The Course of Scottish Politics 197

The SNP triumphed in 2015 by outflanking Labour to the left. The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is now coming back by outflanking the SNP to the left. This was not hard as the SNP tends to talk left but not act it. Kezia Dugdale has resigned because she is unhappy with tacking to the left; indeed as a third rate machine politician she has never given any indication of philosophical conviction at all.

A large number of those voters returning to support Scottish Labour from the SNP have not abandoned their support for Independence, and having a significant Indy supporting section of its voter base is something which ultimately Labour will have to come to terms with. The shift of the left to support the SNP had left Scottish Labour as this strange rump of beached Blairites and Brownites, to the extent that even the (tiny number of) ordinary members were not supporters of Corbyn. That too will change. I have no doubt that Corbyn’s opposition to Independence was tactical and caused by the need to placate this Scottish Labour establishment. I can foresee Labour moving to become much more Independence friendly over the next few years – its Orangemen have already largely shifted to the Tories.

A number of people have suggested to me that I am myself moving towards joining Labour. The answer to which is, not until the last member of the GMB is led by the ears down Sauchiehall St with a Trident missile shoved up their arse. That is not as facetious as it sounds. For me the GMB characterises everything that is wrong with the entire founding principles of the Labour Party. If somebody announced a new WMD had been developed which only kills babies less than 10 months old, the GMB would say that was great, providing their members could build it. Before anybody argues, remember their members already build WMD which would inevitably incinerate millions of babies.

There is much concentration on Labour’s appalling Blairite MPs, and I could certainly never vote for a large majority of their people at Westminster. Until Corbyn manages a real purge there is no way I would even think of voting Labour. But people forget it has historically been the trades unions who have defeated all previous attempts to use the Labour Party to advance a left wing agenda, and who even now enforce support of Trident and of nuclear power. Middle class intellectuals tend to have a misty-eyed view of dignified, auto-didactic workers. I have seen too much of the world (and of the racist, xenophobic and significantly working class English Brexit voters) to harbour such fantasy, and too much contempt for political correctness to pretend that I do. It is extraordinary how many people feel the unions should be above criticism because they represent the working class. Increased union workplace power is now essential to help rebalance the economy; but they should not be fetishized.

That is more space about Labour than it currently deserves.

Meantime it is foolish to deny there is something of a crisis of confidence in the Independence movement.

Every three months or so, for almost the past three years, I have published that I am yet to hear one single post-referendum statement or speech by a senior SNP figure explaining the advantages of Independence. Well, I still haven’t. Having conclusively proven in a dismal Westminster campaign that not mentioning the benefits of Independence is a seat loser, the SNP is resolutely continuing not to mention the benefits of Independence.

There has however been a change. Before the Westminster election, the SNP would not talk about Independence but would talk about the tactics of achieving Independence, principally referendum timing. Now they have a new tactic of never mentioning Independence at all. Instead they concentrate exclusively on good governance within the Union.

Personally I have no interest at all in pretending that the glorified regional council at the bottom of Holyrood Road is a national parliament, when it is not even consulted on whether the nation goes to war, cannot stop forced deportations of valued residents from local communities, and cannot prevent extradition of citizens to face English courts (I am myself up in the English High Court on a libel charge soon). We do not really have a Scottish parliament or a Scottish government. We have a glorified council.

But there are many in the SNP who appear pretty well satisfied with the status quo, given a few extra powers handed down when we leave the EU. Brexit is being forced upon Scotland demonstrably against the will of the nation. It is an economically suicidal policy and yet the SNP appears meekly to be now discussing its implementation, rather than reaching for the national sovereignty that would prevent it.

That we are forced out of the EU against our will is the ultimate proof that the near useless institution in Holyrood is not a Parliament.

There are too many people within the SNP who are content with Scotland’s pretend national status and very real humiliating colonial status. There are too many people in the SNP who earn a fat living from being politicians within the UK system they are only pretending to oppose. The SNP is starting to look like the classical elite “native” ruling class the British ruled through in nearly all their colonies. The SNP, far too many of them, have cushy well-paid jobs within the devolution settlement and are not personally inclined to take risks.

The SNP begins to look like a controlled opposition. The unionist establishment is delighted with the SNP.

