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The arithmetic of aspiration

Posted on June 21, 2015 by

We watched the Labour leadership hustings this week with interest. The most striking aspect in our eyes was the warm reception afforded by the audience to left-wing outsider Jeremy Corbyn, who’s been almost uniformly discounted, sneered at and worse by the commentariat (with the notable exception of the Guardian’s Owen Jones) as a suicidal option fit only for a return to the days of the Militant Tendency.


The main reason cited by pundits for dismissing Corbyn out of hand is a perceived failure to speak to “aspiration”, which seems to have been defined for the purposes of the argument as “poor people who want to become Tories”.

The thinking runs that the unemployed and low-paid don’t want to be that way forever (reasonably enough), and that therefore there’s no point in Labour trying to redistribute wealth downwards, because nobody wants to see themselves as still being poor in the future, so they won’t see any benefit from it.

There are all manner of things morally and ideologically wrong with that approach, but they’re pretty obvious so we won’t bother spelling them out here. Perhaps a more compelling one, though, is that it’s a really stupid way to try to win an election.

A lot of low-paid and unemployed people have very modest aspirations. Millions of Britons have no burning desire for a five-bedroom house with two BMWs in the double garage and the kids at private schools. For many, “aspiration” simply means a comfortable, modest life – a fair day’s work for a wage that actually enables them to pay their bills and have a bit of spending money left over every month for nights out, a holiday and a few quid put away for old age.

Instead, what they get is a life of near-constant stress and terror, working multiple jobs on poverty pay reliant on government top-ups just to keep them half-an-inch above the breadline. In-work poverty is on a steep rise. For the low-paid and unemployed, one bad day – a benefit sanction for being five minutes late or having a heart attack, or turning up to a zero-hours job only to be sent home with no work – can be the difference between mere grinding poverty and utter destitution.

Yet the scandal of modern British politics is that no electable party even pretends to speak for these millions of people, who aspire only to a basic decent standard of living, not a higher tax bracket. Infamously, earlier this year Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said “We are not the party of people on benefits” – a statement which crassly dismisses almost two thirds of the population.

But we digress, and should make haste to our point.

Labour lost the popular vote last month by two million votes – almost exactly the same margin as the 2.1m it lost by in 2010. Yet it only got 300,000 votes fewer than it did in winning a handsome 66-seat majority in 2005. The difference between the two elections was that the Tories added 1.5m to their own tally (going from 8.8m in 2001 to 11.3m this year).

That 10-year period saw almost FOUR million extra voters cast their ballots (29.6m in 2015, compared to just 25.7m in 2005). More than half of the extra voters went to other parties (the combined total of Lib Dem, UKIP, SNP, Green and BNP grew by a whopping 2.7m despite the Lib Dem collapse), but the Tories’ share of the increased turnout – not much more than a third of the new voters –  was enough to give them a net 78-seat swing and a majority at Westminster.

Labour’s strategy, enthusiastically supported by London-based columnists, appears to be to fight the Tories over that tiny fraction of the electorate by taking on the Tories on their own ground of being “pro-business” and keeping taxes low on the ever-jittery “squeezed” middle classes.

Yet voters have amply demonstrated that they already know who they trust to look after business and the middle class. Barring a period in the late 90s and early 2000s where the Tories were simply too incompetent and shambolic to be trusted to look after a goldfish let alone a national economy, people with those priorities basically always vote Conservative. Labour will never win votes by trying to be Tories, because the Tories are simply, instinctively, naturally better at it.


Labour, though, seem content to let a far greater resource go untapped. Even despite that sharp 4m increase in the last decade, another 12 million voters still didn’t bother to turn out, and they’re disproportionately the young and the poor, who see Labour offering them nothing but cuts and persecution.

We already know that the British public supports a wide range of left-wing policies that are simply no longer part of the political agenda because Labour abandoned them as part of its tactic of chasing Tory votes in Middle England marginals. The people – often including majorities of Tory voters – want public services in public hands, from railways to mail to energy companies.

With the party in utter disarray, readers might be forgiven for imagining that Labour would at least consider trying to tempt some of the missing 12 million with redistributive or even – whisper it – socialist policies. It has precious little to lose, and it seems an easier task than trying to win Tory voters away from the Tories by offering them watered-down Conservatism.

We know that non-voters CAN be re-engaged – this year’s turnout was almost identical (in terms of absolute numbers, though the percentage was lower) to the Labour landslide of 1997. And that’s with barely the thickness of a maxed-out credit card between the main parties. With genuine competing visions on offer, we know from the independence referendum and its stratospheric 85% turnout that people want to make their voices heard.

Maybe we’re crazy. But if we were Labour, we’d probably have a bash at 12 million people who currently feel they have nothing to lose, rather than trying to compete for two million who are terrified that Labour will try to take what they do have away from them. Quite apart from any opportunity to recover the party’s soul and purpose, the numbers just look a lot better.

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182 to “The arithmetic of aspiration”

  1. Osprey MacIntyre says:

    An absolute belter, chief, one of your best.

    Nice to see the site expanding to areas other than independence as well – while Indy is, I’m sure, the main reason most people read Wings, it’s great to see articles on left/liberal politics as well. I want an independent Scotland, but while we’re in the UK I want us to be a good example to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish, and show them that social-democratic politics can be made to work.

  2. Paula Rose says:

    Perhaps we should all join the Labour Party and vote in Jeremy Corbyn to see if this works.

  3. RogueCoder says:

    Hear hear! Or should I say *enthusiastic clapping*

    What amazes me is that Labour seem to be trapped in Blairite thinking. That even now, after an indyref that was largely about inequality, they are still chasing Tory votes. The evisceration of Scottish Labour is screaming the message loud and clear; we have had enough. We don’t want neoliberal economics any more, we want jobs with fair wages, and properly funded public services.

  4. Peter says:

    How the hell is Burnham the front runner for leader? He has just stood on a manifesto that he now says he didn’t actually believe in.
    Is the job of politicians with integrity to just change their policies from principled ones to those which will get them elected?
    Corbyn is the only man who MIGHT win votes back in Scotland , but he is too easy to paint as’loony left’ by media and Tories but at least he clearly means what he says and believes in something which is more than can be said for Kendall cooper and burnham

  5. Capella says:

    It seems obvious doesn’t it, and yet the UK and US governments do not represent the vast majority of the electorate. Chomsky mentions this in his talk on democracy. Opinion polls consistently show that the majority support an egalitarian society.Yet governments represent the interests of the 0.1%.

    So I don’t expect the Labour Party to start representing the people who created it any time soon.

  6. cearc says:

    The ‘Didn’t Vote’ party beat Labour in all bar a handful of the seats that they won.

    This graphic clearly shows that appealing to people who didn’t see anything worth voting for is likely to be far more successful than chasing the marginal tory voters.

  7. HandandShrimp says:

    Perhaps we should all join the Labour Party and vote in Jeremy Corbyn to see if this works.

    Paula, I think the Tory journalist Toby Jug (or something like that) is already getting Tories to do that.

    Be funny if Jeremy won and then turned out to be popular though.

  8. Milady de Winter says:

    Excellent article. Hits nail on head, and shows why, if Lab don’t change radically, they will be extinct soon and not just north of the border. I am constantly astounded that so few in the party are prepared to come out and truly stand up for socialist principles.

  9. mogabee says:

    The main reason for the political parties decisions stem from right-wing policy think tanks imho.

    Labour can’t think or function these days without them.


  10. heedtracker says:

    As a vile separatist, thank fcuk they sent up a red tory warmongering nutcase like Morphy to sort out their Scotland region and not Jeremy Corbyn.

    As a British leftie, please please please vote Jeremy Corbyn.

  11. Diane says:

    The reason why Labour are not going to try and engage those missing voters or return to a more socialist out look is quite simple. The Labour party does not exist to represent and fight for the right s of the lower working classes. It may once have but those days are long gone. There may be people within their ranks who believe in social justice but you won’t find these people at the top of the organisation. No, the only reason for the Labour party to exist, is to create an illusion of an opposition to the Tories and to create the illusion of democracy. Labour’s purpose is to help the elite to maintain the status quo and to keep the masses disengaged, powerless and in their place. Scotland is now wide awake to this fact and that is why the Scots have abandoned the Labour party. The SNP are riding high as the only big party opposing austerity. I’d like to see the rise of more left leaning, anti-austerity, socially just parties in all parts of the UK, but just forget the Labour party…..they have nothing to offer.

  12. Di says:

    The reason why Labour are not going to try and engage those missing voters or return to a more socialist out look is quite simple. The Labour party does not exist to represent and fight for the rights of the lower working classes. It may once have but those days are long gone. There may be people within their ranks who believe in social justice but you won’t find these people at the top of the organisation. No, the only reason for the Labour party to exist, is to create an illusion of an opposition to the Tories and to create the illusion of democracy. Labours purpose is to help the elite to maintain the status quo and to keep the masses disengaged, powerless and in their place. Scotland is now wide awake to this fact and that is why the Scots have abandoned the Labour party. The SNP are riding high as the only big party opposing austerity. I’d like to see the rise of more left leaning, anti-austerity, socially just parties in all parts of the UK, but just forget the Labour party…..they have nothing to offer.

  13. Lollysmum says:

    O/T Sorry Rev
    Commonspace Celebration now on IndyLive

  14. CameronB Brodie says:

    That’s all fine and well, but how many of the 12 million potential are “C1” and “C2” voters living in southern England?

    Somehow, I don’t think their direction of travel is sustainable.

  15. redfred says:

    It’s the electoral system that does it. No point targeting the majority of the electorate when it is only 20-100K whose minds you need to change.

    It was also (in part) the system that did for them in Scotland – good on Nicola for sticking to her principles on wanting it changed.

    But with Labour, as always, tribalism and an obsession with power over principle mean they’re unlikely to propose an actual change any time soon.

  16. JLT says:

    It seems for the Labour Party, that all that truly matters is winning, and winning ugly. And if that means wooing the middle and upper classes, and basically condemning the working man and the less fortunate …then these days, it’s just a shrug of the shoulders from the Labour Party.

    This is a party that has lost all sense of itself.

    Never. Never will I ever vote for this Party.

  17. galamcennalath says:

    Over the last 30+ years, the largest obstacle to Scotland progressing towards independence was the belief among a large section of Scots that Labour best represented their interests. Any such notions I had ended with the Feeble Fifty. Labour have been Scotland’s very own political chocolate teapot! The reality of the situation has sunk in with more voters, steadily but surely over the last 10 years, taking us to where we are now.

    Labour have been their own worst enemy – fortunately! As Stu so eloquently put, they have taken to chasing the wrong voters across the UK. In a Scottish context, their luke warm attitude to even weak devolution and pitiful stance on more powers, far less full powers, has reduced their standing further.

    However, they remain a threat. Perhaps they still remain the biggest single threat to independence. If Labour were to convince sufficient Scots once again that they would champion their interests, independence is dead in the water!

    Personally I hope they keep doing exactly what they have been doing!

  18. gillie says:

    If Labour were truly a socialist or social democratic party then they would engage with the disenfranchised …… but they are not, are they?

    Labour are very much part of the Tory brand.

  19. Ken500 says:

    Labour will never win another election if they carry on like this. They should support the winners, the SNP, not the losers, UKIP. The English working class vote Tory.

  20. Iain More says:

    My aspiration is simple, it is for a quiet life in an Indy Scotland. A quiet life in a Scotland where I am not getting ripped off daily or talked down to by patronising condescending arrogant rich sods from Pure Tory Slime land. Is it too much to ask for?

