Labour’s Failure and Institutional Analysis 853


Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit in Parliament is as culpable as Harriet Harman’s failure to oppose welfare cuts. It will haunt Labour just as much. The job of opposition is to oppose. We currently have a more right wing government than I imagined the UK would ever see in my lifetime, and it is riding a tide of racist populism in England and Wales, barked on by a far right media whose ownership and world view is ever more concentrated. This is no time to drop the duty of resistance.

Corbyn’s view of the EU is ambivalent. Both major English and Welsh parties are led by people who are at least highly sympathetic to Brexit. That is a democratic failure when 47 per cent of the English and Welsh voters supported the EU.

The problem with the EU as a cause is that it is supported by some extremely unpleasant people. Straw (father and son), Mandelson, Osborne. The EU has nobody given media coverage to speak for it in the UK that is not amongst the most despised members of the political class. And in criticising Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit, I find myself echoing Blairites, which is uncomfortable.

But there are two major problems with the left criticism of the EU. The first is its willingness to be hijacked to the racist cause with the economically illiterate argument that immigration means competition for the fixed number of jobs, and thus drives down the living standards of British workers. That atavism I dismiss with contempt. Not least because even if it were true, it shows a very narrow lack of concern for workers of the world outside Thanet. Beggar thy neighbour is not a socialist motto.

The second and more subtle trap into which the left falls is to view the EU as a set of policies. It is not a set of policies, it is a supra-national institution. At the moment its policies tend towards the neo-liberal because at the moment Europe, and especially the UK, is dominated by neo-liberal governments. The notion that leaving the EU will bring more social justice under the reality of continual Tory governments is one of the more risible contentions of much of the British left.

The EU can very much be a force for good. I am personally convinced that there are two reasons Scotland is so much more pro-EU than England. The first is a generally more internationalist and communal outlook in society at large. The second is that during the Thatcher years, when Scottish industry was being devastated and there was a deliberate government policy of no action to alleviate suffering communities, EU regional policy provided the only ray of light. I recall personally seeing big signboards at the dualling of the A9 and the construction of Dundee airport, stating that they were paid for by EU Regional Funds. As Corbyn pointed out in the referendum, workers’ rights, the maximum working week, tachometers, many health and safety standards, all came from the EU when doctrinaire right wing Westminster documents were abolishing “red tape”.

This failure to note that the EU is an institution not a policy, is reflected in the Left’s current attitude to trade agreements. Trade is an extremely good thing. Neo-liberal governments around the world have added highly undesirable extras to trade agreements. The role of Investor Protection clauses which allow cabals of lawyers to adjudicate billions of dollars to rapacious corporations is well understood. But it is not a necessary feature of a trade agreement. Nor is it necessary for a trade agreement to forbid state aid. It is a perfectly logical position for two states to trade without tariffs while accepting that the organisation of the internal resources of a state is its own affair. The neo-liberals are in any event inconsistent here. They ought to believe that state aid to one industry is going to cause inefficiencies which will balance out by giving the state traded with comparative advantage elsewhere. Because neo-liberal governments have secured the addition of these unnecessary bolt-ons to multilateral trade deals, does not make the concept of multilateral trade deals in itself bad. And again, the notion that Liam Fox is going to negotiate anything fairer is hysterical.

Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit is a symptom of the abandonment by much of the left of the principles of internationalism. Internationalism is not possible without international institutions. To write off those institutions because they are currently controlled by right wing governments is short-sighted to the point of being stupid. That it leaves the left vying for the racist vote with the atavistic right is a plain signal of what a wrong direction it is.

Labour is becoming an irrelevance in Scotland. The latest opinion poll has SNP 47%, Conservative 27%, Labour 15%, Lib Dems 4%, Greens 3%. This continues a trend of Labour bleeding support to the Tories. It is however fascinating that the Tories in Scotland having achieved their highest point, that point is still lower than the lowest point of Labour in the UK under Corbyn. Yet Tory ministers are prepared to take this Tory “popularity” in Scotland as evidence they can ride roughshod over the Scottish people en route to Brexit.

More significant is what is happening at council by-elections all over Scotland, held under Single Transferable Vote. It has become an accepted part of political life here that Tories, Lib Dems and Labour will transfer their preferences to each other. So Labour voters will transfer to Tory rather than to SNP or Green. This everyday collusion with the Tories reveals Scotland’s remaining Red Tories for what they are. It also makes it essential that everybody in the crucial council elections looming in Scotland votes SNP first or at the very least ensures they use all their preferences and include all the SNP candidates.

I have blogged for some years now about the deep gap in social and political attitudes between England and Scotland. That this gap manifests itself in attitudes to the EU is not surprising, and if that has become the wedge all well and good. That the same gap is resulting in a clear choice between Independence and the Tories – both Tory rule from Westminster and the Tories in Scotland – is the inevitable working out of the same process.

That is why all the Scottish left should now suspend dispute and get behind the SNP until after Independence, provided the referendum happens before the end of next year (which appears happily almost inevitable).


853 thoughts on “Labour’s Failure and Institutional Analysis

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  • Sharp Ears

    In my original comment I enquired whether there was any squirming in the seats as Ken Loach spoke. I admire him greatly.