The SNP soaked up all the energy of the Yes movement, and diverted it into a cul de sac away from any agitation for Independence. Energies have been dissipated on elections within – and not challenging – the UK governance system and on a series of pointless consultation exercises. Opposition to Brexit has been corralled and dissipated. The SNP has effectively done the British Establishment’s job for it.

I so not exclude Nicola Sturgeon from this criticism. Indeed it is chiefly a criticism of Nicola Sturgeon.

In the course of the last referendum campaign the YES camp gained an astonishing 17%. The reason was that the actual arguments for Independence were heard. That has not happened since – those in a position to have the argument heard, have chosen in their own interest not to make it. Yet still I have no doubt that, if we only get the chance, the next campaign will see us sprint home in triumph. What the SNP are in danger of becoming is the gatekeepers who deny us that chance.

The SNP needs to recover its nerve, and needs to demonstrate it exists to achieve Independence, not to make personal careers. Another referendum needs to be called by this Holyrood parliament; it would be a brave man or woman who predicts the De Hondt system will deliver a pro-Independence majority in the next one. I urge everybody to stay with the SNP, as I see no practical alternative way forward. But we need to make plain to the leadership that we are starting to become not just disappointed by them, but angry with them.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

197 thoughts on “The Course of Scottish Politics

1 2 3
  • Aubrey

    Agree with the SNP! At list for the Brexit and independence. I don’t know, are we fighting against some other countries?

  • John Thomson

    The solution to all this is trial by fire snp and independent msps should go for a snap hollyrood election. This would give the result or not which I want and that is independece from uk. At the very least it would bring a better picture of support for whichever cause you support. To many flip flops run it as independence campaign.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Alf Baird,

      Very well written article, with which there is little to disagree. However, you only gave figures re your section on “Occupation by settlers” in one direction. I know it is possible to “prove” using statistics, whatever you want to “prove”, because in one of my first jobs, I had to ask my boss, who the report he asked me to do was for – our customers, or our suppliers.

      I find it extremely hard to believe the impression you gave that more English people (such as Craig Murray) have moved to Scotland, than have Scottish people moved to England.

      “These recent trends suggest that a further half a million people could migrate from rest-UK to Scotland during the ten-year period between 2014-2024, resulting in a total figure of some 1.5 million migrants over just a 30-year period. For a nation with a population of little over 5 million people, such inflows are indeed very considerable. Over the same period there has been a somewhat lesser outflow of migrants from Scotland seeking opportunities elsewhere. Clearly, though, the population of Scotland is both being boosted and replaced through ‘occupation by settlers’ from rest-UK, primarily England.”

      However, if true, I do find it heartening, that Scotland is apparently so welcoming to us English immigrants. Do we have to take elocution lessons in the Scottish accent, as did my neighbour when she moved from Northern Ireland to England (it only reverts to indigenous when she is at our parties at 2:00am). We then carry her home.


      • Alf Baird

        “I find it extremely hard to believe the impression you gave that more English people (such as Craig Murray) have moved to Scotland, than have Scottish people moved to England.”
        Thank you Tony. You may wish to ponder some examples on why Scotland is so attractive, yet England less so, e.g:
        – free public services (in Scotland)
        – an NHS that still works
        – free universities
        – lower house prices
        – landscape (retirement?)
        – immigration in England’s main towns
        – all top Scottish jobs are (always) advertised in the London press

        The reality according to census data is the largest ethnic group of migrants to Scotland over the last 100 years and more has been people from England, and predominantly in the professional classes, and this movement has accelerated since devolution (due to the differentiated public policies in Scotland relative to rest UK).

        I would add that there are many Scottish accents, though just the one Scots language, albeit the latter is prohibited in Scottish schools, a rather ‘Russianisation’ policy, which renders the population unable to read and write in thair ain mither tung. But as an Englishman you would no doubt be unawares of this ongoing cultural oppression/discrimination of human rights, or perhaps you simply agree that it should continue?

        • Tony_0pmoc

          Alf Baird, Whilst I was born in England, my genes are probably more Scottish than either You or Craig Murray.

          Its the hypocrisy and claims of racism against English people like me, that I am criticising. In order to achieve any kind of fairness and justice, you simply have to try and imagine yourself to be in the same position, as those you are having an arguement with / dislike etc etc…

          i will quite happily have a debate with anyone who is not physically tryng to kill me, and try and see things from their point of view – regardless of religion or creed.

