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The siren song of opposition

Posted on February 27, 2013 by

In political terms, being an MP is a bit of a poisoned chalice of a job. You ostensibly get elected to represent your constituents, but in reality to represent your party leader. Unless you manage to land yourself a ministerial job you’re basically nothing but a vote on legs, told what to say and ordered through the division lobby by party whips like a ewe in a sheepdog trial, under the constant threat of being overlooked for plum spots on committees or even deselected.


Now don’t worry, readers. Wings Over Scotland isn’t going soft. We have precious little sympathy to spare for career politicians troughing for all they’re worth on a £65,000 salary typically inflated to somewhere comfortably over £100,000 by allowances and perks, and accompanied by incredibly generous redundancy payments and pensions the likes of which us poor saps can only dream of.

But still, it’s no job for anyone with any dignity or self-respect. MPs are loathed by the public more than almost any other profession (other than bankers, with whom most people think they rhyme), very often justifiably so, and most will achieve nothing in their lives other than self-enrichment. It’s a soul-destroying way to get yourself a couple of nice houses at the taxpayer’s expense.

There’s a much less corrosive way to be an MP, though.

Because being an opposition MP is the top prize in the game of politics. You get the same salary, all the same perks, even (almost) the same opportunity to be on committees, but you’re not responsible for anything.

Sure, your constituents will still moan that you haven’t fixed the potholes in their road (though you can fob that one off on the council), but they won’t blame you for losing their job or their mother having to wait six years for her hip operation, because you’re not in government and there’s not much that even the most demanding voter could legitimately expect you to do about it.


In short, you get the easiest gig in the world – loudly criticising other people for making an appalling mess of what’s actually at least quite a difficult job (running a country), but without the awkward bit of having to come up with any better ideas yourself. The worst possible thing that can happen to many MPs is their party winning an election, because they not only have to start delivering results – or at least trying to – but also have a lot less free time to make money elsewhere.

If you think that’s a cynical view, you need only look at the actions of Labour in 2010. Faced with a hung parliament in which there was a possibility of a difficult but workable centre-left alliance, set against the certainty of a Conservative-dominated coalition, you’d think a party which depicts itself as the deadly sworn enemy of Tory values would have bent over backwards to at least give it a shot.

(If it collapsed in acrimony six months later, they could claim to have tried their best in very challenging circumstances and pointed the finger at others, calling another election and imploring the public to give them a stronger mandate this time.)

Instead, a succession of mainly-Scottish Labour MPs including Douglas Alexander, Margaret Curran, John Reid and Brian Donohoe, alongside many more, raced each other onto the nation’s TV screens to rage that there was no way on Earth they’d work with the nationalist and other small parties (vowing, indeed, to actively sabotage any possible pact involving the Lib Dems by voting against an agreement on electoral reform), condemning Britain to a sociopathic Conservative administration.


Not enough evidence? Try this: the only purpose of a career in politics is – or certainly ought to be – the acquisition and wielding of power. However noble your goals, you can’t achieve them without it. No politician, under any circumstances, should ever reject their office having more power, because if they can’t be trusted with that power they shouldn’t be in office, pretty much by definition.

Yet last year Scottish Labour “leader” Johann Lamont did precisely that, in a speech that led to what we think is the only above-the-line expletive in this site’s 16-month history when she said “We cannot allow ourselves to be boxed into an Orwellian debate – more powers good, anything else bad”.

(She went on to add that she wasn’t sure whether it was in Scotland’s interests for the Scottish Parliament to control something like Corporation Tax. Not, you’ll note, that it wasn’t in Scotland’s interests to raise or cut Corporation Tax, but that it wasn’t in Scotland’s interests to have the power to make those decisions in the first place.)

Lamont’s admirably candid (albeit unintentionally) assertion that she couldn’t handle a leader in government’s job, though, was simply a hapless public admission of a view already shared by the majority of her party’s politicians.


Labour’s three successive election victories in 1997, 2001 and 2005 represented the longest (13 years) period of continuous government in its history, and by 2010 a wide range of commentators across the political spectrum all opined that the party had been left “exhausted” by the extended responsibility of office.

Labour expected to be trounced that May under a blundering Gordon Brown as the nation still reeled in shock from the economic crash Tony Blair had bequeathed the former Chancellor. The comprehensively indecisive outcome the electorate eventually delivered instead surprised many, particularly with a weak showing for the Liberal Democrats that defied some spectacular opinion polls.

In the event, the Lib Dems actually LOST seats, securing just 57 rather than the 99 suggested the month before the election, but for Labour the weakness of the Lib Dem result was a straw to clutch at – not because it made Labour more likely to form the government, but because it made a simple Lab-Lib majority impossible.

A coalition with Nick Clegg’s party alone would have been a hideous living nightmare for Labour – forced to endure the torment of responsibility for another half-decade but forced into major concessions by a strong junior partner (which would have been) occupying much of Labour’s traditional ground. Having to placate a bunch of other parties as well, including the hated SNP, would have been intolerable.

(Below is UK Polling Report’s predicted 2010 result, on polls from just three weeks before the election. A Lab-Lib government would have had a commanding majority.)


The otherwise-inexplicable savagery with which the party rejected the notion of a “progressive alliance” – its only chance of retaining power and saving the country from the Tories, its supposed reason for existence – was simply an expression of its relief at having an excuse to get out of it, knowing that its own people would eagerly accept the “impossibility” of having to work with the hated SNP (and others) as well.

(On the 8th of May 2010 the BBC reported on a liveblog that “Labour dismisses Alex Salmond’s suggestion of a ‘progressive alliance’, saying the possibility of the nationalists and Labour working together was ‘a desperate attempt by Alex Salmond to make himself look relevant after a terrible general election result'”.)

It’s remarkable that Labour’s stated reasoning – a bitter, poisonous tribal loathing of the SNP – actually portrays the party in a slightly more favourable light than the reality: that Labour was simply terrified of having to stay in power. However, the party probably WAS looking forward to what at the time was a widely-anticipated victory in the following year’s Holyrood elections after the SNP’s poor Westminster showing.

Holyrood would have provided Labour with the best of both worlds – some of the trappings of power and an opportunity to “train up” a new generation for possible promotion to the big-boy Parliament, but also the opportunity to create an impression of standing up for Scotland against an unpopular Tory administration in London, who could be conveniently blamed for any difficult decisions on account of holding both the purse strings and most of the economic levers.

(That advantage being one the SNP also enjoy, of course, but with the very significant difference that unlike Johann Lamont the Nats do want to assume all the powers and responsibilities of a sovereign government.)

But we suppose we should come to the point.


It must be beyond much rational doubt among even the most diehard Labour activists in Scotland that their party has little chance of winning Holyrood in 2016, or ever again, so long as Scotland remains in the UK. Scottish Labour already represents the party’s C-team (at a generous assessment), and its talent pool has the plug missing and the water draining out fast.

(If you think that’s overly partisan and/or harsh, imagine that Westminster decided tomorrow to abandon the devolution experiment and close the Scottish Parliament down, as it could do if it wished. Which of Scottish Labour’s MSPs can you imagine taking up roles on the London party’s front benches? Which of them could you even see being trusted to fetch the front bench’s sandwiches?)

