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The great backpedal

Posted on September 27, 2012 by

Well, that didn’t last long. No sooner had Johann Lamont announced the Bonfire Of The Benefits, to nationwide astonishment and horror, than the hapless Scottish Labour “leader” was hastily retreating from almost the entire content of her speech. First up was the SNP’s increase in police numbers:

“We need to be honest that the target of 1,000 additional ‘bobbies on the beat’ is not the best use of police resources”

But within 30 minutes Lamont’s panicking team had performed a complete reverse-ferret, as reported by the Scottish Police Federation on their Twitter account:

And there was more to come.

“What is progressive about a chief executive on more than 100,000 a year not paying for his prescriptions, while a pensioner needing care has their help cut?”

Lamont’s speech repeatedly referred to the supposed unaffordability of Scotland’s policy of free personal care for the elderly. But as that argument is total cobblers anyway, Johann wasted no time in backing down on it when pressed by Isobel Fraser on that evening’s Newsnight Scotland. We apologise in advance for making you plough through the tortured car-crash of sentence construction that follows.

ISOBEL FRASER: Will you now review free personal care for the elderly?

JOHANN LAMONT (after long waffling preamble): Well, certainly, what it looks like, currently about 80% of people wouldn’t be able to afford it anyway, there is a concern, that the bit of care people pay for, currently the charges are going up, and people, older people, are concerned about that, and I’ve already made the point about the quality of the care –

FRASER (bewildered): But –

LAMONT: See, my basic premise is, in all of these questions, you test them, you test them against the evidence, it feels to me currently that free personal care was a huge boon, and it looks as if actually you wouldn’t get a benefit from getting rid of it.

So, um, in so far as any of that makes any coherent sense at all, it appears that free personal care will be staying. Right. Good. So what’s next? How about the prescription charges also mentioned in that same passage of Johann’s speech? This morning’s Scotsman carries a quote from Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale on the subject:

“it might cost more to means test them than it would to give everybody them for free, so we need to look at the numbers … I think that probably free prescription charges would need to stay.”

So of all the unaffordable universal benefits that the speech ostensibly put under threat, it seems just 24 hours later that free personal care (£360m a year) and free prescriptions (£57m) will in fact be unaffected. It looks like all we’ve really got left to worry about are free bus passes for the over-60s, which currently cost about £200m annually. Big potential saving there, right?

But hold on – free bus travel is only charged to the government when it’s actually used to make a journey. And millionaire pensioners don’t tend to use buses very much, free pass or no, so they’re hardly costing us anything. Means-testing the scheme would save almost no money, because the vast majority of the people making use of it would still qualify, and you’d have to set that small saving against the substantial cost of implementing the necessary bureaucracy, all but wiping it out.

(And sure enough, today’s Herald reports that according to “sources” in Scottish Labour, free bus travel is “unlikely to be jettisoned on current evidence”.)

So with next to nothing to be saved from cuts in policing or universal services, it looks like Johann Lamont’s going to have to pile it all onto the Council Tax and reintroducing student tuition fees. At least until this time tomorrow, when we suspect she’ll have found a way to retreat on those too.

Normally we’d be angry about such a grotesque concoction of cynicism, dishonesty and total absence of principles in a politician. But to be honest, we’re mostly just filled with pity for the poor saps Scottish Labour still expects to vote for this embarrassing, shambolic travesty of a leader and her ever-changing colours.

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79 to “The great backpedal”

  1. Johann Lamont says:

    Whit am a like, eh?

  2. How did you decipher Lamonts witterings, using a latter day Enigma machine ? For a former English teacher, her sentence construction is utter gibberish, a real D- job. A future First Minister ? NEVER. Regardless of what happens in 2014, she’ll be every bit as cruelly exposed in 2016 (if still in post) … just as Elmer Fudd (former Maths teacher) was before her.

  3. Doug Daniel says:

    Arthur Midwinter’s policy review should be pretty quick, then. How’s he going to stretch it out until 2015 now?

  4. McHaggis says:

    I asked the question on The Herald today (not published yet) but surely, someone within Scottish Labour looked at the speech in advance and said, “no way is that seeing the light of day”, before heading off to the shredding machine.

    Is there such a lack of understanding in the Scottish Labour camp these days on any and all political issues, that this speech was roundly approved and applauded before it was delivered in public?

    The speech was a gift to the SNP and the “Yes” campaign to anyone with a modicum of political insight… so why didn’t Labour pick that up?

    Hence, the furious back peddling now and the supine press who have actually taken a lot longer than usual to get the ‘spin’ put in place – obviously flabbergasted and confused in the extreme by what Lamont did the other day.

    Congratulations to Iain MacWhirter in The Herald today – one of the more truthful interpretations of what happened.
    The “Yes” campaign will dine out on this speech right up to the day before the referendum. The die has been cast by Scottish Labour.

  5. Seasick Dave says:

    The guys in the photo all look special, in their own wee way.

