Time for Labour to wake up and smell the referendum coffee

Since the independence referendum of 2014, the Labour party in Scotland has gone through leaders at about the same rate that a Scottish Conservative politician commits a Murdo on social media. There was Johann Lamont who slated the Labour party in Scotland as little more than a branch office in a scathing resignation letter.She was followed by the much trumpeted Saviour of the Union Jim Murphy who couldn’t even save his own seat in the 2015 Westminster General Election, and who then tried to cling on to his post despite the fact that he was no longer an elected politician, displaying that respect for democracy for which the Labour party in Scotland has become a by-word in the exact same way that UK entries in the Eurovision Song Contest have become a by-word for musical excellence and European popularity.

Jim Murphy was followed by Kezia Dugdale, who was followed by Alex Rowley as acting leader before he was suspended from Labour’s Holyrood parliamentary party while a probe into his conduct took place after he was alleged to have sent abusive text messages to a former partner. The investigation eventually concluded there was no case to answer as the party had not received a formal complaint. Rowley was followed as acting leader by Jackie Baillie. Rowley was previously alleged to have been implicated in a plot to unseat Kezia Dugdale and replace her with the famously unmemorable Ricardo Lanyard, which Jackie Baillie described to a newspaper as, “a complete betrayal a complete betrayal of the membership and every value we hold dear”. This led to a spokesman for Limplard sending an email referring to “the latest Jackie Baillie pish.”

Reginald Lackvoter subsequently won the leadership election but failed to make the much heralded reversal of the declining fortunes of the Labour party in Scotland. His stewardship of the branch office was notable mainly for the fact that no one could remember who he was, not even the leader of the Labour party. So it was no surprise that the party’s support continued to decline.

Ringwort Losesupporter resigned after the party’s disastrous performance in the 2019 European Parliament elections when it lost the two seats Labour had held in Scotland. The ignominy was compounded in the Westminster General Election in December that year when Labour lost all the gains it had made in the snap General Election of 2017 and was reduced to a single MP, the uber-unionist Ian Murray, who held on in Edinburgh South thanks to tactical voting from Conservatives. Labour in Scotland, which once dominated the Scottish political landscape, has fallen so low that it now depends on the tactical votes of Conservatives in order to get elected. Equally, Jackie Baillie only clung on to her Holyrood constituency seat in this year’s Scottish Parliament election because she benefited from significant tactical voting from Conservative supporters.

This raises an important question which the party has yet to acknowledge, never mind tackle – just how can the labour party in Scotland mount an effective challenge to the Conservatives when some of its most important and influential figures , like Jackie Baillie and Ian Murray, depend upon Conservative votes in order to keep their seats.

Anas Sarwar is the current holder of the poisoned chalice of leader of the Labour party in Scotland. He shows every sign of being a leader who will manage Labour’s continuing decline instead of setting it on the path to victory. To be fair to Sarwar, the problems of the Labour party in Scotland cannot be solved simply by a change of leadership, a ship that is holed below the waterline is still going to sink no matter who the captain is. However Anas Sarwar shows no inclination to break with the uber-unionism of Bailey and Murray which has left Labour dependent on the limited pool of Conservative votes. He’s not making the Labour ship seaworthy, he’s embracing the iceberg.

In particular Sarwar maintains the anti-democratic Conservative denial of the outcome of May’s Holyrood election, when the electorate returned a Parliament with the strongest pro-independence majority ever, elected with a mandate to deliver another independence referendum within the term of this Parliament. Labour, which calls itself the party of the people, colludes with the Conservatives in denying the people’s will. This is not a recipe for a Labour renaissance. The Conservatives have securely established themselves as the party of British nationalist opposition to another independence referendum and the acceptance of Brexit as a done deal. There is no space there for the Labour party.

This political reality isn’t just recognised by independence supporters. Today Len Mcluskey, the former leader of the Unite union said that Labour in Scotland needs to acknowledge the verdict of the Scottish electorate and distance itself from the Conservatives by accepting that a second independence referendum must take place. That does not mean that the Labour party in Scotland should become a pro-independence party, it would still be able to use the referendum campaign put forward its proposals for a Scotland within a reformed UK and for strengthened and entrenched devolution which really is made safe from Westminster meddling.

However the point is that unless Labour stands up for the position that the UK is a voluntary union of nations and that it is for the people of Scotland and the people of Scotland alone to decide the future of Scotland and whether or not there should be another referendum then they are doomed to irrelevance as nothing more than apologists for the Conservatives on the constitution and as a party which is happy to collude in the transformation of the UK into a union based upon compulsion in which the occupant of Downing Street has a veto on the will of the people of Scotland even if he or she represents a party which has only minority support in Scotland.

As things stand, Anas Sarwar’s leadership of the Labour party in Scotland is doomed to go the same way as his predecessors, a management of decline which will end in failure and irrelevance.

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70 comments on “Time for Labour to wake up and smell the referendum coffee

  1. Dr Jim says:

    I don’t believe Anas Sarwar has any particular loyalty to any particular political party let alone the Labour party, Sarwar has always been a man who has a career in politics whatever the leaning of the party he’s employed by, overall he’s a union party employee whatever colour that might be, if Sarwar thought he could get away with joining the Tory party tomorrow and still have a job he would have a radical epiphany to his *principles* overnight and become as shiny a new Tory as Andrew Bowie or DRoss

    There are some in the Labour party who are Labour, Anas Sarwar is just a future employee of anyone who’ll have him when his circumstances change

    And they will, just like his mate Tom Harris ex Labour MP now Tory milk and biscuits fetcher in the Scotland office

  2. Maggie Noakes says:

    Oh, how I’ve missed Renaldo Lacklustre.Please do the misnaming for Douglas Ross. How about Dumpling Ratcatcher ?
    Or perhaps Alex Cole Hamilton would provide a few misnomers.
    Archibald Cola cube ?

