Now is the winter of this contempt

The UK is bracing itself for a winter of discontent, of strikes affecting numerous sectors, even nurses are being driven in their desperation to take strike action. Across the UK we are facing rising food prices, the looming threat of another unaffordable hike in energy bills, soaring rent and mortgage costs, and presiding over it all a Conservative government determined to ‘tough it out’ no matter what the suffering caused to millions of households which are already struggling to stave off hunger and the winter freeze, terrified about keeping a roof over their heads. The are hoping that the public will blame the striking workers for the disaster that the Conservatives have created.

The Tories have run a programme of austerity and slashing public services to the bone for the last 12 years, they have blatantly worked on the basis of one rule for us and our mates and another for the rest of you – most obviously with the so-called ‘VIP lane’ giving the Conservatives’ cronies and donors preferential access to PPE contracts during the pandemic,now the consequences of corruption of Conservative institutional corruption are breaking through in a Britain where everything is broken, where everything is shoddy and shabby, more difficult, poorer in quality and yet more expensive, where shit is pumped onto beaches and where the most simple tasks like booking a driving test or a dentist appointment entail herculean effort.

Britain is broken and it’s the Tories who broke it. They broke it with their ideologically driven hard Brexit, their privatisations, their austerity, their contempt for decency in public office, their enrichment of their cronies and their pillaging of public funds for private greed.

Yet according to the Sunday Times, the priority for the government which has created and is presiding over this mess is new laws on asylum seekers, with Home Secretary Suella Braverman proposing that asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats should be locked up indefinitely and banned from ever settling in the UK.

When you have royally screwed up everywhere and have no tools to clean up the mess, try blaming desperate foreigners in order to appeal to the xenophobic English nationalists who still believe in Brexit. The UK has an ageing population, and serious huge skill and staff shortages. Food is rotting in the fields, the NHS is desperate for staff, whole industries are desperate for staff and immigrants are needed in order to rescue the British economy from the problems that the Conservatives created when they ended freedom of movement.

Despite the claims of Keir Starmer and the even more lightweight Anas Sarwar, a vote for Labour is a vote for things to remain the same. Labour will not seek the UK’s re-entry into the Single Market or Customs Union and has ruled out the restoration of freedom of movement. And just like the Conservatives, Labour will continue to ignore the decisions of the people of Scotland as expressed through the ballot box if these are decisions not to Westminster’s liking. Starmer is as hypocritical and evasive as Douglas Ross when it comes to detailing what Scotland’s path to another referendum is. They both insist it exists, they both refuse to say what it is, it’s top secret.

The shadow health secretary Wes Streeting believes in continued, and even increased, private sector involvement in the NHS. Both he and Keir Starmer have taken donations from private health providers. On Sunday, Labour peers warned Starmer against ‘wasting political capital’ on reform of the House of Lords, insisting he would get bogged down in a constitutional quagmire.

Gordie Broon hadn’t even unveiled his much vaunted proposals for constitutional reform, proposals which you can be certain will be broadcast with much fanfare on BBC Scotland News ,yet we could already hear the screeching sound of Labour doing a sharp handbrake U-turn. The proposals will be touted as Labour’s great alternative to independence but you can be certain that they will not include ensuring that the UK really is a voluntary union of nations with an internal Scottish democratic route to another independence referendum or effective means of placing the devolution settlement beyond any possibility of Westminster meddling.

But lack lustre and milquetoast as these proposals will most certainly be, what they will boil down to is a series of consultations which will result in whatever it is that BBC Scotlandshire orgiastically announces being watered down more than a homoepathic remedy in which nothing of the original substance remains. This has always happened with Labour’s proposals for constitutional reform. For example the devolved parliament we ended up with is not the devolved parliament Labour promised before it was elected in Blair’s landslide of 1997. That was a Scottish Parliament which would have had control of broadcasting and with extensive powers over taxation, including even a promise to grant Holyrood powers over VAT ‘should this be possible.’ Surprise surprise, Labour decided it was not going to be possible, just as it decided that control of broadcasting was not going to be possible either.

The early signs are that Brown’s proposals will go the same way. That is because the purpose of Brown’s constitutional proposals is not to articulate a plan that is going to actually be implemented, the real purpose is to provide some political cover to the Labour party in Scotland in its manoeuvres against the SNP. Labour in England has no real interest in constitutional reform, and it is certainly not about to agree to any meaningful restrictions being put on the power of the Prime Minister in order to rescue the credibility of Anas Sarwar.

The Observer newspaper has reported that some at high levels of the party have cautioned against a manifesto commitment to drive through Lords reform as soon as a Labour comes to power, Starmer did not mention reform of the Lords in an article he wrote for the Observer at the weekend in which he promised to pursue a wide range of reforms to restore trust in politics and politicians.

He could start by recognising the mandate for another independence referendum won by the Scottish Government at the last Holyrood elections, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Labour announced that the people best placed to decide what works in Stirling, Sunderland or Swansea are the people who live there, except that if they decide they want an independence referendum, then Westminster will decide.

