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Showing posts with label Blair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blair. Show all posts

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Unexpected developments in lead-up to historic general election may trigger a political and constitutional crisis

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour

The new month opens with a series of maybe unrelated, yet possibly linked events, quite staggering in their implications for the general election.

Alan Cochrane has been named as the successor to Jeremy Clarkson in the new Top Gear flagship programme, to be renamed and launched as Gear Sticks United. His replacement on The Telegraph editorial team, in an move that has astonished Fleet Street, will be the Scottish Graphic artist and National cartoonist Greg Moodie, famous for his biting satire supporting the independence cause.

In an interview, Greg shrugged off questions about his change of allegiance and replied in his trademark laconic style “Don’t get sarky, guys – a suite in a mock-Gothic castle on Brecqhou clinched the deal for me.”

Her Majesty, in an unprecedented departure from protocol, has in a unique and moving ceremony, knighted Tony Blair and Gordon Brown simultaneously. As they knelt before her, the two architects of what was perhaps the last act in the Great Game of Empire, the Iraq War, avoided eye contact with each other as a mark of respect to the dead.

(The Palace said that rumours that John McTernan and Jim Murphy were to be equerries to Sir Tony and Sir Gordon were unfounded, since neither of the new knights owned a horse.)

But the news that has rocked the media and political commentariat broke at midnight. Its constitutional ramifications are as yet not fully understood, as Great Britain’s family of nations comes to terms with the announcement that Land of Hope and Glory will no longer close the last night of the Proms.

Four prominent composers – as yet unnamed – have been commissioned to synthesise a new national anthem using key motifs drawn from Land of Hope and Glory, Flower of Scotland, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau and The Londonderry Air which will reflect the combined spirit of our great family of nations. It is to be called O Britedonia

It will be sung by a choir specially coached by Gareth Malone OBE.  Early speculation on members of  the choir are Alistair Carmichael, Margaret Curran, Theresa May, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Ian Paisley Junior  and historian David Starkey. (No prominent Welsh national will be included as yet, since they can all sing well already.)

Alex Salmond, once a noted boy soprano, has regretfully declined, suggesting as his replacement Aled Jones. (A Palace spokesman said off the record that Mr. Salmond had never been invited: the Queen had vetoed Mr. Salmond’s inclusion.)

As yet, no proposals have emerged for the re-design of the Union Jack from the committee of British artists, celebrities and notables who love-bombed Scotland during the Independence Referendum.

Some have said they no longer “feel the love” in view of mounting poll evidence that the Scottish electorate intend to democratically elect representatives from a party that doesn’t seem to have felt the love in the way intended.

Monday, 2 February 2015

As we wait for the Chilcot Report …

Waiting for Chilcot is a bit like waiting for Godot. Idly checking back in my past ruminations on the war, I came across these comment of mine in the Guardian, circa 2008.

Guardian, comments 18 December 2008

I have been totally opposed to the Iraq war, from the lies, special pleading and moral cowardice that led up to it and throughout the horror, mendacity and ineptitude of its dreadful progress. But I am shocked at the unrealistic and superficial attitude of many of the comments on the role of the British armed forces, from armchair critics who have never been near a battlefield, have never placed themselves in harms way, and have never laid their life on the line for their country. To compare our soldiers, directly or by implication, to Nazis, is obscene and inaccurate.

The responsibility for the crimes against humanity in Iraq lies with the politicians who initiated it, to the members of Parliament who voted for it, and to the electors of Britain who continued to return them to power after the war started, and who continue to support them in government - and to the religious factions and tribal demagogues who manipulate the tortured people of Iraq, and naive - and always young - idealists from other nations, perverting their religious beliefs and the teachings of Islam to suit their evil and self-serving ends.

There have been atrocities - a minority of serving soldiers have behaved badly, and their superiors have failed by omission or commission to prevent this. But such aberrations occur in every war, and where possible, it has been exposed and punished.

But the prosecution of the war by British forces has been conducted in as principled a way as the exigencies of any war permit. An individual serving soldier may, at great personal risk, refuse to carry out an order in a specific instance that violates accepted codes of morality and international law, but to expect serving soldiers at any level to refuse to carry out their orders because of complex political argument at levels far above them is to expect the impossible. It is simplistic and brutally uncaring.

And what of the generals? Once our generals start to pursue their own agenda and their own political beliefs by confronting their political masters, we are headed for a junta. I hold no brief for Sir Jock Stirrup, and I think he should have thought, and thought again before committing his vapourings to print, but I do not believe he should have disobeyed his order.

I am a Scottish nationalist, and I fervently wish to be free of the Union that sacrifices the brave young men and women of Scotland to serve the vaunting ambition and vanity of despicable Scots like Blair and Brown, and permits them to send young men and women to their deaths, but I have never doubted the bravery and professionalism of the armed forces. In a very real sense, it is a greater sacrifice to do your job and die for your country in pursuit of a cause you do not believe in, because the majority of the people of your country have willed that act.

Place the blame where it squarely lies - with the politicians and the people who put them there. Leave our armed forces to mourn their dead and maimed comrades, and their families to cry out against those who sent them to their fate. 

Blair, Brown, Bush and Cheney attempt to justify their actions, but the verdict of history will damn them. The ancient Greeks recognised their type, and foresaw their fate.

The gods fail not to mark those who have killed many
The black Furies, stalking the man fortunate beyond all right
Wrench back again the set of his life and drop him to darkness.
There, among the ciphers, there is no more comfort in power
And the vaunt of high glory is bitterness.

