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Ears wide shut

Posted on March 23, 2014 by

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”


It’s one of the most famous lines in the history of cinema. I’ve heard it a hundred times. And lately, to me, it’s a pretty fair summation of everything that’s gone wrong in Scottish Labour’s relationship with both its own members and its voters.

Yesterday, Ed Miliband was here giving his speech in what, in most years, would have been natural Labour leader territory. Tony Blair was never particularly comfortable up here – too many horny-handed, overall-wearing northerners for his taste, and those of his inner circle – but Scotland has been “home soil” for Labour for as long as I’ve been alive, and a long time before, and even he was assured his ovation from conference.

Things have changed. Labour’s claim to being the natural party of government in Scotland has been dashed. Their conduct in the independence campaign thus far has damaged their standing with a large number of their supporters. Yesterday’s speech from Miliband was one of the worst I’ve ever heard a Labour leader give, and that it met with such tumultuous applause in the conference hall is a demonstration as clear as anyone could need that the disconnect between what Labour says and does and what the Scottish people want is now acute.

Those rank and file members who are not wholly disgusted with their leadership for the shabby, dishonourable way they’ve fought this campaign were the ones cheering on the leader on Friday and as someone who might once have been inside that hall I can say with surety and certainty that I cannot understand those people any longer.


Miliband equated the Yes campaign’s “social justice for Scotland” agenda to the campaign of cuts going on south of the border. He compared Salmond to Cameron and talked about how Scotland would be locked in a “race to the bottom”.

We were promised a lovebombing, and instead got a man talking our country down, dismissing the very real social advances made under the Scottish Parliament, talking about the Promised Land which will come under Labour in London – the party which spends its time in England promising its own series of savage cuts to match that of the Tories, to placate the right-wing swing voters of Middle England.

But there are no secrets anymore. If you want to know what Labour really intends to do when it’s next in power in London, you only have to Google it. You want to know how their proposed “new powers” for the Scottish Parliament stack up, or how little they mean next to the reality of being in control of our own country? Check it out for yourself, on any of a dozen websites.

Besides, some of us have longer memories than that. Some us have a longer attention span than it takes to sit in a conference hall and get whipped into a frenzy by a flat, insipid speech like Miliband’s, designed to appeal to the remnants of the party so blinded by a visceral hatred of the SNP that they’re incapable of rational thought. It wasn’t directed at the remainder of Scotland, because the remainder of Scotland is increasingly disconnected from what comes out of Labour these days – or just can’t pick it out of the torrent of bile and venom.

Polls suggest a growing number of people now have their ears closed to the shabby, insulting, gutter-level soundbites coming out of “Better Together” and its constituent parts, most of whom hate each other almost as much as they do the SNP. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking they’ve switched off completely, but in truth these are people tuned to a whole different frequency, monitoring signals from elsewhere.

Their ears are cocked to the sweeter music of hope, dreaming not of what London tells us has to be, but of what might be if they believe enough in themselves and each other. Because the London narrative has no message of hope within it. It has been shorn of all optimism, and asks that we embrace our limitations, that we accept the political and social primacy of austerity and that we accept cuts and “reforms” that tear the heart and soul out of communities and shred the social contract that bound us.

If there was a “United Kingdom”, this assault on the fabric of our communites and the basis of our shared identity began to erode it a long time ago. But Labour no longer understands this. This failure to communicate began with their failure to understand that the working class had aspirations too.

When the political antennae of Labour was redirected under Blair and Brown to the steady hum of Middle England and its ambitions and aspirations, it forgot that its historic mission was to maintain the upward mobility of those who didn’t have the opportunities afforded to those in the leafy shires and suburbs. The people crowded into the inner cities, those stuck in low-paid jobs, the unemployed and the sick – tthe very people who most needed the protection and assistance of the state.

It wasn’t until Labour failed to win an absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament and required Lib Dem support to run things that real reforms came about, and Scotland started to take the lead in rolling back Thatcherism and Blairism. Yet the policies which did so came largely from the junior partner in the coalition, and not from Labour’s own benches.

The clarion call of much of Scottish Labour’s frontline was that our failure to win a majority wasn’t because we’d gone too far, but that New Labour hadn’t gone far enough. This failure to comprehend a simple fact – that voters in Scotland rejected those “reforms” and wanted a return to a social justice agenda – has haunted the party ever since, because years on the lessons still haven’t been learned.

