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Reading through the lines

Posted on November 09, 2013 by

Sometimes I can be a deeply cynical man. I get it from a couple of sources. Some is from my time as a political activist, when I learned the game in the sewer of Glasgow politics. Some is from my media degree, which taught me (to paraphrase the song) to believe none of what you hear and less than half of what your read. An education heavy on sociology, history and psychology helps too.

easythink

I didn’t grow up with this view of the world. I came to it, over time, and much careful consideration. Yet at heart I remain a socialist, and I believe that people are inherently good. It’s the systems we build for ourselves that skew the perspective, that bend our good intentions out of shape, that make us less than what we should be.

I publish digital magazines, all of them in some way grounded in the country where I was born and live; the Tartan Army magazine, for Scottish football fans; Amped Up, about the Scottish music scene; Smoke & Mirrors, a videogames, TV and movies magazine, written in a Scottish style, with a Scottish sense of humour.

All are rooted right here, in our vibrant, passionate people, in our cities and towns, in the way we look at the world, in our art, in our music, in our sports. All Scottish. I never expected to end up here. I never expected to be promoting these things – and by default, this country – in such a way.

I grew up mired in politics. I joined the Labour Party at 17, and stayed a member until my mid-twenties. I came to the party, and to the trade union movement, early in my life because I believed that in unity there is strength, and I knew that we had a government which didn’t care about ordinary working people. I remember hearing, even as I was growing up, that unemployment was a “price worth paying”, I remember wee flashes of news stories from when I was about nine or ten, of miners fighting with police officers.

As morbid as it will sound, when I was nine I developed a mind-bending fascination with the end of the world, and I started to read about nuclear weapons. At ten I could tell you how many megatons the Soviets had aimed at us, and I knew the difference between an IRBM and an ICBM, what MIRVs were, and what happened when they airburst above a city.

When I was about twelve, I think, I got my mother to get me a book from the library which laid out the destructive power of a one megaton bomb, and how the damage spread out in concentric rings. I duly dug out a map of the City of Glasgow, made George Square the epic-centre, and calculated the likelihood of my own death, which I’d already decided to welcome, as survival was going to be a relatively loose concept in the aftermath of a nuclear attack.

Dreaming of mega-death, fearing the multi-tentacled evil of Thatcherism reaching out from London, I wanted to get involved in all of it. I was in the Labour Party three years before I met a guy who told me I was in the right building but the wrong room, and assured me that I couldn’t be in Labour without being involved in the unions.

I joined the GMB, and a whole new part of the world opened up to me. I remember where I was the day John Smith died. I was at Langside College and I cried, because I knew then what a loss his death was to the movement, the party and the country.

graysmith

In 1996 I was working for Glasgow City Council in the Parks Department and combining that with an array of political and union posts, from Labour Party branch chair to being a national youth and student officer with the GMB and the STUC. I gravitated towards Keir Hardie House, the hub of the Scottish electoral war machine for the following year’s big vote. It was there that I met Henry McLeish, Jim Murphy, Jack McConnell and others, and I saw, first hand, how the campaign was being organised and fought. I learned a lot.

It was Henry who taught me one of the more valuable lessons, and the one which had the longest impact on my life. He taught me to analyse the media coverage, to read between the lines, to crack the coded messages reporters sometimes send out in their pieces. He taught me about keywords, about certain phrases and more – a series of almost mini-lectures on media management, with a wee bit of sociology thrown in for good measure. When I later studied both, and found out about subliminal advertising and other such concepts, I remembered Henry McLeish.

Yet as Labour in opposition became Labour in government, something happened that I hadn’t expected. I started to become very disillusioned. I fell out of love with Blair’s glib manner long before the first term was over, particularly with his “I’m a pretty straight guy” bit after taking tobacco money in exchange for a Formula One exemption from the advertising ban. Opinion polls showed most people believed him… that time.

I went to night school in 2001, whilst I was still working away in the Parks, and I was standing in a flower bed on a scorching hot September day when someone told me the Twin Towers in New York had just been hit by a plane. I walked into the sports centre next door to where I was working and watched the coverage from New York on a small TV.

I was there when the towers came down, and that night in sociology class we analysed the likely impact on American society and what it would mean for the wider world. In the end, my love affair with Labour was to be a direct casualty of those events, when the bulk of the parliamentary party voted in favour of war on the flimsiest grounds – many simply to protect their own career advancement.

I was a student at Stirling University when the war started getting my media degree. I was involved again in student politics, ably assisted and partnered up with a young guy in the University Labour Club called Danny Gibson, who became my closest friend in the place.

He was, at the time, a radical, a left-winger with desire and guts. He also hated the SNP with a passion I often found hard to fathom, but to which I had no real objection, and together we pretty much waged war on the local branch.

(On one memorable occasion, we spiked the guns of the union president when we raised a censure motion against him for appearing in an SNP election leaflet whilst wearing the badge of his office.)

I’d like to say those were fun times, but I look back on them with regret and even shame. My student union activities left a lot to be desired. I fell into heavy boozing, almost dropping out over it. My anger over Iraq was still bubbling, and I felt things I cared about slipping away from me. (I later wrote a novel about the whole experience.)

I came to the independence cause late. I voted SNP on the regional vote in the last two Scottish Parliamentary elections, and I took a half-day off work to go and celebrate when Salmond (who I’ve always liked and rated), was elected First Minister in 2007. Although not ready to put my faith entirely in his party, or their vision for a Scotland going it alone, I believed in him, and I thought he was the best person for the job.

Over the course of the SNP’s second term of office, I came to realise that the Scottish Parliament has protected much that is good, things that matter to me, in particular the education system and the NHS. Free personal care for the elderly, the end of tuition fees, the desire to protect our people from the worst excesses of the Westminster elite – all the things I thought Labour in Scotland should have been fighting for.

It was infuriating and demoralising for me to hear a Scottish Labour leader slander the social security system and its recipients as “something for nothing” earlier this year. My tribal heart still belongs to Labour, you see, and it eats at my soul to see such a petty, untalented bunch of no-marks leading the Scottish party.

My faith lies in guys like Allan Grogan and the Labour For Independence team, to lay the foundations of a new, left-leaning independent Scottish party next year after we’ve secured a Yes vote. Securing that vote will not be easy. My political education, particularly that part of it inspired by Henry McLeish, has taught me to view the press with scepticism.

greentraynor

Aside from politics I also have an interest in football, and my blog, On Fields Of Green, has spent much of its first year in existence dissecting the Rangers situation, and one of our repetitive themes has been the role the media played in the whole thing – “succulent lamb” journalism, spinning for one side or the other, their failures to do any investigative digging and the way they’ve been beaten to the punch by the “internet bampots” again and again and again.

I noticed the first of those in the 90s, when Celtic started their “Bhoys Against Bigotry” campaign. One journalist attacked the concept for what he called “the provocative H”. When McCann tried to market it as a way forward for not only Celtic but Rangers too, much of the media dismissed it as a Canadian interfering where he shouldn’t, and they printed David Murray’s assertion that the clubs had no business attacking the fans’ “traditions” in the same unquestioning manner they did with everything Murray said.

When McCann himself was compared to Saddam Hussein by a newspaper, I’d already begun to see a distinct trait in their reporting, transposing the skills I’d learned analysing political coverage to the back pages, and from that moment on I started questioning everything the newspapers in Scotland wrote, not just on the front pages but on the back pages too.