  6. Doug Daniel says:

    Incidentally, I bet the editors of the Record, the Sun, the Scotsman etc are feeling a bit silly now…

    “Fuck’s sake Yo-hann, you said before we printed our cheerleading articles that you weren’t going to back-pedal on this one. We look like dickheads now.”

  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I’m sure I also saw someone from Labour back away from ending free bus travel last night or this morning, but I may have dreamed it.

  8. TYRAN says:

    Their new address is below, Rev.  

  9. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Labour’s task force will also look at free bus travel for all over-60s – a £192m giveaway – and free personal care for the elderly, which costs £340m.
    But sources indicated the last two policies were unlikely to be jettisoned “on current evidence”.

  10. Colin Dunn says:

    I notice the Guardian Scottish Politics section still hasn’t reported Lamont’s initial statement, let alone the scrabbling retreat. Their most recent article is still one complaining about Swinney’s public sector workers 1% pay rise.

    Note also that their two most recent videos are still those of Labour celebrating surviving the Glasgow council elections by the skin of their teeth back in May.

  11. Training Day says:

    Lamont has just given a car crash of a performance at FMQs..

  12. TamD says:

    Maybe I’ll have better luck here. I’ve been posting comments to the Herald for a couple of days on this subject and none have appeared.

    Is it because that I try to point out that such policy changes have the potential to split the Labour movement in Scotland in two. I think there is a real chance of that now.


  13. Seasick Dave says:

    Training Day

    Any gems?

  14. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Cheers, Sneeky. Will edit that in in a minute.

  15. scottish_skier says:

    This comment on Iain MacWhirter’s Herald story sums it up nicely for me.

    Alexander D Lindsay

    This looks like the formal emergence of a schism.
    The elite part of Scottish Labour has become the Labour-Unionist party. It is a statement of fundamentalism.
    It has expressed clearly what it would only hint at before, that it has explicitly adopted the right-wing point of view of New Labour, including the retention of Trident.
    Others parts of Scottish Labour have already indicated that they will support the YES movement in the referendum and will continue as traditional Labour in an independent Scotland.  


    Competely agree that there will be a split at MSP level at some point, possibly soon. The London/Unionist/MP group are flexing their muscles but this will hurt the MSP group, causing a split. This ‘backpedaling’ is a sign that already some MSPs are trying to put distance between themselves and Johann’s slow motion train crash of a right-wing shift. 

  16. Adrian B says:

    Welcome TamD,

    The Herald and Scotsman are well known to have their eyes and ears closed to anything they don’t wish to admit to.

  17. John Lyons says:

    Scottish Labour are an utter shambles.

    This is what happens when your best migrate to London. You’re left with Second rate representatives.

    I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to figure this out. Lamont made a Speech as leader of Scottish Labour. Was it a Scottish Speech? or was it a Labour Speech? Given Labour have Milliband to speak for them and the number of attacks on the SNP it must have been a Scottish speech.

    So what was it’s purpose?
    Well, any political speech should be about Winning votes. Labour in England are embracing the middle class who hate Scroungers (percieved or real!) Could they have mis-judged Scotland so badly they truely thought Scotland was just like England and that people here held the same Ideals? Or, as people have been talking about the dis-enfranchised right wing voters, was it that group the speech was targeted at? It certainly wasn’t the Elderly (Actually, don’t they make up most of the Tory support?) or people with children who want them educated, or even anyone human who is almost certain to require medical help at some point in thier future. So exactly who’s vote did she think she would win? And who did the maths that suggested they’d win so many of these votes they could afford to lose a “few” socialist?

    And what are they voting for?
    The next vote will be the referendum and the Tory votes, if that is who she was targetting are likely to vote for her anyway. None of it makes any sense.

    When Alan Grogan or labour voters for independence are mentioned Labour leaders go into denial mode. It’s only a small number. Well it’s almost certainly a bigger number now. And it doesn’t include independence supporters who have left Labour completely, which is probably the same number again or even more!

    After two days of pondering I still can’t get my head around it. Surely it can’t be a deliberate own goal to help independence? Whilst the Tories might actually really want rid of Scotland, Labour almost certainly don’t. Lamont might want rid of London, but she’s staring at defeat in the referendum and defeat in 2016. How can that possibly be good for her own career?

    Nope. I can’t get my head around it. I can only surmise that all of the best politicians in the pro union parties go to London and she is simply second rate and incompetent.

    Shame. Labour deserves better.

    As for the U-turns, someone switched on the common sense button at HQ, thank the Gods!

  18. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Check out this fawning peice…

    Lamont, a bastion of sense amidst populist politics

  19. Dave says:

    It’s surely time for the Labour For Independence lot to make a complete break from a party that no longer represents them or even has the slightest thing in common with them.

    As for Lamont, she really shouldn’t be out on her own.  Scary that some folk would still vote for her.  Truly scary. 

