Corbyn Needs to Find His Inner Gladstone 199

I have never voted Labour, but were I in England I would vote for Corbyn’s Labour. There is so much that is very good in Labour’s manifesto, but they had me at renationalisation of the railways. Abolition of university tuition fees is also very near to my heart.

The key point is this. I strongly suspect that 90% of other SNP voters, were they in England, would vote for Corbyn’s Labour too. Scottish Labour is a very different thing to Corbyn’s Labour, and the longstanding mutual hatred of the SNP and central elements of Scottish Labour has real causes. The ease with which Scottish Labour voters are transferring direct to Tory, and the truly shameful Tory/Labour coalitions being cooked up now in town halls all round Scotland, show that a hard core of Scottish Labour has nothing to do with Corbyn’s Labour. It is rather a toxic brew of Blairism, institutional corruption and the Orange Order. Amazingly it manages to be still less attractive than that sounds.

There were once many thousand of genuine and decent people in Scottish Labour. Those people now constitute a very large proportion of the SNP. There are very few decent people in Scottish Labour left.

The truth is that the SNP and Corbyn believe in a very similar brand of Progressivism. The Scots simply wish to pursue it in their own country. Given Corbyn’s support for Irish unification and anti-colonial movements all round the world, his opposition to Scottish Independence is unnatural, and his initial welcome for a second referendum reflected his own instinct.

In 1886, Gladstone became convinced of both the justice and political expediency of Irish Home Rule. He decided to adopt it and thus quite deliberately split the Liberal Party. This was a massive split – those who left included the greatest grandees, the Dukes of Westminster, Devonshire, Bedford and Argyll, plus some of the protestant chapel faction like Joseph Chamberlain and John Bright. Those departing Liberal Unionists functioned as a separate political party, in effective coalition with the Tories, until eventually merging into the Conservative and Unionist party.

This loss of Dukes and their acolytes paved the way for the Liberal Party to become much more radical, leading to the Liberal governments of 1906-15 which introduced reforms including national insurance, abolition of the workhouse, old age pensions and free school meals. I would argue that, along with Attlee’s government, it was the greatest reforming government in British history. All done with the essential support of the Irish nationalists.

Corbyn should do the same. He should stop fighting Scottish Independence and embrace it. He should join forces with those who support the same kind of domestic reform and foreign policy he embraces. The loss of Alistair Darling, Kezia Dugdale, John McTernan and John Mann to Labour would be as nothing compared to the losses Gladstone was prepared to accept in embracing Irish nationalism.

The Liberal Unionists are only remembered today when The Importance of Being Earnest is performed. I have changed “Liberal Unionist” to “Blairite” in this excerpt to show how precisely the scenario fits with today’s situation:

Lady Bracknell (Sternly): What are your politics?
Jack: Well, I am afraid I really have none. I am a Blairite.
Lady Bracknell: Oh, they count as Tories. They dine with us. Or come in the evening at any rate.

By throwing over the Scottish Labour dinosaurs and any Blairite shills who wish to go with them, Corbyn can remake the politics of the United Kingdom. And the SNP, just as the Irish Nationalists did in 1906, can help Corbyn to make the permanent transformational changes to the UK, even as they go through the process of leaving it. A future Labour/SNP administration could enact a manifesto as radical as the one that Labour have just unveiled, as the parting gift of the Scots to the UK. After this election, this must be the way forward for Corbyn. As May hits the car crash of Brexit, if May wins on 8 June I do not think her administration will last five years, and I am quite certain she, or the Tories, will not win the ensuing election.

There are other valid comparisons between Corbyn and Gladstone, particularly in foreign policy with regard to Gladstone’s principled and vigorous opposition to the Second Anglo-Afghan war. Gladstone as leader of the opposition argued directly that Afghans fighting invading British troops were justified in doing so: “We have destroyed their homes and driven their wives and children into the snows of winter”. Corbyn has a similar courage in taking on today’s media-driven jingoism and militarism.

Does Corbyn have similar courage in forcing the realignment that can make sense of UK politics, as Scotland leaves as Ireland once did? Can Jeremy embrace Scottish Independence, as I have no doubt is his natural instinct? That will be the measure of whether he makes a real mark on the future, or becomes a brief flash of radical failure.

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199 thoughts on “Corbyn Needs to Find His Inner Gladstone

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  • John

    I agree re the renationalisation of the railways, and re the student fees, Craig.

    But intelligent people surely do not still believe politicians, their professed principles, or their manifestoes in the 21st century, do they ? However warm and fuzzy they make us feel. I can remember similar things being said about Blair and New Labour.

    They (politicians, especially party leaders) are all bought and paid for, or severely compromised. And they work for big money, via the intelligence agencies.

    • Habbabkuk

      “They (politicians, especially party leaders) are all bought and paid for, or severely compromised. And they work for big money, via the intelligence agencies.”

      There’s a sort of poetic justice in the above appearing as the first comment on this new thread, isn’t there.

      Be that as it may, the assessment is so damning that all further commentary is surely superfluous.

      Craig – new thread please!

      • D_Majestic

        So if the game isn’t going your way-take your football home! Is that it? Couldn’t possibly be a grain of truth, could there?

    • Sinister Burt

      Corbyn and Blair are surely not a fair comparison though are they? Why do you think the whole media establishment is against Corbyn, whereas by 97 the bbc and at least a good chunk of the rest of the media (eg sun) were all for him. That is pretty instructive i reckon.

      Do you really think corbyn is bought and paid for by big money or MI6? – i rather think him being not so is what all the fuss is about. (and Habbabkuk, it’s not like you to go along with grand conspiracies (except the officially approved ones))

      • Alcyone

        Shows how little you know Habby. He is probably *the* most objective commenter across the board. If you notice, you will see an observation that is uncommon and not taking sides which is what most people do by default. The power of clear observation brings a certain psychological unraveling of a problem which in itself selects the path to right actions and solutions. may help you understand why he asks a lot of questions that come across as awkward to the lazy-minded.