    I will save the Republic bit for later.

    Oh and for BJ Matheson to win the deputy to Deputy Dugs job.

  21. John W. says:

    Cracking post. I’m an occasional lurker, tempted out by this. The idea that you can profess whatever values you like, for electoral advantage, bothers me more than it should.

    Jim Murphy changed his values / views / persona several times during the election campaign. From love bombing Yes voters, to Patriot (Mel Gibson watch out, but I think he could do a stronger Mad Max than revolutionary) to ardent unionist.

    Strangely enough post-referendum I’m finding myself more and more drawn to what we could do differently with independence, or to independence as a starting point, than to independence as a destination.

    At the same time as my vision and that of many other yes voters continues to widen, that of many unionists, especially SLAB ones continues to narrow. Sometimes it feels as though the only thing that matters to them is protecting the Union at any cost. They would gladly give up their Granny’s pension and send her out to work at minimum wage if it thwarted the SNP and be definition independence.

    In other words, we have left single-issue politics far behind, but they are moving further and further towards it.

  22. Les Wilson says:

    I think the Labour party have no ability at this time, so are in reality not wanting to govern. To achieve this they have given the Tories an easy ride, by abstentions and such like.

    They are treating them as pals, who they stood shoulder to shoulder with during Indy. They must have known how this would go down with a lot of Labour support, especially the root supporters.

    It was an idiotic thing to do, but knowing they would achieve that lower vote that they in fact wanted for the above reasons, they are where they want to be at this time, the opposition benches. Where they can berate the Tories daily, which makes them feel better.

    Long term this is all about the sustaining a 2 party system to which they may return when they get their act together. If indeed they go to far, and for now, they have.

  23. Macart says:

    Cracking post Rev.

    For many, “aspiration” simply means a comfortable, modest life – a fair day’s work for a wage that actually enables them to pay their bills and have a bit of spending money left over every month for nights out, a holiday and a few quid put away for old age.”

    Not much to ask for from our representatives is it?

  24. Luigi says:

    There’s also that crazy FPTP voting system that puts all GE results in the hands of a few marginals in middle England – full of aspiring voters! I can see why Labour are fixated with this little group, but they cannot fight the tories at their own game. If they continue to ignore their own traditional left wing core support in England, someone else will eventually step into the vacuum and pinch them, like what has happened in Scotland.

  25. r baxter says:

    a culture of stink tanks

  26. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “It’s the electoral system that does it. No point targeting the majority of the electorate when it is only 20-100K whose minds you need to change.”

    True to a degree, but the point is that the article shows you CAN turn results round if you get more voters out.

  27. Iain More says:

    I have come to the conclusion that there is no longer any point to the Labour Party. There is no such thing as a soft Tory, that is an invention of the Brit Press and Media. Bliar was a right wing psychopath.

    It is just an unfortunate fact of life that there is a natural right wing loony tune majority in England. That isn’t surprising considering the Press and Media they swallow or the social structures they have to endure.

    Dont believe me then just look at the combined Tory & UKIP vote. Well a right wing majority is nailed on when Labour panders to the right in England as why vote Labour when you can vote for Pure Blue Slime and those who once voted Labour sit on their hands on polling day and say I am not voting for those Fascists. Pity is that they have nobody to vote for at all.

  28. ben madigan says:

    o/T in response to the anger last week over the orangefest in glasgow and the ongoing problems with orange order marches in NI – a proposal to detach the bands from the orange order by making them an offer they can’t refuse!!

  29. Helena Brown says:

    An excellent post Rev and one which needs saying. Pity though nobody in Labour is listening. A bit of bravery would have seen Ed Miliband closer to winning but he definitely lacked conviction. All that the electorate in England can see is what the Tories want them to see that Labour are a tax and spend bunch and well who can blame them they certainly did nothing else for the ordinary people whilst in power over a thirteen year period.

  30. Joemcg says:

    The future for Scotland is either independence or Tory rule for infinity I’m afraid. The no voters have got us by the goolies.

  31. Iain More says:


    Somebody else is stepping into the vacuum Labour have left in England, they are called UKIP

    Strip out the Scots and Welsh results and you have a healthy Right Wing loony tune majority.

    Brit Labour no longer debates or questions the rabid policies and thinking of those right wing knuckle draggers, they are becoming one and the same as them.

  32. Fergie McLean says:

    Jeremy is viewed as the joke candidate by the papers and state broadcaster.

    Always appears to me that when someone or something challenges the the establishment, the establishment closes ranks and demonises or ridicules that person, belief or movement.

    Regards an issue like trident, I believe Jeremy’s policy would be to determine how jointly we could get rid of trident, quickly and amicably, in the process showing the rest of the world hope triumphs over dispear.

    In reality it will be burnham or cooper who meekly go along with tories and renew trident as they view securing those precious middle England votes as literally everything that matters. As has been noted, fighting the tories on the tories ground.

    The wishes of the Scottish people does not feature, and kes, bless her, won’t make a blind bit of difference other than supporting trident renewall!

  33. Truth says:

    Ahem, why are we interrupting out enemy when they are making a mistake?

    Just leave them to get on with it.

  34. andy nimmo says:

    Slightly (only slightly) off topic but I’ve been re-reading my Blogs pre referendum.
    Can I be a bit of a tosser and tecommend this for Prediction of the Month award.

    Comments welcome lol

  35. Johnny says:

    Excuse the pedantry, Rev, but 11.3m is 2.5m more than 8.8m, rather than 1.5 as you have it up there.

  36. G H Graham says:

    Why would anyone vote for a party (Labour) that pretends to be right wing, when one can vote for the real deal; the Conservatives?

  37. Luigi says:

    Joemcg says:
    21 June, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    The future for Scotland is either independence or Tory rule for infinity I’m afraid. The no voters have got us by the goolies.

    Many of them won’t be NO voters for much longer. Scotland will not suffer another 10 years of Tory majority rule. It ain’t going to happen.

  38. CameronB Brodie says:

    andy nimmo
    No such page found. 🙁

  39. Jimbo says:

    To me, when the Labour politicians speak to aspiration it is always about their ambitions for the Labour Party and themselves, not the country and/or the people.

  40. Davy says:

    A very true article.

    Labour is not an actual labour party anymore, labour is a tory style party, not a tory light party but a full-blooded tory party. And yet they still don’t see what everyone else see’s, they still keep chasing tory policys and idea’s.

    If the labour party in Scotland actually became a fully independent political party and stood for the working man and woman and their own country, they may survive. But already you heard the so-called political canidates for their leadership spout the same old shit, SNP-BAD AND IT’S WASN’T MY FAULT.

    If next years elections spell the end of labour in Scotland, well fine, it will be no-bodys fault but their own, and hell mend them.

  41. Luigi says:

    Iain More says:
    21 June, 2015 at 3:07 pm


    Somebody else is stepping into the vacuum Labour have left in England, they are called UKIP

    Indeed, but IMO there is also another, huge group of forgotten people who would support a progressive, left-wing party in England. These people dod not vote at all last month. My advice to Labour is get rid of your Blairite ringers and your tory-lite policies quickly, before it is too late. Jeremy Corbyn is their only hope for the long-term. In the short term they are screwed whatever happens.

  42. Petra says:

    Labour is in meltdown, in the main, because they can’t agree if they should move to the right or left.

    Instead of pontificating between themselves, disagreeing with each other and running each other down (in the process losing even more supporters) they should carry out some research by actually asking the electorate some pertinent questions beginning with left or right.

  43. Keith Hynd says:

    The Rev does what he does best, cut through the crap and get to the point. Labour are failing to even offer a strong opposition, to the Tories. Do they want to though? That’s the question I ask!

  44. gillie says:

    As Andy Burnham dismisses Labour’s manifesto promise for a Mansion Tax as “toxic” BBC Scotland are to broadcast “The fall of Labour” tomorrow night.

    The credibility gap in the Labour movement is huge.

  45. Clootie says:

    It’s all about having a bottom line in living standards.

    The basic lifestyle you lay down is almost there with the addition of free University tuition / free prescriptions etc

    In short the framework outlined during the YES campaign. The basics that united people from all parties and none.

  46. Jim says:

    Paula Rose says:

    Perhaps we should all join the Labour Party and vote in Jeremy Corbyn to see if this works.
    I’ll wait and see if Hell will freeze over first!

  47. tooz says:

    Fantastic sir. I doff my hat to you.
    Pity though. Labour are infested with well off middle to upper class careerists.
    Never has one party lost so much of its raison d’etre and yet still claim to be true to their values and dare i say it, aspirations, for the very people they should be fighting tooth and nail for.
    And yet they still expect support and seem oblivious to the reasons for the collapse.

  48. James Sneddon says:

    Let’s not assume Labour can change. Evidence points the other way. If the expectations of the non rich are to be represented a new party has to established. Whether by the unions and/or a jointy left/green coalition, it’s up to our friends down south to do it. Why the unions and the cooperative party still cling to Labour is beyond me. Labour in rUK facing the same black hole they fell into in Scotland and for the life of me I can’t see them changing tack.

  49. Helena Brown says:

    Andy Nimmo, I managed to find it and a stunner it is, the pity is we needed to do that during the referendum and if we have another one we need to temper the good with the bad which we did not do last time. There are people just like Ebeneezer who need showing, they lack the imagination to see the future, I was going to write possible future but we all know the Tories and where it comes to us the only future isn’t good. Enjoyed it, in a strange sort of way.

  50. Lanarkist says:

    Labour have recast themselves as the Janus Party, facing both ways!

    They wish to present themselves as oppositional against the TOries but cannot vote with the SNP.

    They wish to present themselves as oppositional to the SNP but cannot vote with the Tories!

    They have boxed themselves in by their own policy principles. Instead they should support social democrat principles rather than Neo liberal ones.

    The only solution, until they find a driver with a route map, is where they find themselves now, as the Abstention Party!

    I wonder if they have asked their voters if they agree with this position rather than vote and act against the worst policies of the Tory Right.

    I’m sure the majority of their support wouldn’t want them to assist the Right in their dogmatic attacks on the 50 percent of low earners, unemployed and disabled!

  51. Dr Jim says:

    All the political parties lost Scotland because they don’t care and the best opposition they could give to the SNP was
    “They’re not getting everything right” and “Bad” + lots of unpleasant name calling

    Well nobody’s perfect, but the difference is the SNP are trying to get it right for Scotland where nobody else is

    The rest of them are trying to win and that’s a damn sight different from trying your best to make a difference

    All I ever hear from Labour is “We’ve got to find a way to win” that’s a crap argument and it’s insulting, this isn’t a football match where you shout “Yay” at the end

    They need the same lesson the Tories were taught, vote them gone then lets get on with it

  52. HandandShrimp says:

    I saw the sign in the photo yesterday, hadn’t realised the chap was there though

    Discussing the sign I think we agreed that a Kezia Gordon dream ticket would do just nicely. 🙂

  53. CameronB Brodie says:

    andy nimmo
    I’ll not sleep tonight. 😉

  54. dakk says:

    Although Jeremy Cornyn sounds the part,anyone who is still a member of the Labour Party and anyone who votes for them is a war crime appeaser.

    If he had any morals he would have resigned and joined the Greens or such.

    The strategy may be right for Labour to fight an election,but I wouldnt touch anythjng Labour with a barge pole,

    They are choc full of UK imperialists no matter who happens to be the leader.