  20. Roll_On_2014 says:

    Doug Daniel
    “ Incidentally, I bet the editors of the Record, the Sun, the Scotsman etc are feeling a bit silly now… “
    Naw I think the Sun got it just about right!

    Their Political Editors view…
    “ Johann Lamont is clear that those in greatest need will be protected. That means if you’ve never worked you’ll be fine.
     But if you made the mistake of getting a job and saving for your retirement then, no, maybe your kids can’t have a uni education — and you might have to pay for your own nurse.
     If you think she doesn’t mean you, in Scotland a couple with two kids on a total £33,200 a year earns above the average. “

  21. Training Day says:

     @Seasick Dave

    Oh, I couldn’t possibly select highlights.  You have to see the totality of Lamont’s performance to fully appreciate it! 😉

  22. McHaggis says:

    Sneekyboy… you owe me a new monitor.

    I just spluttered coffee all over mine when I read at the end of that piece, “There’s a long way to go but it’s round one to Lamont”…

    I suppose the Daily Retard’s readership might actually comprise of knuckle dragging unemployed as fuck (stolen from Kevin Bridges) Neanderthals who think Lamont’s speech was a victory for the working class against the rich.

  23. Aplinal says:

    Just watched FMQs.  What was Lamont on about when she stated that Nicola had a household income of 200,000, not once, not twice, but three times.  Is this the next stage in the ‘demonisation’ of the SNP “personalities”.  “They are all rich, so nothing they do will affect THEM, just vote NO for further support (to all you sponging Jocks) from the mighty, caring, soon to be privatised, UK”  OK the bit in parenthesis was made up!
    But why the remark, THREE TIMES.  Obviously it is a new Labour strategy, but what really does she think that it will achieve.  Bring back the politics of envy?  Sheesh!

  24. Adrian B says:

    John Lyons,

    My train of thought on this is that Labour in Scotland have done some research with half a dozen lick minded Labour people who are middle class higher earners, about means testing for   free prescriptions and free bus travel. Labour Councils in the West coast in particular were looking for more money around the council elections – scares over reduced services where talked about at length in FM PMQ’s by Johann again today.

    I think that they are looking to the electorate to be sympathetic to raises in Council Tax to ‘protect’ and ‘improve’ services, siting increased jobs as a reason.

    Labour have yet again got the mood of the nation completely wrong. Labour only look inward, never outward.

    An interesting piece from Mandy Rhodes, Editor of Holyrood magazine, titled ‘Fast spin Programme’ is an interesting read.

    See what you think.

  25. Peter A Bell says:

    It was perhaps predictable that, after the initial shock of Lamont’s precipitous lurch to the right, it wouldn’t be long before the unionist media dutifully fell into line to protect “one of their own”. The line now is to portray Lamont’s speech as an utterly reasonable questioning of assumptions about universal benefits rather than a dramatic abandonment of social democracy by the “Scottish” Labour leadership.

    Across the unionist media today, even as “Scottish” Labour furiously back-pedals on virtually every one of Lamont’s pronouncements, we are being urged to read less into her statements rather than more. Which must have taken a major effort on the part of journalists more accustomed to seeking the most sensational interpretation possible – even at the cost of an honest and accurate representation of what has been said.

    If you are inclined towards an interesting and possibly illuminating thought exercise, imagine for a moment that it was not Lamont but Salmond who had spoken about universal benefits and welfare in the terms used by Lamont and described Scotland as a “something for nothing country”. Would The Record, The Scotsman and others today be praising his “pragmatism”? Or would they be savaging him for an embarrassing and unforgivable U-turn on basic principles. I think we all know the answer to that. Although not all will be honest enough to admit it.

    Let us not be fooled by the platitudes offered by those who will support anyone who opposes the SNP no matter how obscene their politics. Let us not be taken in by the mealy-mouthed weasel words of those who will rationalise absolutely any proposition, no matter how politically inept and economically illiterate, in the name of preserving the British state. Let us be clear about what Lamont is actually saying.

    She is most emphatically NOT exhorting us to find ways of maintaining the institutions and structures which, for those of us with a social conscience, define our society. No! She is instead placing herself and her party firmly in the camp of those who, for wholly ideological reasons, are determined to eradicate those institutions and structures. Not because they are “unaffordable” or “unsustainable”, but because they represent a social ethos that is anathema to them. An ethos of mutuality and interdependence. An ethos of common interest and cooperative effort.

    An ethos which openly challenges a world-view in which people are mere production/consumption units in the service of an economic imperative elevated to the status of fundamentalist religious dogma.

    I don’t believe for one moment that Johann Lamont subscribes to this world-view. Which makes her betrayal of the social democratic ethos even worse. Because it means her betrayal is not motivated by any kind of principle – however misguided. It means her reasons are much more petty and partisan. Calculated entirely on the basis of personal and party interest. And all the more despicable for that.

