New Labour’s Franco Adventure 151

My friend Mike Arnott of Dundee TUC has done more than anybody to record the story of the outstanding Dundonian contribution to the early war against fascism; seventeen men from Dundee died in the International Brigade.

I wonder what they would think about the alliance between the right wing Spanish “Popular Party” and the Tories plus, reportedly, New Labour to plan a demand for the expulsion of an independent Scotland from the European Union?

New Labour’s commitment to keeping Trident in Scotland, to ending free prescriptions and to imposing university tuition fees makes it, I suppose, unremarkable that they would feel comfortable in this company.

The Tories have today denied that they have made any formal deal on a united front against Scottish and Catalonian independence, while acknowledging that meetings between the Scottish Tories and the Popular Party have taken place. (To discuss what else, one wonders? Property prices on Tory retirement homes in Spain?)

151 thoughts on “New Labour’s Franco Adventure

1 2 3 4 5 6
  • Ex Pat

    Link –


    … UNCLE SAM’S NEW LABOUR – Page 88

    “The US government was also paying attention: in 1985 – only two years after Blair became an MP – an official in US embassy in London described him as ‘one of the brightest and most ambitious of recent Labor intake’;60 and the next year Blair took the first of his freebie trips to America.”

    See Lobster #60, ‘Well, how did we get here?’ – starts on Page 62, Issue #60 –

  • Habbabkuk

    Good post by Kempe ar 3.25 pm. Just a couple of comments :

    1. It’s true that the process for Bulgaria/Romania took a long time, but don’t forget that the entire accession process is a fairly painstaking one (for good reasons) and in their case was complicated by the fact that they had more ground to make up than the other 10 acceding states in a number of what are called the “negotiating chapters. Other states’ accession processes (I’m thinking of the 3 Scandinavians + Austria) were much quicker. From this point of view, Scotland’s negotiations should be relatively quick – barring politial objections – because, as you point out, Scotland, through being part of the UK, has by definition accepted and applied the so-called “acquis communautaire”.

    2. The single currency : as you point out, EU doctrine is that every new member has to commit to joining the single currency – once the so-called Maastricht criteria (economic and monetary convergence, basically) have been met. Opt-outs along the UK and Danish model are no longer possible. But, as you say, it seems difficult to see how Scotland would meet at least the monetary stability criterion if it were to remain in a monetary union with the successor UK. By the way, it’s not especially “interesting” that Bulgaria/Romania haven’t yet joined the single currency; they simply don’t meet all the criteria. It is not a matter of choice (unless of course you believe that they could meet the criteria but in fact manipulate their economies in such a way as to ensure that they don’t meet those criteria).

    3. It would actually be fascinating to see how an independent Scotland would look in economic and financial numbers, since this would have a bearing on a host of issues – all of which boil down to hard cash in the end. Quid Scotland’s receipts under the EU’s structural and cohesion policies? It’s contribution to the European Development Fund (this is the financial arm of the EU-ACP conventions)? Would Scotland end up as a net payer into the EU budget, and if so, by how much and would it also ask for a rebate? And so on…

    But faugh,enough! I’m talking as if it’s a done deed.

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)


    This is to your point, I think, although a month old.

    “Many in Catalonia and Flanders, for example, argue that they pay significantly more into the national treasury than they receive, even as national governments cut public services. In this sense, the regional argument is the euro zone argument writ small, as richer northern countries like Germany, Finland and Austria complain that their comparative wealth and success are being drained to keep countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain afloat.”

  • Habbabkuk

    ExPat’s post at 4.13pm was interesting on Brown and Blair, and reminded me of something many people perhaps don’t know – or more to the point, don’t imagine. It is that the impression of Americans at large is of a people who hardly know where to find Luxembourg on a map and kept mixed up as between Slovakia and Slovenia. But such ignorance cerainly doesn’t apply to America’s career diplomats, analysts, forward thinkers, policy makers, etc etc; from personal experience, I can tell you that those people are very well briefed and forward looking and know what’s going on to the lastr detail. They are formidable, and – I regret to say – sometimes (often?) make their European counterparts look like ill-prepared amateurs (the European of course suffer from the disadvantage of serevibg 27 different masters, whereas the US bureaucrats and experts only have one). The various programmes the US has for promising Europeans – tomorrow’s leaders, as they say – is to be seen as part of the professionalism I’ve alluded to above.