  55. Thepnr says:

    Rev, an excellent article which is should be obvious to all, except if you are a Labour party spin doctor.

    The real people being let down are those 12 million non voters you speak of, they know, like I do that Labour would only possibly have made their lives slightly less hellish than it already is compared to Tory rule.

    Almost 50% of traditional Labour supporters in Scotland have now abandoned that party though they still obtain around 25% of the overall vote as shown in the General Election.

    All that is needed now to obtain Independence is to convince 1/3 of that remaining Labour vote to join the good guys.

    I believe many right now are open to persuasion, and if they aren’t! Then they will be after a couple of years under the likes of Osborne and Duncan-Smith.

    The remaining Scots labour voters and activists right now are feeling even more pig sick than us. That is if they are genuine socialists.

  56. muttley79 says:

    If I lived in England and was a Labour member, I would vote for Corbyn any day of the week over Burnham, Cooper and that Kendall character…Corbyn would in all likelihood not beat the Tories in 2020, but what he would do was resuscitate the Labour movement in the UK. He is the only candidate who would even think about following Radical Independence’s voting registration campaign during the referendum, particularly in England.

    O/T NewsShaft’s appeal has only just over two weeks to go, and they are only on at 40 per cent of their target. It would be good to help them over the line.

  57. MrObycyek says:

    @G H Graham

    I don’t think Labour are pretending to be right wing, they are right wing only they are just not as good at it as the Conservatives. I agree with you as to why anyone would bother voting for them over the genuine article and it makes you wonder just how stupid the people in Labour are that they cannot see the blindingly obvious, then again maybe they actually have the exact same idealogy as the tories and do not want to move back to the left. If that is true then old Labour is truly dead.

    In regards to their next leader, Jeremy Corbyn seems to be a thoroughly decent man and so of course he has no chance of being the next leader of Labour. He seems to be treated as something of a joke figure in the leadership race which I find utterly contemptible as he is the only candidate that actually believes in what he is saying and is a proper Labour member. When are Labour going to get it through their thick heads that it is a return to traditional Labour values that is needed and not a continuation of New Labour? They are going to be in the wilderness for a long time and although it may speed up independence for Scotland it upsets me greatly that so many people in the rest of the UK will suffer because of the tories.

  58. IanH says:

    I don’t know the in’s and out’s but a thought occurred to me
    SNP in Scotland getting together with like minded people south of the border, forming a sister party called the Socialist National Party
    The manifesto of both would be on the whole very similar but with tweeks to suit voters South of the Border
    Agreement to end the act of uinion amicably

  59. gus1940 says:

    There is a point which most commentators fail to make re the current UK Political scene namely the fact that since the advent of Blair and New Labour the UK’s political system is a near replica of the US system albeit not so right wing.

    For decades we have mocked The US while they parrot the old chestnut that they are the defenders of democracy setting an example to the rest of the world.

    In reality their system consists of 2 parties which are both right wing in Eurpoean terms going through the motions of fighting each other.

    Backed by countless billions of support (bribes) from business to the extent that nobody else has a hope in hell of competing with them they give the electorate the chance to vote every 4 years (plus mid term) under the illusion that they are going to stand up and govern in the interest of their respective voters.

    What then happens is that they then ignore the electorate completely and go on their merry corrupt way of dancing to the tune of big business in particular the Military Industrial Complex.

    Our system is now almost a perfect replica of The US with he Blue Tories competing with the Red Tories for votes which are then ignored for the next 5 years while they dance to the tune of The City and assorted lobbyists who bribe their way by means of party donations and nice little earners for sitting politicians followed by lucrative directorships and other sinecures once they retire or are beaten in elections.

    Fortunately the reception given to Nicola Sturgeon on both sides of the border during the GE Campaign indicates that the voters are cottoning on to how they are being deceived and ripped off.

    It is to be hoped that a new Progressive Alliance Party is formed south of the border sharing the values expressed by Nicola and to which The SNP could affiliate.

  60. Iain says:

    In so far as who we vote for is at least a part moral decision, we are now being told by the right, and apparently by the mainstream Labour Party, that “aspiration” should inform our moral choices.

    I’d have thought our moral position should inform our aspirations, but there you go.

  61. muttley79 says:


    I don’t know the in’s and out’s but a thought occurred to me SNP in Scotland getting together with like minded people south of the border, forming a sister party called the Socialist National Party
    The manifesto of both would be on the whole very similar but with tweeks to suit voters South of the Border Agreement to end the act of uinion amicably.

    I don’t know if you are an independence supporter or a unionist, but establishing a party called the Socialist National Party is perhaps not a good idea given the precedent of National Socialism in Germany. A better alternative would be along the lines of the English Independence Party, or the English National Party.

    The problem with establishing such a sister party to the SNP in England is that it would probably be hijacked by the far right, and/or cranks. No doubt it would soon look like UKIP. Seemingly the English Democrats started off with good intentions, but were soon captured by dubious elements. I also suspect UK intelligence services would try and discredit it with the electorate in England, in a manner similar to what they tried to do to the SNP in Scotland.

  62. Iain More says:

    I don’t see any Progressive Alliance emerging in England in my lifetime. If one was going to emerge surely one would have emerged in Thatcher’s Era and none did. We have the disgusting behaviour during the Indy Ref amongst its so called Progressive Parties and even it so called Progressive Press as evidence of that.

    I am through waiting for them to get their shit together. They can see what is wrong and yet they either don’t vote in their collective apathy or they elfin vote Tory or UKIP or Lib Dem etc. They have had over 3 decades to get their shit together and have failed miserably. I am calling time on them.

  63. CameronB Brodie says:

    What is socialism? Might the traditional ‘old socialism’ not perhaps be considered Fascism with a hint of added humanity? Not everyone who supports egalitarianism or even independence, is a socialist. I think the predominance of folk here calling for Scotland to rediscover it’s socialist soul, are actually scarring of potential indy supporters. Lets get real folk, Red Clyde is soooo last century.

    Nu Labour. Now, they are only slight less barking Fascist than the Tories. UKIP, well…

  64. jethro says:

    Well, the political scene in Scotland is clearly quite distinct from that in England, and moving further away as every election is held, making independence seem more and more like the logical destination.

    And yet, are the bulk of the ordinary population of England really so very different that while a party opposed to austerity can wipe out all other parties in Scotland, there is no place at all for any party to offer the same prospectus south of the border?

    How many votes did UKIP get just for being the anti establishment party? While they only won one seat they got over 100 second places. How much better would a properly organised and resourced progressive party have done?

    If Labour don’t change, they can only be one or two Westminster elections away from facing an alternative in England every bit as credible as the SNP in Scotland, as their core support come to realise that apart from wanting to take their votes (and trade union political fund subscriptions) for granted while it pitches to the ‘aspirational’ Tory voters, Labour cares nothing for them any more.

  65. Bob Mack says:

    I agree with everyone who states this is a cracking post.Corbyn represents what Labour traditional values were all about.No doubt there will be a few others.
    The rest of Labour is about a self serving entity,devoid of empathy for those who do not fit the winning vote profile.They seek power to serve themselves and the Party,but not necessarily the people.
    From honourable beginnings we have a horrible entity so far removed from its original purpose that it has become unrecognisable.
    I will never vote Labour again.

  66. Democracy Reborn says:

    Stu, it will take a generational shift at UK level to alter the neo-liberal consensus. Thatcher’s alleged remark when asked about her greatest achievement is still telling : New Labour.

    And the economists of today that we are training for the future are completely seeped in the neo-liberal mindset. There was an article in the Guardian (18/11/13) about a bunch of students at Manchester University who had set up a ‘post-crash economics group’ to challenge the neo-classical theories being taught throughout UK uni economics departments. This was partly in response to the complete failure by mainstream economists to predict the recession. Incredibly:

    “Students can complete a degree in economics without having been exposed to the theories of Keynes, Marx or Minsky, and without having been taught about the Great Depression.”

    And if we want to look at a left(ish) wing alternative to Osbornomics and Labour ‘aspirationalism’, we don’t need to look very far to do it – Germany. Its success is based on 4 pillars which are anathema to neo-liberals : high public spending; strong unions (which have board level representation); regulation; big welfare state. It’s the 4th largest economy in the world. Along with China, one of the the 2 countries in the world which is a net exporter of goods. One of the nations in the EU least affected by the recession (and unlike the UK, one of the first out). Its MO has been slower, growth driven recovery. Back in 2002 it had a debt to GDP ratio greater than 4%. By 2007-08, it was in near-balance. During those years of course, Brown and Blair were managing a credit-fuelled boom whilst pissing away the tax proceeds from the City of London.

    Incidentally, Germany managed to abolish student tuition fees in the past year.

  67. ronnie anderson says:


  68. Fred says:

    Mandelson had no problem with anybody becoming filthy rich as long as it wasn’t the working class.

  69. ronnie anderson says:


  70. Jet says:

    First class article
    and some fantastic replys with great detail
    And many relevant points of view this collective
    discussion ,Thinking and awareness is the reason and the
    Only way scotland will become indapendant
    And the reason that this site not only soars
    Above scotland but above all other sites
    Thank you

  71. heedtracker says: My main man Prof Tomkins piles in behind rancid The Graun’s ferocious attack thing today on Scotland running Scotland, which ends

    “Until then, this SNP government will be remembered always as being the most socially progressive-sounding party we have ever had in a country that always talked a good game. Fair and equal Scotland, my arse.”

    Interesting duet of red and blue tory rage against SNP but technically the real target’s Holyrood.

    You have to wonder at how long the horrors of Scottish generational poverty grind along, 50 years, 70, 100, 200?.

    Professor Smirky up there probably wrote the Smith Commission shyste himself but he said “giving” Holyrood any more economic control would be “independence lite and that’s not going to happen.”

    So it’s taken red and blue tory teamGBists barely a week to turn Prof Smirky’s Smith Commission fraud on Holyrood and now there’s going to be 5 more UKOK years of it.

    “Fair and equal Scotland, my arse. Vote Kezia, she’s really great, a proud Scot, a true Brit and loves this blessed union. Rejoice in the Scotland region, SLabour is back in the game.”

  72. Rob James says:

    Just as the goverment employ 3500 in an effort to combat £3billion benefit fraud and 350 to combat £150billion tax evasion/avoidance, so Labour focus on a small swing percentage of the electorate, and ignore the 12 million or so disenfranchised voters. Seems pretty astute thinking to me.

    I would be perfectly willing to accept any wager that unless there is a total clear out and restructure of the party, there will be no Labour government pre 2050. In fact I have every reason to believe that it will eventually splinter and die.

  73. “Lanarkist says:
    21 June, 2015 at 4:19 pm
    Labour have recast themselves as the Janus Party, facing both ways!”

    Yes, and count on them to elect one Hugh Janus as leader.

  74. Brian says:

    Another excellent piece of analysis. Logical and undeniable. Except to the journalists and political analysts in the MSM.

  75. Paula says:

    The people are screaming out for change. Thank you for this belter of an article, Rev.

  76. MoJo says:

    I challenge an English/UK newspaper to print this article.
    Wingers should all repost wherever we can.
    This article eloquently challenges all the passive, ‘there is no alternative /no one will vote for a left wing party’ received wisdom of the current pathetic apology for democracy being promoted by the comfortable 1%.