    • Alex Clark says:

      Good idea Maggie.

      After all, there are very few in Scotland that even know who Dobber Roaster is 🙂

    • dakk says:

      Never heard of Douglas Ross.

      I do know of a Rugless Dosser however.

      And I can tell you he is a horrible little stoat of a man.

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      Here’s something for you, Maggie – an irregular feature which I sometimes call upon when I have some time on my hands:

      Anagram corner.

      Alex Cole Hamilton = Lo! A male toxin/lech

  3. jfngw says:

    Even if Labour adopted the position described who would ever trust them not to renege on it as soon as the polling booth closed. They have no long term plan beyond stopping a referendum vote. At least you know what you are getting with a Tory vote (or even the mini me LibDems), with Labour it’s a pig in a poke vote.

    Currently Labour are having their union friends trying to disrupt and trash Scotland in the eyes of the world. It’s one of the reasons people are wary of nationalisation again, the unfettered union power and the ability to hold a country to ransom.

    • grizebard says:

      Yes, a party programme built on consistently trashing your own country, and having its party paymasters disrupt it whenever they think it suits, hardly seems destined to succeed. You might think they would have realised that by now (the 1970’s are a half-century ago, after all), but like everything else in Unionism, they seem hell-bent on “scorched earth” to the bitter end, hoping that their message of disillusionment and despair will win them back a long-lost “golden age” which was only “golden” for them.

      But an increasing number of us are a whole lot wiser now, even if they are regressing, and we’re getting ready to create a new country in a new age that works for everyone, not just them.

  4. Janice Gale says:

    So funny. There’s not much to laugh about is there so when we really do LOL 😂 It sounds strange but makes the body & mind happy! More please ❤️

  5. Bryan Ritchie says:

    I had the unedifying experience of watching tory grandees lining up to vote for Jackie Baillie all the while she smiled and waved them on to their absolute delight of course. and her eventual victory. It takes a special kind of hate to ignore your principles and campaign for support from the Tories but if you watched the 8 hour show trial of the FM it was there Jackie just couldn’t hide it.

  6. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Even a Monkey learns to eventually stop doing the same thing over and over again when the result is pain….so when a Monkey is given an implement to hold…..which it then uses to hit itself repeatedly on the head with…..it learns to stop doing it…..because to continue doing it will result in (more) pain…….simples no ?

    So if a Monkey can learn why can’t the Labour party in Scotland ?

    As if I and t’others did not know the answer to that……Ha Ha

    Like Dr Jim I doubt Sarwars allegiance to his party……perhaps the toss of a coin dictated both his and his father’s choice of party…..or perhaps the country they lived in chose their party….had they lived in England…perhaps they would be in the Tory party…as in BLUE Tory party not the RED Tory party they are/were currently in…heard they both enjoyed being on a gravy train though in HOC’s….Ha Ha ( I believe the then outgoing PM Gordon Brown nominated him, Sarwar Senior, for a life peerage in 2010 but it was blocked on the advice of HM Revenue & Customs).

    Unionist politicians don’t like democracy in Scotland…..as might actually transform things for the better….can’t be having that now can we…….better to pander to a so called democracy in England….where apparently…..the future is BROWN as in the you know what….current. #S*itGate…..

    Another good article Paul…..

    NB; No monkey was hurt before or during my use of them as an analogy at top of my comment

  7. yesindyref2 says:

    Someone, not me because I’m having a lazy can’t be assed recess, should chart Labour’s suport for democracy, known as suffrage in various forms. For instance quickly googling:

    “In 1912 Labour entered into an electoral alliance with Millicent Fawcett’s National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).

    In 1913 the Labour Party pledged to vote against any reform Bill that did not included women.”

    then in 1969 they reduced the voting age from 21 to 18 in the UK, And in 2013 supported reducing it from 18 to 16 for the Referendum.

    So – what ever happened to Labour’s support for democracy since then – did they become the New Victorian Tory Party? Will they bring in private member bills to the HoC to only give the vote to wealthy landowing men who pledge fealt to the Duke of Starmer?

    I think Sarwar is ppoitentially a decent guy and proibably a better speller than me as my figers have go on stirke, so perhaps he should put some effort into it and – think democracy, think Scottish Suffrage. Suffer all us little plebians to vote on our Future.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      Here’s another random quote:

      Taken as a whole the Labour Party were more supportive of women’s suffrage than either the Liberals or the Conservatives.

      From the start the strongest support for women’s suffrage came from the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Several Labour MPs including Keir Hardie, George Lansbury and Philip Snowden consistently spoke up on the issue.

      Can you imagine the anguish of Keir Hardie, to have the not so grand and certainly not democratic, Baron Duke of Starmer named after him?

      • Capella says:

        I think you’ve answered your own question. Keir Hardie stood on a platform of votes for women, no immigration, and HOME RULE. They divested themselves of Home Rule as soon as the SNP arrived on the scene. Robert Bontine Cunningham-Graham realised that the Labour Party of the Fabians would never deliver anything so set up the National Party of Scotland. He became the first President of the Scottish National Party and Labour deserted its founders.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cunninghame_Graham

    • Hamish100 says:

      I think Sarwar is is not potentially a decent guy. Ask the workers.

      • Dr Jim says:

        Sarwar, Starmer, two of the same breed of self protectionists who try not to do anything much of anything or even stand for anything except collect their money and cruise on the comfy train to the soft destination of the House Of Lords or the big money opportunity, whichever comes first

        Nobody need worry about Sarwar, Jack McConnell Goldie and Ffffoookes will put a word in and he’ll get a seat in the everlasting 1st class restaurant one day

    • jfngw says:

      They have lost a possession they assumed would be theirs in perpetuity, the Tories were quite happy for them to have the Scottish Parliament as they are not really interested in Scotland, apart from the resources, Labour posed no threat to their access to these. They haven’t progressed beyond the foot stamping stage yet, doubt if they ever will.