  26. Luigi says:

    It’s all coming to a head now. Something has got to give. I think the next unfavourable opinion poll may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Well done to the brave Alan Croggan (Scottish Labour Supporters for Independence) for sticking his neck out. The timing and content of his inspiring speech on Saturday could not have been better. Dissafected Labour supporters now have a decent home ready and waiting.

  27. John Lyons says:

    I’ve got it.

    It’s about wining control of the biggest council in Scotland and suddenly realising there’s not enough money.

    Cut everything else and give us more money to run Glasgow is the message Johann was trying to give. Cut everything and put council tax up.

    Obviously, with Labour in charge of service provision for nearly half of the country they don’t want to be denying service, cutting back or laying people off in the run up to the referendum.

    Oh well, good luck with that…

  28. Luigi says:

    For plus £500 per household, we go independent (apparently). For minus £700 (council tax hike) we get FM Johann Lamont. Difficult choice.

  29. McHaggis says:

    Rev Stu,

    sorry to go o/t (only slightly since it is a back pedal…

    do you recall the other day The Herald ran a massive front page story with a huge image of the FM’s face badly photoshopped over a forest? The story was regarding the ‘selling off’ of Forestry land for wind farms.

    Have you seen this on page 2 of The Herald today?


    We reported on Saturday that wind turbines could potentially occupy nearly 10% of Scotland’s National Forest Estate.In fact, the area that could be covered would be at most one-third of one percent.

    Between 700 and 1000 turbines are expected to be erected on the estate, not, as we reported, a quadrupling in the number from about 850 to more than 3200.

    The forestry land will not be sold off but will remain in public ownership under leasing arrangements with developers.  

  30. James Morton says:

    As I have said here and elsewhere, I think this may have been an attempt to address how public services would be funded in the future. It was a pre-manifesto pledge as to how further cuts would be implemented in the event of a no vote and Labour were back in charge. But it was done in such a cack-handed fashion so as to get a few cheap shots into the SNP and Alex Salmond. It lacked any intellectual content as to how she envisioned future services. This created a vaccuum in which the media were free to speculate what she meant. The rightwing press were cheering her on for her cruelty and the left were deploring it. No doubt forced to go on to Newsnight and get their point across, it became rapidly apparent, that she didn’t actually have a point. Much confusion ensues, the question is pressed harder, they begin to have that startled rabbit in the headlights look to them as they furiously back-pedal with the press, but incredibly push it in another vague attempt to damage the SNP in FMQs – thinking Sturgeon would be an easier mark.

    So labour MSPs were treated to the spectacle of their leader getting a proverbial slap up the side of the head from Sturgeon, then get congratulated by Davidson for being just like a tory.

    It means that the gamble has failed – literally two days in. Yet we will be treated to the unedifying spectacle of them trying to hold the line in the press that they are not the New Tory Party, and then try to use their leaders brainfart to attack the SNP…as their policy in opposition seems to be to constantly try to get their thumb into Salmonds eye.

  31. wulie says:

    what is the income of Mrs lamonts house-hold, is ur hubby no some kind o coonciler an aw, public purse must be pourin hunners o thoosands o pounds in tae that hoose.
    Emdy any ideas how much. ??????????????????????

  32. Alex McI says:

    Aye wulie, and have any of the Lamont household benefited from free healthcare, education , prescriptions. Or did they volunteer to pay for it because of their large income?
    I wonder about that too. 

  33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    McHaggis: Hadn’t seen that, cheers. Will definitely be worth a little mini-post shortly.

  34. Morag says:

    RevStu, the correction is in a side “Briefing” column, at the bottom of the column, only an inch and a half wide and less than three inches long.  The headline is quite small and just reads “Correction”.  I completely overlooked it when reading the paper in the usual way, and had to look twice before spotting it after reading McHaggis’s comment.

  35. McHaggis says:

    good stuff Rev…

    I sometimes wonder why the press feel compelled to print outright lies when, if the truth were sufficient in itself, surely we’d all be unionists?

  36. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I love this from the article in the Herald.
    Mr Midwinter will assist task force leaders Cathy Jamieson, a shadow Treasury minister, and Ken Macintosh, Labour’s finance spokesman at the Scottish Parliament.
    Other members of the group include MPs Willie Bain, Tom Greatrex and Ian Murray, and MSPs James Kelly and Richard Baker. They are expected to produce a series of reports over the next two years.