Every successive Scottish Parliament sees Labour present a grimmer collection of over-promoted councillors and time-servers than the last, and there’s no reason for the situation ever to improve – the less successful Scottish Labour gets the less attractive it’ll be to new recruits, and it’s condemned to forever put forward third-rate candidates from whoever it DOES get its hands on (because anyone any good will be needed at Westminster) while the SNP can always field the cream of its crop.

There’s only one logical solution to the problem – independence.

Independence would rejuvenate Labour in Scotland. While a few of its Scottish MPs might be able to find safe rUK seats, most would have a tough sell as “foreigners” and have to come home looking for a job. While this site is no fan of Jim Murphy, Tom Harris, Ian Davidson and pals, they’d certainly provide the SNP with a stiffer challenge than the likes of Ken Macintosh, Richard Baker and Elaine Murray, and revive a party that by even friendly analyses is in terminal decline.

(Who knows, perhaps Gordon Brown himself might fancy trying to see the twilight of his career out as the first Prime Minister of an independent Scotland, rather than in the ignominious role of an absentee backbencher.)

There are only a few plausible reasons for Labour to fear this scenario. One is that it thinks it can’t win Westminster without Scottish seats, except that we already know this to be false. Another might be that it doesn’t have the talent in England to replace the people it would lose. But very few English (or Welsh) Labour seats are currently occupied by Scots – offhand we can’t think of any.

Labour, then, would be better off at Holyrood and no worse off at Westminster. It could plausibly win both Parliaments – indeed, its chances of doing so would be significantly increased. There are only two possible explanations left.

One is that the party’s Scottish representatives, having tasted London’s ancient and hallowed corridors of power, really do see Scotland as a second-rate wee pretendy country not worthy of their interest, due to its lack of ability to “punch above its weight” on the world stage by dropping state-of-the-art bombs on shepherds.

The other, though, is even worse. It’s that they simply like being in opposition far too much, because life’s just a lot easier that way.

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    Deeds, Not Words | A Wilderness of Peace

118 to “The siren song of opposition”

  1. Morag says:

    Thank you for an excellent article, Stu.

  2. Doug Daniel says:

    Excellent read, and yes, there was more than a whiff of the can’t-get-away-quick-enough to Labour’s handing over the keys to Downing Street to the Tories. I think there was also a large element of thinking “we know how bad the finances are, and we know whoever is in government is going to have to do some unpopular stuff. So let’s just leave a note saying there’s no money left and leave that lot to pick up the pieces. Then we’ll sweep back into power in 5 years. Hell, it’s not THAT long – how much damage can the Tories really do in that time?”
    A combination of cowardice, stupidity and irresponsibility. None of which are traits you want in a party that seeks your vote. Labour just didn’t want to be the ones left holding the baby when the electorate found out just how badly they’d dismantled the economy. A real party of principles would have stuck around to clear up their own mess. 
    (My phone auto-corrected “mismanaged” with “dismantled” there – I think the phone is right for once!)

  3. Connor says:

    Great article; thanks for that.

  4. The Man in the Jar says:

    Thanks for that Stu.
    This is one for mailing to friends. I try not to send too many in case they get fed up of them. Wings however make this a difficult choice.

  5. CameronB says:

    New Labour normalised aggressive war and the Tories get to do what they do best. They are both incramentalist in their approach and both claim to represent the interest of Union & Co. They have a gentleman’s agreement, don’t you know, and share duties accordingly.

  6. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Doug Daniel
    I agree with your phone.

  7. Baheid says:

    “Half of them will vote for independence in secret” (Margo commenting on the Scottish Labour party last week).
    If that’s true, (which l believes probably the case), surely some of these MPs must be thinking they will have to stand up and declare their position, SOON, or they will only prove themselves to be careerists. (This could and probably will be a short career).
    The chance that Labour will disappear into oblivion after the referendum is not that remote.

  8. molly says:

     In an Independent Scotland,the last thing I hope to happen ,would be for the likes of Jim Murphy or Margaret Curran to  be voted into Holyrood. Not because I think they would be a stronger challenge to the SNP but because they represent to me everything that is wrong with party politics-especially in Scotland.
    The inertia that was evident to me when Lab/Lib ran Holyrood, eventually filtered down ,where we all just accepted things,poor housing, an education system with gaping holes (my own included ) a totally incomprehensible transport system where you could go on journeys for hours ,using several modes of transport while enjoying 3 or 4 different types of weather.
    If anything ,it would be more difficult for Alex Salmond to have to argue the point with the likes of Allan Grogan,who is talking about what we’re talking about or possibly someone new with talent that we have yet to hear, but surely ,surely when we become Independent we will have relegated the old new Labour Party to a place it deserves to be ,afterall ,its own senior members have.
    Besides if J Murphy ,M Curran etc returned BBC Scotland would go into meltdown.

  9. uilleam_beag says:

    Nicely skewered, Stu. The current Labour Party is a queer beast (on both sides of the border), and cynical though this analysis may be it does seem to be about the only explanation which makes any sense of it all.

  10. balgayboy says:

    Wow, Gordon Brown as First Prime Minister of North Britain aka Scotland to him. That thought would tempt a NO vote!!

  11. Your final paragraph is breathtakingly harsh and yet your reasoning is hard to fault. Could another possibility be that Labour’s increasingly rabid hatred of the SNP has become so all-encompassing that it has finally blinded the party?
    One of my hopes for independence is that it will see the Labour party implode, leaving a space for a party that is genuinely socialist.

  12. Rory says:

    I think you’re being rather unfair to Labour in that final paragraph. You’re missing perhaps the most powerful case for the union from a Labour perspective (one that they have almost entirely failed to make, but one that I think they believe in albeit at varying levels of clarity) – that the UK is a single economic entity (basically true), with a historically constituted ‘British’ working class (again, basically true). If British labour is to resist the predations of British capital (which will remain ‘British’ regardless of the locus of political power), it is best served by a political geography aligned with the economic geography of the British island. This message is not so much that we are ‘Better Together,’ but that we simply are together, that this is the economic reality of the union, that economics shapes politics and not vice versa, and we therefore shouldn’t divide the political apparatus with which a resolutely British economic exploitation can be challenged.
    My considered response to this is that globalization, lingering neoliberalism and european economic integration are in the process of absorbing the British class dynamic into a wider European one, which needs to organise on a European level. We therefore need a greater degree of European integration in a federalist form that recognises the lingering bonds of nationality within a larger politico-economic structure. The smaller and more equalised the constituent units of that federation, the better – so a relatively autonomous Scotland within a more empowered European Union is far better than a confused, jingoistic and bickering UK that doesn’t know if it wants to be involved at all. 