      It hard to come up with a reason to vote Labour, want independence – vote SNP, want unionism – vote Tory, want environment – vote Green. There is no pigeonhole left for Labour or the LibDems (they are even more of a lost cause than Labour, look at the fool who leads them).

      • Dr Jim says:

        You always know with Labour that they’ll promise to refurbish all the hospitals with a new coat of £billion quid paint that really cost £40quid from two guys wae a lockup in Saracen street Possil

  8. scottish skier says:

    Far north of England Labour need to take a leaf out of Welsh Labour’s book. At least Mark Drakeford actually appears to be Welsh and interested in furthering Welsh interests.

    On a kinda related by diverging issue…

    What will happen to an indy Scotland if faced with ‘hard border’ at Gretna:

    https://archive.md/M4qB6

    Brexit: Welsh ports increasingly bypassed by Irish ferries

    Dozens of ferry routes avoiding Welsh ports have been established between Ireland and mainland Europe over the past year because of Brexit, Ireland’s foreign affairs minister has said.
    Simon Coveney said there were 44 direct routes between Ireland and the EU.

    “That figure would have been less than a dozen this time last year,” he said…

    ..He said the amount of Irish goods being sold into the UK had increased on last year, but goods “coming the other way” had decreased significantly.

    https://www.cityam.com/brexit-imports-from-ireland-to-britain-jump-by-70-per-cent/

    Post-Brexit trade: Irish exports to Britain jump by 70 per cent

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/10/uk-trade-with-eu-falls-as-brexit-and-covid-drive-down-exports

    UK trade with EU falls sharply as Brexit and Covid drive down exports

    Seriously – roll on the hard border! If England wants a gigantic trade / migration wall around itself fine; it will be English consumers and businesses that pay for it. There’s no way around that. They will pay for the complex visa system. They will pay the tariffs on imports and lose export income as EU citizens don’t buy from the UK as there are tariffs on top of UK goods.

    The cost of such walls can only ever be borne by those inside them. A hard border at Gretna will put England at a disadvantage to Scotland we’ll enjoy a boom like Ireland is. Full free trade would actually be worse for us as it would take away that advantage.

  9. Bob Lamont says:

    An excellent piece, shades of Sergio Leone’s “The good, the bad and the fugly” complete with the man whose name nobody remembers, all that was missing was the Ennio Morricone score….

    I agree with Maggie’s observation above, a similar misnaming exercise for the current crop of dumplings might bring both an amusing touch and simultaneously prick overinflated egos.
    I’ve already taken to Jackass Baillie and Alex Cole-Scuttle as entirely legitimate references, DRoss or the Forres Gump are already well embedded, southward JoB’s “Ian Drunken-Smith with the fake CV” has taken root much to IDS’s disdain (which only increases its popularity) yet he’s such an obvious parallel to Andrew Bowie, which I found amusing – He “attained the rank of Sub.Lt” rather than failed to progress, a CV if closely examined reveals a career of abject failure, it’s almost as if it’s a prerequisite for the Tory Party.

    I agree completely with Dr Jim’s take on Anas Sarwar, but this mercenary behaviour is almost inevitable in the circus which modern politics has become. When honesty is questionable and principles flexible, where is that final straw where you resign, and I do mean resign and quit.
    Keir Hardy et al must be spinning in their graves with fury that a Party and Unions they formed based on principles finally sold out to “the bosses”, and honesty has become a dirty word.

    Labour members were never interested in the plum jobs in a “think tank” or a seat in the HoL or any other career progression, it was always about survival as a collective not the few. Changed days for their leaders.

    Yet it is the most dangerous in Labour’s ranks which concern me, the Jackass Baiilie types prepared to scare the hell out of the most vulnerable in our society over a vaccine booster campaign which is working it’s way fine down through the list. For political points ?
    Before the Christopher Sleight and Kaye Adams et al amplifications of the Jackass “game” from the BBC in Scotland would any believe anyone anyone could be quite so callous after all they’d gone through ?
    Labour, you have a problem.

    • Dr Jim says:

      And all this immediately following the World Health Organsations praise of Nicola Sturgeons SNP governments handling of the pandemic

      If the WHO had said the Scottish government had handled things badly we’d for sure have heard all about that, but no, so tumbleweed blows silently by

  10. scottish skier says:

    What was interesting about Leopold was the racism shown by him and other British unionist towards Scots in falsely claiming* people wouldn’t vote for him because of his country of birth.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dehenna-davison-richard-leonard-scottish-labour-leader-accent-english-tory-mp-b404811.html

    Tory MP condemned for ‘racist’ tweet blaming Scottish Labour’s failures on leader’s English accent

    https://inews.co.uk/news/scotland/richard-leonard-scots-wont-vote-im-english-131099

    Richard Leonard: Some Scots won’t vote for me because I’m English

    Richard Leonard has claimed that some people north of the border will not vote for him because he was born

    Of course that couldn’t e.g. be me as I’ve voted for Christine Graham for 15 years now.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Grahame#Early_life_and_education

    She’s about as ‘British’ as they come if you want to think about things in Leotard’s ‘Blood and soil’ way. But my vote for her isn’t based on this at all, unlike his approach to voting.


    *No evidence was ever provided for this, as is standard for racists.

  11. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    The GMB Union have reached out to Greta Thunberg….for her support for their strikes in Glasgow…they have stated she has invited them to join her in a march in Glasgow…..at first I doubted their word and also doubted they would be so low to try to get her involved in this clearly opportunistic ‘political’ manoeuvre ….at a time when THE CLIMATE should have been the main focus and NOT Labour’s little helpers the GMB and t’others hogging the limelight…..on behalf of the Labour party.

