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Showing posts with label ConLib coalition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ConLib coalition. Show all posts

Monday, 25 July 2011

George Bernard Shaw foresees the ConLib Coalition

And we see these few rising as if by magic into power and influence, and forming, with the millionaires who have accidentally gained huge riches by the occasional windfalls of our commerce, the governing class. Nothing is more disastrous than a governing class that does not know how to govern. George Bernard Shaw - 1910

100 years after GBS wrote these words, the 2010 General election threw up the ConLib Coalition. He would have recognised them for what they are - the 21st century manifestation of his description of 1910.

A confused electorate in England threw them up - now they should throw them out. But what will they get in their place? Tories Mark II - the god-awful Labour Party?

Scotland took the real choice open to it in May 2011 and chose their ain folk - the Scottish National Party.

Soon they will make an even more historic choice in a referendum, and will be free of the “governing class that doesn’t know how to govern” - the Labour Party - 13 blighted years, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories  - almost 15 incompetent, disastrous months.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Inverclyde - UK and Scottish politics

Despite the inclusive blog title above on these topics today, I have virtually nothing to say, since Ian Bell has said everything I want to say in today’s Herald, and infinitely better than I could ever have said it.

Pyrrhic victory for Labour 

His piece illustrates the real difference between a truly professional political journalist and a blogger like me. Regrettably, his depth of analysis, prescience and perceptiveness is rarely matched by other Scottish political commentators, with one or two exceptions.

I take issue with Ian Bell only on his closing remarks on the death of the Scottish Labour Party, that “we (I take him to mean all Scots) do not yet own an alternative.”

If he means a party of the left that is internationalist in outlook and values, yet deeply committed to all the people of Scotland, especially to the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, we do own such a party - it is the Scottish National Party, and he is wrong.

If  he means a party that is all of the above things, but that is also committed to the Union and hostile to the independence of the people of Scotland, then he is right.

And there will never again be such a party, because its time has irretrievably passed.

Monday, 2 May 2011

A year on, remember the man who let the ConLib Coalition have power - John Reid

With the Scottish Parliamentary election imminent, let’s remember the senior Scottish Labour figure - John Reid - who wrecked Gordon Brown’s attempt to negotiate a Rainbow coalition with the LibDems and the nationalist parties, effectively acting as midwife to the birth of of a monstrous thing - the Tory/LibDem Coalition - the thing that Ed Miliband’s Labour claims to be fighting against.


 Here’s what I said just under a year ago -

May 10th 2010 - Moridura’s comment

I listened with increasing incredulity to John Reid, former Labour Home Secretary and Cabinet Minister, as he calmly rubbished the prospect of a LibLab pact and a rainbow coalition just after Gordon Brown, the Labour Prime Minister had already fallen on two of his swords his premiership and his leadership of the Labour Party to permit negotiations to go ahead with Nick Clegg and his team to try and stop a Cameron-led Tory Government.

David Dimbleby's loaded question was - Did John Reid think there was a danger of a coalition of the losers ?

Since Reid is too old a hand at responding to BBC inquisitors - however exalted - to be gulled into an ill-considered expression of views, we must assume that every word was uttered with a purpose.

Reid opened with a token remark that Gordon Brown was wise and dignified in saying that he would step down, but this was immediately followed with a " but I'm afraid that I think it is a very bad mistake to contemplate and to propose and I suppose, to entice a LibLab coalition."

Don’t hide your feelings John - say what you mean …

"I think it is bad for the country. I think it will prove pretty disastrous for both parties in it in fact, I think its bad for Gordon as well."

He went on to say that such a coalition would be inherently unstable, since Labour and the LibDems have no overall majority and ‘would be dependent on the votes of assorted Scot nationalists’ (sic) and the parties in Northern Ireland.