The proposals themselves landed on Monday with a resounding ‘meh’. As predicted these are not firm commitments for radical change, but a promise to ‘consult’. Significantly absent from Labour’s promise to distribute power away from the centre was any mention of reform of the Commons. It’s like promising to do something about a dragon jealously guarding a hoard of treasure by rearranging the placement of the treasure and leaving the dragon firmly in place.

Gordon Brown loftily proclaimed that as far as Scotland was concerned the debate is no longer between independence and the status quo, it was between independence and a reformed United Kingdom. That is exactly what he told us in 2014 and we can see what happened. Now Labour hopes to pull off the same trick again.

Both the main British parties deny Scottish democracy and seek to keep Scotland trapped in an everlasting winter of Westminster contempt. That’s why as soon as possible, Scotland must vote to leave this broken Britain.


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65 comments on “Now is the winter of this contempt

  1. Dr Jim says:

    I don’t believe Britain is broken, I believe they designed it this way, it’s perfect
    If you’re a government with this much power and control why on earth would you deliberately work to give it away to the masses that you believe you’re better than

    Anybody see China doing this? Russia? they’re doing the opposite, only democratic states and countries devolve power, eh like the EU? remember them? the nice folk England dragged us away from because they were eh a democracy

    • JP58 says:

      I think you have a point:
      Most people in Scotland know we are no too wee – they can see there are plenty of similar sized countries across Europe post 1989 ( many with less resources) doing fine.
      are not too stupid- they know we have a relatively highly educated workforce (you could argue we are too stupid only in allowing a much larger country to control our resources.)
      too poor? – most people can see we have an abundance of natural resources. We do have an ageing population but this is common to many countries in Western Europe. If GERS and other accounts show we are a poor nation we must emphasise why with the resources we have are we too poor compared to many comparable sized countries- it is because we part of a Union that needs to keep us in a situation of dependence to ensure they have access to our resources. This might explain the too poor accusation and make people think but does not answer the too poor label. What we need is a coherent explanation of how we get from current situation to point where whole countries is benefiting from our natural resources (wealth). We can argue all we like how we are being dragged down by failing UK but until we show a clear, realistic roadmap that reassures the small c conservative section of soft No (& soft Yes) voters we are going to struggle to raise support to the 60% level where independence becomes inevitable.
      If our leaders of independence movement cannot do this they should move over and let leaders who can answer the questions of voters who are sympathetic but scared of independence.

  2. Mark Russell says:

    England is in a complete mess and it’s only going to get worse. You mentioned the Health Service. It takes at least ten days for a GP appointment and when you eventually secure one, the chances are you’ll be seen by a “Triage Executive” like I was a couple of weeks ago.

    They take your details and input the symptoms into the NHS computer and an algorithm works out what treatment is best for you. I had a painful back so the young woman suggested a prescription of co-codamol and a referral to their physios who would give advice for exercises.

    That was fine, but when we were chatting, I asked her what her background was – nurse, paramedic etc – but she had no formal training whatsoever. She had worked at the DWP for two years complaining benefit claims but fancied a change and always wanted to work in healthcare, so jumped at the opportunity when the job was advertised. She had two weeks training at the surgery and learned how to navigate the diagnostic tool in the NHS computer system. That was it.

    Her notes on the computer would go to a nurse to be checked and eventually a GP within two weeks to issue a prescription based on her information.

    So three to four weeks after having a complaint, you eventually receive a prescription, without actually seeing a GP or health professional. Given all the critical and complex health conditions now appearing post-Covid – you can imagine this system is fraught with danger. There’s a video below with the cardiologist Dr Rae Duncan uploaded last week, where she explains even the medics are missing vital clues in young healthy people presenting with amyloid clots in the myocardium post covid.

    People are getting very angry – it’s common to see security guards in GP and Dentist surgeries now to deal with any number of situations with frustrated patients. It’s estimated that the NHS has lost over 15,000 doctors and 48,000 nurses following Brexit and even if you double the number of places at med school and nursing colleges there’ll still be a shortfall for decades to come.

    No easy solution, but if Scotland was to become independent and rejoin the EU immediately then perhaps the issues we’re now seeing in England could be alleviated somewhat, providing free movement is reinstated. How that would work with an open border with England is anyone’s guess, for there’s the very real prospect of those south of the border visiting Scotland just to receive essential medical care.

  3. Hamish100 says:

    But, but, but…. Brown , Starmer and his bidy-in in Scotland have developed a radical new plan – just not called the vow.

    No return to the eu despite 62% of Scots never wanting to leave and despite brown and his britnat pals appearing in the Daily Record all those years ago promising more powers if we voted No and a guarantee we would remain in the EU.

    They unionist are liars.

  4. ST says:

    What all of Brown’s Bullshit comes down to is that Starmer is looking to the Red Wall Racists to ultimately secure the next election for Labour. Why else would he be emphatically opposed to re-entry to the single market? It makes absolutely no sense.
    Brown is trying to polish a turd. He can’t square the aspirations of the Scottish people with the insular Anglo nationalism of the North East of England. Support for, at the very minimum, devo max is in a large majority here but it is beyond Labour to offer this. They simply can’t. Starmer placates the Brexiteers at the expense to Scotland. Brown should be called out for this pathetic and half hearted attempt to pull the wool over Scotland’s eyes.