AESCHYLUS - Agammenon

It is Britain's, and the Labour Party's abiding shame that two Labour Prime Ministers initiated, supported, and still defend the enormity of the Iraq conflict.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Iraq, The Chilcot Report – and Scottish Labour’s attempts to airbrush them out of GE2015 campaign

James Kelly demonstrates all the abysmal levels of debating skills, and rhetoric, plus lack of focus and absence of logical rigour for which Scottish Labour are justly notorious.

He doesn't want to be debating The Chilcot Report at all. Neither does his leader, Blairite Jim Murphy, nor his strategist, John McTernan, nor his party, Scottish Labour. The Peace Envoy wouldn't like it ...

 

Labour would dearly love to airbrush the Iraq War, The Chilcot Report, Blair and the Blair/Brown Government out of the general election debate, as Mary Fee's closing remarks show - but they can't - they have inconvenient evidence of them incarnate in Jim Murphy and his chief  strategist, John McTernan on their doorstep - and in the 'big beast' summoned to bale out Murphy's failing leadership, Gordon Brown - the banker of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, fully supportive of, and fully complicit in both.

Friday, 30 January 2015

SNP/Green/Plaid bloc has to buttress Miliband against the Blairites after May 7th

SNP/Green/Plaid bloc has to buttress Miliband against the Blairites after May 7th NHS, Labour and privatisation -Labour, deeply divided into two camps on NHS - and many other key issues.

We already know what camp Murphy is in - the one inhabited by all his Blairite pals.
Scots have to choose between Labour and Tories/LibDems after May 7th, and we have to trust Labour, or least that Miliband wing of Labour that is halfway rational about the NHS, the economy, welfare and Trident. An SNP/Green/Plaid bloc has to buttress Miliband against the Blairites in his own party, and they include Jim Murphy.

Conditional trust only - for a price - in a confidence and supply arrangement, with a series of key conditions set by Nicola and Cabinet in Scotland through her team in Westminster. That's the new game ...

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Marr and Mandelson on Miliband: trades unions, Iraq and the Chilcot Inquiry

MANDELSON

"Ed Miliband faces a big test of his leadership in relation to the trade unions - he's got to win the fight that he started - and, quite rightly, to reform the relationship."

"He's got to navigate his way through what could be a very difficult minefield - that is, The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War"

Chilcot Report expected "somewhere in mid-year"

Just in time to bury Blair, Brown, Mandelson and the reputation of Scottish Labour before Scotland's Referendum on September 18th - unless Chilcot is a whitewash, which is unlikely but possible, given the high stakes for UK involved.

Ed Miliband is not up to any of these challenges.

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Scottish media, Falkirk, Labour and Unite – independence excised from coverage?

MY SUMMARY OF THE FALKIRK FACTS

I’ll be as brief – and objective – as I can.

A preliminary summary of events

Eric Joyce was expelled from the Labour Party for multiple instances of bad behaviour. He is still MP, but has stated his intention not to stand at the general election in 2015. (Had he resigned as an MP or been removed, there would have been a by-election.)

Labour and the Falkirk constituency selection committee must choose a candidate for what has historically been a safe Labour seat. The selection of candidates for safe seats is a matter of high significance for any political party – for a party in opposition 22 months from a general election, hoping to win and form the next government of UK, and facing a riven, inept Coalition in disarray, such a selection is crucial.

(N.B. The Labour Party must have concerns for the safety of this seat, not only because of Joyce’s past behaviour, but because, as MP for another 22 months, outside of Labour, not subject to the Labour whip, he is potentially a loose cannon politically.)

Labour policy was to have an all-woman shortlist (AWS), and members of the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) were surveyed on whether an all-woman shortlist should be used. (The survey was paid for by Unite.)

Candidates who had already emerged were Linda Gow, former leader of Falkirk council and Gregor Poynton. Poynton is UK Director of Blue State Digital, adviser to Better Together Campaign and husband of Gemma Doyle MP, who is deputy to Jim Murphy MP, the shadow defence minister.

Then Karie Murphy appeared as a candidate. Karie Murphy, formerly Unison, now Unite Union, is Tom Watson MP’s office manager. Introducing Karie Murphy as a candidate was consistent with Labour’s policy of all-women shortlists (AWC) but Gregor Poynton’s candidacy was not.

A sudden influx of new members was recorded in the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) and it appeared that the Unite Union had recruited as many as 100 members. The CLP choose the Parliamentary candidate for Falkirk, not the total Labour membership. (The idea of holding primaries, elections in which the wider electorate are involved has been mooted before the Falkirk debacle, and is much debated since it commenced.)

Allegation began to appear that irregularities had occurred in the signing up of CLP members by Unite. The Labour Party was in essence created by the Trades Union movement (late 19th, early 20th centuries) to ensure Parliamentary representation for working people. The rules of the Labour Party permit trades unions to encourage members to join the party, and to pay their first year’s subscription. But it was claimed that Unite had signed up members without their knowledge, a very serious allegation if proven. The matter has now been referred to the police by the Labour Party.

THE POWER GAMES BEING PLAYED

N.B. From here on in, I don’t pretend neutrality, and only as much objectivity as I can muster, because I am of the Left in politics and I am also a Scottish nationalist – not a SNP member or member of any party, but wholly committed to a socially democratic independent Scotland.

Labour has a long history of fights with the trades unions. Unions are by far the Labour Party’s principal source of funds through the political levy (optional) that members pay, and unions apply the funds in various ways, including sponsoring specific MPs. In return for this, they not unreasonably expect the MPs and the Party to serve the interests of their millions of members in addition to serving the whole electorate. This has always led to tensions between Party and unions. Exactly the same practices apply on funding to all political parties, with the key difference that the Tory and Liberal Democrat parties, for example, get their funds from organisations and individuals, a very much smaller group of large donors in comparison to the millions of small donors of the trades unions.

The key difference is that these corporate donors and individuals operate to a large extent behind closed doors in pursuing what they expect for their money – and they all expect something – whereas the union interaction tends to occur in a blaze of publicity.

