Saturday 30 May 2015

Labour starts to purge its Scottish members

Labour appears to have started a purge against those members in Scotland who supported the SNP in the recent general election. Clearly the party has every right to sling out  those members who support other parties, but on so many levels this amounts to bad politics.

First of all, Labour cannot afford to lose any members at all, given that its membership is now less than 10,000 in Scotland. Actually it is probably considerably less than that, but since the party refuses to publicise its official membership figures, the round figure of 10,000 will do for today. 

Secondly, why was this letter sent out by the national party in London, and only copied to the local party in Scotland? If Scottish Labour really is an autonomous entity then surely they should have handled this matter? It looks from this as if London handles everything, even to the extent of slinging out rank and file members. If they do that, how can Scottish Labour even claim to have the remotest degree of autonomy from the central party?

Thirdly, what's with the "Scottish Nationalist Party" bit of the letter. Perish the thought that London Labour wants to get in a final dig at the party that just left them  with their arses hanging out the window on the 7th May 2015, but that's how it looks.

Finally, just how many other members of this fast diminishing party have also received these letters? We know of this one, but the suspicion must be that others were sent out as well, given the level of support that the SNP received from  most of the Scottish left.

All in all this strikes me as nothing more than a desperate attempt to scare what is left of the Labour Party in Scotland back into line. It it unlikely to succeed, as a more plausible outcome would be mass abandonments of the sinking ship, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

The future for Labour looks very bleak indeed

The day after the cataclysm that took place on the 7th May I commented that Labour was "too far right for Scotland and too far left for England." That conclusion is still true as far as it goes, but it was based on a fact that I did not know at the time, which is that the Tories scored highly in the polls with people who voted, whereas Labour scored highest with people who didn't bother to go out and vote. To make matters even worse for Labour, turnout in Scotland was 71% compared to a national figure of just 66%, so it wasn't that the poor didn't vote, it was that the poor in England didn't vote compared to the well off in that country and the poor in Scotland. So let's look at why the Scottish poor turned out to see if any lessons can be learned for Labour from that fact.

It is a truism that when the future battles with the past, the future tends to win. People want a better life and the party that offers that to them will win their support, even if the better life will be at the end of a long road that will take many years to travel. 

The SNP offer that better tomorrow via independence for Scotland. In the meantime, whilst we are all waiting for it to arrive, the party supports the benefit claimants. During last year's referendum campaign an army of young, socialist activists were knocking on doors throughout Scotland, telling people who had not voted for years that tomorrow would be brighter if only the country could throw off the dead weight of Tory England. The slogan "The Tories can have England, but Scotland's ours" resonated with a lot of people who had given up on politics. They registered to vote, cast their ballots last September, and then carried on voting in the recent general election. It was those people who turned out in their thousands to give Labour - or the Red Tory Party as it is now called in Scotland - a good electoral kicking.

Once upon a time Labour was very good at creating such hope, and its failure is in many ways due to its lack of belief in socialism as an ideal to aspire towards. Take the final paragraph of Robert Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists as a case in point:
But from these ruins was surely growing the glorious fabric of the Co-operative Commonwealth. Mankind, awaking from the long night of bondage and mourning and arising from the dust wherein they had lain prone so long, were at last looking upward to the light that was riving asunder and dissolving the dark clouds which had so long concealed from them the face of heaven. The light that will shine upon the world wide Fatherland and illumine the gilded domes and glittering pinnacles of the beautiful cities of the future, where men shall dwell together in true brotherhood and goodwill and joy. The Golden Light that will be diffused throughout all the happy world from the rays of the risen sun of Socialism.
Could any of today's Labour people create such imagery? If they did, the scrawny titted feminists from the local new university would howl about the male centred wording, before the local homosexual brigade started whining about  their exclusion from the imagery.

More importantly, today's Labour people cannot write as Tressell did because they don't believe in "the risen sun of socialism," even as an aspiration. Their party is now a managerial outfit which accepts the capitalist order and seeks to reward its pushy client base with goodies taken from that order's profits. So the feminists get this and the homosexualists get that, and here's something for the ethnics, and as for the working class, well they can have what's left, if they are lucky.

It is unlikely that Labour can ever change for the simple reason that the young graduates who provide what is laughingly called its intellectual stimulation are not connected in any way to the working class. They are the children of privilege and the working class exist only as a concept to them. In Scotland, the young radicals are likewise the products of the finer universities, but they also tend to be either unemployed or under-employed. Those graduates without a future tend to live in the poorer parts of every city so inhabit public spaces where they interact on a daily basis with the old working class. What you end up with is a bourgeois bubble in England such as Occupy, which has few if any links to the plebeian masses and Radical Independence in Scotland which does.

For Labour to mobilise the non-voters who helped the Tories gain power by their abstentions, it needs to have an army of activists that is comparable to Radical Independence. However, it cannot gain those activists because the ones that it already has tend to be people who have done well out of the changes that have occurred in England since 1979. Their objection is to one aspect of the capitalist order, not capitalism itself. In Scotland, the radical base is different, and is made up of people who are both well educated and are just as adrift economically as any old coal minor or shipyard worker.

Unless Labour can find a way to connect radical activism with the working class under the Labour banner, then the future for the party looks grim indeed.

Thursday 28 May 2015

SNP MPs in their white roses derail two flagship Tory policies.