  5. bringiton says:

    We Scots have news for those English voters who might be tempted by this nonsense.
    British Labour’s devolution doesn’t work because it was always intended as simply a political prop with no serious intent to actually devolve power.
    We should talk about dependence a bit more than independence because just as people won’t accept this on a personal level,once they understand our true constitutional position and not the image peddled by the great British Labour party,then many more will demand real change.
    British Labour cannot change the power structures of the UK because that would entail dismantling the UK state and it’s unwritten constitution.
    As the Great British Labour party peers have pointed out,this would not be to the advantage of their party in the long run and certainly not to those peers affected.

  6. Dr Jim says:

    Gordon Brown stars in *VOW 2 this time we mean it* over 100 years in the promising
    Directed by Sir Keir Starmer featuring a cast of some

    All references to Scotland not applicable, terms and conditions apply

  7. Movy says:

    Correct; we need out ASAP.
    This is why the MPs, who were elected by their constituents to deliver independence, MUST now take the fight to Westminster.
    No more Mr Nice Guy.

  8. Great article as usual. The eternal lie that is the Labour Party in Scotland.

  9. jfngw says:

    It’s not a vow, it will be a pledge or given his background a covenant this time. They will give Scotland the same powers which they already have and consider others, these will be rejected. The regions of England will be given the same power as Scotland and reduce Scotland to a region. That has always been Brown’s plan to remove the choice of independence, to eliminate Scotland as a country. They plan to do this even if Scotland rejects them.

    Brown is an ultra British (English in reality) Nationalist, England keeping control of Scotland and its resources is his objective whilst trying to fool the Scots into accepting their loss of status.

    • andyfromdunning says:

      Tory covenant’s are worth nothing. Do you remember in the early days of the Cameron government there was a stramash regarding poor housing for our armed forces. Good old Davy C stated that the country had a covenant with the armed forces and the houses would all be updated. All very good media.

      Anyway last week three newspapers and Ch4 highlighted that the housing was still in an awful state. Never trust a politician, any politician from all parties.

  10. Sophie Grace Chappell says:

    And the Devil took Sir Keir Starmer up on an exceeding high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory in a moment of time. And he said to him, “All these things I will give you if you will tell lies about the EU, throw the unions under the bus, nod along with the tabloid bigots on absolutely everything, and gaslight Scotland with implausible blank-cheque promises.”
    “Sure, no problem,” said Sir Keir. “Would you like to buy my soul too?”
    “Whoah,” said the Devil, “you have a soul?”

    • Alan D says:

      Along the lines of “you can fool some of the people all the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all the time,” the catch is that Labour has to actually deliver something resembling at least one of its major pledges – especially if it wants to win a second term.

      Although as Paul points out, they promised far more of a devolved parliament, it’s impossible to deny that they did deliver devolution and Lords reform after 1997. Despite the watering down, things happened and it worked. They won 2001 handsomely, clung on in 2005 and were out in 2010 having more or less stood still since 2000.

      So it seems likely that they are going to make big noises about getting something done and then do it. They just haven’t decided which thing to choose as their big flashy delivered-as-promised, slightly-watered-down spectacle to distract the electorate from the other things they won’t be touching with a bargepole after they’re in power.

      • deelsdugs says:

        Alan D…Get up stand up…

        • Alan D says:

          A lot of independence supporters react like you do. They just don’t believe that Labour could possibly deliver the tiniest toot. “No, it’s impossible. They’re buried under all that Brexitism. Completely useless.”

          Sure. Keep sleepwalking towards that.

          I am not saying Labour will deliver anything fully. I am saying that if elected they will deliver a distraction, one which is just credible enough in order for them to say “look, we did something!”

          And that we have to be prepared for this, rather than betting our entire future upon the belief that they just won’t do anything.

          • deelsdugs says:

            Actually, I was referring to your quote, ‘you can fool some people some time…’ as it harks to a song…by Bob Marley, remember him and ‘get up stand up…’

  11. DonDon says:

    Excellent, Sophie. Put that up on The Guardian. Post it everywhere.

  12. Welsh_Siôn says:

    The view from ‘the Western Colonies’:

    Gordon Brown’s report on the future of the UK doesn’t have much to say about Wales

    05 Dec 2022 5 minute read

    Gordon Brown’s much-heralded Commission on the UK’s Future has been published this morning – so what’s in there about Wales?

    The answer – having read through its almost 150 pages – is ‘not much’. As the choice of the former MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath as its author suggests, this report is mostly about Scotland.

    For example, the dedicated section on Scotland runs to 11 pages, while the section on Wales is only two pages long.


  13. Capella says:

    IndependenceLive continues to produce webcasts about the Scottish economy. In light of the campaign reignited after the SCUK decision and the imminent fall of the Sunak government, maybe it’s time we all started listening. This is No 56 with Angus B MacNeil who chairs the HoC Trade Committee.