  13. JLT says:

    The Referendum is the ‘Game-Changer’ if we really think about it. Should the people of Scotland vote ‘Yes’, then Labour are down 41 (or is it 49 …I can’t remember) seats immediately in a UK General Election.
    With UKIP slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with, there is a chance, and a good chance at that, Labour might not even be sitting directly opposite the Tories. It could be Farage’s mob!
    By betraying everything (Scotland, the poor, the students, it’s core values, etc), Labour are becoming a zombie party. It would be best to kill the party and start again. It is the same with the Libs; ever since Clegg belted out his howler of not agreeing to top up Student Fees (of which we now know, and the rest is history), I think even the Libs are also zombie party.
    So, taking Scotland out of the equation. The 2015 UK General Election could finish as thus
    1. Tories
    2. UKIP
    3. Labour
    4. Liberals
    For England …it looks like two generations of Tory and UKIP rule…

  14. scottish_skier says:

    Came across this:

    Labour to join Tories in backing a £25bn deal to renew Trident fleet

    Labour will fight the next general election on a pledge to retain Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, senior party sources have said.

  15. Tamson says:

    I think both of your reasons in the final paagraph are relevant. Scottish Labour MPs currently have the cushiest number in the UK: all the perks you mention, but they don’t even have to pretend to bother with a huge slew of their constituents’ concerns. Health, crime, roads…a great big chunk of the stuff which your average English MP has to listen to concerns bout in their surgeries can be completely ignored.
    Yet Scottish representation on Labour’s Westminster front bench is the lowest it has been since the 1970s, down to 3 and one of them has to be Scottish anyway.

  16. Donald Kerr says:

    Jim Murphy, Tom Harris, Ian Davidson and pals would not deserve a place in the independent Scottish Parliament.

  17. naebd says:

    UKIP will simply split the right wing vote, in a way similar to how the left were split for years. 
    So, no, UKIP won’t be the second or even the third biggest party in England (that is naive), but they may help labour get a majority. They are why Cameron doesn’t have a majority this time round. That’s FPTP for you.

  18. Heather McLean says:

    Jim Murphy, Tom Harris, Ian Davidson and pals would not deserve a place in the independent Scottish Parliament.
    Totally agree!!
    Brilliant article Rev, and certainly sounds far too near the truth of the matter.Rather a depressing outlook for Labour though, but they deserve all they get.You reap what you sow, as the saying goes!

  19. Macart says:

    Excellent article and gets very much to the heart of the Labour enigma.
    After what, three years, no counter policies, none, nada, zip, zero, not a bean, not a whisper of one. Why is that? Unless of course the Rev has hit the nail squarely on the head, then it becomes clear as crystal.

  20. Ken Mac says:

    I agree with much of what you say Rev particularly about Labours behaviour after the last GE but what is it with this preoccupation nay obsession of some, Gerry Hassan springs to mind, of a Labour revival. Scottish Labour is a Norwegian Blue and awaits burial, get your spades out. The idea of having the likes of Murphy, Davidson and Alexander in Holyrood makes me want to puke. It is a party beyond saving. If the SNP aren’t left enough, socialist enough for you, fine, start another party but if an independent Scotland is to have a strong and decent political class in the future Labour has to go. End of, as someone once said.

  21. Cracking article that has opened my eyes to how politics really works. 
    I would like to nominate Doug Daniels phone to write an article for us, Bankers take hit; I can think of an autocorrect for each word…..

  22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Ken: I didn’t say I WANTED a Labour revival, only that there would be one. The piece is about Labour’s perspective.

  23. Doug Daniel says:

    Adam – unfortunately, no matter how many times I force my phone to accept swear words, it always seems to clear the custom word list. Hence why my phone keeps telling me that Johann Lamont is a stupid aunt.

  24. I wrote a little blog posting recently about how Labour could end up providing the first Prime Minister of Scotland:
    (And no, it’s not at all my favourite scenario, but I do believe Labour supporters need to understand their party could actually prosper under independence — an independent Scotland won’t be an SNP dictatorship in perpetuity).

  25. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Nice one Rev.
    I was reminded of your comment the other day that there is no intellectual argument in favour of the union. Equally, I can see no intellectual argument that supports Scottish Labour’s behaviour since devolution (or before, for that matter).
    My only hope is that while the party apparatchiks wallow in their Old Firm-like tribal hatred of the SNP, their voters are not as blinkered as the average Rangers or Celtic fan and will, eventually (oh, glorious day!) see the light.

  26. Douglas says:

    Excellent article.  Johann Lamont is leading the Scottish Labour Party into oblivion and must remain as leader.

  27. Doonfooter says:

    Thanking you for posting that article. I very recently got into a Facebook comment argument with  a Bitter Together type who was arguing that Scots who had voted SNP in the last GE were responsible for the current Con/Dem government because if they’d only voted Lab we would have been saved. Having none of it I asked to justify the actions of Lab and Gordon Brown which you have outlined above? Needless to say it was met with a deafening silence. Great article and definitely one to share!

  28. pa_broon74 says:

    The trouble with Scottish Labour MP/MSP’s is they’re blinkered by the idea of a lordship, even those who know they’ll never get a fabled seat are kept in line by those who expect to do so.
    Scottish Indy introduces a point past which career politicos in Scotland can no longer pass, ie into the Westminster and all the lucrative opportunities that brings. Its a microcosm of the grasping need for a British seat at the top table internationally.
    Scottish Labour now is all about self-interest, nothing more. They’re suffering from a nasty case of target fixation, but the target does not benefit (by any stretch of normal imagination) the people they claim to represent.
    Hearing someone like Allan Grogan talk is positively refreshing. I would expect to see him in parliament in the future.  I might even attempt to get over my instinctive urge to never ever vote Labour on his behalf…
    Maybe… 😉

  29. Craig P says:

    If people wanted socialism, they would have voted for it. There already is a vehicle for this, the SSP. Not sure where the socialist tag for the Labour party is coming from, it is as if Labour provides Scottish voters with a comforting, hypocritical veneer of collectivist rhetoric, that voters can buy into without really believing, whilst in reality the party is little more than the Tories with a friendly face.
    The interesting question is raised, would an independent Scotland lead to a revival of a genuine, left wing Labour party? Or do Scottish voters (as their voting record seems to indicate) prefer the rhetoric to the reality?

  30. EdinScot says:

    My favourite theory is that the Labour party have for years played the punch & judy show with the Tories to string the public along whilst enriching theirselves.  That Scottish MPs can run 400 plus miles away from their constituents to London, out of sight out of mind seems to be key to their gravy train existence.  Now the Rev has supplied us with an analysis that cuts right to the very bone of Labour adding more reasons for their dereliction of duty which opens my eyes that little bit more. 

    So thanks must go to Rev  for doing what ive seldom if at all seen in print from any other Scottish journalist.

    The likes of Murphy, Davidson, Alexander and God forbid Brown gracing an independent Scottish parliament would be my ultimate horror show.  Imagine the very people who have spouted their fantasy leaden propaganda to try deny us our hard won freedom sitting in that very institution.  What a mockery it would make of our democracy from the off.  If Labour cant and or wont see the light this side of the vote then its best that someone just turns off their life support.  Its been long overdue.