    Keep up.

  • michael norton

    Hezbollah supports Syria ceasefire and political talks
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-hezbollah-idUKKBN15R0OJ
    Syrian government forces, helped by Russian air power and Iranian-backed militia, drove rebel groups out of east Aleppo in December, in Assad’s most important gain of the war.

    “For six years, Syria faced the risk of the collapse of the state,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech. “This danger has been mostly overcome.”

    Aleppo kickstarted the Astana negotiations, “opened the door to a ceasefire…and to political talks in Geneva”, he said.

    The next round of United Nations-sponsored talks on the Syrian conflict, now in its sixth year, have been scheduled for Feb. 20 in Geneva.

    Meanwhile, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said government and rebel delegates have been invited to attend meetings in Astana on Feb. 15-16.

    The full recapture of Aleppo also prompted a series of “local reconciliations in several areas in Syria,” Nasrallah added, expressing full support for such agreements.

    I am very pleased that some reconciliation / peace could be on the cards, for Syria this year.
    Wouldn’t it be great, if Syrians, felt they could return to their country, rather than stay in exile.
    Why doesn’t the E.U. help to stabilize Syria, why is it so keen to de-stabilize Syria?

  • northwards to normality

    The Tories apparently now want to bring in draconian legislation against whistleblowing and civil liberty groups are saying the Law Commission didn’t even consult them about it. There’s even talk about new powers to extradite foreign whistleblowers who release material on British governments.

    The UK state now whiffs more than a piece of blue cheese that should have been binned months previously.

    Scotland simply has to go it’s own internationalist way. There’s no helping things by staying, as the UK Supreme Court has demonstrated how much say Scotland has. Zero. None at all.

    • Shatnersrug

      Scottish parliament is an arm of the British state it’s in it up to its neck and it will never be anything else.

      • OK

        Rubbish. Most MSPs are not going to approve of this development. Excepting Ruth Davidson and the out and out right wingers in the parliament’s Tory group.

  • michael norton

    Only Ten Days of Nail-biting to go
    A by-election will be held in Copeland on 23 February following the resignation of sitting MP Jamie Reed.

    Voters go to the polls in Stoke-on-Trent Central on Thursday, 23 February to choose their next MP.

    A by-election was triggered by the resignation of Labour Tristram Hunt, who had represented the seat since 2010.

    It’s so exciting, how come The Ministry of Truth don’t want to BIG it up, it’s important, right?

    • northwards to normality

      If UKIP (the United Kingdom Isolation Party) win both seats or even just get a good showing and continue to increase their influence in British politics it is just yet another reason for Scotland to get out the union. UKIP leader Paul Nuttall after all thinks Scots “take take take take take take take”. Actually that might be one too few “takes” if his Question Time rant is viewed again.

        • northwards to normality

          It doesn’t. According to them we’ve to stay and be insulted. And be grateful for it.

          • MJ

            Better pull your finger out. Article 50 will be triggered next month and then you’ve got two years to get your act together. Lots to do!

          • northwards to normality

            MJ
            Yeah sure. Independence at 49% in polls and lots of soft NOs who want to stay in the EU. A hillock to climb.

          • MJ

            Better start climbing. There’s a referendum to organise and currency issues to resolve within two years.

        • fred

          The strange thing about Nationalists lysias is that they all think that their Nationalism is better than everybody else’s Nationalism.

          • northwards to normality

            An outward looking independent Scotland in the EU using it’s resources for the benefit of others as well as itself will be among the least nationalist of countries.

            A social democratic inclined nation that simply wants the same sovereign rights as other nations might be tagged nationalist for convenience. Scotland is no more nationalist than Norway was when it sought independence from Sweden in the early 20th century.

            British nationalists of course think they’re not nationalists. Nationalism is something those pesky foreigners espouse.

          • Loony

            Scotland does not actually need to be independent in order for its people to act to relieve the burden of oppression being visited on the citizenry of Greece.

            That the people of Scotland are, in aggregate, doing fuck all to help Greece answers pretty much all questions surrounding Scottish nationalism as being “outward looking” or using its resources “for the benefit of all”

          • fred

            “An outward looking independent Scotland in the EU using it’s resources for the benefit of others as well as itself will be among the least nationalist of countries.”

            That’s what I said, just like every other Nationalist in the world you think your Nationalism isn’t Nationalism.

  • lysias

    I am interested to see that those who have up to now denied that it was possible that Le Pen might become president are now discussing the possibility and what it might mean.

    • michael norton

      French presidential hopeful Fillon seeks scandal respite in the sun

      Heading the polls is far-right ‘Front National’ leader Marine Le Pen.
      http://www.euronews.com/2017/02/11/french-presidential-hopeful-fillon-seeks-scandal-respite-in-the-sun
      Voter surveys also show Le Pen being beaten easily in the second round run-off by either centrist Emmanuel Macron, a former economy minister in Francois Hollande’s government, or Francois Fillon, should he qualify.

      The Socialists’ Benoit Hamon meanwhile – whose left-wing programme include a ‘universal income’ for all citizens – continues to trail in fourth place.

