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Showing posts with label The Scottish Labour Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Scottish Labour Party. Show all posts

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 He led a Commons revolt against the British hydrogen bomb test, and had the whip withdrawn briefly.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!

 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Douglas Alexander at Stirling–the final ‘What Labour Must Do’ speech?

I pose the question in the title, but the answer, sadly,  is no – Gerry Hassan could not resist, and yet another example of the genre is up under his name in The Scotsman today – Scottish Labour must find a new, dynamic story. Perhaps Gerry is encouraged by the fact that the doyen of the genre is off to the antipodes and the field is clear. However, Gerry is always worth reading and his heart and his heid are in the right place, and his voice is and will continue to be a powerful one in the new Scotland.

And so to Wee Dougie’s speech

In my estimation, Douglas Alexander is the most intelligent unionist politician on the UK scene from any party, and therein lies his tragedy, because he is also a Labour careerist whose brightest prospect has always been the high road to England, to Westminster and to an international stage. I have no objection to him being any of these things – the Scottish lad o’pairts whose ambitions are not bounded by national boundaries is a recognised historical figure, prominent in the British Empire and world affairs, including, regrettably, in some of that crumbling empire’s worst excesses.

I just don’t want him to have anything to do with the future of Scotland, or to pretend that he somehow speaks for that future or advances Scotland’s interests in any way by being part of geopolitics based on the US/UK military/industrial war machine and the pretence that the UK is a player of significance on the international stage.

He is a Scot out of the same mould as George Robertson, John Reid, Jim Murphy and Liam Fox, not the infinitely superior mould of Donald Dewar, Robin Cook, John Smith and Henry McLeish.

Fortunately his penetrating intelligence is not accompanied by charisma, his persona being that of a young Minister of the Kirk. We have seen what the lethal mixture of unbridled ambition and charisma can do in Tony Blair, and one of those in a generation is more than enough to leave a trail of death, misery and destruction across half the globe. I also believe that he has a core of genuine values, rather in the way that Gordon Brown does, values that conflict with ambition. In both cases, greater fulfilment might have been achieved by pursuing a career in the ministry. (They both are sons of the manse.)



THE SPEECH

Douglas started his speech with a reference to Dunsinane, and posed the question “Stands Scotland where it did?”

As I observed in my clip of his Newsnight Scotland interview with Gordon Brewer, he seems oblivious to the fact that the wood of Dunsinane was advancing on a murderous king who had lost his moral compass, and the closest analogy to that is of the Scottish People, represented by the SNP Government that they placed their trust in so decisively, advancing on the party, Labour, that lost its moral compass by associating itself completely with a murderous regime, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The only question is who will play Banquo’s ghost in this new version of the Scottish play?

Douglas then ranges widely in his metaphors, dragging in General Custer with the unlikely figure of the Wee Laird O’Drumlean in the role of the blonde, charismatic Custer in his last stand.

But he goes on to a sober, clear-eyed recognition of the scale of Labour’s Scottish humiliation, and takes as his main theme “Scotland’s political future and Scottish Labour’s place therein”. (The old cadences of the manse and the pulpit echo!)

He claims that the great debate on Scotland’s future will not be “an exercise in accounting but ruefully acknowledges his central role in just such an exercise – Divorce is an Expensive Business 1999 and says that he does not resile from those fears.

Douglas is being disingenuous – he knows that he is now dealing with a sophisticated and informed Scottish electorate who have experienced directly what thirteen years of Labour economics and eighteen months of Coalition economics have done to their lives and their futures. And he is dealing with a Scottish Government who are able to cut through the miasma of scare tactics and media distortions that the unionist parties and their compliant media have traditionally manipulated to misinform the Scottish people. And of course, the exponential growth of the new media has cut through the lies told by the powerful across the globe like a laser beam.

His campaign in Scotland was fronted by a beaming Tony Blair, with the slogan New Labour – New Scotland, an association that now indelibly and fatally tarnishes his campaign and his party. The voice of the Scots who have died since 1999 in pursuit of that vision cry out for justice, as do some of the bereaved.

The facts – and history – having betrayed him, Douglas moves rapidly on to emotion, philosophy and historical allusions to Plato, David Hume, Ivan Illich, Old Uncle Tam Cobleigh and all.