Having started analysing football stories with the same critical, cynical eye I used to use on political ones, it was easy to see where spin started to overtake facts and “churnalism” began to tighten its hold. This week’s front pages, threatening the end of shipbuilding in Scotland should the country vote Yes, come as no surprise, and in most circles are given the same credence as those stories about multi-million-pound transfer warchests.

The Scottish media has proved itself incapable of honesty and unworthy of respect, let alone trust. There is little credit in the things they do. They are hopelessly, shamelessly, narrowly partisan, and those of us who pay attention know it full well.

Websites have led the way in highlighting the worst of the “political journalists” in the same way sites like mine and numerous others have tried to highlight the multiple failures of the sports hacks. That fight will go on, not only up to polling day but far beyond, as we fight for the right to try to build a better country.

There are some amongst my football-supporting readers and friends who are enormously angry over the Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act, and many of them are determined to spread lies about it being an attack on one “culture” or the other. These scare tactics find a lot of resonance amongst Celtic fans, in particular, especially when mixed into the heady brew of religion and the protection of denominational education.

Trying to convince them that Scotland is not suddenly going to become 1960s Northern Ireland is a tough sell, but myself and others are avowedly determined to keep on ramming home the key points of our argument, which are that Scotland is more tolerant than they think; that the lunatic fringe who couldn’t save the football club they claim as their own are unlikely to suddenly become Masters of the Universe in an independent Scotland; and that the worriers ought to have a little more respect for the followers of their own faith. If certain elements of our society did try to push us to the margins, they’d get a lot more than they bargained for.

In the last few years, things have begun to coalesce for me, and the picture is a lot different from where I started out. The obsessions of my geeky youth, my fears of nuclear armageddon and Thatcherism, my distrust of the media, my interest in the trade unions, my hopes for my country, and the advancement of socialist ideas, have come together at just the right moment, and in just the right way.

The political landscape too has altered beyond all recognition. We have a Labour Party which has abandoned its roots even as Scottish public opinion comes more and more to reflect them. It bewilders me that serious people in the politics business most of their lives can screw up so badly.

To be outflanked on the right by the Lib Dems is no great shock. To be outflanked on the left by the SNP is utterly inexcusable, and it stuns me that it continues to this day. Ian Davidson, Johann Lamont and Jim Murphy attacking the idea of Scotland as a nation capable of standing on its own two feet. Davidson in particular, threatening his own constituents and their jobs if they don’t save his well-feathered Westminster nest.

And my old friend, Danny Gibson, siding with the hated Tories to attack the traditions and symbols of the land of his birth, blinded by hatred of the SNP. It breaks my heart.

I wanted better for my country, but for a long time that country was the one stretching from The Shetland Islands to the Isles of Scilly. I wanted the election of a real Labour government at Westminster, one that could make Britain a progressive example to the world. Somewhere along the line, I realised that the British system is not built for that, and I lost hope, abandoned to cynicism.

But now things have begun to make sense in a way they never have before, building into a picture I would scarcely have credited. I never dreamed that an independent Scotland might be the progressive example I’d worked and hoped for, but I’ve come to realise that’s exactly what it is. This is the most important year of our lives.

18sept5

The conduct of the ludicrously named Better Together campaign could have made me even more cynical than usual, but I believe in this country, in its people, in its better instincts. I believe that we’re about to turn a corner and make a monumental change. Are we going to win this thing? Can we do it? Aye, we can. And we will.

I got here late. But it’s a pleasure to be alive at this landmark moment in time.

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    129 to “Reading through the lines”

    1. Atypical_Scot says:

      Brilliant.

    2. Craig says:

      Excellent read for a rainy Saturday morning. 🙂 Thanks

    3. Stuart Black says:

      Brilliant, thanks James.

    4. Iain says:

      Great piece James, reflecting a journey I guess lots of us have taken. Thanks for telling our story.

    5. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      James, you should be retelling your story in person at YES meetings across Glasgow! Poignant, truthful and inspirational, which is what many labour voters in Scotland are longing to bring back to their politics. 
      This story can help so many of them along in their own personal journey to seeing that an independent Scotland will meet their aspirations, and is the only way they will be met!

    6. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ James – A thoughtful and insightful article.
       
      What happened between ‘spiking the Union Presidents guns‘ to ‘I came to the Independence cause late‘? I do believe there is another story there.

    7. christopher donohue says:

      I LIKED YOUR JOURNEY AS MANY OF US HAVE FOLLOWED SIMILAR PATHS TO YOUR OWN; GOOD LUCK§

    8. Colin mccartney says:

      Superbly written and inspiring.
      We have all arrived at this point in our lives from a multitude of backgrounds and beliefs, and it is to be celebrated that our love for our country and it’s true values has created such a talented and passionate community.

    9. Luigi says:

      Excellent – thank you for sharing, James.  Articles like these build hope that the current bunch of jokers will gradually fade away, and be replaced by Labour men and women of conviction and integrity, enabling a proper Labour party to rise again, in a future, independent Scotland.

    10. wee jamie says:

      Very well written piece, although I came to the independence option a bit sooner,i think the political history of the uk in general has led all inherently fair minded Scots to the same conclusions. Great to have such an eloquent and thoughtful person as yourself on board,and hopefully ,many more traditional labour voters and thinkers will follow in the ensuing 12 months.

    11. Famous15 says:

      When John Smith died the light of Scottish Labour dimmed but Scotland needs that light.The new generation of the SNP alone defends the workers in Scotland and they do not get the thanks they deserve but how much better would be the flow of ideas and policies if Labour could end its tribal hatred.It is not born out of regard for the workers but out of the sub conscious realisation that they let their personal greed and ambition fail the people. Guilt is a powerful and destructive emotion particularly when reality is suppressed.

    12. DougtheDug says:

      An excellent article James but the one thing I’ve never understood about Labour in Scotland is why they believe that a society which takes care of its sick, poor and unemployed and believes in free education and healthcare can only be realised within the Union.
       
      Can these aims not be achieved more easily in an independent Scotland?
       
      That is of course based on the idea that Labour in Scotland are still driven by those aims.

    13. Atypical_Scot says:

      @Famous 15;
       
      The SNP would be very much to the right of Labour IF Labour had any sense of the principles Smith stood for. Not all of the new gen of SNP stand up for the workers, as can be seen by the Grangemouth total defeat for unite, and the huge job losses on the Clyde in essence cajoling the corporate machine. I for one would appreciate a good spring clean of the SNP next year, getting rid of the centre right players. They are in conflict with the majority of the Scottish people. 

    14. Helena Brown says:

      Thank you James, I have always said I should be a Labour Supporter but having watched them work whether in the Council or Westminster long before we got our Parliament out of them, reluctant as it was, I can never be. It seems to me that Labour only fight for Party not the people they say they represent and it has gone too far with them and their tribal hatred of the SNP that are quite prepared to ditch them for the Party.

    15. Brian Powell says:

      Yet Labour seem to watching the crumbling of their voter base with detachment. Sometimes there is the entitlement response of abusing those have moved away from Labour.
       
      Perhaps it’s shellshock, or the low quality of Labour in Scotland.
       
      They only have until Sept 2014 to wake up. After that, if there is a No vote, then the Westminster Tory machine will start on them.
       
      As many here I also used to support Labour, but I won’t again in any circumstances.

    16. Albalha says:

      James excellent read, many thanks. We can do this if more and more people from your active political background arrive at the same place as you. The recent poll saying 42% of Glasgow voters are undecided says it all in my view.
       