        It is the converse of Craig going on and on and on about Scotland’s independence, spinning and skinning the cat fifty different ways, and the consequential internal divisiveness and conflict. I genuinely feel sorry for Scots who do not desire independence. Personally, I couldn’t care one way or another, but I do feel for the constant interruption and noise in their daily lives, those of the less-noisy majority,

        • kathy

          Actually, it is the unionists who are making the most noise about independence. Anyway, what is your problem with Scots wanting true democracy as opposed to always having to go down the same path as English voters who are much more right wing? Would English voters accept such a situation? I think we all know the answer to that one.

          • fred

            The Scots voted for the Union, 55% to 45%.

            Speak for yourself you don’t speak for Scotland.

        • D_Majestic

          Is this a thinly veiled attempt at a ‘Tag Team’? I think we should be told. Lazy thinkers do not espouse the music of either Busoni or Sorabji.

        • Sinister Burt

          I wouldn’t call his commentary objective so much as hedged in a manner befitting his education – usually, though often he descends into troll-like behaviour which should be beneath him (or any of us). You didn’t address my point or my point about habb’s ‘concern-conspiracising’ (and neither did he). If you read this far back in time, have a nice day nonetheless (and don’t dismiss any large groups of people if you can avoid it :))

          • Sinister Burt

            That was to alcyone (mostly). Sorry to bring the islam thing up – it just disappoints me that someone who likes the ideas of krishnamurti, who for all his faults was a pretty cosmic geezer, would fall for simplistic breitbartery – (eg muslims include sufis who have a lot of overlap with someone like krishnamurti) – but all the best anyway.


    I am curious why Corbyn is not on the right side of the Scottish Independence issue, and indeed on the right side of the Brexit fiasco. I suspect it is purely political shilly-shallying. He does not know or is being unwisely advised which is the best course to take to garner votes or support within the Labour party.

    I am a big Corbyn fan – a man of real principle. Something so rare these days as to be shocking.

    Scotland should have a fair referendum. Inderef 2014 was anything but fair. The UK should also have a fair Brexit referendum with some kind of realistic scenario for how the UK would be after getting out. It will be FAR worse than anybody in the media is admitting. Once the big banks move their business to Paris and Frankfurt the UK is done for. There are many other bad things about leaving the EU to boot.

    Very interesting post.

      • K Crosby

        Let’s hope that the voters in Scotland who are fool enough to vote in a fascist electoral system do it for him. It’d be a laugh.

    • MJ

      The reason Corbyn is opposed to the EU shouldn’t be too difficult to work out. Apart from the fact that the EU is undemocratic and strips ordinary people of their sovereignty, his manifesto should make it crystal clear: renationalisation of the railways, utilities and PO would be illegal under EU law.

      • Habbabkuk

        “..renationalisation of the railways, utilities and PO would be illegal under EU law”


        Can you expand on that, please?

  • MJ

    “his opposition to Scottish Independence is unnatural”

    He didn’t oppose the referendum but accepted the result and moved on. That he is lukewarm about Scottish independence is perfectly in keeping with his views. He believes the Labour Movement should encompass the whole of this island. He is very definitely not a petty nationalist.

    • craig Post author

      I considered a bit of further exposition about Bright – whose opposition to Irish Home Rule was a sad end to his brilliant career and I think motivated by concern for Irish protestants – but didn’t want to complicate an already difficult post for those unfamiliar.

  • Stu

    .”I would argue that, along with Attlee’s government, it was the greatest reforming government in British history.”

    They opposed universal sufferage which is a stain it is hard to recover from. They don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the 1945 government.

    • Stu

      It’s also worth remembering their role in the Campbell Affair and the 14 year effective suspension of democracy known as the National Government.

      As they showed in 2010 and will show again at the first possible opportunity Liberal are just Tories by another name.

    • K Crosby

      Both regimes consolidated the status quo at the expense of a few sops to us poor. The Attlee regime introduced a national commercial health system, ready for the day when the state was powerful enough to steal it like it did the Post Office, pensions, education, the rule of law etc blah. As well as allowing Ukrainian SS divisions to emigrate to Britain, while keeping out the survivors of their crimes against humanity, Attlee presided over the legalisation of charging for NHS services on top of the NI tax (that was carefully designed to exempt high-earners).

      It doesn’t do to get dewy eyed about these statist fuckers.

      • Habbabkuk


        “As well as allowing Ukrainian SS divisions to emigrate to Britain…”

        Can you source that for us, please?

          • glenn_uk

            Just curious… why push a URL through google, when you could have given the Sun’s link directly?

            Does google need that extra bit of traffic, does it really _have_ to know every bit of everyone’s browsing patterns? This is like calling directory enquiries and asking them “please give me the number for 0208 234 5678”.

            Here’s the link, without needing to trouble google at all:


            PS – Habbabkuk, rubbishing the source without even commenting on the contents is known as the “poisoning the well” logical fallacy.

          • Habbabkuk


            Now I have of course read the link carefully. I would advise you to do the same and suggest you tell me whether (1) the “story” corresponds to Crosby’s’ excitable “allowing Ukrainian divisions (plural) to emigrate to Britain” and (2) whether any of the people in question have actually been tried, much less found guilty of war crimes and/or crimes against humanity (in that connection, you will recall there have been (successful) prosecutions in the UK of various KZ guards…Could it be a question of evidence, I wonder…?).

            Regarding “rubbishing” The Sun: if you can assure me that The Sun is a reliable source, without any agenda, which never presents information with any other aim than to inform objectively then I shall of course immediately take your word for it.

            Finally, with this particular story, ask yourself why The Sun may have run it at the time it did (July 2016).

          • glenn_uk

            H: It was probably not obvious, sorry, but my question about the URL was in fact addressed to JOML, not yourself.

