Independence Day 198


I have lived my entire life under governments dominated by either the Labour or the Tory Party. When I was young, there were genuine differences between them – over public ownership of transport, utilities and strategic industries, over the rights of workers in their workplace, over Britain’s attitude to its Imperial legacy.

However in the course of my lifetime the political agenda shifted fundamentally to the right, as the Labour Party under a series of opportunist leaderships shifted its ground to the agenda favoured by the corporate media. So even our drinking water had to be privatised, the maintenance grants that had enabled me to go to university were abolished as the very principle of free education was abandoned, the NHS was increasingly given over to private provision and PFI introduced the opportunity for bankers and financiers to take the large majority of the total taxpayers’ money allocated to any public investment project. Council housing was sold off and not replaced. Foreign policy became entirely subservient to the United States and a neo-con model of continued armed attacks on poorer countries abroad.

What is worse, the scope for expressing policies that lay outside the increasingly convergent views represented by the main stream media and the Tory and Labour Party narrowed, to the point where dissent disappeared. The opposition to the Iraq War of the majority of people was reflected in less than 2% of total UK TV coverage of that war. The fact that consistently a substantial majority of British people want to see railways renationalised never has any corporate media reflection.

Both “main” parties supported giving over £60,000 per British household to bail out the bankers, which is why we are in this debt mess. Both parties support the fact that 99% of the bankers have maintained the same ultra-opulent lifestyles and income, with no price paid for their failure. The corporate media gave no voice at all to the policy alternatives around allowing bad banks to go bust. It would have been 8% as expensive for the taxpayers just to give to the public and companies the amount they lost in UK bank deposits with failed banks.

When Nicola Sturgeon spoke in the televised TV debates, it was the first time in a decade that I had heard opposition to Trident missiles – a view held by over 40% of the population – even mentioned on television. It had become that bad.

And that Nicola Sturgeon moment was an indication that something really has changed. The electorate have twigged that the Red Tory and Blue Tory parties offer no real choice at all. Whether you want the same Thatcherite cuts spread out over a slightly longer timescale is not a choice.

The political system has quite rightly fallen into disrepute. A pretend choice and charade of democracy is not going to fool the entire population. It is not just that Labour and Tory cannot get over 35% of people who vote. It is also that so many people don’t bother to vote through disillusion. They are not apathetic, they justifiably don’t see how it helps them whose nose is in the trough. Combined with the appalling FPTP system, you end up with a circumstance where Tony Blair’s “triumph” of 2005 was won with 22.5% of eligible voters. The system is bust. The legitimacy of government already does not exist – what is newly in doubt is the ability of illegitimate government to foist itself upon the people.

This is the first election of my lifetime where there is a chance really to give the rotten structure a substantial kick. Any human construct, including the SNP, is imperfect, but that Trident moment on TV represented the truth that the SNP is a real danger to the comfortable untouchability of the neo-con UK state. I urge everyone to vote SNP in Scotland as the surest way to start to force change. Many of the SNP candidates whom I know personally – Mhairi Black, Phil Boswell, Chris Law, Michelle Thomson, Tommy Sheppard – are definitely going to bring fresh air to parliament.

In Wales, vote Plaid Cymru. In England, I think Green is the way to go in general, and I wish all the best to Rupert Read in Cambridge. But if you have a good Independent candidate, consider giving them a vote. Citizen participation against the parties deserves encouragement. There are good people in all parties, and there are some sitting MPs – Jeremy Corbyn, Paul Flynn, John Hemmings, David Ward – who I would vote for; they transcend the moral stunting of party politics. Despite profound differences on Scotland, I do urge people in Bradford to vote for George Galloway, who has done so much to oppose neo-conservative wars, and been an obstacle to the cynical exploitation of Islamic communities for machine politics by the Labour Party.

But above all, today will be remembered as a day when Scotland took a giant stride towards achieving national independence. A vote for the SNP is a vote for Scottish independence and for the break-up of the UK state. It matters not what attempts are made to obfuscate that fact, opinion poll after opinion poll post September 2014 has consistently shown no statistically significant gap between the level of support for the SNP and the level of support for Scottish Independence.

This is a great historical trend which the SNP are surfing rather than controlling. The fundamental answer to the political malaise which I described at the start of this article is the break-up of the UK as the sovereign political institution. A vote for the SNP today is part of an inexorable progress towards that break-up. You would be nuts to be a convinced unionist and to vote SNP, and whatever the propaganda the truth is that almost all SNP votes are nationalist votes, and I for one am claiming every SNP vote as a vote for Independence. The utter panic of the entire Westminster political and corporate media establishment is in itself sufficient evidence that this really counts (I loved the description Scotterdammerung). Freedom is a great thing – get out there and vote for it.