When senior Labour activists talk about Labour voters “lending their votes to the SNP” they patronise the electorate disastrously. These were never “Labour votes”, they were the public’s votes, and they are not “on loan” to anyone. They won’t automatically come home at some unknown point, they’ll need to be fought for. The party will have to earn them, and to do so it’ll have to change radically, and start to listen again.

The likes of Tom Harris, Jim Murphy and others should no longer be allowed to speak as if for the great mass of the working class on these islands. What galls is not so much that they told people they weren’t going to get what they wanted from the Labour Party, but that Labour – busy blindly chasing Tory voters – wouldn’t even acknowledge what they were asking for was a valid aim.

The idea that what Labour had done wrong was not to change enough, not move enough to the right, could only have emerged from a self-absorbed political organisation that had completely lost its bearings. It didn’t come from one that was engaged with ordinary voters.

A radical party of the left that offered an alternative with the courage of its convictions, would find an army of foot soldiers and campaigners willing to fight for every vote. Instead, their commitment to Tory cuts, their cowardice in the face of the right and its anti-public-sector agenda, their lack of a backbone, has alienated potential supporters, disenfranchised millions and left ordinary people with nowhere else to turn – and crucially, left the party with a slender and fast-vanishing lead over a Tory Party that’s tearing the country to pieces.


Johann Lamont, perhaps the worst leader a mainstream political party has ever fielded on these shores, yesterday made an embarrassing and fraudulent speech of her own, calling out the SNP for being “dishonest and deceptive and disgraceful” in an address which said not one positive thing about Scotland or the Scottish people but instead was littered with personal attacks on the First Minister and the Scottish Government.

Once again, she decried the Yes campaign as being a purely SNP-driven scheme to “drag [Scotland] over the line”, to win independence by a single vote, purely for its own sake. That insults the integrity and intelligence of the thousands of men and women, of all political parties and none who are campaigning for a Yes because they believe in Scotland, and want this country to stand on its own two feet.

The phony offer of “more powers” has been exposed as a fraud. The leader who a few months ago talked of hard choices, of ending a “something for nothing” culture, now wants to sound like a red-in-tooth-and-claw socialist planning to soak the rich. It fooled the right-wing press into a hysterical panic, but none of it will ever come to pass and Lamont knows it, which is why she can stand in front of her conference audience like a performing seal and make promises she’ll never have to keep.

The entire Labour conference has been an exercise in narrow party-political cynicism, at the expense of Scotland and its future. Thankfully, much of Scotland’s attention is elsewhere. Its people are daring to dream. We are not the idiots Labour thinks, no longer tribally loyal past the point of sanity. Scotland is awake, at last, and eager for something better. We know in our hearts, and we’re starting to know in our heads, that it doesn’t have to be like this, that we can shatter the paradigm once and for all, that we can construct the country we want and deserve.

Our loyalty has been taken for granted for too long. Our trust has been betrayed. This week we have seen the party we thought was on our side try to sell us a bill of counterfeit goods, hoping we wouldn’t check too closely. In the effort, they’ve revealed the contempt in which they hold us – and perhaps always did.

No more. I was a lifelong Labourite, but it’s over now. I have seen the true face of the party over the last few months, and it’s not one with which I want to associate myself. It’s certainly not one in which I’ll find the realisation of my dreams for a better country. Even if I thought they cared about that, not just putting their own snouts in the trough, I don’t believe they have the courage, the ambition or the vision to pull it off.

Tony Blair once said that Labour, for all its accomplishments, was a party rooted in failure, and they’re now living up to his description. The welfare state which a great, reforming and truly socially-responsible Labour Party founded was failed by Blair’s government, abandoned by Brown’s and cannot be saved by Miliband. It will probably cease to function entirely in England, whoever wins in 2015, and Labour will share the blame equally with the Tories and their Lib Dem partners.

Yesterday Johann Lamont tried to get Scots to vote against our last chance to protect and remake the post-war social contract, and to do so she reached for the language of “Old Labour” by invoking the class war. In this last desperate gambit she did no more than reveal her lack of understanding of true Labour values, because that has never been what Labour was about.

The concept of the left waging class war exists only in the fevered minds of the right. The social contract was meant to bind us all together, not split us apart. The welfare state is meant, as a core principle, to be universal – not a begrudged piece of charity for those at the bottom, but for everyone, the ultimate shared pool for all to tap into.