    But it appears I was wrong….

    Greta tweeted :

    “On Friday Nov 5 I’ll join the climate strike in Glasgow, during #COP26 Climate justice also means social justice and that we leave no one behind. So we invite everyone, especially the workers striking in Glasgow, to join us. See you there”

    Sorry but I think she should perhaps have someone helping her to see/judge when she is being used as a pawn….in this instance for those , like the GMB, who time and time again utilise any means to undermine and embarrass the Scottish government…….on behalf of the Labour party.

    What next ? …..will she be invited to be the next head of the BT part 2 campaign.

    Sorry but this is shocking and shows that some Unions deserve not the entitlement to be called a Union….but instead should be seen as mere political agitators for the Labour party and the REAL (non) Union they support as in the UK (non) Union….sure the people of Glasgow will see through their antics and hopefully someone close to Greta will give her a lesson on Scottish politics and the current SIDE she is supporting and their REAL reasons for wanting her…to be supposedly onside….or rather on the wrong side for the wrong reason.

    Funny how the supposed Rat infestation became a big big problem in Glasgow at this most opportune moment for some opportunists….seems to me there are a few two legged Rats who are more of a problem in Glasgow just now indeed a bigger problems than the supposed four legged ones that they CLAIM is infesting the city……

    Labour’s little helpers…..strike again…so to speak.

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      Am I right in thinking that poor little Greta has misunderstood the situation in which she has landed herself in? After all, I’m as much of an outsider to the situation regarding the ‘striking GMB workers’ as she is, and my impression is that they are striking for more money. (Whether they have a case or not, I don’t know, and it’s not for me to judge, but Greta, in associating with them seems to believe they do – on what information more is she getting than I am?)

      Greta, I think you’ve misunderstood the motives of these people. They don’t care a tuppenny toss for the environment and global warming – they’re their to stir up trouble for their employers and the SG. That’s what going on strike means in this context – literally, hitting out against the bosses for (they believe) the good of the members of their union. Nothing more. In no way does this equate to your position on the dangers to our planet. You at least are claiming some altruism for future generations of this Earth and the need to protect and preserve it for those generations. These strikers bottom line is their wage packets at the end of the week – and, for a good many, how they can spend anything extra they get on cheap flights out of the country. Isn’t that something you want to see reduced? A smaller carbon footprint, and all that?

      Have you not seen the sniggering cynicism that others have for you in the comments section of the Daily Record – allegedly, traditionally a paper of the workers (labour) of Scotland?

      Your goals are highly laudable. And us oldies really should try harder to listen to you and your generation. But please don’t be naive enough to believe that all of those coming on to your bandwagon have the same purity and idealism that you have. As we say in Welsh, ‘the end of the song is the penny’. And that is ultimately the bottom line for these workers and many others – ‘money (still) makes the world go round’.

      • Not-My-Real-Name says:

        Welsh Sion

        Indeed WS….the last thing I want is to encourage a pile on onto Greta….but THEIR motives are NOT the same as hers….I understand her motive is that she sees it is as right to stand with workers and them getting a living wage to live on……but THEIR motives are merely to stand together with the Labour party and their (non) UK Union….and after all when one considers NI increases, food price rises and energy bill increases …ALL down to the Tories NOT the SNP. mind you……….then any increase of wages will not completely offset these increases…..as they, the Unions involved, know only too well.

        I am sick to death of SOME Unions in Scotland politicising against the Scottish government and yet, like labour are way too reticent in their identifying the REAL baddies in all of this….The Tories…and I am also sick to death of the (Scottish) Labour party for supporting and endorsing this to try and shame not only the SNP but Scotland itself….for what….to give credence to the Tory rhetoric that the Union and they, the Tories, work for Scotland…..NEVER.

        Like most people n Scotland who are NOT Unionists I am sick to death of this eternal partisan style of so called protest via strike action that emanates, especially from the GMB Union…..for the workers…..I think not.

        Climate is the issue at COP26 not another workers strike ( like the equal pay for women contrived strike) ……………….many in Scotland will identify what has really generated this strike action at this particular opportunistic time….and they will conclude , like me, it has NOTHING to do with the Workers but instead everything to do with targeting, yet again, the SNP.

        Have a nice evening

        • Dr Jim says:

          Greta’s being used as an unwitting tool in a political row she’s probably totally unaware of and it’s more a reflection on the people using her name in this way than on her, perhaps someone she trusts will advise her better, let’s hope so

      • Hamish100 says:

        GMB – abusive relationship? The smells of the lowest political opportunism

        ScotRail- didn’t realise most TU’s voted to accept the deal, just RMT holding out.

  12. Christopher Rosindale says:

    In 2015, long-standing Labour voters, including ex-miners, voted Tory in Dumfries and Galloway to try and keep the SNP out. The reason? After Dugdale’s inept attempts to try and ride 2 opposing horses at once, they felt that they couldn’t trust Labour on the Union.

    Sarwar knows perfectly well that, if he announces that Scottish Labour will concede that Indyref 2 must now take place, Keir Starmer will have him ousted as leader, the Scottish Tories will seize the chance to portray themselves as the only trustworthy pro-Union party, and what remains of their traditional pro-Union voting bloc will collapse and abandon them. Probably for the Tories….

    So Scottish Labour are stuck, unable to risk crossing the fence in case the backlash destroys them.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      But for a few minor details Christopher, miners or ex-Miners were an almost insignificant minority in D&G’s electorate, and the 2015 vote saw the Tory vote fall and that of Labour almost collapse.
      However, look at the turnout, 2015 was the oddball high.

      It was in 2017 when the Tories recovered and the Labour vote continued to fall but since Alister Jack’s win he dropped in 2019 to being a marginal seat, Labour however continued to collapse.