          She might even change my mind.

          I am not always correct, but I try not to be disgraceful or my wife gives me a hard time.

          We did get married in Scotland.


          • MBC

            It’s not about race but about unexamined cultural assumptions. If you’re English born (whatever your parents origins) you tend to equate Britain with England. Therefore to the unexamined English mind, since Scotland is part of Britain it is part of England. Therefore Scotland doesn’t exist and those who want self determination are vile ‘separatists’ trying to bust up England (aka Britain). Scotland to the unexamined English mind, is not a country, anymore than Yorkshire or Cornwall is. Another unexamined English cultural assumption is that Scotland is poor and Scots are by nature intellectually inferior. So obviously those vile separatists are asking for mission impossible. English people come to Scotland with these cultural assumptions which they may not even be conscious of, but they are there, and are triggered by any talk of Scotland’s right to self-determination.

            Not all English people hang on to those assumptions. At least 25% English born voted Yes in the 2014 referendum according to Lord Ashcroft’s poll. English born people who have lived a long time in Scotland have come to understand its difference and to appreciate it. They have also come to share the democratic frustrations and aspirations of Scots born citizens. The problem is with the retirees, who don’t engage. But working age English born come to share in the same frustrations with Westminster misgoverment of Scotland.

      • John O'Dowd

        It’s really very simple Tony. 1.5 (mainly) English immigrants to Scotland amounts to around 20% of our population.
        Supposing the same number in the opposite direction (unlikely) in the same period amounts to roughly 3% distributed and diluted in the larger country.

        In addition, the attitudes and approach of an occupying, high-income/net worth settler group (economic and social superiority) coupled with the well-know national traits of that group (superiority complex), means that the dynamics of each movement are completely different.

        Incidentally – genes have nothing to do with it.

    • Republicofscotland

      Good article Alf, depressing but good, should we Scots follow Ireland down the road of civil disobedience, we need a Connolly or Wolf Tone, to get the ball rolling.

      We did have a United Scotmen movement similar to Ireland’s, however Henry Dundas, and the Massacre of Tranent caused it to fail.

      • Alf Baird

        Scotland, if accepted as a colony, means we could be added to the UN List of colonies to be decolonised – independence and decolonisation being more or less the same thing. This would also inform Scots that there really is no ‘union’ and hence there can be no ‘unionists’, but rather ‘colonists’ – which might make some people think. Ideally Craig might comment on this. Ireland is described by the UN as a ‘former colony’, and Scotland would appear to be in the same boat as it were. Scotland’s democratically elected majorities of MPs, MSPs (and local councillors) could make the case to the relevant UN Committee (i.e. The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (also known as the Special Committee on decolonization or C-24), the United Nations entity exclusively devoted to the issue of decolonization).

        • Duncan McFarlane

          Also the fact that the majority of No voters were born in Scotland pretty much invalidates this “colonists” stuff right away.

          • Republicofscotland

            Thank you John for that info, I was unaware of that statistic. Although it doesn’t change anything, it’s a pleasant surprise.

          • Alf Baird

            Duncan, arguably the British/English cultural/voting bias (i.e. anti-Scottish independence) can also be extended and carried on through subsequent generations, who may be born in Scotland, or anywhere else, for that matter. Which perhaps helps explain another rather worrying census finding that only 1.6 million Scots, barely one third of the population, regularly speak Scots. Even more worrying is the long term census trend which suggests Scots could be a minority in their own land within the next 2-3 decades. To those who think Scots are not being replaced, think again.

        • Republicofscotland

          Good points Alf, as for the “union” there was no universal suffrage at the time the union was formed, surely that alone is enough to negate it.

        • John O'Dowd

          Thanks for the link to your superb article, Alf. I think you are on to something. (and Craig has done us SNP members a service by writing his).

          Oh, and by the way, the Foreign Office takeover of the ‘Scotch’ Whisky Association, not to mention the personal and educational backgrounds of the remainder of its high head yins, was a real eye-opener.

          It has always felt like colonisation- but using these criteria and collecting objective evidence proves the point. The UN route looks promising.