    It reads like a who’s who of Numpties are us 101!
    T.D. How could Lamont have had a car crash at F.M.Q.’s today?
    We all know she only has eyes for Alex Salmond and as he wasn’t there…….. 😆
    J.L. I’ve got a suggestion on how G.C.C. could save money.
    1) STOP paying extortionate fees to councillors to sit on ALEO’s. ( I know Holyrood have put the block on that now)
    2) STOP “losing” over 750 computers and laptops
    Just doing these TWO simple ideas would have saved G.C.C. quite a few million I reckon.
    But Hey Ho this is a LABOUR council after all.
    I posted on yesterday’s article that I thought we would see one or two Labour M.S.P.’s braking from the Holyrood Labour gang as a result of Lamont’s suicide note on Tuesday. I think Malcolm Chisholm must be almost at the tipping point now to be the first to say “enough is enough.” After all he is well known in the past for voting with his head and not being told which way to vote, hence his unpopularity with the Labour hierarchy. If, and I hope I’m right with my suspicion, that Mr Chisholm will soon depart the Labour bench then I think it truly is all over for Labour.

  37. Training Day says:

    ..and in that rogues gallery, Arbroath  – or ‘task force’ as the daily Gardham calls it – you will struggle to find a single principle or belief among them, other than slavish adherence to the party and to London.

    They’ve set a clear course of direction.  It’s up to us to defeat them. 

  38. MajorBloodnok says:

    Just watched FMQ – Nicola gave Lamont an utter pasting.  I don’t know how Labour think they can get any mileage out of this – it’s a sure fire vote loser IMvHO.  Surely the better off pay more tax but use less of the services (apart from tuition fees maybe) so the rich are subsidising the poor, as it should be in a progressive and (relatively) socially just system.

    Is Lamont really just arguing that the Councils should get more of the available budget at the expense of free bus passes and whatnot?  The notion that Labour is seeking to stengthen their two remaining power bases (Councils and potentially Westminster) is an interesting interpretation of this car crash of their suicidal policy reversal.

  39. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I’ve just watched F.M.Q.’s and this picture immediately sprung to mind. 😀

  40. Macart says:


    ROFLMAO!!! :D)))) 

  41. Davy says:

    I want to throw this little notion into the pot and see what it brews up ?

    Is it possible that Lamonts speech is an early warning of a massive cut to the Scottish grant by the Westminster government in the next two years prior to the referendum. Has a little bird down south decided to pre-warn the scottish unionist’s about such a cut so that they can say “look we told you so”, if said cut to our budget is so bad that the Scottish government would have no choice but to abandon certain universal benefits.
    Do I think Westminster is capable of doing such a thing under some made-up pretense ? err yep.
    Any thoughts.

    Remember Vote YES 2014 or we’re fecked.    

  42. Adrian B says:


    Scottish budget (Block Grant) figures are laid out for certainly the next two years. This has allowed John Swinney to budget for projects going forward. He is also able to indicate approx budgets for councils. London releases figures every three years from memory.

    Labour is only trying to argue for more money for councils after 2014. That is something which is going to happen at some point around 2015 – 2016 anyway. 

  43. Davy says:

    ” Adrian B “,

    maybe its just my suspicious mind !!!!

  44. molly says:

    I personally think it is a more basic and cynical strategy from Labour than that. They are circling the wagons and in full ‘them and us ‘mode,they are going to try a split right through Scotland by Lanarkshire/Glasgow versus the rest.
      This morning its reported that BBC Scotland just happened to see a report that GCC will need to save approx 50 million,Lanarkshire -70 million. Who are the people worst affected by the ‘unaffordable’ services oh thats the  care workers of Glasgow (according to J Lamont ) and where were the other affected people J Lamont had been speaking to from, oh that was Lanarkshire. Who is responsible for all of this oh that’ll be the SNP Govt of course.
     Now there are is issues regarding care workers,free education ,bus passes etc throughout Scotland but if you have access to  the area with the largest population,where the majority are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt (think of the tactics used during the local election ) and you can convince them the nasty SG is out to cut your services or take away your carer (which in reality would be very frightening for some people ) then you could cause a schism. Lets face it ,if those folk  in Edinburgh are making the decisions,what do they know of your life ?
    It would bring the referendum down to a West of Scotland versus the rest of Scotland and while it would be dreadful for the people of Scotland ,it would certainly be the best outcome for Labour. Sorry to be so cynical and no disrepect intended to anyone reading this from Glasgow or Lanarkshire , but there are too many vested interests who would lose out in a yes vote

  45. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry O/T here but an interesting wee piece about how Broon STILL has his fingers on the pulse of the world’s economies courtesy of Guido.

    I knew we should have voted this genius back into number 10 in 2010.
    On second thoughts NAW we were right to kick him out. 😆

  46. Dcanmore says:

    ‘maybe its just my suspicious mind !!!!’
    Me too … I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw Eric Pickles!

  47. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry I’m O/T AGAIN but thought you’d like to have a wee read of this about some “secret” documents concerning what would have happened if we’d won Independence in the 1970’s.

    Perhaps a copy of ALL this “secret” memo stuff should be added as an Appendix to the McCrone report.

  48. Wallace Bruce says:

    If you though Wendy and Ian were bad they were were head, shoulders and almost everything else above Johann Lament(able).

  49. Dal Riata says:

    @molly (3.46pm)

    A very prescient opinion there, molly!