Reid went on in similar vein, coldly ignoring the fact that his fellow Scots - especially his fellow Labour voters - had just delivered a massive Niet to the Tories and to a Cameron government, having been specifically and repeatedly enjoined to do so in the Labour campaign by virtually every member of the Labour Cabinet.

Scotland has just delivered a resounding No to a Tory government, and after Gordon Brown’s dual sacrifice of his political career and premiership, with a finely judged negotiating strategy and the support of fellow Scots, that outcome could just be achieved.

But John Reid has his eye fixed on the national interest. By this he means, of course, the UK, not the nation of his birth, and in this definition of the national interest at least, he is squarely in the camp of his fellow Unionist and Scot, Sir Menzies Campbell.

But why not? After all, both of them have had glittering careers courtesy of the high road to England and the British Establishment.

Both Votes SNP

on May 5th

Monday, 25 April 2011

Iain Gray’s obsession - independence

If I may quote myself, from yesterday’s blog -

The Scottish National Party’s raison d'être is the independence of the Scottish nation by the free democratic choice of the people of Scotland, a choice that will be offered to them during the life of the next Scottish Parliament, the electorate and May the 5th permitting.

Could anything be clearer than that? One would think not, but it is not clear enough for Iain Gray. But then, not much is clear to Iain Gray, as his flagship policies and dodgy statistics have made abundantly evident over the last few weeks.

Gray has now adopted the advice, offered by several commentators anxious to help him revive his campaign, to ‘go negative’ and attack Alex Salmond and the SNP on the independence issue. Let me explore the rationale behind this. I hope Kenny Farquarson of Scotland on Sunday will forgive me for using some of his arguments in yesterday’s paper to aid me in this.

Kenny’s first paragraph in his first of six steps is very revealing, and I think it may fairly be taken as representative of the Unionist opposition arguments. (The red highlighting is mine.)

1.Talk up independence. No-one predicted that this was going to be a factor in this election. But with the polls now pointing to an SNP-Green majority at Holyrood - and consequently a majority for a referendum - independence is now front and centre.

This paragraph fascinated me by its realpolitik frankness. It doesn’t need any decoding, just paraphrasing - “We unionists thought they were going to lose and now they might win - time to panic!

In the next part of the argument, I will use Kenny’s figures, even though they can be challenged, because frankly, they suit me. (I can do realpolitik too!)

The problem for Salmond is that only a third of Scots favour breaking up the UK. In fact, more than one in four SNP voters is against independence.

First, a purely technical point. Scotland securing its independence would not ‘break up the UK’ - it would become, de facto, the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of course, it would lost that term highly valued by unionists, Great Britain, and continuing to call the England and Wales part British would not be entirely accurate, except perhaps geographically.

The problem with Kenny’s stats is that they are actually a problem for Iain Gray, Annabel Goldie and Tavish Scott, David Cameron and Ed Miliband, not Alex Salmond, and for a couple of very good reasons.

1. If the stats are accurate, then Iain Gray and his fellow unionists have nothing to fear from a referendum, since the Scottish electorate would reject independence by a substantial majority, one that wouldn’t even requiring playing around with the rules after the event, as happened the last time. Iain Gray’s best strategy would then be to adopt the Wendy Principle, and demand that the First Minister “bring it on". Independence would then perhaps be off the agenda for a generation.

2. If Alex Salmond believes the stats, he has two choices - either renege on his explicit promise to ask the Parliament to let the Scottish people decide within the life of the Parliament, or go ahead in the full knowledge that he would lose.

All of these options should logically be attractive to Iain Gray and the unionist, but there is a worm in the unionist apple - they don’t believe the figures themselves, and they fear that a referendum might just yield a majority for an independence vote.

This leaves them with the difficulty that they appear to be denying the Scottish people their right to choose, including those voters who are against independence - unionists.