  31. southernscot says:

    My opinion for what its worth is labour have over the last twenty years been guilty of promotion through loyality not by skill set. This has had the effect of having yes men/women toeing the party line at all cost leading to a bereft of ideas and policy. The careerist politician in Labour have been so indoctrinated that they are now clones of each other, no free thinking. Where has the radical labour politicians gone? I’ve seen it in quite a few other areas like education/health etc where people failing in there jobs are effectively kicked upstairs (promotion) through some false loyalty and inevitably leads to failing schools and hospitals.

  32. ianbrotherhood says:

    There’s no great mystery as to why Labour is a dead-party walking – he made a rare appearance last night (on the appalling Newsnight Special about Iraq) and his name is Tony Blair.

  33. cath says:

    “Half of them will vote for independence in secret” (Margo commenting on the Scottish Labour party last week).”
    If they do that, they’re even more pointless than they appear. Politicians are elected to lead. One who sits there and listens to the rubbish coming out of their own party and media and doesn’t challenge, doesn’t speak out, just goes along with it then “secretly” goes and votes the other way doesn’t deserve to be a politician and will bear as much responsibility in the event of a no vote as a no voters does.

  34. muttley79 says:

    @Stewart Bremner

    Your final paragraph is breathtakingly harsh and yet your reasoning is hard to fault. Could another possibility be that Labour’s increasingly rabid hatred of the SNP has become so all-encompassing that it has finally blinded the party?
    One of my hopes for independence is that it will see the Labour party implode, leaving a space for a party that is genuinely socialist.
    I think Scottish Labour have been totally blinded by their hatred of the SNP and Salmond in particular.  A good example was their delight at dismissing the option they are said to favour, a second question in the referendum.  Remember they rejected it on the grounds that it was Salmond’s “insurance card.”  There was no mention of what was best for Scotland or the people here.  They thought they were being clever and were very happy with the outcome.  However, they never considered the possibility that Salmond was using their very hatred and obsession of the SNP against them.  By appearing to support the second question Salmond knew that Scottish Labour would reject it because of their knee jerk hostility to anything the SNP say and do.  You just need to see the fiasco over their opposition to minimum pricing.  That Scottish Labour did not think Salmond would use their tribal hatred of the SNP against them speaks volumes about them.  They have been played like the political dinosaurs, donkeys, and amateurs they really are.   


  35. Training Day says:

    Anyone who has had experience of working with Labour’s up and coming ‘talent’ – as I have had through contact with the NUS, which is virtually the sole supply of that ‘talent’ these days – will know that what characterises the Labour politician of tomorrow (and some, alas, are already in public life today) is a complete absence of beliefs, principles and direction.  There is simply nothing other than a vacuum into which the prevailing tenets of the party leadership are poured.  There is nothing more dispiriting than watching the latest glib, substanceless identikit Labour MP wannabe trundle out their vacuities based on absolutely no experience of life or insight into human nature whatsoever.  Looking at these people, I often wondered if, were the Labour leadership suddenly to embrace independence as the way ahead, any of the identikit wannabes would have any trouble in performing a complete volte-face and embracing a position which they had previously derided.  I rapidly concluded that they would not.  Career is all, principles and passion aren’t even in the lexicon for these people.

  36. Vronsky says:

    Labour has been in decline almost from its inception.  Another recommended read: ‘The Long Death of British Labourism: Interpreting a Political Culture’ by Wiilie Thompson.
    Brief review here (you might need to answer a couple of survey questions to see it):

  37. muttley79 says:

    I meant to add in my last post that I think the idea of Gordon Brown standing for Holyrood in an independent Scotland is an unlikely one.  He has never visited the Scottish Parliament since it came back in 1999 (I think!).  Also, he appears to be finished as a politician.  On the likes of Murphy, Curran, Alexander standing for Holyrood I am not sure.  I have never really viewed Murphy and Curran in particular as being politically talented in any real way.  They seem to have been through the Scottish Labour machine and that is basically all.  Nothing they have ever said has struck me as indicating they have independent, developed political thoughts or principles.  They personify the “I will say and agree with anything the leadership says” politics of the last twenty or so years.       

  38. heraldnomore says:

    I had the pleasure of hearing Allan Grogan address the Yes Clydesdale launch last week.  He is everything that Labour used to be, and will play a significant role in the next 18 months.  When did you last hear the term ‘social conscience’ from the mouth of a Labour parliamentarian?
    I managed to avoid Blair last night; it is not something I could stomach, though his actions are hugely responsible for the move to a referendum and to a future for our children and grandchildren.
    But Stu’s article is a sharp reminder of why we are where we are, even for those who do not yet know where they want to be.

  39. David McCann says:

    Thanks for this Rev. The quality of journalism on this site just gets better and better.
    One of the questions we should ask our political representatives at every opportunity we get- be that at public meeting, Question Time etc is this.
    “Would you rather serve in opposition in Westminster, or form the governing party in an Independent Scotland”

  40. cath says:

    Allan Grogan and Dennis Canavan are both fantastic, and what Labour should be. Someone asked upthread whether people were voting Labour because they didn’t really want a “socialist” party. I’m not a socialist, but I’d vote for either of those two because they talk sense, and do so with passion.
    People in Scotland are voting Labour because they’ve always voted Labour, for generations, not because they like New Labour. And even if they DID like New Labour, the irony is Labour in Scotland isn’t even that. They’re dinosaurs who’re used to operating in a corrupt, one party state environment where you can stick a red rosette on anything at all and it’ll be elected.
    Once that goes, they are exposed as useless. I’d wager the majority of Scots, from the centre to left would vote for Grogan and Canavan over the non-entities and numpties in Holyrood and Westminster. And that is really Labour’s problem. Why are people like them not already MSPs, or in leadership positions? Why are they not “the Labour party in Scotland”?

  41. Albert Herring says:

    Dennis was de-selected and then expelled by Labour after standing as an independent.

  42. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “One of the questions we should ask our political representatives at every opportunity we get- be that at public meeting, Question Time etc is this.
    “Would you rather serve in opposition in Westminster, or form the governing party in an Independent Scotland””

    I’ve asked Labour people that hundreds of times. They always dodge it, saying “It’s a false choice”, even though it palpably isn’t. It’s something they’re terrified of facing up to.

  43. chicmac says:

    The smirk on Ball’s face when he came out of the failed potential alliance meeting with the LibDems said it all to me.  Balls by name only.
    I have also gained a personal  belief  that many on the Scottish far left would run a mile if there was a whiff of genuine responsibility.

  44. muttley79 says:

    @Rev Stu
    They know the answer.  They would prefer a Conservative government partly ruling Scotland than a Labour government running an independent Scotland.  They cannot admit this though.

  45. chicmac says:

    Dewar said Canavan just wasn’t good enough for Holyrood.  Possibly a vendetta, they had previous, but it was also clear he only wanted numpties in Holyrood.

    Where that policy came from is less clear, Dewar himself, Blair, Whitehall?  We may never know.

    What the motivation was we can only speculate:

    Fear of nascient independence support amongst Labourites of substance?

    Ease of manipulation?

    Make Holyrood look bad?

    Secure leadership for Dewar?
    Whatever the reason, I did predict at the time it would eventually bite them on the bum because you can only pin rosettes on so many donkeys for so long and get away with it.