    The Scottish electorate has woken up ,and is active, challenging, questioning and engaged. We know we deserve better government and we are making it happen..
    Scottish enlightenment post referendum means that we expect our representatives to work on our behalf, not exploit us, lie to us and blame us whenever they mess up the economy

    It is time for the English and Welsh 99% to become enlightened too and start believing again that they can change things – because they can.

    The disenfranchised 12 million, and the rest, need to read stuff like this…. so how do we reach them and reengage them?

    We got 97% of Scots signed up to vote last year….. we know how it’s done….

    The Tories are relying on apathy, misinformation and divide and rule to maintain their power…..with social media around, we have a new playing field….

    A wee blue book for England, Wales and NI perhaps Stu?

  77. Jim Thomson says:

    @ronnie anderson

    here are your links fixed …


    You’re welcome 😉

  78. Capella says:

    @ CameronB Brodie
    What is socialism you ask?

    “From each according to his ability. To each according to his need”

    Sounds fair enough to me (adding, of course, /her in these modern times).,_to_each_according_to_his_need

  79. Fred says:

    Way off the subject, came across this Scots dictionary entry,

    Nochtie/Nauchtie, puny in size, contemptable in appearance, bad, unfit for any purpose, valueless, trifling.

    Anybody we know? 🙂

  80. IAB says:

    Jeremy Corbyn should leave and establish a traditional Labour Party – where he is now is finished

  81. Paula Rose says:

    IAB – if the SNP had reformed at each hurdle they would be lost.

    The militant Tendency were an alien creed to the Labour party of my family – Corbyn’s vision is not. The traditional Labour party (support) of the UK deserves our help – we should give it.

  82. Petra says:


    I wonder if Cameron, Osborne, Johnston, Mundell et al were peering out of the windows (behind the nets, lol) and wondering if they were watching a rerun of Zulu. It looks as though the English are now going to put up a fight. Good for them.

    March Against Austerity | London | 250,000 people

    Charlotte Church’s speech for 250,000 campaigners- Anti-austerity Protest-UK

    Anti-Austerity Protest – London 20/06/2015 – [Crowd Time-Lapse]

    @ ronnie anderson

    Thanks for the link Ronnie. Cherie Blair is nearly as despicable as her husband.

    @ andy nimmo 3:45 pm

    A great wee article Andy. Loved this part.

    ‘“No”, protested Ebenezer. “I mean Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. That wasn’t supposed to happen. We were assured, promised even, that Ed Miliband would be the Prime Minister if Scotland voted NO.”

    “Oh he should have been” countered the figure. “Trouble was, the right wing press and TV channels just carried right on doing to the Labour Party what they’d been doing to the YES Scotland movement. Denied them the oxygen of publicity, ridiculed their leader at every opportunity, fed you repeated images of Labour failures and Tory successes. Pressed the fear button at every opportunity. Very effective it was too. Six months later the Conservative Government that the media were clamouring for won the day. Good God that shocked us up here in the Twilight Zone I can tell you – and you got Boris. Richly deserved if you ask me.

    “But that’s just not fair”, bleated Ebenezer.

    With a speed not seen since Gideon Osborne’s attempt to flee from Bernard Ponsonby, the wraith-like figure flew towards the hapless Ebenezer, pulling up short only feet from the cowering man. “Not fair, Not fair”, it bellowed. “So it was perfectly legitimate for your beloved Better Together to carry out these tactics but when the shoe was put on the other foot, you squealed like banshees. Gave us real banshees the pip so it did”.

    With an effort, the Phantom forced itself to be calm. Taking a deep breath, it continued. “My God you mortals in B8 are so dumb and easily duped”, it sighed.’

  83. Phronesis says:

    Until Scotland gains full control of its economic powers to develop and grow its economy and strengthen its systems of social protection (NHS, education, welfare support) Scotland will never narrow the inequality gap and achieve poverty rates similar to our Nordic neighbours.

    There is a lot of research interest for example in the ‘Glasgow effect’.It seems there are many inter connected factors that have produced the levels of poverty and poor health in this city that will only increase under current UKOK policies

    The UK government searched its conscience and came up with this report. Basically the cost of not providing adequate health and social care during the first 1001 days of life costs the UK economy £23 billion- 1/3 of the defence spend. UKOK recognises how important it is to provide each child with a good start in life.

    Unfortunately UKOK are disconnected from their collective conscience and are determined to wreck our systems of social protection that will annihilate progressive polices and legislation that were decades in the making. It does beg the question- why bother producing such a report when, as a government, you are implementing policies that do the polar opposite?

    The 1001 days will be crucial to Scotland and its quest for independence.

  84. Capella says:

    re comments about whether the unions could setup a new “Labour” party – did you see the Sunday Herald Front page?
    Marcia usually posts it but I didn’t notice it yesterday.

  85. yesindyref2 says:

    Mmm, I aspire to winning the lottery, so I guess I should vote for Camelot.

  86. schrodingers cat says:

    politics in scotland is now different from politics in the ruk, for one, it isnt british anymore

    im not sure we would be in different situation with a milliband majority than a cameron majority, i see very little between these 2 parties and westminster is a side show to growing the support for indy from its present level of 50% to the 60% required, as fast as possible, before we can go for indyref2.
    beyond which, westminster politics will hold no more interest for me than german politics does at the moment.

  87. Rock says:

    They are terrified of the likes of the Daily Mail.

    Michael Foot was the most decent leader Labour has ever had in the last 50 years at least, and the best Prime Minister the UK never had.

    But the likes of the Daily Mail and the ignorance of the people of South Britain makes it impossible for them to ever get a decent leader and government.

    Compare this to the Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon led governments in Scotland since 2011.

  88. CameronB Brodie says:

    “From each according to his ability. To each according to his need”

    Doesn’t that allude to a cast system?

    Sorry, I have very little time for Marx, who I see as a reactionary anti-Semite. He was a man of his time (the Age of Imperialism), with limited appreciation of psychology, sociology, and certainly hadn’t twigged to environmental psychology and the formation of personal identity. He wasn’t exactly sympathetic to the ‘lower orders’.

    A bit of a long read, but here’s one that might give a flavour of the Establishment’s attitudes of the time. Most of the great social reformers were enamored with imperial Rome and were influenced, to a greater or lesser degree, by Galton’s eugenics theories (cod science). As such, the aim of the social reform movement was not concerned with the best interests of the individual, but that of the state. Especially it’s military and industrial capacity.

    I may, of course, be talking cobblers. 🙂

    Ancient Rome and the Town and Country Debate from the 1850s to the 1920s
    © Sarah Butler, The Open University

  89. Rock says:

    The Labour party has been infiltrated and corrupted by the establishment to the core.

    Even if Jeremy Corbyn did manage to win, he wouldn’t be able to last long.

    Until Scotland becomes independent and shows the way, South Britain is beyond redemption.

    Frequent doses of fervent jingoism make sure that they will accept anything that is thrown at them because they are the best and they don’t want to change.

    Those who can see beyond it are voiceless.

    Perhaps we could encourage them to move to Scotland. They will give us a majority for independence.

  90. Say no to wind says:

    “There are all manner of things morally and ideologically wrong with that approach, but they’re pretty obvious so we won’t bother spelling them out here. Perhaps a more compelling one, though, is that it’s a really stupid way to try to win an election.”

    Well it seemed to work for new labour. Never mind the conservatives in the 2015 election.

    Why is it that wanting to do well for yourself is seen as a crime by some people? Do you not want to be successful? Or would you rather wallow in a pool of self pity?

  91. CameronB Brodie says:

    P.S. I should have said I favour a simpler definition, i.e. a system of governance that values social over capital interests. I’m not sure how legitimate that is though.

  92. Capella says:

    @ CameronB Brodie

    “Doesn’t that allude to a cast system?”
    If you follow up the link to the Wikipedia article you will see that it is first coined by Le Blanc and is traceable to the early christians eg Acts 4:32–35: 32,_to_each_according_to_his_need

    The article by Sarah Butler is quite long but I’ll read it. Thanks!

  93. john king says:

    Yesinderef2 says
    “Mmm, I aspire to winning the lottery, so I guess I should vote for Camelot.”

    I knew it!
    Champagne socialist! 🙂

  94. Ian Brotherhood says:

    How refreshing to see an article which uses the word ‘socialism’ in a non-pejorative way.

    Unfortunately, anyone belonging to an openly ‘left’ group in Scotland is subjected to the same suspicion and contempt which has been shown towards the SNP nationally.

    I’d love to know what precisely it is about the word ‘socialism’ that gets people’s backs up (aside from the tediously moronic ‘word association’ linking us to Nazi Germany) – one wee example of how pervasive, damaging and plain unfair the discrimination is:

    Yesterday, at the STUC rally, the SSP was denied the opportunity to present a speaker. The SSP was a sponsor of the event. Almost five hours worth of non-stop music and speeches, and they couldn’t allow any of the SSP’s many excellent speakers to get onstage and give the crowd our take on what’s happening? To add further insult, we were excluded from the official list of sponsors on the promotional material (caveat – I haven’t seen the propaganda in question, but have been assured that SSP didn’t appear on it.)

    I’m not a spokesperson for the SSP, but I have asked senior figures whether or not there will be a statement about this disgraceful behaviour – best explanation I’ve heard is that the STUC and many of the participating groups are still locked in the mentality which has respect for the ‘Scottish’ Labour Party and, consciously or otherwise, continues to defer to an organisation which lies broken and discredited.

    Some pretty ‘extreme’ and ‘radical’ statements were made by speakers at the rally yesterday, but they went down well with the crowd and, so far as I saw, there was no bickering between various left-leaning groups, even when their stalls were in close proximity.

    We’ll have to wait and see what the SSP will say ‘officially’ about this. Speaking as an ordinary activist, I’m fuming about it, and properly sick of seeing my comrades (and yes, I use that word with pride – they’re some of the finest people I’ve ever met) being treated with such disdain by so-called ‘left-wingers’ who give it big licks about ‘solidarity’ and ‘brotherhood’, same time as refusing us a voice on platforms we were instrumental in constructing.

    Rant over! 🙁

  95. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Jim Thomson Thanks Jim I,m getting a lesson on IT just now from BrianDTT (he busting ma heid) ah keep telling him am no a IT specialist, will he listen NAW ,am on the phone tae him just now HELP.

  96. Robert Peffers says:

    @Rev. Stuart Campbell says: 21 June, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    “True to a degree, but the point is that the article shows you CAN turn results round if you get more voters out.”

    During the referendum campaign I parked the campervan in a carpark between Benarty Hill & Lochore Medows Country Park. After I walked the wee dog. I returned and was giving the wee dog a drink of water when an elderly woman and her more elderly mother asked politely if I could spare a drink of water as the old mother had overdone it and was feeling poorly. I ended up providing them tea & biscuits and chatting with them in the van before running them home to Lochore.

    Both myself and the van were decorated with YES badges so the conversation inevitably turned to politics. The younger woman, (about my age), was a YES voter but her mother had been lifelong Labour but was not going to vote in the referendum. I asked her why not and her answer was an eye opener.

    “Ah’m no gan tae vote Labour ever again an Ah cud nae vote Tory”. So I asked her why she would never vote Labour. “Whit’s the point o’ voting Labour fir thir jist the same as the Tories and so ir the rest o thaim. Naebody stauns fir the ordnar fowk noo”.

    This from an old lady who was nearly 100 Years old but mentally quite bright. Then she said, “The Co-op an the unions wir the backbane o the Labour pairtiy an thae politicians gied thaim up years ago. Noo Labour haes nae backbane”.

