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2012: Clue Of The Year

Posted on December 30, 2012 by

On Friday, the Guardian reported Ed Miliband’s New Year message to the people of Britain. The key passage was one in which he promised this would be the year his party actually came up with some policies:

“One nation Labour is about reaching out to every part of Britain, it’s about a party that is as much the party of the private sector as the public sector, a party of south as well as north, a party determined to fight for the future of the United Kingdom, and a party rooted in every community of our land.

I’ve set out a vision of what this county [sic] can be, one nation, and in 2013 we will be setting out concrete steps on making that vision a reality from business to education to welfare.”

There’s a pretty big hint there to Scottish voters about the consequences of a No vote in the independence referendum. But in case anyone needs it spelling out: you don’t create “one nation” by letting the different parts of it have powers to create their own individual approaches to business, education and welfare, which is why this year Johann Lamont started the job of softening the Scottish people up and getting them used to the idea of Holyrood obediently following London policies.

Labour’s policies in a post-No-vote Scotland will be Labour’s policies in England – specifically the south of England –  and anyone who believes that an Ed Miliband government at Westminster would be handing over any new powers to a Scottish Parliament it might not control, so that it can adopt or continue different policies to the ones pursued in England, really does need to wake up and smell the reality.

This site was attacked by Unionists in 2012 for repeatedly pointing out that when push comes to shove you can’t have two countries at once, but Ed Miliband clearly agrees. In 2014 there will be one, and only one, way to give more powers to Scotland’s parliament – give it all of them. You won’t be able to choose “two nations” in the referendum, you’ll have to pick one or the other. And if you vote No, you’ll get Nothing.

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    41 to “2012: Clue Of The Year”

    1. Peter A Bell says:

      Perhaps the most telling thing about Ed Miliband’s speech is the fact that neither he nor anybody around him even considered Scotland or the other devolved legislatures. That is the measure of British Labour’s contempt for us.

    2. Davy says:

      What I dont get ? is how the ordinary scottish labour supporter can’t see what their leadership is up to. Surely it’s blindingly obvious that the leadership under Johann Lamont is only interested in what is good for labour in Westminster not Holyrood.

    3. If the people vote No in 2014 then one nation is what we should be.  No Scottish parliament, no free prescriptions or education, no separate sporting teams.  Why should one part of the “country” get what’s not available in the other parts?  There are only 2 credible viewpoints: full independence or full integration/absorption.  None of this halfway house nonsense.  We’ve either got the gumption to be a nation or we haven’t.

    4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I tend to agree, Dave. If I could get hold of compromising photographs of just a single person who I could blackmail to act in the cause of independence, it’d be Sepp Blatter.

    5. patronsaintofcats says:

      Sounds to me like he’s planning to kill Devolution stone dead.

    6. McHaggis says:

      Davy, they do see it happening and are angry – see the 2011 election result and the recently released stuc video where ordinary Labour voters rip their party and Jackie Baillie apart.

      Will that anger simmer up enough to persuade them to vote “yes” in 2014 is quite possibly the clincher for the whole referendum. 

    7. Cuphook says:

      It’s interesting to note the media coverage that Ed’s big idea is attracting as it all seems to exclude Scotland, apart from casual references such as the one that you quote ‘the future of the United Kingdom’.

      Look at the map in this article in the Daily Mail and this editorial in The Guardian. The latter is quite revealing with regards to media attitudes and expresses concerns with regards to the South East of England sucking finances from the rest of the ‘country’, ‘Money is leaving the north quietly and heading south, not probably as the deliberate consequence of government policy but as an unintended result of the fact that economic success attracts success.’

      I would have thought it impossible to hold the position that the North of England is effectively subsidising the South but, as has been argued previously in the Guardian, as soon as you cross the border the subsidy flows the other way.

      I’m taking it as a good sign: the politics of Scotland no longer fit the UK template and both politicians and journalists are having trouble dealing with the fact.

      The only caveat that I can see though is that as we get closer to the referendum, R Day, an uninformed media onslaught will hit us as they try to explain to the rUK what is going on. We saw this earlier this year as tired cliches and long since discredited arguments were trotted out as relevant new facts.