            I would not regard The Sun as a particular devotee of the truth. But I was not commenting about the article in question, but the dismissing of anything it had to say based on the source alone. I daresay The Sun prints something true once in a while – this might or might not have been one of those occasions.

    • craig Post author

      It is a fascinating tendency of those who think of themselves as left, to judge people of one age by the mores of another age. Marx shagged and beat his young female servants. Of course the Attlee government was more advanced – it was forty years later. But I would argue the 1906 government was more radical for its time and made greater leaps.

      • K Crosby

        If teleology is your bag, how do you explain Callaghan, Thatchler, Bliar etc?

      • Anon1

        He also sponged like a parasite off his rich mates, setting an example followed by most of today’s radical left.

        • JOML

          I suspect his “rich mates” didn’t earn their cash through their own hard labour or genius, but by inheriting ill gotten gains or by being leeches on the rest of society.

      • Paul

        Richard Dawkins was right (I think it was Dawkins) – we *should* judge the past by modern standards. In so doing we are just taking a measure of progress. For example – I think this was his example – Aztec rituals of child torture and murder are not less atrocious because of the distance of time, nor because they were a normal part of that culture. The problem comes when the modern left or right is contrasted with the other camp from many, many decades ago in order to gain a contemporary political upper hand.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          I think it was the physicist Richard Feynman who wrote somewhere that a Japanese physicist brought his manservant with him to an American conference and beat him every morning within earshot of the rest of the guests in the hotel, until he was asked to cease the practice or leave. How true it is I do not know, but if it is, it illustrates that we do not have to go back into human history to find abhorrent material. And let’s not forget that there are still people alive today who experienced the cat o’nine tails in British prisons.

          I find it hard to believe that compassion and gentleness have not always been as integral a part of human nature as power and cruelty.

          • bevin

            And then there are Saudi Arabia and Qatar where corporal punishment is rife and the most appalling abuse of servants-from maids in homes to construction workers on large public projects-is acceptable. And witnessed, no doubt, daily by HMG’s local agents and fans.
            I believe that Saud family members still travel accompanied by slaves and concubines, which is why they rent floors at a time in hotels.

        • bevin

          The problem lies not in the standards used in judging the past but in the quality of the information we have of the past. As to Aztec rituals I know little (I suspect that Dawkins doesn’t know much either) but I do know that most of what the standard histories tell us of cannibalistic practices in north American ‘Indian’ societies is greatly distorted.
          History is the basis of most ideology. The hard thing is always to understand what happened. When that is done we usually confirm that ‘to understand all is to forgive all.’

        • Habbabkuk

          “The problem comes when the modern left or right is contrasted with the other camp from many, many decades ago in order to gain a contemporary political upper hand.”

          The problem only arises in the case that (for example) the “modern Left” or prominent people within it – display, through their statements, a certain nostalgia for the practices of the old extreme left (let us say the old left of the Marxist-Leninist-Bolsehvik persuasion) – or , worse, seek to deny the crimes committed by that old extreme left or at the very least seek to justify them by reference to other phenomena of the same period.

        • K Crosby

          Who ended slavery in the western hemisphere in the British empire in 1833, the people who shouldn’t be judged by modern ideas of morality or those who should? I’d also question modern morality over matters like abortion, torture, wars of middle easterner extermination, neo colonialism, Thatchler, Bliar etc blah….

      • Stu

        Here is Keir Hardie writing in 1905

        “To-day no woman can vote in a Parliamentary election. She may possess all the necessary qualifications which would entitle a man to vote; solely and simply by her sex is she excluded from the exercise of the franchise. It is this sex disqualification which we are directing our efforts to clear out of the way. Once that is done, each further extension of the franchise in the future will equally apply to both men and women. If that is not done there is always the danger that women will have the same experience as in the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884, and will remain ignored in any fresh extension of the suffrage.”

      • Habbabkuk

        ” Of course the Attlee government was more advanced – it was forty years later. But I would argue the 1906 government was more radical for its time and made greater leaps.”

        I would tend to agree with that. The Attlee govt was very much swimming with the tide and could implement, in several areas, thinking which had already built up a fair amount of steam pre-war (eg nationalisation of the mines, greater state intervention in medical care) or which had already to all intents and purposes been put into practice during the war (eg rail nationalisation).

        • bevin

          This is largely true. The Beveridge Report being a good example. But the wartime government relied very heavily on the ideas and priorities of the Labour Ministers in the coalition. There seems to have been a sort of informal bargain whereby Churchill was given free hand with the war strategy while Attlee, Bevin and Cripps played important roles in domestic policy and in matters related to the USSR.

          • Habbabkuk

            There’s that wonderful story of Senator Joe McCarthy putting his arm round the shoulders of a fellow Senator and the other Senator saying to him “Do you realise, Joe, that I will now need to get this jacket dry-cleaned?”.

            I feel rather the same when you agree with me.


      • giyane

        oh, some hope for ISIS then. By 2060, Senators John McCain and Donald Trump will allow their little lead soldiers the vote.

  • Johnny boy

    The Torys did serious damage with their SNP/Labour coalition attack in 2015. I’d guess with too many swing voters in marginals being the ‘patriotic’ type who could come back after New Labour he’s treading carefully. No point treading such a careful line on Brexit just to blow it on those dastardly nationalists.

  • Stu

    “That will be the measure of whether he makes a real mark on the future, or becomes a brief flash of radical failure.”

    It’s worth remembering that isn’t about Corbyn.

    He stepped forward in 2015 so the outrage around Harman leading the Blairites to abstain on the Welfare bill would not go to waste. He has been heroic in taking huge amounts of personal abuse without taking a step back and delivering the country a genuine democratic choice for the first time in 30 years. Regardless of the election result and the future of the Labour leadership it’s impossible that the fight against Tory dominance and neoliberalism will halt, the crisis has reached a level which can no longer be ignored.