    That said it all really. Labour – the party without a backbone.

  97. CameronB Brodie says:

    I did read the Wiki.

    first coined by Le Blanc and is traceable to the early christians

    As I said, doesn’t that allude to a cast system? 😉

  98. Rock says:

    Ian Brotherhood,

    “Yesterday, at the STUC rally, the SSP was denied the opportunity to present a speaker.”

    Union bosses are fat cats and are as corrupt as the Labour leadership.

    Socialism is not in their interests.

    Anyone who remained within the Labour party after it became the Tory party mark 2, the likes of Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner and Jeremy Corbyn included, have no credibility as socialists.

    Socialism in South Britain will have to be recreated from scratch.

    But it will only happen after Scotland has become independent and successful as a social democratic nation.

    The rotten to the core system makes any political change in South Britain currently impossible.

    Despite being popular, the SNP must not get involved in the rotten politics of South Britain. It has everything to lose by getting involved.

    After independence, we can provide them with the inspiration they badly need.

    But until then we must concentrate on our own goal which has eluded us for so long.

  99. a2 says:

    “the numbers just look a lot better.”

    Let’s not forget though that, unfortunately for them, labour are using Alistair Darling’s calculator.

  100. Capella says:

    @CameronB Brodie
    Well I’ve read through the Sarah Butler paper and agree that it does capture the attitude of the lawmakers of the time without specifically naming it as neo-liberal laissez-faire capitalism.

    Marx was a political economist. Far from being an anti-semite, his family were German Jews but his father converted to Protestantism to avoid persecution. Marx therefore had a secular education.

    Nor was he “reactionary”. He is arguably the most famous (or notorious) revolutionary in history!

  101. Hoss Mackintosh says:

    @Robert Peffers,

    Thanks for your wpost. That wise woman of ~ 100 years would have seen much in her lifetime. The start of the Labour movement, the 2 world wars, the founding of the NHS and welfare state and the fall and death of the Labour Party in Scotland.

    Ironic, how the Labour Party has deserted all its people and core voters all over the UK in a chase to win a few swings seats in Middle England.

    As Rev Stu (Great article- by the way) points out it would be easier to try to retain and extend their traditional left wing voter base but it does not like it is going to happen anytime soon. They are doomed for a generation or more.

  102. schrodingers cat says:

    @Say no to wind
    Why is it that wanting to do well for yourself is seen as a crime by some people? Do you not want to be successful? Or would you rather wallow in a pool of self pity?

    “do we want to be a society where each person is recognised? Where all are equal in worth and value. And where that value is not purely a monetary one. A society that is supportive, that is inclusive and compassionate. Where it is acknowledged that not all can prosper. Where those who are most vulnerable, most in need of help, are not seen as lazy, or scrounging, or robbing the rest of us for whatever they can get. Where we … we do not turn our backs on those facing hard times. We do not abandon them or exploit their weakness. Because they are us. If not now, then at some point, and inevitably, they are us”
    michael sheen

  103. ScottieDog says:

    Was commenting about the lost voters yesterday. could be argued that Corbyn would actually be best placed to save the union – from a strategists viewpoint.

    I really think however that the heart and soul of labour has been bought out by the city of London. A corporation the party vowed to abolish until john smith’s prawn cocktail revolution. The idea being to give the city what it wants in order to get elected. Boy did they ever.

  104. Effijy says:

    To give a balanced view, please feel free to give this a go BBC,
    Labour from the 1920’s up to 1970 did have working class members fighting for the benefit of the working classes.

    From there they became complacent and just focused on what do these Plebs need to hear in order to keep me in a cushy job until I retire.

    The shear incompetence and laziness of Labour allowed the Thatcher years to run and run and completely devastate UK society
    The Labour politicians survived quite well and didn’t share nor feel the Tory wrath on the Miners or the trade unionists.

    New Labour Killed and buried the essence of what true Labour stood for.

    They kept the McCrone report buried, buried the details about the Dunblane killer and senior Labour party members, buried the unreliability of reports concerning weapons of mass destruction and were quite happy to take us into illegal wars killing our soldiers, devastating the lives of Iraqi innocents, wasting £Billions that we could not afford.

    How about Labour in the referendum, Gordon Brown knew that Scottish pensions were guaranteed, if Scotland voted for independence, but chose to deliberately lie to our pensioners, without question from UK media.
    He lied about Scots being taken off transplant lists, lied about Scots not being given access to the Blood Transfusion service.

    For pity sake the man was a Prime Minister and he chose to repeatedly lie to the vulnerable for the sake of their old Westminster Pals, each taking turns to mismanage the country and fill their own pockets.

    Look at the number of times that Smurphy and Deputy Dug told us the Lie that only the party with the greatest number of seats
    could form the government, even though we had access to procession of senior figures who made the opposite statement in 2010 as they could then have formed government as the second largest party.

    How about the fake letters that Labour produced on their GE
    literature. Fake statements from fake supporters at fake address’
    on behalf of a fake party.

    How about Labour transparency? How many members do you have in Scotland? No reply for long enough before Lying Leader Smurphy
    plucked 20,000 out of fresh air, or triple the reality, which ever came first to his twisted mind.

    Maybe we should recall Labour retaining all of the anti-trade union measures brought in by Thatcher, perhaps Gordon Brown stopping final salary pensions and taking £10 Billion out of worker’s private pensions, maybe selling all UK Gold reserves
    before prices tripled, perhaps the 6,000 square miles of Scottish
    waters stolen and given to England without consultation or reasoning?

    How about the Labour leaders making enough money and putting any excess to good causes such as Food Banks? Not on your life!
    They can never get enough, even when they know that funds are finite and if money is flowing up to them it comes from the poor at the bottom. Multi Millionaires Kinnock, Blair, Browns, and Harman all very wealthy Tory types who get rich while the poor get poorer.

    No need for an extreme right UKIP, far right Tory, and as right as you want us to be, if we can have a job Labour Party.

    These clowns have earned our distrust and deserve to be wiped off the political map.

    Never ever will this former supporter believe or vote Labour!

  105. CameronB Brodie says:

    Thanks for reading the link I posted some time back, re. Karl’s baptism. Lets agree to differ re. him being an anti-Semitic reactionary or otherwise.

  106. Capella says:

    @ CameronB Brodie
    “He wasn’t exactly sympathetic to the ‘lower orders’.”

    So the man who wrote “Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains”, was unsympathetic to the lower orders?,_unite!

  107. red sunset says:

    @Ian Brotherhood
    Very dismayed to read what you say about the SSP being denied a speaker yesterday. Labour was conspicuous by its absence, notwithstanding a few visits seemingly by some of their “bigwigs”, not that I saw any of them right enough.

    What I saw was further proof that politics in Scotland has changed, finally passed that tipping point, and the reality now is indy politics. Lots of Yes, SNP, various Socialists, even got buttonholed by a Communist. Now there’s a blast from the past these days. They’re still active in Glasgow, must keep in touch.

    Kudos to Ronnie and the Wings contingent, and other groups such as friends of Palestine. But again I say, Labour was conspicuous by its absence. (Hope you got some of the Jaffa Cakes Ronnie 🙂 )

    Good comments on the same subject, and you’re absolutely right : “After independence, we can provide them with the inspiration they badly need.

    But until then we must concentrate on our own goal which has eluded us for so long.”

  108. Petra says:

    Ian (Brotherhood) the SNP were denied the opportunity to present a speaker at the rally on Saturday too and there were some excellent people there such as Phillipa Whitford, Tommy Sheppard and Mhairi Black to name but a few.

  109. Capella says:

    @ CameronB Brodie
    Sorry – cross post there. Yes let’s agree to disagree. I would recommend David Harvey’s lectures on Marx for anyone who wants to understand what it’s all about. You won’t find it on the BBC!

  110. Robert Peffers says:

    @James Sneddon says: 21 June, 2015 at 4:05 pm:

    ” … If the expectations of the non rich are to be represented a new party has to established. Whether by the unions and/or a jointy left/green coalition, it’s up to our friends down south to do it.”

    Oh! Come on, James. Wise up. If you were plotting to dominate a whole country and you had unlimited funds, were the Establishment that included the main political parties, the media, the higher education system, the legal system, armed forces, civil service and main religious bodies.

    When you also controlled the security services and the police would you find it too hard to infiltrate any body of people that opposed you?

    Remember the undercover agents in Northern Ireland? Remember those women who had children by undercover agents in such organisations as Animal Rights Activist groups, CND and so on.

    Do you think for a moment the independence parties have not been infiltrated too? I think the Labour party, the co-op and the trade unions have all been more or less taken over by the Establishment many years ago.

  111. CameronB Brodie says:

    The “dangerous class”, [lumpenproletariat] the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.

    Let’s not disrupt the thread.

  112. Dr Jim says:

    Hate to seem like a moron but I wasn’t able to attend the rally yesterday but I’m hearing and reading confusing stories as to who was running it and why there was exclusion of some people
    Could any of you who were there enlighten me properly as to what was really happening

  113. CameronB Brodie says:

    Oops. Just spotted your cross-post post. Sorry.

  114. CameronB Brodie says:

    P.S. I do have a lot of time for David Harvey. 😉

  115. Robert Peffers says:

    I would think that if Genghis Khan were to come back to life in the England today he would be hard pressed to find a party far enough to the left to lend his support to.

  116. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Petra (10.06) –

    Fair shout. We all stick up for our respective teams. To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about whether or not other ‘parties’ were overtly represented.

    Does beg an obvious question though – if someone like Phillipa Whitford (who I did see chatting to folk in the crowd) can’t be given a couple of minutes to let the crowd acknowledge her historic win in Ayrshire Central (whereby the wretched Donohoe was finally lobbed overboard) then there is something fundellymundelly wrong with the organisers’ perception of the post-ref/GE mood. I’m sure she would’ve been given one of the biggest cheers of the day.

    And the ubiquitous Cat Boyd (who I admire hugely) gets star billing because, er, she’s not in a ‘political party’? Is that the reasoning? If so, it’s retarded, and workers paying dues to any of the relevant Unions should kick up hell about it.

  117. ScottieDog says:

    Had we a more traditional Labour Party (I’m not going to mention Left leaning any more ) we would most definitely see a fairer debate in the media just due to sheer weight of numbers. Alas I think that is gone.

    As an example of media indoctrination I’ll share a story. I was with a colleague who moved up here a couple of years ago from down south. Did rather well in trading property down there and moving to a nice part up here and speculating on property up here. His good lady had a job in the arts. He’s a young guy, good at his job, intelligent. I respect him.

    I was asking about how many months funding her organisation had (notoriously uncertain field). He remarked 2-3 years. I said that this was pretty fantastic in the scheme of things.
    Then came the haymaker..
    “As long as the Nats don’t get involved”
    Being pretty sure that this was certainly part scot gov funded, I asked “isn’t this a Scottish government funded function?”
    The reply, “maybe the money they get given then. I mean they’re good at spending the money of others. Independence would be a disaster”
    I was pretty much taken aback. Probably because I credited the individual with more wisdom and intellect than he had. His next comment was that now would be a good time to go plunder Greece.

    It reminded me of a phrase Noam Chomsky used “The Brainwashed Middle Class”. It being the key to controlling a nation.

