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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  • nevermind

    Victory in Europe day was a relief for all those civilians who were deluded and emaciated, shell shocked, this is how people survived the horror, first of the Nazi’s and then that of utter devastation. Like those who were bombed in Coventry and London, those in Cologne, Hamburg and Dresden suffered equally, a stark reminder that wars never solve anything. Especially not when you look at the rise of the right i Europe during the last decade.

    Some of the pictures might resemble a heap of rubble, but that is Cologne cathedral. The place I grew up in looked similar well into the 1950’s.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/world-war-ii-in-cologne-delusion-a-1032115.html

  • Mary

    O/T
    Robbie Williams, who is a UNICEF ambassador has just performed in Tel Aviv
    http://www.robbiewilliams.com/live/02-05-2015/02-may-2015-tel-aviv-israel-hayarkon-park

    Correspondence between a pro-Palestinian activist and UNICEF today.

    7 May 2015
    How can UNICEF be neutral? You are supposed to care about children’s welfare aren’t you?! Robbie Williams played to a sellout selected audience in a country which practises apartheid/and racism. Check out the news from Israel in the last few days re Ethopian Jews without even mentioning the innocent children slaughtered in Gaza last year(and ongoing). I’m sorry but your indifference under the guise of impartiality does UNICEF no favours as an organisation. You should check out your ambassadors as, not unlike footballers, they are role models! Grossly disappointed and no longer a supporter of UNICEF.

    ……

    7 May 2015
    Our Reference: 1029917301 Dear Ms …… Thank you for your email dated 5th May 2015 Unicef is neutral and impartial. We work in over 190 countries around the world to protect children wherever they live. We have no further comment to add in relation to Robbie Williams’ tour. Any questions relating to where Robbie Williams has performed should be addressed to his management. I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide us with your comments.

    …….Supporter Care Officer.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Nevermind

    I shall offer you the opportunity to make amends by asking you which “coalitions have existed here before”.

    Off you go, laddie.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “O/T
    Robbie Williams, who is a UNICEF ambassador has just performed in Tel Aviv..etc, etc..etc”

    ___________________

    Off – topic indeed, but very much on – topic for this blog’s resident anti-semite.

    What was it that G H Graham was saying at 11h49? 🙂

  • Mary

    [cm-org.uk – went into moderation queue for unknown reason at 16:47]

    From David Babbs 38 Degrees by e-mail this afternoon.

    None of the parties are going to win this election – that’s what the opinion polls suggest. [1] Can you help decide what 38 Degrees should do if this happens?

    Rupert Murdoch and the other media barons have a clear agenda. They want to boost David Cameron and claim coalitions involving other parties would be “illegitimate”. [2] But there are other options – if we could persuade parties like Labour, the SNP, the Greens and the Lib Dems to work together.

    What do you think? If the election results made it possible, should 38 Degrees campaign for the other parties to work together as an alternative to David Cameron?

    YES – WE SHOULD
    NO – WE SHOULDN’T
    DON’T KNOW

    38 Degrees is independent of all political parties. We vote together to decide what issues to focus on. And whoever leads the next government, we’ll need to work hard to hold them to account. But it can make a difference who is in charge. A change of Prime Minister could mean more progress on the issues we most care about.

    On the NHS: The coalition government brought in more NHS privatisation in England – but Labour and the Greens say they’d reverse that. [3] Even the Lib Dems are now saying they’d repeal some of the 2012 NHS privatisation laws. [4] And the SNP have promised to protect the NHS in Scotland from privatisation too. [5]

    On tax dodging: the SNP, Labour and the Greens have all pledged to close the Mayfair Loophole – something David Cameron’s government refused to do. [6]

    On TTIP: Labour, the SNP and the Greens all have better (if not necessarily perfect!) positions on TTIP than the Conservatives. David Cameron, says he wants to put “rocket boosters” under the dodgy trade deal! [7]

    Would you want 38 Degrees to campaign for these parties to work together, if that would be the most likely way that we’ll achieve the change we want to see? Please vote to help decide.

    38 Degrees isn’t going to tell anyone how to vote at this election – it’s up to each one of us to make up our own minds. [8] And with the polls so close, it’s impossible to say for certain what we’ll wake up to tomorrow.

    But there’s a clear risk that biased newspapers will try to distort what happens next. Claims that it’s “illegitimate” for Scottish nationalist MPs to be part of government, or that the biggest single party has to call the shots, aren’t based in law. But they’re designed to strengthen David Cameron – and left unchallenged, they could tip the balance in an extremely undemocratic way.

    So, what do you think? After the election, should 38 Degrees campaign for other parties to work together to replace David Cameron if the numbers add up?