      On the media and people buying their nonsense watching my elderly mother receive her YES paper yesterday (Birkhill/Muirhead area outside Dundee if anyone here delivered it), read it then say, “so why don’t the newspapers tell us these things?”
       
      Well quite.  

    17. themadmurph says:

      A great and inciteful article James.  Then again if you use the same nom de plume on CQN then I’m not surprised.  I’ve read many of your pieces and thoroughly enjoyed them.  Keep up the good work.  
      It is better to arrive late to the realisation that independence can give us the society we hope for, than not at all.  Unfortunately too for many of your tribal Labour ex-colleagues I fear that realisation may never come. I have friends in the same boat.

    18. Craig Watt says:

      This is a brilliant article.

      Well done James !
       
      Tweeted to all my followers .

    19. Adam Davidson says:

      “It bewilders me that serious people in the politics business most of their lives can screw up so badly.”

      This line sums up so much of my own thoughts. Why are so many experienced politicians in the Labour Party so insistent that Scotland is better as part of the UK? Darling, Murphy, Alexander, Lamont, Davidson, Sarwar etc are experienced in the ways of the world and understand the facts but make a decision to ignore the facts and present a dishonest view point.

      The perfect example of this is that an independent Scotland would not have been able to bail out the two Scottish banks at the start of the recession. Anyone with an ounce of knowledge knows that the bailout would have been shared based on the level of business carried out in each country. Otherwise why has the US treasury contributed more to the bailout than the UK government (a fact the UK media has done its best to ignore.)

      So the motley crew mentioned above know this fine well but make the conscious decision to present Scotland, their own country, as a basket case only fit for providing the cannon fodder for UK wars.

      This changes them from being people presenting an alternative view in a political debate to con merchants trying to trick us into protecting their gravy train. Despicable selfish low life’s willing to maintain poverty, food banks and homelessness so they continue their lives of privilege.

    20. Alba4Eva says:

      Really enjoyed reading about your story.  Thank you. 🙂

    21. Sandy Milne says:

      What an excellent article that reflects the journey of many in Scotland. The current seminal poison being perpetrated by the MSM is being seen through for what it is by thousands on a daily basis. Those same thousands have learnt to hold their tongues and let the ballot box do the talking.  

    22. Murray McCallum says:

      “I believe that people are inherently good. It’s the systems we build for ourselves that skew the perspective, that bend our good intentions out of shape, that make us less than what we should be.”
       
      Well said James.
       
      I am long sick of the Westminster false-choice politics. No room for better equality in the global economic environment – it’s one or the other; success or equality. Through striving for better equality you get labelled as risking economic failure. The opposite is actually closer to the economic truth. Both goals are not mutually exclusive. We need to remove Scotland from the vast UK sausage machine.
       
      The current Labour Party in Scotland can’t seem to see the people from the widgets.

    23. Edward says:

      An excellent piece and in a way reflective of my own ‘journey’

      I was never a Labour Activist, though would be ‘press ganged’ by my Father, who was Labour Election agent for EGF Stewart in 1970 and
      George Foulkes in October 1974. In both cases the candidate was defeated

      I’m also sure he was involved with the election of Robin Cook for councillor in Edinburgh in 1970 as I think the council ward was the same as the parliamentary constituency.

      Anyway through the 60’s and 70’s very much steeped in Labour. It was the old story, my Grandfather was a socialist and union official, father a Labour activist. So it was natural progression.

      Interestingly in recent discussions with my father before he died, revealed that he became disillusioned with the party towards the mid to late 70’s due to dirty tricks by so called political ‘colleagues’ when he was approached to be put up for nomination for a council seat. Funnily enough it was a very early version of Falkirk. He was told it was all a formality, the other nominee however had a lot of ‘friends and family’ join up ad swung the nomination. After that he had nothing further to do with the party.

      For me the turning point was just after the first Iraq war, when I realised we had all been played for fools by Teflon Tony and the ‘new Labour’ project. I know realise that Labour had been rotten for years before Blair took over. All Blair done was to take a rotten party and move it to the right to be electable in the Home Counties

    24. GrumpoMcchief says:

      Atypical_scot, surely the strength of the SNP is that they can encompass a wide range of political views .What we don’t need in an independent Scotland is more tribal infighting.

    25. Nation Libre says:

      Great article but I really don’t understand the continual lamenting over the Labour party.  People continually waiting for the Labour party to change back to their original values are just keeping them alive, making them believe that what they’re doing is right.  The Unions support in particular, is truly difficult to understand, especially in Scotland where they have a choice

      I just don’t understand people following a party instead of their principals, the Labour Party is no more, let it die.  The old values exist, they’re just with the SNP just now.  Stop lamenting over Labour and follow a party that promotes your values.  I am an SNP member because of the policies they persue, if that changes, I’ll change party, simple

    26. Angusman says:

      BT have far too much to lose in this referendum. Be prepared for the falsehoods and we won’t have any time lthhis eft or access to mainstream media – they have a complete monopoly over that. Labour used this teqnique in Dunfermline, BT will happily use it again. 

    27. Ian Sanderson says:

      Thank you James.

    28. David McCann says:

      Great article. I too knew John Smith and considered him a friend. When he died, socialism died with him to be replaced by the self serving apparatchiks in Holyrood and Westminster. Like you I found myself supporting the SNP, and long for the day-fast approaching when Scotland can show the way to a more just society.
      The SNP have made a start, and I am confident that they will continue the good work.
      We really are living in the early days of a better Scotland.

    29. Tîm Criced i Gymru says:

      @AmadeusMinkowski says:
      9 November, 2013 at 11:59 am

      James, you should be retelling your story in person at YES meetings… 
      Re-write that to read: NO meetings … articles like these and many others I’ve read are really uplifting to the ‘faithful, converted’. You all need to go to the Bust Together meetings to disrupt them with some home truths, I’d say! 

    30. Edward says:

      Here is a prediction, ok a wish list

      If Scotland votes YES next year I can see all the current London party’s in Holyrood imploding, with most if not all their
      front benches subjected to a complete clear out from within at the same time a restructuring of each which will see a complete break from London (would happen anyway) but it would also involve wholesale evolution of party names and structures.

      What their new names will be are anyone’s guess. We had a whiff of this when Murdo Fraser wanted to separate the Tories from London and have a new identity. The only mistake he made was that he was up against the established London set up which doesn’t want  to see any clear identification that Scotland is somehow different. So post-independence Murdo will get his wish and be able to dust down the ideas box from his attic.

      The Lib Dems will need to re-invent themselves more than most imagine, as they have been heavily damaged with their rather less than vibrant work. It’s hard to tell who would lead a ‘new’ Liberal party as there are only 5 MSP’s in residence at the moment and you can dismiss one completely (TS) and Rennie is still to stand up from the London shadows. At the end of the day they may just disappear or merge with another group of like minds.

      Labour will, I predict, have a night of the long knives with not many standing and most if not all the well kent faces disappearing. In its place will be those from Labour for Indy and others, perhaps from SSP, to take Labour or whatever you want to call it on a left leaning curve.

      SNP, ah SNP, it will be ‘job done’. They may stay as a ‘centre left’ party and form a coalition with the left leaning socialist labour party.
      As I said it’s a prediction come wish list. IF you think your busy blogging and commenting now, just wait until the real action starts after Scotland votes Yes   😉

    31. Juteman says:

      Nice article James.

      You mentioned reading between the lines, and seeing the real story.

      How about this version of current events? The mighty UK/England can’t be seen to be rejected by those ungrateful Jocks. They need to encourage the southern folk that it is their idea to chuck us out. Witness the Portsmouth folk on the tv, and the daily bile in the btl comments of southern papers.