  14. Straws in the wind again, but I track Scottish subsamples of UK polls. They are very volatile, but averaged out can give an idea of any significant movements.

    Tentatively, since UKSC gate and Labour standing with the Tories on the decision, the Labour vote may will be falling sharply here. Some to SNP and some to Libs, which suggest there might be an element of Labour being brexiteers too it as well.

    Early doors, but I’m keeping an eye on it. Could be a fluke, but I have them on the lowest share since before they got their mini-budget boost. Data don’t disagree with the R&W Scottish poll. It’s the past week or so that their share in subsamples has seemingly dropped a lot. As you might expect for Scots waiting to see of Labour would be different to the Tories on iref2 and deciding no, they’re the same.

  15. JP58 says:

    Labour view on Scotland (with apologies to JFK)- ‘ask not what Labour can do for Scotland but what Scotland can do for Labour’.

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      To which Scotland replies.

      “We already know what Labour can do (and has done) to Scotland. No, never no more, thanks.”

  16. I’m not one for the Royles, but oh man seems he’s turning the knife.

    Prince Harry says ‘it’s a dirty game’ in new Netflix trailer

    Prince Harry speaks of the “leaking and… planting of stories” as part of a “dirty game” in a new trailer for the Harry and Meghan series on Netflix.

    He describes the “pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution” in an apparent reference to his wife, Meghan, and mother, Princess Diana.

    • James says:

      He’s certainly chosen his path that’s for sure. The next time he wants to promote one of his charities the media will say sure, but we want a bit of gossip about the Royal family in return. Certainly nobody with an sort of real power is going to be picking up the phone to him anymore.

      His brother, on the other hand can just call upon the US President etc etc to have a meet up and chat to promote his chartity.

      But good luck to him, hes chosen his path and that is what he wanted to do, wether or not is one he will regret, time will tell.

      • I am really not a royal watcher, but Harry seems to have been cast out for his choice of wife, and of course reacting to how mum was treated amongst other things. You don’t react like he has for no reason.

        On this topic, I listened to an interesting BBC WS programme about racism in England / Britain following the Ngozi Fulani royal scandal the other night when driving home. Was pretty enlightening to say the least. You can see where Markle is coming from.

        Personally, I’m all for Queen Markle of Scotland if we must have a monarchy! 🙂

  17. Dr Jim says:

    Why would Gordon Brown say Labour will offer Scotland the opportunity to join some trading partners and some other organizations but not the EU when like the Tories Labour insist Scotland has the most powerful devolved parliament in the world already

    My whole life I’ve heard nothing but Labour lies that have never materialised the minute after they’re elected, and the funny thing is it was my father who warned me, and he’s been dead for 46 years

    • grizebard says:

      Oh, Gordo Brood has laboured mightily in his secluded crypt and produced another dodgy promise, this time a pathetic cut-rate simulacrum of what we were supposed to have already received, after too many innocents voted “no” in 2014. Including a new Great House of the People in the same old decrepit London ruin which would be a neutered talking shop in which we would have yet another minority representation, there only again to be abused, derided and held hostage, unable to escape.

      All this carefully crafted to fail to lift Scotland out of Sarwar’s Mitigation Hell, because dependency culture is their only strategy for winning back power in post-devo Scotland.

      Besides, how much, d’you think, of whatever shreds of this “Vow Mk.2” which actually manages to make it into the next Anglo Labour manifesto will get anywhere further than any of Gordo’s former wonderful assurances? It’s only real function, after all, is to squeeze a few more votes to elect a few more Labour MPs from Scotland so that Starmer might hope to win the next rotten UK election. That’s all it signifies.

      Look back, dear reader, to how Labour totally neutered the already-anodyne conclusions of the ill-fated Smith Commission. That’s the real Labour, and never forget it. We can do far better for ourselves than any pathetic crumbs of dilute autonomy that Labour might currently feel forced to dangle in front of us.

      • It really is magic roundabout stuff that, after all that’s happened, somehow Scots will happily go back to Labour’s pretendy devo under brexit.

        JHC, what world are these people living in? Talk aboot wee bubbles.

        • grizebard says:

          Oh, they had another privileged wee bubble on show today, this time in Leeds. Two rows of slightly-bored-looking mobilised young innocents behind a podium, and a mix of party apparatchiks and journos in front. For me, a wierd flashback to BT’s exclusive public-private showpieces in 2014, and Brood basking in the spotlight again, craved it almost seems like a vampire needs blood.

  18. Hamish100 says:

    Why would labour get rid of the lords. What would McConnell and his like do. They like the ermine too much.
    You are right dr J why would they say they don’t want rejoin the EU when it is palpable the best option.
    I look forward to the day when Ireland Scotland and Wales work together in cooperation as opposed to having several hundred years of racist taunts, undemocratic institutions and the like. The EU nations have been more of a friend post war than our arrogant neighbour in the south.
    Your father was a wise man.

  19. There’s really no hope for England unless we end Britainland.

    Reversing Brexit now would not help UK economy, says Keir Starmer

    Rejoining the EU’s single market would not boost UK economic growth, Keir Starmer has argued, saying it would create “years of uncertainty” for UK businesses, which would be worse than the closer trade links that would come.

