The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Zombie revived by halfwit

Posted on June 08, 2012 by

A surprise development today, as the moribund and long-neglected LabourHame website sprang suddenly back to life with its fourth post in as many months. And what a stirring comeback it was, as the party’s Shadow Secretary Of State for Scotland Margaret Curran launched into a vitriolic diatribe awkwardly entitled “Absurd to claim a separate Scotland would continue to be part of Britain“.

(There was plenty of room left in the headline to turn the car-crash grammar into English, for example by prefixing it with the words “Why it’s”.)

The centrepiece of the article’s argument was Curran’s unequivocal assertion that “Britain is the country we live in, not the island it exists on”, which is a claim only slightly spoiled by being completely factually wrong in every respect. Rather than waste all afternoon explaining why, we’ll just quote the Wikipedia entry and let you get on with your day. If you’re really pressed for time, you can stop after the first sentence.

Great Britain or Britain (Welsh: Prydain Fawr, Scottish Gaelic: Breatainn Mhòr, Cornish: Breten Veur) is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, the largest European island, and the largest of the British Isles. With a population of about 60.0 million people in mid-2009, it is the third most populous island in the world, after Java and Honshu. Great Britain is surrounded by over 1,000 smaller islands and islets. The island of Ireland lies to its west. Politically, Great Britain may also refer to the island itself together with a number of surrounding islands which comprise the territory of England, Scotland and Wales.

All of the island is territory of the sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and most of the United Kingdom’s territory is in Great Britain. Most of England, Scotland, and Wales are on the island of Great Britain, as are their respective capital cities: London, Edinburgh, and Cardiff.

The Kingdom of Great Britain resulted from the political union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland with the Acts of Union 1707 on 1 May 1707 under Queen Anne.”

You’d hope someone aiming to be the Secretary of State for a part of somewhere would at least have a grasp of the most rudimentary geopolitical facts about it, but nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Scottish Labour.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

22 to “Zombie revived by halfwit”

  1. Juteman

    Labour Hoose may be back online, but comments are still verboten.

  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    PS Scottish Labour’s tweet advertising the post summarised it as “SNP changing the goalposts again”. You don’t “change” goalposts, dears, you “move” them. Can’t even get smearing right.

  3. Randomscot

    Well, the Tartan Army once changed some Wembley Goalposts into fragments of the True Cross

  4. Juteman

    They’ll probably mention that ‘British’ icon of jerseys for goal posts.
    I must have a break from the Alice in Wonderland of Scottish politics. It’s doing my mental health no good at all.

  5. Theuniondivvie

    Ooh, treble spacing between the paras and everything, just to make sure we swine appreciate each perfectly formed pearl of the Magrit’s prose.

    Is Labourhame the nastiest looking site in the Scottish blogosphere? 

  6. MajorBloodnok

    I noticed she says “I have never subscribed to the theory that Scotland is “too poor or too wee” – by omission can we therefore assume that she still subscribes to the theory that we are too stupid?  Mind you, she’s probably just looked around at her close colleagues and that was her conclusion.

  7. Michael Heron

    Britishness as a concept not only makes sense geographically, but also a consequence of the union of crowns. The idea of a British identity began to take hold before the Act of Union.  If it’s important to people (it’s not to me, but I appreciate it’s important to others) there is every reason for independent Scots to consider themselves as Scottish, British, Europeans or Citizens of the World.  

