It was St Andrew’s Day last week. According to East European tradition, vampires are most active around the time of St Andrew’s Day, and there was indeed a confirmed sighting of one in a leather factory near Bridge of Weir just before St Andrew’s Day. Although only very briefly.
Not to be out-done, this week the Labour party has sent someone up from London in its own attempt to suck the lifeblood out of the independence movement. This time it’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who is promising that if Scotland votes Labour and there’s a Labour government, then we’ll be rewarded in the shape of tons of money and a shedload of new powers for Holyrood. Here’s a lovely photo of some unspecific jam you could possibly have at some unspecified time in the future. Because we’ve never heard that sort of thing from Labour in opposition before. Oh no.
John assured us that all the SNP has done in Holyrood has been to pass on Tory austerity, conveniently forgetting to mention that the Labour party fought tooth and nail to prevent Holyrood getting substantive powers over tax and welfare, even the Tories were in favour of devolving more power to Holyrood in the Smith Commission. And now here he is, promising extra jam. Or more precisely, suggesting the prospect of the possibility that there could perhaps be some extra jam. This is what counts as a promise from the Labour party.
John also said that a Labour government would consider proposals on a new indy referendum, which isn’t quite what the Labour in Scotland branch manager has been saying. Richard Leonard is quite insistent that a Labour government would categorically refuse to consider another Scottish independence referendum. Sadly for Richard, vampires lure their victims with their glamour and charisma. Unfortunately he possesses all the charisma of a discarded plastic bag flapping uselessly in the branches of a tree, so no one pays him much attention. His sole notable quality is that he could manage to make James Kelly seem like the life and soul of the party.
They contradict themselves on Brexit, and no one really knows what their true position is, and they contradict themselves on Scotland and no one really knows what their true position is. So let no one say that there is no consistency in the Labour party.
Of course Labour’s lack of consistency and its inability to develop coherent policies is only an issue if it’s going to be the party of government any time soon. We are faced with the most incompetent, useless, evil and vile, morally bankrupt, and chaotic Conservative administration in living memory, and yet Labour still can’t get a decent lead over them in opinion polls. Jeremy Corbyn’s fans claim that this is because the media is vile and out to get him, and this would be true. But as a supporter of Scottish independence all I can say is, welcome to my world. The right wing media in this country is part of the political landscape we have to deal with.
The chances are that if there is the early general election that Labour is so keen on, they’d only lose it and England would vote Tory again. It would solve absolutely nothing. The message for Scotland is don’t rely on the Labour party to save you from the Tories, and don’t rely on the Labour party to deliver what you hope they’ve promised you, because they’ve promised the opposite to someone else.
Meanwhile Priti Patel, the Conservative MP for the Irish Famine, has called on the government to use the threat of food shortages in Ireland in order to browbeat the Irish government into a position that’s more amenable to Tory Brexiteers. If you wanted an illustration of the moral bankruptcy of the Conservative party, you couldn’t do much better than that. Here’s an English MP threatening Ireland with food shortages if England doesn’t get its way. She’s either ignorant of, or more likely doesn’t care about, the history of the Irish famine, when Britain’s economic and political interests were instrumental in compounding the disaster of potato blight. Then that same British government sat and did nothing while millions of Irish people died or were forced into emigration. The population of Ireland has never recovered. Now senior Conservatives are actually suggesting to threaten Ireland with starvation in order to pursue their insane dream of Empire 2.0. Labour promises jam, but the Conservatives actually deliver. It’s just a shame that they only deliver bile.
These are the same Brexiteer muppets who have also suggested that one way that the UK’s Irish backstop problem can be solved would be for Ireland to return to UK rule. And if that doesn’t tell you how deluded they are, nothing will. They fancy themselves as the big beasts of British politics, but if they really were big beasts, the zookeepers would be shooting at them with tranquilliser darts.
On Friday, the Scottish government revealed that the Conservatives are blocking the Scottish government’s proposals to pay the £65 Brexit Tax that the Tories are imposing on EU citizens. The Scottish government had announced its wish to pay the so called “settled status fee” for EU citizens working in Scottish public services. Around 13,000 EU citizens work in the NHS and social care in Scotland. However the UK government has said that “third parties” will not be allowed to pay the fees, meaning that EU citizens in Scotland will have to find the money themselves. The Scottish government had offered to pay the fee as a gesture to EU citizens in Scotland in an attempt to staunch the loss of much needed EU citizens from public service jobs. There’s already been a drop in applications for nursing jobs from EU applicants. There’s not much that the Scottish government can do to ameliorate the UK’s “hostile environment”, so paying the extra fee that EU citizens would incur because of Brexit was never much more than a gesture of goodwill. The Conservatives aren’t even allowing that. They’re not just the nasty party, they’re the petty and nasty party.
As long as Scotland remains a part of this dysfunctional state, we’ll be trapped. Trapped between vampires and a flapping plastic bag. It doesn’t have to be like this. There’s another option, a Scottish option.
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