    Thanks for being involved,

    David, Amy, Laura and the 38 Degrees team

    [1] BBC: Election 2015: Poll tracker:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/poll-tracker
    Independent: General election 2015: Labour and the Tories neck-and-neck to be largest party, says latest academic prediction:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-labour-and-the-tories-neckandneck-to-be-largest-party-says-latest-academic-prediction-10210578.html
    [2] The Guardian: Nicola Sturgeon targeted as right-wing press turns focus on SNP:
    http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/apr/21/nicola-sturgeon-targeted-as-rightwing-press-turns-focus-on-snp
    And on the same day, the Sun in Scotland endorsed David Cameron while the Scottish Sun endorsed the SNP in a bid to squash any left-wing majority:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-scotland-32523804
    [3] Labour: A Labour government would repeal David Cameron’s Health and Social Care Act:
    http://www.labour.org.uk/issues/detail/patients-before-profits
    Green Party: We must reverse the privatisation of our NHS:
    https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/10/01/green-party-we-must-stop-the-privatisation-of-our-nhs/
    [4] The Lib Dems have pledged in their manifesto to repeal part of the Health and Social Care Act, which accelerated – and in some cases forced – privatisation of NHS services (page 75):
    https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/libdems/pages/8907/attachments/original/1429028133/Liberal_Democrat_General_Election_Manifesto_2015.pdf?1429028133
    [5] SNP: The SNP will protect NHS from privatisation and cuts:
    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2015/apr/fm-snp-will-protect-nhs-privatisation-cuts
    [6] Election 2015: Labour to raise £7.5bn from tax avoiders:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32271846
    Green Party: Green Party commits to closing ‘Mayfair tax loophole’:
    https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2015/03/26/green-party-commits-to-closing-%E2%80%98mayfair-tax-loophole%E2%80%99/
    Stewart Hosie, deputy leader of the SNP, confirmed to 38 Degrees members on Tuesday that the SNP has pledged to close the Mayfair loophole:
    https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/stewart-hosie-snp
    [7] 38 Degrees blog: TTIP: Where do the SNP stand:
    http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2015/04/30/ttip-where-do-the-snp-stand/
    Labour Party Manifesto (page 34):
    http://b.3cdn.net/labouruk/e1d45da42456423b8c_vwm6brbvb.pdf
    Green Party: TTIP trade deal is a corporate power grab, that must be stopped
    https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/07/11/green-party-ttip-trade-deal-is-a-corporate-power-grab,-that-must-be-stopped/
    BBC: TTIP: The EU-US trade deal explained:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30493297
    [8] 38 Degrees is independent of all political parties – and 38 Degrees members wouldn’t be encouraged to vote in any particular way. We hold all politicians and candidates to account regardless of what party they belong to.

  • Miriam

    [cm-org.uk – from same IP address as Katie, so either using the same connection as, or a sock-puppet of, Katie.
    Spam filter false positive at 14:39]

    “Katie
    Really? Doesn’t sound like Rupert to me. I don’t share any of those opinions, and I am genuinely surprised if Rupert does. When did he say that?”

    You should really take on board what Katie says, Craig. Your friend Rupert Read may have denied it later, but his own words on his blog are clear evidence of his discriminatory attitude towards trans women and his support for excluding us from the spaces of what he refers to as ‘ordinary’ (i.e. cis) women:

    http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=6662

  • Phil

    Multimillionaire singer further enriches himself by endorsing a racist state. Has Williams come out for Labour yet?

  • Phil

    38 Degrees
    “Rupert Murdoch and the other media barons have a clear agenda. They want to boost David Cameron and claim coalitions involving other parties would be “illegitimate”. [2] But there are other options – if we could persuade parties like Labour, the SNP, the Greens and the Lib Dems to work together.”

    Idiotic.

    Perhaps someone should remind 38 Degrees that Murdoch is backing the SNP. Also, acting like you are going to make people do what they are already going to do is an old con.

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    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.’

    I loved it too, it was electrifying, a sheer delight. You’d need to be the world’s biggest party pooper not to have relished his performance.

  • nevermind

    diplomat Habbakuk is offering me an opportunity.

    That sounds like one of the many phone calls offering green energy, loft insulation and or double glazing.

    Name one coalition in Europe that took the same time to be buttered up, then that of the last Tory/Lib Dem speed daters in the UK.
    There’s a good boy.

  • nevermind

    Thanks for that link to the dialogue with Rupert. His understanding of trans gender people is at best ill informed. As far as I know, Rupert Read, despite lecturing at UEA, has never spoken or attended Britain’s first Transgender Conferences organised by the Barbara Ross Association during the last ten years at the very same university.

  • craig Post author

    Miriam,

    I did take on board what Katie said, and Rupert’s subsequent explanation. I am frankly not interested in the semantics – I think there is a lot of bullying around shifting use of vocabulary by the trendy. But the practical stuff about bathrooms etc does interest me, and would be wrong. I shall have a word with Rupert about it at some stage and ask him to explain what he thinks in everyday English. If I think he is wrong I shall tell him so.

  • writeon

    I like Russell Brand. I rather like his politics too. I am very disappointed that he’s been groomed into supporting Labour. I thought I was being pretty neutral. Brand is both intelligent and very smart, but he hasn’t had what one could call a real education, in a formal sense. He’s done it all himself, which is great. I’m not patronizing him, just stating a fact. It’s unfortunate that one of his mates is Owen Jones, who is a Labour partisan and propagandist. I don’t think he’s a positive influence on Brand and has led him up the proverbial garden path into supporting the third, red faction of the ruling party.