          • Alf Baird

            “The UN route looks promising.”
            I expect someone of Craig’s abilities and expertise might make some headway on it. The UN is keen to end “the scourge of colonisation”. Nicola would be better sending Mike Russell and a ‘Scotland’ delegation to the UN, instead of wasting time and energy being ignored by Westminster about brexit. The SNP need to acknowledge that the brexit/supreme court decision confirmed Scotland’s colonial ‘status’, there being no ‘equal union’ in existence, and with England’s 500+ MP’s and their Government able to do what they want with Scotland, irrespective of what the Scottish people want.

          • Alf Baird

            John, my Q and A with UN as follows:

            Q: can you inform me the process as to how a Non Self Governing Territory such as Scotland could become listed (on the UN List of colonies to be Decolonised)?

            A: Regarding your query, a request has to be made by a Member State of the United Nations for a formal decision of the General Assembly.

            Thus, any Member State supportive of ending “the scourge of colonisation” should do, which is probably around half the world. Nicola could maybe ask Argentina though? Any thoughts Craig?

          • John O'Dowd

            Thanks for further details Alf. I think this is a very useful approach – given that the referendum route has been shown to be a dead letter (as you know, I agree entirely with your parliamentary argument – we need only exercise the existing mandate).

            This will not happen with the present cadre of political fearties. And the longer colonisation expands, the less likely a referendum will be to succeed – even if one accepts it as legitimate means to the urgently needed end. Being declared formally to be a ‘colony’ would one hope engender sufficient shame – you would hope – to spur a response to our country’s plight – if not we are hardly worth the effort!

    • Duncan McFarlane

      For Scotland to be a “colony” of England it would have to have no MPs in parliament from Scottish constituencies, when in fact it has MPs more than proportional to Scotland’s share of the UK’s population. We wouldn’t have a devolved government. And you can’t be “occupied” by people travelling freely back and forth to live and work in different parts of the same state as equal citizens. Scottish people are not being forced out, prevented speaking their own language, prevented having their own traditions, oppressed by a foreign military, or any of the other things that happen under occupation. You want to talk about occupation go visit the West Bank or Iraq, or Tibet under Chinese rule – they’ll tell you what actual occupation and mass colonisation is like.

      Also I met a fair number of English born Yes campaigners.

      This “occupation” stuff might play well with fanatical nationalists, but that kind of wild exaggeration will not help you with getting people who voted No last time to vote Yes next time.

      If you want to change peoples’ minds you need to deal with reality – and with the fact that most Scots are not hardline nationalists who see any English people living in Scotland as “occupiers”.

      • jake

        There are good arguments that can be made as to why Scotland isn’t a colony; yours isn’t one of them.

      • Republicofscotland

        Well Westminster denied out right, Scotland’s democratc mandate for a second indyref.

        It would appear as Alf said that Westminster is sovereign, and only allows Scotland what it feels is appropriate politically.

      • Alf Baird

        “Scottish people are not being forced out, prevented speaking their own language, prevented having their own traditions, oppressed by a foreign military,”

        Thanks for reminding me that all these oppressive acts and more have been inflicted on Scots, and some linger yet, e.g. ‘Scots’ language is never formally taught; the BBC (Scot region) etc bypass (i.e. suppress) most Scottish culture; and our colonial maisters have a very long track record of using whatever means they deem appropriate. Ye dinnae ken awfu muckle aboot Scotlan’s yairn, an oor naition an fowk aye bein haud doon, Duncan.

      • Alf Baird

        Malta and other ex colonies were also offered a few seats as a sop to thwart their independence. They chose not to sell their sovereignty, or their souls.

  • Republicofscotland

    BBC Radio Hootsman, just had David Torrance on, they asked his worldly wise opinion on Dugdale, Torrance replied that Dugdale was the credible side of SLAB…

    They are tipping Anas Sarwar to become the new scapegoat, I mean leader, Sarwar was previously comprehensively rejected by the electorate. However Sarwar squirmed his way through the back door.

  • Lanark

    Interesting. Are the SNP now the equivalent of the old Irish Parliamentary Party? Perhaps a name change to the Scottish Parliamentary Party would be wise after all.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Is this because he is working class and was born in Lancashire, rather than Surrey? We suffer racial discrimination too by The British Government.

    “Man born and raised in UK told he is not a British citizen”

    “Home Office tells Shane Ridge he must leave country because English father never married Australia-born mother”

    (His Mum is only Australian cos she was born in Australia when she was on holiday)

    The implications must be rather worrying to much of the population of London and Birmingham and many large cities in England..