To undermine the principle of universal provision is to do the work of the enemy for them – for how, they will ask, with full justification, is it acceptable for those who contribute least to get the most back, if those who contribute most get nothing at all? This isn’t simply a failure to communicate, it’s a failure to even comprehend.

Scotland is tuned to a difference frequency. A great and growing number of its people are daring to see beyond the here and now, the soul-sapping political and social consensus on offer from the London parties, and to dream of something better as Labour used to do.


We may not know for certain what’s on the other side of the Rubicon, but we know that the world on this side is one we’re better off leaving behind. They keep warning us that crossing the river is permanent, that this change is forever. Once again, they misunderstood the mood. That’s exactly what we’re hoping for and counting on.

*James Forrest is a previous Wings contributor who’s just started his own blog, on which the original version of this article is the debut post. Visit it here.

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71 to “Ears wide shut”

  1. Dan Huil says:

    Excellent article. Ed Miliband’s speech at Perth was condescending and insulting. There is no difference between his attitude to Scotland and that of Cameron’s.
    In the past Labour may have had the pulse of the Scottish nation, now, like the Tories, they just don’t get it.

  2. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I heard this and I paraphrase the original, in a discussion about how Russia views the Ukraine.

    It was, said a Ukrainian, a simple existentialist one.

    That is how the Westminster based politicians see Scotland; through a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.

    To sum it up, they havnae a ferkin clue.

  3. Thepnr says:


    This paragraph above all resonates the most strongly with me. I can remember clearly in 2012 when for the first time in my life I refused to go out and vote. I had no party to vote for.

    No more. I was a lifelong Labourite, but it’s over now. I have seen the true face of the party over the last few months, and it’s not one with which I want to associate myself. It’s certainly not one in which I’ll find the realisation of my dreams for a better country. Even if I thought they cared about that, not just putting their own snouts in the trough, I don’t believe they have the courage, the ambition or the vision to pull it off.

    We ordinary people living in Scotland, do I believe have the ambition and the vision to pull it off.

  4. Eric says:

    In memory of Milliband’s Father and Great Britain. Plus reasons to stay in the Union. We all fought on the same side for goodnessake.!A034d

  5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Blimey, readers, entire song lyrics as the second comment? I DON’T THINK SO.

  6. Nobby Power says:

    I hope now, that people will realise en masse that they’ve been voting for cardboard boxes with red rosettes on, for some time now.

  7. AnneDon says:

    “I was a lifelong Labourite, but it’s over now. I have seen the true face of the party over the last few months, and it’s not one with which I want to associate myself. It’s certainly not one in which I’ll find the realisation of my dreams for a better country. Even if I thought they cared about that, not just putting their own snouts in the trough, I don’t believe they have the courage, the ambition or the vision to pull it off.”

    That paragraph probably sums up the feelings of an ex-Labour voter better than anything I’ve read!

  8. Eric says:


    “…ordinary people…”

    That resonates with me. The Ordinary People Party of Scotland.

    Fairness, equality and justice; average people just trying to get by as best they can.

  9. Les Wilson says:

    Very good article that says it as it is, Slab are a shambles, UK Labour are a shambles, and in their pursuit of votes will say anything. Who would trust any of them with the well being of Scotland. We have and do, serve a purpose for them.

    To maintain that, the must stamp on our aspirations to keep us where we are. However, while they are stuck in “old world” mire. We, the Scottish people dare to see a better future, this time enough is enough. We will NOT be stopped.

    O/T just watched a re run of Lamont’s interview with Gary Robertson from this morning. She was incoherent, she would not really answer any question, it was as usual a tirade against the SNP. She forgets that THEY are the elected government of the Scottish people and not her or SLab.
    They are distancing themselves from the Scottish root vote the have enjoyed up to now. People are sick of this stuff and rightly so.

  10. Andy-B says:

    Spot on James,if Labour gain power in 2015, they too intend to cut public spending like there’s no tomorrow, Labour are indeed the Red Tories.

    O/T Heard today on the BBC radio programme with Ken MacDonald, that Britain, is celebrating another anniversary, this year marks 100 years that Westminster has been continuosly at war with someone or some country around the world.

    Bravo Westminster take a bow, a 100 years of slaughter, better together? I think not!.

  11. Thepnr:

    I wholeheartedly agree. I came late to the independence movement, but I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

    And we’re going to win too.