  • Fred


    You don’t say what your new name is so I’ll call you Pat.

    When you talk of Blair and Brown are you referring to the Tony Blair born and educated in Edinburgh and the Gordon Brown from Kirkaldy?

    If so I fail to see how they could be used as an argument for independence unless used by the people in the rest of Britain.

  • Donald

    Well, Fred, what can I say? A constant re-examination of any partnership of equals (ie the Union) is a necessary part of maintaining equilibrium. Sadly, it has never been part of the British Modus Operandi.

    The two separate entities have always been very different. That has become unsustainable. In every area that the Scots now manage, the two are moving apart. We want different things, we look at things differently, we value some things at widely differing levels.

    England is a deeply Conservative country. Scotland is conservative, but Conservatives are now freaks here. Once, this was not so. But British Conservatism is now so far to Scotland’s right that it has all but vanished.

    Britain is rotten. It has an entrenched, immobile, grasping establishment which feels entitled. A bloated mechanism which is impervious to change.

    We are the last outpost of Empire. In our history, this Union is quite a short experiment. It failed.

  • craig Post author


    You argue from the entirely erroneous standpoint that secession states do not inherit the treaty obligations and positions of the larger state from which they split. There is a huge amount of international law to show that is not the case.

    New applicant states have to go through a lengthy process of meeting the acquis communitaire – that is conforming to all EU legislation on everything from human rights to safety of toys. Scotland, of course, already does.

    Besides which the enntire political history of the EU is one of inclusion and expansion – countries like Romania and Bulgaria were admitted when they did not, plainly, meet much of the acquis at all. There is plenty of history of the rules being bent to let people in. There is no political impetus to kick the Scots out beyond some isolated Spanish right wingers and their hopeful UK unionist mates.

    Scotland is in the EU and citizens of Scotland are EU citizens. Scotland will not be a new EU member any more than it will be a new state. It is a state within the EU which is altering a situation of voluntary union with another state within the EU, while remaining part of the EU. I can guarantee you that is the view that will actually be taken in Brussels when the real crunch comes.

    It will certainly be a net contributor to the EU budget.

  • Phil

    Komodo 8 Nov, 2012 – 3:52 pm
    “I think the unspoken wish of the EU members is to lose the paupers and keep the contributors”

    No, everyone’s welcome. This business club wants everyone to follow the rules. It doesn’t want the ‘paupers’ going rogue when you can better rip them off as chums.

  • Vronsky

    “That all looks like one reason to me”

    An SNP branch has five office bearers. When I first joined my local branch all five were English. If Scotland becomes independent it will be in some important part because a few bold Englishmen and women fought for it. So drop the racist stuff – there are plenty of English posters here who are hurrahing Scotland on, tempered only by some justifiable doubt that it might not all be as radical as they could have hoped.

    I’m sorry I’ve written this – I’m not sure you should be taken seriously.

  • Fred


    These differences seem to be in your imagination I see little evidence of them in reality. In fact I’d say England and Scotland were getting closer all the time. There are just as many people with Conservative principals around even if they no longer use that name.

    Just as they blame England for Blair and Brown conveniently forgetting they are Scots they blamed England for Thatcher conveniently forgetting who brought her to power, conveniently forgetting when the SNP allied themselves with Thatcher to bring down the Labour government.

    Cameron, now there’s an fine old English name, he wouldn’t be one of the Aberdeenshire Camerons would he? Closer all the time.

  • Donald

    Ah, the old myth about bringing in Thatcher. I hold no brief for the SNP, not a supporter, but it was a lie then, and it’s a lie now. That you peddle it says little for your grasp of the facts.

    We obviously inhabit different Scotlands. Or planets.

    I have a life. I really must get on with it. Is it cosy under the bridge?

  • Kempe

    “You argue from the entirely erroneous standpoint that secession states do not inherit the treaty obligations and positions of the larger state from which they split.”

    No, I said IF Scotland had to re-apply.

    I also did mention that in the event of having to apply Scotland would already meet most of the EU’s requirements. I suppose areas where it would not would include EMU, Schengen and Foreign Policy.