  • Republicofscotland

    Sunderland hope to declare first.

    After the clamour of election day, with politicians emerging smiling from their constituency polling stations, comes the hard graft: the high pressure counts in local authorities around the country.

    For the past five elections, Sunderland have declared the first results, with three constituencies in the borough declaring before midnight – no mean feat when polls close at 10pm.

    What makes Sunderland so effective at returning results so quickly?

    http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/apr/27/sunderland-sets-its-sights-on-first-place-in-the-uks-other-election-race

  • Jon

    Katie/Miriam,

    I read the original blog post, and the subsequent clarification, and I don’t see egregious error you do. It sounds like Rupert is trying to make an effort to understand, in a rather academic way, and has fallen over a subtle tripwire in the process. I think he was trying to distinguish between women who have transitioned from male, and thus don’t have the “lived experience” (to use the academic terminology) of having suffered discrimination as women for their whole (prior) lives.

    If his logical deduction from that is that transwomen should use male bathrooms, I think that is the wrong judgement. However I think that he may have been led up the garden path, and he does not seem to be motivated by hatred/transphobia as you seem to think. Inasmuch as I am allowed a view on it, I think a small subsection of female-led feminist thinking is motivated by misandry, which makes some of their views on transpeople (of either gender) problematic to say the least (transwomen are frauds and transwomen are traitors, is what it boils down to).

    Of course, if Rupert is the dreadful individual you believe he is, who should one vote for instead? I think the purist option of voting for no-one, whilst not necessarily wrong in all cases, could let in someone a great deal worse. The debate about whether to vote for Galloway is much the same, and it is a nettle that must be grasped.

  • Jon

    (Oops, cut and paste error in describing a problematic strand of feminist thinking: “transwomen are frauds and *transmen* are traitors”).

  • Herbie

    Well. Coalitions, eh.

    I think those who take time to study the matter will find that UK govt has been a coalition, since at least WWII.

    The post war consensus was a coalition, in agreement across all the important economic areas.

    Then Labour was unelectable until it finally accepted the new consensus in 1997.

    This is understandable because many of Labour’s members will have thought that they were serving Labour values rather than an elite consensus imposed upon them.

    Took them 18 years to work out their true role.

  • fred

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

    Fuck off and die retard.

    More Nationalist nasty little shits who use online abuse to intimidate those with different opinions.

    Fucking Nazi blackshirts.

    Retard cunts.

  • Herbie

    I fear there are many problematic areas in feminist thinking, and indeed identity thinking more generally.

    Should we ever emerge from this darkness, I’m sure feminism will be looked upon with as much derision as is now attached to communist dupes.

  • Herbie

    Fred

    If you post childish gibberish such as that two cows effort, you deserve everything that is thrown at you.

  • Juteman

    @Herbie.
    Leave Fred alone you fucking retard commie blackshirt wanker fascist cunt.

  • Phil

    Jon
    “I think the purist option of voting for no-one, whilst not necessarily wrong in all cases, could let in someone a great deal worse.”

    Oh please. Not voting is the only ethical choice today. Anguished liberal reformists have had such hopes trashed repeatedly for what, centuries now. Maybe less, maybe more depending on how you slant it. One thing is crystal clear. It ain’t working. The wars continue.

    Every vote you give, every dirty compromise you make supporting the least worse option, legitimises and sustains the racist the war party system. It sustains the war and poverty. You have a tiny stake to not risk. You swallow TINA by the bucket. And the war machine thanks you for your support.

    If you think it OK to align with Murdoch ypou have lost all perspective. At that point you need to question your position. If you find yourself hoping that your latest fav political leader doesn’t mean it when she says NATO is good then you need to question your situation. None of this is new. Jesus you are so friggin oblivious you jump from one party to another. Vote Labour. Oh no. Vote Liberal. Oh no. Vote SNP. Don’t make me fucking laugh. Your independence campaign is being neutered by the system and you cannot face it.

  • Dave Hansell

    Phil.

    It’s an opinion. Granted, one based on actual experience not just in terms of a specific event but of working in that industry for nearly four decades and being subject to that type of activity. But an opinion nontheless. In that regard I’m with the Dirty Harry character played by Clint Eastward that opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one.

    Given the context, I and my professional colleagues knew what was happening 25-30 years back, how it could and could not be done, and the extremely limited number of possibilities with that capability (along with those not capable), the logic requires an extremely limited range of conclusion. Consequently, I’ll stick rather than twist.

    Glasgow and Scottish Labour was run like a like a local mafia in those days with GGG a key player. They were Unionist then and nothing has changed. The creation of Respect, its acrimonious splits, celebrity leadership style etc., wasting so many peoples efforts and activities have not and do not encourage reassessment.

    We have seen evidence of this type of activity in recent times. I’m sure you do not need the well publicised examples spelling out. Like I said, I expressed an opinion based on contextual personal experience and knowledge and answered a question as clearly as possible without identifying other individual or organisational parties. I can’t do any more than that.

  • Phil

    Sorry Jon

    Cleary I leapt into a rant that went well beyond your comment. I didn’t mean you personally with all those “you”s in my comment.

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