      They never mention the man that Rob G has his money on Why?

      • michael norton

        It is obvios that Fillon will drop out when he and his wife are indicted, why not go now, he can never win with this massive fraud, hanging over them, in some French papers, they claim that Mr. & Mrs. Fillon will both go to prison for a long stretch.
        Macron is a nobody, he was also in the government of the despised Hapless Hollande, how can he shake of the despicable elite label, in time, even without further scandals.

        I am not convinced by the media that Marine will be out voted in the second go.
        All the others are imbeciles, thieves or liars or part of the establishment.
        Only she will put the people of France , first, only she, will give them Frexit.

      • J

        “…run-off by either centrist Emmanuel Macron,”

        Just out of interest, what is “centrist” about neo-liberalism? What is the centre referred to in the term? Isn’t it one of the most extreme ideologies in the world today? Look at how many it kills globally as an intrinsic part of it’s operation. Look at the environmental damage it creates simply to maintain itself, even without it’s chimerical “perpetual growth,” theory.

        Neo-liberal is the same as neo-conservative but without the smiley on the tin.

          • bevin

            Yes. On my view it would. J is absolutely right- neo-liberalism which is the bright new name for old ‘free trade’ imperialism is extremely genocidal-ecocidal. That is centrist only in the ‘bulls eye’ sense that it is where we are headed and where we have been going since Adam Smith and J Bentham swapped stories of the improvident, lazy poor.

      • Michael McNulty

        Polls are lies skewed in favour of those who commission them. Quoting a poll result is little different from quoting a headline from the Daily Telegraph or Morning Star, depending which way you lean.

    • Habbabkuk

      “I am interested to see that those who have up to now denied that it was possible that Le Pen might become president are now discussing the possibility and what it might mean.”
      _______________________

      Just to set your mind at rest, Lysias, I continue to deny the possibility of Mme Le Pen becoming French President.

      But thank you for your concern, the depth of which is demonstrated by the fact that you felt it necessary to post at 05h42 Washington time°°…. 🙂

      Some people might have made a point or two in the hypothesis of a Mme Le Pen Presidency but you shouldn’t read too much into that; after all, one man’s hypothesis is another man’s “I wonder if…”, wouldn’t you agree?

      ________________________

      °° which of course is equivalent to 11h32 Dublin time

      • Itsy

        “which of course is equivalent to 11h32 Dublin time”

        No, it’s not. 05.42 Washington time is 10.42 Dublin time.

        • Habbabkuk

          You’re right of course – apologies.

          So 11h32 Dublin time is 06h32 Washington time – still unusually (I do not say suspiciously) early to be interested in Mme Le Pen 🙂

  • Dave

    If opposition to immigration can be described as “racist” because its discriminatory towards foreigners, then promoting immigration can also be described as “racist” as discriminatory towards the native population. That is, the term should cut both ways, but over the years has been deployed and enforced in a partisan way to mean the former rather than latter.

    This means in practice it’s not an impartial word but an insult and led many people to feel they need to say “I’m not a racist, but”, before even daring to raise mundane and eminently sensible points about immigration. And unless you retain that distinction between foreigner and native then no nation can survive. I mean borders are not set in stone and unless they are enforced what sense is there in calling for Scottish independence if in effect you are abolishing Scotland by supporting open borders and World Government in the form of an ever expanding EU?

    A Union or grouping of nations can work if they are alike and only involve some low level give and take, but not when you have mass-immigration, bearing in mind the Scottish population would soon be outnumbered if the immigrants entering London went to Scotland instead.

    • northwards to normality

      [ Mod: Kindly use a name as a handle, not a slogan. ]

      A nation doesn’t fail to survive with incomers. It just changes. For the better.

    • bevin

      Immigration is also racist in the sense that it says, in effect, “We don’t care where you live or what you want- your labour is required here. “Stay at home and starve or come here and take your chances in the cannibals’ campground. “

      • Loony

        So far as the UK is concerned there is two types of immigration underway.

        One is for the UK to host Southern and Eastern Europeans to work as waiters, bar staff etc for low wages. This is intended to act as a kind of safety valve and minimize the risk of civil unrest in their home countries. This allows Germany to continue hollowing out the economies of the South and East- destroying all that is not “efficient” and relocating any relics of efficiency to Germany. Anyone that opposes the destruction of Southern Europe is routinely derided as a racist. This kind of ad hominem abuse is intended to silence most critics and divert attention from the arguments raised by more persistent critics.

        The second type of immigration is of the “refugee” nature. Here the terms refugee and economic migrant are routinely conflated. Most of the people in this group have little to offer in an advanced economy. It is not intended that they should work – their role is to access welfare benefits. There is essentially no limit to the number of people in this group and manifestly the welfare systems of the west will be crushed by the sheer volume of people accessing welfare. At some point something will trigger a crisis and the rulers of the world will respond by completely dismantling welfare systems – and what choice will they have? For if someone burns your house down it is manifestly obvious that it is no longer capable of offering you shelter. Naturally pointing this out is also racist.