      From my reading of the numbers over GEs only, it would suggest D&G are heading for a YES vote, and if the turnout is high the result it is a racing certainty.
      Much is made of pro-Union allegiance in D&G, yet the numbers don’t appear to support thar, before taking into account the effects of AJ awful performance, the Prime Charlatan’s reputation shredded and the Brexit effects getting worse.
      Were Sarwar to switch to pro-Indy tomorrow I doubt it would have any effect, Indy has moved beyond party politics now….

      • grizebard says:

        Not at all sure about that last sentence there, Bob. For one thing, Labour breaking from the Bitter Together ranks (were it ever to happen, which I doubt) would be a sensation that would leave the Labourite Unionist media (that’s you, BBC Jokeland, among others) high-and-dry. While some OO Labourite types might well defect to the Tories, it’s never going to fulfil DRoss’s wet dream of a return to the “Golden Age” of a Tory majority from working class voters in Scotland as in the 1950’s. And it might be what finally kills the exceptionalist tribalism that has dogged Labour since the party fell from grace, and revive their chances.

        As if, though. Personally, I don’t think Sarwar or any likely successor has that much imagination or courage. The last one to stray from the orthodox straight-and-narrow was dear old Henery, and he got very short shrift in very short order from London. And who was in charge down there? Not-in-the-least-federal-then Broon.

        • Bob Lamont says:

          Aye Grizebard, I should have been clearer that last sentence was D&G specific. Labour is a spent force there, any switch by Labour Scotland officially would have little if any effect on an imminent referendum.
          I suspect the Yes vote there is increasing on back of the Brexit fiasco, hence AJ’s “hard border” propaganda, promising a bridge/tunnel and roads investment, big numbers of jam tomorrow despite 60+ years of being that forgotten corner of Scotland.

          We already know Labour nationally were ca 40% Yes in 2014 when the Party were officially No, the drift from Labour to Tory has been steady in elections despite continued opposition to a referendum by both parties whilst Indy support has remained fairly static.
          I strongly suspect protest voting is in play against Labour’s lack of radical ideas for change rather than them adopting Tory values, red or blue Tories is the choice.
          As someone commented earlier, Sarwar’s sole concern is his own political career, this type of “modern” mercenary politician sits uneasily with those aligned to Labour’s original core values.

          Your observation on the effects of such a changed position to Bitter Together and Scottish Media is spot on, and frankly I suspect that is Sarwar’s current dilemma rather than official Labour policy.

          London’s politics is in a quagmire of it’s own making, they know Scotland are going, it is only a question of when.

      • Christopher Rosindale says:

        AJ may have lost part of his majority in 2019 Bob, but his Holyrood counterpart, Finlay Carson, increased his this year, as did both of his Southern Scotland Tory colleagues.

        The reason is the Border, which forms the Southern boundary of all 3 constituencies. Independence would have the biggest impact of all on this part of Scotland, as a currently 300+ year-old open border is replaced by one with border checks, as will be inevitable with us in the European Single Market and England outside it. Fear of permanent disruption of trade and social movements across the border is the main reason why the Tories have monopolized the pro-Union vote down here, why there were huge No votes
        here in 2014, and why I just cannot see Galloway voting Yes in future. Many people here are deeply afraid of the economic, social and political pain and upheaval which the hardening of the Border would cause, and so they resist it fiercely. The Yes campaign can only fight this by offering a credible future where England is less relevant economically, and they must face that reality, or the Unionist side will remain dominant down here….

        • Bob Lamont says:

          With respect Christopher, I presented you with flaws to your original argument re Sarwar’s positiin and Labour, GEs results and it’s implications for an Indy response in D&G, now you cite Finlay Carson’s performance in the Holyrood elections as significant?
          D&G much as the Borders has a long tradition of Tory leanings, but as successive GEs since the 1970s have demonstrated, they are no longer the Tory strongholds they once were, where party allegiance trumps all.

          You’d raised this “border/trade/social upheaval” issue a la AJ before as crucial to the people of Galloway, so I’d asked those with whom I had maintained contact for their take on D&G’s attitudes over Indy etc..
          For clarity 2 are Tory and always have been, 3 are SNP (2 recent), 3 are unaligned, a small sample but they’re honest folk with good contacts, albeit the farthest west is Newton Stewart, farthest east is Lochmaben –

          Indy pro/anti currently ? – 50/50
          Indy win/lose – Win
          Pro/anti EU or other EU affiliation – Pro
          Even if pro means trade checks – Not a make/break issue, that’s years away.
          Border passport checks if EU/? – If that is what is agreed, not a make/break issue
          AJ’s scenario – All laughed

          The above are where they all had common ground on the questions I raised, only one might perhaps vote against independence, and oddly it was neither of the Tories.
          The scathing criticism of the Tory Party and London from both Tories, “It’s no longer the Tory Party I knew”, “Scotland needs it’s own Conservative and Labour Parties” were just 2 of the comments volunteered without enquiry to my considerable surprise.

          Perhaps they mix in different circles…

    • Dr Jim says:

      We know that around a dozen Scottish Labour MSPs support democracy in Scotland but their leaders don’t so their voices will remain silent, we’ve seen what happens in Labour if they dare to speak up, they’re out

  13. M biyd says:

    The question should be what did the Union ever do for us?

    Tens of thousands of war dead, vast emigration, blighted cities, blighted peoples.

    And the Scottish Tories answer to the conundrum that attachment to Blighty is the issue is to advocate greater Blightyness.

  14. bringiton says:

    The biggest betrayal of Scotland by British Labour was when they constructed a devolution settlement which could be subsequently dismantled by a Tory government in England without our agreement.
    That amongst other things they have done leaves them unelectable as a party in Scotland.
    I suppose they can always stand as “independents”.

