried in the sands:
        ‘The Bloody Fools!’
        May Dugdale Davidson Rennie Davis Fox Johnson Corbyn and the rest; Bloody Fools.

        • Weechid. says:

          Probably because both Heston and Hollywood are cynical, capitalist opportunists. The studio get a big name for their film and Heston gets a big pay cheque. There are no morals or scruples in making megabucks – just £ and $ signs. Maybe we should make a Scottish version of POTA with only the broken down walls of Stirling Castle poking through the sand at the end. Planet of the Oranguyoons.

          • Munching a big jam doughnut and washing it down with dark sweet tea.
            Nothing, absolutely nothing, can upset me during this rare and precious ritual, Mmmm.
            A documentary on the three Unionist Leaders, Dugdale, Davidson, and Coalition Rennie?
            “Brainspotting?”
            “Last Tango in the Food Bank?”
            or the Unionists’ favourite moam:-
            ” Bridge On The River. Why?”
            My good mood is drifting away into the afternoon gloaming.

        • robert harrison says:

          oh you mean like those suicide booths shown on futurama jack where people walk in pay the re coin and get killed its possiable with torys in charge

  6. Huzzah that man, huzzah

  7. Brian Powell says:

    And they can’t explain what they would do.
    They remind me of the lead character in Cheers, who faced with losing his bar the next day, said he did have a plan, he would just invent something everybody in the world wanted and make a fortune.

  8. Luigi says:

    Great article, Paul. One of your best (and the competition is tough!). The red and yellow tories must be squirming – things are coming to a head and there is no place to hide. The shoogly, constitutional fence of self-denial and deception is collapsing all around them. When push came to shove, we always knew they would side with the union – it’s in their DNA. The trouble is, many of their Scottish voters (and former voters) do not agree, and they are squabbling over diminishing returns (old, leftie neo-progessive yoons – a dying race). It’s good that they are now fully exposed in broad daylight for what’s left of their support to see. It ain’t pretty. Dying parties never are. 🙂

  9. Agatha Cat says:

    Theresa May really has morphed into Margaret Rutherford in ‘The Mouse That Roared’, and that would be hilarious if we were anywhere else in Europe looking on open-mouthed in bewilderment at the delusional fantasty that is Brexit (whatever it is).

    I wonder what members of socialist or social democratic parties in mainland Europe think of their colleagues in Labour’s Scottish Branch. A similar open-mouthed bewilderment?

  10. Robert Graham says:

    maybe its time to use project fear tactics scare the shit out of the people who voted NO in 2014 , it wont need any lying on our part just the stark unabridged facts of what is on the horizon .
    Possibly the SNP are victims of their own success protecting people from the Toys cuts , maybe a lot of people believe these things just happen as if by magic .
    The SNP need to make it clear all the impediments they have to overcome in order to keep the ship afloat , PFI interest payments courtesy of Labour and Tory and a little help from the Liberals , the eye watering waste of money these parties squandered the list goes on and on – the Parliament building – Edinburgh trams , i would be here all day listing them , oh and Jack McConnell sending money back to Westminster because Labour couldn’t think of anything to use it for , these useless parties defy logic do they really want a return to these nuts being in office.

    • Weechid says:

      I agree. The “positive campaign” didn’t work. Some people just don’t seem to be aware of the protection the SNP has given them.

    • Saor Alba says:

      I think you have just made a most significant point Robert.

      “The SNP need to make it clear all the impediments they have to overcome in order to keep the ship afloat”.

  11. 2p3rf3ct says:

    The deluded fools in charge, with no mandate and a hollow PM!

    Run screaming Scotland, run away and run to happiness.

  12. Robert Graham says:

    My its good to see fairness from the speaker in the English Parliament while he was quite happy to allow sustained constant interruptions and jeering from the Tory benches to Angus Robertson’s questions , he immediately jumped to his feet to publicly censure Robertson for Questioning an answer , dont you just love seeing our MPs constantly being told either not to clap or just to keep quiet and not interrupt when the adults are talking .

  13. “Britain is the Norma Desmond of Europe” Brilliant.
    I think the answer was given the day before by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, when he laid out the prospect that the U.K would become a tax haven for major companies, with very little to worry them over employment law, as it will not exist if the tories have their way.
    That coupled with the destruction of the Welfare State, the privatisation of the E.N.H.S, and the gradual erosion of workers rights, will make the U.K fair game for multinationals who have very little in the way of scruples.
    That is why I believe that the Prime Minister’s speech is a “plan” designed to fail. When the remaining members of the E.U refuse all of her demands, she can then tell England that she tried her best, but these pesky foreigners wouldn’t listen.
    This then leaves the way open for the tories to destroy the care system that they overwhelmingly opposed in the post-war years, and to introduce, permanently, a low wage economy, grinding workers into the dust. While of course, making their rich pals even wealthier. It will be going back to the old system, hire today, fire tomorrow, with the bosses having complete dominance over a disillusioned, dispirited workforce.
    Of course, we will get a chance to escape this fate. Will we take it? I certainly hope so, not for my sake, but for my great-grandchildren’s future.

  14. Robert Graham says:

    I believe your right Paul on your view of Labour in Scotland , and it reminds me of a Labour in Scotland MPs speech in the House of Commons where he said even if it was detrimental to the people in Scotland he would always back the Union , he was given the answer to his comment from voters when Labour in Scotland were told to GTF , they haven’t changed even after they were tossed out of office .
    Ruth the liar was jumping up and down urging the SNP to accept a crummy finance deal from Westminster that would have removed billions not millions from the Scottish budget , this is the same money tree she keeps shaking along with her pal Kezia closely followed by that annoying f/kr Rennie the one who gives indigestion rather than relieves it , you know that bloody noise in the background that keeps popping up like a jack in the box .