He focuses on Ivan Illich’s concept of telling an alternative story, and recognises belatedly that “ the stories we tell about ourselves, our communities and our nation are thankfully not the exclusive domain of politicians: writers, musicians, poets and artists help shape our sense of self and also our sense of our nation’s story”.

What should sit uncomfortably with him is that most of the writers, musician, poets and artists tell a story of Scotland, its history and its impending independence, a story of freedom, a story of peace and justice and equality and the common man -  a story that Labour has forfeited all right to tell. Of course, he can always call on Eddie Izzard and Billy Connolly, or Niall Ferguson – or maybe Lord George Foulkes to tell their stories and sing their songs.

He goes on a great length about the idea of Margaret Thatcher as villain, as though she was the SNP’s villain, not Labour’s villain. She was certainly the enemy of Scotland, of the Scottish people and of an independent Scotland, as are her Westminster coterie and her Scottish acolytes to this day. What sits uncomfortable with Douglas is that the Scottish people have progressively recognised that Margaret Thatcher was just the figure head and poster girl for a greater, deeper villainy – the villainy of the UK and the British Establishment, and that one of the Iron Lady’s greatest admirers and sedulous imitators was one Anthony Lynton Blair, a Scot of sorts when it suited him, who became her natural successor.

And the Scottish people also recognised that far from delivering them from this exploitative 300 year old tyranny, Labour was and is totally committed to perpetuating it.

The careers paths of Douglas Alexander, of Tony Blair, of Gordon Brown, of John Reid, of George Robertson – and of the likes of Baron Martin of Springburn, of Jim Murphy, of Margaret Curran et al would not be possible without that poisoned Union, and Labour will be condemned to permanent opposition in UK Minus once Scotland goes.

Douglas refers to the “old Labour hymns” becoming increasingly unfamiliar to the Scottish people. They are not unfamiliar, Douglas, they are all too familiar in the tune that they have become – the Dies Irae – the hymn of death, under the flag of blood, the Union Jack.



All the analysis and remedies that follow in your speech are dust and ashes against these facts, Douglas -  a voice crying in the wilderness of Labour values. You and your party - indeed you and your political breed - are on the wrong side of history, on the wrong side of humanity, and certainly on the wrong side of Scotland’s future.

You, and the army of What Labour Must Do voices cannot, and will not offer the real solution to Labour‘s troubles, but the solution will be there for you in Scotland’s independence. On that first joyful day of Scotland’s independence as a nation state, politicians such as yourself will have a clear choice – stand as a candidate under your party banner for a Scottish Parliamentary constituency, or fold your tent, head south and find an English, Welsh or Northern Irish constituency party that will adopt you as their candidate for the UK Minus Parliament, Westmister. In practice, that means an English constituency.

After Scotland’s independence, that won’t exactly be an easy task for you or your ilk, Douglas. You know it, the Jim Murphys know it, the Tom Harrises know it, the Margaret Curran’s know it.  You have made your bed with Westminster and the UK – soon you must lie on it.

As for all the Scottish Lords – aye, weel, there’s a tale to be told …

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Ross Martin of the CSPP on Labour - Moridura’s response …

Ross Martin has advice for Scottish Labour on the Centre for Scottish Public Policy website. So have I - see my comment on the site (reproduced below).

Ross Martin: The red rose has to go, for starters

MORIDURA’S COMMENT

Scottish Labour's problem is the two iron balls shackled to its ankles - one labelled U and the other K. 'Scottish' Labour has only one purpose - to keep Westminster Labour in power in the UK.

Ross Martin says "The Scottish Labour Party must be all three of these things: Scottish, Labour and a proper political Party." It can be none of these things while Scotland remains in the UK and Labour is a unionist party. There was no "mass civic movement that campaigned for and designed devolution" - it was a Blair/New Labour stitch up designed to draw the teeth of Scottish Nationalism, as George Robertson so clearly stated, and was so badly wrong about.

The Scottish independence movement is committed to a constitutional monarchy, sensible shared arrangements on defence - excluding the obscenity of nuclear weapons and WMDs in Scottish waters - and an intelligent, sophisticated relationship of friendship and trust with the residual United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland - UK Minus.

What ragged standards have Scottish Unionist Labour got left to cling to?

The outmoded and lethal doctrine of nuclear deterrence?