    8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Cuphook: there’s something very badly wrong with that Daily Mail link.

    9. pmcrek says:


      Pretty much, Labour havent really got over the whole Scottish Democracy thing that happened. Scottish Politics is meant to be done in secret rooms by secret people in secret meetings making secret decisions hence the new focus on Local Government.

    10. Cuphook says:

      In what way? Apart from it being the Daily Mail.

      I’ll try again here

    11. Luigi says:

      “One Nation to rule them all,
      One Nation to find them,
      One Nation to bring them all,
      and in the darkness bind them”.
      Vote Labour.

    12. Cuphook says:

      If you actually look at the source map you’ll see that it was an editorial decision to exclude Scotland. We are unwanted and unloved by the Daily Mail.

      Obviously not as awake as I thought.

    13. velofello says:

      “From business to education. to welfare”. One nation, just couldn’t be clearer. The Unionists simply could not continue to fail to declare their intentions. 
      It will be interesting to see how they deal with the specifics of their One nation objective.
      Are they really going to dismantle the welfare and education strategies of the Scottish government ,endorsed by the ballot box, in order to achieve a One nation uniformity across the UK?

    14. Clarinda says:
      The source of this map of the ‘south’s’ attitude to the rest of the “one nation” is unknown as is the date.  I reckon it could have been drawn by any estuary unionist yesterday.  I gather Stotty Cake is a rough flat bread from the north of England…. such is the remarkable grasp of facts about Scottish resources by the cartographer.



    15. Could the ‘county’ Ed refers to, the one which will become ‘one nation’, possibly be Scotlandshire?

    16. Macart says:

      Now there is a scary thought.

      One nation, no representation, no devolved legislatures, just one big happy family under Westminster governance.

      Ah don’t think so! 🙁 

    17. Holebender says:

      Analysis after the 2011 election showed that many traditional Labour voters shifted to the SNP but their places were taken by erstwhile LibDem voters. Labour’s 2011 vote was propped up by LibDems, not long-standing Labour voters. In other words Labour’s vote in Scotland is now very soft indeed.

    18. Cuphook says:

      Perhaps Johann’s utterances and Ed’s awfully clever idea are a 21st century reflection of the North Britain wheeze whereby the Scottish problem is addressed by getting rid of Scottish identity.

      I really believe that we should be asking Unionists what the purpose of Scotland is. Lets face it, England is the default paradigm of the UK and we live in the ‘Celtic Fringe’. We are, inconveniently, not quite English.

      If we are to have a Scottish identity and culture, an attitude that is not in line with the predominant UK one, then logic suggests that we need a government which facilitates our wishes, and, in order to maximise its effectiveness, that government needs all the powers available to the legislative of a normal country.

      Unionists promised us our own government numerous times throughout the 20th century yet only delivered due to the electoral success of the SNP, and as that success expands, and the referendum is now in play, the powers that Unionists are willing to concede suddenly increases. This is an unsustainable tactic as there are only so many powers that we can be allowed before independence becomes inevitable.

      The referendum is, therefore, an all or nothing battle if this situation is not to be played out ad infinitum, and a No vote presents the chance to bring Scotland back into line.

      It is an inconvenient paradox for the Unionists that their country is a political union and not a unitary state, and the uneven nature of this union, with the dominant partner accounting for 90% of the population and a greater share of both British culture and the culture of state, must cause them as many frustrations as it does for Nationalists.

      Unionists often claim, in response to nationalism, that they are proud patriots, but this philosophy is never defined to any degree of understanding, nor is it explained how it protects Scotland’s interests against those of its larger partner. In the 307 years of the Union when have the interests of England given way to the interests of Scotland when they have been in conflict?

      As I said, it’s time that Unionist tell us what they think that the purpose of Scotland is.

      Rant over.