  46. chicmac says:

    Correction, “Balls’ face”

  47. pmcrek says:

    Great article, one point I would make for consideration is, I’m thinking that there may still be some real talent in the Labour party left in Scotland, but perhaps they are struggling to make any impact due to the incompatability of grass roots Labour politics and the politics of the current Labour party elite, both in London and Scotland.

  48. chicmac says:

    @ Training Day
    IMO Glasgow and Strathclyde are Labour clone factories, essentially performing the same function that public schools do for the Tories.  The creation of emotional husks which they can then fill as they wish.

  49. Barontorc says:

    What muttley79 says, is spot-on about 

    the likes of Murphy, Curran, Alexander and Davidson standing for Holyrood. They are all Labour placemen and operators totally bereft of any talent whatsoever apart from heavy duty personal  survival skills. They are part and parcel of the parasitic infestation that’s finished UK Labour and Scottish Labour.
    God forbid they bring that infestation into an independent Scotland’s political processes.

  50. cath says:

    Quite Barontorc. Scottish independence is almost as much about changing the UK political status quo as anything else. And that includes warmongering, privatising, right wing, Westminster Labour; and the corrupt, hideous “old Labour” Glasgow base. I do think Scotland desperately needs a Labour party, largely because I don’t believe we have one right now.
    If we went into the 2016 election with a Grogan/Canavan Labour party how much better would Labour be as well as Scotland?

  51. cath says:

    Actually, to be fair, the UK really needs a Labour party.

  52. Morag says:

    I don’t think Canavan is up for it.  He’s done his stint.  He’s retired, and he has been knocked back by a series of terrible personal tragedies.  He’s up for helping the Yes campaign, not for running a country.
    Grogan is very inexperienced, but if there are a few more at home like him, something might emerge.

  53. creag an tuirc says:

    The thing is, if they put as much time and effort into running an Independent Scotland as they have trying to prevent an Independent Scotland they might do ok. Alas that is not the case, all the time and effort is to get back into the easy life rut they are accustomed to and they fear taking on the responsibility and effort needed to run a country.

  54. heraldnomore says:

    O/T Regional newspaper figures out – no surprises

  55. Seanair says:

    When will they accept that their attitude to the prospect of independence is doing them serious harm?
    The Herald’s overseas owners should at the very least show impartiality and see their sales soar.

  56. Dcanmore says:

    Of course Nu Labour would prefer to be in opposition at Westminster rather than governing an independent Scotland. Westminster is the prize, Holyrood was merely set up for the B Team to keep the SNP tied up (now laughably inherited by the C Team through misplaced complacency). All this guff about devolution from Nu Labour was a smokescreen, that is now proved when they don’t want any more devolved powers going to the Scottish Executive Parliament. Nu Labour would be happy to spend the next 15 years building up hate and bile in the electorate slinging blame at the Tories as their hideous policies take shape, that is their natural habitat. The SNP was an unwelcome sideshow that is now a major threat, largely caused by Nu Labour’s shift to attract Tory votes in SE England (which they still need to win). SE England is the battle ground Nu Labour have prepared for in their One Nation rhetoric. Fighting two battles in England and Scotland will see them fail.
    Allan Grogan and Denis Canavan are to be applauded with the good work they have done in a relatively short time. They wish to change the Nu Labour Party back to the values and principles of Atlee’s Labour, not run the Party. Canavan is retired and Grogan could be a rising star, but does not have support of MSPs (yet). In a newly independent Scotland there will be a power struggle with a new Scottish Labour, some MPs will want to continue in Holyrood but will have to oust some of the C Team including Lamont and Baillie. As for the Tories and Lib Dems, the same story but less blood on the carpet. I would like to see Alex Fergusson take over the Conservative Party in Scotland and Charles Kennedy to head the Lib Dems, that will bring some much-needed stability and thoughtful grown-up politics wrestled from the childish soor-faces we have now!

  57. Marian says:

    On another topic the BBC website is reporting that the unionist “newspapers” in Scotland are in deep doo doo as the latest circulation figures show their terminal decline continues unabated

  58. Stevie says:

    “”””””””””Stewart Bremner says:
    27 February, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Your final paragraph is breathtakingly harsh and yet your reasoning is hard to fault. Could another possibility be that Labour’s increasingly rabid hatred of the SNP has become so all-encompassing that it has finally blinded the party?”””””””’
    YES and NO — YES, they hate the SNP because their hegemony is destroyed; NO because they sold their souls to the political wants of Tory south east England and London.  Blair new that without victory there they would remain in opposition.  Make absolutely no mistake – Blair was not socialist and in fact detested the idea.  His party went along for the ride and now they can’t find their way back because the same reality is true; Labour needs the south east of England and London to win.   Imagine if England were split into 2 or 3 or even 4 countries with independent governments: the South East England would be a consistently centre-right government; London probably very right-wing; the North East of England would be Labour and The North Labour too.   Scotland inevitably is the anti-London country in this landscape.  Compared to the überright of London these Scottish pussies with their NHS and their soft-in-the-head welfare system and non-privatised services would be like a red rag to a John Bull.   Thus, no, Labour is entirely lost veause its ambitions are power not principal, and since it was started in Scotland we come to your second point — indeed a new socialist party that works with business and trade unions to create wealth will appear.  It should be noted that the Labour government (post WWII) that created the NHS and the welfare system was kicked out of government after that one termand the Tories have been determined to destroy those social reforms since then.  Instead they destroyed Labour and Labour is now helping them along.

    One of my hopes for independence is that it will see the Labour party implode, leaving a space for a party that is genuinely socialist.”””””””

  59. Scotswhahea says:

    molly says:
    27 February, 2013 at 2:37 am

     In an Independent Scotland,the last thing I hope to happen ,would be for the likes of Jim Murphy or Margaret Curran to  be voted into Holyrood. Not because I think they would be a stronger challenge to the SNP but because they represent to me everything that is wrong with party politics-especially in Scotland.The inertia that was evident to me when Lab/Lib ran Holyrood, eventually filtered down ,where we all just accepted things,poor housing, an education system with gaping holes (my own included ) a totally incomprehensible transport system where you could go on journeys for hours ,using several modes of transport while enjoying 3 or 4 different types of weather.If anything ,it would be more difficult for Alex Salmond to have to argue the point with the likes of Allan Grogan,who is talking about what we’re talking about or possibly someone new with talent that we have yet to hear, but surely ,surely when we become Independent we will have relegated the old new Labour Party to a place it deserves to be ,afterall ,its own senior members have.Besides if J Murphy ,M Curran etc returned BBC Scotland would go into meltdown.
    Molly Covers it all for me, And if Scotland were not to go into meltdown I know I would…I want to NEVER have to see or hear form the likes of these people ever again..EVER!!!!

  60. Barontorc says:

    What would it cost to take over the Scotsman title? Or is it time to change the old brigade and start a new Scottish broadsheet?
    There will be an assured future in print; if it allies and keeps abreast of new tech, with world class photo- journo, absolutely expunged of trash, embedded with more thinking and floating  with a national balance befitting of an independent Scotland.  