I must say that I enjoyed seeing the SNP contingent with their white roses, at yesterday's State Opening of Parliament. It was good to see them make room for Dennis Skinner on the front bench, and they even took pity on Nick Clegg who was invited to take a seat two rows behind Skinner. Magnanimity in victory is a good thing, although Clegg looked like the man who had just been invited to chomp down on a well filled shit sarnie.

The origins of the white rose as an SNP symbol are lost in the mists of the late twentieth century, but the party's elected representatives do wear them for the state openings of Holyrood, so it is nice to see the tradition being brought to Westminster. It had the added bonus of getting the SNP on all the front pages as well, which gave leader Angus Robertson the chance to put on his happy face. He may have been born in London to a German mother, but as you can see from the photo, he has got the art of Scottish amiability down pat.

Photo opportunities and free publicity aside, the SNP has already been instrumental is forcing the Tory regime to kick two of their major polices into the long grass.

The first was the flagship policy of repealing most human rights' legislation, presumably to allow the police to beat confessions out of anyone that fell into their clutches. Many Tories were unhappy with this, but it was the SNP that began to organise cross-party opposition to the ploy, so the credit for the derailment goes to Robertson's crew.

Secondly, the Tory plan for English votes for English laws (EVEL) was knocked back by the SNP all on their own. The Tory wheeze was to change voting in the Commons by altering the standing orders, but Alex Salmond raised this on a point of order and said that such a major constitutional change could not be sneaked through via the back door. The Speaker replied that the matter needed "serious consideration" before he could reply, and since nobody knows how long the consideration will take it looks as if that is another Tory scheme that has been foiled. Just to be on the safe side, a Labour peer put forward the idea of a constitutional convention to discuss the matter fully. That should keep everyone busy until about 2020 I should think...

Looking ahead, of course the Tories will get the bulk of their policies past the Commons, so long as they stay united. However, the SNP has already scored two major hits in the first week of the new parliament and those of us who are still stunned by England's failure to do its bit for civilised government in the general election can just rejoice at that news.

The denizens of Nuneaton are invited to swivel on it all.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Anti-Scottish feeling in England may be based on shame

In a recent posting I pointed out that a lot of people in England seem to be developing an irrational fear of the Scots. As you can see from the above video that irrationality may be hilarious to watch, and it certainly provided John Harris with a chance to throw a sarcastic, contemptuous comment or two at the fuckwits he was interviewing, but this irrationality really is a one-way-street. It travels northwards over the River Tweed, but does not go south.

The vitriol that we see on the web has more to do with the desire of anonymous losers with their multiple identities to cause a stir than it does to anything else. That said, there does seem to be more of it from England directed at Scotland than the other way around. Furthermore, the Scots tend to be attacking the Tories whereas the English trolls are denigrating Scotland as a collective whole. 

At street level you do not get in Scotland the sheer nastiness that is currently being displayed by more than a few English people towards the Scots, as the video shows. To be honest, those of us who live in Scotland are rather bemused by it all, and we cannot figure out quite what we have all done to deserve this hatred.

The election campaign was not fought in Scotland based on hatred of England. In fact, England hardly featured in the debates that took place in Scotland. The fight was between Labour and the SNP over who would be better placed to take on the Tories in Westminster. The SNP won by saying that Labour's record was such that we could not trust the party not to weasel out of campaign promises made unless there was a stronger, more leftist party holding Labour to account.

The notion that the SNP secretly wanted the Tories to win is yet another myth that many in England believe. Nobody wanted that, and the polls showed that both Labour and the Tories were on neck and neck right up until election day itself. So SNP strategy really was based on having a Labour government that was reliant on the SNP to stay in power. Given that both parties are social democratic, it struck most of us as quite rational to choose the sounder party to provide stiffening for the weaker one.

I doubt if many people in Scotland even looked south to England until the day before the election. That was when the Guardian's video reproduced above went live, and when I spoke to people back home who told me about how a fear of Scotland had become an English electoral issue. Until then we just assumed that if we did our anti-Tory bit and people down south did theirs then together we could wave goodbye to Tory rule.

Making sense of this southern irrationality is next to impossible. Britain as a whole was given a serious pounding in the 1980s, but it is as if the Scots have decided, almost one and all, that they are going to have revenge for those years come what may. Conversely, far too many in England seem to take the view that they will smear lube over their own ring-pieces and then bend over for a taste of the super-sized dildo wielded by Toryism.

Could the reason for the vitriol simply be that far too many people in England are ashamed of their own cowardice, and cover it with anti-Scottish bluster?

To be honest, nothing else makes sense.

Sunday 17 May 2015

The French eagles from Waterloo on display in Edinburgh

I know what you're thinking, and I agree that I'm still a handsome devil. If you can manage to tear your gaze away from me I want you to look to the left. Those two French eagles were captured at Waterloo on the 18th June 1815 and are currently on display at the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh. One was captured by a Scottish unit and the other by English horsemen. After the battle those two magnificent symbols of British triumph were handed over to a British officer along with Wellington's dispatches and sent to London where they arrived on the 21st.

Normally the two trophies are kept in the respective capitals, but until the end of this month they can be seen side by side for the first time since 1956 when the eagle of the 45th Regiment, which was captured by a sergeant in the Scots Greys, was placed in Edinburgh.

Also on display is Napoleon's rather gaudy sugar bowl, as well as various items from the allied forces who crushed the little man's plans to dominate Europe.