  8. YesYesYes

    Not for the first time, LabourHame provides us with its nomination for a DumbBritain award.
    “Britain is the country we live in, not the island it exists on”.
    For God’s sake! It isn’t even controversial to say that Britain isn’t a country. But if ‘Britain’ isn’t the name of the island that we live in, then what is the name for the island that we live in? And if Scotland and England aren’t countries, then what are they?
    More politically interesting, however, is that if Margaret Curran and her Scottish Labour colleagues are so insistent that Britain is a country, and are so proud of their ‘Britishness’, why did they go to all that trouble in 1994 to set themselves up as a ‘Scottish’ Labour party? And why, subsequently, have they gone to so much trouble to create the impression that they are separate from the British Labour party, with their own party ‘leader’ and distinct policies? Why would a party that claims to be against ‘separatism’ go to so much trouble to separate themselves from the British Labour party? OK, we know it’s only a nominal separation, but they keep telling us that they’re not under the control of London Labour, so someone’s telling porkies. By the way, isn’t this an example of weaker together, stronger apart?
    While we’re on the subject of Scottish Labour’s policies, does anyone know what Scottish Labour’s official position on the West Lothian Question is? Or what its position on closer political and economic union with the EU is? Or what its position on Trident is?
    Confused? If you are, then the following isn’t going to help:
    “There are many small countries. However, if our experiences over the last few years have taught us anything it is that the biggest challenges facing the world – the economic crisis, climate change or combating terrorism – are best tackled together and not apart”.
    Where to start with this nonsense? It’s true, there are many small countries, even in Europe, never mind the world. But if the problems identified “are best tackled together and not apart”, then where does that leave all these small countries? What are they to do? Should the Scandinavian countries establish a political union? Should the Habsburg Empire be re-constituted? Should the former USSR gather its former satellites around it again? – now that’s what you call ‘security’ Mags – we’ll never know, they haven’t thought that far ahead yet.
    What our “experiences” in Scotland have taught us “over the last few years” Mags, is that we’re back to where we were in the 1980s and 1990s. We have a bunch of useless Scottish Labour MPs sitting on their fat arses in Westminster unable to provide even the minimum protection to us against the Tory policies that we all voted against in 2010. In fact, it’s worse now than it was in the 1980s and 1990s Mags. For today, the Westminster ‘government’  that holds less than 2 per cent of seats in Scotland is imposing policies on Scotland which the parties that hold the other 98 per cent of seats are powerless to do anything to prevent. OK one of those parties is harbouring the illusion that they’re in a ‘coalition’ with the Tories but I think that, even you Mags, might be able to work out that this just isn’t credible. In some circles they refer to this as a ‘democratic deficit’ but if you ask me, given these relative proportions, democratic deficit doesn’t even come close. It’s much closer to being an absence of democracy altogether. But Ed has the answer. How did he put it in his speech yesterday? “We prosper and suffer together”. We certainly do Mags. Well, we suffer anyway.
    But what I really want to know is this. Why does ‘stronger together weaker apart’ stop abruptly at the south coast of England? If this is such a good idea, if these “challenges” facing all of us really are “best tackled together and not apart” why aren’t you and your party not campaigning for a European super-state? That would be a start, surely? It would demonstrate that you mean what you say. It would prove beyond doubt that your words are not just empty rhetoric devised for the temporary expedient of winning a referendum.
    Now it’s true that you have a convenient trap-door to escape through on this one right now. Euroland is toxic, there’s too much uncertainty just now. But this wasn’t the case between 1997 and 2007, and I don’t recall anyone in the Labour party (Scottish or British) arguing for this at any point during this whole decade. And while we’re on the subject, let’s not forget that it’s not that long ago that your party’s policy was to withdraw from the EU. True, this was the British Labour party, before you Scottish ‘separatists’ invented your Scottish Labour party, so you might want to enter a disclaimer here. In fact, if I were you, reading through your ill-informed and poorly argued effort on LabourHame, I’d disclaim the whole lot.
    You’ve won the award by the way. 