    Potentially a large percentage of Leicester could receive similar such letters.

    No doubt an Independent Scotland will be very welcoming.


    • Stu

      Some parts of that story don’t ring true.

      Did his mother never apply for a British passport? Also being born in Australia during a holiday in the 1970s is bizarre.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        I rarely believe anything I read in The Guardian, but in this case, I have no reason to believe the facts as published are not correct, and can easily be checked for their veracity. The main reason I posted this, is because of its possible implications for immigrants from the rest of the world, who have also lived in the UK since birth. Many of them are my friends.

        Are they going to get a letter – spewed out by The Home Office’s Computer and told to eff off back to some place they know absolutely nothing about….where their Mum had been born, whilst her parents were on holiday?

        And Craig Murray accuses me of being a racist – and even banned bevin, who I can happily report is still posting elsewhere.

        The small mindedness and hyporcrisy stinks..otherwise I largely agree with Craig Murray – and I did buy his latesst book, which admittedly I haven’t yet read..

        I am awaiting a “religious” conversion by both him and his mate Julian Assange, who has recently really been growing on me. I don’t normally even look on Twitter, but what Assange wrote about The Corona during an eclipse, was beautiful, and some things just have to be seen live despite the dangers to your eyes (and in my case ears I was at one of Lemmy’s first gigs)

        I really like a lot of things they both write and do…

        But surely sometime soon, is the time to come out about what happenned in New York in September 2001

        Neither of them can possibly be that stupid, to believe the Official US Government Story

        It defied the laws of physics and maths, and Assange has just given an education about how to see the Corona without sunglasses to the Americans.

        I like people like that.

        They made a film about the bloke who had a massive influence on the development of the computer in Cambridge and Manchester. (he should have stayed in Cambridge or London)

        Time to come out.


    • Duncan McFarlane

      More likely because the tories are looking for any way to get the net immigration stats down to please all the Sun, Express and Mail readers and former UKIP voters. And they’ll even do it by deporting people born here if they can do it legally. A person born here being forced to leave is net immigration down by one , the same as one more immigrant or refugee being told they can’t enter or have to leave

  • MJ

    “In the course of the last referendum campaign the YES camp gained an astonishing 17%”

    As did the no camp. At the beginning there was an even more astonishing number of don’t knows.

  • Stu

    “For me the GMB characterises everything that is wrong with the entire founding principles of the Labour Party. If somebody announced a new WMD had been developed which only kills babies less than 10 months old, the GMB would say that was great, providing their members could build it. Before anybody argues, remember their members already build WMD which would inevitably incinerate millions of babies”

    Wonderful coming from a man who made his living from the FCO….

      • Stu

        I’m not a fan of the GMB either but Craig clearly has issues with the entire trade union movement. Criticising the workers who make these weapons when he stayed at the FCO despite the numerous nefarious deeds of the UK government for over 20 years. He seems to expect a higher standard from workers at Faslane and Barrow than he demonstrated himself in the 80s and 90s. For me personally agency in these matters lies with neither low level diplomats or munitions workers and everyone must make a living in a corrupt society so finger pointing is pointless.

        The recent vindictiveness against the working class, name dropping of various celebrities and the fairly brazen attempt to attract an unsavoury element of Scottish nationalists to the blog have been very disappointing.

        • K Crosby

          Fair point, I took the money for three years as a student nurse and for five years as a social worker (residential). I’d rather suck shite through a wire brush than do those jobs again.

  • NodToBob

    You echo everything I think and feel on this issue, Craig. And thanks for sharing your views; it’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels that way. (Actually I know plenty of YESSERs that feel exactly the same as we do but they can speak for themselves.)

    I’m beginning to think that the lay low strategy the SNP adopted after the referendum was a colossal mistake. If there’s one thing the British establishment is good at it’s playing for time. (Look at all the delayed justice we’ve seen recently.) Give them an break and they’ll destroy you. And we’ve given them three years and we’re firmly on the back foot, taking one media battering after another. It’s having an effect too. I know some local activists who fought a council bye-election in June and they were taken aback by the hostility on the doorsteps, and from usually sympathetic voters at that. What we maybe should have done is keep the pressure on and put our opponents on the back foot; that’s just my view.