  • K Crosby

    ~~~~~the Liberal governments of 1906-15 which introduced reforms including national insurance, abolition of the workhouse, old age pensions and free school meals.~~~~~

    You forgot the world war that was brought to you by the controllers of the biggest slave empire in human history….;o)

      • K Crosby

        It was a war for the balance of power, same as the Second World War. The working class went to get a better deal from the post-war state and did (up to a point), the real birth of the welfare state was 1 July 1916 but it was reneged on 1929-1931. The state couldn’t be quite so parsimonious in 1945 but when welfare spending reached the same level as the early 30s in 1970, guess what the state did?

        Warfare State: Britain, 1920–1970 Edgerton, D. (2005) p. 5

        Well fancy that!

  • Phil the ex-frog

    “Can Jeremy embrace Scottish Independence, as I have no doubt is his natural instinct?”

    His natural instinct? Ah, independence realism. It’s not politics at all. It’s a natural feeling.Anyway leaving this aside, I wouldn’t be so sure. Does it not occur to you that most of his policies you applaud would be impossible within the EU. Jeez.

    • Anon1

      Yes, perhaps Craig could explain how we could go about renationalising the railways within the EU he so favours? Aren’t they enforcing the current British model?

        • Anon1

          Which is absolutely what the EU is legislating to change. Stop being disingenuous, Craig.

          • Why be ordinary

            No – it’s monopolies that the EU legislates against. The state owning a railway company (SNCF, Deustche Bahn etc is entirely OK

          • Keith

            As I said Brexit means Brexit, chum.

            Unless … the Tories (if in power) attempt to incorporate any such EU change (if true) into domestic law in order to scupper any re-nationalisation of the railways…

          • Alcyone

            Why be, is there any element of ‘grand-fathering’ in these decisions? i.e. once you have privatised, you cannot go back and nationalise, especially not into a monopoly? (And I don’t mean bail-outs a la RBS Royale.

          • Why be ordinary?

            There is nothing in European law that forbids the state buying a company (after all see what happened to a number of banks recently). The European Convention on Human Rights forbids confiscation of property, but so long as a market price is paid when nationalisation takes place that is not a problem. The issue that arises is when the state seeks to enforce a monopoly, by preventing others entering the market or by artificially subsidising companies it owns so that competition is distorted. The problem with recreating British Rail, for example, would not be the state buying up railway companies. The problem would be only allowing one company to operate without competition. It is quite possible for state owned companies to compete.

    • Alcyone

      “It’s not politics at all. It’s a natural feeling”

      LOL!!! Do I know what you mean! Especially when Nature is my God!!

      I hope Jeremy hasn’t read this blog-entry; poor chap will be tossing and turning.

  • DtP

    Considering the Greens took a bung of £250k to stand down in Richmond, that the Libs, Lab and Greens are attempting to form pacts to dislodge or prevent Tory candidates, it seems a rather woolly statement “…shameful Tory/Labour coalitions being cooked up…”

    Why shouldn’t they? I hardly think Independence has any greater morality attached to it than Unionism. The fact that some people have it as their primary reason for voting, it seems perfectly logical for Lab & Con to join forces to unseat a Nationalist – neither shameful or otherwise. Unorthodox at most.

    • Johnny boy

      “Tory/Labour coalitions being cooked up now in town halls” Nothing to do with unseating the SNP then, or independance.

      • DtP

        Well, assume he wasn’t talking about local elections a fortnight ago. Either way – it appears virtually everyone’s doing it.

      • DtP

        It appears so, I think it’s still got a bit left to go yet. I guess it has something to do with Craig’s identification of Blairites – both voters and some elected reps are struggling to find a natural home so there’s a rump of people willing to make pacts as their principles are less affected. Couple that with the disastrous campaigns of both the Libs and the Kippers and the ground is ripe for smoke-filled room shenanigans. It’s PR without the structure or the proportionality. That old maxim that politicians have more in common with each other than with any of the voters seems apposite. I’m not even slightly surprised that Tories and Labs are colluding, however informally; if anyone could tell the difference between Blair & Cameron they’ve definitely being taking a much more assiduous observer than me.

  • J

    An excellent argument well made. To go further down the road, wouldn’t Corbyn be well advised to focus on the more long term goal, for Labour, of restructuring Scottish Labour as a valuable and progressive check on the potential for SNP political monopoly after Independence, rather than resisting independence at the outset. To do so could cleave the Tories permanently from any meaningful influence over Scottish politics, certainly without substantial reformation, a prospect to be welcomed.

  • Habbabkuk

    A couple of comments have already spoken in favour of the renationalisation of the railways.

    I wonder if the authors of those comments would care to spell out, with the necessary detail, what they would consider to be the benefits of such a renationalisation for both the travelling public and the country as a whole (no rants, please)?

      • Habbabkuk

        Thank you for that substantive and thoughtful contribution to the discussion, Crosby; it does you credit.

        I hope Mr Corbyn and the Labour Party will be able to explain their proposal even more clearly (although, perhaps, somewhat less succinctly).

        But : is it not for those who advocate change (here, renationalisation of the railways) to explain why, and the possible benefits of that change?

        • K Crosby

          You’ve been a gargoyle on the bum of craig’s blog for too long, bugger off!

        • D_Majestic

          The day you become a ‘Serious commenter’ the sky will fall in. The children’s story ‘Chicken Licken’ refers, Babcock & Wilcox.

    • Sharp Ears

      Are you going to go through these comments asking rhetorical questions to which replies will probably not be given? Its rather comical to see what particular subjects are of interest to you.

      • Habbabkuk

        In which way was my question rhetorical (please check the meaning of the word in your dictionary, Merrian-Webster I believe)?

        As for being unlikely to get any serious answers, would you agree that that says more about the advocates of renationalisation than it does about me?