  15. I am disappointed in Corbyn i thought he would be the mouse that roared. labour down south need a new leader she is here in Scotland her name is Nicola Sturgeon. Gone are the days of real Labour giant’s who were not afraid to roar. Long may Scotland remain SNP.

  16. Alba Laddie says:

    Just watching the Scottish Labour party broadcast with Kezia Dugdale being questioned by a group of 8/9/10 year olds. 2nd question into the broadcast, she’s asked: “Why is there a Labour Party?”. Great question wee man! (And one I ask myself daily.)

    • Agatha Cat says:

      Poor Kezia Dugdale must have felt challenged to face her most demanding questions yet. Maybe my 6 year old niece could get a job on BBC news. More incisive than Union Jackie.

    • Saor Alba says:

      She would not have realised the seriousness of this question at all. These kids would be at a higher intellectual level. She would treat them like she treats the electorate.

      Kids are not as easily fooled as the unionist electorate.

  17. Bill McDermott says:

    Talking about the BBC and Misreporting Scotland, I saw Douglas Fraser at his most devious tonight casually dropping in the thought that the comparative poor growth and unemployment figures for Scotland might just be because of the threat of another Indyref. That is going to be the main thrust of S. Lab’s pitch. We can’t have another Indyref because it simply adds further uncertainty to an already uncertain situation. Faced with these asserted, but unverified facts from the BBC and Labour, we now know what we are up against.

  18. Agatha Cat says:

    I sometimes wonder if people like Kaye Adams and Douglas Fraser are double-grabbers, like MSP Professor Adam Tompkins, drawing in salary from the BBC and the Labour Conservative Party.

  19. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    While the article and most of the comments make good points and demonstrate a fair bit of wit and scabrousness, we have to take note of the fact that the opinion polls are fairly static, and very many people, understandably, are uncertain which way to move, until things become clearer.
    As things drag out, it is a pretty common human reaction to stick to the devil you know. And, with the bulk of the media and broadcasters continuously dripping out unionist propaganda and anti independence lies, this indecisiveness can become endemic. And people become resigned to what they have and seek to hold on to what little they have. This is the mindset of many within my own post60 age group. They recognise they do not have much, but fear losing even that if we take the step into independence. The NO campaign did not seek to present a positive view of the union. It was truly a Project Fear and was successful.
    Project Fear in the EU referendum was trumped by an even more olid campaign of xenophobia and mendacity.
    So, if we get to a second independence referendum, we can expect xenophobia and even more blatant mendacity cobbled on to Project Fear. They will also seek to deploy the well tried divide and rule, by driving wedges between the various groups on the YES side. Sadly, ‘radical’ groups are prone to fissiparousness due to the vanity of small differences. And, on the various pro independence sites we see attacks on Greens, SNP, RISE, individual bloggers. Of course, debate is essential to sharpen arguments and to develop more robust policies, but ego involvement must be avoided.
    Keep your eyes on the prize.

  20. Clive Scott says:

    Well said Alasdair – keep eyes on the prize. The only route to indy is to vote SNP so all those splinter group Yessers need to get over themselves and back Nicola and the SNP with their votes in every election. No ifs, no buts and no bollocks about tactical voting.

  21. ScotsCanuck says:

    Aye.

    • Marconatrix says:

      An excellent piece, putting it all into perspective and penetrating the WM doublespeak. Between the EU, Scotland and Ireland, May is all at sea, indeed ‘Mayday!’ (m’aidez) is what she ought to be crying 😉

  22. Brian Fleming says:

    Paul, I particularly liked your reference to “alien lizard overlords”. Have you been hanging out with David Icke?

  23. wm says:

    Brexit{what does it mean?} that is what people are asking. I try to think forword and work out how I think the World is going.I see Supermarkets evolving like USA,the EU,Russia.China,India,Brazil etc.becoming some of these Supermarkets.England has just voted to take the UK out and become the corner shop, or the wee pub right next door to Witherspoons.

  24. John Edgar says:

    May at Davos preaching or shouting at the rest of the world and claiming leadership of the new global world; dies that not exist already? Does she need to get out more?
    The new kid on the block seems to think that everyone is out of step but her!
    Presumptuousness par excellence indeed. Irony, as she was speaking, companies and financial institutions were outlining moves to the EU of key areas dealing dealing with the continent aka EU.
    She assures home audience she will arrange deal before we leave the EU. EU, who hold all the trump cards say no! Guess who will have the final word?

    • Robert Graham says:

      I wonder what the odds are of Mayday being in place at the end of this year , Maggie was disliked in Scotland i believe this character will be Hated and well and truly loathed , she was an abject failure in her previous post , and as immigration was the central issue with English voters her inability to do her assigned task i believe led to all this chaos we have now.
      The impression i got hearing Nicola Sturgeons comments after meeting Mayday in downing street she said there was no dialog simply brexit means brexit she must have felt as if she was talking to a brick , at least in the end a brick serves a useful purpose .

      • Les Bremner says:

        What is the problem with immigration? Simply tell people that they are welcome, but if they wish any form of benefits (including health care) they need a National Insurance Number.

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