  15. James Mills says:

    ”Straws ” and ”clutching” are two words that spring to mind when I hear a Trades Union ( ex ) leader from England give advice on how to win support in Scotland .

    It is something we hear repeatedly – an ”expert” on Health or Education or the Constitution or Home Baking tells a UK audience what is happening in Scotland based on the briefing they received from a ”Scottish ” unionist moments before .
    And then the ”expert” proceeds to insult our intelligence by quoting figures or other information that has been thoroughly debunked numerous times before and is NEVER quizzed on the complete bunkum that they have just spouted .

    I think this is called The BBC !

  16. Let’s assume, as they say, for argument’s sake, that at least 50% of members of the GMB, RMT, Unison, and indeed all Scottish Trades Unions, support Self Determination.

    That these Fred Kites who have suddenly attained notoriety on STV and BBC are clearly working in tandem with, dare I say it, in collaboration with, the Red Tories, Sarwar, and Union Jacksuited and jackbooted Murray, and are being cheered loudly from the side lines by their sworn enemies, the Blue and Yellow Tories led by Dross, Union Jack, and A Lax Coal Scuttle, is clearly Better Together Brit Nats stunt to attempt to destroy Scotland’s reputation as the world watches over the next few weeks.

    Do these ‘Unions’ still donate money to the Red Tories in London?

    If I were a union member striving for Self Determination would I be content that the money which these grubby little Fred Kites extort from me in subscriptions is handed over to my enemy, the Brit Jocks who would keep me in chains and servitude to the English Iron Heel Oligarchy?

    Are all shop stewards and union reps Up Here Brit Nationalists?

    How did that happen?

    If I were a member of GMB or Unison or the RMT, I’d demand that my union stop funding the enemies of the People of Scotland.

    Starve them of cash..then they’ll change their tune.

    There is no Labour Party.
    Sarwar and Murray are far right tories, and the Tailor’s dummy, and his band of LDs are, always have been, and always will be right wing chancers hiding under the duvet.

    Everybody Out!
    For Christ’s sake. When did we get back to 1963?

    • jfngw says:

      It’s not just the unionist that jump on a bandwagon, here is the Alba deputy leader commenting on the dispute-

      “I lay the blame firmly and squarely at the door of Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government. When we were months out from the Summit they failed to treat this dispute with the importance and urgency which it deserved now that the COP26 Summit is imminent their behaviour is both heavy handed and intransigent, dismissing the reasonable demands of the RMT trade union, and refusing to negotiate in good faith.”

      Never really took to MacAskill even when he was in the SNP, he always sounded a bit New Labour to me, a pound shop Tony Blair preacher.

      • MacAskill is a political coward. He should have resigned from the SNP, and stood in a by election. He didn’t because he knew that he would get humped, and lose his nice little earner.
        Now the people who voted for him are being betrayed by this old political whore.
        ‘Reasonable demands’? Mmmm.
        I note Old Salmond is getting column inches in the National arguing that we would not be ready for Indyref 2 by 2023, his logic being that he stared work on the 650 page Future Scotland document in 2011.

        Perhaps he took so long because of all the bevvy nights in Bute House.

        The ALBA clique are not pro Independence. They are just trying to scoop up as much cash as they can before we return to Independence.
        They have no mandate, or indeed electoral platform, to get free ‘cut and paste’ garbage reproduced in any Blah, never mind the National.

        I repeat, McAskill betrayed those who voted for him. What does he do all week down in London?
        Who does he represent? Nobody. Money for old jam.
        Disgusting.
        To summarise, he is a coward.

  17. Dr Jim says:

    The opposition to Scotland becoming Independent constantly tell us Scotland isn’t *perfect* so we shouldn’t consider Independence

    These people represent England, I mean do we really need to say more

  18. Malkie says:

    Here’s an interesting thing. Ive just been banned from the forum of “The National” newspaper. They haven’t had the elementary decency to tell me why, but I presume its because I stated that Alex Salmond works for President Putin. The facts: Alex Salmond writes “The Alex Salmond Show” for the “RT” company, formerly known as “Russian Television”. Russian Television is owned by the Russian Government, the head of which is President Putin. Ipso facto, Alex Salmond works for President Putin. Perhaps “The National” doesn’t want its readers to know that. Or perhaps they have become so dominated by the Alba Party that any criticism of Salmond, whoever true, is automatically banned. Meanwhile they continue to print hysterical (and potentially libellous) rants by Alba members about Nicola Sturgeon.

    • Capella says:

      Or maybe because it’s not true. RT was originally called Russia Today. It is a state funded broadcaster in exactly the same way as the BBC. Alex Salmond has complete editorial freedom and could, as a private company, sell his show to any broadcaster if they will hire him.
      Mr Putin has nothing to do with it.
      Don’t fall for British Government propaganda.

      • Malkie says:

        Complete editorial freedom in Russia? Mr Putin doesnt have anything to do with material broadcast by Russian Television? Perhaps Alex should produce a film about how, as Russian Prime Minister during the Second Chechen War, Putin bears direct responsibility for the death of 200,000 people who were fighting for the independence of Chechnya. Then he would discover how far his “complete editorial freedom” takes him.

        • Capella says:

          He’s not in Russia, he’s in London where Russia Today is based for UK broadcasts. He has said he has complete editorial freedom which is more than can be said of anything broadcast by state owned BBC.
          If you want to discuss international politics then you need to include British State foreign wars against terrorism (as they are styled by state broadcaster BBC ). Otherwise you just sound ill informed and partisan.
          It was called Russia Today not Russian television.

          • Malkie says:

            Ive lived in Russia, I speak Russian, I watch RT, I even watch the Alex Salmond Show. And note that it has never said anything that President Putin could possibly disagree with. Am I ill-informed about Russia, Russian Television or President Putin? I don’t think so.