    It’s so sad that labour have fallen in line with the right wing media Mantra and it makes our job all the harder. Labour will argue the need to move forward to embrace capitalism. Yet we don’t practice capitalism in the UK.
    Capitalism surely involves capital, yet the centrepiece of our economy is the issue of debt based simply on numbers created in a computer. Capitalism without capital. We have a huge current account deficit – where the country’s wealth disappears overseas, a fire sale of assets, a rapidly growing private debt to GDP ratio (the cause of 2008 recession) and a government that are going to destroy the economy by extracting money when economic demand is already negative.

    There is no such thing as free market when the govt sanctions the intervention of the central bank to create £375 BN out of thin air to pump into an ailing stock exchange. A benefit welcomed by the richest households who own the most stocks, whilst its poorest citizens literally starve to death.
    Rather than free market competition, that strikes me more as a twisted form of socialist policy

    Yet we have a phenomenal propaganda machine which tells ‘intelligent’ individuals, like my colleague, that London provides. Despite the fact that our taxes underwrite its misdemeanors – including almost 1 Trillion in bets on commodities (derivatives) and we bail out financial institutions which have the incredible privilege of being allowed to create money, yet use it destructively on asset speculation and housing bubbles. £190 000 000 flows daily into the city of London in interest payments all from money typed into existence.

    We’re not capitalist. We spent the last 30 years destroying capital and creating a money issuance cartel of aristocracy. Yet their media machine continues to do a sterling job. Pardon the pun.

  118. heedtracker says: No mention of SNP or Scotland at all on this pretty creepy show, but nothing happened last week for Scotland at Westminster did it.

    Interminably dreary grovel thing over retiring at 90 year old toryboy Lord fossil of UKOK decades, Thatcher was a genius, a goddess, master of all men, usual awful BBC r4 shite.

    So that’s the next five teamGB longest days/BBC years, bump along with blackout Scotland in England, monster Scottish democracy in their Scotland region, creepy old phoney prog/liberal the Graun wet farts occasional bleh “Until then, this SNP government will be remembered always as being the most socially progressive-sounding party we have ever had in a country that always talked a good game. Fair and equal Scotland, my arse.”

    So on that one ukok shill’s saggy mottled old buttocks bomhshell. have a great week Scotland. If you do ever get mentioned again in England, sorry Britain, I’ll let you know. Remember, SNP bad.

  119. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi Andy Nimmo.

    Methinks, perchance, that you may be a spaewife, who is masquerading on t’interweb as a male of the species, to gain gravitas.

    You don’t fool me! A prescient blog…


    Someone else (MoJo?) mentioned the phrase, “Scottish enlightenment”.

    I think the 21st Century Scottish Enlightenment started sometime after the announcement of the Independence Referendum date. It built up slowly but by 18th September 2014, it was almost there but not quite.

    The enlightenment of the Scottish people can only increase, as I believe we are past the tipping point of ‘mouth to mouth’ communication. Too many Scots (including former Labour voters who have seen the light) are becoming aware of the $h!† we are fed by the MSM and have stopped being believers.

    They are passing their concerns onto others, via blethers at work, in the pub, and so on.

    We will NOT need a two year campaign for the next IndyRef – 5 or 6 months should do it.

    How about 1st January 2018 as Scottish Independence Day?

  120. Capella says:

    @ CameronB Brodie
    I don’t think it really is off topic so much.
    One of the dangers of a dead-in-the-water Labour party is that many poor, badly educated, disenfranchised people will be drawn into the reactionary right wing arms of EDL, BNP, UKIP etc. So your quote above is very much to the point:
    “its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.”

    This is one of the lessons of Nazi Germany.

  121. ClanDonald says:

    @briandoonthetoon: so you think male contributers have more gravitas than female ones, do you?

    No wonder we still have to keep up the fight for equality with attitudes like yours still around.

  122. Tam Jardine says:

    Ian Brotherhood

    Pretty dismal if what you say is true. Whenever I hear of the feuds and turmoil in the real left of Scotland It just makes me so jaded and I curl up in my SNP bunker. The indyref brought the working people of this country together and the broad church of the yes campaign was truly refreshing.

    I loved campaigning alongside Greens and SSP and trades unionists and still feel the whole movement should have just merged into a massive force to keep fighting.

    But politics is like banging a cat in the ass as Bukowski said.

    Re labour’s failure to appeal to people who could actually elect them, I wonder if we fail to understand their purpose. As a candidate you attempt to get elected or reelected. For SNP MPs I trust (and hope) that is just the beginning of their ambitions and the real work starts when they are elected.

    If I was a labour member/msp/mp I would be raging against the dying of the light and furious with the state of the party, desperate to change tack, change philosophy, change personnel and recapture the imagination of the public. I would be distraught at the tory ascendancy and desperate to change it up.

    But I am not a labour politician. If they have survived the public vote it seems to be a nice job for 5 years. No wonder there are so few candidates for leader, especially in Scotland. How many look at the fate of Jim Murphy and think “nah – not for me”. Easier to keep the head down and keep earning.

    Can it be they want to govern the UK but in the way one mibbe wants a new motor. These are not leaders of men… They are simply weak humans.

    And this army of survivors is the bulwark against the plague that is descending on us from the home counties?? God help the poor. God help us all

  123. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Och ClanDonald, you typed,

    so you think male contributers have more gravitas than female ones, do you?

    Dinna be so sensitive. I think no such thing. I didn’t even type that.

    I was merely trying to convey the way that the MSM tends to portray stereotypical beliefs, not my own beliefs.

    Did you not notice the wee specky smiley at the end of the post?

    Sorry you didn’t get it.


  124. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Tam Jardine (12.12) –

    Having read your comment carefully, I guess that you are sympathetic to socialism generally, but scunnered by the behaviour of those who have been most prominent in trying to advance the cause in Scotland.

    I can’t offer much by way of consolation except to say this – many of my generation (I’m 52) waited decades before committing ourselves to any activism because the Left seemed – no, was – so utterly shambolic. We found a voice in the SSP, which had successfully united various factions. It worked. We had, what, six MSPs at one point?

    And then it all went haywire, for reasons which are still ‘controversial’.

    They’re not ‘controversial’ to those who know what really happened.

    The same person who did so much to bring ‘socialism’ into mainstream public debate in Scotland is the same person who has managed (intentionally or not) to set it back by twenty years. If that person would only have the decency to take his ego away from the movement, we could all get on. As things stand, an unbridgeable gulf remains.

    No-one will ever know the full story, and it’s unlikely that any of us would ever relish hearing the full sordid details. In the meantime, the Tories, secure in their WM bubble, can shaft us endlessly in the knowledge that the Scottish ‘Left’ remains divided and impotent.

    In any event, please be assured that the SSP, for better or worse, will never ever succumb to any leadership cultism. (Once bitten, twice shy an aw that, eh?…)


  125. heedtracker says:

    One one more from Graun, poor Nick Robinson says Alex Salmond attacked him. No mention of poor Nick blatant lies on BBC news though, oddly enough. Wonder why such an honest and noble BBC journalist would leave out what he left out of his national BBC tv news blast.

    So from here

    to here

    “The row flared up after his story about RBS’s threats to move out of Scotland. Salmond, then leader of the SNP, attacked Robinson at the start of a press conference which led to a BBC inquiry and Robinson admitting that he could have chosen his words “more carefully”.

    “What everyone was ignoring was that he picked the fight not me, it was a deliberate attempt to wrongfoot and unnerve, if not me, then my bosses in order to alter the coverage.”

    No Salmond didn’t and Nick chose his words very carefully.

    Scottish history written by British liars.

  126. kininvie says:


    I’m not, as you well know, a socialist. But I’m a huge admirer of the way your party fought for Yes. To be shut out by the STUC should actually be a badge of pride. Because you were shut out for being pro-indy…

    The STUC will change. It will have to. You, I hope, won’t.

  127. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi Kininvie.

    What stood out to me, in George Square on Saturday, was the number of Saltires and Yes Saltires, on rather long flagpoles, being flown.

    We are not going away… The lid is off the box.

  128. Betty Craney says:

    Monday night BBC1 ” The Fall of Labour “

  129. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @kininvie (1.03) –


    Means a lot mister. Cheers amuch!

  130. DrewSword says:

    And don’t bother coming to Australia to improve yer lot.
    Exactly the same two parties here- a Lib /Nat coalition -whose treasurer famously said ‘it doesn’t hurt the poor if we raise petrol prices they don’t drive cars’ and a Labor party in opposition tearing itself apart because of corruption.
    Honestly where does the ordinary punter turn to for an anti austerity moderately left party.
    Oh yea you;ve got the SNP. hOLD ON TO THE SNP until something better comes along,

  131. Petra says:

    I wonder if Cameron, Osborne, Johnston, Mundell et al were peering out of the windows and wondering if they were watching a re-run of Zulu, lol.

    It looks as though the English and Welsh are united with the Scots in putting up a fight against draconian Tory policies. That just leaves the Labour Party. Time for them to get off their butts and earn their lucrative wages never mind their exorbitant expense claims.

    March Against Austerity | London | 250,000 people

    Anti-Austerity Protest – London 20/06/2015 – [Crowd Time-Lapse]

    Jeremy Corbyn MP – People’s Assembly Against Austerity March

    @ Ian Brotherhood says at 8:59pm ‘Yesterday, at the STUC rally, the SSP was denied the opportunity to present a speaker. The SSP was a sponsor of the event. Almost five hours worth of non-stop music and speeches, and they couldn’t allow any of the SSP’s many excellent speakers to get onstage and give the crowd our take on what’s happening?’

    Ian there was a number of SNP MPs at the rally on Saturday: Including great speakers such as Tommy Sheppard and Phillipa Whitford. As far as I could make out no Labour, SSP or SNP councilors or MPs were asked to make a speech. The speeches were made by ‘Union’ people such as leaders or striking union members.

  132. frogesque says:

    Re rally, it was a Union(ist) London rally with a Scottish branch subset.

    Nothing changes

  133. Alt Clut says:

    First comment for many months.

    I was a Labour voter, in England, for forty five years. I moved back to Scotland two and a half years ago and quickly got active in both the YES campaign and the SNP.

    For a couple of years I, sort of, subscribed to the idea of pointing out the opportunities for Labour to make something worthwhile of itself by moving to the left rather than the right but frankly they have had their chances on that and consistently refused to take them.

    I now think that we are better employed simply continuing to provide a better voice for social democratic ideas through the SNP. In parallel with this the SNP needs to take opportunities to support like thinking people in rUK in building alternative voices to Labour outside Scotland.

    There comes a point in the decline of political parties where continuing to point out their shortcomings just flatters their declining importance. Let’s put our weight behind replacing Labour – the time for reform is long past !

  134. andy nimmo says:

    Heah heah. Lol.
    No sorry. Very well said. Too much preaching to the converted. Let’s try preaching to the convertible.

  135. Helena Brown says:

    Petra, why would they let anyone from the Independence side say anything, we were supposed to vanish. I am still waiting on the Unions learning any lessons from recent history, that Labour gave them anything they so well paid for. Talk about beating your head against a brick wall, then they wonder why they have a headache.

  136. Capella says:

    BBC Call Kaye now discussing Kezia Dugdale’s proposal to scrap charitable status for private schools. And so the interminable Labour leadership contest drags on and on. Radio back to default setting -off.

  137. CameronB Brodie says:

    Capella @ 11:50 pm.
    Agreed, though I’m not sure if that leaves much room for the betterment of the human condition. It may be realistic but possibly a bit fatalistic as well. I’d like to hope there is always the potential of a better tomorrow.