To try and contrast the two systems in a nutshell – the trades unions, an imperfect but functioning democracy representing millions of UK workers interact with a much larger imperfect democracy in the Labour Party, whereas totally undemocratic organisations and individuals in commerce, industry, armaments and interest groups not confined to the UK interact with the imperfect democracies of the Tory and LibDem parties. Ultimately, in both cases, the trades unions interact with the over-arching and highly imperfect democracy of the UK Government.

The problem of the union conflicts with the Labour Party over the last half century (e.g. Clause Four) created  - or were alleged to have created – the problem of electability, and this was specifically what Blair, Brown and Mandelson set out to remedy after  Neil Kinnock had done some of the spadework. They created New Labour and it worked – Labour was elected and re-elected. The results, over 13 years, are now history. Two wars, one illegal, the deaths of hundreds of thousands, terrorism brought to UK by the Iraq War, the gap between rich and poor widened, corruption of Parliamentary institutions, the prosecution and imprisonment of Labour MPs, the resignation of the Labour Speaker of the House of Commons in disgrace, the corruption of the Press and the Metropolitan Police, the banking and financial collapse, cash for access, etc.

Hardly a success, except in one key aspect – Blair, Mandelson, Brown, Labour defence secretaries, Labour ministers and many Labour MPs got very rich indeed, in the case of Blair and Mandelson, egregiously rich.

The revolving door between government ministers, civil servants and industry – especially the defence industry – spun ever faster and more profitably. And the military/industrial complex rejoiced and celebrated New Labour’s achievements.

Meanwhile, the trades unions were marginalised, and the benches of Westminster became increasingly populated by MPs who had never experienced the real, harsh world of Blair’s Britain, MPs who came directly into politics waving their PPE degrees through internships as SPADs, etc.

This great divide, this yawning chasm has widened between the trades union movement and the political machine for enriching politicians and their friends that New Labour has become. After being finally destroyed electorally, Labour was replaced by a Coalition that is almost indistinguishable in its right-wing practices from the right-wing Labour Party. As an opposition, Labour has been feeble and equivocal. The trades unions, having placed brother Ed Miliband at the helm, vanquishing ultra-Blairite brother David Miliband, have been bitterly disappointed in their choice. And now he attacks them, setting the police on Unite.

The Falkirk debacle is symptomatic of this – a war between the Blairites (led by the noble Lord Mandelson, who cannot conceal his visceral distaste for trades unions)and what is left of the Left in the Labour Party, which is mainly the trades unions – some of them at least.

SCOTTISH DIMENSION AND INDEPENDENCE

All of the above has been gone over with a relatively fine tooth comb by the UK/metropolitan media. They see the Falkirk Affair in a UK context, from a UK perspective. The fact that Falkirk is in  Scotland, that Scotland played a major role in the foundation of trades unions and the Labour Party is ancient, and mainly irrelevant history to them. This superficiality and parochialism is what Scotland has come to expect from London media. From time to time, Scotland intrudes rudely on their consciousness, and they are aware that Scottish voters are effectively disenfranchised and don’t get the government they vote for on occasion, but then, Scotland is just another region of England (sorry, Jock – UK!)

What is almost unforgiveable is that the Scottish media has swallowed this narrative whole, and conceives its duty done when they passively regurgitate it to Scottish voters. Consider the following examples -

To listen to this duo, one might think the Falkirk debacle had nothing whatsoever to do with Scotland's independence, and had no significant implications for it.
But these journalists accurately reflect a Scottish press and media that is either so locked in a UK mindset that they are oblivious to them, or are so caught up in editorial policies that don't wish to highlight them that they are hamstrung as professional journalists in telling the truth to the Scottish electorate by fully analysing a political event that is shaking up UK politics and is central in many ways to the great independence debate.

Here we have John Reid, who sure as hell knows what the battle is all about, and it has bugger all to do with Scotland, except incidentally -

John Reid: "a very important moment for the whole Labour Party"

The point at which the poisoned grip of Blairites like Reid could be loosened and the Party returned to the people it was created to serve.

John Reid:"It is at heart an ideological battle - a political battle..."

It sure as hell is - to free Labour from the men enriched and ennobled by Blair and his wars - like John Reid - while the people sink deeper into the slough of poverty and death created by Blair and Brown's ineptitude - widening the gap between rich and poor and bankrupting the nation. Men like Lord(!) Reid who deliberately wrecked the chances of a Rainbow Coalition to defeat the Tories after the 2010 election.

England struggles - and Unite struggles to give working people a real political choice with the forlorn hope that they can reform New Labour. Blue Labour, Lord Sainsbury's Labour, Progress Labour - call the beast by its many names, see its many faces - multi-millionaires Blair's and Mandelson's Labour - at best a centre-right party, but sliding towards something much worse in the global military/industrial complex that is raping the planet.

God help England - this is the only chance they have, but it is a forlorn hope.

But Scotland has a real choice - already exercised in the limited form open to it in 2007 and 2011 and yet to be made fully on 2014 - the choice of saying YES or no to an independent, socially-democratic Scotland.

The Sunday Herald had a major spread on Falkirk – comprehensive, albeit a mirror of London media analysis, despite their pride in having “broken the story …” From its front cover headline Lamont: Unite’s puppet? to its extensive coverage on pages 6, 7, 8 and 9, with Ian Bell on page 10 to its editorial on page 36, it took an almost exclusively UK perspective of the Falkirk issue, despite the reference to Lamont.  Only in the last half of the last paragraph on page 7 could I find any reference to another party that might just have an interest in all this – the Scottish National Party, the party that forms the devolved government of Scotland, elected with a massive landslide majority – the party that has delivered the referendum, the outcome of which will shake the entire UK power structure, perhaps end the 306 year-old union and remove nuclear weapons of mass destruction from Scottish soil, with ramification for Europe, NATO and the transatlantic alliance.