  12. Vestas says:

    “Scottish” Labour. Venal self-serving scum. No exceptions.

  13. liz says:

    It was mentioned in the spectator – I think – that Milliband looked as though he would rather have been somewhere else.

    I think he probably feels no connection with Scotland at all – his father was here 70years ago??

    So I think he is probably making plans on how to proceed without Scotland and if that is the case it will soon be felt by slab MPS as they suddenly find themeselves out of the loop.

    There is nothing politicians fear more than to be associated with the smell of failure.

  14. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Yes James we will but the real work will be after the vote.

    It will be one without ending.

    I wonder how you feel about these NO people, Murphy, Lamont Alexanders etc seeking to keep their bahookies on a Holyrood Parliamentary seat? They think that tomorrow will be like today.

  15. Andrew Morton says:

    Great article James. Mucho respecto!

    I have to say that I never voted for Labour in Scotland. My early voting days were scarred by the experience of Willie Ross ruling over us like a colonial governor. His attitude was one of utter contempt for anybody who did not see the world in exactly his terms. Like the Bourbons he learned nothing and forgot nothing. The great betrayal of 1979 cemented my distrust of Labour.

    As an active trade unionist I recall going to courses at the ASTMS Whitehall College, and was disgusted by some of the ‘tactics’ peddled which had clearly come from the great Labour play book. This is a party which has been rotten to the core for decades although many of its activists were clearly idealists. One of those was Jim Sillars and I remember to this day his account of how, after the Scotland Bill was done down in 1979, Labour’s Chief Whip said to him, “for God’s sake Jim, you surely didn’t think we were serious?”

  16. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    I think that is beginning to sink in to some the less stupid representatives.

  17. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    Bugger (the Panda) says:
    I wonder how you feel about these NO people, Murphy, Lamont Alexanders etc seeking to keep their bahookies on a Holyrood Parliamentary seat?

    These people will have to get themselves selected (or onto the Party List). Then people will have to vote for them or the party.

    I think it will sort itself out.

    I am sure they have talents that will earn them a crust in iScotland outside of politics.

  18. Ian Brotherhood says:

    A twelve-step programme for the Labour-addicted should use this article as Step 1:

    ‘Hi. My name’s Jimmy, and I’ve been a Labour supporter for 47 years…’

  19. CameronB says:

    The welfare state which a great, reforming and truly socially-responsible Labour Party founded was failed by Blair’s government, abandoned by Brown’s and cannot be saved by Miliband.

    Thanks James for a powerful comment, though I can’t agree with the above. The post-war statement was a sop. A temporary measure to keep the wheels on the empire cart.

    Labour has always been full of and taken orders from imperialists.

  20. scottish_skier says:

    As I said when you first linked to this (original version on your blog) in comments James; very well written article.

    Can’t say I’ve ever voted Labour. Ahead of 1997 I had to make my mind up what I was going to vote for the first time. I decided I was economically centrist to modest left and very socially liberal. That gave me the SNP and Lib Dems as best match choices. I opted for the former as simple reasoning said they’d have Scotland’s interests at heart, independence or not.

    I’ve had my Westminster vote thrown away at every election since then as a result of voting SNP under FPTP. Stuck to my guns though. Glad I never gave a vote to Labour or the Libs even tactically. Neither deserve it.

  21. gordoz says:

    Now then.
    That was a good read, sort of my thoughts er exactly.
    Sort of wondering if GCHQ have managed to focus in as some form of thought control with this, like a trap to catch YES voters.

    Seriously on the money for me James. If I tried to put that into words, 40 yrs of ‘nasty & disgust’ about Labour selling us out, would get in the way.

    Folks that write like this are a cradit to YES, (no matter how late they arrive at their decision).

    All undecideds should take note (if it sounds honest and feels like the truth… its the truth). If its all bitter & twisted and has SNP/Alex Salmond every 2nd sentence, its Labour Central mantra – ‘repetitive pish syndrome’

  22. jingly jangly says:

    Sorry rev, was trying to multitask and never noticed lack of comments!!! Should leave multitasking to fairer sex in future.

  23. bookie from hell says:


  24. TheItalianJob says:


    I read your article when you posted it yesterday and you have a great gift for writing and giving a thoughtful and insightful raison d’etre of the current situation within the Labour party.

    Like you I was a lifelong supporter (not any more) of the Labour party but unlike them I put Scotland and the Scottish people first not the party as do the current members.