    In another sign of Labour’s extreme reluctance to be portrayed as seeking to dismantle or reverse Brexit, Starmer said that as prime minister he would instead seek to improve the post-departure deal agreed by Boris Johnson.

    All you can do is facepalm to this s**t.

    • Capella says:

      OTOH Starmer is leading a slow march towards a softer Brexit — he just won’t say it out loud says Gaby Hinsliffe.

      White man speak with forked tongue as usual.

      • JP58 says:

        I have heard this before but this is wishful thinking. Labour need to woo red wall voters in England to win GE. He will be crucified in tabloid press if he makes moves away from Brexit.
        Gabby Hinsliffe writes for Guardian she is just spinning what Keir Starmer is saying to try and keep Labour remainer readers onside.

        • grizebard says:

          Ach, I just wish The Guardian would stop acting like a Labour apologist mouthpiece and start telling the unvarnished truth again, like Polly Toynbee once did straight from the shoulder at – now who was it again? – oh yes, one Gordo Brood, PM.

  20. James Mills says:

    Starmer’s ”biggest transfer of power out of Westminster ever to the people ” need only have had one main proposal to ”change ”the UK forever –
    Proportional Representation in all Westminster elections !

    This one change to how Westminster is elected would have changed the UK at a stroke .
    No more Tory or Labour hegemony ;
    no more pretending that we are a democracy when no Government has a real mandate from the people .

    It was mandatory for the Scottish Government to be elected by this format ( and we all know why ) but this is NEVER on any Tory or Labour manifesto .
    The Scots , the Irish and the Welsh would all be better served for this change – but mostly The English !

    Of course we get the usual BS from those with a vested interest claiming that it leads to weak Government- FFS !!!
    Have they seen the shysters and megalomaniacs , tossers and warmongers
    ( sometimes all in the same person ) we have had running the UK for the past few decades ?
    Give me some of that ”weak Government ” for a wee change – it couldn’t be as bad as what we have had to endure in the past and at present .

    Or to put it another way – F*ck off Starmer , Brown , Sarwar et al and let us choose our own destiny !

    • grizebard says:

      You’re perfectly right, James. Starmer derided “sticking plaster” for a visibly-decrepit WM, then just introduced some of his (or Brood’s) own.

      But do anything to seriously challenge the Lab-Con Buggins Cartel? Not a whiff of a chance! They both crave unfettered WM control like a drug, and will never willingly give it up.

      The small print is this: anything Starmer/Brood manages to do, if he ever gets elected, can be unwound in a trice by another English election. The only way we can be safe is to be out of it. Totally.

  21. Dr Jim says:

    Indeed we have heard it all before, seen it all before and signed up to the Myth Commission that the Labour party Tory and Lieberal Democrats teamed up on to vote against every proposal to increase the powers of the Scottish parliament

    And why did they vote against Scotland’s parliament having more say in our own future you ask? *we don’t like the SNP winning all the elections* was the cry
    Well guess what? the SNP are still winning all the elections because there’s something Scotland wants that will end all the constitutional wrangling with the England mafia and its soldier drones in Scotland, Independence! when do we want it? NOW!

    Imagine the nerve of these people, they have the outright cheek to offer control over Job Centres, bloody Job Centres, what the hell does that even mean?
    Scotland has the finest education in the UK and much of the world with world class universities, I know, I went to one yet these Labour thieving patronising Bastirts insult the population of Scotland’s intelligence with this pile of steaming dog sh*te thinking they can dump it on our front door welcome mats

    We’ll give you borrowing powers they said, how much ? the media asked, and Labour replied blurmswiomp scrumtish gzoninplaat we’ll have to talk about that later
    well that will be presumably following a meeting where Labour Tory and Lieberal Dumbocrats decide to vote against that all over again because *we don’t like the SNP*
    because they might spend it on Scotland’s people’s welfare instead of what they’re told to and still want independence

    Indeed we have heard it all before

    Dare to come to my door with this latest sh*te Labour and be prepared to bounce really hard on the way out, I’ll be happy to pay the fine following my appearance on Scotland tonight news with John McKay btw, I am not a Scotsman with whom to fu*k

    Do me a favour Skier post the images of exactly what was voted against by the Brits in the Smith commission

    • grizebard says:

      More tax traps to aid Sarwar’s Mitigation Hell, perhaps?

      The last thing Starmer would ever do is something truly significant (“fully federal”, even? {cough}) like concede Scotland’s sole hand on its own purse strings, to decide its own priorities and set its contribution to the UK finances. And in the process reveal to both Scotland and England who is actually paying whom? Nah, more sticking plaster non-solutions instead. Window-dressing for the unco gullible, with poison pill attached.

  22. stewartb says:

    So within just one week, we’ve been told (again) from a senior Unionist politician (Mordaunt in the House of Commons) that Scotland has the MOST POWERFUL DEVOLVED parliament in the world whilst the leader of HM Opposition today tells us that the UK is the MOST CENTRALISED of any European nation state in terms of government. Confusing?