Here was my little exchange with Paul Hutcheon of the Herald/Sunday Herald on 4th of July. Paul was reacting to my criticisms of Scottish media coverage of Falkirk -

Peter Curran@moridura 4 Jul

  • @paulhutcheon It's time for Scottish Unite, Scottish Labour and trades unions to recognise where their real interests lie - in independence

    Paul Hutcheon Paul Hutcheon@paulhutcheon 4 Jul @moridura can't see the independence angle on a story about membership subs

  • Peter Curran Peter Curran@moridura 4 Jul

    @paulhutcheon It's painfully obvious that you can't, Paul.

  • And he demonstrated comprehensively his inability to see “the independence angle on a story about membership subs” in the Sunday coverage. Let me help you, Paul - and Tom Gordon and Ian Bell and the Leader Writer - to understand …

    Three political parties in Scotland – all from the left of the political spectrum, plus many other organisations also on the left, are committed to the independence of Scotland from the UK. Additionally, embryonic breakaway organisations exist of disaffected Scottish Labour members and Scottish trades unionists – including Unite members – who support independence. Some support the SNP, others don’t, e.g. Labour for Independence.

    A major think tank, the Jimmy Reid Foundation is active and influential on the left of the political spectrum (where else would it be bearing Jimmy Reid’s name?). At least one major union is not affiliated to the Labour Party, the firemens’ union. All of them are diametrically opposed to Blairism and all that it stands for. They are solidly anti-nuclear and pro-trades union. The STUC is well aware of this growing dynamic within its member unions and their lay members, together with a growing number of shop stewards, worker representatives and a few cautious full-time officers.To say that Johann Lamont is aware of this – despite laughing it off – would be a massive understatement. Effectively elected by the Scottish trades unions, I suspect it keeps her awake at nights.

    To suggest that the Falkirk issue, a frontal attack on a trade union – a civil war between the BlairitesBlue Labour, New Labour, Lord Sainsbury’s Labour, call it what you will – and the soul of the pre-Blair/Brown/Mandelson Scottish Labour Party is irrelevant to independence is, to put it at its lowest, a failure of imagination and good political journalism.

    I hope to attend a meeting of Trades Unionists for Independence this Wednesday in Edinburgh. Reflect on that title, Herald/Sunday Herald (and BBC Scotland) and on the keynote speakers – Dennis Canavan (former MP/MSP), Robin McAlpine (Jimmy Reid Foundation), Cat Boyd (PCS activist) and Sarah Collins (STUC Youth Committee) and think again about the nature of your coverage of Falkirk and Unite.

    Wednesday, 7 March 2012

    The tragedy – and folly – of Afghanistan



    The tragic deaths today point up the continuing folly of the UK’s presence in Afghanistan. I report these blogs from 2009 and 2010, and think with horror and sadness of the deaths that have followed.

    Tuesday, 9 February 2010

    The evidence given to the Chilcot enquiry has shed new light on the twin follies of Afghanistan and Iraq,in spite of the lack of intensity and rigour in the questioning of the witnesses.
    I reprint below my piece on Afghanistan from November 2009 in the hope that it has new relevance in the light of the subsequent witness testimony.

    Saturday, 7 November 2009
    Corruption in Afghanistan - and Brown's folly

    Gordon Brown spoke for half an hour yesterday (6 November 2009) about his government's commitment to the futile Afghanistan conflict. He mustered as much passion and rhetoric as an innately dull man can in a bad cause. There was nothing in it that spoke of the man himself, because only a leaden mass now exists where that man once was, a man whose true destiny was to be the minister in an undemanding rural kirk, or an accountant in an old-fashioned company, or a worthy lecturer in a redbrick university.

    He existed for ten years in the reflected glow of Tony Blair, longing for the day when he could radiate alone, unaware that he was a dead satellite, with no inner furnace to generate the his own light. Now he is polluted ground, contaminated by the nuclear waste of Blair's deadly polluted policies. He has only a half life, his power ebbing away at exponential speed. But he continues to play the old Blair and Bush tunes as his motor runs down and the tune becomes more distorted and the lyric incomprehensible.

    And those who dance to that tune stumble and twist in confusion, trying to follow a music without rhythm and words without meaning.
    His entire case for remaining in Afghanistan rests on a lie - that we are there to prevent terrorism threatening Britain.

    We are there, as Obama is there, as the 43 countries of the coalition are there, because of a profoundly mistaken instinct by a right-wing group of American Republicans and their puppet, George W. Bush, to lash out at something after the tragedy of 9/11 and the appalling loss of life and blow to American prestige.

    We are there because enormous profits are yielded to armaments manufacturers, and to contractors of services to the military, and because a shadowy enemy, a perpetual threat, and inducing paranoia in the population have always been a prime recourse of failing regimes.

    Britain is there, and the coalition is there because Europe does not yet have the cohesion to stand up to a flawed American foreign policy on the Middle East and the Israel/Palestine question. We are there because Pakistan worries us deeply, because it is an unstable ally with a nuclear capacity, with a religion and a culture the West has never begun to understand, and it, together with Israel, forces us to recognise the weaknesses of the West's self-serving nuclear policy - committed to retaining its own weapons of mass destruction while engaged in a vain attempt to stop others from following the same route.