In the past, the unionist politicians have attempted to deflect the flak on the basis that the Scottish Government can’t afford the costs of a referendum, and that the time and resources devoted to it are a diversion from other more pressing matters. Whatever force this argument might have had, it is now totally discredited because the UK ConLib Coalition are fighting like ferrets in a sack over the AV - Yes  or No referendum - costly, damaging to the unity of the UK government (it may precipitate a general election later this year) at a critical time for the economy, and one for which there was no demand whatsoever from the electorate, who are treating it as a great irrelevancy.

The Scottish electorate are not fools - they can see who is obsessed by an independence referendum, and it is patently not Alex Salmond, but Iain Gray.

Alex Salmond consistent focus is - and always has been - the Scottish economy, effective public services and law and order, employment, renewable energy and a revitalised Scottish private sector.

Nationalists have waited a long time for independence, and although they have their eye on that bright horizon one day, their focus right now is to get Scotland out of the monumental mess created by the Labour Party over decades, the last Westminster Labour Government’s disastrous incompetence in running - I would say ruining - the economy, and the lethal compounding of these giant problems by the inept and squabbling coalition, now on the verge of breakup within the year.

I have a closing word for all Scots voters. You are currently near a watershed on May 5th in a great historical process, one that has ramifications, not just for Scotland, but for everyone who lives in these isles, for the people of Ireland, for Europe and for American foreign policy, and therefore for the world.

It is a process that has been taking place for centuries - the unstoppable urge of a people for independence, for their right to stand up as free men and women in their own nation and run their own affairs. The natural state of a nation is democratic independence by the will of its people.

Be sure to be part of that great liberating process in Scotland - vote for the Scottish National Party on both ballot papers on May 5th. Two simple crosses will determine your future - make the right choices.

Both Votes SNP

Sunday, 13 March 2011

‘The Politics Show’ Scotland with Isabel Fraser and Alex Salmond

Scotland is at the crossroads on May 5th - make the right decision, Scots voters - your world will unravel unless you do.

This is a pivotal election for Scotland - don't let your distaste for the contemptible ConLib Coalition push you back into the incompetent, uncaring hands of the Labour Party, who compounded the global banking crisis by their ineptitude and short-termism.

Labour is the party of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of WMDs and of poverty, degradation and death for for the lives and hopes of Scots.

Disenchanted LibDems! - don't let your disappointment with your party push you into the hands of Labour - it's the SNP that shares your values, not the Labour Party.

Vote for the SNP on May 5th – the party of Scotland and the Scottish people.


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Liberal Democrats! For God's sake, bring this Coalition down now! (NHS changes)

This is part of the Tory-led Coalition plan to turn the UK into a vehicle for private profit, and to destroy the NHS and public services. They have no mandate for it - it will create the kind of healthcare system in the UK that Barack Obama has been trying to reform in the US, and it will be virtually irreversible if it takes hold.

American healthcare companies are already involved with GP consortia in England.

Liberal Democrats! For God's sake, bring this Coalition down now for the the sake of the people of England.

Scots! The only sure way to stop this happening in Scotland is to vote SNP. Scottish Labour are puppets of the UK, and they won't be able to stop this happening in Scotland.

If you care about the sick, the poor, the old and the vulnerable, and if you are an NHS or care worker, have no part of this cynical Tory vehicle to profit from the sick.

Saor Alba!


Afghanistan–the futile killing fields

The UK has the fourth largest defence budget in the world, even after the cuts.

WHY?

For this?
                
For Iraq?

To pretend that Britain is still a world power? 
                               
For the rump of an Empire?
 
For a bloodstained flag?



To allow an old Etonian rich boy and arms dealer - David Cameron - and a glib grammar school Yorkshireman - William Hague - who made his millions by giving talks to rich businessmen, to pretend that they are international statesmen, while demonstrating their ignorance, incompetence and impotence over the Libyan crisis?

Scotland! Free yourself of these people, and this poisoned union.

Saor Alba

Friday, 28 January 2011

Tavish the Evasive - no principle is sacrosanct if a coalition deal is on offer.