        As for the subjects which interest me, I do admit that my range of interests is somewhat wider than yours.

          • Herbie

            You’ve obviously got shares in these Railway and Utility companies, habby.

            Drawing a large income for yourself, sitting on your fat arse, whilst the poor buggers who are funding you are having to stand for hours every day to and from work.

            You see, the whole problem with these nationalisations is that the only way to increase productivity and thus profit from their operations is to squeeze the product itself.

            That means fewer trains, less seats, and ridiculous year on year fare increases.

            It’s simple theft!

          • Habbabkuk


            “You see, the whole problem with these nationalisations is that the only way to increase productivity and thus profit from their operations is to squeeze the product itself.”

            Did you mean to say “..problem with these privatisations..” by any chance ?

          • Habbabkuk

            All clear, Erbie – don’t hesitate to ask Uncle Habbabkuk for help in the future, I’m always there for you.

          • Herbie

            Kinda obvious from the context.

            Surprised you had to ask.

            Anyway, the above explains why you shouldn’t privatise Transport and Utilities.

            As most sensible people already know.

        • Fir Kew Hall

          In Scotland Lothian Buses are run as a public service.
          The buses are modern, clean, relatively cheap, punctual.
          Contrast this with the privately owned First Bus.
          Clapped out coaches ( unless operated on tourist routes) expensive, unreliable and blighted by the closure of ‘unprofitable’ routes, heedless of the damage to the elderly and infirm who rely heavily on such services.

      • bevin

        The standard drill is to ask a very silly question and then, when nobody bothers to answer it, to accuse the serious commenters of dishonesty for not rising to his challenge.
        This is just one of the tactics that our man from NATO HQ uses to disrupt and distract serious discussion.

        • Habbabkuk

          Not really, Bevs.

          I reserve accusations of dishonesty for the sort of person who still goes around saying that the Germans and not the Soviets were responsible for the Karyn massacre.

          What I do accuse some commenters of, however, is for coming out with statements which they are either unable or unwilling to defend when challenged.

          Challenges like” I wonder if the authors of those comments would care to spell out, with the necessary detail, what they would consider to be the benefits of such a renationalisation for both the travelling public and the country as a whole?”.

    • glenn_uk

      H: Perhaps you could get the ball rolling by pointing out the great benefits of privatising the railways, as it pertains to the travelling public, and the country as a whole.

      You can start with the approximately £900 million spent on the privatisation process under John Major, and work forward from there.

      • Habbabkuk

        That is an old meme of yours, Glenn_UK, which gains no weight in the re-telling.

        As I pointed out to Crosby, ” is it not for those who advocate change (here, renationalisation of the railways) to explain why, and the possible benefits of that change?”

        • glenn_uk

          On the contrary, every time it goes unchallenged – by the likes of yourself, for instance – the meme (if you want to call it that) gains strength.

          One might have supposed the benefits of privatisation would be manifestly obvious, and you could simply rattle them off.

          As it is, you have nothing. I do wonder why you want to embarrass yourself by making that so absolutely clear.

      • Why be ordinary?

        That’s what economists call “sunk costs” or in plain language “spilled milk”. You could try suing The MPs who voted for it”, but you won’t get it back

    • J


      Britain spends approximately 200 percent more in real terms through government subsidy to rail companies than the total cost of the railways before privatisation. Zero tax savings, a net increase in cost and approximately 1bn per year every year since privatisation in additional costs.

      Including the higher ticket prices to accommodate the profit element and we’ve paid for it all twice by this point. Very inefficient and the highest fares for poorer service at slower speeds than elsewhere in Europe.

      After that, the ticket you buy doesn’t transfer across different train operators, in effect a massively limited service for your money.

      Ticket prices vary dramatically, some short journeys are vastly more expensive than other longer journeys.

      Many less commercial routes have been discontinued or continue with limited service at greater expense to the traveller.

      Rail routes are poorly integrated with buses, flights and often with other rail routes. On a complex route you can arrive at a station on one train to discover that your next train has already left while the next one valid with your ticket is hours away and the rest of your journey is officially buggered. Many popular routes and services are duplicated because of competition but tickets are not interchangeable between services.

      The number of breakdowns I’ve encountered has also increased.

      Cancellations, late trains, crowded trains, obscure payment arrangements, capricious ticket pricing, limited routes, massive expense.

      What’s to like?

  • Paul

    @Craig My big concern in all this is that if the Tories get a big majority, and Brexit is a complete disaster (inevitable), who gets the blame in the next 3-5 years? Logically it should be the Tories for instigating a ridiculous referendum and then plowing ahead in full knowledge of what the consequences of over-interpreting a glorified opinion would be.

    But I won’t be, will it?

    The blame will be shifted on to immigrants and minorities, the EU – for not ‘being reasonable’, Scotland (and maybe N.I.) – for wanting out, and of course ‘remoaners’ for ‘talking down the country’ (or ‘saboteurs’ as they now like to call us). And quite possibly judges, lawyers, scientists and others with the knowledge and experience to have predicted the fall out.

    Once the Tories can no longer claim to be the party of business (already happening, I think), and as the economy tanks, who do they call on for support? As far as I can see their only route is further into right-wing (then far right-wing) populism.

    The historical precedents for this sort of thing do not end well. (Scotland really should get out now, whilst it still can.)

  • Jeanette Findlay

    The problem with this analysis – and there is much of it that I have sympathy with – is in the implication that the relationship between Britain and Ireland is any way shape or form the same as that between Britain and Ireland. Corbyn supports Irish reunification because the British invaded Ireland, still occupy it and have denied the self-determination which was last measured across 32 counties in 1921 ever since – or at least arguably until 1998 (but I won’t go there). Scotland was sold out by its own ruling class, took on the role of junior partner of British imperialism (including being part of the invading occupiers of Ireland) and has therefore benefited from it down the centuries. It was arguably denied self-determination after the first devolution referendum until the second one. You could even argue it is currently being denied given that the Scottish Parliament have asked for a second independence referendum, but that feels like delayed rather than denied. I have no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn would never try to deny Scotland its right to self-determination, but he, like everyone else, is entitled to make his own case as to whether the working class would be better off in an independent Scotland or not. At the moment he clearly does not believe they would and, at the last count, the majority of Scottish voters agree with him – whether you or I like that or not.