    The vacuum at the heart of Brown's position yesterday was starkly exposed by the threat to pull out if the Karzai regime did not root out corruption. Leaving aside the inconvenient fact that a significant proportion of the corruption is induced by the activities of foreign contractors, something made clear in an aside by a commentator from the region last night, what this says in effect is this -

    "We are are here to prevent Afghanistan from being a seed bed for attacks on Britain, but if you - the 'democratic' puppet government that we have put in place - don't behave, we will abandon the whole misconceived enterprise and let the region revert to where it was before, thereby allowing the threat to Britain re-establish its potency."

    Brown - and Britain's - behaviour over Afghanistan reminds me of the behaviour of directors and senior managers in a private company or large public enterprise who have mistakenly committed themselves to a project or policy that is manifestly going to fail. A marked distaste for re-examining the fundamental premises of the enterprise emerges, and a growing hostility to critics however rational.

    The old accountant's motto, that sunk costs are irrelevant in reviewing a flawed project, is speedily abandoned, and the accrued costs to date are used as a justification for continuing.

    It's like the gambler's fallacy at roulette - that if you keep doubling your bets, you must win eventually, a fallacy that ignores the sum of what has already been lost, ignores the possibility to long runs of bad luck, and and ignores the exponential growth in losses of doubling up.

    Those opposed to the lunatic project are increasingly characterised as enemies, not as loyal employees trying to pull their company back from disaster.

    When the Emperor has no clothes, who will speak out, except the naive child?
    I

    Tuesday, 10 January 2012

    Labour’s last redoubt–“I’m an internationalist, not a nationalist”

    If you press a Labour politician hard – and you may have to press very hard – he or she will admit to being a socialist and an internationalist. The reason that the admission is reluctant is because Labour’s most successful attempts to gain and hold power in the last sixty years have relied in downplaying both to the point of invisibility, and their actions when in power have been a denial of both beliefs, the exception being the great Labour Government of 1945-51 that created the welfare state and the NHS. Perhaps only by considering this government’s achievements, its towering figures and what they stood for can we truly understand how far Labour has fallen since 1951.




    Nationalisation of coal mining, creation of British Railways, establishment of the National Health Service and the creation of the Welfare State. Only the working class generations that experienced what preceded these things – my generation, and that of my parents and grandparents - can really appreciate what that meant.

    The towering figure in this government, arguably the greatest British Labour figure of all time, with due respect to the Scots pioneers, was Aneurin Bevan. He and his wife Jennie Lee were the archetypical socialist couple. On Tories, he was uncompromising. “"We have been the dreamers, we have been the sufferers, now we are the builders. We enter this campaign at this general election, not merely to get rid of the Tory majority. We want the complete political extinction of the Tory Party."

    He was a politician who was not afraid to challenge his party when it departed from left-wing policies, and he led the left-wing of the party, known as the Bevanites. He would not recognise the right-wing, expedient thing the Labour Party has become today. He led a Commons revolt against the British hydrogen bomb test, and had the whip withdrawn briefly. In opposition, he opposed Suez. His remarks then would be directly applicable to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    If we are going to appeal to force, if force is to be the arbiter to which we appeal, it would at least make common sense to try to make sure beforehand that we have got it, even if you accept that abysmal logic, that decadent point of view.”

    But in 1957, at the Labour Party Conference, this led him to oppose nuclear disarmament, with a remark that was seized upon by every advocate of nuclear weapons in every British party. On unilateral disarmament, he said -

    “"It would send a British Foreign Secretary naked into the conference-chamber".

    (Although this posture dismayed the left, who were opposed to nuclear weapons, one informed opinion - Paul Routledge, a journalist - suggested that he had been induced to take this stand, as an internationalist, by the Soviet Union, who suggested that he argue for British retention of nuclear weapons to permit the USSR to use this as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the United States.)

    The traditional posture of the socialist has been a commitment to the international brotherhood of man, and a notional global government of workers, and because of this they have always entertained a distrust of nationalism.

    In the heady days after 1917 and the Russian Revolution, British socialist, the British Communist Party and the left-wing of the Labour Party managed to convince themselves that this socialist Utopia was at  hand, and the nation states would become irrelevant. This went hand in hand with utter denial of the murderous brutalities of the Soviet regime, and the refusal to recognise that it was brutal imperialism under a red flag. Senior British diplomats, Burgess and Maclean (and Sir Antony Blunt, exposed decades later) were prepared to spy for the Soviet Union in acts of treason against their country.

    This intellectual denial and dishonesty persists to this day, but without the personal courage, however misplaced and naive, that characterised the old British socialists. Labour has spent the entire life of its party under an imperialistic red, white and blue flag – the British Empire and the UK. Initially hostile to empire, it regarded this as transitional, but rapidly moved to support every imperialistic manifestation, under the seductive lure of power, influence and money. This process reached its peak under Blair and Brown.

    The UK is now one of the most narrowly nationalistic states in the world, exalting ancient and outmoded imperial values, deeply distrustful of foreigners, insular, yet ready to interfere brutally and violently in the affairs of nations remote from these shores. Labour is the enthusiastic handmaiden of this ultra-nationalist state. Their vaunted internationalism is a fig leaf – a fiction – to cover their complicity with the rump of the British Empire.

    Scotland is the antithesis of all that the UK stands for – open, inclusive, anti-nuclear, committed to a true social democracy, anti-inherited wealth and privilege, but entrepreneurial and committed to a vibrant private sector supported – and humanised – by a well-resourced public sector. And Scotland is, and always has been, truly European and internationalist in its most fundamental instincts.


    And this is why the independence of Scotland poses such a threat to the Labour Party – because it exposes the depths of Labour’s betrayal of all its socialist ideals, and its shoddy complicity with power, wealth, non-democratic structures and institutions (e.g. The House of Lords) and the military/industrial complex.

    I appeal to Scottish Labour voters and Scottish trades union members (it is useless to appeal to Scottish Labour politicians or the Scottish trades union hierarchy, who are deeply embedded in these UK power structures) to recognise where your real interests lie.