Although the Gaelic forename and surname belie it, it has occasionally been suggested that Tavish Scott had some Viking blood in him, presumably because of his Lerwick roots and launching his candidacy for the LibDem leadership among a group dressed as Vikings at Up Helly Aa in 2008.

I must say that, as a short-legged and once black-haired, wee Glaswegian, I would not have been in the least intimidated if Tavish had jumped off a longboat and ran up the beach at me in a horned helmet in days gone by. The instant assessment of the opposition required by a Glasgow east end childhood and young manhood would have instantly classed him as big safty - nae problem, Jimmy …

He’s a nice big guy, but niceness is something I value in people only if they don’t have difficult decisions to make that affect my life, in which case I readily sacrifice niceness for decisiveness, integrity, principle, and bluntly, cojones. And so to Tavish Scott, faux Viking and putative coalition member in the post May 5th Holyrood.

I never know whether to attack the LibDems or not, in these confusing political days we live in, since some evidence suggests that disillusioned Scottish LibDems are shifting their allegiance mainly to Labour. Presumably the closet Tories among the Scottish LibDems are not disillusioned, and are rather like CofE people creeping towards the Church of Rome in search of ultimate certainties. But who knows?

What adjectives come to mind in describing Tavish? The ones that jump to my mind are nice, diffident, ineffectual, vulnerable, uncool, lacking in street savvy. But he got elected and leads his party, you say - he must have qualities other than these? Well, maybe not, since these are the very characteristics that define a certain kind  of LibDem and presumably appeal to a certain group of LibDem voters.

I don’t like pulling the legs off flies, or watching them being pulled off, and my toes curl when I watch Tavish’s attempts at humour in Holyrood, reading his laborious jokes and bon mots intently from his notes, flanked by equally nice, nodding colleagues, smiling bravely as their Leader dies the death, but with no hook coming from the wings to drag him offstage. Alex Salmond tries not to make it look too effortless as he swats him away at FMQs.

But here he is on Newsnight Scotland with Gordon Brewer, who is only too happy to pull the wings off anything that moves, and regards Tavish as light exercise, a limbering-up before the main bouts with other, more worthy opponents.

The LibDem leader deploys his limited arsenal of pea-shooter and water pistol against the Brewer Magnum, with the inevitable result - the diffident smile, the engaging laugh, the please-don’t-hit-me-again body language and the self-deprecation are no match for the Brewer neo-Paxman assault.

But unlike many of these often sterile encounters, this one actually illuminates an essential political truth of LibDemmery in the Coalition era - nothing is sacred, expediency is everything, and every value and principle may be sacrificed, every promise broken on the altar of power in coalition. Tavish will do what he has to to get into the big boys’ gang, just as Clegg, Cable, Alexander, Martin and the rest did.

Just tell me what I must do to join the club …

Of course, a pretence of Scottishness must be maintained. The beaming Tavish, on the studio backdrop image, sports a saltire badge, and in the interview he claims his independence of Westminster - “I'm not one of them …”. Nonetheless, he lists the Coalition ‘achievements’ that “didn’t happen under Laaaybah …” And so Tavish ducks and weaves, and dances round the ring on tiptoe until Gordon Brewer is ready to hit him, and then the principles fall, one by one.

Brewer asks, in essence - what are the deal breakers? Give me one policy, one principle, one value that you won’t trade for a place in government. “Can you give me a single Liberal Democrat policy that you would commit tonight - personally - that you would not sell in a coalition deal?”

The opposition to tuition fees, or any form of student charge, dies painlessly under the questioning, and incredibly, so does the refusal to rule out a coalition with the SNP despite the heretofore implacable opposition to Scotland’s independence. Tavish’s desperate and feeble attempts the throw up a smokescreen over the Scottish Government’s ‘failure’ to present an independence bill (to witness its inevitable defeat by the united unionist opposition presumably) is blown away effortlessly by Brewer pointing out that independence is going to be central to the SNP’s campaign.