  138. Petra says:

    Tories forcing non EEA nurses to return home: Another cruel and hair-brained scheme due to be implemented by the Tories.

    Priti Patel, Employment Minister, was questioned about this issue this morning and responded with the usual waffle which included their plans to train local people (indigenous) to nurse in our hospitals.

    Her parents fled Uganda in the 1960s and were fortunate enough to arrive in the UK at a time when such restrictions weren’t placed on immigrants. Many of these nurses will be returned to poverty stricken countries that totally ignore human rights. I just wonder how her life would have turned out if her parents, due to a lack of money, had been sent back to a Uganda controlled by the murderous Idi Amin?

    And while I’m on the subject where did they pluck this figure from? It doesn’t relate to the UK average wage which has now fallen to £23,000. I also know of many people who are earning less than half that amount (£35,000) in Scotland.

    ‘New immigration rules that mean migrants must be earning £35,000 or more to stay in the UK after six years will cost millions of pounds to the NHS and compromise patient safety, a nurses’ union has warned.

    The new measures, which apply to people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and are due to come into effect next year, will force thousands of nurses to return to their own country, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said. It warned this will intensify the severe shortage of nurses in the UK and leave hospitals with nothing to show for the millions of pounds spent on recruiting them.

    The RCN has calculated that up to 3,365 nurses currently working in the UK will potentially be affected, who will have cost the NHS £20.19 million in recruiting them.

    It added that if international recruitment stays the same as it is now, by 2020 the number of nurses affected by the threshold will be 6,620, employed at a cost of £39.7 million. And if workforce pressures force a higher rate of international recruitment, the number of nurses affected could be 29,755, costing more than £178.5 million to recruit.

    Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “The immigration rules for health care workers will cause chaos for the NHS and other care services. At a time when demand is increasing, the UK is perversely making it harder to employ staff from overseas.”

    A Home Office spokesman said: “As the Prime Minister has made clear, the Government wants to reduce the demand for migrant labour…… Employers have had since 2011 to prepare for the possibility their non-EEA workers may not meet the required salary threshold to remain in the UK permanently.”‘

  139. Capella says:

    In a blog about the Greek problem, looking at how France dealt with reparations, the following quote was interesting:

    “The Third Republic that emerged after the war embarked on an ambitious programme of reforms, introduced banks, built schools (reducing illiteracy), improved roads, spreading railways into rural areas, encouraged industry and promoted French national identity rather than regional identities. France also reformed the army, adopting conscription.”

    Note that the desire to promote a French national identity (as opposed to regional identities) went along with nation wide improvements. Here, the unionists seem to demand national identity while funnelling all the wealth to one region.

  140. Mosstrooper says:

    How will this “repatriation” scheme affect Scotland’s independent NHS and where did this wage of £35,000 come from?

  141. ronnie anderson says:

    Dogs breakfast on Camerons child care policy.

  142. Petra says:

    @ Helena Brown says at 9:11 says ”Petra, why would they let anyone from the Independence side say anything, we were supposed to vanish. I am still waiting on the Unions learning any lessons from recent history, that Labour gave them anything they so well paid for. Talk about beating your head against a brick wall, then they wonder why they have a headache.”

    Yeah I was just pointing out to Ian that there were no speakers representing any political party as such (Councillors / MPs) …. not withstanding the connection between Labour and the Unions.

    The rally was focused on austerity measures and changes to Union rights. The square was filled with SNP, SSP, Green supporters and so on. We were there because we’re concerned about these issues too. They seem to want their ‘cake and eat it’. Still don’t get it! The place would have been empty if SSP, SNP and the Greens hadn’t turned up. Around 20 SNP MPs were there. You’d think that Labour / the Unions would take the advice Tommy Sheppard gave to them during his Maiden Speech ….”Get over it”.

  143. Fred says:

    I won’t be watching Jackie Bird’s Slab greetin-meetin tonight, it will be collective haun-wringin all round, spiced up by gravitas from the Lords and utter shite from Brian Wilson. Like the Tories Slab will probably always be with us but the people have spoken, what’s the point in galvanising the corpse.

  144. Robert Peffers says:

    @Hoss Mackintosh says: 21 June, 2015 at 9:47 pm:

    ” … As Rev Stu (Great article- by the way) points out it would be easier to try to retain and extend their traditional left wing voter base.”

    The thing that saddened me was the old lady couldn’t trust any other party after what she obviously felt was being abandoned by Labour. Other things she spoke of indicated much of her life was bound up with the miners union, the co-op movement including the co-op bank and, around this area too, the Gothenburg Society.

    Every aspect of life in fact. Her feelings seemed to be that the people had built up the whole system then seen the system break apart as Labour, as a party, saw itself above and as no longer part of the people.

  145. Petra says:

    @ Mosstrooper @ 9:57 am says ”Petra How will this “repatriation” scheme affect Scotland’s independent NHS and where did this wage of £35,000 come from?”

    Mosstrooper I reckon that this will come under the auspices of the DWP, not the NHS so our nurses will be sent home too. Someone may correct me if I’m wrong.

    They’ve mentioned non-EEA nurses but are they planning to send all non-EEA workers home if they’re earning less than £35,000? Individuals from all over the World, not just 3rd World countries but the US, Australia and so on. We’ll be hearing what Nicola has to say about this, no doubt.

    These people must be living on a knife edge as are the millions in this country who are unemployed, earning poor wages, on zero hour contracts, mentally and physically ill, disabled and so on. Absolutely horrendous and they don’t seem to have any insight into the fact that the NHS budget (with money being the name of the game for them) is being hammered due to millions suffering from depression and anxiety.

    I’ve got no idea where the figure of £35,000 came from Mosstrooper. Maybe they sat round a table and plucked a figure from a hat or decided to go for 50% of what they earn? Who knows what makes them tick other than lining their own pockets. And to think that we have to put up with this for at least another five years. It makes me feel sick just thinking about it.

  146. Nana Smith says:

    Capella, callmedave, croopenstein, Ronnie, Fred, Les Wilson and anyone I’ve missed out I just wanted to thank you for your kind wishes.

  147. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Not getting notified of new posts. Don’t know how to fix it

  148. Fred says:

    Good to have you back Nana.:)

  149. Capella says:

    @ nana
    glad to see you posting again. Missed your excellent links service!

    Re nurses, the National has a good article on the issue. It is the immigration rules of the Home Office which are the crucial ones and yes these affect Scotland as this isn’t a devolved matter:

  150. Nana Smith says:

    Spotted this article last evening and think you will enjoy reading. Scottish indy from an Englishman’s view.

  151. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi Ronnie.

    Your link to the ‘Hands Off Holyrood’ page worked fine. By Jove, I think you’ve got it!

    But the page is back to showing,

    4 July at 06:00–09:00

  152. Dr Jim says:

    Kevin (Can’t make my mind up) McKenna touting himself as Kezia’s campaign manager this morning

    What’s in a name Labour, Tory, Left, Right It’s all become a blur like an old Tatoo
    When you first get one it’s shiny and fresh and you keep your sleeve rolled up so folk can see it
    After a while only the odd person mentions it and then one day it’s a bit difficult to make out but you still remember what it was

    Politics is now the old Tatoo it’s a hazy remembrance of something once stood for
    It’s maybe time for those with their fading art work they had done because all their pals did to get a new one

    It’s not the name of the political party that counts it’s the names of the people in it

  153. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Ian Brotherhood at 12.49

    Nothing honours persons more than difficult but appropriate and much needed apologies.

  154. schrodingers cat says:

    Ian Brotherhood

    i did wonder about the speakers, the compare (roz moir??)said the there were speakers that voted no, which seems a bit hypocritical for them to be now calling for us all to unite and oppose tory austerity, and the FBU, a labour socialist values spokeswomen?? was booed by the crowd.

    the scottish trade unionists, during the ref, some supported yes, some were luke warm, some supported no and were down right sleekit with it.
    Had these no supporting TU’s advertised their attendance, position etc before sats rally, im not sure how many people would have shown up, the crowd looked suspiciously like yesindy supporters.

    i do not pretend to know the intricasies of the various factions with in the scottish socialist movement( i have fallen foul of misidentifing factions before 🙁 ) . What I do know is, RIC, alan grogan, tommy sheridan, colin fox etc, have all been an invaluable boost for the indy movement and that, come may 2016, they will be rewarded with representation in holyrood

    I disagree with your ire being pointed at individuals withing the organisation, it should be pointed at the NOTW and the MSM, they are our real enemy, isnt that what stu is highlighting in his articles here on wings? I hope having some high profile msps will help to bring unity and heal old wounds, this will be good for the scottish socialist movement and the indy movement too.

  155. schrodingers cat says:


    The 3rd Republic collapsed in 1940,
    The 4th Republic ran from 1946-58
    The 5th Republic is still running

    proving that the french are even more divided than the scottish socialists 🙂

  156. Legerwood says:

    Petra @10.30 am

    It is all EU workers who are earning less than £35,000 after 6 years in the UK.

    The articles about it today are highlighting nurses because the Royal College of Nursing has issued a statement about it.

    The Guardian is also reporting the story.

  157. Macnakamura says:

    Catherine McLeod on GMS thinks that Labour’s love in withe Tories during Better Together is not a factor in the downfall.
    Quelle surprise, Madame Ambassadeur !
    Better Together led by Alistair Darling who, whilst Chancelor, had a speech writer and advisor called Catherine McLeod.

  158. Brian Powell says:

    I find it interesting that the SNP managed to get 56 MPs, and looks like having 56-60% of vote in Hollyrood GE16, while all but two of the newspapers, the UK and Scottish establishment politicians and BBC are on the other side.

  159. Capella says:

    Oops – George Galloway making a film called “The Killing of Tony Blair”. With Chilcot kicked even further into the long grass it may be time to make our own inquiry?
    Max Keiser interview here:

  160. schrodingers cat says:

    the 4th republic
    also reformed the army, adopting conscription.”

    Note that the desire to promote a French national identity (as opposed to regional identities)

    the desire was to promote a french “resistence” identity a plan which orwell’s winston of 1984 would have been proud of. the reform of the army included disbanding all of the units which fought for the 3rd republic of france and removing their pensions.
    there was one vichy french unit (6 REG) which was recreated in the 80’s, by mistake i may add, but was disbanded in the early 90’s. their veterans from wwII have never received a sous from the french government.

  161. Capella says:

    @ shrodingers cat
    It is sad that the socialists have devoted so much time to fighting among themselves. The Establishment will be delighted. But what about all these French Republics! Is it time for the 1st Scottish republic?

  162. schrodingers cat says:

    the ambitious programme of reforms…. also included re nationalisation of renault, a punishment for renault building tiger II tanks for the wermacht during the war …

  163. ronnie anderson says:

    @ BrianDTT 10.51. Dont you go confuddlin me its the 4th July 14.00 – 17.00.

    Dont be to jubilant Moira McWilliams sent me the direct link ha ha ,copy paste job.& a couple of hours enjoying the Evening in Edinburgh.

  164. schrodingers cat says:

    Is it time for the 1st Scottish republic?

    im with you on that Capella, apparently it only needs 2 to start a revolution or another faction of the scottish socialist movement….:)

  165. Capella says:

    @ shrodingers cat
    Should have made clear- the French reparations I mentioned above followed their defeat in the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871).

  166. jackie g says:

    Oh Dear:

    Cameron: UK must tackle ’causes not symptoms’ of low pay

    Can anyone get their head round that cause i am stumpted.