    That’s what the people voting for a new beginning are doing right now.

    I raise my hat to you and all the people of Scotland who are in this together to succeed.

  25. Albalha says:

    Thanks James.

    And this short documentary on the Maryhill Foodbank is a good video companion to your words for those who missed it on other threads.

  26. gordoz says:

    bookie from hell – What a belter of a song !

    Best Party band ever.

    And what a ‘costitution’ those guys could write !!!

  27. Linda's Back says:

    Massive number of empty seats at Labour’s More Powers debate.

    Alan Grogan gets jeered at Labour Conference for saying he will vote Yes.

    21st century style democracy. USDAW trade union backs the No campaign after a debate with Alistair Darling but no one from Yes Scotland invited in a campaign ballot organised by Karen Whitefield the former Labour MSP.

    None of the Unions backing the No campaign have had democratic campaigns or ballots other than the Public Civil Service Union which voted to remain neutral after 6000 voted for YES and no one voted for No.

  28. CameronB says:

  29. Linda's Back says:

    Bookie from hell.

    Labour and the Tory press waste thousands of pounds on vexatious Freedom of Information requests about SNP MSPs etc but try getting a Freedom of Information request about Labour or Con Dem Westminster MPs who are not obliged to comply.

  30. gordoz says:

    bookie from hell

    See with Sarwar its back to basics. And the problem with Labour is working out what the hell they are talking about when they say country ??

    Cause we all know (and the Lamont confirmed it yesterday)

    For Labour : region = Scotland, country = Britain .. Non ??

  31. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Check out the photie on Rev’s Twitter of Darling/Dougie Alexander and buddies applauding Lamont’s speech – it’s a total pearler.

  32. Albalha says:

    @Linda’s Back

    And Unite didn’t consult but at least voted at Scottish Committee level to remain neutral, still a funny concept of democracy. Wonder what their members think of the way they handled it.

    And on the subject of Labour and the Unions we had the nostalgic nonsense from J Lamont yesterday detailing how without the TU movement her husband wouldn’t have got on in life. Can anyone remember the last time any Labour politician came out in support of anyone taking industrial action?

  33. gordoz says:


    They’re smiling inside surely ?

  34. Derek says:

    “Blimey, readers, entire song lyrics as the second comment?”

    Well, you were the one using Half Man Half Biscuit song titles last week…

    I’ve never been party political. At the last election (Scottish parly/ local council) I voted for three different parties.

  35. creag an tuirc says:

    Nationalist MP’s have ambitions for Scotland, Unionist MP’s have ambitions for themselves.

  36. Big Al says:

    The SLAB party died years is the people who run it now don’t see it…until it is to late
    Looking forward to seeing the MP’S post the 18th being sent to the job centre and if they are late by 5 mins they will loss their benefits for 3 months…poetic justice

  37. CameronB says:

    “We don’t want to sing along
    We know every word to this song”

    Chumbawamba:We Don’t Want To Sing Along

  38. Ian Brotherhood says:

    When, oh when will we see the highlights of Maggie Curran’s speech? Got to hand it to her – she’s always good value.

  39. SquareHaggis says:

    Good atricle James, succinctly put and an inspiration to all.

    Well, I guess that’s the last of the opposition conferences done and dusted and little to show for it. Labour, ConDems fill the Scottish people with nothing other than dismay and negativity. I have to admit these things have been affecting the posters on here as we resort to nit-picking and negativity. We do this, they win and I feel it’s time to get back on track.

    Rev Stu, could I suggest a wee serialisation of Jim Sillars’ In Place of Fear II? Have been flicking through it over the past few weeks and it’s quite a good read. Loads of positive ideas for a future Scotland I’m sure fellow readers would be interested in.

    Positive and filled with hope.

    Time to seize the initiative and start building the kind of Scotland we want.

    What-cha think?

  40. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    O/T- I see John McTernan still thinks us Cybernats are under ‘central control’.

    He might be right:-

  41. Thepnr says:

    Nice one Calgacus, haven’t watched that in a while. Guaranteed to make you laugh though. See SquareHaggis we’re not always nit-picking 🙂

    Sometimes we just take the piss. No No NoNoNo I’m voting Nooo.

  42. Flower of Scotland says:


    Might be better to leave Jim Sillars’ view until after Sept.18th! Not very happy with him in this campaign. He,s tried to divide and rule!