    19. Training Day says:

      Full agreement. Not only will we get nothing with a No vote.  In the event of a No vote Westminster will attempt to ‘reform’ and ‘improve’ Holyrood (with the acquiescence of Unionist MSPs).  Under the guise of ‘improving accountability’ and avoiding ‘elected dictatorships’, this ‘reform’ will include measures to ensure an SNP majority can never happen again (in this way any meaningful action on the part of Holyrood can be stymied). This ‘improvement’ will gradually strip Holyrood of its powers or its capacity to enact anything of significance, and reduce it to the impotent parish council Labour always wanted it to be.   Some way further down the line there will be no perceived need for Holyrood and power will revert to Labour municipalism in agglomerated local authorities.

      That is the ‘positive’ case for the Union.  I understand and support the need for a positive Yes campaign, but the consequences of voting No are not yet widely understood – and they have to be..

    20. patronsaintofcats says:

      @Training Day – I think you are spot on.  Re my earlier comment about Miliband’s  intent to kill Devolution, I saw something interesting about Carwyn Jones (Labour FM of Wales) saying that Wales could be viewed “a drain on England” and issuing dire warnings about what a Yes vote in Scotland will mean for them:

      I expect this type of rhetoric will also  be ramped up in the next two years. 

    21. Cuphook says:

      @Training Day

      As my rant was too long I deleted a paragraph concerning the actions that would be taken to ensure London rule. It pretty much read like yours and even had the bit about a parish council. Are you the guy across the road with binoculars?   


    22. FreddieThreepwood says:

      If Celtic started playing in blue, if God Save the Queen blared out over the tannoys at Parkhead before a match, and if Neil Lennon wore a Help for Heroes wristband – surely even the most diehard Tim would smell a rat.
      When, we must therefore ask ourselves, will the tribal loyalties of Labour voters in Scotland reach snapping point? When will the scales fall from their eyes and allow them to see that the party they grew up with, the values they were taught to hold dear, have been sold for a marginal English midlands vote? 

    23. Cuphook says:

      @Freddie Threepwood

      Labour have always got off with saying one thing in Scotland and another in the rUK; look at how long they opposed nuclear weapons yet supported them when in Westminster. They do the same things in their fiefdoms with a lot of nodding and winking. That patronage system was the foundation of Labour in Scotland and now that they feel exposed they are attempting to shore it up by consolidating their power in their traditional areas of support; much as the Libdems are doing in the South West of England.

      To my mind the question should be, why are people continuing to vote for a failed political philosophy? Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, they’ve all repeatedly failed the population of Scotland and the UK.

      We live in one of the richest states in the world and yet people, even well paid working people, struggle from one pay day to the next. The UK is the fourth most unequal nation state in terms of wealth distribution and it become that way under Labour rule. This has been going on for years.

      Does this seem familiar? ‘The present emergency and political uncertainties must not obscure the full gravity of Britain’s underlying economic situation. Developments over the last two years have shown with increasing clarity that management of the economy has gone badly wrong and needs to be based on a different set of principles.’ It’s from the London and Cambridge Bulletin , January 1973. How long are we going to keep voting for more of the same?

      I see independence as an opportunity to escape this cycle of penury and that’s why I joined the Radical Independence Campaign.

      Another Scotland is Possible.

    24. Tamson says:

      “The UK is the fourth most unequal nation state in terms of wealth distribution and it become that way under Labour rule. This has been going on for years.”
      It is also the 2nd-most centralised nation in the OECD, with over 70% of all public spending controlled directly by Westminster. Only New Zealand does worse at somewhere around 80%. Compare that to Germany, where central government only controls about 20% of the public purse.
      It almost goes without saying that these 2 facts are connected. Miliband’s One Nation bullsh** will do nothing – absolutely nothing – to reverse the problems of inequality. You can’t tackle inequality, unless you hand spending powers over to those who can see more clearly where the money needs spent!