            • Hamish100 says:

              Doesn’t explain being banned from the National. There are worse comments on there attacking the SNP and the FM who is castigated by one regular mysoginist.
              This seems to be fair game for the National.

    • grizebard says:

      “Works for” is taking it too far, I think. But unless AS devotes none of his RT earnings to Alba, Putin is effectively funding the party, albeit indirectly. I would certainly like more transparency over its funding in general. It surely can’t be membership-only.

      I could see why The National might refuse to print that particular statement, but ban you permanently for it? Whatever happened to free speech? Your point about the National’s very contrasting willingness to publish wild anti-Nicola rants is well made.

      All of which adds up to a feeling I have had for some time that the paper’s staff have another agenda besides independence. (A pity, since it artificially limits its readership in a self-perpetuating way.) Which was why, despite being a regular reader since it started, I was not sorry to let it drop with the advent of lockdown.

      Personally, I reckon that AS signing up to RT was a mistake because of the unfortunate associations that came along with it, not just Putin himself in the background but also some more familiar dodgy characters such as Georgeous. But then none of the usual British media were willing to give AS a showing, so I can’t see why anyone can complain too much about him taking up the only chance he had. What Putin gets out of it is anyone’s guess, except that in any event it’s not well-meant.

  19. Alex Clark says:

    This is a bit embarrassing.

    The U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union has resulted in an “economic catastrophe” for Britain, European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said Tuesday during an interview with French broadcaster BFMTV.

    “Look at what’s going on with store shelves … with the restocking of fuel … with the lack of nurses and doctors … with the truck driver shortage [and] with everything construction. What’s going on these days is a disaster,” Breton said.

    “Consider that after they said they could regain prosperity, which meant to some extent that every EU national would be kicked out — at least a large part of them — well now they need to come back, because nurses are missing. There’s 100,000 truck drivers missing … It is what it is and we deplore it,” he added.

    Oh dear, someone recognises that the Emporer has no clothes.

    https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-commissioner-thierry-breton-brexit-an-economic-catastrophe-for-britain/

  20. Alex Clark says:

    It doesn’t get any better for the Brexiters who might have to go without turkey this Xmas.

    Graeme Dear, chair of the British Poultry Council, has told MPs there is a “likelihood” there will be a shortage of UK-produced turkeys for Christmas. He told MPs produce may have to be imported from Europe. The UK also faces huge quantities of produce going to waste due to labour shortages.

    Fancy that, the UK having to import turkeys from the EU because of a shortage of EU labour here.
    The short video in this article is a hoot watch a Scot telling the MP’s in the commons that the Emporer is wearing no clothes, something he describes as “irony” LOL

    https://www.independent.ie/videos/farming-bosses-warn-of-turkey-shortage-this-christmas-due-to-uk-labour-shortage-40986713.html

    • Ah, but, it’s Covid, not Brexit, doncha know?brexit has been airbrushed from print and the airwaves.
      I’d venture that any hack even mentioning Brexit now would be summarily dismissed for gross treason.

      Brexit has been the greatest almighty English disaster outside war, yet, they still journey on towards oblivion.
      England; The Tribe That Lost Its Head; willing to starve and freeze ‘cos they hate furriners.

      • Not-My-Real-Name says:

        Yes Jack spot on ….indeed DRoss accuses Nicola Sturgeon of hiding behind Covid while his colleagues at WM who are in the Cabinet have used, when interviewed on TV, ‘COVID’ as reasons for shortages of HGV drivers, food shortages etc etc etc………

        Also on Brexit the following wee tit bit :

        On 26 October 2021 Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, tweeted this.

        Some damning testimony from ,Alexandra Hall, a former Brexit counsellor at the British Embassy in Washington who resigned in 2019 over having to perpetrate what she saw as increasing disingenuous UK lines on Brexit ,especially on NI, once Boris Johnson took over.

        “They downplayed the increased friction that was likely for businesses trading between the United Kingdom and the E.U. countries, as well as third countries such as the United States.

        But, most damagingly, the talking points also downplayed the consequences of Brexit for the delicate peace process in Northern Ireland, in which the United States was a core stakeholder, having helped to broker the Good Friday Agreement and supported it since then.

        “When I was asked to brief American businesses with significant investments in the United Kingdom, I found myself struggling to maintain the line that there would be no harmful consequences for them, even if the United Kingdom left the European Union without any deal at all.

        “Colleagues told me that the prevailing atmosphere in Whitehall meant that all civil servants had to be ‘on message,’ and that any points which did not comport with ministers’ preconceived notions were simply rejected.

        “One colleague working on NI was nearly in tears as he told me how he simply could not get his minister to register the enormous damage that would be done to the fabric of Northern Ireland, politically and economically, if the UK left the European Union without a deal.

        “A low point for me was when I heard a senior British minister openly and offensively, in front of a U.S. audience, dismiss the impact of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit on Irish businesses as just affecting ‘a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks.’”

        So Jack…..

        On Covid let’s look at one ( actually of the many) dire and negligent aspects of the UK Govt. failings in handling the Covid pandemic in England :

        Today on the 27 October 2021 THE Daily TELEGRAPH headline stated: “Test & Trace criticised as ‘eyewatering’ waste of cash” ……that’s the Daily TELEGRAPH aka The Daily TORYGRAPH.

        That Jack, is 37 BILLION pounds wasted by the UK Govt on a track and trace…VIA…the PRIVATE sector headed by the now invisible woman Dido Harding………..what was all of that the money spent on ? …for a system that people in England said DID NOT WORK…….yet we are told that today Rishi Sunak ‘faces a tough choice’ via his budget…….bet he does…with the amount of money he and his colleagues have WASTED……….but an ” age of optimism” is to be set out by Rishi…….so same old same old Tory way…tell everyone everything is just going to be great and will get even better because of Dunkirk spirit or something …if we , the plebs live within our means that is (remember George Osborne said we all had to live within our means in the 2016 Budget hence austerity measures justified)…..so while the rich get richer….indeed many got richer via Covid contracts courtesy of the Tory party………the poorer in society must live hand to mouth in Brexit sunny uplands Britain…..I believe apt to state…”Get to Falkirk” or something like that…as stated by WS in a previous thead…..