  61. Morag says:

    Someone on an earlier thread had some deadly accurate info about what’s going on with the Scotsman.  Basically the dirt-cheap shares are being bought by a Tory unionist press baron who can afford to burn some money to keep it printing unionist lies for another 18 months.

  62. Heather McLean says:

    “Hence why my phone keeps telling me that Johann Lamont is a stupid aunt.”
    Hahahaha!!! Love your phone!

  63. scottish_skier says:


    Someone on an earlier thread had some deadly accurate info about what’s going on with the Scotsman

    Tories are not known for their wise business sense.

  64. Marcia says:

    AllMediaScotland have all the details on the ‘Regional’ Press figures.

  65. Morag says:

    Tories are not known for their wise business sense.
    If it is in his business interests to prevent Scottish independence, it could be a shrewd investment.

  66. Barontorc says:

    Thanks for the comment Morag, ‘….a Tory unionist press baron who can afford to burn some money to keep it printing unionist lies for another 18 months.’
    Makes you want to ask why all the palaver about election spend limits when this is going to go on and the BBC is hell bent on rampaging up the unionist  alley with all UJ flags waving in every possible shot it takes.
    A question I’ve always had at the back of my mind – does the Electoral Commission have control over ‘free propaganda publicity’ from the MSM and BBC for the unionist NO campaign? Or to demonstrate even balance in this question – by the MSM and BBC for the YES campaign, indeed!

  67. scottish_skier says:

    He’s wasting his money if that’s the case. I like that. Preaching to the converted anyway. Or increasingly so anyway from circulation figures.

    If there was a referendum tomorrow and everyone that is saying Yes (e.g. to pollsters) goes out and votes Yes, you’d get a majority for independence.

    It’s a turnout thing you see. Scotland is quite predictable in this respect.

    Scots don’t want independence. Only 23% support independence. The vast majority of Scots support the union….

    I hope they keep this up. The law of unintended consequences…

    Soon, the polls shall return to what they were in late 2011 with the Yes ahead of the No (the shy and the nervous come out again). Then, taking into account turnout, you’ll be looking at very nice majority come the day.

  68. DougtheDug says:

    The idea of Tom Harris, Ian Davidson, Jim Murphy, Gordon Brown or any of the current crop of Labour MP’s and MSP’s in an independent Scottish Parliament is frightening. They would be parliamentarians in a country they didn’t want to exist in the first place.

  69. Castle Rock says:

    Watching the Bedroom Tax debate at Westminster and for such an abhorrent and regressive piece of legislation that is going to hurt the most needy and disadvantaged in our communities, where are all the Scottish Labour MP’s who should be in the chamber opposing this?
    Shouldn’t they be in the chamber showing their anger and opposition to this Tax rather than just popping in to say a few words then disappearing again?
    No doubt they’ll all too busy filling out their expense claims rather than standing up for their constituents.

  70. Angus McLellan says:

    @Doug: ”   parliamentarians in a country they didn’t want to exist in the first place”.
    Well, that wouldn’t be a first. You could even say that it’s pretty much routine, from Northern Ireland to Malta (the MLP had backed union with the UK in ’56 and didn’t really play along in ’64) and from Ukraine to Uzbekistan. What with treason being a matter of dates, a Yes vote is unlikely *of itself* to damage the No parties, so long as they can adapt. What could cripple SLAB (and the LibDems) would be a funding crisis, but that’s another story.

  71. Morag says:

    Here’s the thing about the Hootsmon’s angel.  DCanmore posted it.
    On the Scotsman/Johnston Press issue, I’ve been watching with interest the state of affairs with that company. It’s almost coming to the end of its life, I’ve said previously that after two major restructures in the last 12 months, still only trading at 13p a share, I believe it will be game over by April. Over the past year it has never risen above 15p per share despite the restructures and relauches. Quite frankly Johnston Press with £350m in debt is toast. So what is going on? There are three major shareholders of JP stock, PanOcean Management (Malaysia), Orbis Holdings (Bermuda) and Sir Ray Tindle (Surrey).

    The last one is interesting, Sir Ray has Tindle Newspapers based in the south of England with about 200 titles (not all newspapers). Sir Ray is an arch Unionist of the old school (ie imperialist), a personal friend to the Maggie Thatcher and generous donator to the Conservative Party. His newspapers reflect his politics even to the point where he has ridden roughshod over his editors and reporters. Over the last three years Sir Ray has been discreetly buying JP shares by the bucket load and now he is the third largest shareholder with about 10 per cent. That was up until last year. Heraldnomore @6.16pm has mentioned of large amounts of JP shares being sold off recently … to whom? My guess is Sir Ray Tindle, whose publishing empire is doing very well and operating with no debt, maybe looking to take over Johnston Press and save it, or at least the most profitable parts of it. True to form, he likes to keep the most historical of mastheads.

    So the The Scotsman may have some guardian angel willing to rescue it, unfortunately the politics won’t change within it if it does turn out to be Sir Ray Tindle. (By the way this is the chap who supported the Iraq War so completely he banned all of his newspapers reporting on anti-war demonstrations).

  72. Chic McGregor says:

    The one I feared (I think its safe to say so now) was Malcolm Chisholm, he would be capable of lifting the Scottish Labour debate out of the gutter.
    But he is a bit of an enigma.  He seems to put Scotland first to the point of being a closet indy (maybe why most of his career has been sidelined?) but whenever point blank asked says he is pro-Union (well he would have to wouldn’t he?).  He stood his ground on Trident, but enthusiastically supported the privatisation of council housing stock.

  73. Nikostratos says:

    ‘It must be beyond much rational doubt among even the most diehard Labour activists in Scotland that their party has little chance of winning Holyrood in 2016, or ever again,’
    Really? 2016 well as long as the Separatist ( oopsIndependence apologies)     lose in 2014 we can easily live with  2016. After all Labour would be better off watching on the sidelines while  the remnants of the snp implode and then disintegrate.
    ‘ever again’ Heard that one before many many times we have always come back.
    Anyways ensuring the snp lose the referendum By Any Means Necessary is the top bottom and middle of it nothing else matters.

  74. muttley79 says:

    What the hell does “By Any Means Necessary” mean?  Are you advocating violence to stop independence?  Seriously your posts are alarming… 

  75. scottish_skier says:

    Sorry Niko, but the polls favour a yes and show no signs of changing back to no, if anything, No is heading down based on the most recent polls.

    You can see why a Yes is favoured can’t you?

    If you can’t, go and gather electoral turnout data for Scotland and consider the two together. It’s very obvious.

    If you want a similar example, think back to the heady days of late 2010. Labour were riding high in the polls for Hoylrood yet the data showed the SNP as the most likely victor in 2011 for very obvious reasons. 2011 was not a shock; polls dating back to the beginning of devolution all showed it was going to happen.

    Polls can tell you a lot, so long as you appreciate what they are saying, and that’s not always what the pollster says/thinks they are.

    Tell me why a Yes is favoured if you like. Need some help – just ask. I might give you another clue.

  76. Chic McGregor says:

    Behold the carcass of a once proud and noble animal in its ruin on the Plain of Retribution!

    A vast putrid pile which rots and decays and violates the very air.