      Westminster knows that indy is coming, and they are slowly changing the political narrative.

      When we vote YES, folk south of the border will be happy, as they actually chucked us out. The vote was only a side issue.

    32. balgayboy says:

      Great stuff James and well explained.
       
      When I was younger I used to argue with my father in law (he was a tory) about why he did not trust labour..I know different now BTW. 

      Got to be honest though and with no disrespect intended,  I am now only embracing the views of where we are going rather than retrospective views of where/how we have got to now.

      Independence is about the future and desire to improve from where we have come from.

      Vision and strength of will is the vital tenets in this coming year.

      Hopefully the people of Scotland will decide correctly.

    33. No matter what Labour do in the future, irrespective of the Referendum result, I will never ever vote for them again!

    34. Scaraben says:

      @Atypical_Scot
      Not all of the new gen of SNP stand up for the workers, as can be seen by the Grangemouth total defeat for unite, and the huge job losses on the Clyde in essence cajoling the corporate machine.
       
      What more do you think that the SNP or the Scottish Government could have done to protect the workers at Grangemouth and on the Clyde, given the limited powers that the Scottish Parliament currently has?
       
      I for one would appreciate a good spring clean of the SNP next year, getting rid of the centre right players.
       
      I suspect that, if independence is achieved, over the next few years, some of the people on the fringes of the SNP who currently support the party primarily because they want independence will move to a different party. It may be that it will mostly be relatively right-wing people who leave, letting the SNP shift to the left, or it may be the opposite. This may be offset by people who like the SNP’s policies, except for independence, coming to support the SNP once independence is a done deal and they have accepted this. What you seem to want is some kind of political purge, which would badly damage or even destroy the SNP, rather than a gradual, peaceful evolution.

    35. Forgot to say, great article.

    36. tartanfever says:

      Interesting article James, many thanks.
       
      You describe well how politics becomes so entrenched into society. Those roots dig deep into communities and are hard to break.
       
      Virtually all Labour supporters still believe they are the party of the working class – and every single one of their activists – from the party leader through the unions to the branch member handing out leaflets will happily repeat that self-delusion ’til the cows come home.
      It’s going to take years, if not decades to break that core myth, and it’s my greatest fear about independence. If we elect a Labour government in an independent Scotland in 2016, with the likes of Davidson, Curran and Sarwar and co. in power then Lord help us.
       
      I’d rather have the Tories believe it or not. The Tory party is like a Murdoch publication, you know what to expect. You buy it with full knowledge that it’s going to be skewed and not to trust much within it’s pages. You also know that sooner or later the veil will be lifted and public opinion will counter their propaganda. 
       
      The Labour Party however, are like the BBC – it’s all historical claims of impartiality, serious journalism, morals and ethics which is nothing more than a smokescreen. They have a captive audience and state funding with virtually no public scrutiny. They are also self-delusional. It’s this form of corruption thats so instilled that is the greatest threat.
       
      With that in mind, my way of thinking is that the Labour house is to ruinous to save. The rot has worked it’s way into every pore and there is absolutely nothing worth saving.
       
      It’s time to demolish it once and for all and start again.

    37. creigs1707repeal says:

      Excellent James. Completely empathise with your journey.

      Rev – I hope you are collating all these personal journeys published on WoS into an online publication for undecideds out there. ‘Journey to YES’ has a good ring to it. These are the stories that will help to inspire undecided people and to bring them to realise that a YES vote is the ONLY way we can achieve the progressive, fair, social democratic society the majority of us wish to see.

    38. Vambomarbeleye says:

      Aye! Labour. The rotting corpse at the table. Hasen’t the decency to fall down.

    39. Marcia says:

      An interesting read. The comments by Henry McCleish about the media are so very true to this day. Sadly not many people (throughout the world) do critical thinking. It seem that the Yes newspaper is making people think. 

      Criegs – that is a good idea.

    40. Murray McCallum says:

      I personally don’t buy into the “left” is good “right” is bad way of thinking.  Seems to me that both, when it comes to the crunch, have a history of treating people like machine components rather than human beings.

    41. Dorothy Devine says:

      Good to read Mr Forrest!

    42. balgayboy says:

       
      Atypical_Scot says:@12.22
      Christ..here’s me thinking that this website’s main purpose was about achieving Independence for Scotland and you come along with this nonsense and try to politically dismember the only political party in Scotland that has the principle/purpose to achieve this aim.
      Where are you coming from my friend?

    43. wee jamie says:

      I think that after independence , the SNP should be the party we return in the first Scottish election, after all they will be the only one with governmental experience , have done scotland proud in the 2 terms they have had, and should be allowed to finish what they started in terms of negotiating the terms of the settlement with England, this will also give the other parties the time to rebuild themselves from the ashes of the unionist cause, the most important thing is that the people feel their voices are being heard, and it may be a bit too soon for some to credibly  switch from better together to scottish together.
       

    44. Robert Kerr says:

      Well done James.
       
      Perhaps you could attempt to explain the hatred SLAB have for the SNP.
       
      An understanding would be helpful.

    45. David Smith says:

      “When we vote YES, folk south of the border will be happy, as they actually chucked us out. The vote was only a side issue.”
      Indeed, Juteman. They can then ponder at leisure whilst Scotland strides purposefully into the future.

    46. Atypical_Scot says:

      @Scaraben;
       
      The destruction of the SNP is not my desire – far from it. What we have witnessed this last month is the wanton destruction of Scottish (and English) manufacturing by extremely cunning capitalists. What I have not seen however, is the SNP stand up and call foul the inhumane nature of big business. 
       
      There are many, very admirable policies and people in the SNP, but that does not mean we should be deprived of domestic employment just because ‘X LTD’ sees more profit in low paid labour in other countries. 
       
      The article above talks of Scottish socialist sensibility, and I think that the SNP could, being social democrats, put the emphasis on socialism instead of capitalism and big business because that is exactly what we’re all saying is wrong with Labour.
       
      I point you to the Yes coalition – the SNP, the SSP and the Scottish Greens. What a formidable collection – if they all could work together – which they can’t if the biggest party backs the likes of Ineos, BAE and privatization. 

    47. Albalha says:

      Listening to Any Answers on R4, Scotland’s politics pretty much airbrushed out so far.
       
      The current caller has just said that Scotland has its own ‘assembly’ (like Wales), unchallenged of course.
       
      Still on R Brand on his call not to vote.

    48. Atypical_Scot says:

      @balgayboy;
       
      Coming from the same place as usual. I hate this British/Western acceptance of corporate power. The last thing I want in an independent Scotland is more of the same pandering to those who do most damage to the people. The biggest best chance to reform the inequality and address the real issues behind the disparity of the wealth gap and who runs this country – is it to be those who are voted for? Or is it those own our productivity? 
       

    49. Albalha says:

      On AA’s ….Oh well a 16 year old in England says basically, when asked about the referendum vote being reduced to 16, says that it’s Salmond playing the patriotism, nationalist card to encourage them to vote YES. Unchallenged again of course.
       
      How anyone one listening to this can’t see that we’re clearly already seen as foreign, well.

    50. Albalha says:

      AA’s still – English man in Stonehaven says we’ll have borders and passport control come independence but anyway he can’t pronounce Schengen, twit.
       
      Not sure if any YES people called in but not a one yet.