A pistol that was carried by an officer in the King's German Legion, Marshal Blucher's teapot and in front of that the Duke of Wellington's ink pot. To the left is a musket ball that a Scottish officer discovered embedded in his hat after the battle and a regimental badge recovered from the field some days later.

However it is the eagles that most people linger in front of to have their photographs taken. They are potent reminders of when we were all British before England went her own way.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Roads into Scotland blocked as thousands seek sanctuary from Toryism

The refugees seeking to flee the Tory lands without braving the raging torrents of the River Tweed, are being greeted with new road signs as they reach the Scottish border. A Scottish government spokesman told the media that Scots need not worry about the cost of the new signs, since the Cameron government has already announced a vast tranche of new funding for Scotland that will all be paid for out of increased taxes raised on the hard working families in Nuneaton, Harlow and East Cheam.

The A1 is still clogged with people seeking sanctuary, with the result that the need to widen it has become pressing. Reports indicate that work will start on upgrading the road to motorway standard very soon, with thanks once again going to those hard working people in Nuneaton, Harlow and East Cheam who really do carry the weight of Britain on their overtaxed shoulders.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

How Scotland and the Sewel Convention can save British human rights

In my last posting I argued that the Tory government's flagship policy to repeal the Human Rights Act and amend the European Convention on Human Rights will probably hit the Scottish rocks. Now I want to look at the Sewel Convention which pretty much ensures that only tears lie ahead for the Tories and their wicked schemes.
The Scotland Act 1998 was steered through the House of Lords by Lord Sewel, and as part of the debate he gave an assurance that "we would expect a convention to be established that Westminster would not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish parliament."

Although never formally part of the devolution package, this Sewel Convention as it came to be known has been accepted by all governments since the act came into being in 1998. The aim was to reassure Scottish nationalists that their newly minted parliament would not be abolished, but the convention has turned out to be useful in other ways as well. For instance if Westminster passes a bill that comes within Hoyrood's remit, the Scottish legislature can then pass a motion giving consent to Westminster passing the legislation on their behalf. It frees up time in Holyrood and has come in handy on more than one occasion when the Scottish politicians want to pass the buck for a policy down the road to Westminster.

Now the Sewel Convention stands slap bang in the middle of the Tory plans to amend human rights legislation for the whole country. If the Tories persist with this legislation they are first of all going to have to overcome the Sewel Convention. Obviously the Scottish government will call in the lawyers and at the same time start screaming that the wicked Tories are out to renege on the whole devolution settlement. I doubt if that is actually the plan to be honest, but that won't stop the SNP saying it - and people believing it to be true.

The constitutional implications for all this are immense, because nobody honestly knows where the powers of Westminster end and those of Holyrood start within the context of the devolution settlement. To make matters worse, as each new tranche of powers are handed over to Edinburgh, the position becomes even murkier.

It is true that Westminster is supreme, but that supremacy operates under the law, and if one law conflicts with another then the courts have to sort out the mess.

By bringing forward legislation that was only put in the manifesto to please the readers of the Daily Mail, the Tories have created a rod for their own rumps. It is hardly Scotland's fault if they all ending up having to sit down very gingerly when this is all over.

Tory plans to abolish human rights legislation provide Scotland with an opportunity to resist

As part of their plan to mobilise the aspirational scrote vote in shitholes like Nuneaton the Tories pledged to repeal the 1998 Human Rights Act and significantly amend the United Kingdom's commitment to the European Court of Human Rights. This is something that the country has been signed up to since 1950, but your average Nuneaton Man thinks that it's all to do with wicked Brussels, but never mind that for now.

The thing is that although the 1998 act is not, as many people think, enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998 which set up Holyrood, compliance with the ECHR is a part of the act. So the only way that the Tories can alter Scotland's involvement with the ECRC is if they first amend the Scotland Act.

Stick around because it now gets even better. The Human Rights Act is what is known as a protected enactment which means that Holyrood cannot amend or repeal it, but Westminster can. However, human rights per se are a devolved matter, so if the Tories repeal the HRA they will run up against a Holyrood majority sporting for a fight and claiming that they will not enforce the new replacement for the HRA and will continue to act as if the old legislation was still in force. 

In a nutshell, it looks as if Scotland is on solid constitutional grounds if she ignores any changes to the ECHR that Westminster makes, and has a good case for arguing that the repeal of the HRA does not apply in Scotland.

Will Hollyrood get away with that? We don't know, but what we can say with total certainty is that there is enough confusion here to keep an army of lawyers busy for a hundred years or more.

The Tories have a choice: engage in an unholy row with Scotland or renege on the promise that they made to their scrote vote.

I have a feeling that the next few years are going to be fun!

Monday 11 May 2015

Why has England suddenly developed an irrational fear of Scotland?

I try to understand the views of people south of the Union Bridge who are ranting about Scotland, I really do, but I can't get my head that far up my arsehole to make sense of any of them. I mean, I'm not only English myself, but I only moved to Edinburgh two years ago, so understanding England should be second nature to me, but I am completely lost.

The day before the election I was chatting on the 'phone to a very old friend in Manchester who wishes Scotland well and envies us our goodies. She reported that the lecturer at her Italian night school class was fearful about Labour having to rely on SNP votes in the event of a hung parliament. I laughed about that, thinking that she had the local nutter teaching her Italian, but she said very quietly that the view was not uncommon in Manchester.