    Embrace nationalism and independence, and be part of creating a nation that is truly internationalist, instead of the sham offered to you. Either join the SNP or rejuvenate the Scottish Labour Party from the grassroots up, make it truly Scottish, and reject your politicians and trades union leaders hostility to Scotland.

    Campaign for your country’s independence, and vote YES to independence in the referendum.

    Saor Alba!

     

    Monday, 4 April 2011

    Dirty Deals pending? - Moussa Koussa, Megrahi, Scotland and William Hague


    Are there dirty Westminster deals pending over Moussa Koussa? Given the record of systematic lying by the former Labour Government, the evasiveness of the present one, and Blair's abortive Deal in the Desert over Megrahi, we may take leave to doubt the intentions of the British Government. A lot of people are interested in the truth - but there are some who are interested only in Moussa Koussa giving their preferred version of the truth, and they will do whatever they have to to get it.


    There's a nasty Moussa Koussa aboot this Houssa ...

    Hoots, mon!


    Friday, 21 January 2011

    Happy tweeting time - Blair, Coulson and Johnson

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Alistair C. - can you offer me any advice on future media career, chat show possibilities, diaries, etc. Would bagpipes help? URGENT - AndyC

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    JOB WANTED: Experienced political PR man, good political and media connections, good with telephones and mailboxes. Refs: Cameron, Murdoch.

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Ed Miliband will have his balls - or will Ed Cojones have Miliband Minor's balls? Stop it, Peter - enough is enough!

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Ed Milband adds Ed Cojones to his shadow cabinet team - will it give Miliband Minor some balls?

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    What will the rich, privileged Home Counties clique surrounding Cameron that Coulson was a part of, living close to each other, say about it

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Glib David Cameron tries to skate smoothly over Andy Coulson resignation. "Quick, place a call to Rupert - he'll tell me who to hire next-"

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Poor English voters, forced to choose between Labour (Iraq & wrecked economy) and the ConLib Coalition. Scotland has a real choice - the SNP

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Rose Gentle, mother of Fusilier Gordon Gentle (RIP), a Scot who died in Iraq, cannot forgive the war criminal Blair after Chilcot today

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    What George Galloway called on QT "the Establishment stooges" of the Chilcot enquiry did rather better today in getting at the truth.

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Does John Rentoul, political editor of The Independent, profoundly regret his suport for the Iraq War and his unflagging support for Blair?

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    @NoSaltSugarfree Ah, loyalty - see my blog on loyalty and the abuse of the concept http://moridura.blogspot.com/search/label/loyalty

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Blair's trapped in Iraq Groundhog day -"WMDs,45m, deeply regret, don't regret, Saddam Hussein, George Bush, sincere belief, God, Christian"

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Tony Blair belatedly "regrets deeply and profoundly the loss of life" He doesn't presumably regret that vast fortune he has amassed after it

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Blair to Bush on UK's fatal involvement in Iraq: "You can count on us, George ..." But another George has nailed you, Antony Lynton Blair.

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Andy Coulson resigns - Murdoch's man, Cameron's man. The wheels are coming off the ConLib Coalition. What about Tommy Sheridan's sentence?

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    Poor Alan Johnson - echoes of John Le Mesurier/Hattie Jacques's drama on BBC4. Alan can't do sums - but Labour can't do morality or honesty.

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    @JamiePolitics It will take more than Miliband Minor to airbrush Iraq (and the economy) out of history. George Galloway on great form on QT!

    Monday, 13 December 2010

    Liberal to Labour–an appeal to disaffected LibDems by Ed Miliband

    Echoes of Pope Benedict inviting disaffected Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church. Why not go the whole hog, Ed Miliband?

    My suggested script, David – no charge …

    ED MILIBAND:  Democrats - forget the heady days of 1981 and the SDP! Abandon the Liberals to their fate and return to the one true faith! Try to ignore what we've been up to since you've been away - our mortal sins have been washed away by confessing to the Iraq crime (some of us, anyway) - you can easily be forgiven for tuition fees - a venial sin, except in the minds of the youth of Britain, and what do they know?

    If you can’t come back right now, keep in touch with Labour doctrine until you’re ready.

    PUZZLED LIBDEM:

    Why have you not confessed to wrecking the British economy and dismantling civil rights?

    What about WMDs?

    What about the fallen angel  - Blair?

    What about the Prince of Darkness, Mandelson?

    He’s still around, isn’t he?

    What about the man who wrecked the economy, Gordon Brown? Isn’t he skulking in the wings, waiting to make his second coming? Is Kirkcaldy the Labour Limbo?

    ED MILIBAND: You are in error, comrade- this is an example of, at best, distorted perception, at worse, false memory syndrome. You’ve been reading old newspapers. Once you recover your faith and accept the infallible authority of the Party, these doubts, these scruples, this heresy will be swept away. Join us in our collective amnesia – 13 years is as nothing to an institution as ancient as the Labour Party.

    By the way, is there something I should know about Gordon Brown’s intentions? Is John Rentoul of The Independent trying to rehabilitate him as well as Blair? (What is Limbo, by the way? Something to do with dancing under a bar?)



    Sunday, 10 October 2010

    Ann McKechin MP – Shadow Scottish Secretary

    I ought to like and respect someone like Ann McKechin – a guid Scots lassie, a lawyer by profession (Scots Law  at Strathclyde University), widely experienced in politics and representing the Glasgow North constituency.

    But I find it hard to do either. She has been in Westminster since 2001 – the year of the Afghanistan invasion, and has been a loyal member of the Blair and Brown governments. No MP survived and prospered in either regime, as she has done, without submerging their liberal instincts and the values that used to be held by the People’s Party.

    Who can touch pitch, and not be defiled by it ?