The right of a Westminster Parliament, dominated by a south east power bloc of money, privilege and corruption to decide when the flower of Scottish youth is sent to die in foreign adventures at the dictat of US foreign policy, which at any time could fall back into the suicidal lunacies of the Bush era?

To almost 1000 unelected Lords in a second chamber that is always destined for reform but never will be while the UK lives?

Scottish Labour must indeed do three things to survive and regenerate - embrace Scottish independence, reject the nuclear deterrent and perform an act of public contrition for the egregious crime against humanity that was the Iraq war. Then, and only then, the party might rediscover its values, its identity - and its soul.


POSTSCRIPT - ADDITIONAL COMMENT
Nothing points up Scotland's situation in relation to the UK more than the nature of the present government - a Tory government, when the Tories were decisively rejected in May 2010 by the Scottish electorate, a Coalition deal negotiated by Danny Alexander, a LibDem who would have been thrown out of office had he stood for the Scottish Parliament.

The LibDem have provided two Scottish Secretaries to replace the awful Jim Murphy - Alexander briefly, and now Michael Moore, both representatives of a party that has been humiliatingly rejected by the Scottish people, and would be destroyed at the UK ballot box in a general election if one were called tomorrow.

These latter-day colonial governors had and have no real mandate of any kind, even in their non-role, yet the lugubrious Moore pontificates on matters fundamental to Scotland's economic recovery.

When the great divide between the Scottish electorate's verdict in May 2010 and the rest of the UK became known, worried Westminster media pundits commented that "it made us look as if there were two nations". There are - that's the whole point, and the point will soon be made even more forcibly.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The new English invasion, courtesy of Iain Gray

I have written many times on my blog of my English ties of blood, of marriage, of friendship, of business links, my personal respect and affection for the great country of England and the English people, and of my deep conviction that we must separate our distaste for the Union (UK) from our relationship with and respect for the English people.

I have been forced to confront the extreme and, frankly racist views from both English and Scottish extremists in the comments section of my YouTube videos, which is livelier than on my blogs. In spite of being urged to let it rip by many of the supporters of my blog and my stance on Scotland’s politics and its future, I insist on pre-moderating all posts to the blog and all YouTube comments, because of the abusive and often hysterical bile that spews into my mailbox as commentary. I believe it is profoundly damaging to the cause of Scotland’s and England’s independence to give a platform to this inflammatory abuse from both sides.

But there is a level of comment short of extreme that I am willing to engage with, because I believe that it often originates from the young or the politically naive - or both - that deserves a reply and where appropriate a dialogue. Here are two very recent examples, one pro-Scottish, one pro-English, from one of my YouTube clips on Cameron behaving disgracefully to a courteous and relevant question from Angus Robertson at PMQs.


 

  • comment from MSfeller

  • English arrogance at its best. So much for respecting the members of the so-called "Union". But we'll fight back tomorrow by going to the polling places and voting SNP for Scotland!

  •  

    reply from TAofMoridura

  • @MSfeller It's not English arrogance, it's Old Etonian unionist arrogance. Similar contempt for Scots has been displayed in the past by Brown, a Scot, Blair, a Scot of sorts, and others. It has nothing to do with Englishness - it has everything to do with the Union - the Disunited Kingdom. Stereotyping the English people is as wrong as stereotyping the Scots, or Welsh, or Irish. It is the concept of Britain as a nation that is wrong - it is not, it is a failing political entity. Saor Alba!

  • Personally, Id love it if Scotland had gained its independence a few years ago - preferably before the banking collapse - to see how it would would have coped bailing out its banks on its own. I think it would have been another Iceland.

    I also hate this tired argument Scots mindlessly wheel out about North sea Oil. If you're really happy to wager your future independence on the price of a barrel of oil, from an already depleted oil field - please, be my guest.

 

  • @MrSyrett The 'tired old arguments' are all yours, Mr. Syrett. But I appreciate your offer to let us wager our future on independence. That is exactly what we plan to do, although oil will be only a part of it. Scotland has an election on Thursday, one that may take us one step closer to independence. That will be good for Scotland, and for the nation of England, once it abandons its faded dreams of empire. Make a start by dumping this squabbling, inept ConLib Coalition. Saor Alba!

I think they give a reasonable flavour of my responses, even though a subsequent bombardment of even more abusive stuff from MrSyrett, under various aliases, caused me to block him.