    25. DougtheDug says:

      There is always the possibility that Ed Miliband may have forgotten that in areas like education there are differences across the UK not only in the education systems but in who runs them. The difference between England, Britain and the UK has always been very fuzzy for most British politicians, especially the English based ones.
      Since the England holds 84% of the UK population or 86% of the GB population if you discount NI where Labour doesn’t operate then he could probably afford to ignore Scotland in his “One Nation” campaign.
      Then again that’s the problem. Ed didn’t consider the devolved administrations in his speech and won’t consider them in his policies except to regard them as a nuisance to the creation of a “One Nation” fits all policy when he stubs his toe on the problem of trying to get the devolved governments to do what Labour wants. He certainly won’t be giving Scotland more powers to make his “One Nation” idea even more shaky.
      I don’t think this “One Nation” idea is new. It’s the way the unionists regard the UK anyway whether they view it as a single united kingdom, a greater England or a Britain whose history simply runs seamlessly into English history.
      I suspect its the reason why Kenny Farquharson and his chums at the Scotsman came out with handbags swinging when Alasdair Gray defined Scottish culture as stand-alone and not part of Anglo-British culture. For them that was a rejection by Alasdair of their identity and also of his own. In their eyes Alasdair was ("Tractor" - Ed). For unionists, to be Scottish only is to reject your true Anglo-British identity. Scottish culture as a regional British culture is fine but to to assert it is separate is a no-no.
      Whether Ed had any thought of the UK as a union state with different nationalities in it when he thought up his “One Nation” idea is unknown. What it will do is make it very difficult for Labour to promote the idea of more devolution for Scotland. Then again they weren’t going to do that anyway.

    26. Cuphook says:


      One thing that really annoys me is the argument that is occasionally heard from the SNP that for a country of Scotland’s size 32 local authorities are too many. I don’t think that it’s enough and would also rather see national government receiving its taxation from local government.

      As to inequality, you can see why Salmond’s ‘progressive beacon’ speech annoyed the establishment so much. The last thing that they want is for the rUK to look at an independent Scotland and ask how a fairer society is possible. At the moment they rely on the subsidy myth, but that won’t work when we control our own finances and, therefore, can’t be allowed to happen.


    27. Vronsky says:

      Isn’t that ‘one nation’ rather reminiscent of the old ‘one nation’ Toryism? Wonder if that’s an accident.

    28. Tamson says:

      agree with all you say there – there has been a slight centralising tendency with the SNP governments at Holyrood.
      To some degree I’ve found it laudable, either in terms of efficiencies or in denuding the Labour-spawned quangocracy, but I would hope to see an independent Scotland move in the other direction in many ways.

    29. Cuphook says:


      Yup, I’m not a fan of centralisation. I do find it strange that the SNP can talk about the historic case for Scotland’s independence and ignore the much older case for local communities. Look at Moray and Clackmannan for example. Both are ferociously independent and have histories which stretch back to the dark ages before Scotland came about. Once upon a time they were kingdoms in their own right. It’s actually quite incredible how history still shapes the country. If you’re interested read Alistair Moffat’s ‘The Faded Map: Lost Kingdoms of Scotland’ and you’ll be amazed at how the heritage of our ancestors is all around us and still influencing the structure of our country.

      This drive for centralisation is also used by the Unionists outwith the Central Belt as an argument against independence – divide and rule.

    30. scottish_skier says:

      One nation?

      Benjamin Disraeli ‘One Nation’ speech:

      In which he constantly refers to that ‘one nation’ as well, not Britain, nor Scotland, nor Ireland nor Wales, but… that word which must not be uttered by Westminster politicians unless it’s to do with sport.

      Margaret Thatcher:

      “This is what [my policies] is building one nation” 

      Tony Blair:

      Labour is the party of one nation” 

      Ed Milliband:

      “One nation…one nation…one nation…one nation – [pauses to breath] – one nation…one nation…one nation… [ad infinitum]”

      One Nation = England.

      It’s not intentional really though and blame Scotland for celtic cringing at the back and continuing to be a region of that one nation.

      Not for long though. Soon that one nation will just be one nation again. Dave’s preparing for it and so is Ed.

      Watch Ed’s union jack over the next couple of years. N. Ireland’s already gone from it. Odds on the saltire blue, already fading, will be completely white come late 2014. After all, Britain will be over and England will need to find itself. Ed will be in prime position with his St. George’s cross behind him.