        Maybe at some point those with food and shelter will observe the huddled starving masses and content themselves that the unfortunate are being punished by the great god of atheism for having lived the life of a racist. Perhaps it will become permissible, or even advisable, to shoot racists just in case they get the idea that they might want to eat some of the food that is eaten (or perhaps wasted) by the pure non racist people who have been blessed by a God that does not exist with a unique insight as to how the world should be ordered..

  • Mark Golding

    The event horizon is littered with left and rights. Positive proof the whole is being divided. Plainly it is challenging not to be affected by the mind control that is out there nowadays and it’s all about left or right, are you left or are you right (count the number of left/right molehills here). If the truth is known, I believe the left/right paradigm is a false construction used as a manipulative technique to bunch people into groups and put them into seductive coordinated corrals.

    Noticeably a lot of what they call the ‘left’ have been broadly radicalised to the point where the old school left feel right wing. So to be neither left or right is assuming such things do not exist; the only thing that does exist is a difference of opinion on just about every single matter.

  • Republicofscotland

    Tory MP James Duddridge, is trying to get House speaker John Bercow, ousted from his position.

    Bercow who previously let his feeling be known over Trump and his coming state visit to Britain, has allegedly said that he voted to remain in the EU whilst speaking to students. His frankness, has gotten him into trouble, that and the idea (a quaint notion really) that the speaker of the House, should be politically neutral.

    Duddridge, is hoping to drum up enough support, to have a vote of no confidence aimed at Bercow. This isn’t the first time Bercow’s tenure (which has one year remaining) has come under fire previously David Cameron tried and failed (as with everything else) to have Bercow removed.

    The Brexiteers, will want Bercow removed, as the feeling is he lets the opposition, speak too much. One could say that Bercow is a internationalist, his grandparents were Romanian immigrants to Britain, it may be, that is why he voted to remain in the EU. It should be noted that if John Bercow is removed, there could be a backlash from the J**ish community, as he (Bercow) is the first J**ish speaker.

    The previous incumbent, Michael Martin, had to resign from the position, after trying to block the publication of MP’s expenses claims.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/13/tory-mp-trying-to-oust-john-bercow-says-he-has-cross-party-support

    • northwards to normality

      If supporters of Scottish independence had posted such comments BBC News 24 would be playing a report about it all day for several days. There would be a Panorama Special about it. J K Rowling would be tweeting like mad. With unionist politicians queuing up to give soundbites. And quite rightly too because it would be something that had to be repudiated by any civilised society. But of course indy supporters are democrats and far better than that.

      Yet here we have abundant evidence of atrocious unionist behaviour and no comment from the mainstream media. Going to post an indignant tweet about this J K Rowling? Or does Rev Stu not merit your assistance?

      • Republicofscotland

        Northward to normality.

        I totally agree with you on that, if the threats to shoot, gas, or exterminate (threats from unionist in the link) came from a independence supporter. The media would be in meltdown by now reporting it.

        The Daily Mail, the Express and the state broadcaster the BBC, would have a field day, instead we have utter silence from the unionist press and media.

        The games rigged, an it’s time to cash our chips in and leave, through indyref2.

    • fred

      Why would I comment, I’ve expressed my opposition to Nationalists here many times. You are the one who supports Nationalism they’re in your camp.

      • Republicofscotland

        I thought you might air your disdain at the unionists (and you are a unionist) threats to shoot, gas and exterminate a blogger pointing out the benefits of independence to Scots.

        However by your lack of condemnation, (unless of course it’s the false accusations against the SNP over Daisely), I can only conclude that you condone such threats of violence and intimidation, by your fellow unionists.

        Of course unionist violence against independence minded folk is nothing new, unionists giving Nazi salutes and assaulting those who think Scotland would be better off going it alone, was a common occurrence after the no side won in 2014.

        http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-side-of-the-thugs/

        • fred

          I didn’t think you would understand. You are like a football supporter who blames football hooliganism on the fans of the other team.

          I just condemn football hooligans as which team they support.

          • Republicofscotland

            You can’t even bring yourself to condemn, the threat of violence to a blogger who points the unions not all it’s cracked up to be.

            Instead you reply using some sort of euphemism, to mask your complete and utter contempt, you’re far more bitter than I thought Fred.

          • fred

            This blog is full of people who didn’t post to condemn whatever it is you’re whinging about now.

            I just don’t know why you would attach my name to it. I don’t put your name on the posts I make but you keep putting my name to things you write.

            Like I told you before, nothing to do with me sunshine, have you got that?

  • Silvio

    Just saw this article referenced on Veteran’s Today: How the Trump regime was manufactured by a war inside the Deep State by Nafeez Ahmed.

    Ahmed argues that Trump is not engaged in a fight against the “Deep State” itself, as is supposed to be the case by many of his supporters, but rather engaged in an internal fight between opposing factions of the Deep State.