  43. CameronB says:

    Calgacus MacAndrews
    A big thumbs up for that one. Cheers. 🙂

  44. heedtracker says:

    Its all about power and money and right to rule. Here in Aberdeen, its odd things like absolutely no Saltires flying anywhere that gives me the creeps. You can feel this silent angry determination to stop Scotland in its tracks from being a new democracy, right down to our Labour local level. There is so much we don’t know about how our country is really run and who thinks they own it. In Aberdeen that latest display of insanity by our council and their attempt to ban SNP probably says a way more than just Labour’s Willie Young’s losing it.

  45. Grouse Beater says:

    How could anyone trust Miliband, a man way out of his depth, who shafted his own brother, a man far better qualified, more experienced, for the role of politician.

    Miliband seems to have limited ability to deal with people.

  46. Dal Riata says:

    @James Forrest

    Excellent post, there. Well said!

    And do keep on with your work trying to convince both sides of the Glasgow football divide that the Offensive Behaviours Act is really for the good of Scottish society as a whole, and not something that was especially created by the Scottish government to ‘get’ them in particular.

  47. CameronB says:

    post-war settelment

  48. Arel says:

    AnneDon says:
    23 March, 2014 at 4:40 pm
    “I was a lifelong Labourite, but it’s over now. I have seen the true face of the party over the last few months, and it’s not one with which I want to associate myself. It’s certainly not one in which I’ll find the realisation of my dreams for a better country. Even if I thought they cared about that, not just putting their own snouts in the trough, I don’t believe they have the courage, the ambition or the vision to pull it off.”

    That paragraph probably sums up the feelings of an ex-Labour voter better than anything I’ve read!

    Count me in too.

    These last few months in particular I have probably for the first time in my life questioned and scrutinised everything the Labour Party now stands for. It became apparent that it no longer resembles the one I have voted for since first eligible to put a cross on a ballot paper over 40 years ago.

    Coming from a West Lothian mining background I never for one minute ever felt that I would vote for another party other than Labour. James’s excellent article will resonate with many like myself. The tide is turning rapidly and I’m convinced many many more habitual Labour voters will see that what they have on offer from Lamont and her cronies is toxic and empty.

    An independent Scotland is the only chance we have of ensuring that we get a real Labour party, one which stands up for the ordinary person not pandering to the well-off just to gain votes. Bring it on.

  49. Findlay Farquaharson says:

    does anyone know where i could watch lady lamonts speech yesterday, a true lady if ever there was one.

  50. SquareHaggis says:


    Hey dude, I’m as guilty as anyone else of nit-picking, frustrated by all the negativity flying around. I just feel it’s time to concentrate on the positive voices out there trying to make their case.

    @Flower of Scotland

    Jim’s an old guy and he often puts his foot in it, however he is a powerful voice in the dabate and love him or loathe him his book, in places cranky is certainly well worth a read IMO.

  51. X_Sticks says:

    O/T (again, sorry)

    Aye Inspired – The indyref art exhibition for the Summer of Yes

    Trying to raise £3000. Only got £500 so far. Still plenty time, but I guess Wings hasn’t noticed this one yet. Help if you can.

  52. SquareHaggis says:


    There’s 2 Saltires flying high above the Douglas Hotel on Market Street.

  53. fairiefromtheearth says:

    grousebeater thats it hes a backstabbing wee naff and he backedstabbed his own brother how the fuck anybody would vote for him or his party is beyond me.

  54. Thepnr says:


    Totally agree, you must be a bit like me. Almost consumed by the Independence campaign. It is bloody difficult to hear over and over the negativity bombarding you from all directions every day without getting hot under the collar.

    This weekend though has been a good one I feel, Labour’s offer of Devo Min has come and gone, their party conference failed to present any kind of a comeback. Then we have the polls, ICM was a surprise to me, though I suspect the truth makes even more miserable reading for the Naysayers.

    Then there is the surprising, extremely positive articles in the Sunday Herald beginning with:

    “The Treasury case against a post-independence currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK has been dismantled as “misleading”, “unsubstantiated” and the “reverse of the truth” by one of the world’s leading economists.”

    It also seems as if the BBC are back peddling now that their bias has been exposed. This weekend at least I am not in a negative mood, next week however I might feel different.