    51. Atypical_Scot says:

      @balgayboy;
       
       thought u were a fellow traveller, but obviously not
       
      Non sequitur. I thought this site, and it’s readership soared above Scottish politics, obviously not everyone. 
       
      only embracing the views of where we are going rather than retrospective views of where/how we have got to now.
       
      Bullshit you narrow minded ignoramus.

    52. Jimsie says:

      A good piece James. I am interested in your take on Glasgow football supporters but you do not explain their attitudes to independence for Scotland. I understand why most Rangers supporters are hostile to independence………they sing about being born under a union jack and see independence ( in their narrow minded bigoted way as a threat to their ” culture” and religion ( although I doubt if many of them darken the door of a church). I am however totally baffled by some of the Celtic support who are known to align themselves with Irish republicanism yet to a man and woman vote Labour, a party which is avowed to maintain the British state. As for Labour, everyone finds them out sooner or later….. they went to the right with Callaghans government ( which the SNP were forced to pull the rug from under) and they have been getting more progressively right ever since as socialism is a bad word in middle England.

    53. Doug says:

      O/T – got angry reading this. Apparently, murder is justifiable if you are working under extreme stress.  The law of armed conflict means nothing. What was wrong was the prosecution and conviction of Marine A, not his murder of an unarmed, severely wounded prisoner.

      http://archive.is/6hwId

    54. farrochie says:

      Anyone who needs further evidence of the meaningless contribution of the Independence debate should read Kate Devlin in today’s Herald. I rarely read an article twice, but I made an exception in this case, having got to the end thinking “What the fuck was that about?” Ms Devlin, UK Political Correspondent, is supposedly giving us insights into the “Pro-Unionists” and how they are attempting to “control” the debate. The White Paper “looms” – like this is a disaster scenario, is it?

      Kate tells us the Coalition are going to focus on the consequences of independence. Well, who’d a thunk it? On the other hand the UK Govt think the SG will more and more emphasise the emotional appeal of independence; don’t think so, Kate, we’ll focus on the facts and we’ll counter the misinformation.

      She follows up with insights such as: “Pro-Union parties are pleased support for independence appears relatively stable, but relative stability brings its own dangers”. Oh, and the UK Govt are keen to keep swings towards Yes in the polls to a minimum. 

      We can do without such slop in this debate.

    55. Jingly Jangly says:

      Doug,
      Whilst Im not trying to condone what Marine A did, I think I heard that he completed seven tours of Afganistan  If that was indeed the case then what are we doing putting solders in almost continuous combat for ten years. Their heads must be screwed.

      Marine A is as much a victim as the guy he murdered.

    56. Juteman says:

      @Doug.
      Walk a mile in another mans shoes……

    57. tartanfever says:

      Back to Radio 4’s ‘Any Answers’. Surprised no-one has mentioned the caller from Glasgow who claims, not once but twice, that the Scottish separation referendum was initiated by David Cameron on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show last January.
       
      Even the presenter was confused and in a helpful tone tried to iron out the misunderstanding.
       
      Now, are you talking about the referendum on Scottish Independence which the country voted for or the UK/EU referendum which David Cameron announced to be held in 2017?’
       
      The caller then repeats:
       
      ‘I’m talking about the referendum on Scottish separation initiated by David Cameron on the Andrew Marr Show last January’ 
       
      Simply priceless, the presenter was stunned into silence and really couldn’t get away from the call quick enough.

    58. tartanfever says:

      Caesar!lha @ 2.29pm
       
      I heard that guy, he just set off on a rant while the presenter was desperately trying to slow him down. As you say he kept saying ‘Sche-len-gen’ instead of ‘Schengen’, and said it at least 3 times.
       
      Absolutely hilarious, the producers and phone operator in the BBC Radio studio must be looking through the glass at the presenter laughing their heads off at the complete and utter pillocks that phone in.

    59. Albalha says:

      @tartanfever
      For myself I decided not to list every caller thought three was enough from me.

      To be frank JW didn’t do anything to challenge the more silly etc.

    60. Andy-B says:

      Great piece James, welcome to the fold.
       
      Pre-independence the press are definitely working against the best interests of the Scottish people, how these folk sleep at night I don’t know.
       
      You hit it right on the head with the “Churnilism” quote.
       
      We must hope that after independece is gained (and it will be) that SLAB and the Scottish press, will, find their moral compass once again.
      Till then as you say don’t believe the half of it.

    61. edulis says:

      #Caesar!ha 2.19 pm
      You are referring to the ubiqitous Kevin Hutchens. This guy must have contacts within the BBC. He gets onto call-in programmes left right and centre. He is a Labour Party PPC and Union guy so his punting of the fanciful borders issue is only to be expected. The thing is he never seems to engage his brain with the real world. It is just more of the same – trying to score political points.

    62. Andrew Morton says:

      James,
       
      Can I say as a friend that I thought your piece was superb and gave a great insight into the journey that so many of our fellow Scots made in coming over from Scottish Labour. I came by a different route, my family having all been in teaching and clerical jobs. I was never quite sure how my parents voted but I suspect that they were of the centre right most of the time. My mother however, instilled in me a sense of my heritage and Scottishness (although she was brought up in Essex).
       
      I was inspired by Winnie Ewing’s victory in Hamilton in 1967 and supported the SNP from then on. When I married, my father in law who was retired, had in his younger days been a skilled worker in John Brown’s shipyard, and although not an Orangeman in any way, still had some of the prejudices which had rubbed off on him in the yard. His political hero was Willie Ross, whom I would have described as my political villain! Needless to say we had many arguments and it would be correct to say that he regarded my political views with contempt and saw himself as British and Unionist.
       
      To a large extent he was living in the past and I watched him struggle to reconcile some of Labour’s actions with his beliefs. Towards the end of his life he would still view the SNP with the same contempt but, paradoxically, some of comments began to resemble that party’s views more and more closely. I think that he was reluctant to let go of his old loyalties and felt that to admit that the Labour Party had changed beyond recognition would leave a terrible hole in his life.
       
      I guess that many Labour voters know in the hearts that voting Yes is the right answer but feel that it would be a betrayal of their and their parents’ beliefs.
       

    63. Doug says:

      Juteman, jinglyjangly.
       
      I understand your perspective and as an old RAMC man,  know exactly the horrors he would have faced. My beef is more with the reporting of the Mail and the implication that soldiers should be beyond criticism because they are brave(an argument of jingoism rather than a fair account of the psychological effects of conflict)
       
      War does horrid things to a person’s mind and I can understand if he snapped. But murder is inexcusable nonetheless.

    64. Aidan says:

      Great article, James.
       
      The main difference between Labour and the Torys is that the Torys do exactly what they stand for and what they believe in.  Labour now do what the Torys do, while presenting themselves as standing for and believing in something else. Their guilty consciences are all that remain of their Party’s previous ideology and social purpose.
       
      The push for Scottish Independence is coming from parties that are considered left-of-centre within the United Kingdom.  Come Independence, centre-right New Labour (or One Nation Labour, or whatever else they brand it) will almost certainly collapse and go the way of the Tories in Scotland. This tells me that a Scotland with all of its own money and in full command of its powers will not merely be left-of-centre.  The new Scottish political CENTRE will then be ENTIRELY on the left, mandating the rise of a completely different balance of opposition that will better reflect the needs and political inclinations of the Scottish people.  I give you: the Common Weal.

    65. Albalha says:

      @edulis, interesting, (think you mean the 2.29pm post), you’d think he’d know how to pronounce Schengen! All round it was a sadly predictable reaction to AQ’s. They truly just don’t get it at R4, most of the time, Scotland is clearly alien territory to some.