Speaking to another old pal in London I heard similar stories about an irrational fear of Scottish hordes descending on London to give the city a taste of what the Soviet army had given to Berlin in 1945. He thought all this was as funny as me, and I put it all down to the fact that my mates had obviously bumped into some weird people.

The feeling that it was just a few unrepresentative tosspots giving it one with the wrist was confirmed when I called up some other old Mancunian cronies to jolly them along into voting Labour and found that they had no interest in Scotland. Fear of the Tories and further benefit cuts was all they cared about and quite rightly so.

The election results taught me which group of friends were correct in all this, and now the Herald has sent a reporter to England to write a story about the utter wankery that seems to be infecting people down there.

Some of it is good fun. Take Paul Taylor who complains: "I hate the way she (Nicola Sturgeon) says the word 'Tories'; I know she can't help the way she speaks any more than I can but I don't like her accent and I don't like the way she and her party see English people."

This is ultra bollocks, of course, because hating Tories and the class who vote Tory is as common on council estates in England as it is in Scotland. You also have to love the way he conflates "Tory" with "English people" as well.

No, it is not some Tory that I worry about, rather it's the so-called left down south. The attitude there seems to be that we have been "cynically manipulated" into making a "protest vote" that has let the Tories in. You just have to shake your head at that level of innumerate stupidity, don't you? The simple truth is that if you put together the SNP and Labour in the Commons they still cannot muster enough votes to defeat the scum sucking Tories. The fault for that lies in England, not Scotland.

As an Englishman in the constituency of Edinburgh North and Leith I voted for Deirdre Brock, the Australian born SNP candidate who has lived in the UK for less than twenty years as my next Member of Parliament. I did that because I did not trust the Labour Party to stand up for the working class and I wanted to give Ed Miliband a bit of the political Viagra that he would need with the Tories in front of him and his real enemies, the Blairites, behind.

It is not my fault that other English people bought into the Tory narrative. Neither is it my fault that metropolitan leftists seem to think that only they can set the terms of political debate and that the rest of us have to dance to their tune. Sorry, but those days are over.

Far too many people south of the River Tweed do not seem to have woken up to the new politics, and are reduced to making fatuous statements about the tartan menace instead. 

Saturday 9 May 2015

English refugees brave River Tweed to seek sanctuary in Scotland

Thousands of panic stricken English refugees from rampant Toryism are reported to be braving the raging torrents of the River Tweed to seek sanctuary in Scotland. A resettlement centre has been set up in Moffat where volunteers are deep-frying Mars Bars to feed the hungry masses.

A Scottish government spokesman has been reported as saying that the bill for all this will be sent to England...

Update: Roads into Scotland are packed with refugees.

How did the polls get it so wrong?

How did the polls get it so wrong? The question becomes all the more telling when we remember that all the parties fine-tuned their campaigns based upon those polling figures. The simple fact that they got it so badly wrong could mean that policies were altered based upon erroneous information. That means we either stop even taking an interest in polls and sail by the wind, or the pollsters are going to have to go back to the drawing board just as they did after 1992. I am not qualified to go into the finer points of modern political polling, but I will make one point about it which may account, at least in part, for the errors.

Modern polling is either online or via the telephone, with very few organisations being able to commission polls that are conducted by sending an army of pollsters out to knock on doors to collect results. I know nothing about telephone polls, but I am a member of the panels for both YouGov and Panalbase.

I joined YouGov about three years ago thanks to a campaign that they ran to increase the membership of their panel. I quite liked the idea of having my views taken into account, and I liked even more the promise of a few bob now and again for giving my opinions to the world and his wife. I will never get rich out of this since from YouGov I get rewarded with about fifty quid every 18 months or so, and from Panelbase roughly a tenner comes my way every other month. Still, it is good fun to be asked about things and be paid for giving my answers.

The question is how representative are the people who join these panels to the population at large? The panels are massive, and growing all the time, but they are still made up of people who elect to join them. In the case of YouGov especially, that may mean people who have an interest in politics to begin with rather than those who regard it as background noise.

Panelbase is more concerned with consumer opinions so it may be more representative of the population, but they still got it wrong as well, so clearly something is wrong with British polling other than just the self-selecting panels.

It should be noted that even the much talked about exit poll was actually out by quite a bit. That poll led us all to believe that it was still a hung parliament, albeit with the Tories on 316 seats and Labour getting 239. In actual fact the Tories got an overall majority of 331 seats and Labour trailed badly behind with 232.

It is as if people who vote Tory either do not join opinion panels, lie to the pollsters even in exit polls, or a combination of both.

How the polling companies manage to tweak their systems to allow for people lying about their intention to vote Tory is a matter for them, but they had better come up with something fast.

Friday 8 May 2015

Does Labour have a future in Scotland?

Yesterday I as an Englishman voted for an Australian who became my new MP in Edinburgh North and Leith. Over half the population of Scotland also voted SNP and together we returned 56 SNP Members of Parliament out of a grand Scottish total of just 59. There is now just one Tory, one Labour and one Liberal-Democrat MP in the whole country. The view from Scotland looks very nice, believe me.

A lot of us did that because we did not trust the Labour Party to stand up for our interests. We did not so much vote against Labour, as against spineless Labour. The aim was to give the national Labour Party some backbone, along with a good many sets of heavy Scottish bollocks to make up for the little peas that seem to dangle between far too many metropolitan legs.