    Certainly the EU has been prepared to bend (bend? corkscrew more like) the rules to admit new member states and it’s been the cause of much of the problems the Eurozone now has. Whether they’d be prepared to do so again in the future is an interesting question. They’re greedy and stupid enough.

  • Fred

    Donald, I live in the same Scotland as you do, where that fine old working class hero Alex Salmond is First Minister, let’s face it, he’s no more a Socialist than Tony Blair was. Whatever happened to his promises to re-regulate the transport system? Or is Brian Souter the one really calling the shots?

    You may call the SNP tabling a motion of no confidence in the Labour government then voting with Thatcher for her motion a myth but it is a matter of public record.

  • English Knight

    The Scottish cougars should face a lesser threat of extinction with the pumas all left south of the border. But they will end up having to do with a much shorter end of the stick several generations later,than their English counterparts !

  • Vronsky

    “Of course Gordon Wilson (very nice man) can’t stand Alex Salmond any way. Personally, as a Scot myself, I can’t stand Alex Salmand either though.”

    I know Gurdonk Wifsing wall and have dun for miny yoors. Nobody would pish on the bastink if he was on fire, we all know who pays him. It’s only Gurdick himsumf (an yoo) who finks that’s a secrab.

    When you say you don’t like Sulmind fraid to sum varmints lick us can sound lick endorsement. Some support we don’t want. Yours, exemplis gratis. Don’t underestimate your enema. At least try to get spellin rite.

  • Anon

    Vronsky, A simple typo and you lose it completely? Note the correct spelling in the preceding sentence of the post you complain about.

    Don’t support the SNP but Gordon Wilson I liked personally the few times I ever met him. And he had some funny stories to tell about his days with pirate Scottish radio.

  • Vronsky

    “Vronsky, A simple typo and you lose it completely? Note the correct spelling in the preceding sentence of the post you complain about.”

    Yes, I’m sorry, that was unfair. But we know about Wilson, that’s the point. At best he’s a political vegetable but I suspect the truth could be worse.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    I agree Komodo…

    Casino Capitalism

    “I wanted to use privatization to achieve my ambition of a capital-owning democracy. This is a state in which people own houses, shares, and have a stake in society, and in which they have wealth to pass on to future generations.”
    Prime Minister Thatcher

    Some lateral thinking reveals The Right Reverend Justin Welby ‘baby sat’ the privatisation of Enterprise oil. His rise to leader of the Church of England tells us that behind the cassock lurks a benefactor for runaway privatisation by agent Cameron – for all his pre-election pledges.

    Those who hoped that the Lib Dem presence in government would help moderate Conservative excesses have had a rude awakening. The rapid, root-and-branch restructuring of the NHS amounts to a private cream-off of profitable health appendages leaving ‘payment by results’ essential services to rot and die.

    Some awake people are asking why their much-loved public libraries have to close, why the Royal Mail, in state hands in 1516, has to be privatised, and why our ancient woodlands are being flogged off, why Royal Mail, why the Motorway network, why, why, why. And why, if money is too tight to mention, doesn’t the government make the bankers and financial speculators pay their fare share?

    Wake up, smell the coffee!

  • Donald

    I’m not going to defend the SNP and Alex Salmond. It’s not my job. But the Left in Scotland do themselves no favours wallowing in past perceived injustice instead of addressing their own history of betrayal, incompetence and bare-faced lying to the people they purport to represent.

    Callaghan was a Tory, incompetent and incapable of forming political alliances that would have saved his hide. He alienated one too many Ulstermen and sneered once too often at people who had his destiny in their gift. And Labour have been doing it ever since.

    We’ve all read the McCrone report now. We’ve read the cabinet papers. Lying Labour preferred penury for their constituents and alternating Tory governments to any measure of Scottish self-rule.

    Quite a few of those jerks’ names are on the ‘Savile List’. I hope they get get royally rogered when they finally get to the slammer.

    Labour lost. They’re still losers. Get over it.

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)

    “Wake up, smell the coffee!”

    Huh? Tea don’t smell? 🙂

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)

    Technicolour says he talked with you the other night, Clark. He said you were ok.

    Glad to see you are…….