  9. Arbroath1320

    For my tuppence worth I believe that the terms British and Great Britain were first coined NOT in the 1700’s but over 100 years earlier when James VI became James I with his attempt to unify the Scottish and English crowns. So, in my view, ANY unionist who makes any assertion to the opposite is talking utter bull*****! Time for them to go back to school, if they know what a school is, and get their heads into some good old SCOTTISH and BRITISH history.
    On a wee aside here, I think I may have an answer, sort of, to YYY’s question:
    “Or what its position on closer political and economic union with the EU is?
    I think we may find out if the eurozone countries become even more integrated.
    “The Chancellor became the first senior member of the Cabinet to suggest that a nationwide vote would be necessary to redraw the UK’s relationship with Brussels if the euro crisis leads to greater integration between eurozone nations.”

  10. YesYesYes

    Excellent point. This could get interesting as well as entertaining, watching the Scottish Labour party squirm on this issue.
    The Tories are not going to give up on this. If anything, their current Westminster in-take is even more Eurosceptic than the lunatics who made John Major’s life a misery in the 1990s. They want a vote not just on any ‘British’ response to closer EU integration, they want a vote on Britain’s membership of the EU.
    Here’s the thing. Suppose the Tories get their way – it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility – and a referendum is held on Britain’s EU membership. Suppose further that in that referendum, England votes to leave the EU but Scotland votes to stay in. Again, this isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility. In effect, therefore, ‘Britain’ would have voted to leave the EU. This after all, is how ‘democracy’, British-style, works in Scotland. But the interesting question is, in these circumstances, what would Scottish Labour’s position be? It’s a toughie isn’t it? Then again, I suppose Scottish Labour would say to us what they’ve always said to us: go fuck yourselves, or words to that effect.

  11. YesYesYes

    As for the choice of words used by Scottish Labour as their proxy for, “Go fuck yourselves”, we can surely do no better than ‘stronger together weaker apart’.

  12. cynicalHighlander

    We know why Labour uses ‘stronger together weaker apart’ it ups their intelligence quotiant.

  13. Pete

    Personally, I think ensuring we are not incorporated into a German dominated European superstate might be the one good thing the Tories do for us prior to independence.

  14. douglas clark

    Yes,Yes,Yes @ 9:08pm,


    I imagine we could take the option, spelled out by that genius of political strategy Lord Forsyth, and remain with mother Europe, much as he expects the Orkneys and Shetlands to be allowed to demur from our independence vote and remain with mother England?

    It’d only be right, wouldn’t it?

    Well no, I expect not.

  15. YesYesYes

    Personally, I don’t want the Westminster Tories to do any more to us or for us, on anything, ever again.
    @douglas clark
    Heh-heh, spot on!

  16. douglas clark


    With my Mystic Meg hat on I will make the following prediction:

    One of the problems that we as a nation have is that the City of London – the square mile if you will – gets major advantages from us being in the EU. As long as that continues, no Conservative Government will allow a vote on the EU. Oh they’ll shout and bawl and jump up and down, but they won’t give you your referendum. Only if it became a drag for the merchant bankers would there be a sea change and your EU referendum would have financial support beyond the dreams of Croesus.

    Hostage to fortune, eh?

    I’d like us to make up our own minds, which we could do after independence.

    It might all look a tad different from the German dominated superstate you predicate. Indeed, moving it forward from a European Treasury to something else might be in everyones interests.

    It is notable that Europe was a very warlike place, not so long ago. It isn’t anymore and I am at least moderately encouraged that no EU member has ever taken up arms against another EU member. That is something to treasure if you look at the history books. Oh, I dunno, from 1066 and before to 1945,

    Just saying.