    It is a hard slog being passionate about something you believe in and to be honest I never would have thought I could become as passionate as I have done about Independence. It’s the increasing knowledge that does it, when your eyes are opened and you look behind the curtain and realise you have been fooled your entire life. That does something to you, no doubt about that.

    I do believe though that we are now on the road to a better future for our country and her people. Us and our families, in other words, if that means a bit of nit-picking now and again, I thing I can put up with that.

  55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Rev Stu, could I suggest a wee serialisation of Jim Sillars’ In Place of Fear II?”

    Given that it’s just gone on sale, I think he might frown on that…

  56. SquareHaggis says:


    Do you think he’d agree?
    I’m sure he’s not doing it for the money.

  57. SquareHaggis says:


    For want of a better phrase (nit-picking) – I suppose I asked for that one.

    Cheers for your latest message.
    I always enjoy reading your posts, they often help to haul my chin up aff the deck when I’m at that point.

    Wings is a very positive place to get the news and the people like yourself who make it so very worthwhile should be given medals at the end of all this.

  58. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I’m sure he’s not doing it for the money.”

    Everyone’s got bills to pay, man.

  59. SquareHaggis says:

    Oh I don’t know Stu, he might be okay with a few chapters, to push the book along?
    Do you have a copy?
    I could send you mine.

  60. KenC says:

    The Conservatives used to explain their unpopularity in Scotland by telling the media that Scots just didn’t understand their message. On the contrary. They were unpopular because we did understand their message and didn’t like it.

    Where are they now in Scottish politics? Okay, no need to answer that one.

    That Labour is now using the same condescending tone shows just how far they have fallen. The (unfunny) joke is, they don’t realise it yet.

  61. Feeling great, folks. Thanks for all yir contributions!

  62. setondene says:

    Wow! That was some article from James. I’ve never liked the Labour Party but I’ve always recognised its great achievements and known many fine people that were in it. How it’s come to this pass is just hard to take in. I guess that Scotland is so unimportant in its frame of reference that it’s not worth the effort.

  63. SquareHaggis says:


    Is he? Shit, tell me it’s not so 🙁

  64. Morag says:

    No. He’s making it up. Sillars can be a bit like the friend who makes you think you don’t need enemies, but he’s not a Brit-Nat spy.

  65. AvidViewer says:

    Well said, Mr Forrest.

  66. Weedeochandorris says:

    @James Thank you for that really excellent piece, you will inspire many folks out there. Your blog is now added to my growing list of ‘Reads’ to be visited regularly. 🙂

    @Morag, Square Haggis I can’t get my heid round Jim Sillars. It’s a gut feeling thing, a bit like I had for Derek Bateman in the beginning, and who I now definately feel more comfortable with. I just can’t get Sillars though, I feel he’s not someone I’d trust. I may be missing something and way off course, i’m also open to altering that opinion, for now though, nah.

  67. steven Seagull says:

    @Square Haggis.

    True. I know Bud.

    Like north- brit broon, who visited Moscow a couple of years back.

    Social visit my hairy culo.

    De-briefed by his Soviet maisters.

    Awarded his hero of the Soviet union medal, like Blair, Reid. Wilson. Dewar. Slimy Davidson who wants tae obfuscate defence contracts. Cooke, Murphy etc, the whole fkn labour movement. All Colonels in the the KGB.

    I’ve been in Russia during la Guerra fria.

    A whole fkn sordid world that our people know nothing of

    These immoral scumbags, are all part of Comintern.

    Seriously fkd up artificial state.


    Dae yer ain research por favor amigo.

    Again, I despair.

  68. yerkitbreeks says:

    I too was once a labour voter……….

  69. Ruairidh says:

    ‘Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand’. The alarming thing is that this slight of hand might yet work for those in the No. I thought I was in the know until I started listening + thinking. As you’ve said in this fine article, there’s a failure to communicate – and it’s a blatant and deliberate attempt to obfuscate the old from the new, and the false from the true. Labour have pulled off an impressive disappearing act by going nowhere right before our eyes.

  70. Laurie says:

    I have just returned from 3 weeks away from “Wings…” and I am inspired by this summary of recent Scottish “political debate”. As a life long Labour voter I thank you, James, for articulating my thoughts and disappointments so brilliantly. I am equally impressed by recent Business for Scotland blogs and the very positive approach now being taken by pro-independent spokespersons but I have really missed WOS. Good one, squarehaggis, by the way. Still early days but…..

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