So Tavish goes off home to don his Viking helmet with the marshmallow horns, make fierce faces at himself in the mirror, and dream of coalition after May 5th with - well, anybody, really …


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Scottish Secretary of State – a colonial governor in an ignoble role


Another sordid chapter in the history of Scottish Secretaries of State - a sad procession of men who, with a very few remarkable exceptions, consistently betrayed the interests of Scotland in favour of the Union, but benefited personally from having held this colonial governors post, even if only briefly.

In the period of the closures of companies and the destruction of entire Scottish industries in the video, three Tory Scottish Secretaries were in post -

Malcom Rifkind, now Sir Malcom Rifkind, now cosily ensconced in the safe Tory seat of Kensington, as far as possible from his electoral failures in Scotland

Ian Lang, now Baron Lang of Monkton, safely ensconced in the House of Lords.

Michael Forsyth, now Baron Forsyth of Drumlean, a sworn enemy of Scottish devolution and the Scottish Parliament, also safely ensconced in the House of Lords

The Labour Scottish Secretaries, with a couple of notable exceptions - exceptions that prove the rule - have been as bad as the Tories, and have tended to have a close, sometimes intimate association with defence matters and defence companies.

Why? Because the UK exists to perpetuate the concept of war as the operating principle of the state, and war and armaments are very profitable businesses.

(Jim Murphy, last Labour SSforS but one (the brief Danny Alexander), is now predictably Shadow Minister of Defence, following the template closely.)

And what of Michael Moore, the current incumbent? He is quoted as saying -

"I've just done (sic) the worst crime a politician can commit. It's one of the reasons most folks distrust us as a breed"

Brian Taylor, BBC, asked him today what on earth he was doing in coalition with the Tories in the light of Moore's previous criticisms of them?  Moore glibly replies that he was talking about the situation 30 years ago. Will he resign? Of course not - there's the ministerial salary car, the illusion of status and the guarantee of reward at the end of it all.

Join the ancient and contemptible club, Michael - you deserve the perks. But Scotland doesn't deserve you or your ilk.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Danny Alexander – “cruel and illiberal” cuts?


Jon Snow to Danny Alexander, Channel Four News, 20th October 2010

Nevertheless, the point of all this is that you have to realise £2 billion out of this programme, and that means, quite possibly, some quite severely disabled people are going to have to be got to a point where they are not able to work and will not get any income.”

Alexander babbled feebly about fairness, getting ‘our’ public finances in order, and the back-to-work scheme.

Jon Snow:

But when you keep talking about fairness – and my goodness, we’ve heard that word a lot today – your office sent me a graph of what you’ve done today, and if you look at the weight of what’s been done today, the biggest quantity of it falls upon the poor. That’s hardly Liberal Democrat excellence, is it?”

More ConLib jargon came from an increasingly uncomfortable Danny.

Jon Snow:

Let’s take another very quick one. Where you have a disability allowance – you’ve got a mobility allowance within that, and if you actually have either the misfortune or the fortune to be housed in a home, in some kind of supportive environment, you lose the mobility allowance. A rather cruel and illiberal thing to do, is it not?”

Let’s take a closer look at this tall, red-haired, rather diffident Scotsman and ask how he came to be the instrument of Tory millionaires in visiting cruel and illiberal cuts to income and vital services to the poor and disabled.

He was born in Edinburgh then spent part of his boyhood on Colonsay. 38 years of age, he was educated at Lochaber High School then gained an honours degree at St. Anne’s College, Oxford in politics, philosophy and economics – the PPE degree that I have commented on in a recent blog, the preferred choice of the career politician. (Click here for PPE blog)

St. Anne’s College has impeccable liberal (with a small L) credentials, originally set up as a place for emancipated women. Here’s what it says about its values on its website -

St Anne's values

St Anne's has always set its outward face towards the world. It has always been driven by its sense of connecting the ideals of the University to those who have not previously had the chance to encounter them – originally it was women, then women too poor to come to Oxford otherwise, and latterly a confident, tolerant, diverse and multicultural community of women and men.