    Desperate people – Scottish Labour Unionists- do desperate things.

    Creating a West of Scotland versus the rest of Scotland split, by whatever devious means deemed necessary, creating rancour and discontent leading up to the referendum, would be an ideal situation for Scottish Labour and their Bitter Together buddies.

    Divide and rule has always been a strategy of conquest and empire. As Scottish Labour has now affirmed its shift to the right, it should, therefore,  be seen as a natural progression of their strategy.

  50. scottish_skier says:

    I expect to see a major shift in polls as this story gets around.

    While wee scandals concering one MSP, modest erse-ups etc, olympics etc generally have no effect, major policy shifts do. 

    This is a strategic disaster by Labour. I’m still in a state of shock. Do they not understand the only thing that was allowing them to keep that 30% odd of voters was because they were offering similar policies to the SNP. It’s crazy.

  51. Adrian B says:


    I think we all know how Scottish Labour are prepared to fight in the West of Scotland. The last council elections were very dirty, and there are reported by many living within these areas  who comment on Indy Blogs that within these areas there are many families that blindly vote labour thinking that wrongly that Scottish Labour give a stuff about them.

    There was stories told on the doorsteps of how the SNP were going to close down local post offices, take away bus passes and all sorts of other scare stories.

    Labour is in a right mess and like any wounded animal trapped in a corner – it will fight for it’s life, lashing out at all in all directions.

    There are those in the party that are publicly talking of Lamonts successor.


    We do not need somebody whose first loyalty is to Johann, or her successor, any more than we need somebody whose first loyalty is to Jim Murphy or Douglas Alexander (or Gordon Matheson).

  52. McHaggis says:


    unhappily, I think you are correct.

    There does exist a certain type of individual in those areas who, even if the SNP ceased all forms of taxation, guaranteed a 3 month summer of 25 degree plus temperatures and sunshine and got the country to the position of maximum employment, would still vote ‘No’ in 2014 because the union is the most important thing in their life and their Labour councillor has told them the SNP want to close the local post office and ban the orange lodge.

  53. Alex McI says:

    McHaggis you are correct, I am from the west and I honestly despair of some folk I talk to
    One of my workmates, supports the same team as myself and just 100% refuses to make a political decision based on what’s good for this country or his family and is astounded that I don’t make my political decisions based on football, it’s obscene.
    But on the other hand there is a guy who supports the other side who is slowly coming round to believing that independence is the correct course of action after I have spent hours pointing out the facts and figures , and the fact that Labour are just the same as the Tories.
    Then talking today he says to me, but do you not think Gordon Brown would have been a good PM if he got a wee bit more time. I mean some times you wonder what is the point in wasting your breath with some folk, apparently he could never vote for anyone else.
    Go figure. 

  54. scottish_skier says:

    Esping-Andersen (1990) constructed the welfare regime typology acknowledging the ideational importance and power of the three dominant political movements of the long 20th century in Western Europe and North America, that is Social Democracy, Christian Democracy (conservatism) and Liberalism (Stephens 1979; Korpi 1983; Van Kersbergen 1995; Ferragina and Seeleib-Kaiser 2011).

    The ideal Social-Democratic welfare state is based on the principle of universalism granting access to benefits and services based on citizenship. Such a welfare state is said to provide a relatively high degree of autonomy, limiting the reliance of family and market (Ferragina and Seeleib-Kaiser 2011).[27] In this context, social policies are perceived as ‘politics against the market’ (Esping-Andersen 1985).
    Christian-democratic welfare states are based on the principle of subsidiarity and the dominance of social insurance schemes, offering a medium level of decommodification and a high degree of social stratification.
    The liberal regime is based on the notion of market dominance and private provision; ideally, the state only interferes to ameliorate poverty and provide for basic needs, largely on a means-tested basis. Hence, the decommodification potential of state benefits is assumed to be low and social stratification high (Ferragina and Seeleib-Kaiser 2011).[27]

    Based on the decommodification index Esping-Andersen divided into the following regimes 18 OECD countries (Esping-Andersen 1990: 71):

    Social Democratic: Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden
    Christian Democratic: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Italy;
    Liberal: Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the US;
    Not clearly classified: Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

    I guess Johann is a neo-liberal then.

  55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I want to throw this little notion into the pot and see what it brews up ?

    Is it possible that Lamonts speech is an early warning of a massive cut to the Scottish grant by the Westminster government in the next two years prior to the referendum.”

    It’s a really interesting idea, but is the UK Government so desperate to cut Scotland loose that they’d hand the SNP such a huge propaganda weapon? Maybe, but if so, why would Labour go along with it? They’re the ones with by far the most to lose from Scottish independence.

  56. scottish_skier says:

    To be honest Rev, I’m not sure Ed cares that much. Scottish Labour MPs maybe, but in a way relying on the Scottish vote means Ed has to be careful about appearing to much of a right-winger. That’s tricky when you are chasing softer Tories in key swing seats down south.