But my wish not to get sucked into this kind of thing is put under strain by Scottish Labour’s anti-democratic and most unwise actions in enlisting the aid of a series of English politicians (Ed Miliband, etc.), celebrities (Eddie Izzard) and now today English Labour activists to interfere in a purely Scottish election. This culminated in the nauseating - for me - spectacle of Sally Bercow, Labour MP and wife of the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, stuffing leaflets through a Scottish letterbox on Channel Four News tonight.

Labour defends this as democratic and legitimate - I say it is not: it is an interference with the democratic process in an election for a devolved Scottish Government, a purely Scottish matter. It is patently unfair, but more significantly, it is unwise and potentially damaging to relations between the nations of Scotland and England, and it risks -perhaps quite deliberately - inflaming mutual prejudices and reviving old antagonisms.

It is bad for democracy, bad for Scotland and bad for England. It is the last, desperate act of the puppet Scottish Labour Party to serve its London party, borne of terror at the prospect of losing their northern fiefdom again, and is the misguided act of a dying political union, corrupt and failing politically and internationally.

I say this to Scottish Labour and to Iain Gray - if you touch pitch you will be defiled.

Both votes - SNP

Vote for your ain folk

Saor Alba!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

My thanks to the Labour teams who are helping the SNP to victory on May 5th

Gratitude is one of the most pleasant of the emotions and I wish to express mine to the Labour team who have not only given the SNP a commanding lead in the polls, but have consolidated it in the last couple of days. If an SNP administration is returned to Holyrood after May 5th, not only I, but the Scottish people will be in your debt for the service you have rendered to the nation.

THE STATEGIC TEAM

Colin Smyth - Scottish General Secretary

Rami Okasha - Head of strategy, policy and communications

Simon Pia - Special adviser to Rami Okasha at Holyrood

John Park - Campaign director

THE KEY FRONT BENCH TEAM

Andy Kerr - finance spokesperson

Jackie Baillie - health spokesperson

Richard Baker - justice  spokesperson

THE KEY UK POLITICAL ADVISERS

Ed Miliband - Leader of the Labour Party and Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

David Cameron - Prime Minister of the UK.

Peter Hain, Chris Huhne and Michael Howard, for their expert highlighting on Question Time why Alex Salmond was the right First Minister for Scotland and for the NHS, creating during the debate the real possibility of his being given the freedom of the City of Liverpool, a great heartland of the working class and one of the great cities of the UK.

THE SCOTTISH PRESS TEAM

The Herald, The Scotsman, The Scottish Daily Mail, The Scottish Express, The Scottish Daily Record

(N.B. The Scottish Sun has played a significant role in the campaign to re-elect the SNP, but since they were not part of the Labour Team, I regret that I cannot mention them in this panegyric.)

THE CELEBRITY TEAM

Eddie Izzard - English comedian, film actor and would-be politician.

Lord George Foulkes - politician and media personality, with an instinctive but largely unconscious gift for comedy.

THE CRIMINAL TEAM

Prudence prevents me from listing the Labour MPs and Lords who have been sentenced to jail terms for criminal offences. I must also refrain from naming the near-criminal team - rather larger - who were guilty of stealing from the taxpayer through fraudulent expenses claims but who were not prosecuted. Nonetheless, I am grateful to them, anonymous though they must remain.

THE COUNCIL TEAM

A special mention must go to the controlling Labour Group in Glasgow City Council, who - from Steven Purcell through the ALEOs, to the public-spirited clearance of working class Glaswegians in Dalmarnock who were impeding the Commonwealth Games development and the astronomical profits of rich developers by misguidedly trying to get a fair price for their homes - showed what half a century of Labour control of Glasgow was really all about.

THE TRADES UNION TEAM

Special thanks to most  of the trades union leaders, who in brave defiance of a mountain of facts showing that the Labour Party has been consistently bad for Scotland, and the rising chorus of dissent from a large number of their members, demonstrated that the career paths of full-time officials and dogged loyalty to the Labour Party and Westminster were infinitely more important to them than the jobs and living standards of the people of Scotland



POSTSCRIPT
Thanks in advance to Ed 'the Ballsup' Balls, Westminster English MP who has just arrived in Scotland to offer additional help to the Scottish National Party. Don't think we're not grateful, Ed - you might just secure the SNP an overall majority. But we won't count our chickens ...