One can understand why a young, perhaps idealistic, aspiring Liberal Democrat might choose such a college. One might expect that it would pursue academic excellence but not at the price of a wider awareness of society and its original ideals. Again, in its own words -

“… it is implacable in the pursuit of academic excellence, but does not see this as setting it apart from contemporary society.”

How could a product of this background and this education produce someone who, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was the main number cruncher of savage cuts falling mainly upon the poor and the disabled, “cruel and illiberal” cuts?

The politics and the economics components of the PPE degree seem to have been assimilated – what happened to the philosophy part?

DANNY ALEXANDER’S CAREER TO DATE

His career has been entirely in communications, and almost entirely in politics, except for a brief period (2004-2005) when he was Head of Communications for the Cairngorms National Park Authority. He has been Shadow Just-about-Everything with the LibDems, and, very briefly, Scottish Secretary in the ConLib coalition, until David Laws’ abrupt exit from the Treasury catapulted him into the role for which he will become famous or infamous – make your own prediction.

This career path is exactly what the PPE degree equips its holders for - it is the modern day version of the government or colonial administrator’s career in the bright summer of the British Empire – someone with little or no empathy with the lives of ordinary people, with no hard, tangible experience of commerce or industry, but nonetheless destined to make decisions that impact cruelly upon those they float above, wholly insulated from the pain, suffering and economic misery they are destined to inflict on millions.

But you can redeem yourself, Danny, and in the process, make a real and fundamental impact on the corrupt Westminster and UK Establishment values that have brought you to this point.

Resign, and make a public statement that you are revolted by what you have become a part of, and the way your liberal and democratic ideals have become betrayed by the company you were induced to keep. Commit yourself to work for the very people whose lives your policies will impoverish and destroy. Then you will stand alone and above the heaving, mendacious mass of Westminster careerists, lobby fodder, like swine at the trough.

Ideally, recognise that you can really only make an impact on the land that I believe you love – Scotland – by joining the fight for Scottish independence. Then you will really be a Scottish liberal and a Scottish democrat.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Coulson, Murdoch, News of the World – a threat to our democracy?

I plan to say something more substantial on this worrying topic, based on the terrifying revelations in Channel Four’s recent Dispatches programme, but meanwhile, Question Time had some highly relevant exchanges on the matter.

I noted the irony that Max Mosley – whose political opinions I respect – took on the News of the World and won over his private life, in marked contrast to poor Tommy and Gail Sheridan, who took them on and won what looks like being a Pyrrhic victory, and a very short-lived one at that. Whatever the truth of the Sheridan affair, he appears not to have helped himself or his loyal wife by the way he handled it.

Whatever he did or didn’t do, my sympathies lie with him and Gail, not with the News of the World.

His political career is in ruins, and that small, but sometimes worthy and idealistic segment of the voice of working people is wrecked along with him. With friends like Tommy had, who needs enemies?

But there always appears to be that Achilles Heel in extreme left politics. It’s sad …

Apropos Mosley and Sheridan, I am reminded of the remark of an American boss of mine once when someone commented on the sexual pecadilloes of a colleague - "Well, Pete, the best guys always have trouble keeping their pecker in their pants ...". He probably reprised that opinion when President Bill Clinton was having some little local difficulties.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Holyrood 2011 – the big questions

In the spring of 2011, Scotland goes to the polls to determine its representation in the Scottish Parliament and who will form the next government in Holyrood. The outcome of that election will depend on a number of factors, but significantly on the answer to the question -

Will the Labour general election surge in Scotland repeat itself in the Holyrood election?