    Corinthians

    Her voting record shows the contradictions and the struggle with conscience that bedevilled some of the members of the Blair/Brown regimes’ more principled MPs.

    She supported gay rights, was anti-hunting, sort of against Trident, and wanted an elected House of Lords, and to her credit, three years into her career, voted strongly against the Iraq War. I applaud her unreservedly for that.

    But when the career chips were down – and you can bet they were down - she supported the most illiberal Labour regimes ever to have disgraced their party, Westminster and betrayed the country in the other contemptible things that defined Blair, Brown and New Labour.

    She voted strongly

    for Labour’s anti-terrorism laws

    for a stricter asylum system

    for allowing ministers to intervene in (i.e. intimidate) inquests

    for ID cards

    against laws to stop climate change

    and she voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq War.

    She was Jim Murphy’s right-hand woman in the Scottish Office, and together with the series of Labour apparatchiks - Wendy Alexander, Iain Gray - who replaced the men of stature who once led Labour in Holyrood - Donald Dewar and Henry McLeish – she actively participated and supported the blocking of almost every initiative by the SNP government under Alex Salmond to address the fundamental problems facing the Scottish people.

    Here she is, attempting to justify the contemptible, politically expedient opposition to minimum pricing on alcohol, something supported by just about every objective Scottish institution – the Police, the Health Service, the  churches, etc.



    Ann McKechin has now been rewarded for all of this by Ed Miliband by becoming the Shadow Scottish Secretary, and will sit beside the members of the New Labour Scottish Old Guard who were up to their necks in that betrayal of Scotland, – Murphy, Alexander et al – and will become Westminster’s woman in Scotland, if Labour are re-elected instead of being Scotland’s woman in Westminster.

     

    Wednesday, 6 October 2010

    A death in Afghanistan – Mark Evison

    Lieutenant Mark Evison died as a result of a misconceived mission by his superiors and failures of equipment and communications. He displayed outstanding courage in the face of fire, and during his needlessly long wait for an air ambulance. He was loved by his platoon, and his men exhibited bravery by carrying him over open ground under fire to the compound.

    This fine young man exhibited true heroism and professionalism, but was betrayed by the the politicians who sent him into this misconceived war, this benighted land, then failed to support him. He was a Welsh Guard, and a brother in arms - and death - to Fusilier Gordon Gentles, a Scot who was also betrayed by the UK government and the MOD.

    Get the troops out - now.

    This was one more tragic component of Blair, Brown and Labour's poisoned legacy to the UK.

    Mark Evison is a true hero, betrayed by his country - his was not to reason why - his was but to do or die.


    Wednesday, 29 September 2010

    Hazel Blears - economical with the actualité - again

    Hazel Blears - Labour stalwart and famous house flipper and expenses expert denies making remarks directed at Labour at a fringe meeting on 'The Politics Show' to Andrew Neil.

    Unfortunately for the winsome wee Hazel, somebody made an audio recording of her actual remarks.

    As one commentator said after hearing them - "A slam dunk..." 

    They've all learned at the feet of the master, Antony Lynton Blair, wizard manipulator of the actualité. Blair left a legacy alright, and this is one little bit of it.


    Tuesday, 28 September 2010

    Iraq was a mistake: it was wrong. Ed Miliband as the new Leader of the Labour Party


    At last – they have admitted to the crime of Iraq, and the frozen faces in Ed Miliband’s conference audience of those complicit in it said it all. Brother David, with a rictus smile on his face, is caught by the ever-vigilant BBC camera turning to Harriet Harman and saying “Why are you applauding – you voted for it” The ever-emollient and glib niece of the Countess of Longford smiles, and replied “I supported him …”)




    Ed Miliband's speech - Blairite reactions

    As Miliband the Younger criticised the Blair/Brown regime's record on the economy, - on civil rights, on freedom, etc. - the camera panning across the audience lingered hopefully on brother David. But just behind him sat Alistair Darling and Jim Murphy, both giving the powerful impression of sitting in an abandoned nest in their still-warm, but rapidly cooling excrement. Douglas Alexander looked much the same.

    I didn't see Iain Gray, but then, no judgement could have been formed, since Scotland's would-be next First Minister always looks that way.

    Friday, 26 March 2010

    The poisoned, profitable fruits of war and death

    Why did Blair go to war?

     Why did Bush go to war?

    Why has war become the operating principle of the modern state again, after the revulsion at the slaughter of the Great War - the war to end all wars - and the exhaustion after what may have been the only just war of the 20th century – World War Two

    Because it is hugely profitable to the warmongers - it enhances political reputations and increase the status of politicians and it enriches all sorts of companies and individuals. War is the route to incalculable wealth for some.

    And wars are again like the old imperial wars of 19th century Britain - they can be fought away from home, with the native soil and commercial infrastructure virtually untouched. All the people have to bear is their impoverishment, and some must bear the deaths of their children, their fathers, their mothers, their brothers and sisters, their loved ones.

    (The horror and profound shock of 9/11 for Americans was that this unspoken principle had been violated, and war had come to the heart of America. Even the long trauma of Vietnam had never touched American soil, despite the magnitude of the slaughter on foreign fields.)

    The whole apparatus of modern PR and communications is now used to gain the public’s tacit acceptance of war - their dead loved ones are hailed as heroes, the acceptably injured are paraded for the cameras and the gruesomely maimed and disfigured are hidden away.

    And the old men can turn out in their berets and medals for the sad, sad passage of the young dead through the streets, finding a false analogy with the just war they once fought, so long, long ago.

    The BBC and the commercial television channels are shamefully complicit in this process, with only the occasional brave documentary revealing the true horror.