    Clearly, if we ended up going down the more powers route, you’d still need to severly limit the ability of Scots MPs to vote in Westminster somehow, making them not a lot of use. Otherwise, the Tories would never stand for it. In that situation, there is also a who won the GE? possibility.
    There is the other point that the SNP are ahead in Scots Westminster intention too and it would not take much for a wipe-out of Labour under FPTP, i.e. akin to the constituency vote in May 11.    

    I’m kinda thinking we are seeing the last stand. Basically, ‘you accept the status quo or you go’. No more powers, no devo max, accept our Labour policies and suffer the Tories for long periods or sod off. Tories now kinda hoping we do sod off, even promoting the idea.

  57. pmcrek says:

    For all the distancing itself from class Labour that have done since Blair, Lamont’s speech is the epitomy of class war, a rallying call for the bourgoisie if ever there was one.

  58. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Clearly, if we ended up going down the more powers route, you’d still need to severly limit the ability of Scots MPs to vote in Westminster somehow, making them not a lot of use”

    Sure, but Labour has absolutely no intention of devolving any more powers. That really can’t be overstated. If they did, they’d be all over a devo-max option like a rash, because it’d kill two birds with one stone – they’d get what they wanted AND defeat the SNP in the referendum.

  59. scottish_skier says:

    Aye Rev. Which brings us back to one question. In or out.

    In reality, this ‘in our out’ concept which the unionist parties keep saying, is perfectly true. The idea that they won’t offer more powers just because they don’t want to is not quite true. They just can’t offer more powers without putting the whole union/westminster structure into question.

    The SNP kept on about the devo max thing because they know it is impossible yet people don’t clearly see that. The unionist parties can’t touch it because it would mean changing everything. So people in Scotland see Westminster refusing more powers, not spelling out anything specific if we vote no and so dislike Westminster for it. However, Labour et al. can’t say ‘well actually we’d consider devo max if we could (while keeping whatever we can of your revenue), but actually it is impossible because…’ out loud as that means no more powers if we vote no. So they are left looking like it is more because they don’t want to respect the will of the electorate out of spite. Hence they bloody hate devo max being mentioned.

    When it becomes clear to the electorate that devo max is a pipe dream/impossible and it’s status quo or independence, the polls will shift to show a consistent majority backing independence (just like back in 97-98) and that will be that. Tories will of course do their bit to help. Labour to it seems too now for some bizarre reason. 

  60. Holebender says:

    For God’s sake, Rev, don’t go telling Labour it’s possible to beat the SNP and get what they want! They might just listen, for once.

  61. Appleby says:

    It churns my stomach to see how quickly the mindless lickspittle media jump on the bandwagon. No matter what they say or do they cheer it on. Even if it means throwing contradictory actions, statements or promises from even moments before into the Memory Hole to form a new history and reality (as an article recently here pointed out).
    It’ll be interesting to see how the pathetic Scottish media not only defend and cheer on the repellant vision Lamont presented but how they then reverse gear and catch up with Lamont’s (and her party’s) own rapid backpeddling from the speech and vision. The media will be used to at least being able to get up a head of steam on their mindless cheerleading of Labour policies and not expect it to be abandoned so soon. They’ll be caught charging ahead cheering for a right-wing dystopia while Labour themselves have already jumped ship.

  62. Silverytay says:

    I agree with molly@3.46 .
    Given mizz lamont,s conversion to right wing ideology and N.L.C and Glasgow having to save millions and threatening peoples livelihoods you can see which way this is going to go .
    The cuts to the public services in N.L.C and Glasgow will be laid at the door of the S.N.P for bribing the Scottish electorate with policies that we can not afford .
    Labour and their allies in the m.s.m will conveniently forget that it was labour who bankrupted the country and allowed the tory,s back into power .
    This is all about labour looking after their power base and trying to keep jobs for the boy,s   while trying to keep their union paymasters onside .
    At some point the unions have to realise that labour are no longer looking after the interests of their members .

  63. Appleby says:

    I wouldn’t put it past Labour and their unionist “dream team” to deliberately run councils and health boards into the ground just to lay it at the feet of the SNP government.

  64. Silverytay says:

    I suspect that what we are seeing in N.L.C and Glasgow is the start of labours firestorm against the Scottish government .
    As far as I am aware after talking to relatives and friends who work for other councils that they are not being threatened with draconian cuts in the same way that N.L.C and Glasgow are . I can’t find it now but I am sure that I read somewhere that Falkirk council were thinking of going down the same route .
    It would be so easy for labour councils to implement savage cuts and then blame the S.N.P for it .  The one thing you can guarantee about the cuts that they will impact on the normal employee but the labour hierarchy will be all right .