This is the one day that we are all independent, in that whoever we choose today controls us tomorrow. I have lived my life under a rotten system which has got more rotten, more corrupt, more intellectually narrow, and more divided between rich and poor. Today is a great chance to shake that system. Get out there now and shake it!


198 thoughts on “Independence Day

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  • Observer

    Lysias

    “I loved it when Galloway made such a fool of Senator Norm Coleman.”

    Me too. It was very impressive.

  • writeon

    Dear Craig,
    .
    Though we might disagree on details, your analysis is virtually completely in line with my own. The way to, the chance of change/reform, goes through breaking the Westminster mould. The centre is too strong to challenge directly, so carve off the perifery bit by bit. The most important result today, is, I believe, the result in Scotland. Labour, through a combination of complacency, arrogance, deadening cynicism, and crass stupidity, have left Scotland’s voters behind, thinking they had nowhere else to go.

    A reformed electoral system, proportional representation, coupled with a federal system given real power to the UK’s regions, votes at 16, replacing the House of Lords, should have been a central part of Labour’s policies for years. Only Labour doesn’t want ‘too many’ people voting the ‘wrong way’ and the risk of a party forming to the left of Labour, which is why they don’t support real, radical change, to a voting and political system that’s rotten to the core. What a paradox, unrepresentative democracy!

    Think; the Greens could get 15% of the vote and end up with 1 MP. The SNP triumphs with 4% of the vote and 50 MPs. The Tories recieve double the support of the Greens, a measly 32% and surge in Westminster with 160 MPs! And this parody of democracy, designed specifically to exclude huge swathes of the electorate is termed Democracy.

  • Abe Rene

    @Jon “Abe Rene, what is your assessment of the Lib Dems, post-coalition?” I see them as a moderating influence, whether they form a coalition with the Tories like last time, or like the Lib-Lab pact of a former generation.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Found while browsing, for those without a contending candidate likely to imperil the status quo:

    I shall use my vote in such a way as to head off the catastrophe of a Tory government (or UKIP getting the slightest sniff of power). While we can no longer rely 100% on any of the parties to do the right thing or to keep their election promises, we can rely 100% on the Tories to do the wrong thing, particularly in relation to public services. If they are returned to power, we can say goodbye to the NHS. The Health and Social Care Act, combined with TTIP, will make the NHS helpless to resist privatisation, which is already taking place at an accelerated pace – with nearly £6 billion worth of contracts going to health privateers in the last few weeks alone. By 2020 we shall be well on course for a barbaric plutocracy. After keeping the Tories out, the next task will be to give Labour Hell to make sure they keep their promises.

    Raymond Tallis http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/05/how-will-you-vote

  • writeon

    Almost forgot, your words about Galloway are both sincere and honourable. For years Galloway functioned as a vertual one-man opposition to what one could call US/UK imperialism. One MP, but reflecting the views of tens of millions of people in the UK who are denied real political representaion in the most shameful and undemocratic fashion.

    I’m also saddened that Russell Brand hasn’t endorsed the Greens, but Labour. His choice is ‘pragmatic’ but wrong. He’s got a big heart, but lacks a really good political education, though he’s making a tremendous effort. It’s just a shame that he’s such ‘good mates’ with the Guardian, and Labour’s Owen Jones, who’s led poor Russell up the political garden path. In a situatin like ours, which is not rock solid anymore, but becoming fluid, like lava, it’s important to vote for what one really believes in, not the slightly less evil party than the other tow evil parties. That’s still choosing evil!

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Abe Rene

    “@Jon “Abe Rene, what is your assessment of the Lib Dems, post-coalition?” I see them as a moderating influence, whether they form a coalition with the Tories like last time, or like the Lib-Lab pact of a former generation.”

    ______________________

    I agree. The main reason the LibDems have been getting such a lot of stick is that Britain is (understandably) not used to coalition government. But it will get used to it over time.

  • Republicofscotland

    “And, after independence, Scotland will be pretty close to a one-party state, like so many post-independence countries. Just perfect for the neo-liberal/neo-conservative big money interests, just as eastern Europe was after the fall of communism.”
    __________________________________

    Eveningperson.

    Not so independence,would see the unionist parties Tories,LibDems and most of all Labour become answerable to the people of Scotland,instead of Westminster.