    The leader of HM Opposition tells us that the UK is the MOST CENTRALISED as he launches a report on reforming UK governance that he had commissioned from an ex PM. And notably, this is the very same ex PM who in 2014 promised the electorate in Scotland that if it rejected independence, the UK would be reformed to be AS CLOSE TO FEDERALISM AS IT WAS POSSIBLE to be in a nation state in which one country, England is so dominant in terms of the size of its population. So a promise of significant decentralisation?

    And it is this same ex PM who has subsequently claimed – certainly has never denied – in common with other Unionists, that that THE ‘VOW’ TO VOTERS IN SCOTLAND to deliver reform, to get as close to federalism as possible, HAS INDEED BEEN DELIVERED!

    But still the UK today is both the most centralised of any European state whilst and includes the most powerful devolved government? Surely some contradictions – aka deceipt/lies – here!

    Add in the rejection of all proposed Commons amendments from Scotland’s MPs during the passage of the Scotland Act 2015 in Westminster; the Brexit referendum and its outcome; the trashing of the Sewell Convention as any sort of constitutional protection from Westminster interference; the passage into law of the UK Internal Market Act to enable interference; the current proposals under the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill etc. – and we are still expected to trust what comes from UK Unionist politicians and the Westminster system. And we are still expected to consider what Unionists ‘promise’ as any sort of credible, useful, relevant solution to Scotland’s needs and wants!

    I wonder: does a UK Labour Government now intend to impose its proposed government reforms in Scotland regardless of how many MPs – or how may votes – it ends up getting in Scotland at the next GE?

    If Unionists’ concerns are over retaining and extending social and economic co-operation between the ‘family’ of England, NI, Scotland and Wales then OK, but let’s do this through the Nordic model. Let’s achieve this outcome through something comparable to the Nordic Council/Nordic Co-operation which involves independent nation states that are truly equal partners.

    And being independent, just like the Nordic states, ‘family’ members can all have the benefits of ‘agency’ to choose our own form of relationship with the EU, with EFTA, with NATO, and to decide democratically on our own policies on all forms of taxation, currency, international relations and contributions to the UN, energy, defence and the use of nuclear weapons etc. etc.

    And whilst having – and intending to sustain – the ‘agency’ that comes from being independent nation states, the Nordic countries can still agree on this kind of strategic mission statement as an example of their commitment to mature, sensible co-operation: ‘Nordic Co-operation’s vision of the Nordic region becoming the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030.’

    It’s worth communicating at every opportunity the views of Jo Grimond, the former Liberal leader and MP for Orkney and Shetland (1950-83), from his 1983 book ‘A Personal Manifesto’:

    “I do not like the word devolution as it has come to be called. It implies that power rests at Westminster, from which centre some may be graciously devolved.

    ‘I would rather begin by assuming that power should rest with the people who entrust it to their representatives to discharge the essential tasks of government.

    ‘Once we accept that the Scots and the Welsh are nations, then we must accord them parliaments which have ALL the normal powers of government, except for those THAT THEY DELEGATE to the United Kingdom government or the EEC.’ (my emphasis)

    It’s about who decides: it must not be about what either Labour or the Tories in Westminster decide, based on votes gained in England, they are willing to ‘grant’ to Scotland and its Parliament! We’ve travelled far too far to settle for that as an acceptable outcome!

    • grizebard says:

      Amazing really, that all those many years ago Jo Grimond already truly understood the fundamental principle of autonomy within a UK context, a reach that Starmer/Broon in their arrogance, self-delusion and plain deceit still can’t manage, for all their fine words. Given that manifest failure of understanding right across the board, your conclusion is inescapable: the only way we can now achieve genuine parity of agency is through independence.

      And to the great shame of the pallid remnant of his party that lingers like an unsightly stain, I dare suggest that Grimond, if he were still with us, would conclude the same.

    • As per, Steward, an excellent addendum to Paul visceral comments.

      Yet again, Brown is given a wee job, doubtless on a lucrative stipend, to come up with Vow Two.
      It worked before, didn’t it?

      Promise them anything, and there are enough of them mug enough to believe it.

      Sarwar assured us that they’re listening this time.

      The politically deaf Clunking Fist declares that his 140-page promissory note is the real deal; it offers the latest version of Blair’s ‘third way’.

      Welcome to Blair’s Cool Britannia rehashed new conservatism which Brown decrees will distinguish Strarmer’s Red Tory Government from the two extremes. Nicola Sturgeon and the Nats and the Brit status quo of the Blue Tories.

      Only it doesn’t, does it?

      We still get Brexit, Trident, FPTP two party rule from London; but Scotland gets to run its own Buroos.

      Cameron, Clegg, Miliband, Osborne, Balls, and Danny Alexander.

      All gone on to pastures new, and coining it in, in brown envelopes.

      Brown is last man standing, flogging his dead horse lying, and still coining it in.

      The new Brit breed, Starmer, Sunak,, I’ve forgotten who’s running the Lib Dems now, are merely dusting down the old song books, and churning out the same lies and nonsense.