    From Ahmed’s article:

    One approach to framing the Trump movement comes from Jordan Greenhall, who sees it as a conservative (“Red Religion”) Insurgency against the liberal (“Blue Church”) Globalist establishment (the “Deep State”). Greenhall suggests, essentially, that Trump is leading a nationalist coup against corporate neoliberal globalization using new tactics of “collective intelligence” by which to outsmart and outspeed his liberal establishment opponents.
    But at best this is an extremely partial picture.
    In reality, Trump has ushered in something far more dangerous:
    The Trump regime is not operating outside the Deep State, but mobilizing elements within it to dominate and strengthen it for a new mission.
    The Trump regime is not acting to overturn the establishment, but to consolidate it against a perceived crisis of a wider transnational Deep System.

    Ahmed proposes in his article that the factions backing Trump are concerned, among other things, that the much ballyhood (and supposed by many to have been debunked) global peak in oil production (AKA Peak Oil) is about to occcur. Another closely related concern of the Trump’s supporters within the establishment is that the world is overpopulated, and there are now just too many people populating the planet, most of them of a darkish hue, and trying to help themselves to a share of the world’s dwindling resources. The implications of a one-time peak followed by an irreversible decline in oil production are that, without enough alternative sources readily available to make up the energy shortfall, as world oil production goes into decline there is going to be one almighty and unavoidable economic crisis – in all likelyhood coinciding with increasing armed conflict as countries squabble and fight over who gets the remaining oil. The most prized oil will be the remaining oil that is the most easily available and cheaply produced (i.e. does not need the use of energy intensive, expensive and polluting secondary recovery techniques like fracking, offshore drilling in deep water, drilling in hostile environments like the arctic, or applying heat to squeeze oil out of Canada’s Alberta tar sands etc.). This “easy” oil happens to be mostly found today in the land based oil fields of the Middle East.

    For a better understanding of the fears and concerns of an upcoming energy/economic crisis that, according to Ahmed, could be at play in the Trump camp and partially motivating their at times seemingly bizarre approach to governing, one could check the many articles and podcasts on the web site of the US based, insurance industry actuary Gail Tverberg. She has been writing on the connections between energy supplies and finance/economics for many years now. Here, for example, are just a few titles of her past blog posts:

    2017: The Year When the World Economy Starts Coming Apart

    The Energy Problem behind Trump’s Election

    An Updated Version of the “Peak Oil” Story

    What really causes falling productivity growth — an energy-based explanation

    Intermittent Renewables Can’t Favorably Transform Grid Electricity

    Her web site can be found at: https://ourfiniteworld.com/

    • Loony

      We are most likely experiencing peak oil right now. Since 2005 conventional oil production has oscillated between about 73.2 and 74,2 mbbls/day.

      The demand gap has been filled by non conventional liquids – principally fracking and Canadian Tar sands. Most literature seeks to disguise this reality by referring to things like “total liquids production” – and this has indeed been rising.

      The problem is that non conventional production is more expensive – both in monetary terms and crucially in energy terms. Hence the energy return on energy invested (ERoEI) is in precipitous decline. This has consequences, and those consequences are visible today for those willing to look.

    • giyane

      Silvio
      Thanks for the link to Ahmed.
      Considering that the principle enduring message of Christianity is not to project your own defects onto ‘others’, Ahmed’s analysis about the US deep state doing just that would indicate that there’s not much understanding of Christianity in the Christian world. Ahmed understands it, but Trump does not.

      Sadly to say there is not much understanding of Islam in the Muslim world. The Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Salafis have re-defined Islam from the universal understanding given us by Christianity not to judge and not to project our own faults onto the other, to Takfirism, which means both judging and blaming the other to the extent of murdering your Muslim brothers and Sisters.

      With both major world religions fucked by politics, it falls to ordinary decent men and women to save the planet from disintegrating. We survive in spite of the efforts of politicians and priests to destroy the planet, or as northwards to normality said above :
      northwards to normality
      February 13, 2017 at 11:32

      ” According to them we’ve to stay and be insulted. And be grateful for it. ”

      To me this just about sums up the attitude of both our secular and religious authorities at the moment. Unfortunately we definitely have do not have time to let either of these 2 sources of authority destroy the world. We have to block our ears to the utter stupidity of both of them. They are just little men and women, partially trained and well out of their depth, regurgitating the same old tripe, and never stooping to engage their little minds with either common sense or the rule book

    • Republicofscotland

      Oh so the Romanians still govern themselves, well according to Brexiteers, EU member governments have no powers to use.

      BTW Norton that news is over a week old, I recall reading about the protests last week.

      However, it’s not just the Romanian government that’s corrupt, and pardoning dodgy politicians. I don’t recall many British MP’s going to prison, over the MP’s expenses scandal.

      • OK

        Six British MPs got prison sentences as a result of the 2010 expenses scandal. All of them were Labour.

        Here’s the curious thing. The Director of Public Prosecutions at the time was none other than Keir Starmer. Now Sir Keir Starmer and a Labour MP too.

        Starmer decided not to prosecute any Tory MPs, just a couple of Tory peers.

        • Republicofscotland

          OK.

          Thank you for the clarification, so it was, by the sounds of it a half hearted attempt at dealing out justice. ?

          • OK

            Five MPs or former MPs received prison sentences between 2011 and 2013 as a result of the expenses revelations. One former MP avoided prison by receiving a two year supervision and treatment order by the court.

          • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

            Dennis MacShane, a strong Europhile,Labour Friend o f Israel and fervent supporter of the Iraq invasion, still seems to pop up regularly on the Beeb as part of their go-to stable that includes the likes of David Aaranovitch. He served just six weks of a six month sentence.
            I liked the Private cartoon of two Euro Parl MEPs passing nespaper headline on Brit MPs corruption and commenting’Rank amateurs”..

      • michael norton

        The Romanian protesters have been out on the streets for a fortnight, it is on-going RoS, they want their Lying, thieving, corrupt Socialist government put in prison

    • OK

      We don’t have a lot of moats in Scotland.

      And since there’ll be a lot fewer Labour councillors in Scotland come May there’ll be a lot fewer brown paper envelopes.

      • michael norton

        Your Scottish M.P.’s are missing a few tricks, there is ample corruption to be spread around.
        Double dipping is a good one.
        Claiming for a second home, that is neither in London or in your constituency, a favorite, merely your private love nest / holiday home.
        Claiming for buying a poppy, double toilet seats, live – streamed porn, moat cleaning, duck houses, silk cushions, drinks bills, wife / children not doing any paid work – get them on the payroll.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni received a call from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s office over the weekend telling the former justice minister she is being considered for the position of under secretary-general.”

    http://m.jpost.com/Israel-News/UN-Chief-considering-MK-Tzipi-Livni-for-deputy-post-481285#article=6024QzdDMTQ4NzQ2QzE1Q0UzMkE5MUQyMjkwQzdENTZFQUQ=

    I’m sure that like me many, many people will be very disappointed in Guterre’s, and the UN in general, if the offer is later confirmed. Afterall Israel has broken a just about every UN Resolution in the book, and then some.

    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/01/27/rogue-state-israeli-violations-of-u-n-security-council-resolutions/

  • Republicofscotland

    “Labour’s leader in the House of Lords has pledged not to hold up or “frustrate” the triggering of Article 50 – as the Government’s bill moves to the House of Lords for scrutiny.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-house-of-lords-article-50-brexit-vote-amendments-angela-smith-a7575906.html

    Well I’d say that just about completes Labour’s utter abject failure, to act as a opposition party. The Tories don’t even have a majority in the House of Lords, but already Labour have given the bill the nod.

    I give up. Taxi!!!

    • OK

      The British Establishment have finally got what they’ve wanted for 100 years. A totally tame Labour Party.

      Hugh Gaitskill tried to tame the party. Tony Blair tried to create a tame Labour for the Establishment and couldn’t completely deliver.

      Ironically tame Labour is now here under a left wing leader.

      • J

        “Ironically tame Labour is now here under a left wing leader.”

        Don’t agree. It is much more demonstrable that it was fait accompli before Corbyn arrived. Witness Ed. Witness the mendacious and cowardly behaviour under Blair? You know, the Iraq vote.

        I thought he might have deselected a swathe of Labour MP’s immediately after the first leadership election, cause the pain at the outset and then begin creating an electable Labour party. Unfortunately too many of the current Labour survivors still think they’re at a trough. Considering some of those who surround him, friends and enemies, Corbyn is probably being fed some poor advice. Beside the constant barrage of false context, negative and dishonest news coverage and the poverty of relative airtime, of course it’s having an affect.

        Same reason there appear to be so many confused racists around, certain media are pumping out highly concentrated Daily Hate knowing it will diffuse through the population with a constant back beat of attacks, real, invented and exaggerated. The stress of rationed economic opportunity to the ideologically pure does the rest. Entire areas are systematically starved of resources to break them, break their communities and divide them along their fault lines. I’m amazed we keep falling for it. It’s the light touch version of what we did to Iraq, the continuation of Thatcher and a kind of slow burn civil war against the North of Britain.

        Perhaps to escape the metropolitan bubble (and the party bubble) Corbyn might be better to reach out further down the food chain in Labour circles (and beyond.) He could secure media access by merely speaking the truth, then begin unveiling solutions to the problems we aren’t supposed to talk about. He’d have the field to himself, the controversy alone would guarantee him airtime. It worked for Sanders as far as he was allowed to go. Anyway, old wisdoms don’t seem to hold any more in politics. People are more than ready to push back.

        Any party with a chance of being elected which pledges to remain in the EU with the proviso that this is subject to reform of the EU would be overwhelmingly embraced. Many of the no voters aren’t so wedded to brexit precisely because it was the only way they’d been given to kick the system in a long time.

        If Corbyn is serious about making a difference he should step up and take power, hit back at Murdoch et al cleanly, calculatedly and repeatedly while his brand is still tarnished with “liberals” in the US and take the momentum back from this group of demented idiots in Government. We elected him to do it differently.

        He could begin by changing the game, not playing it as it’s become.

        • Loony

          No-one is going to embrace any Party that pledges to remain in the EU.

          The EU is incapable of reform. It is obvious that its own policies are bringing about its own destruction – but even this knowledge does not kick start any reform. Where the next blow comes from is not yet clear – maybe the French, maybe the Italians, maybe the Dutch. The only certainty is that it will be delivered.