    As for the SNP their goal would be achieved,and people would then vote for the party with the most attractive policies,not necessarily the SNP’s.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Writeon on Russell Brand

    “His choice is ‘pragmatic’ but wrong. He’s got a big heart, but lacks a really good political education, though he’s making a tremendous effort.”

    __________________

    A touch patronising, perhaps?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Phil

    ““I loved it when Galloway made such a fool of Senator Norm Coleman.”

    Me too. It was very impressive.”

    ____________________

    Well, it was funny in a way, I admit – funny in the same way as a schoolboy cheeking a weak master is funny.

    But what did it achieve?

    Brits saw Galloway being impressively fluent, but most people here know that Galloway’s fluent.

    And they saw an unknown (to British people) US Senator being harangued by the fluent Galloway.

    But apart from that….?

  • Republicofscotland

    Rousing speech Craig,except for the vote George Galloway bit.

    Although I admire Galloways stance on Palestine,and his thrashing of US Senators,Galloway is 100 %
    against Scottish independence yet he has no truck with independence for any other nation of the world.

  • Phil

    Writeon

    More than a touch patronizing. Formal education has little to do with political understanding. In fact it teaches ignorance.

    But of course Russell Brand is a dick. A celebrity leftist gatekeeper selling his half baked soul to be be a Labour sex’n’drugs tsar. That’ll work out. I am annoyed with myself that I actually applauded him.

  • Phil

    Technicolour

    An as ever outstanding critique of Brand from Johnny Void in that link. Ta.

  • CanSpeccy

    The money power triumphed in Britain because the power of the unions collapsed, and the power of the unions collapsed because of the processes of globalization promoted by Heath, Thatcher, Major and Blair, which forced British workers into competition with cheap labor both abroad, as the result of the off-shoring of jobs, and at home, as the result of mass immigration.

    There’s nothing in the Scotch separatist agenda, which you support, that will restore the power of ordinary people to ensure that economic policy serves, in some significant measure, the needs of ordinary people. The so-called Scottish nationalists want to be part of the EU which has its own huge cheap labor areas in Eastern Europe, to be joined eventually, so the EU leadership intend, by 45 million Ukrainians.

    The SNP is a fraudulent party. It is not nationalist at all. Rather it is a party intent on making Scottish interests subservient to the interests of the European elite. The interests of the Scottish people would be best served by a strong, nationalistic, United Kingdom, i.e., a UK with a national economic policy designed to promote the economic interests of the British people as a whole.

  • lysias

    I so loved it when Galloway made such a fool of Senator Norm Coleman that I am going to keep mentioning it, at any rate when Galloway is under discussion. I note that other people on this thread approved of my comment.

  • nevermind

    ‘I agree. The main reason the LibDems have been getting such a lot of stick is that Britain is (understandably) not used to coalition government. But it will get used to it over time.’

    far from it, coalitions have existed here before. It is because they have reneged on their erstwhile policies, Trident and student tuition fees, but there are many more cave in’s with regards to auxiliary NHS service being offered for tender, their stance on electoral reform, having once had a pro PR policy. Then there is their im[portant support for the austerity measures of the Tory’s, if they had have any feeling for the disabled and the 1.5 million children in poverty, they could have done something about it.

    They did not, those who vote Liberal are voting for more austerity and pain to those who are already reeling from it.

    voted green in the counties, spoiled my District council vote and chose 3 out of six parish councillors, quick coffee at my mates, cut two hedges and took a shed down.
    Only 23 days to the TT.

  • Phil

    As others are offering it I will point out that round my way I have not seen one poster from any political party. Not one. It’s a slam dunk for Hoey but nothing?

    A few Sundays ago I escorted some tory canvassers out of our flats. I walked them up the street in my pyjamas. One of them was almost exploding with anger and frustration. Hilarious. Unfortunately no other parties have afforded me the same opportunity.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “I so loved it when Galloway made such a fool of Senator Norm Coleman that I am going to keep mentioning it, at any rate when Galloway is under discussion.”

    ________________

    If it makes you happy, why not!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I note that other people on this thread approved of my comment.”

    ___________________

    Wow! 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Nevermind

    “‘I agree. The main reason the LibDems have been getting such a lot of stick is that Britain is (understandably) not used to coalition government. But it will get used to it over time.’

    far from it, coalitions have existed here before.”
    ____________________

    Really? Are you thinking of the pre-war National Government? And before you shout “Lib-Lab” 1976-79, you’ll remember that that was not a coalition.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “It is because they have reneged on their erstwhile policies, Trident and student tuition fees, but there are many more cave in’s with regards to auxiliary NHS service being offered for tender, their stance on electoral reform, having once had a pro PR policy.”