It worked in Scotland and the failure is not ours, but such is the level of victory that Labour must start to process of rebuilding itself almost from scratch. Key to that rebuilding is the restoration of trust in Labour as a voice in Scotland.

It may be impossible to do, but Labour must try, otherwise the main aggregator of Unionist votes could very well be on the right and not the left. As part of that process, Labour has to put aside the Bain Principle which states that it will always oppose whatever the SNP proposes. Instead, it should seek to work with the SNP and against the Tories. That is not to say that Labour cannot campaign for seats against the SNP, but that when the dust settles it must work constructively with it in the areas that the two parties have in common.

Both parties have more in common that they would like to admit, starting with the fact that they both believe in the state provision of services. Neither party believes in unbridled capitalism and both are in favour of heavy restrictions over the activities of private business. Finally, neither party is in favour of the war on claimants that the Tories have waged with glee for the past five years, a war that is certain to continue now that the Tories have an overall majority in the Commons.

The real ideological difference between the two parties is that Labour stands for the Union and the SNP are the party of independence. That battle will continue, but it must not override the need for the two main Scottish parties to work together in other areas. By doing so they will lock the Tories out of power in Scotland, as well as making life difficult for the Tory government in London.

Labour can begin this process of rebuilding by cooperating with the SNP in the Commons to try to subvert the Tory government's forthcoming policies. Labour should try to persuade the SNP to abandon its policy of not voting on English only matters and then try to put forward a common front that is directed at the enemy of both of them, namely the Tories.

Will Labour adopt this common sense approach? That is up to them, but the omens are not good. Labour long ago became a shell party that was made up at local level of its councillors and their families and mates. So a recruiting drive is clearly one of the main items on the agenda.

Before that can happen, people have to be convinced that Scottish Labour is more than just a source of easy votes for the London-based party. In other words Scottish Labour has to be autonomous within the overall Labour Movement, so that polices for Scotland are decided in Scotland by people who live in Scotland. Scottish Labour can then have its own polices for Holyrood, with some mechanism being created to ensure that  both wings of the British party put forward polices at Westminster level that has the approval of both teams.

If that comes about then there is no reason why Scottish Labour cannot outflank the SNP from the left. It is not a case of Labour becoming an infantile, leftist sect, but it is about the party putting forward polices that appeal to the working class who want to keep the Union.

Whether Labour will do any of this is open to conjecture. They have a window of opportunity to start rebuilding, but if they don't take it, another party will be created to fill the vaccuum that they have now created by their policies in Scotland.

The clock is now ticking...

Cameron's victory is the triumph of small town England

Looking at the results of yesterday's train wreck of an election, the only bright spot is that the reactionary alliance of Tories and Liberal-Democrats actually lost seats last night. In the previous parliament Cameron's majority was over forty, but now he can only command 331 seats out of the 650 who sit in the house. It's a majority, but a much reduced one. On the other hand, last time the Lib-Dems could be relied upon to curb some of their master's more venal instincts, but now we have to rely on the Tory far right to kick up a fuss now and then. Sadly, so long as they are given some red meat in the form of cuts to benefits, and strong talk on Europe and immigration they will probably be quiescent.

Looking at the English results alone, the conclusion is inescapable that if you live in an English city or urban conurbation then you still have a Labour MP, but if you don't then you have a Tory. The Lib-Dems have been reduced to six seats in England, as both Labour and Tory ganged up to destroy their pretensions to being a serious national force.

The bad news in England is that Labour really is the party of the urban areas and the Tories represent everything else. Cameron does not just command the support of the leafy market towns and bourgeois suburbs,  he also has the crappier new towns and seedier suburbs in his column.

The denizens of places like Nuneaton and Harlow and the myriad other constituencies that  most big city leftists have never even heard of let alone visited, turned out in their droves to make sure that their little bit of prosperity would be preserved whilst they pissed on the people below them.

England is now a land where the politics of petty grievance reigns; where the people care less about the super rich raking it in at everyone's expense and more about sticking it to the claimants, the immigrants and the Scots. The feeling in those places seems to be that if they can't have something then nobody else should either.

Cameron played the small minds of those small town people like a maestro. He encouraged them to believe that Scotland was raking it in at their expense, and the only reason why they couldn't get a bigger car park for their just purchased, nearly new Ford Mondeo, was  because they were being taxed to the hilt to pay for Scotland's goodies.

The political scientist in me has to congratulate Cameron and the Tories as a whole for that campaign, but as a human being I have to say they both he and his voters leave me feeling in need of a bath.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Vote SNP in Scotland today

The nice thing about moving to Scotland is that I don't have to grit my teeth and vote Labour because I have the SNP to vote for. I have just returned from the polling station having done just that and I hope that what readers I have in Scotland will do the same.

To be honest I am lucky in having a good candidate in Deirdre Brock here in Edinburgh North & Leith which made my decision easier. When I moved into my current gaff a year ago the council messed up my housing benefit claim and then told me that it would take about two months to sort the mess out. I got in touch with la Brock who is currently one of my local councillors, only to find that she was abroad on holiday. Give the woman credit because she took time out from sunning herself to give the council's pen pushers a taste of the heavy manners and within 48 hours  the problem had been solved. I even got a nice e-mail from the chief Dalek in the housing benefit office apologising for the distress caused.