    66. Jingly Jangly says:

      Doug
      I agree entirely it amazes me how the Taliban only to target our heroes and not the normal squaddie

    67. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Marine A is as much a victim as the guy he murdered.”

      No he’s not. He’s still alive, for a start.

      It’s a tough assignment, but you could make some sort of case that he’s a victim, even though he’s in the army of his own free will. But to say he’s AS MUCH of a victim as the defenceless man he murdered in cold blood is just daft.

    68. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Note: I’ve deleted several comments in this thread for a mixture of unwarranted personal abuse and FUCKING CITE TAGS. Behave yourselves.

      (Balgayboy: everything you post is going to keep getting deleted if you don’t stop copying in sodding timestamps. Go and read the About page – Rule 6 – if you don’t know what I mean.)

    69. Juteman says:

      No problem Doug.
      You really need to be there to understand the emotions involved.
      I’ll differ from the Rev on this point, as I’ve been there.

    70. Jingly Jangly says:

      Rev
      They are both victims of American/British Imperialism.

    71. Juteman says:

      A man is kicking the shit out of your mother, then he suddenly stops and says ‘sorry’.
      You are in mid punch.

    72. gedboy says:

      o?t sorry rev 
      rev have you had a look at  A************* site lately
      you are todays subject 
      sorry if you have seen it

    73. wee jamie says:

      Lets be honest, when anyone joins the marine commandos, they are turned into a killing machine, then sent abroad to kill people, why then is anyone surprised when they do just that ? I am more concerned about the people who start the wars and the motivation which leads them to create marine A, B, OR C.

    74. DanTDog says:

      Thanks for a valuable contribution, James…welcome aboard…

    75. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “rev have you had a look at A************* site lately
      you are todays subject “

      As far as I can gather I’m the subject most days. I don’t bother looking.

    76. Juteman says:

      A site?

    77. Stuart Black says:

      Off topic as usual, but seriously, if there is a bigger hypocrite than George ‘Just say Naw’ Galloway on this entire planet, I will eat my hat, and I don’t even have a hat.
       
      Please check this out…
       
      http://theveiledsun.blogspot.no/

    78. Andrew Morton says:

      Who is A**************?

    79. Andrew McAndrew says:

      Robert Kerr: The SNP are now the party Labour should have been but since the Blair and Brown years they’ve taken their eye off the ball and allowed a weak and talentless membership to prevail through lazy politics. They’ve bred guys like Danny Gibson to see the SNP as the enemy whereas the truth is they’re full of self loathing living a bitter existence as their own political wilderness looms closer. But how did guys like Danny develop such a hatred for the SNP you might ask? Not at University – education is intended to broaden the mind, not narrow it. So it’s a simple answer – it was indoctrinated into him from a young age by his elders. You see at the time he and many others grew up the SNP was a bit part player politically – a bit of a joke to some, not to be taken seriously by others. Laughter and derision ensued whenever their name was mentioned – the SNP could never amount to anything, surely not? So Danny’s peers did what all blinded individuals do, they mocked and dismissed the SNP as a non-entity and bullied anyone else who dared announce their support for them. In short they put all their eggs in one Labour basket. Now Labour is less basket, more basket-case.
       
      Danny Gibson is now a councillor at Stirling Council, one of the new bunch of SLAB inbreds elected at the last election. I sense a bit of sadness, though, in the article writer as he watches his old University pal drifting into a political chasm which he is helpless to avoid. The resulting bitterness is evident as various sources tell me that Danny Gibson is hated by most of his own party members, despised by his community councils and has even managed to piss off his own voters. It was he who constructed the ill fated ‘Ban The Saltire’ motion which was defeated after party big wigs had to have a ‘word in his ear’. Not only has he failed to impress SLAB bosses but he’s also now on Better Together’s radar as the problem child. But one has to only examine his behaviour in the Council Chambers to see another odious side to this man of straw. A friend of mine once watched him rip up the SNP manifesto in front of SNP councillors grinning inanely as he did so. His childish antics impressed no one. His political career’s end game was written from that point on. Come independence I hope Labour seize the opportunity to have a massive clear-out starting with guys like Danny Gibson – maybe then they can start the rebuilding of their party to challenge the SNP crown? If it’s not too late, that is?

    80. Stuart Black says:

      The Rev’s mad stalker, you really don’t want to know, seriously…

    81. Morag says:

      Never mind.  You really don’t want to know.

    82. Juteman says:

      I was on the GMC of the Labour party in Dundee at the same time as boy George.

      Many local Labour Social Clubs were built at that time in every housing scheme, using public money. They all folded after Dode left for new horizons.

      There was a half hearted attempt to find out where all the money went.

      A future project for a truth journalist?

    83. clare maitland says:

      James, Head was nodding along to every sentence. Brilliant

    84. Scaraben says:

      @Atypical_Scot
      I hate this British/Western acceptance of corporate power. The last thing I want in an independent Scotland is more of the same pandering to those who do most damage to the people.
       
      I agree with your first sentence above. Ideally, the power of the multinational corporations and the multi-billionaires behind companies such as Ineos should be curbed; some are downright evil and others are little better. However, the Scottish Government’s first responsibility is to the people of Scotland. Picking a fight with Ineos or BAe would almost certainly cost Scotland jobs and damage the Scottish economy, which in turn would reduce the chances of achieving independence. The Scottish Government simply does not yet have the powers which would be necessary to have any chance of winning such a fight.
       
      Idealism is great in some ways, but governments which put ideology above pragmatism tend to turn their countries into disaster areas and/or dictatorships. Governments should have principles, but they also need to be realistic about what they can do, and sometimes they have no sensible choice but to get out their long spoon and sup with the Devil.

    85. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Andrew Morton-
       
      You’ll find the name via the Tweeter feed.

    86. Stuart Black says:

      What Scaraben said, sometimes you have to swallow hard and get on with it.
       
      Things will change, but not until after we have the powers that most other countries perceive as the normal state of affairs. I look forward to it; it is long overdue that these bullies and greed merchants get their arses handed to them, but for now, softly, softly…

    87. annie says:

      Enjoyable read, that’s the second time this week John Smith’s death has come up. A young woman that I don’t normally work with said for her, his death was the death of the labour party in Scotland.  She also said both she and her husband, ex army, would be voting yes.  I am getting better at sounding people out.

    88. Brian Mark says:

      Very good article, the Labour machine is all about providing middle class university graduates with a career and a nice big fat salary with added expenses

    89. Stuart Black says:

       I am getting better at sounding people out.
       
      Gaun yersel’ Annie! 😉
       
      I visited John Smith’s grave on Iona once, a peaceful place, and a tragic loss to the people who supported the Labour party – including myself – at that time. His untimely death condemned us to the nightmare that was Tony Blair, a name that makes me want to spit at the thought of.
       
      Keep on sounding out!

    90. southernscot says:

      A good Read James
       
      Thanks

    91. Alba4Eva says:

      I have to agree with you Nation Libre… I support principles rather than a party name.  I am also an SNP member, but the SNP have to continually earn my confidence and reflect my principles, or i’ll go elsewhere.  Labour as a Scialist, Left of centre party died when Blair sold them out. They are a big-business, capitalist right of centre party now, much like the Lib-Dems & not far from the Tory’s… old dead Labour are not ever coming back.

    92. Atypical_Scot says:

      Apologies everyone for the earlier insulting comment.
       