    • Habbabkuk

      Thoughtful post. Our Irish-American friend Lysias – not friend of the UK, though – is always drawing comparisons between Irish independence and Scottish independence; accordingly I shall be interested to see if he will have anything to say in response to your ideas.

      • Keith

        So, an hour and a half after your initial “comment” that further comments were ‘… surely superfluous …’ you’re still “commenting” :-).

        Top marks, chum.

    • craig Post author


      That is a peculiarly partial reading of history. As in every colonised country in history, there was no shortage of native Irish people who participated in the Empire also.

    • Anon1

      Yes the excuse is normally given that because said people were “colonised” themselves, naturally they couldn’t help colonising others. Go to India. The Scots practically built the Raj.

      • bevin

        And their employer was based in London. Many Scots worked for the East India Company but they did not own it. The closest they came to this was through the person of Dundas who traded votes in Parliament from Scotland for Indian patronage.

        • Why be ordinary?

          Wasn’t it an attempt at colonization (the Darien scheme) that bankrupted Scotland and made it vulnerable to being bought up by the England?

    • Republicofscotland

      “but he, like everyone else, is entitled to make his own case as to whether the working class would be better off in an independent Scotland or not.”


      It’s not up to Corbyn to determine your above point. It’s up to the people of Scotland.

      • reel guid

        Yes Ros. The unionists are deliberately conflating the question of whether there should be independence with the question of whether there should be a referendum.

    • Clydebuilt


      The NO vote at the last Referendum was followed the next morning by EVEL, Tories winning next GE, The Vow was a lie, Closing Tax offices, closing Job Centres. Benefit cuts, Universal Credit. Benefit sanctions,
      The Tories are about to win this GE.
      The Sooner Scotland is free From the cruelty of right wing Tories the better.

  • Sharp Ears

    Nice lot of coverage of Jeremy’s speech from Gideon’s organ. No lurve lost between him and Treeza of course.

    The subheadings
    BBC journalist pushes woman away by breast as she interrupts interview
    General Election 2017 | London Evening Standard
    Jeremy Corbyn flies the red flag with £48bn raid in manifesto
    The key points from Labour’s manifesto at a glance
    ‘It’s not the cult of personality’, says Corbyn as journalists booed
    ‘Forget pledge to slash immigration to tens of thousands’, PM told
    Election odds: Lib Dems yet to capitalise on Labour pratfalls
    Brexit is like a bereavement, admits Tory facing Lib Dem challenge
    ‘Brexit pact with the devil could cripple the City for years’
    Corbyn ignores ‘sweet aroma of a spliff’ to pose with reggae singer
    ‘Britain wouldn’t have backed Brexit if 16-18 year olds could vote’
    Labour’s Catherine West has said young people cannot keep being denied the vote as her party pledged to allow 16 year olds to head to the polls.
    Fact watch: Food bank use has risen under the Conservatives
    Claim: Food bank use has shot up under the Conservatives

  • reel guid

    It took almost forty years from Gladstone’s taking up the cause of Irish independence to the setting up of the Free State. Sinn Fein weren’t called We Ourselves for no reason. They learned never to trust or count on Gladstone’s or Bannerman’s or Asquith’s or Lloyd George’s Liberals.

    Scotland will gain independence through the efforts of the SNP, the Greens and all the other pro Yes groups and individuals. There will never be any help from Westminster politicians. Why? Just look at the building. It reeks of foundation myth and unchallengeable tradition. It seeps into the bones of even the Labour left wingers who go there, with only rare exceptions such as Dave Nellist. Even principled left wingers like Corbyn and Tony Benn became influenced by the atmosphere. And then they can always dredge up the excuse that they are against Scottish independence because they oppose nationalism.

  • Republicofscotland

    “The loss of Alistair Darling, Kezia Dugdale, John McTernan and John Mann to Labour”


    Surely any party that lost that lot of no gooders, would soon be on the up.

    • Habbabkuk

      I suspect that without its remaining Blairites the Labour Party would be getting roughly the same level of support as “Left Unity”.

      Ask Goss if you don’t believe me.

      • giyane

        Curious use of ” I ” by the shill for USUKIS neoliberal NWO neo-cons. Surely there can’t be room for two bloated egos in one election, Mrs May and Habbabkuk?

        • giyane

          Yes, I know, their hearts are united in one common purpose, so it doesn’t count

        • giyane

          Tory thinking on that: If you’re fit enough to walk in to the hospital from a distant side-street, you weren’t that sick and if you can afford the hospital parking charges you weren’t that broke.
          Plenty of scope for privatisation and welfare cuts in that.

      • bevin

        This is almost the opposite of the truth. The Blairites, careerists, corrupt municipal politicians, warmongers and Thatcherites are very unpopular among the public. Unlike Left Unity, which had a set of principles to organise around, the Blairites will dissolve as soon as their lips have been prised from the teats of patronage and office.
        They, after all, have only one trick- they win elections and neutralise the Murdoch media. Or so they claim.
        When they have lost their seats or their control of the Party they will disappear. While Left Unity, I imagine, will rejoin the Labour Party and contribute their talents and energy to building a new England.

      • Republicofscotland

        On the contrary Habb, it’s the Blairites that have aided the demise of the Labour party.

  • giyane

    Politics is lying. Craig is a truth-teller. And you are a troll that lives under a bridge between these twain who will never meet.