    FFS 😕

  167. jackie g says:

    Cameron: UK must tackle ’causes not symptoms’ of low pay

    This is from the Institute for Fiscal Studies on what the tories have planned for the welfare state.

    :Working-age benefits and tax credits will be frozen for two years, saving an estimated £1bn

    :The benefits cap will be reduced from £26,000 to £23,000, saving an estimated £150m

    :18-21 year olds jobseekers will not be able to claim housing benefit, saving an estimated £120m.

    :Experts say £10.5bn of the government’s planned £12bn cuts by 2017-8 have yet to be identified.

    Other options include:

    :Reducing the per-child element of child tax credits, in real terms, to 2003-4 levels could save about £5bn. It would see 3.7 million families lose, on average, about £1,400 a year.

    :Restrict per-child element of child tax credits to families with two children could save an estimated £3.3bn.

    :Limiting cuts to child tax credits to non-working families by reimbursing those in work through the Universal Credit system could save an estimated £2.5bn.

    :Reducing work allowances for families with children to same levels as families without children could save an estimated £3.3bn.

    :Cutting the Local Housing Allowance element of housing benefit for private sector tenants could save an estimated £400m.

    :Requiring all LHA claimants to contribute to their rent could save an estimated £900m a year.

    :Requiring social housing tenants to contribute to their rent, allied to further cuts in their benefit, could save £1.6bn a year.

    :Abolishing housing benefit for all under-25s could save £1.5bn, affecting about 300,000 people.

    :Taxing personal independent payments could save an estimated £900m a year. Taxing the attendance allowance could save an estimated £600m.

    Abolishing the carer’s allowance completely could save a reported £1bn a year.

    :Abolishing contributory jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and employment and support allowance (ESA) could save £1.3bn.

    :Increased means-testing of Universal Credit could save an estimated £2bn.

    Read it and weep folks..

  168. Luigi says:

    Never mind Jackie, they saved the bankers, Oops I mean the banks!

  169. andy nimmo says:

    From what I can gather, the working poor if they’re on a fixed contract can top up their pittances by claiming Tax Credits. Asthese credits come from the Welfare Budgets, to eliminate the need, he is planning on forcing companies who use slave labour to increase the basic rate they pay their staff.
    (stolen from the SNP).
    As a high percentage of these companies are service providers eg Serco and Capita who ensured the people at the top earned megabucks by undercutting their competitors by providing staff cheaply…neo liberalism or free enterprise at work, I don’t think they’ll be too enamoured of this.
    Still waiting for the sting in the tail

  170. Petra says:

    @ Capella 10:40am … Thanks for the link.

    @ Legerwood says at 11:25 am ”Petra it is all EU workers who are earning less than £35,000 after 6 years in the UK. The articles about it today are highlighting nurses because the Royal College of Nursing has issued a statement about it. The Guardian is also reporting the story.”

    Legerwood I see the National is reporting that the Tories are planning to increase the threshold for all non-EEA workers to £35,000pa (earning around £17 per hour) from 2016, that is unless they are employed in an occupation that is classified as being ‘shortage of’.

    I wonder what Ruth Davidson, at the Scottish Branch Office, will have to say about this? She’s always bleating on about the ‘crisis hit’ NHS in Scotland and laying the blame on Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

    Additionally David Cameron has some nerve saying that ”the increased thresholds will stop foreign nationals undercutting British workers’ wages.” Does he have any idea what millions of workers in the UK are actually earning PA? What planet are they on?

    They spend millions carrying out research relating to welfare spending, how to cut benefits and so on. The simple answer is to do away with zero hour contracts and pay UK workers a decent minimum wage of at least £10.00 an hour (£20,800pa). If they did that they would find that they could cut out some benefits altogether, they would claw in more in tax and millions of people would have more money to spend which would kick start us getting out of this economic rut.

    ‘NEW UK Government plans for increased thresholds on migrant earnings could compromise patient safety and cost the NHS tens of millions of pounds, a leading nursing union has warned.

    The new immigration measures, which apply to people from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), specify that migrants must be earning at least £35,000 a year to stay in the UK for more than six years, meaning thousands of nurses would have to return to their home countries.

    The Tier 2 visa system currently dictates that applicants wishing to stay for longer than six years must have been offered a job with a salary of at least £20,800, although for some professions the figure is already more than £30,000.

    If the threshold is raised to £35,000, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) claims NHS SCOTLAND could lose hundreds of staff when it says the seven-day health service is already at risk …… Despite calls from both sides of the Border, the UK Government has refused to place nursing on the Shortage Occupation List, which would allow incoming migrants to bypass the salary thresholds due to an immediate demand for workers.

    Laying out the plans during Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron said the increased thresholds would stop foreign nationals undercutting British workers’ wages………

    He added: “The recruitment and retention of staff in NHS Scotland is a matter for individual boards and the Scottish Government has no central policy on the recruitment of staff outwith the UK. Immigration is a reserved matter, and Scotland must comply with the UK Government on all immigration rules.”

  171. Freedom Lover says:

    This article is beautifully brimming with hearfelt humanity- in sharp contrast to the savage bitterness of your Daily Mail detractors: this article ought to be shown to all those Unionist hatemongers who continually traduce & defame your character & the very ethos of this great site. A curse on all the houses of these establishment lacky slanderers. As for Corbyn he merely represents common sense. He’s no radical. The Establishment-Media & certain sections of the British electorate have moved so far to the right that they no longer live in a world where common sense has any currency. This when you live in an alternate universe where a one bed studio flat ( a glorified bedsit) in Kings Cross is valued at a million quid or a 5 bed flat in Mayfair is upwards of 30 million or even ex-local authority houses in Kingston Upon Thames are even fetching a million. This is a world gone seriously awry. Mendaciously skewed by government policy for the benefit of a relatively small percentage of the population. This ain’t gonna change any time soon as the great Boris’ sell off where any asset not nailed down is sold off to Billionaire ‘investors’- & of course with such high demand for ‘investment’ its no surprise the poor are being systemically decanted from inner London at such an alarming rate. A system designed to exclude the mass disenfranchised will not survive excess external pressures- riots, social unrest & direct political engagement are all inevitable. The rich are too closed off in their arrogant bubbles to see any of this of course & greed doesn’t always yield easily to reason.

  172. IanH says:

    This IanH is a lifelong Scottish independence supporter

    muttley79 says:
    21 June, 2015 at 5:25 pm
    “establishing a party called the Socialist National Party is perhaps not a good idea given the precedent of National Socialism in Germany”

    I chose that specific phrasing as it would project a UK identity easy for anyone south of the border to identify with. I don’t know the full history of those political parties, but after a quick check I could not see any direct link with “Socialist National” (in that word order).

    I am sure there would be attempts to discredit any party which was left of centre and close links to the SNP.

    My vision was for independent reps to say that they want to stand in an English/Welsh constituency on an SNP ticket.
    The party politics/manifesto would be tied closely to the Scottish National Parties trident/scottish independence etc and anti-austerity

    A party for everyone but who would represent the constituents first, party second.
    Fixed term MP for a 5 year period in any constituent.
    Should they wish to pursue another 5 year term then they take part in elections/hustings for a new constituent. Then they would be voted in again based on performance

  173. t42 says:

    O/T project fear over Greece EU exit at the pro-EU bbc.

    Greece holds *critical* debt talks.
    Greece faces a *crucial* 24 hours, as an *emergency* EU summit in Brussels tries to *break the deadlock* on the country’s debt *crisis*.

    from same front page:
    *Will Greek crisis affect your holiday?*


  174. Petra says:

    @ Nana 10:48 … Thanks for the link of an Englishman doing his homework Nana …. a Yes Ambassador from south of the boarder.

    I came across a couple of interesting comments in his article.

    ”So I began to dig a little deeper on the issue of oil, I soon found out that over the past 30 years Scotland has produced more oil than Dubai and Abu Dhabi combined.”


    ” By now it was approaching September and I found out my local MP was paying young people from the area I live in to go up to Scotland to support the No vote using taxpayers money, I was disgusted!”

    Now I know that English people were getting bused up here to support the no campaign last year but I also know that some (many?) English people were renting a place, short term holiday, to enable them to vote here. For example I spoke to a couple of young English girls in Largs prior to the 18th September and they told me that they had been advised, and supported financially, to rent an apartment in Ayrshire. I asked who had advised them but of course got nowhere with that.

    If I had my way I would make many changes to the Referendum Electoral Rules but I know that just wont happen. What should be done however is fixing the time limit for residency to at least two years, banning votes being sent from holiday home addresses, encouraging people not to use postal votes and carrying out exit polls.

  175. Robert Peffers says:

    @Capella says: 22 June, 2015 at 11:38 am:

    “It is sad that the socialists have devoted so much time to fighting among themselves. The Establishment will be delighted.”

    Indeed so, Capella. The Establishment are right to be delighted as they have succeeded in splitting the Scottish Socialist Movement. As the Establishment has always done with those who would threaten the Establishment’s grip upon Britain since ever there was an Establishment.

    The saddest part is that the movement not only fell for the Establishment’s actions but they have not yet awoken to the fact that there are Establishment undercover agents among them. Remember that such organs as Animal Rights Activists were infiltrated and some of their female members had children to the undercover agents and in at least one case ended up bigamously married and had children with UK Government agents.

    I’d be very surprised if there are not such agents within the SNP and every other Scottish independence group. For heaven’s sake William Patterson & Daniel Defoe are proven Westminster undercover agents during the Establishment’s push to force Scotland into the Union in the first place. Defoe’s letters back to Westminster are on record and the originals can still be read. Here is a link to a biography of Defoe : –

    If that fails try the archived linl : –

    You will note that the original link to this article in Wikipedia did not work as it has been changed under the recent law that allows folk to have Google links removed.

    So my link to it takes you to just one part of the original cached version. Now just who do you imagine has an interest in suppressing the truth about a long dead Westminster Establishment Spy?
    The archive link also goes to the middle of Defoe’s original biography. You can scroll up and read the whole biography.

  176. If anyone wants to see an example of dirty tricks as well as spies within the ranks of the SNPwhat Robert Peffers says have a look at this Facebook Site/group.

    ”Scottish Unilateral Declaration of Independence Movement”

    Its a closed group so might have to join to view it, you could then leave when you have seen enough. The agent provocateurs are stoking the fire and fanning the flames of discontent with the SNP.

    I think it could be a set up from 77 Brigade.

  177. Capella says:

    @ Robert Peffers
    The first wiki link did work when I clicked it a few minutes ago. But it is as well to archive important links just in case. The 77th Brigade must be doing something with their time!

    I did know about Daniel Defoe’s spying activities. In fact I read once that Queen Elizabeth’s spy master, Walsingham, ran thousands of spies all over the world. Staying on top is a costly business.

    I agree that there will be many dark players trying to manipulate public opinion and undermine the credibility of the Independence movement. Let’s hope the majority stay aware and avoid being seduced into silly behaviour.

  178. Legerwood says:


    Sorry my mistake. I meant to write all ‘non-EU’ workers but was doing it in a rush and did not read it over before hitting submit.

    On BBC news tonight it was said that ‘experts’ had advised that nursing did not need to be on the list of occupations protected from the new rules.

    I wonder if banking is on the protected list?

  179. Frank Kemp says:

    Excellent article.

    However, I cannot agree that the current Tory government is capable of looking after a Goldfish.

    Austerity would mean no living wage and feeding once a month.

    I am quite sure the error was unintentional.

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