Saturday 20 September 2014

Labour may be the real losers in the IndyRef campaign

A lot of people in Scotland are devastated by the failure of the country to vote for independence on Thursday, but it may very well be that Labour will turn out to be the main loser in all of this.

Capitalism is very good at giving enough people enough prosperity to leave them feeling that they have a stake in the system. Then capitalism creates a fear in their hearts that their little bit of prosperity will be taken away from them. Finally, capitalism encourages those people to think that they are superior to the ones below them. We can think of this bunch as the middle class, or take the New Labour line that they are aspirational, but I prefer to think of them as the pissants who are terrified that the anthills that they piss from will be removed. On Thursday the 18 September 2014 those pissants turned out in force to hold onto their anthills.

New Labour led the charge to keep the United Kingdom together by directly appealing to the Scottish pissants. There was nothing in the Better Together campaign that owed anything to the old Labour ideology of progress and collective action for a better tomorrow. Instead, it aimed at nothing more that persuading pissants to be afraid of the future.

Those pissants were joined by a chunk of Protestant working class voters from the far right who regarded the Nationalists as wicked Communists, who were probably all Papists to boot.

It was the Orange march in Edinburgh on the 13 September which seems to have given the pissants their second wind. Certainly by the following Monday, rather a lot of windows had suddenly gained No posters, as the pissants realised that if push came to shove they had a army of bootboys who could be relied on to do the fighting for them.

Also by last Monday, New Labour persuaded the Tories and Liberal-Democrats to sign up to a hastily drawn up back of an envelope deal to give Scotland the maximum devolution that the SNP had asked for but which the Tory government had rejected two years ago.

That was probably the clincher because it gave the pissants the excuse to vote No and feel self-righteous about it as well. The middle class are very good at cloaking their self-interest in sanctimonious gittery, so New Labour gave them the perfect opportunity to say that this was not about fearing the loss of their anthills, it really was about the public good.

It worked, as we know. The pissants, feeling that they had backing of the thuggish Orangemen and given a moral fig-leaf by New Labour's backroom deal with the other parties, slunk off to the polling stations to vote No.

The problem that New Labour has is that its core vote did not support the party, as large numbers of formerly loyal Labour people trooped off to vote Yes. Now the national party has been caught in a bind as it has saved the United Kingdom, and lost the bulk of its voters in the process.

The party will hope to repair the damage by pushing through the Devo-Max wheeze before the May general election, but the Tories are already reneging on the promise that they signed up to less than a week ago. If the pledge is not honoured then it is impossible to see New Labour holding onto its working class strongholds. If that happens, then the Nationalists will be invigorated because they will be able to claim that the Unionists did not keep their pledge, and thus start a new drive for independence.

It would be one of the great ironies of history that by mobilising pissants to save the United Kingdom, Labour destroyed itself in Scotland. Doubly ironic if it turns out that all the party did was delay independence by a few short years, rather than stop it dead.

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