  65. douglas clark says:

    As I understand it, most of the cuts have still to come. These will be swingeing, misdirected and completely against what scottish people expect of their politicians. It is hardly a secret that Westminster sees this as a sort of salvation for their own, cosy, cliquedom.
    All we have to do is point that out.

  66. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Here’s a wee thought.
    Was Lamont trying to help the Tories out on Tuesday?
    As we all know and as D.C. has just pointed out, there are still deeper cuts to come.
    By Lamont suggesting in her suicide speech that Labour would give SERIOUS consideration to cutting what we expect as a given RIGHT in Scotland is she not looking at trying to split the SNP attack?
    By this I mean perhaps, in a warped sense, Lamont is thinking that by TWO parties making the same suggestions then she hopes that it will upset the S.N.P. and it will result in no real attack coming from the S.N.P. Who do they attack, Labour or Tory, Tory or Labour?

  67. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Does this ring bells with any one?
    Yo Johann!

  68. scottish_skier says:


    Well, we are mid-term with respect to UKGEs. Libs already starting to distance themselves from the coalition, Labour getting the groundwork in for there be an election coming… 

    Regarding Johann’s speech. Maybe UK Labour have told her ‘Look Johann, we’ve been out on the streets asking what people really want, and this is what they are telling us; cut benefits, attack welfare, end the something for nothing culture. I can assure you, it’s a vote winner’. However, the streets concerned are in Essex, Buckinghamshire etc, as opposed to Motherwell or Bathgate.   

  69. uilleam_beag says:

    Wow, Arby. So the “McMaggie Show” really was just the warm-up act. She had to put some clear blue water between Scottish Labour and the universally free benefits malarky to protect Ed from an easy broadside. ‘How can you contemplate a ‘ruthless’ spending review in Westminster while over the border you’re in favour of a blanket council tax freeze and backing free prescriptions, elderly care and bus passes for all?”

    The metropolitan London media could be relied upon to take note of Lamont’s announcement speech but lose interest before the (near-immediate) back-pedalling began.

  70. Craig P says:

    Johann is not the first Labour leader whose utterances were incoherent. Find an old video clip of Wendy Alexander, close your eyes, and – if you try really hard – you may just grasp the impression of a point being made. 

  71. MajorBloodnok says:

    The thought occured to me this morning that this incoherent tripe from Labour (and I heard James Kelly MSP getting a kicking from Gary Robertson, of all people, on Good Morning Scotland this morning) is neo-liberalism pretending to be socialism.

    By which latter term I mean: “universal benefits are a con that benefit the rich far more than the poor!” (eh?  surely it’s the other way around). “Therefore, comrades, redistribute the cash from the rich and give it to the poor!”  Yay!  Of course by rich I mean anyone with a job.  And by poor I mean Glasgow City Council and the Lanarkshires.

    Actually, the interview this morning was quite funny.  James Kelly responded to every question by saying either “The SNP won’t/aren’t/can’t…” or “As I’ve said, what we want is to start an honest debate…., etc. etc.).  He sounded just like Lamont.

  72. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I’m confused!
    I don’t know if today’s date is April 1st of Friday 13th.

    The last link, to the Guardian, makes me think that there might just be the slightest of slight chinks in the MSM towards NOT believing EVERYTHING coming out of the Labour and Bitter camp and that at leasdt they might, just might, start to question the occasional comment form them.

  73. Craig P says:

    Major! Did you see the flowchart I posted in response to your suggestion on

    Here it is if you didn’t:

  74. MajorBloodnok says:

    Craig P.  Not seen it yet – I’ve been at my work computer the last few days and it blocked me looking at it.  I’ll get find another route later on today (if I ever get out of here), cheers!

  75. scottish_skier says:

    The next piece of the puzzle?

    Certainly, if Mr Cameron is to win in 2015, he needs to make sure UKIPers vote Tory. They will mostly likely do this anyway to avoid eroding the Tory vote, hence potentially facilitating a Labour win under FPTP. If you add the UKIP poll share to the Tory share, the gap with Labour is much less. Boundary changes through, Scots MPs gone and it’s in your grasp Dave. 

    Hell, with a Tory majority you could even take the UK out of the EU if a referendum on it said yes. Might be an issue though if Scotland is still around. Putting aside Scots MPs blocking a Tory majority if they are still there, what would happen if Scotland said no to leaving the EU and England said Yes? The Scottish Parliament could rightly state the Scottish people have spoken and don’t want to leave. That would mean for England to leave the EU, the union would need to end. All rather complex, unless you get rid of Scotland.

  76. Juteman says:

    I really think Labour have fecked up this time.
    Speaking to guys on the ‘shop floor’ today, they aren’t happy chappies.
    I’m well known for being an independista, but some ‘old school’ Labourites at work, have finally had enough. We had a good discussion about independence. The veil is lifting.

  77. Appleby says:

    It’s like the SNP almost don’t need to try with opposition like this. I know they’ve been “keeping their powder dry” but at this rate they won’t even need to fire a proverbial shot.

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