If I was wavering, commitment like that would be enough to push me into the SNP camp, but to be honest the need to get the SNP elected in as many seats as possible overrides all other concerns at the moment. People in England should vote Labour as the least worst option, but a heavy SNP presence will help keep Miliband's team on the left hand path.

Not only that, but reading various stories from the press it looks as if the aspirational scrote element in Southern England and the Midlands are having a collective arsehole clench at the thought of a big SNP presence influencing Labour. So the chance to stick two fingers up to the denizens of crappy little towns that enjoyed voting to close down our factories and attack our unions back in the day is just too good to miss. 

For the first time in many long years it seems as if the sun is about to shine on ordinary people.

Vote Labour in England today

Please vote Labour in England today, if you haven't already done so. Yeah, I know, they really are a party of the rich at national level and the middle class at local, but they are still a better option than the Tories. It means gritting your teeth and voting for some pretty unpleasant characters who have nothing in common with you either culturally or economically, but they are the best we have at the moment.

A lot of people think that all the parties are the same at heart,  and that may be true, but it's also not the point. Labour is the one party that has to listen to the claimants and McJobbers because we are the bulk of its voting core. Tony Blair defied the millions who marched in opposition to his war against Iraq, but he backed down from his plan to cut disability benefits when a few claimants in wheelchairs chained themselves to some railings in Whitehall.

The Tories are the party that gets turned on by the thought of cuts to social services. They are the party that is ideologically committed to ensuring that there is deep blue ocean between the working and middle classes. In short, the Tories are the party of the pissants who want to stand on their anthills and piss on the people below them. 

Labour does not have that nasty voting core, so has less interest in pandering to pissantery than the Tories. I suppose in a nutshell, you have more chance of getting a better deal out of life with Labour than the Tories.

I know that it's not much, but if you don't get out and vote then all you do is allow the pissants to gloat tomorrow. If you do vote then tomorrow they will feel like shit.

Making pissants feel like shit is just a good in itself - so vote Labour today.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Labour and Tory conspire together in yet another seat

Following on from the Thanet South love-in, yet more evidence emerges of the quite shameless way in which Labour candidates ally themselves with their Tory counterparts so that both parties can keep their snouts in the public trough. It's happening pretty much across the board in Scotland where what is left of Labour's membership is being encouraged to get the vote out for the Tories in the three border constituencies, but at least they don't allow themselves to be photographed doing it all that often.

In England Labour doesn't seem to care who knows that there is now a seemingly official alliance between Labour and Tory to squeeze UKIP's political nuts. Take the photo of Claire Jeffrey, who is the Labour candidate for Folkestone and Hythe and Damian Collins the sitting Tory MP as a case in point.

You see, it really shouldn't matter to a socialist if UKIP do well in that seat because in spite of all its protestations, UKIP really is the voice of Poujadist Britain. In  a nutshell, the core Kipper vote really is the self employed, the small business owner, or the lower management arsewipes that you find in larger firms. In other words they  are part of what I call the aspirational scrote element in society, and are as far removed from Labour's core vote of McJobbers and claimants as it is possible to get.

It is in Labour's interests to encourage the Kippers to stay loyal to their suburban dream so as to split the right-wing vote. Every seat that UKIP takes from the Tories reduces the chances of Cameron having anything approaching a majority when the dust settles tomorrow night. Not only that, but the higher the UKIP vote, the greater are the chances that Labour can slither though the middle in many a seat to grab it for themselves. 

In Scotland Labour are now dismissed as the red Tories, and the working class in the central belt are swinging behind the SNP as a result. Obviously in England there is no left alternative to Labour, but that's not to say that working class people can't sit on their hands tomorrow and not vote at all.

With idiocy like this all Labour does is encourage people to think that there really is no difference between the two main parties, and ignore the vote tomorrow. The only people who gain from that are the Tories.

Why are Labour so fucking stupid as to help the Tories like this?

Monday 4 May 2015

Eddie Izzard flops in Glasgow

Damn, when I heard that there was chaos on the streets of Glasgow today I really thought that one of those Bastille moments had arrived, but it was all piss and wind.

The media bigged it up as one of nationalist mobs running riot, but as you can see it was just a forty strong press pack, about the same number of Labour hacks and half a dozen protesters. Most people were just going about their business, ignoring Eddie Izzard, the dress wearing weirdo who had been produced as meat for the baying mobs or something. Anyway, another English comic died a death in Glasgow...

I suppose that the hacks got a story, but it's a pity that it had only a tangential relationship to the truth. A bit like the time last September when they reported that Miliband had been hounded out of a shopping centre, something which I could call bollocks on immediately as I happened to be there and saw what happened

Sorry comrades, but if you were building up your hopes on the basis of dodgy hackery in action, then I have to tell you that the revolution has been postponed pending the arrival of more than half a dozen people.

Sunday 3 May 2015

Tories & Labour need to stop working together against the new politics of Britain

With thanks to Wings Over Scotland for these photos, which seem to show the Tories and Labour sharing a pitch in East Renfrewshire yesterday.

Here is David Montgomery canvassing for votes near an unmanned Labour stall.

And here is Jim "Spud" Murphy standing at the same stall a short while later after Montgomery has abandoned the pitch.

Now it may be that all this is coincidence. Murphy may very well be a teetotal vegetarian weirdo, but we have to assume that the rest of his crew are fairly normal people who left the stall to grab a wee heavy and a nip to keep out the cold. Montgomery may have seen his chance and darted in to that spot to do a bit of electioneering of his own, unbeknown to the Labour team who were sat in the local boozer. It is equally possible that fairies live at the bottom of gardens...