    • Alcyone

      Guano, I don’t claim to be a ‘Truth-teller’, one only needs to observe, no need to tell the hard of hearing confused people like you. Be wary of cliches myself and you might free yourself from truth-tellers and ‘prophets’. Good luck, sucker!

  • JOML

    Alcyone, when England looks at the UK election through the English prism, why shouldn’t the other countries look through their own prism? No party puts candidates up in all countries, so there is no UK prism – although you be forgiven for thinking that, given how dominant the results from England are. All a bit messy, hence the positives in everyone going their own way politically.

  • bevin

    It is not within Corbyn’s power, during this short and unexpected election campaign to make the major changes that this post calls for. There has not been a Labour Party Conference for some time and the grip of the Blairites on the party apparatus is such that any proper debate on the matter of Scottish Independence is unlikely.
    The Blairites would like nothing better than to be able to catch Corbyn out making a radical departure from what they would call democratically agreed policies.
    But everyone understands as much: Corbyn’s business is to turn the Labour Party into a democratic organisation controlled by its membership. Once that has been done questions like independence will take care of themselves.
    One of the reasons for the SNP’s success has been the long term corruption of the Labour Party in safe seats. I can remember, from the sixties, that Glasgow was notorious for restricting party membership and that some Constituency parties had only twenty or thirty members. This made it impossible for the left to organise while it turned the CLPs into closed oligarchical corporations divvying up the council seats, dispensing municipal patronage and sending whomever/whatever they pleased to Westminster.
    It is no coincidence that many of the very worst of the Blairites were and are from the Scottish Party. it is an irony of democratic socialist parties that the more left wing and radical the electorate is (and thus the more likely it is to return a Labour MP) the more right wing and arrogant the MPs elected by them will be. South Wales provides equally good examples, while the fact that both Blair and Mandelson sat for geordie seats is significant.
    In practice this is one of those questions which will take care of itself. Labour will not win any seats in Scotland and consequently Corbyn will have to work out a sensible relationship, on the basis of shared policy aims, with SNP members in Westminster.
    So far as I know this is very much what happened to the Liberals in Ireland. The old Whig aristocracy could no longer elect any MPs from Ireland, once Parnell had worked his magic. This meant that Gladstone had no alternative but to work with the Irish Party, which meant, in turn, that the Irish party was doubly strengthened in its electoral campaigning.

      • bevin

        No. But they certainly got out of the way of the national movement in Ireland. Radicals either moved towards Connolly and Larkin’s positions or, in a very rural society, threw up such leaders as Liam Mellows and other radicals on the left of Sinn Fein.
        The real story is of what has happened since and how Irish nationalism morphed, over a few decades, into the worst kind of gombeen power. Or, in words you, recently, used approvingly of the SNP, showed themselves to be ‘friendly to business.’

        • Republicofscotland

          “Or, in words you, recently, used approvingly of the SNP, showed themselves to be ‘friendly to business.’”



          It may have escaped your notice but being friendly to business, is a vital part of government it creates jobs.

          The idea however is not to let it decide policy.

          • Kempe

            ” The idea however is not to let it decide policy ”

            Oh you mean by not quietly dropping bus re-regulation after taking a £500,000 “donation” from a multi millionaire who just happens to own Britain’s biggest bus company or proposing to reduce the regulation of big banks because what’s good for them is good for Scotland?

            Odd that the SNP were applauded for proposing to cut corporation taxes to attract more businesses yet the Labour Party manifesto proposes increases which, logic dictates, will have the reverse effect.

    • giyane

      Talking of party democracry, Mrs Thatcher pre-dated the Zionist war on Islam, by which under Blair, the interests of a third party country were put over and above the interests of this country. Blair consolidated his dictatorial power by arguing for collective party loyalty, castration of the BBC, and refusal to listen to legal advice.

      The fact that Jeremy Corbyn has managed to reverse all four of these examples of Blair’s totalitarian instincts in less than a year, shows what a capable statesman he is. In the last couple of day’s he has accelerated forwards, synchronising his own vision with the EU’s vision of a united Ireland as a method statement and synchronising his own vision with his party’s roots.

      As Craig admits, he has raced ahead, leaving Scottish concerns about Independence at the starting line.
      You could say that if he continues to gather momentum, the main motive for Craig to want Independence, viz UK corruption, will be dead.

  • RobG

    It’s on record that John McDonnell has called for MI5, and the rest of these public school/Establishment twats, to be disbanded…

    What’s wrong with that? MI5, GCHQ, MI6 and all the rest of these a-holes are all completely in bed with the American security services, and as such they are total traitors to this country, the United Kingdom.

    Despite the eye-watering sums of tax payer’s money that’s given to the UK security services, they couldn’t even stop what was a pretty basic/simple hack attack last week (which by funny coincidence was just as Corbyn called them out for the complete criminal a-holes that they are).

    This level of criminality has got to end, before it ends us all.

  • Sharp Ears

    Everything else aside, the city boys are rubbing their hands.

    FTSE 100’s record-breaking streak continues
    The FTSE 100’s recent record-breaking run showed no sign of ending as the UK’s main share index set new intra-day and closing highs.

    The index climbed above the 7,500 level for the first time, closing at 7,522.03 points after nine days of gains.

    Confidence in the outcome of the UK election and a recovery in commodity stocks helped lift the index, analysts said.

    Continuing weakness in the pound also helped, they added.

    “Investors seem to be feeling confident about the outlook for Britain under what is expected to be the biggest Conservative party majority since Margaret Thatcher,” said Jasper Lawler of LCG. Laith Khalaf, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Investors will be thinking that the 8,000 mark is hovering into view.”


    Oh goodee.

    • Shatnersrug

      It’s occurs to me that if the younguns really wanted to get back at their grandparents and the adults in charge – putting s labour government in would be the best thing they could do

    • Habbabkuk

      Well, Sharp Ears, the performance of the Stock Market is rather important for the well-being of quite a few pensions funds.