          So where does that leave a political party that pledges to remain in the EU? OK so I ignored the majority vote on the grounds that the voters were either too stupid to understand their own best interests or the voters were all racists whose opinions are not worthy of consideration. I did all this to remain in the EU – but due to events outside of my control the EU no longer exists. But hey don;t worry because I am a serious person, and anyway I don’t care what you think because you are all stupid racists. Should be a winning strategy.

  • fred

    Roseanna Cunningham, the SNP minister for community safety, has apologised for posting the address, phone number and email address of a retired general online. The retired general contacted police asking how he could protect his family after receiving several intimidating and abusive emails.

    • Republicofscotland

      Yes indeed Fred, there is no room for threats and any form of intimidation on both sides, even to pro-active personnel like Sir Norman Arthur, who make his feelings widely known about the SNP, and the prospect of Scottish independence, pity you don’t feel the same way.

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-eton-rifling/

  • michael norton

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMQXXCiEQnA

    The European Union is almost certainly on its last corrupt legs.
    50% of all young people in Southern Europe are out of work, yet the E.U. does nothing.
    They do nothing to help Greece, which is bleeding to death.
    Why would a vibrant Scotland want to be associated with these undemocratic lying scumbags?

    • michael norton

      Why is the Socialist Regime in FRANCE, so despised, it can’t just be because of the Hapless Hollande,
      the most unpopular President of France – ever, there must be other, more compelling reasons.
      Perhaps it could be because of youth unemployment?
      Perhaps it could be the terror and the massive crack down by the police-state?
      Perhaps it could be the drone centres in The Sahel and the air pollution where AREVA open cast mine Uranium, helping to cause terror?
      The outside adventures, like Syria / Libya?
      The overburden on employers, that stops them hiring folk?
      The failure to engauge with the modern world?
      The stultifying rules, that drive entreprenures abroad?

      any of these reasons for the failure of Hollande, to put his cap in the ring?

  • Leonard Young

    I agree with Craig’s analysis. The EU is so much more than state economics. It has also given the UK consumer unprecedented rights on a practical level that far surpasses any UK legislation: The ability to challenge unfair contracts, the voiding of agreements that favour one side over the other, the Human Rights Act, the free movement of individuals, etc. And this is where I part company with Corbyn reluctantly.

    For his refusal to challenge Brexit reveals him to be the little man that I hoped he wasn’t. The same goes for all the other claimed “Internationalists” in old Labour who appear to be sucked into the same anti-EU vortex. There is barely a man or woman standing in parliament who hasn’t been taken in by the nonsense the media flings at the EU.

    The idea that the EU is corrupt and uniquely wasteful of EU tax payers’ cash is only trumped by a more pressing truth that the UK by itself is pretty talented at bleeding the tax payer dry for even more nefarious purposes. The notion that Brexit is a victory for sense is destroyed when you examine what a disaster UK management of public services, now privatised to the hilt, has become.

    There is now not a single political movement in this country that supports or nurtures the idea of international cooperation. Every party has become a pathological exemplar of what Reich described as the “Little Man”, concerned only with his portion of food in an all-you-can-eat restaurant.

    • Loony

      Why dontcha tell the people how the Human Rights Act, gifted to the people by the munificent EU, squares with the EU supporting Nazi’s in the Ukraine. How many people in the UK do you think would vote to support Nazi’s? The answer to that question may be instructive as to why no-one has any intention of asking the people to express an opinion on this matter.

      UK public services are being destroyed as a matter of policy. If people do not like that policy then they are free to vote for someone who will reverse that policy.

      The public services of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal are being destroyed as a matter of German policy. If the citizens of those countries do not like the policy then there is nothing they can do about it.

      What is “international cooperation”? The UK imports over half of its combined food and energy requirements. It has nothing to offer in return for this food and energy beyond freshly printed money. Who would want to cooperate with anyone offering this kind of deal?

      • J

        I spoke to a former veteran of Afghanistan who unless he was blind drunk was too ashamed to talk about guarding poppy fields in Helmand most of his time there, according to him. Look up poppy production figures for the last fifteen years for corroboration. Even the BBC doesn’t argue about that last I looked.

        How much truth actually reaches the dizzy heights at Westminster or the EU? After all, we’re so fond of assuming they aren’t the real power it would make sense of much recent history if their access to information is often as limited or controlled as the public. That would be a laugh, maybe they aren’t as evil as we imagine? Maybe many of them really don’t know the full scope of what their state is doing? They don’t exactly appear to be bursting with curiosity.

        • lysias

          The Taliban succeeded in stopping almost all poppy production in Afghanistan before the U.S. invaded. (And the U.S. Justice Department’s justification for denying Geneva Convention privileges to Taliban prisoners of war was that Taliban Afghanistan was a failed state (!), when the idea that “failed states” that, like Afghanistan, were signatories to the Geneva Conventions were not entitled to Geneva Convention privileges was an idea that was previously unheard of in international law.) https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/olc/legacy/2009/12/30/aclu-ii-113001.pdf

          Once the U.S. occupied the country, poppy production was resumed on a bigger scale than before the Taliban. One wonders how much of the profits go to the CIA.