You see, this isn't the first time that Labour and Tory have been caught cuddling up to one another. They did it in Thanet just the other day when the two parties' candidates were actually photographed arm in arm in opposition to UKIP:

What seems to be happening is that neither party is able to get to grips with the fact that 21st Century political activity is going to be different from the 20th century version. Given that politics in the 20th century was not the same as politics in the 19th you would think that this point would be obvious, but they do seem to have trouble understanding the changes that have taken place.

The two former big boys want to force people back into the mass market politics that dominated the last century. However, the people are not willing to accept that, and the old parties are unable to come to grips with the plethora of new parties that are being created to represent the new politics.

The Tories are going to have to wake up to the fact that the newly prosperous, Mondeo driving, grandsons of Alf Garnet are not going to accept a party that is run by and for the traditional upper middle class. They want a party of their own, and UKIP fits the bill. The Tory Party is going to have to accept that there is a new party that sits to their right and work with it, or face years in opposition.

For its part, Labour has to accept that its decades of dominance in Scotland are now over. It may also have to accept that new, religiously based parties like Respect are going to have a major role to play in Northern English depressed mill towns. 

That is not to say that the big two should stop opposing these new forces. It is quite legitimate for the Tories to stand against UKIP and for Labour to oppose the SNP. However, it is ludicrous for the main parties to stand together in opposition to any new force.

So Labour should put forward its policies in places like Thanet and leave the Tories and UKIP to hammer it out between themselves. It is possible that Labour may even come through the middle and grab the seat. The Tories should do the same in Scotland and leave Labour and the SNP to have their separate battle.

To do otherwise is to give yet more ammunition to the charge that Labour and Tory together form a kind of conspiracy against the British people who are crying out for change.

It is that, more than anything else, that has led to those circumstances coming about in the first place.

Saturday 2 May 2015

Why you can stop worrying about a Tory victory, part two

In the first part of this post I looked at Cameron's options that would enable him to cling to power like a leech to a corpse even with 300 seats. The conclusion was that he couldn't remain in office, and that Miliband, who I gave about 250 seats would take over as Prime Minister. The assumption that Tories make under such circumstances is that Labour would be out of office within weeks, but I want to argue now that Miliband's position would actually be far stronger than such doomsayers imagine.

Let's not forget that politics is above all about allocating resources, and a minority Labour government would immediately have a lot of resources to allocate to its new chums. For instance the assumption has always been that the DUP would side automatically with the Tories, but the Ulster party has made it quite clear that they are more than willing to listen to offers from Labour. What they want is money, of course, and Labour will be in a position to shovel some of that their way. Couple the DUP with the 3-5 seats that the Alliance, SDLP and Lady Harmon who are all ideologically in tune with Labour, anyway, should grab, and that is a potential 12-15 votes that Labour can count on in any motion of confidence, all for a measly few million.

For Plaid Cymru in Wales who are also a Labour leaning party, their three or four seats can probably be locked in  with more powers for the Welsh Assembly, maybe even by raising it to the Welsh Parliament, along with some more funding. The deal with the Welsh along with that of the Ulster parties could be along the lines of we give you this, and you vote for us on government bills as and when required. In the interim, you can all say what you like, just so long as we are not expected to listen to you.

The same is true for George Galloway of Respect and the Green's Caroline Lucas. Galloway hates the Tories more than he hates Labour, so a bit of what the Americans call walking about money to spread throughout his constituency may keep him happy. Lucas may be even easier to placate. Something for Brighton Pavilion and the chance to introduce some Green bill, which may or may not pass depending on circumstances could be her price.

Labour could probably even have UKIP on board if it was willing to give the Kippers a vote on Britain's membership of the European Union. Sadly that is unlikely to be on offer, so I shall put UKIP on the Tory side of the Commons for the moment. However, stranger things have happened in politics, and Labour was once the party that opposed the EU, but that was when the party had a real ideology to back its moves. Today it is a managerial machine, so it is hard to imagine a scenario that allows Miliband to offer a referendum to Farage.

The only potential problems that Labour faces are with the SNP and the Lib-Dems, who I put on 50 and 30 seats respectively for this debate. The SNP have made it plain that they want to lock the Tories out of office, so keeping them onside should be relatively easy. Money will form a part of it, but for the rest Labour is going to have to negotiate its major bills with both the SNP and the Lib-Dems. Compromises will have to be made over that legislation, but it is not the end of the world for that to happen, and in a crunch vote Labour may be able to rely on the support of one, discount the opposition of the other, and still get the bill passed.

Finally, Labour on about 250 seats is a Labour that has been reduced to its core vote in the big cities and council estates. That vote is basically made up of local government workers, people doing the McJobs who often rely on benefits to make up their wages, along with all the other claimants such as the unemployed and disabled. It would have actually lost seats to the Tories, probably in Southern England and the Midlands. If Labour can then go on to govern without the support of the aspirational scrote vote that Tony Blair worshipped when he wasn't sucking up to the super rich, then Labour's position could be fairly solid in the longer term as well.

It really all relies on Labour losing the big swinging dick attitude and being willing to compromise and negotiate with other parties; parties that are already in tune with Labour and who hate the Tories to begin with.