      But I admit that is unlikely to impress those former public service workers whose index-linked, final salary scheme pensions are paid by a generous former employer aka the state.

        • Habbabkuk

          I think we’re back to the idea of regular commenters all identifying themselves. You’ll no doubt remember my views – my offer – on that and how Craig’s good offices could be used to that effect. Previous posts of mine refer.

          • glenn_uk

            Specific details aren’t required – I’m happy to volunteer that I did work for a multinational high tech firm. Private sector. I’m taking a bit of time off now, entirely on my own funds of course.

            Are you unwilling to divulge if it’s even state or private sector yourself? A government department, perhaps?

    • Hieroglyph

      Many of those ‘investors’ are not long from being ruined, when the US market goes tits up. So, that’s good news.

  • fwl

    Craig Murray , you never voted labour. Never? Who were you voting for before you found the SNP?

      • RobG

        Craig worked for the British government, which for the last four hundred years, if there was any justice in this world, would have involved a life sentence in jail.

        • Habbabkuk

          A sentence – perhaps not gaol but certainly pecuniary – is what awaits you, Rob, if you don’t get your skates on and regularise your situation vis a vis the French social security system.

      • fwl

        Oh I didn’t know that, although should remember that under the late Charlie Kennedy the liberals were a genuine (and possibly the last) genuine voice of dissent ie in oppo to the war. They lost it though when it came to the vote on Libya. They, labour and everyone suddenly got sudden onset amnesia.

  • RobG

    It’s Craig’s party, and it’s entirely up to him if he wants to ban comments I make about the totally corrupt UK security services.

    The fact that my comments are banned does not make the UK security services any less corrupt or traitorous.

    Craig’s pieces are published over at TruePublica by Graham Vanbergen, who recently published this:

    Maybe you should stick to publishing on the Daily Telegraph, Craig.

  • Manda

    I always appreciate your knowledge and thinking Craig and know Scotland’s independence is your priority. I sense some bitterness in this blog post, especially in the last paragraph. The die is cast for Labour policy in this election. The Labour party is not one man, no matter how that mans courage is measured in future.

    I wish Scotland the best and if the majority of Scots vote to leave in a future referendum, as far as I am concerned, it cannot happen soon enough for everyone.

    • RobG

      As an Englishman (born and bred in London), I am also totally in support of Scottish independence.

      • Manda

        I support whatever the majority of Scots want. As a non Scot I am non partisan on the issue, it is up to Scotland to decide in my view.

      • JOML

        RobG, your support is appreciated, particularly as some deem self-determination as a unreasonable goal, so it’s good to have those outside the bubble bringing sense and normality to the debate.
        Here’s an American singing about London…

        • RobG

          Loved the werewolfs of London (a long time since I last heard that track).

          Here’s another one that, arguably, tackles similar territory. I wouldn’t even call Billy Bragg a Londoner, since he always lived someplace outside in Essex…

          Despite having travelled the world, for most of my life I’ve lived within four miles of Trafalgar Square.

  • fwl

    No one reads political manifestos though some of us look at the pictures. Labour’s is surprisingly full of white people. Just saying. Not criticizing, but ghost of UKIP still haunting some?

    • RobG

      Argue against this:

      Corbyn’s Labour will provide free school meals in state schools by putting a VAT levy on private school fees.

      Corbyn’s Labour will abolish hospital parking fees.

      Corbyn’s Labour will provide a massive boost to public service funding by reversing the Tory cuts in capital gains tax.

      We’re all mad, innit.

      It’s certainly going to be fun next month in the UK, as Washington rigs the election exactly as they have done in France.

      Macron? Are you serious?!

      • Herbie

        The newspapers aren’t highlighting the popular nationalisations.

        They’re trying to pretend that everyone’s going to be taxed out of existence.

        It’s only in the small print they tell you it’s only the top 5% of earners who are going to find relatively modest increases, and that compared to the large wealth gains they’ve made in the past few years.

        The Labour manifesto is modest, but absolutely necessary if we’re to avoid further decline.

        With a truthful or even balanced media, Corbyn would walk to victory.

        It’s only mainstream media can keep him out.

  • Clydebuilt

    If Corbyn were to embrace Scottish Independence, surely the Tories would resurrect the scare tactic from the previous GE. The SNP pulling labour’s strings, and picking English pockets, having Corbyn in the SNP’s pockets. It worked a treat against Milliband.

    • fred

      Does the SNP really want to be sharing the nationalist vote with Labour and does Labour really want to be giving their unionist votes to the Conservatives?

    • RobG

      Brilliant pic!

      Call me an old git, but we are now really seeing a re-run in America of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. The collapse of an empire.

      It’s almost too embarrassing to watch.

    • Herbie

      Is that a real fake news sign he’s holding up or fake fake news sign?

      Should of had a fake pie with him as well. Henry-Levi got pied in Belgrade last week.

      Still, just walking around that area with big Fake News signs, the cameras would have difficulty avoiding them.

      And think of the international market.

      Europe could do with getting in on the fake news meme.

      • Herbie

        Is that definite?

        I did think he was holding a mirror to the back of her hair or a clapperboard kinda thing, but then I noticed what looked like a badly torn piece of paper which could have been genuine but the colour looked like just a kinda whitewashing of space. Poorly done.

        But still an excellent image which captures the reality of our time.

  • reel guid

    The Liberal Democrats on Angus Council have followed their party colleagues in Perth & Kinross and decided to put the Tories in power as senior partners in a coalition. How reactionary do the Tories need to get before the Lib Dems refuse to work with them?

    • Herbie

      The Lib Dems are the spoiler party.

      That’s their function.

      To ensure that the status quo or trajectory is maintained.

      They were mainly aimed at keeping a too Lefty Labour out.

      In the past, anyway.

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