      • Leonard Young

        Loony: You’ve probably moved on to other threads now, but in case you are hanging about on this one, by International Cooperation I did not mean by States but by individual people, such as those who value freedom of movement and attempt to find a rapport with others in Europe.

        I think your obsession with Germany is distorting all of your thinking about the EU. The Greek economy is indeed being crucified by EU policy but that is no more a product of German influence than the general policy of the EU as a whole. No-one would say the EU is absent of serious problems. But nor are individual States within it. On balance I, and many others, would rather have the EU than not have it, for all of its flaws and corruption.

        • michael norton

          Would the European Union rather have the United Kingdom,
          inside the tent pissing out
          or outside the tent, pissing in?

          If their answer was inside the tent, they missed their chance, when David Cameron asked for their help and they told him to piss off.

  • Sharp Ears

    More of Robert Stuart’s forensic examination of the lies coming out of Syria thus exposing the BBC’s complicity in transmitting the UKUSIsNATO disgusting propaganda against President Assad and the Syrian people.

    1. February 4th 2017
    Former UK ambassador: BBC “exaggerated” and reshot Syria scenes
    In a 27 January talk for the Edinburgh Scottish National Party Club former UK ambassador Craig Murray appears to reveal that contacts within the BBC have admitted to him that events featured in Ian Pannell and Darren Conway’s 29 August 2013 BBC News report about an incendiary attack on a Syrian school were “exaggerated” and that some parts were “filmed again”.

    The relevant portion of the talk commences at 57:37 and is transcribed here:
    /..
    https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/former-uk-ambassador-bbc-exaggerated-and-reshot-syria-scenes/
    _____
    2. February 9th 2017
    BBC falsely claimed incendiary bomb victim “died on his way to hospital in Turkey”
    Images have emerged which contradict the BBC’s claim that a teenage victim of an alleged 2013 Aleppo incendiary bomb attack died before reaching hospital in Turkey.

    In a gallery of images accompanying a contemporary report on the website of Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet alleged victim Lutfi Arsi is pictured arriving in an ambulance at Reyhanli State Hospital, Turkey.
    /..
    https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/bbc-falsely-claimed-napalm-victim-had-died-on-his-way-to-hospital-in-turkey/

    Quite exceptional work.

  • lysias

    Dow Jones Industrial Average at 20,429 at the moment, up almost 160 points, or ).8% today. Up over 13% since Trump was elected not quite 3 1/2 months ago.

    Maybe the French would like to have similar results from electing Le Pen.

  • Republicofscotland

    As the now abolished English NHS successor, was described as a “humanitarian Crisis” and in desperate need of funding. Home Secretary Boris Johnson (The clown prince of Westminster) has earmark £700 million pounds of taxpayers money, that’s to be given to Eastern European nation to try and stave of Russian influence.

    This new initiative is called the Empowerment Fund, ultimately it is seen as a way of boosting global influence.

    Westminster just can’t seem to get by the we were a global power once, and will be again attitude.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/13/boris-johnson-launch-new-soft-power-fund-combat-russian-islamic/

  • michael norton

    Old Labour starting to shine up North

    Labour’s candidate in the Stoke-on-Trent Central byelection has apologised for a series of offensive tweets aimed at women on TV programmes including BBC Question Time, Loose Women and The Apprentice.

    In unguarded posts from several years ago, Gareth Snell called panellists on ITV’s Loose Women “squabbling sour-faced ladies”, described Janet Street-Porter as a “polished turd” and said a “speccy blonde girl” on BBC’s The Apprentice should “piss off”.

    After Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, appeared on BBC’s Question Time, Snell tweeted: “Diane, you are great, then you say something incredibly arsingly stupid.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/13/labour-stoke-byelection-candidate-gareth-snell-apologises-offensive-tweets-women

    They don’t like Brexiteers, they don’t like women
    they don’t like business

    what’s not to like?

  • fred

    Alex Salmond?

    Who’s he? Is he First Minister? Is he leader of the SNP? Is he head of the SNP MPs at Westminster?

    Or is he a redundant old has been trying to get his name in the papers?

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Can’t entirely agree Craig. The EU is not really a left/right issue. It’s always one that divided all parties. There have always been pro and anti-EU Labour, Conservative and SNP politicians and voters.

    Corbyn was always Eurosceptic (as Tony Benn was) and likely only backed Remain because a majority of party members were for Remain and he believes in demcoracy both inside and outside his party.

    From the best analysis so far aabout two-thirds of Labour held seats had a majority of voters voting Leave. So opposing Article 50 would likely have hurt Labour even more than voting for it.

  • kweladave

    Please Craig watch as below – only 3 minutes, very funny but sharp pointed.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NffWa8ZlJkY

    I voted for BREXIT and I am not a racist (really hope not). Europe’s treatment of Greece is beyond disgraceful in terms of both morality & economics. Absolutely clear whose interests are being protected – corporations or the people? The EU (like the IMF, World Bank, OECD) is an echo chamber for neoliberalism.

    I note also that the EU is a keen supporter of Ukraine’s efforts to randomly bomb the people of Donetsk into submission rather than talk.

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