        And of course we will all live happily ever after…..as all good FAIRY tales end……meanwhile on planet Brexit Tory reality it is more a horror story than a fairy tale…..but like all fairy tales the Tories spin a good yarn to their followers……while we , and others like us, can clearly see the writing on the wall…..hence why majority in Scotland VOTE SNP and prefer Independence to staying in a non and dysfunctional Union of unequals.

        #ScottishIndependence11

        • NMRN,
          {;0)

          Meanwhile in rat infested lltter strewn trainless Glasgow, we are all cursing that evil besom Sturgeon, ‘cos it’s all her fault
          Boy am I up for the fight when the campaign begins. Paul Sweeney, Monica Lennon, Annie Wells Jamie Greene, Anas Sarwar, Dross (well 33% attendance,) and the michty ‘leader’ of 3 LDs, A Lax Coal Scutttle, plus their WM Heavyweights Sub Lieutenant (RN Failed) Andrew Bowie, Alistair Frenchgate Carmichael, and the rotund hirsute Union Jack Man Murray….to name but a few..oh,sorry, to name but most of the roasters Up Here who are clinging on like grim deaths to their wee London wage packets.
          I am ready, invulnerable, after getting my booster and ‘flu jags last night..and no’ a soldier in sight.

  21. James Mills says:

    I wonder how many of Sarwar’s employees are members of a trades union ?
    (Yes , I know that for technical reasons – embarrassment ?- he is not the ”owner” of his Family firm )

    I wonder if his union leader friends have ever raised the topic of low pay or Trades Union representation with the Scottish Labour Leader ?

    Was Ricardo Lendrip ( his Scottish Labour predecessor ) aware of the pay conditions in a firm closely linked to a member of his shadow cabinet ?
    ( But then Ricardo was a major player in fighting to keep the female council workers of Glasgow poorly paid in comparison to their male colleagues .)

    Did the saintly Len McLuskey ever raise union matters with the Scottish Labour leader ? Or does this minor matter never seem appropriate when discussing the leadership of UK Unions in the post-Blair era ?

    Point of Order : Do you now have to be a millionaire to lead UK or Scottish Labour ?

  22. Hamish100 says:

    It helps!

  23. Hamish100 says:

    But you must be a Unionist first

  24. Alex Clark says:

    The Dutch state owned rail company Abellio has been running the rail service here in Scotland since 2015, they also have the franchise to run other services in the UK.

    Merseyrail franchise in a joint venture with Serco since 2003
    The Greater Anglia franchise since 2012
    Also the West Midlands franchise since 2017.

    These franchises have made a profit for the Dutch government every year until Covid struck. The only reason that the franchise owners running the trains in the UK can make a profit is because the infrastructure run by UK state owned Network Rail runs at a loss every year since being renationalised after failing as a privatised company.

    The franchise owners pay Network Rail just 25% of the costs of running the rail network, 5% comes from rental income of railway assets and 70% of the costs come from the public purse by way of grants from the UK and Scottish governments.

    In 2018-19 that amounted to a subsidy of £6.3 billion of public money being spent to subsidise companies such as Abellio. A subsidy equal to £220 per household in the UK. The profits that Abellio make due to the generous subsidy from your pockets go straight back to the Dutch Treasury where they can choose to spend that money for their own people’s benefit.

    Who are the mugs here?

    • grizebard says:

      Yes, as somebody has rightly said, Scotrail is already nationalised, only by the Dutch Government, not the Scottish one.

      • Alex Clark says:

        The reason I brought this up is that I read today that the Spanish state rail company intends to go into competition with Eurotunnel on the London-Paris route. They say that they will need to buy 7 new trains to suit the gauge of the UK railways but that this investment will be recouped within 4 years.

        The running of the railways in the UK is a total farce, there is no state rail company here where we have Nationalised the loss making Network Rail just so as other state owned companies in Europe can make a profit at the UK taxpayers expense.

        The Tory ideology of “market forces” at work in pursuit of a capitalist ideal. My arse.

        • Alex Clark says:

          Link to the article in the Guardian https://archive.ph/D7w0K

        • grizebard says:

          Yes, you just have to look at the history of the east coast main line to see how true that is. The only time it made a profit was when it was operated by the state after each latest ill-chosen franchisee pulled out.

          Some time back, there was word that (semi-privatised) Deutsche Bahn would be trying the same. I don’t know what the status of that now is. Maybe another victim of Brexit?

  25. Alastair Bryan says:

    Labour are quite happy to betray Scottish aspirations of independence. They think that Scotland will stop voting for indy partys if the unionist cartel can frustrate the indy movement for longer enough to sicken everyone.They want to keep there game of UK,Ok, feudal state going for the tax doging elites while satisfying their need to get back in power. They want their share of the action.
    The Labour party was infuriated by the right wing and turned. No longer is it a party of the people . New labour are the Red Torys , run by Millionaires, Sawar and Starmer. Keir Hardy and John McLean would turn in their graves to see what the party has become. Remember the 1930s, when Labour was a party for home rule. Now all they do is prevent it ,traitors all.The Vow . Then block any powers coming to Hollyrood. Dont be complacent Westminster spys are infuriateing the indy movement as we speak ,planting seeds of doubt and trying to kick the can down the road .We must not let this happen.
    For those in the labour party that still care throw out your leaders and become a true Scottish party. Say No to the London cabal of corruption and there rotten to the core state Come out and support independence.

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