      @Scaraben;
       
      After a good walk with dogs, and much calmer. From the article above;
       
      To be outflanked on the right by the Lib Dems is no great shock. To be outflanked on the left by the SNP is utterly inexcusable,
       
      This article cuts deeper into the truth of what Scotland has lost from Labour’s departure from its principles, and where there is now a void. (save the SSP, but in big party terms) 

      Call it idealism if you want, in my mind that is symptomatic of the destruction of solidarity since Thatcher. There is no time like the present for the people of Scotland to help the SNP reflect the peoples will.

    93. Scaraben says:

      There are only a few news items from years ago which I can clearly remember where and how heard them. John Smith’s death is one of them. I had been hill-walking, and got back to my car at the end of the Loch Arkaig road, and turned on the radio. My instinct then was that this was bad news, beyond the sense that the death of anyone who is not a villain is bad news.

    94. Faltdubh says:

      I believe Glasgow will vote yes come next year. Lots of socialist, old Labour supporters will back indy along with other types too.
       
      Just hope that rest of Scotland will follow suit.
       
      Fantastic article and hopefully you get back to the form of the last year on the park too.

    95. tartanfever says:

      Just picking up on earlier discussions about ‘Big Business vs Governments’.
       
      Realistically no one country is going to be able to affect any change in multi-nationals owning and running all their industries. That’s water well under the bridge.

      For the past 40 years we have seen a rise in cross-border and global trade, put into place by legislation from the UK, USA, France, Germany, the EU, Japan and just about every other industrialised country you care to mention.

      Unfortunately, in doing so, the whole world forgot to balance this out by having a multi-national, cross border agreements that would see fair taxes being paid in each country of operation and a social responsibility clause that would defend workforces from the worst excesses of capitalism.
       
      Until this international body is set up, no single state will have the power to hold these companies to account. That is what we should be aiming for. Until that happens, companies like Boots will still be able to shift their headquarters to Luxembourg to evade UK taxes.
       
      To expect the SNP, the Government of a small European entity to stand up and do this in the midst of an independence referendum is, frankly, insane.

    96. November13 says:

      I came to independence.He very young.I always had a problem with being defined as British.I just felt Scottish from the age of reason 9 years old. It was simplicity itself that we should run our own country.Anyone who has a problem with being patriotic or democracy really needs to ‘reevaluate their values and understanding of what makes a human being.We are all free to make choices based on our beliefs as long as it is fair and democratic.There is not one nation that is better than any other.All we want in Scotland is equality.For me it’s about pride and love of my nation not hatred of another.The thought police in better together wish to brainwash the masses into believing in what they allegedly believe.It’s a shallow argument they present ,based on money,self preservation and self loathing.

    97. @ScotsVote says:

      Well said James, well said. I sincerely hope your justified and unquestioned faith in the people of Scotland holds true. I have to say that I agree with your sentiments that in the media at large there are simply too many vested interests attempting to push their agenda. Open and honest the debate it is not, unfortunately, but with so much at stake for both sides I fear the day BT start to get really worried and, well who knows what they could do. Anyway, I feel, in my heart we will win this, losing simply doesn’t bear thinking about.  I am having conversations with those I feel confident discussing the situation with, seeking out those that may be swayed by my arguments, ones I would never put across forcefully but that I have confidence in that are correct and I always try to challenge any of the too wee, too poor, too stupid ideas that may have taken root. That is the salvation, the hope and possibilities of a Yes Vote, how many people on this earth would give for even a glimmer of a chance of being able to vote in this way? I can’t wait for the Yes result to be declared, it will be emotional.

    98. Seanair says:

      Juteman
      As you know there are so many stories about GG but he scares people off with the threat of litigation so the stories remain whispered rather than exposed.

      Now he’s pushing the idea that the SNP are anti-Catholic, but not reminding the public that he was chastised from Catholic pulpits for his views. Absolute hypocrite.

    99. Scaraben says:

      @Atypical_Scot
      There is no time like the present for the people of Scotland to help the SNP reflect the peoples will. 
       
      Reflecting the people’s will is the essence of democracy. A party should do this, but a party with ideals will also seek to to guide the people’s will, a perfectly legitimate goal as long as it is honestly done, with reason and persuasion.
       
      Independence will provide the opportunity for a written constitution, something which seems to be beyond reach for the UK, and a proper constitution could enable greater democracy; perhaps we could have more decisions taken by the electorate through referendums, for example. If the will of the people is then that certain key industries should be taken into public ownership, so the country is not held to ransom by a few capitalists, then this will likely happen – and I, for one, hope that it does.

    100. Atypical_Scot says:

      @Scaraben;
       
      Brilliant. Me too. The SNP have/are doing a brilliant job. Looking forward to real change, hat off to the SNP.

    101. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Juteman at 5.08
      I heard lots of stories about George and two other Labour MPs regarding collapsing Labour Clubs. As my young brother had told me a lot about George I was not surprised at all

    102. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Faltdubh at 6.31
      We need a huge demonstration in Glasgow and we will get Glasgow

    103. edulis says:

      I have never understood the neo-liberal capitalist lurch of the Labour Party. Looking back, it must result from the Maggie Thatcher doctrine of freeing up the City of London to the Loadsamoney brigade, obsequiously supported by Paul Dacre and the Barclay Bros in the right wing press. The Labour Party just fell in behind the City because it was making money but had they looked at Will Hutton’s critique of Thatcherism, which identified the stupidity of running the economy on property, even though it made people feel good, they would have made a case for a complete change of direction – political cowards. Instead, they scared themselves into believing that they had to keep the tabloids on board and keep the feel-good factor going.

      Why don’t governments in western economies with a few exceptions seek to run those economies with 51% equity in strategic industries? I am left wing but not rabidly so, but it seems to me that Norway’s approach to oil exploitation – a 51% stake in Statoil gives them a double bang for their bucks. Not only do they get taxes and direct revenues but it means that the whole industry is underpinned by long term planning and I dare say the fact that they have 42 shipyards and we have them in single figures might have something to do with this more interventionist approach. But the liberal capitalists don’t seem to be satisfied with 49% so we lose contol.

      Having a situation where three of the big six energy companies are owned and contolled by overseas interests is madness in anybody’s eyes.

    104. X_Sticks says:

      tartanfever says:
      Realistically no one country is going to be able to affect any change in multi-nationals owning and running all their industries.”
      That’s true tartanfever, but it doesn’t stop a country which can make it’s own decisions setting rules for those multi-nationals operating and trading within it’s jurisdiction. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat. 🙂

    105. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The money men in London who run the country and have the  UK Government under their control have no real interest in fixing the UK economy. They make money from production based on lower costs and wages everywhere else. Only an enlightened government in control of an economy can move us to a high wage, high production, high tax,high social provision regime.  

    106. mealer says:

      I have never been a socialist,but have always believed in free education for all and free health care for all.Nowadays these principles put me way to the left of Labour.

    107. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

      Evil capitalist bastards, but how does a government, any western government achieve a degree of fiscal autonomy in the global market place and with it the ability to manage their own economy.

      The UK cannot do this, the UK economy is reliant upon financial services and arms exports, in return we get our essential stuff from Germany, The US, China. The UK is completely interdependent and tied to globalisation.

      The only way to break free from the fiscal blockade is to first achieve greater self reliance in resources; manufacturing, food production, and energy. If we have these things then we can organise our economy to provide decent incomes and a just social contract.

      The City of London dominated UK is determined to to follow its US master and is destroying what remains of the social infrastructure, and is pressing for even greater greater powers for corporations. There is no political will in Westminster to challenge this, it is the trough, kept in place by a divided people, those who have valuable property portfolios, those who are poor and disenfranchised by Labours deceit. There will never be change in the UK as long as some can live high on the hog from the products of its economic colonialism.