Why you can stop worrying about a Tory victory, part one

It seems as if the week before every general election the party that is most likely to win has a wobble that leaves it shaken and uncertain. Usually these wobbles are self-induced, and certainly the one that Ed Miliband created on Thursday night when he tried to distance Labour from the SNP. This has led to a loose bowel moment for a lot of people, so let's get into reassurance mode and point out that Cameron is unlikely to remain Prime Minister for much longer, and Miliband is pretty much the racing certainty to take his place.

How can I be so sure? Well  just look at some possible scenarios, and to create them I want to be as conservative as possible and extenuate the positive for the Tories and play up the negatives for Labour.

We'll put the Tories on near 300 seats next Thursday, the Lib-Dems on 30, with UKIP getting five and let's allow the DUP to grab an extra two so that gives then ten seats. For its part, Labour can have about 250 seats, the SNP 50, and the minor parties ten. On the surface that means Cameron is going to wander back into Number Ten courtesy of the Lib-Dems.

However, the Lib-Dems are his only option and if they decide that having just lost about half their MPs they would rather rejoin the human race than continue supporting Cameron and refuse to play ball then the Tories are doomed. Not only that, but the Lib-Dems would have to vote for a Tory Queen's Speech, as an abstention would mean that it fails to pass. Under those circumstances Nick Clegg has Cameron's pecker firmly in his pocket, so the best that the Tories could hope for would be a Cameron led government that is in office but not in power.

To make matters even nicer, any Cameroonian Queen's Speech that did not contain a pledge of a referendum on the European Union would not be supported by UKIP, and any that did would fail to get Lib-Dem approval. Think about it for a moment: Nigel Farage has one of Cameron's balls and Clegg holds the other, and they are both able to squeeze them tightly.

It is possible that Labour could abstain on the Queen's Speech, but that is unlikely. Forget the SNP reaction, as Miliband would be torn apart by his own party. If Cameron is foolish enough to even proceed with the Speech, then Miliband has no option but to lead his troops into opposing it.

Under those circumstances Cameron would have to resign, and he would have no option but to advise The Queen to send for Miliband to form a government. Of course, Cameron could then oppose the Queen's Speech, but if his party does that then all hell will break loose in the markets. The Tories take their orders from the forces of darkness that control capitalism, and are unlikely to offend their dark masters in that way.

Faced with a Miliband government and having failed to lead the Tories to victory on two occasions, Cameron's position would probably be untenable. It is possible that dear old Boris will become the new leader by acclamation, but it is equally as likely that the Tories will need a bout of internal blood-letting before a new leader emerges as capo de tuti capi

Coming up in an hour or so I want to look at Miliband's options under those circumstances, but for the moment, sit yourselves down, let me put the kettle on for you and then make you a nice cup of shut the fuck up and stop worrying. Cameron will pass into the history books this month.

Friday 1 May 2015

Miliband's brain fart has probably cost him Scotland

I suspect that Friday 30th April 2015 was the night when Labour threw in the towel as far as Scotland was concerned and accepted that it had to take the hit next week. That or Ed Miliband had a brain fart of monumental proportions.

If you watch the video clip which has kindly been made available by Wings Over Scotland for us, you can see that Miliband reiterated what has been Labour's policy for an age or more, which is to say a week or two for the rest of us. He said that Labour would not enter into a coalition with the SNP, nor would they do a "deal" with the Scottish party.

He then confirmed that a deal is a supply and confidence arrangement, which left his audience under the impression that everything had been ruled out. Certainly that is the way that Scottish social media are reporting it, and they are outraged by what seems like a betrayal from the leader of the main British anti-Tory party.

However, if you think about it, Miliband was not ruling out all types of deals. For instance he was careful never to mention case by case arrangements, which is how the Scottish government operated until 2011 when the SNP won their first ever overall majority. It's messy, and supply and confidence would be better, but if that is the way that Labour wants to proceed then that's the way it has to be.

You may say that this is over analysing the use of language, but then just remember how Bill Clinton got away with telling porkies about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. He denied having sex with her, which was sort of true as his defence attorneys had conveniently got the judge to agree to a check list of definitions as to what sex actually was. Thanks to that, having a girl on her knees sucking his cock did not count as sex.

Then we had the whole debate about what "is" means. He had stated to his aides, "There's nothing going on between us," which of course was the literal truth as he was sat in the Oval Office talking to them at that moment, not having her deep throat him. You see? It's the difference between "is" and "was" and that was enough to save Slick Willy and his willy.

Compared to all that, Miliband's strangled use of language last night comes over as an exercise in straight talking, but I wish that he had not felt the need to go into political speak. I wish he had said something like the following:
 Look, we are all civilised people and we all know that Tories really are lower then vermin. We have to keep those creatures as far away from power as we can so that we can all enjoy a better future, but unfortunately the Scots don't believe us. They remember Blair and how traditional Labour communities were left to rot, so they are voting for the SNP as a safety net. They don't believe that Labour has changed, but I can assure you that it has. We will work with the SNP in the short term so that the trust of the people of Scotland and the rest of the country can be regained.
Had Miliband done that he might even have regained some trust in Scotland before the election and saved some seats. As it is, the SNP is now pretty much odds-on to grab all Labour's seats, and probably take all the others as well, in a kind of two-fingered gesture to Westminster.

I am not quite sure what Miliband's strategy was last night, so will leave it as a brain fart, something which we all have from time to time.
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