  17. Blindmanonhorse

    Scotland Not re writing history as we will accept our part in British History Propose Hamish Henderson Freedom Come a Ye by way of explanation
     Its time for Margaret to to accept that Scotland wants something better even if it is only so we can learn from our own mistakes. Political Unions made by the rich was a bad idea at the time and a worse idea now when we have grown up as a country and we have democracy so we can have a vote 
    Devolution gave us the stronger voice Now we want to speak for our selves at the worlds table 
    To re write history you need a time machine so we will stick to MAKING History 
    Its time that Scottish Labour Party put their cards on the table and gave Scotland an alternative.
    Not a Thatcher like Poll Tax Punishment for winning in 79 (only for the Labour Party to gerrymander the referendum ) alternative
    Not a David Cameron: We’ll tell you later after you vote NO Alternative
    Not a Liberal Democrat Promise of free education changed our minds when we sold our souls alternative
    But a real commitment to make things better in Scotland 
    So now here is Labours chance to prove at a Local level that the Status Quo is so much better 
    Labour Party Manifesto 2012 for Glasgow City Council was Free Wifi 
    and Refurb of all the Glasgow schools 
    How long will this take and how much will it cost?
    Voting yes in a referendum is only the first step 
    I leave you with this thought There are 2 kinds of people in this world 
    There are those that are Scottish
    and there are those who wished they were Scottish  

  18. douglas clark

    Yes,Yes,Yes, @ 12:21pm,

    I agree with your first para. Perhaps it’s the life I led, but I wouldn’t trust a Tory an inch. David Meikle possibly excepted.

    I believe it ought to be entirely up to Scotland to determine it’s relationship with the EU. It is getting that power to decide for ourselves that is so desperately needed.

    I imagine Pete and I might be on different sides of a post 2014 Scottish Parliament debate.

    But it is there that issues like this should be determined, not on the playing fields of Eton. For those that know much about Eton know little of us.

  19. Tris

    It may have been called Britain 900 years earlier than 1600s, if this piece of Wiki is to be believed.

    Avant de s’appeler « Grande-Bretagne », ce territoire (ou sa partie la plus au sud) s’appelait simplement « Bretagne » (Britannia en latin) et était peuplé de Bretons, peuple de langue celtique résultant de différents courants migratoires issus du continent. À partir du vie siècle, une partie de la population de Bretagne migre sur le Continent. La confusion de nom s’installe entre la Bretagne insulaire et la Bretagne continentale (actuelle Bretagne) ; on les distingue en parlant de la grande Bretagne et de la petite Bretagne (Britannia maior et Britannia minor)1. En français, le terme « Bretagne » finit par s’attacher à la péninsule armoricaine, alors que le terme « Grande-Bretagne » désigne l’ancienne Bretagne insulaire. En anglais, le terme Britain est couramment employé pour parler de la « grande Bretagne »2, alors que Brittany désigne la Bretagne continentale.

  20. Tris


  21. Arbroath1320

    Blindmanonhorse says:

    Status Quo is so much better 
    Labour Party Manifesto 2012 for Glasgow City Council was Free Wifi 
    and Refurb of all the Glasgow schools 
    How long will this take and how much will it cost?

    I agree Status Quo are good but Judas Priest are so much better. 😀
    With regard to the “promises ?” of the GCC don’t worry, they WON’T happen, therefore the GCC have SAVED loads of money. Don’t worry though, they have plans for this money……… just ask the Orange Lodge!

    YesYesYes says:
    But the interesting question is, in these circumstances, what would Scottish Labour’s position be? It’s a toughie isn’t it? 
    Hawd on a wee second there YYY. You are ACTUALLY daring to suggest that Labour would have a position on leaving the E.U.? 😀 Don’t you know Labour don’t do “holding a position on ANYTHING!” 😀
    I’m actually praying, sort of that the scenario in the Daily Mail actually occurs BEFORE the 20124 referendum. I’d LOVE to see not only Osborne’s bluff called but also that of Labour, or should that be London Labour or is it Scottish Labour or is it…………..

  22. TYRAN

    Dumbarton (Dunbretane) is ‘Fort of the Britons’ named from around 14th century.   

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

  • About

    Wings Over Scotland is a (mainly) Scottish political media digest and monitor, which also offers its own commentary. (More)

    Stats: 6,423 Posts, 1,179,801 Comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Tags

  • Recent Comments

  • RSS Wings Over Scotland

  • A tall tale

↑ Top