    I’m certainly bitter about all that positive energy went to the SNP after IndyRef, which they then just bottled it up and did nothing with. Now it’s turning sour and with it any foreseeable hope of independence, at least if things continue as they are. If there’s another general election in the next two years I fully expect Corbyn’s lot to decimate the SNP.

    And why not? What story, or vision, have the SNP got to present voters with? Like a lot of other activists last spring, I delivered leaflets that were virtually the same as those produced two years back and stood at my local high street stall with absolutely nothing to say to the electorate. It was a dismal campaign and you bet I’m f*cking angry. (Sorry about my French but … I’m as mad as hell.)

    I try not to blame Sturgeon because personalizing politics is infantile and it’s probably the collective responsibility of the party’s elite. Having said that, I do wish she’d stop trying to win over foreign liberals (eg, Clinton, Elif Safak, etc) and try and convert a few more of her own people. As you say, the message was that the election was not about independence; I mean what kind of party won’t even campaign on its core value? They have also done nothing to resolve some of the big issues that lost us the indyref, like the currency question, so I can see why some people think the SNP are prepared for an easy life.

    That wouldn’t surprise me: there’s a lot of deadwood and hubris in the ranks. During the indyref the most passionate (and effective) campaigners were often people new to politics, or even folks from other parties, rather than SNP diehards. (I’m not saying there are people in the SNP who are lukewarm on independence, but there are a lot who don’t want to get dirty in the struggle.) Then came the influx of new members after the referendum but the diehards soon reasserted their authority, at least they did where I am. I remember countless occasions where new enthusiasts turned up for branch meetings hoping to find the new politics we thought we’d get with independence only to be confronted with the tired old ways of doing things. They rarely ever came back and now a lot of those who stuck it out , like me, are disillusioned. I’m thinking of jacking it in and giving my fiver a month to another part of the YES movement.

    I haven’t given up hope on independence; far from it. I think the case for an independent Scotland is stronger than ever, but I have almost given up on the SNP. I have been waiting to see if Sturgeon breaks her silence in the Autumn and comes up with a radical change of direction (and the rebirth of hope). If she doesn’t do that, I can’t see the SNP gaining the ascendancy again. It’s clear the establishment are intent on neutralizing the party as a serious political threat and the party leadership are playing along with them.

    I’m not a party tribalist: if a party isn’t fit for purpose then it has to be discarded and something better found. I don’t know if we’re at that stage yet but the SNP doesn’t have a God given right to exist; it’s there for a purpose. Whether if I end up cutting up me party card or not, well, I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see (unless they kick me out first that is).

    PS: Does anyone know if Jim Sillars still has the copyright on the “Scottish Labour Party” brand?

    • Gordie

      ‘The SNP aren’t campaigning for Independence.’ That’s a fair comment and I am hoping that the SIC can fill that particular gap for us but are they a good government? If they are a good government then do they not deserve some credit for being that? Here are some things the SNP have done in giovernment; Freed university education, free medicines, banning GM crops, moratorium on fracking, ditching PFI, excellent record on engineering projects (new train stations and railway lines for first time in over 50yrs, FR crossing, sorting out the edinburgh tram shambles and much more), taxing landowners, creating a Scottish revenue service.

      , I could go on and on but I’ll stop there and try and deal with something current which was emphasised by Craig Murray in the article above. Corbyn is to the left of the SNP we are continually told but what does that actually mean? Labour under Corbyn voted did a mixture of voting with and abstaining on the various Tory austerity bills and Corbyn claims that the SNP have done nothing to combat austerity. Here are some of the things that the SNP have done to mitigate austerity (taken from a twitter account) –
      The SNP using new powers over Universal Credit to benefit between nearly 700,000 households by allowing UC to be paid twice monthly.
      The SNP abolishing the 84 day-rule, which means that severely ill or disabled children needing more than 84 days hospitalisation or
      as well as extending Winter Fuel Payments to families who have severely disabled children as well as extending Winter Fuel Payments to families who have severely disabled children.
      The SNP will also increase Carer’s Allowance further for those looking after more than one disabled child.
      The SNP are raising the rate of Carer’s Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance, giving carers an extra £600 each year.
      The SNP will ban private firms to stop them making profit from assessing the vulnerable. & want to bring back long term awards.
      The SNP have committed to protect disability benefits, not cut them, and will ensure that they remain non-means tested
      he SNP plan on using new social security powers to launch a new Funeral Expense Assistance benefit from summer 2019.
      The SNP are in the process of establishing a Scottish Social Security Agency with dignity and respect at its heart.
      The SNP are safeguarding support for over 3,000 disabled people across Scotland with new Scottish Independent Living Fund, set up in 2015.
      The SNP will ban private firms to stop them making profit from assessing the vulnerable. & want to bring back long term awards.
      The SNP extended the child allowance in the Council Tax Reduction scheme by 25%, benefiting 77,000 households by average of £173 per year or around £15 per month (helping nearly 140,000 children across Scotland).
      The SNP will ban private firms to stop them making profit from assessing the vulnerable. & want to bring back long term awards.