    In truth, this aged Leviathan, the last of its kind, had commenced its corruption long ere this final demise.

    The Paparasites which had fed on Laborusaurus Scotus, for that was its name, now reduced to whimpering prodders and pokers, try hopelessly, to bring their former provider back to life.

    They had, fleetingly, ran to its nemeses, Alexander the sure-footed, the great Golden King of Linlothian, yea even as he wielded the fatal blow.

    But no succour were they to find there, for he is a King of hard justice.

    And so they return, pathetically, to the thing they knew, the thing whose time is past, the thing that will soon,… mark their own passing.

    But as the Sun sets in the West, so it rises in the East and the Land will fill with the good light and will renew and all will prosper and attain fulfilment.

    At least for a while.

  77. TheGreatBaldo says:

    The Labour Party Post Referendum
    See Article
    What happens to the Labour for Indy block….?
    Are they to be expelled for campaigning against the Party ?
    If so will/would they run ‘Independent Labour Party’ candidates in 2015 & 2016 ?
    If they are kept in this means a substantial minority (at least) of Party members and possible Candidates have openly declared for Independence….
    A lot of attention on what happens  to the SNP if Scotland votes NO……
    Yet it seems obvious that WIN OR LOSE in 2014 there is going to be a battle for the soul of Scottish Labour between the more right wing Westminister favouring Unionist wing and the more left leaning Holyrood favouring small ‘n’ nationalist wing…..
    Labour are going to need one helluva dynamic leader to hold them together thru 2015-16 but ‘Johann Lamont was unavailable for comment’…

  78. Grahamski says:

    “What happens to the Labour for Indy block….?”
    What all three of them?
    Presumably they’ll go back to the SNP.

  79. Nikostratos says:

    And you can provide a link to these polls?
    if its on Numptynet Scotland no need to bother
    Have a look at this for a while then all your
    Nat doubts will fade away………..worked for me
    ‘Are you advocating violence to stop independence?  Seriously your posts are alarming… ‘
    Dont you worry muttley  nothings gonna happen to you  You’re the only friend I got.

  80. Braco says:

    Niko, what you’ve got coming aint fit for a lady to see! 

  81. heraldnomore says:

    ah Grahamski is that the sum total of your response to all the points made in the article?

    actually don’t bother to respond, there really is nothing you can say to all that is there? 

  82. Nikostratos says:

    Are you advocating violence?  Seriously your posts are alarming… ‘ ha ha ha
    @muttley79 is more of a girl than a lady


  83. cath says:

    “Anyways ensuring the snp lose the referendum By Any Means Necessary is the top bottom and middle of it nothing else matters.”
    Very democratic of you. Especially after you were boasting the other day about how to rig postal votes.
    I really hope the Scottish government will have firm mechanisms in place to ensure there isn’t widespread cheating, fraud, intimidation or whatever else that post is supposed to mean. A win that’s fair and democratic people will accept. A “win” based on anything else won’t be accepted.

  84. Braco says:

    Niko, people don’t usually talk to Muttley that way! So we are going to rough you up a bit… ruff you up a bit and then run you out of town.

  85. Nikostratos says:

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    Not a quote which would get any agreement on Wings over Scotland
    or any Nationalist Blog/website

  86. cath says:

    ““I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    You’re the one talking about “winning” by any means necessary. Clearly you don’t value democracy or freedom of speech or thought. By contrast, you’re on this board being allowed to say those things.

  87. Nikostratos says:

    @ cath
    And your view on The Torys and Lib dems  cobbling together
    a cabal and giving themselves a five year term is?
    Or the snp ruling on 25% of the potential electoral vote
    and claiming an overwhelming mandate to destroy
    the Union is?

  88. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Not a quote which would get any agreement on Wings over Scotland
    or any Nationalist Blog/website”

    Um, you’re here and uncensored, despite being a trolling halfwit without a single constructive or interesting thought to add to the debate.

  89. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    ““What happens to the Labour for Indy block….?”
    What all three of them?
    Presumably they’ll go back to the SNP.”

    Long day at work, dear? Some way below your usual standards, I’m afraid. And that’s a grim prospect indeed.

  90. ianbrotherhood says:

    Is this the first time Grahamski and Nikittynakettynoonoonoo have appeared on the same thread? What a tag-team! Awesome.
    (CameronB, you’d better watch out mate, those boys will give your gravatar one hell of a beating.)

  91. the rough bounds says:

    Scottish Labour hasn’t been Scottish nor socialist for at least half a century. I was born and brought up in Glasgow and it was shite.
    The Labour Party weren’t so much socialist as downright Stalinist. They were hellish.
    They treated the people with contempt and did nothing to defend them. All individuality and personality was just about knocked out of the people with Labour’s mean mindedness, corruption and venality and hatred of all things Scots.
    Thank God for the SNP. They may not be perfect but their presence has lifted the Scots out of the gutter.
    An independent Scotland with the likes of Murphy, Davidson etc. being members of our Parliament and being in charge? What an utterly depressing thought.

  92. Scotus says:

    Rev Stu – I’m not sure why you continue to allow Niko on here. He/she seems to be just a sabotaging troll. At least Grahamski occasionally attempts to present some kind of view that the average person can comprehend (even if they don’t agree), but Niko just blethers pish!

  93. Dcanmore says:

    @Morag …
    thanks for reposting my er… post 🙂 
    Some stats for the Scotsman (turning out to be my favourite subject) …
    These ABC sales figures are from 2009 with a 36000 daily circulation, so will be considerably less now with only 29500 daily sales today. In 2009 The Scotsman was bought by people in:
    Edinburgh: 12804; Glasgow: 845; Aberdeen: 838; Dundee: 625; Dunfermline: 759; Cockenzie & PS: 491; Alloa: 376; Bathgate: 230; Cupar: 214; Dalkeith: 325; Dunbar: 447; Duns: 244; Falkirk: 472; Galashiels: 475; Glenrothes: 262; Haddington 489; inverness 291; Kelso: 495; Kinross: 235; Kirkcaldy: 520; Linlithgow: 445; Livingston: 454; Melrose: 525; Musselburgh: 323; Hawick: 338; North Berwick: 694(!); South Queensferry: 298; Penicuick: 420; Perth: 314.
    Many other significant town such as Hamilton, Ayr, Greenock, Paisley and East Kilbride, The Scotsman only sells by the handful. The newspaper’s household penetration in Scotland is less than 2 per cent.

  94. ianbrotherhood says:

    @the rough bounds –
    ‘I was born and brought up in Glasgow and it was shite.’
    I just want to say that this is the most powerful polemic I have ever seen in my life.
    I’m thinking of nicking it for my headstone.

  95. Dcanmore says:

    NNS has announced that they’ve raised more than £5000 in two days of their £12000 appeal. With one donor parting with £1000! I say well done to them. I know many people on here have grumbled about their moderation of comments but I think NNS is very important, they report on news items that the MSM find dangerous to the independence ‘debate’. This is great not only for us Indy people but the casual observers (more importantly the non-decided and soft NOs) too. Today I Googled “Scottish News” and NNS came SIXTH on the list ahead of The Herald and Telegraph. I then Googled “Scottish News Politics” and they came THIRD on the list. This is tremendous, people are seeking out information and stories they wouldn’t normally receive. I am backing NNS as I do WoS because without both them we would be the poorer by far.