      Brown declares that 50,000 civil service jobs will be moved out of London and allocated to the ‘regions.

      As oft happens, Duggers, we recall an episode of ‘Yes, Prime Minister’, ‘Power to the People’, in an attempt to make sense of this latest bout of madness from this sad old man Brown.

      In this episode, while the Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby and his predecessor Sir Arnold Robinson, who are concerned about the prime minister’s plans to reform local government due to political opposition from one local council, believing that it would result in regional government and, as they would argue, a series of ill-considered policy decisions, and relocate Whitehall departments to the regions, they discuss ‘the politician’s syllogism’, a fallacy invented by the writers of Yes Minister’ which has subsequently entered the real wold of politics.

      The fictional mandarins held that doing nothing is better than letting their politicians do something.

      We can only imagine the uproar Brown’s Vow II must have caused in the real Corridors of Power, Whitehall.

      The ‘politician’s fallacy’ was humorously described as: –

      ‘To improve things, things must change.
      We are changing things.
      Therefore, we are improving things.’

      You may recall the early AI categorisation conundrum: –

      ‘All cats have four legs.
      My dog has four legs.
      Therefore, my dog is a cat.’

      Brown’s Vow II?
      It worked the last time, it will fool them again, may have been his pitch to Starmer.

      The polls show that the Nats are still holding the Northern Territory.

      ‘We must do something.
      Vow II is something.
      Therefore, we must do this.’ (Vow Two)

      You may recall that Johnson was going to sack 93,000 London pen pushers and ‘level up’ their jobs and departments in the Regions?

      John Major tried to decentralise DHSS by building a massive office complex in Leeds, Quarry House, with its own gym swimming pool and plush restaurant to coax the mandarins Oop North.

      They tried and failed to coerce thousands of civil servants to up sticks and move themselves and their families from London to Leeds on ‘eyewatering’ big bucks’ relocation packages.
      It never happened of course. The Sir Humphreys of Whitehall made sure of that.

      Oh yes, and Up Here in Brown’s homeland of North Britain, St Kentigern House, on Argyll Street Glasgow was built to relocate 6000 MOD staff from the SE to Glasgow.

      An ugly big building was thrown up, but there was no mass relocation to the frozen north; it is now a repository for armed forces personnel records past and present.

      So, 50,000 civil servants will not be moved from London to the North; not by Starmer, or Sunak, or Jim Hacker. Brown knows that.

      It would cost hundreds of billions, if they even tried….
      Brown’s Book of Nonsense is his politician’s fallacy.
      It’s time somebody near to him had a quiet word in his ear. Up Here he is ridiculed, not revered as an elder statesman.

  23. Dr Jim says:

    Allison Thewlis called Labour’s latest wheeze Chumpery
    That about sums them up I reckon

  24. yesindyref2 says:

    At least the National is bigging up the leader election:

    D-Day in SNP Westminster Leader race

    It’s probably the most important leadership contest ever, and it could be that 45 SNP MPs in another country, determine the fate of Scotland – and the fate of the SNP. As the Queen might have said:

    “I hope the SNP MPs will think very carefully about the future”

  25. yesindyref2 says:

    Much as I want to see disruption break out in the Commons, it occurs to me that there is one step left to do first.

    The UKSC decided in its infinite wisdom that Scotland isn’t entitled to self-determination because we have self-determination so why would we need self-determination to determine whether we neeed more self-determination. Oh, and we’re not a colony because we agreed to become a colony of England so we’re not actually a colony at all, we’re just part of England. Well, right, that’s what I thought as well.

    And then Baron Jack, the colonial governor who isn’t a colonial governor because we’re not a colony has decided we’re all a colony of ducks as long as we walk like ducks and look like ducks. Well, personally speaking I think he’s completely quackers.

    Anyways, back to the point, the UK Government and its lesser minions, Starmer and Co., can hide behind the UKSC judgement and say “It’s the Law, nothing to do with us Gov”. Conveniently forgetting that as the Legislature they determine what the Rule of Law actually is.

    So the SNP, the 3rd largest party in the Commons, need to put forward an emergency Bill to obtain a Section 30, or amend the Scotland Act to give the permanent right to a referendum, or a Bill to permit a Referendum, If the Speaker says such a thing is unspeakable then they need to put forward a motion of no confidence in him. And if the Bill does get into the Commons they need to make the UK Parliament, the Mother so we’re told, vote against Democracy so they’re pinned to the wall for all to see, as being the anti-democrats we all know they are.

    • iusedtobeenglish says:

      “So the SNP, the 3rd largest party in the Commons, need to put forward an emergency Bill to obtain a Section 30, or amend the Scotland Act to give the permanent right to a referendum, or a Bill to permit a Referendum, If the Speaker says such a thing is unspeakable then they need to put forward a motion of no confidence in him. And if the Bill does get into the Commons they need to make the UK Parliament, the Mother so we’re told, vote against Democracy so they’re pinned to the wall for all to see, as being the anti-democrats we all know they are.”

      I like the sound of that!