      This to me is one of the main reasons we must have self determination, and we must give our future government a mandate to build a sane economy, in the meantime we need to keep our skilled workers working, we need to protect our social infrastructure, and prevent resources like water being sold off. For these reasons I support the SNP in what it is doing.

      We need to instill in our fellow Scots the self confidence that they need to go forward or we will exist forever in the privatised totalitarian hell that is the future of Britain together.

    108. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Mealer-
       
      ‘I have never been a socialist, but have always believed in free education for all and free health care for all.’
       
      Er, sorry, but that does sort-of mean that you have always been, wittingly or not, a socialist.

    109. The Flamster says:

      Brilliant read James and I have now bought your two books for my Kindle.

    110. Bill C says:

      An excellent article James, as a socialist and SNP member for over 40 years it pleases me enormously that fellow socialists are recognising that there can never be social justice within the union. As the great John McLean said just over 100 years ago “To tackle Scotland’s social problems, we need all of the powers that come with independence”.

    111. ianbeag says:

      Brilliant piece and thanks for sharing your inspirational and eventful journey. If only YES could find a way to distribute yours and similar stories into the hearts and minds of the wider Labour and trade unionists ranks our job would be eased and shortened. Hope you continue to use your persuasive powers on Henry McLeish!

    112. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Bill C
      St Andrews day this year is the 90th anniversary of the premature death of John McLean.  

    113. ronnie anderson says:

      Juteman ,Ah wiz living in Lochee stewart st at that time, I had some friends fae the Craigy n linlathin on manys the time the Lab councilors were in the the clubby it wiz drinks all round fur free then the Till wiz emptied  the first time I saw that I thought is was the Dundee Mafia in a sense ah wiz rite the guys ah wiz wi put me rite an they were Lab supporters when the clubby went tits up G G/Watson / Mc long gone G G wid hiv been strung up then he,s a brave man when he,s goat witnesses na say brave withoot them ach hud own a mow G G I ll be scanin W O S   WULL YOU BE SENDIN SOME O YER LEGAL DIMWITTED LAWYERS ROON G G the REVs no be applying the Data Protection on my BEHALF git that REV  A*******S like G G should be Rolled doon the Hilltoon in aTarry Barral  the guys doon at Tarmac wi hiv gied as much as wis needed ( noo ah stopped short ah mentioning Boxes a Matches ( if ye hud a lighter in Dundee in the 70s ye must ha been oon a day trip fae Perth ) sos Juteman a CAIRDIES JOKE

    114. Faltdubh says:

      Agree Dave MacEwen-Hill, I hope we have a similar rally to the one in Embra in Glaschu.
       

    115. ronnie anderson says:

      aTYPICAL_SCOT, Ah hud in mind when ah goat tae the bottom of the comments but you ,ve man ed up ah kin put the TWAS back lol awe fek it pit yer haun oot am only gin ye wan ( nae pain nae gain ) nae mair throwin yer slate in class

    116. ronnie anderson says:

      Dave Mc Ewan Hill, champin at the bit ( kin ye wait tae ah hiv ma operation ah missed oot own the Emburra rally) BBC Daily Record ah must PASS BY I have been saying this for months ah put a long post up on YES SCOT on Thurs MODERATOR BLANKED IT M S M need a wake up call fae GRASSROOTS SUPPORTERS maybe then the JOURNALISTS // PRESENTERS will feel EMPOWERED to IGNORE THEIR UNIONS / UNIONS MANAGEMENT  (  LABOUR PARTY ) did somebody no get their ain way at WHOPPING UNIONS put in a box

    117. ronnie anderson says:

      SoS, ah lost track of the main contributor to this debate,Weil done Sir I look forward to more of you writings ( S N P news paper would be a good place for these kind of life stories Well done JAMES

    118. Bill C says:

      Thanks Dave, in my opinion John McLean was murdered by the British State. I wonder how many Scots know the true story of one of Scotland’s greatest sons?

    119. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Very few, Bill

    120. Bill C says:

      Unfortunately, so true Dave.

    121. X_Sticks says:

      For those that haven’t come across John McLean before:
       
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Maclean_(Scottish_socialist)
       
      I wonder what he would say now?

    122. Marker Post says:

      Great read, thank you. The important thing for me is that we’re now seeing lots of Labour voters coming across. The polls will start turning soon, if they haven’t already.

    123. john king says:

      juteman says

      @Doug.Walk a mile in another mans shoes……

      As much as it pains me to say it
      I agree  

    124. gordoz says:

      @ Dave McEwan Hill : Glasgow George Sq Meet (Unofficial)
       
      Lets get it done – unofficial meeting of YES people in George square – police moving us on (no TV media of course). Why not have it ‘wings organised’ all we need is a Saturday date near St Andrews day. Unofficial meet up (Organised via Wings & unofficial YES supporters ?)

    125. Jock Mcdonnell says:

      Many of us have made the journey from labour, i did, over 25 years ago. In my case I realised that I had no idea why I was voting Labour, it isn’t enough to just blame the tories, you need to offer an alternative.

    126. Albert Herring says:

      The polls will start turning soon, if they haven’t already.
       
      Not sure about that. The polls are a big part of the propaganda IMO.

    127. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Gordoz
      Weneed something bigger and well organised . Remember the marches against broadcasting bias through the middle of Glasgow. Media coverage – nil.

    128. lumilumi says:

      Excellent read, James, many thanks!
       
      Also many thanks to all the commenters, so many interesting thoughts and ideas. It’s bubbling under and buzzing! I’m just trying to catch up with WoS after spending the weekend with my parents.
       
      Incidentally, on Saturady night, after a relaxing sauna, we chatted away over a couple of drinks. Going over the latest furore in Finnish current affairs and touching on politics/society more in general. My dad said the leftist parties haven’t realised that the world has changed since early 20th century and are living in the past.
       
      I said: “Or moved to the right.” I cited the UK Labour party as a prime example, and my dad had to agree with that. Even the Finnish Social Democratic party has inched rightwards in the past 20 years or so.
       
      It’s my pet theory that any socialist/left wing party (or trade union!) sows the seeds of its own destruction when it lifts enough of its supporters out of poverty. Because then the supporters want to vote for less-lefty policies to protect what they have achieved.
       
      That’s why right-wing parties are inherently more stable. They have a strong base, vested interests, and newly affluent (or aspiring) coming into the fold. The lefty parties have a choice: try to hang on to the voters they lifted out of poverty or try to work for those still poor.
       
      Well, we know which path the UK Labour chose.
       
      The only thing that keeps us from descending back into Victorian times or worse is a social contract. The citizens of a sovereign country tacitly agree that the state exists to help all its citizens, even if it means that the better off and the elite have to shoulder a heavier burden for the common good.
       
      This social contract is long gone in the US, badly broken in the UK, and, sadly, creaking at the seams even in Finland.
       
      My parents and I didn’t dwell on the subject as we don’t really talk politics. I have no idea who my parents vote for, except never for our main right-wing party Kokoomus – which is quite left of UK Labour! Our political landscape and culture is very different, anyway, because a fully PR system. 3-4 major parties, 3-4 medium-sized parties and a smattering of smaller parties in every Parliament, All our governments are coalitions – and we view that as a good thing!

    129. Macart says:

      Very, very well penned Mr Forrest. (tips bunnet) 🙂



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