There is no doubt that a majority of Scots, faced with the prospect of a Tory Government at Westminster, defaulted to their traditional allegiance. In 2007, disenchanted with the appalling Labour Government  record of betrayal of their core supporters over ten years, two needless wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the abandonment of every traditional Labour value, they felt that there had to be something better.

Many of them clearly shifted their allegiance to the SNP, returning a party committed to the ultimate independence of Scotland,  but it is probably also true that  a large percentage of socially-aware Labour voters, disenchanted with the Blair/Brown/Mandelson gang but not ready to vote SNP, voted LibDem.

I suspect that both groups will either return to Labour or vote SNP in 2011. Any way you slice it, it will be a Labour vs SNP contest.

What worries me is that the essence of Labour - old Labour - is that it is a movement with a social conscience and an appeal to the emotions. I feel that some of that essence is returning to Scottish Labour, just as it is being lost by the SNP under the mundane pressures of government. The Party needs to re-create the sense of belief and the excitement that characterised the Glasgow East victory.

I have to say that in spite of all the worthy time and effort devoted to grassroots communication and democracy, they have lost their mojo to some degree. In an understandable attempt to present themselves as serious politicians - which they undoubtedly are - geared to serious and challenging times, they have become dull, something a nationalist movement cannot afford to be.

The Scottish electorate, indeed any electorate, are only coldly rationale in part - there is an emotional quotient, one that Obama successfully captured and exploited to achieve his historic victory, and one which he is now dissipating to some degree under the pressures of office.

The extent and impact of the opposition to Osborne’s savage cuts, with his nodding, red-haired Scottish LibDem poodle, Danny Alexander at his side, will create political currents - and perhaps a political tsunamai - the ramifications of which are difficult to predict.

Will Scottish Labour voters recognise the responsibility that lies with Blair, Brown and the last Labour government for creating the situation that led to this?

Do they realise that senior Labour politicians, notably John Reid and Douglas Alexander, destroyed the fragile Rainbow Coalition negotiations by their public comments, leading directly to the ConLib coalition that is now inflicting this misery on us?

Do they remember that Alex Salmond repeatedly and consistently attacked the economic sense of the cuts and the attack on Scottish public services, in the face of baying Labour opposition in Holyrood? 

Will the Scottish trades unions, in their fight against the attack on Scottish living standards, remember that the the Labour Party destroyed the economy and bottled the chance to rectify their mistakes by a rainbow coalition?

If we have the autumn of discontent that the TUC conference seems to point towards, in opposition to the cuts - and I hope we do - then if the new leader of the Labour party plays his cards in support (which David Milliband won't do but the others might) it will probably alienate middle England from Labour but galvanise Scottish Labour voters.

To those complacent middle class families who are tut-tutting about the renewed union militancy, in the profoundly mistaken belief that they themselves will be immune from the impact of the cuts, I say  - remember the enduring words of John Donne -

And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
 

(I was tempted to quote Pastor Martin Niemoller’s famous statement, the “then they came for me…” one, often described as a poem. But the wording is so contentious, and has been distorted, adapted and bowdlerised by so many special interest groups that I decided not to.  John Donne captured the essence of our common humanity in his words for all time, and it has never been better expressed.)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The ConLib farce – How did we get here?

As the ConLib coalition (the Conservatives conned the LibDems) gets into even muddier water, and rumours surface of Charles Kennedy’s defection, let’s remind ourselves that a Rainbow coalition was possible on the arithmetic of the general election, but Labour wrecked it, and betrayed their Scottish voters in the process, delivering them into the hands of Cameron’s millionaires and possibly a double dip recession.

Labour bottled out of clearing up the mess they had created, and are gambling on the coalition coming apart at its badly welded seams, as well it might. In the process, they have gambled with the future of their supporters in Scotland. Those senior Labour former leaders and leadership contenders who appeared at Jimmy Reid’s funeral have airbrushed over his remarks about the hollow shell of what was once the People’s Party.