      Incidentally, amid all the – very valid – criticisms of what His Sirship said to Radio 4 yesterday, I don’t seem to have seen a mention of the fact that he implied that only London/SE England were “able” to contribute to the prosperity of the UK at the mo. So Scotland ‘s tax contributions. exports etc count for nothing just like the other ‘regions’ then.

      I’d like to point out that the interviewer fell upon this comment and savaged it. But, as per, she didn’t….

  26. Ken says:

    The House of Lords has little power. A Bill can be blocked twice that is all, Then it is amended and becomes Law. A wasteless, useless talking shop. They just ripe the public purse of £Billions. Totally corrupt. An antiquated relic from a past age. Shamelessly ripping off the public purse of £Billions that could be better spent. Another total disgra
    Anyone with any kudos would refuse to participate in the HoL. Another one great ripped. A total embarrassment along with Sir Starmer, For one who wants to abolish it. Starmer took a knighthood. Another lying, useless hypocrite. Beyond belief. Vote them out. Headed by the useless, greedy Royals. Ripping off the public purse like there is no tomorrow. Wasting public money and illegally starving and killing people.

  27. Ken says:

    If people want Independence they just need to go out and vote for it. At every Election. People who support Independence are not going out to vote for it. A too low turnout at every Election. It needs a higher turnout from people who claim to support it. 40%/50%/60%. More need to go and vote every election.Take another person. Vote SNP to abolish the opposition. Then
    victory. UN appeal.

    UN support of the principle of self governance and self determination When people vote for it. The UK is a member and Westminster is breaking International Law.

    The migration crisis was caused by Westminster break International Law. Then they blame others. The fault lies right at the door of Westminster,

    Why Sir Starmer is bothering with the HoL They have little power. There are major issues to be dealt with, especially Scottish Independence. For a fairer better society, more equality.and justice.

    Starmer another Labour hypocrite.More Labour lies. Time and time again. No wonder no one trusts them at all. More International killing. Breaking International Warmongers. Just as bad as the Tory unionists,

  28. Alex Clark says:

    Iain Macwhirter shows his true colours writing in the right-wing rag the Spectator.

    And there is one great woolly mammoth in the room left unaddressed by the Brown Report. The 1978 Barnett Formula – a mechanism used by the Treasury to automatically adjust the amounts of public expenditure allocated to the devolved nations and which underpins Scotland’s funding advantage – was supposed to have been phased out years ago. Yet it persists in the background even as the Scottish parliament has acquired extensive income tax raising powers of its own. Until this anomaly is ended and Scotland is required, in time, to live more within its means, the SNP has a fiscal win-win. It can offer things like free prescriptions and free university tuition while simultaneously claiming that it is being impoverished by Westminster.

    He must need the money.

    • Wee Walker. says:

      ‘Effie Deans’ also ‘writes’ for the Spectator. Has ‘Effie’ and McWhirter ever been seen in the same room ?

    • Capella says:

      What a pathetic attempt at polemic from Macwhirter. As you say, he must need the money.

    • Golfnut says:

      Dennis Healey, Barnetts boss and probably the beśt Chancellor the UK’s had in the last forty years said when challenged on the Barnett formula
      ” Scotland pays MORE than its fair share “.
      He also quite candidly remarked that England would suffer terribly without Scotland’s oil.
      Both these issues are current.

    • Has Police Scotland paid Coconut Macwhirter a visit yet?
      If not, why not?
      Like Brown he is a tired old dinosaur who made a killing during Indyref 1 with his Road to the Referendum tv specials and book.
      He is a member of the Elite Scotia Nostra of course.
      He can make a packet from his English bosses lying about stuff like the Barnett ‘subsidy’.
      Unedifying SNP Bad stuff pays big bucks.
      The bigger the lie, the more they pay.

    • Dr Jim says:

      McWhirter knows fine well the average Joe and Joan don’t understand how the Barnett formula is worked out, and they don’t understand the amount of Scottish money that flows to Westminster semi invisibly separate from direct taxation so he depends on folks ignorance of fiscal matters to promote a British Nationalist lie that Scotland is subsidised

      All anybody has to ask themselves is if Scotland Wales and the North of Ireland are so broke and such a burden on England why why why why do they from the goodness of their hearts keep giving us useless countries all their hard earned money?

      The couldnae possibly be lying could they? well they are so truthful as we all can see pretty clearly

  29. Capella says:

    Gerry Hassan in an uncharacteristically lucid analysis of the Broon Report.

    Why Labour, Brown and Starmer can’t break with the ancien regime

    Even within the report, the shortcomings of Labour’s stance are self-evident. This is a report on democratising Britain’s broken political system. Yet it expressly excludes the idea of introducing proportional representation for the House of Commons because Labour remains wedded to first past the post. And there is no support for codifying fundamental rights and entrenching the rights of citizens in a written constitution.

    There is also no progress towards federalism, or Brown’s previous mantra of moving to “near-federalism”. Such an omission means that the politics of absolutism, “elective dictatorship” and the unreformed absolutist centre which can remake, limit or abolish any rights or institutions in the UK remain.

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