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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Scottish Labour's Petticoats Showing

Politics can be a rough business. In Scotland, after the rise of the SNP challenged Labour's iron grip, it has become positively brutal.

The death throes of an Empire often lead to its worst excesses. And, let's be clear, what we are seeing now in our nation are the final nervous twitches of the Scottish Labour Empire accompanied, of course, by the impotent rage and vitriolic bile of its leading figures.

Scottish Labour will continue to be a major party in Scottish politics. Post-2014 they may have to make some serious structural and ideological adjustments though and the days of 'monkeys in red rosettes' are fast expiring.

Neanderthals remain, clearly.

Ian Davidson's portrayal of a Scotland to which only he is witness just add to the evidence of that particular Member as something of a loose cannon. His Party supported him when he offered to give an SNP MP a 'doing'; serious enough had it been another man, despicable that it was Dr Eilidh Whiteford.

Anas Sarwar (the Scottish Party's Deputy Leader no less) felt secure enough, in the glow of his colleagues' unwavering support of the most crass pronouncements, to decry the Holyrood Parliament as undemocratic and its First Minister as a dictator. Ironically, demeaning a Scottish Government which won a bigger share of the vote than any UK Government since 1966. Demeaning a First Minister re-elected by the people of Scotland after leading a difficult minority administration - some say more a reflection on the inadequacy and incompetency of Labour rather than an endorsement of the Scottish National Party.

No matter, Alex Salmond and the Nationalists don't need me to defend them. However, the people of Scotland are belittled every time someone in a position like Sarwar makes statements like this. They elected this Government; to a Chamber and using a process effectively designed by Labour. When Sarwar dismisses that system, he dismisses the Scottish nation who express their civic responsibility through it.

No-one in the Labour Party felt moved to criticise either contribution to Parliamentary debate. Clearly, this is now what passes for debate in the Labour Party.

Next into the ring, through the medium of Twitter, steps Ian Smart - the solicitor who underplays his standing in the Party by modestly describing himself as a 'Labour hack'. Smart is a football fan. If he is using 'hack' in the sense of an aggressive, ill-timed and violent attack on an opponent, he has categorised himself perfectly.

Following the deaths of four mountaineers in a Glencoe avalanche yesterday, the First Minister issued a press statement commiserating with those who lost loved ones in the tragedy. Quite correctly, as the elected voice of the Scottish nation, Salmond spoke for all of us. For all of us, apart from, that is, Ian Smart.

In a prolonged and astonishing tirade he questioned whether any newsroom had asked for the statement, implying that the First Minister needs permission to speak on a matter of interest to Scotland. This quickly descended into remarks like the following:

"Salmond's response: Me, me, look at me. I'm really important!"

"Four people died in Glencoe tonight. Within an hour Salmond saw it as an opportunity to get his name in the papers. Hope he's proud."

"...he was the man who saw the deaths as a chance for self publicity."

The more cryptic tweet of "Ra Ra Rasputin", I'll leave to be interpreted by each of you individually.

I suspect, upon reflection, that Smart may show some contrition and claim that the demon drink played a major part in his insidious attack. Personally, I won't accept that as any kind of excuse. Alcohol merely lowers inhibition, allowing us to voice what we actually believe but might not say when we can exert better control.

Let me make clear. We have all, myself included, committed to Twitter remarks that we, on reflection, might not be particularly proud of but they are normally momentary lapses - not sustained attacks like Ian Smart's.

In the past few days, nominally Unionist commentators have committed to print that they are almost being forced into the Yes camp by the unremitting negativity of the Unionist attack dogs. Many more will surely follow if the quality of the Better Together argument is being articulated by these three Scottish Labour 'personalities'.

In the end, the people of Scotland will choose who they want to speak for them. Salmond? Or Davidson, Sarwar and Smart. Independence or the crumbling Empire?


  1. Ἐν οἴνῳ ἀλήθεια

    or, in Latin:

    In vino veritas.

    I never accept alcohol consumption as an excuse. What he says, in drink, he actually means.

    I think that you last paragraph is so true. The people will decide, but they must take into consideration (as well as the fools you mention above, that they will may well be ruled for most of the rest of their lives, by Tories. Tories who got away with murder in the 1980s, hacking away at our whole way of life, breaking down our society.

    Now, with the excuse of cutting the deficit, (which it is not), they are going further and faster than anything Thatcher dared to do.

    This is the possible future of Scotland. Cameron, Osborne, May, Hague, Duncan-Smith, Grayling and Gove... If that isn't a nightmare, what the hell is it.

  2. I do not nor ever will, give the likes of Messrs Sawar, and Davidson or Murphy, and Darling, Douglas ect.a moment on my ear.
    They the Slabbers of slab, I have lived in Scotland all my life, and have had my fair share of abuse, over the last 40+ years from the likes of, Tory Slab supporters.
    well my skin has thickened out some since my young days, and my smile broader.
    So lets keep that smile and the momentum... Forward for Better YES!

  3. Ian Davidson, Anwas Sarwar and Ian Smart do make sense and their opinions are consistent but only within the context of the Labour Party. I've wondered over the years why Labour come out with these odd ideas and statements and I've come to the conclusion that it's because they actually believe them.

    In the Labour world nationalists are a small eccentric band outside the main Labour loving Scottish population who dream of a kilt wearing Scotland and who regard Bannockburn as the single most important event in history and on top of that they are xenophobically anti-English. Braveheart, that unionist obsession, is watched every night.

    The Scottish National Party is just one word away from the National Socialist Party and is home to fascists and neo-nazis while independence is the personal project of Alex Salmond who is a slippery, blustering chancer who tricked the Scottish electorate into defeating the Labour party and runs Scotland as his personal fiefdom. Alex's just in it for self-promotion and everything he does is for Alex not anyone else.

    If you believe in that looking glass world then warning the Scottish electorate that the nationalists love Bannockburn because lots of English people died, warning them that Alex Salmond is a dictator and telling everyone that when he expressed sympathy for the loss of life in Glen Coe it was self-promotion does make internal sense.

    The problem for Labour is that when their worldview, groupthink, psychotic delusion or whatever else you want to call it hits reality then it performs a face plant into the ground. I think that's why the No Scotland campaign has been so bad. Labour have been fighting against Labour's own imaginary SNP and Labour's own imaginary nationalists from the word go. Long may it continue.

  4. DougtheDug,

    Perhaps it makes internal sense amongst the active membership of the Labour Party in Scotland. I doubt very much that it makes any sense whatsoever to Labour voters.

    That dichotomy, between the laager mentality of a clique of pretty poor elected members, candidates, failed candidates and their voters is there to be exploited. On second thoughts, 'never correct your enemy when they are making a mistake' also comes to mind.