    31. Seanair says:


      Yes, in a perfect world every nook and cranny of Scotland would take responsibility for its own affairs but there is simply not enough  money to pay for the administration of such a set-up (salaries, pension contributions for an increasing number of staff).
      While we endure a system whereby Westminster dictates the amount of money we can spend, the savings of centralisation cannot be ignored. 
      I  would also argue that for a country of 5million,  32 separate Councils were always too many and should never have been countenanced— but then it was a form of Gerrymandering to help the Tories as much as possible at the time.

    32. Tamson says:

      looking round Europe at nations of around 5 million. Denmark has 5 regions, further divided into 98 municipalities; Norway has 19 counties subdivided further into 430 communes, all elected; Ireland has 34 councils, then a second tier with 5 boroughs and 75 town councils. Finland has 336 municipalities who control half of all public spending.
      Scotland’s 32 councils is not even close to “too many”, in comparison to most North European states.

    33. Cuphook says:


      You’re using the same argument as Unionists have always used against Scottish self government – the cost of unnecessary layers of government and bureaucracy. Even your ‘every nook and cranny’ is the same belittling argument.

      Look at other countries in Europe:

      Norway has 19 counties divided into 430 municipalities.

      Denmark has five regions divided into 98 municipalities.

      Switzerland has close to 3000 municipalities.

      Are you suggesting that Scotland is incapable of introducing a system of truly local government? If you think that 32 are too many which would you get rid of?

    34. Ronald Henderson says:

      I believe we need look no further than this:
      Cognitive Dissonance = The ability to hold two opposing/conflicting views at the same time.
      It’s just one of the little tricks of which our brains are capable. But it’s not really healthy.
      I believe that the British State has exploited this phenomenon in the Scottish character and psyche (which is a direct result of the Act of Union) for the past three hundred years and that it constantly puts it to its own advantage, and the Scots’ disadvantage.
      We have all heard it, time and time again. ”I’m proud to be Scottish, but proud to be British as well”.
      Even though the British part is obviously hell bent on destroying the Scottish part, this noddy mantra is repeated ad infinitum by the ‘Scottish’ unionists as an excuse not to vote for independence.
      I believe it is driving them insane. It shows itself in the constant unhealthy negativity emanating from them. The Yes campaign’s positive stance means the unionist Scots are having to face their ugly demons, and it is frankly making them ill.
      We just carry on as we are doing. They will fail. Believe it and you’ll see it. We have a wonderful future ahead of us.
      2014. YES!

    35. Cuphook says:

      @Ronald Henderson

      Agreed. The Unionists are the last victims of the Scottish cringe.

      I was speaking to a friend the other week who had a novel take on it and, jokingly, blamed it all on the church because it taught our ancestors to fear God before we learnt from R E Delderfield that ‘God Is An Englishman’.

    36. Simon says:

      Sorry, didn’t you know, people are just too poor and too stupid to run their own communities in the way they see fit. Only centralising beurocrats have the talent and the money to tell everyone what do do in every aspect of their lives.

    37. JLT says:

      I’m still convinced that once Osborne’s welfare cuts really dig in, then a lot of folk in Scotland will swing to the ‘Yes’ camp. It just seems that it is building to a perfect storm for Britain…

      The economy truly wrecked
      The world economy truly wrecked 
      Scottish Labour literally a zombie party in Scotland 
      UK Labour adopting Tory policies down south
      Rise of UKIP
      England wants out of the EU 
      Scotland throwing the EU a curve ball on trying to join the EU
      The Protestants no longer dominate Northern Ireland
      And one massive Scottish Referendum to end the Union  

      It just feels as though there is a wind of change about to hit the world…and we are right at the epicenter of it…

    38. David McCann says:

      Vote NO- get nothing. I like that. Its been my mantra for a long time now, and an effective slogan to get the point home. Another wee quote I like is this one.

      “When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land.  They said ‘Let us pray.’  We closed our eyes.  When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land”.
                  ~ Desmond Tutu.
      We closed our eyes in 1707.
      In 2014 we will have the opportunity to open them again.

    39. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      @David McCann
      “We closed our eyes in 1707”

      Except we didn’t.

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