  96. rabb says:

    cynicalHighlander says:
    27 February, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Oh Niko the Bramm Seer of fantasyland.
    Jeez Niko that’s a belter of a blog fella. You’re a proper Mayan prophet aren’t you?
    FFS don’t change your mind to a Yes vote!!
    Is that you in the photo with the bag full of dodgy postal vote forms? I hate cheap personal insults but you do have a coupon like a junkies spoon!
    As a Burnistoun charachter once said “UP THE ROAD YOU!”


  97. Castle Rock says:

    Niko, the Terry Fuckwitt of comments.
    Nuff said.

  98. Chic McGregor says:

    @ Dcanmore
    In West Central it appears to be effectively nil.

  99. muttley79 says:

    muttley 79 is more of a girl than a lady
    Nope, I am a male thank you very much.  As you seem to be insulting people here is one for you: How old are you?  You seem about twelve years old?  Do you think you are hard parroting Malcolm X?  Do you think you are impressing people with your garbage, or attracting people to your cause with the arguments you are making?

  100. Dcanmore says:

    @Chic McGregor
    Yeah, they’re definitely only preaching to the converted these days, mostly Tory voters in the Lothians and Borders. Ayr and Hamilton both have populations of around 50,000 each and the combined sales of The Scotsman in these towns is a whopping 146!

  101. ianbrotherhood says:

    ‘ Ayr and Hamilton both have populations of around 50,000 each…’
    Good shout. The people who live in these places probably don’t know that, and there’s no obvious reason why they should. It’s so easy to foster the idea that Scotland is ‘wee’. If it feels ‘wee’ it’s cause we’ve lost any real concept of what distances lie between this or that shopping-centre. We don’t walk enough.
    Try going on the Google street-search, and ‘walking’ around your own neighbourhood.   It’s astonishing – you can go down streets in areas you’ve always avoided like the plague, and find that the housing is actually not too bad, the gardens are well-kept etc, or you can choose to explore the more prestigious post-codes and find yourself in a depressing maze of rampant Leylandii. 
    Remember Tom Weir? What a great guy he was. Always out and about – you could tell he genuinely loved Scotland – but he never got enough, bored, never ‘retired’ so far as I know. He was always learning, exploring, finding new places and people. And he enjoyed a long life. 
    This is a big, beautiful country – we should be dead proud of it. 

  102. Chic McGregor says:

    @ Dcanmore
    Maybe that is why they figured they could move to less of a dependency song sheet more recently since they are not reaching U-central anymore?
    OK that’s cynical  (therefore probably right).

  103. Midgehunter says:

    @ ianbrotherhood
    “This is a big, beautiful country – we should be dead proud of it.”
    That’s true – which is why I’d rather be alive proud of it …!

  104. The Observer says:

    I find it intriguing, and somewhat disturbing that politicians  political observers  and political reporters, satirists, objectors etc all refer to the party in Government as “In Power”
    Maybe this is why a lot of people do not offer real support, trust or belief in any of their policies.
    The Government, Parliament, whatever you wish to refer them as, is a management team. Not an armed force. Not rulers, and not “In Power” The voters hold the political power by being able to dismiss them. Unfortunately, the real power brokers (the people) don’t realise how much control they can exercise, because their belief in real change, in real  successful management of this country, union, nation has been diluted by megalomaniac, attention seeking, members of some perceived elite “club” that twist the common mans understanding of who is really in charge.
    Once TV makes a politician “Celebrity” they thrive off the their ego. Their belief that they are above the laws that have been created to protect us. When it doesn’t suit, they alter it with some legislation that we, vox populi are to just accept. When enough people get together, accept that the corruption, the elitism and indeed the  questionable activity of most “members of the house” is in the very least morally wrong, then maybe they can begin to create a wave of real change, where the people themselves stand up and ask “Why have you done this with Our Country, Our Heritage, Our Money”
    Make them accountable. They are Civil Servants. Since when did the servants dictate to the Householders what is going to happen?

  105. charlie says:

    there should be a chance to reply to individual posts, i’d pay a quid for that 😉
    but to comment on somewhere above, the English Labour Party should be licking it’s lips at the prospect of the LibDems dieing and UKIP splitting the tabloid Tory vote, but no they’re shite. Given a bit of thought there could be two left of centre governments in Britain by 2015.

  106. Chic McGregor says:

    @The Observer
    Agree, they should use the term ‘In service’ rather than ‘In power’

  107. CameronB says:

    In administration ? 🙂

  108. Hetty says:

    Good comment ‘Observer’. We do hold high the civil servants who think and act as though they have a god given right to override any notion of equlaity and then go on to make decisions on people’s lives in their own interests. 
    I really think in future that it’s best to steer clear of the kind of bbc/tabloid comments that some, perhaps less enlightened commentators seem to embrace on WoS ( thankfully not very frequently)  and always aim to keep the discussions on this site on an informed, balanced and intelligent level. I guess in short, meaning not to rise to the bait…it’s not easy!

  109. Albert Herring says:

    ‘In service’, ‘In power’, ‘in administration’.
    How about ‘in for it for themselves’?

  110. CameronB says:

    I meant as in “up the financial creek without a paddle”, with the ECB acting as administrator.

  111. Chic McGregor says:

    @ CameronB
    Superb 🙂

  112. Gordon says:

    This is off topic but I wasn’t sure where else to post. 
    Sources inside the European Commission have told me that it turns out that European Social Fund allocations were cut by Westminster more in Scotland than in any other authority in the UK. 
    The European angle should be one worth investigating.

  113. Thomas William Dunlop says:

    Great article and excellent point to bring up again. It has not been brought all too often but I still remember the astonished anger that even I worked my self into the shenanagins at the last UK GE. I think at that point you can say that a lot of people got the point that Labour are finished as a people’s (friendly) party and had just became another hollowed out cypher for plutocrats power projections.
    I think it should be used frequently in argument that there is no fairy godmothers waiting in the wings of the UK opposition -only one trip to a world that resembles the Haywain painting of Heinronymous Bosch.

  114. George Gebbie says:

    Reminds me of that old song,
    ” I’m a Scottish Labour MP
    from a city, cold and black:
    And when I get down south
    I’ll shut my mouth;
    In case they send me back!”

  115. Arthur thomson says:

    ‘dropping state of the art bombs on shepherds’.

    That absolutely sums up the Britnats. That is exactly what they desperately want to hang onto. That is what puffs up their over inflated egos. Their lives are as empty as their brains. An unjustified conceit and utter contempt for others.

    The mock Jocks who over populated the New Labour government were Prime examples of people who wielded power that they had neither the morality nor the intelligence to use wisely. Lamont is spot on in believing that Scotbuts in the Labour party are not fit to have power over anything.

    The SNP have shown that your actual Scots are well able to punch above their weight in the best sense of that phrase. A sovereign Scottish parliament can’t come too soon.

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