      The SNP might not have been pushing the independence message hard enough for some people (myself included) but they are certainly the best government there has been in Cardiff, Edinburgh or Westminster in my time as an adult and I am 48 yrs old.

      Its become national sport slagging them off. How about some credit where it is due? If we do not give them the credit as well as criticism when it is due we will lose the SNP as a government and our movement will be set back 20 yrs or more.

      • Gordie

        Couple of repeats there apologies for that. There was a fair few more examples I could have copied and pasted but I though that would be enough explain what I meant.

  • Janis Henderson

    Well said. I have though for a long time now that the snp are backing down at a time wen they should be shouting the benefits of an independent Scotland. It’s really infuriating. We will never get another chance like this one to make the best possible case for Indy, yet they are silent. Why. It’s crazy. Surely they realise how much of a pounding they received during th recent election by not making the great case for Indy.

    • Duncan McFarlane

      I’m not against independence, but looks to me it was the other way around. In the 2015 General Election Sturgeon and SNP leaflets emphasised a vote for the SNP in this election was not a vote for independence, nor for another referendum. They got about 50% of the vote.

      In 2017 Sturgeon and the SNP had been talking about another independence referendum within 2 years – and got a much lower share of the vote (37%). From that and the polls showing that even many people who favour independence don’t want another referendum too soon, it might be better to wait.

  • Jeremy


    What are your views on the recent spat between President Macron of France and the Polish government regarding the question of detached workers from certain Eastern European EU countries? Are the French being racist?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    It is completely and utterley total outrageous, that British Women born about the same time as me in the 1950’s suddenly found out when they turned up at the Post Office at 60 years old, and asked for their State Pension that they had Paid For and had been Guaranteed all Their Working Lives were told..Sorry Love..You don’t get your Pension for another 6 years.

    Whilst me, being a man, will turn up in a year’s time at 65, and claim mine, and it will be paid on time.

    And virtually no one is campaigning for justice for women.

    A Private Company would Never get away with such injustice. They might try and steal the pension money and many have..but they would be taken to court and sued.

    Who is going to take The UK Government to Court and Demand Justice for British Women who have been Defrauded By The British Government?

    and you might think its O.K. Dear – equal rights – we have to do this because men and women are the same.

    Men and women are not the same.

    The Men in Government pay the Men on time, but Defraud The Women.

    Who gave birth to you and brought you up? Your mum who is currently being defrauded by The British Government.

    Scream at them my Friend.


  • giyane

    It seems as though England is in denial. Thatcherism f**d the economy for good. The City of London collapsed. The last resort of a failed empire has been to support terror in our immediate neighbours and ensure that their great civilisations are destroyed so that by comparison our own collapse seems good. Scotland is infinitely more viable financially than the black hole of debt that is the UK. All that is required is for the Scottish electorate to stop believing the Westminster BS.

  • K Crosby

    You’ve taken your time but this is a welcome return to form. Just one thing, I’m that working-class autodidact (apart from the 21 years of public education).

  • Phil

    I love your work Craig but on Scottish independence I disagree.

    I am English, I am Welsh, I am Scottish and I am Northern Irish.

    I am British and proud of all my UK roots. I worry about a world of everyone pulling apart and retreating in to their own corners.

    Surely if we want to create a united humanity we need to promote unity.

    • reel guid

      How exactly does outright dictating to Scotland of what our relationship to the EU will be promote unity?

      And mawkish sentimental appeals about human togetherness that are merely disguises for illiberalism will not advance the creation of a united humanity.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        How exactly does declaring independence from the U – stress U – K promote unity?
        You can’t have it both ways. Either you’re in, unified, and subject to the same rules, or you’re out, and ununified.