  • Cryptonym

    Please don’t quote or cite the Daily Record, it is little more than a comic, answerable for its treachery and likely to fold imminently. Gordon Wilson, endorsing religious cranks, has made some contemptibly homophobic utterances, he is the more likely in Souter’s pocket than Salmond; his utterances suggest he’s gone over the edge completely. I’d rather the SNP lose a few votes than pander to bigots and abandon the shining ideal of equality. The SNP went backwards under Wilson’s questionable leadership; however many witty anecdotes he might regale his intimates with, he failed utterly and let Westminster sabotage Scotland’s future unhindered. Scotland and its people’s inviolable right to self-determination are eternal, the EU a fleeting manifestation of an ugly Franco-German Fourth Reich. Independence is as much freedom from London’s corrupt misrule, as it is an opt-out from any and all the damaging diktats of the comparably detestable EU as currently constituted.

    There is no such thing as Labour-Scotland, Scottish Labour or anything similar, there is one Labour Party, the party of Blair, Milliband, Balls, Reid, Murphy –Atlanticist right-wingers.

    The SNP is a big lifeboat to deliver us to safely home to Independence, all have a place aboard – even floundering scared detractors scramble on in good time, the course is now set, every last man woman and child accounted for, safe and well and ready for a great adventure. Have some ambition, some vision of Scotland in command of its own destiny again and an inspiration to others to join us in the exercise of real democracy, even beleagured England will look on in awe and enlightenment. The real Left in Scotland know this and have places reserved aboard, only the entryist right wingers bray about international solidarity and walk away from the only game in town, the only party that can deliver on almost all of the littlest people’s wishes and dreams. Socialism as it is understood in modern Scotland isn’t entirely about ‘the workers’ but the responsibility to look out for the best interests of the whole community, ever and always. We define it.

    Tory withdrawal of pairing arrangements made Callaghan’s fall only a matter of time, constitutionally they could not have staggered on much longer anyway, their time was up, their tea out, it was more of a mercy killing of a wounded but still dangerous beast. Callaghan, Healey, Jenkins, cooked the books to hide the colossal oil wealth flowing into Treasury coffers and handed Thatcher an oil windfall to throw to the Tory faithful and enrich the South East whilst smashing the great industrial heritage of Scotland in what she thought would be a pre-emptive blow to the devolution/independence movement. Scorched earth policies more in keeping with the behaviour of a retreating army of occupation, which was Labour’s own policy too, given, as Balir and Brown were, half a chance. No-one then expected such wickedness, now we know nothing is beneath them and nothing more can harm us.

    Everything else, the EU, Trident, NATO, monarchy, currency etc., the people decide after independence by participatory democracy. Out with the old, in with the new. Opponents of the SNP direct route to independence are mere old nasty Tories in new (Labour) guises.

  • OldMark

    ‘Scotland is in the EU and citizens of Scotland are EU citizens. Scotland will not be a new EU member any more than it will be a new state.’

    Craig -apply this logic to Flanders or Catalonia and consider whether the EU would be similarly indifferent about their ‘new state’ status. The fact that the EU has been happy to absorb small states on its former eastern periphery doesn’t mean it will be similarly pleased to see the break up of three of its members (UK, Belgium & Spain) much closer to its core. The expansion template still being applied in Bulgaria, Romania & now Croatia will be found wanting in these very different circumstances.

  • Anon

    Gordon Wilson was Rector of Dundee University at the time Craig was President of DUSA. Perhaps Wilson is just a bitter old crank now for all I know. But back then DUSA and Gordon Wilson got on very well and Wilson was regarded as doing a very good job. Or so I thought.

    Perhaps Craig can remember who initially proposed Gordon Wilson for Rector. Or, If I am completely wrong and Craig didn’t get on well with and like Gordon Wilson as a person at the time, then maybe Craig can say so.

    I really hadn’t heard Wilson’s name for years to be honest until I saw that Daily Record story in a Google Search and thought I’d post it.

  • oddie

    how fitting…blair in jerusalem in romney-backing casino magnate sheldon adelson’s newspaper, israel hayom, telling palestinians what not to do, cos u know, obama will now do something or other that he didn’t do in the first four years!!

    nov 8 –

    Blair: Obama win opens way for new Mideast push
    Former British prime minister and current Quartet envoy says “a one-state solution means you institutionalize conflict” • After meeting Blair, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is ready to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, urging Palestinians to avoid unilateral moves at the U.N.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Comments are closed.