    _____________________

    That’s what I mean, you see, when I said that people in Britain are not used to coalition govt – you call it reneging, others would call it the compromising inherent in any coalition.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “..those who vote Liberal are voting for more austerity and pain to those who are already reeling from it.”

    ___________________

    Well, a LibDem would probably say – surely have said? – that austerity would havce been worse had the govt. been a solely Tory govt. Do you have any solid basis for gainsaying that?

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    Having dealt with you I shall not call you a Schmarotzer but, instead, wish you a happy election night, Du alter Affe.

  • DoNNyDaRKo

    Fred has two cows,he sits all day on his laptop instead of tending to his croft.
    The two cows die of starvation.

  • Dave Hansell

    Phil.

    Cannot speak for Ba’al. Do not know where he/she is coming from on this.

    Speaking only for myself I can speak only from my own experience and, apologies in advance, will have to be somewhat cryptic.

    Firstly, a caveat. There are people who I would not trust as far as a toddler could lob a cruise missile. Yet who occasionally and even quite often consistently argue a position, make statements, take a particular stance in which I would wholeheartedly agree and applaud. Gorgeous GG falls into the latter category.

    Many years ago an event occurred involving me personally and another individual the result of which was that myself and that other individual had certain accusations levelled against us by the subject in question. An organisation and sub organisation of which I was a part was also dragged into the situation.

    Now, the circumstances of the event were such that there exists only one possible explanation (psychic powers and abilities having never been scientifically demonstrated) for the information necessary to level the accusation to have been obtained. Working with the technology medium and in the industry through which this is likely to have been obtained and, along with a number of others of my professional acquaintance at the time, having regular experience of the methodology in question the question arises as to how it is that the individual in question has those sort of contacts?

    At the time those of us in the wider organisation of which we were a part were well aware of the scenario where people of long standing service and who were well regarded for many decades by their peers and colleagues were later, after their deaths, outed as having these sort of contacts and relationships and the purpose of that relationship. I recall a conversation with someone high up in our organisation who had known one of these people for many years and had been friends with that person and he was having great difficulty in coming to terms with the reality.

    There are people who talk the talk and appear to walk the walk. But I observed many years ago that if certain groups did not exist a certain part of the establishment would have to invent them in order to (1) keep an eye on those drawn to such groups and (2) control the activities of those drawn to such activities in order to lead them up a cul de sac. I came to the conclusion that they probably did.

    In the absence of new compelling evidence which contradicts the very obvious conclusions arising from my experience in this regard I will stick to my original statement.

    That’s as far as I’m prepared to go.

  • nevermind

    Not one of your points has any validity diplomat Habbakuk, however you might strain to produce.
    As for coalitions and how they are formed, what we were witnessing was not coalition talks but hurried speed dating, egged on by City gents who wanted it all their way. Coalitions are not formed in a week and the Lib dems failed to get any of their policies on to the common agenda.

    When you’ve been a citizen of a fair voting country, thanks to so me Brits, you know what to expect, the Lib Dem’s were eaten alive, die Vorspeise, what you call coalition.

    Your understanding of democratic practises leave a lot to be desired, I suppose this has to do with the lack of coalitions here in this country, your skew-width thinking is empirical, always duffing your cap, it has nothing to do with fair proportional represented governing or coalition talks.

    Try reading up, Grosskotzer.

  • Phil

    Dave

    It’s a bit hard to read between those lines but fair enough if you do not want to elaborate. I read you describing two problems that don’t necessarily inform each other. Perhaps I’m missing the connection. It sounds like Galloway did a number on you and I can well believe it was disproportionate/unwarranted/unfair/whatever. But to suggest he is an establishment stooge just because he knows people who can hack technology, if indeed that is what you’re saying, is quite a leap.

  • Juteman

    Gorgeous George is a laughing stock in his home city.
    He is allowed to be ‘the’ British socialist, as long as he does nothing to really upset the British State. The Labour party uses Dennis Skinner in the same way. They can point to Dennis and say they have real socialists in the party.
    Folk forget that Skinner voted against the party to bring them down in ’79. The British Labour party in Scotland like to blame the SNP for that.

  • Mary

    Why does the troll insult Nevermind by calling him firstly a ‘parasite’ and now a ‘twit’. How disgusting.

    Nevermind, politically aware and active, works hard for his living and for his community.

    Does the troll?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Juteman

    “Folk forget that Skinner voted against the party to bring them down in ’79.”
    __________________

    I’d check that statement if I were you.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Nevermind

    Have you not sufficient self-awareness to realise that responses like that just make you look like a complete fool?

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