    The priests, prelates and ministers of religion celebrate the lives and mourn the deaths in their ancient liturgies, yet all too rarely condemn unequivocally this ultimate crime against humanity. Some, in an obscene perversion of beliefs and creeds, actively advocate the crusade or the jihad. Religion and war continue to be the inseparable twins they have been throughout history, carried on the endless river of blood and drawing sustenance from it.

    Maggie started the lethal process for Britain with the Falklands war, reaping huge political benefit, and her acolyte and admirer, Blair, catapulted himself on to the world stage through wars, and continues to profit obscenely from the poisoned fruits of the Four Horsemen.

    Geoff Hoon and his ilk only scavenge the substantial crumbs from the feast of death – the real criminals are untouchable. In the last few days, some of them advocated turning Iran “into a sheet of glass” through nuclear strikes.

    Scotland doesn’t have to be a part of this, and we will very shortly have our chance to demonstrate this at a general election, and later in a referendum. Vote for life – for humanity.

    Saturday, 6 March 2010

    Gordon Brown at the Chilcot enquiry

    His colleague, a former Foreign Secretary, a fellow Scot, a man of penetrating intelligence, was prepared to resign from the Cabinet, placing his entire career at risk, yet Gordon Brown has no real recollection of the nature and intensity of Cook's doubts over the Iraq intelligence.

    Sir Roderic Lyne, referring to Robin Cook's doubts over the way the intelligence was being interpreted, and his actual challenge to it in Cabinet, asks Gordon Brown if he was aware at the time of his concerns, and had Cook discussed them with him. Brown tries to deflect this by referring to Robin Cook's views on the no-fly zone, but Sir Roderic persists -

    SIR RODERIC: He had actually queried the intelligence too. .

    BROWN: I - I do not recall a conversation with, eh, wi-wi-with Robin about the intelligence - he may have mentioned that at - at the Cabinet - I cannot recall that.

    Brown's style, as revealed repeatedly at PMs Questions in the Commons and in interviews is that he is hesitant and stammers when under pressure or patently avoiding difficult questions, but is confident, articulate and free of hesitation when he is on familiar, highly prepared ground. In poker terms, his stammer is a tell, something that reveals when a person is, at best, bluffing and being economical with the truth, and at worst, lying in their teeth.

    The idea that a man of Cook's stature could have challenged the intelligence upon which the decision to go to war rested in Cabinet - a veritable bombshell dropped into the discussion at a critical moment - and that Brown would not have remembered such an intervention is beyond belief.



    DID BROWN KNOW THAT BLAIR HAD ALREADY COMMITTED THE UK TO WAR IN A DISCUSSION WITH GEORGE BUSH?

    SIR RODERIC: ... would I be right in understanding that you were briefed on the terms in which Mr. Blair had pledged the UK's support to President Bush in the first half of 2002?

    BROWN: Uh-I believed, right up to the last moment, we - Britain - were trying to get a diplomatic solution, so I'm not sure that I accept the premise of you-your-your question.

    SIR RODERIC: Well, I'm referring to the evidence we've been given by a number of people - Mr. Blair himself - Alistair Campbell, and so on - encapsulating, you said you didn't see the correspondence between Mr.Blair and President Bush - but what I'm trying to understand is whether you, as a senior member of the Cabinet understood the gist of what he was saying to President Bush?

    BROWN: I think all of us knew what the stakes were - er, that we had to make the diplomatic process work - er, or, eh, there was a danger that we would be at war with-with Iraq. But our efforts - right until the last minute - eh, the efforts of the whole government, in my view, were to try to make a diplomatic solution work. And even in that last weekend, where I talked in detail to Tony Blair, and was working very closely with him, we were trying to see if we could get some of the countries who had indicated that they would support no action under any circumstances to change their position, Eh, so, em, I would say that the decision was made only after the diplomatic eh course was fully exhausted.

    SIR RODERIC:
    But as we've heard from a number of witnesses, we had told the White House privately, in the first half of 2002, that if we couldn't - couldn't make the diplomatic - which was obviously the preferred route for both us and them - couldn't get a peaceful resolution of this of this issue, that we would stand with them in - ah - taking firmer action.

    BROWN: Well, we had to prepare for war, as I said, because of, eh, from June, we were in - the Treasury and I was, eh, looking at options that were available to us - but I still insist to you that at every point in that eh, year our first priority was to get a diplomatic solution.

    Sir Roderic politely dismisses this fog of obfuscation and evasion of the question, and gently and courteously persists.

    SIR RODERIC: No, I think that's completely clear - the question I'm asking is whether the Prime Minister of the day had told you, effectively, eh, what he had told President Bush?

    BROWN: We knew that the options available to us included, eh, going to - to war. We knew also, however, eh, that the best chance of peace and the international community working to best effect, was the diplomatic route, and I still hold to the position that eh, (forced grin) I think you're trying to move me from ... that, eh, the final decision ...

    SIR RODERIC: No, no - I'm just asking merely for a sort of yes or no answer as to whether he told you what he told President Bush?

    Sir Roderic was quite evidently trying to contain his impatience at the evasions by this time, but it was in vain.

    I know what my conclusion was from this sad little exchange. He knew, of course he knew - of course he was told - but his political instinct, the remains of his wildly wavering moral compass and dim memories of his childhood in the manse deterred him from lying outright.

    Brown, like all the survivors of that values-free Cabinet, is caught between the need to defend the war and his part in it, and his desperate desire to distance himself from his former colleague and leader, the disgraced Blair.

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave when once we practise to deceive ...

    And so it goes on, on the containment paper, on the key question of whether Iraq was a threat in March 2003. I don't want the Tories or Cameron's millionaires, but we cannot have the country led by this man and his partners in the crime of Iraq any longer.

    Thank God, Scotland has a real choice. We must free ourselves of these people.