        I agree about the mawkish sentimental appeals, though. As used extensively in defence of staying in the EU.

        • reel guid

          A multi-nation state in which the largest nation makes the decisions and bullies the smaller into going along is not an example of unity. It’s an example of subjection.

      • mog

        How exactly does outright dictating to Scotland of what our relationship to the EU will be promote unity?

        Didn’t Scottish people had a vote in the EU referendum? Didn’t 38% of those who voted, voted to leave the EU ? 33% didn’t vote at all.
        Is that ‘outright dictating’ ?

        • reel guid

          The Scottish people did have votes in the EU referendum. But we might as well not have had. Seeing as a Scottish majority is being ignored. Literally disenfranchising us would at least be more honest. Instead what Scotland has is fake democracy.

          • mog

            I don’t get it.
            I thought the referendum was undertaken as a ‘people-of-the-UK’ decision, it was about whether the UK wanted to remain in the EU.
            If separate countries were to make separate decisions, there also would had to have been a referendum with regard to their membership of the UK. How else could it work?

          • reel guid


            The people of Scotland didn’t clamour for an EU referendum. We never agreed to having no veto over leaving the EU. We were lied to in the indyref that staying in the UK was the only way to stay in the EU. Our fishing industry is being used as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations as us independence supporters predicted.

            Consider all that Mog and you might just get it.

          • Republicofscotland


            Scots were told that the only way to stay IN the EU was to vote no to independence in 2014.

            Fastforward a couple of years and now we’re told that we must leave the EU, it reeks of duplicity.

            Independence will allows Scots to decide their own futures, it will also prevents them from being dragged into unjust conflicts at Westminster’s whim.

          • mog

            I am not arguing with your grievances with regard to dishonest referendum campaigns, disreputable bargaining or the UK establishment, only the assertion that Scotland has been ‘dectated to’ in the EU decision.
            The fact is, indyref went against you, and therefore you have to accept the mandate of the UK in the EUref, or reject democratic processes.

          • reel guid

            You were right the first time Mog.


            A combination of Westminster decadence and dictation.

          • reel guid

            A lack of a right to a veto can only be called democratic if the group of people who lack said veto democratically chose not to have that right. Scotland never chose to have no veto.

            To say that the No win in 2014 was a democratic choice by Scotland to have no veto in a UK wide referendum is just a clumsy and dishonest sleight of hand.

          • Republicofscotland

            Hang on a minute Mog, a mandate for a second indyref, was passed at Holyrood, however Westminster over ruled it by saying now is not the time.

            Where’s the democracy in that?

          • Republicofscotland

            “The fact is, indyref went against you, and therefore you have to accept the mandate of the UK in the EUref, or reject democratic processes.”

            Exactly a prime example that Scotland’s vote doesn’t matter, which has been borne out over countless GE’s, in which Scots, end up with the government that the majority of England votes for.

            That’s why independence is a must.

          • mog

            reel guid
            A lack of a right to a veto can only be called democratic if the group of people who lack said veto democratically chose not to have that right. Scotland never chose to have no veto.

            To say that the No win in 2014 was a democratic choice by Scotland to have no veto in a UK wide referendum is just a clumsy and dishonest sleight of hand.

            This doesn’t make sense to me. If Scotland had voted to become independent, and thereby to independently decide all its affairs, including its relationship with the EU, then that, to me would be clear.
            It did not.
            The EUref was undertaken as a UK wide decision, so it is disingenuous to bring up a veto-that-should-exist-until-voted-against. There was no veto arrangement. If Scotland had been able to impose a veto, it would have acted to split the UK – England and Wales leaving the EU, Scotland and NI remaining. Why should Holyrood decide that?
            You cannot presume a veto power for lack of a vote to refute one. The closest that there was, was the Indyref, where Scotland voted to keep its decisions -such as EU membership, in the hands of the UK.

            Scottish votes did ‘matter’ in the EU ref, they were counted just as English, Welsh and Irish ones were.
            That May denied a second indyref, is a separate issue to the one I have brought up.

            I am not making a comment in any of this for or against Scottish independence, or Brexit, only that I think it is Scotsnats who are using sleight of hand in trying to use the Scottish EUref result to bolster their case for independence.

            To be clear, I think that the issues of EU membership, and the future of the UK are by the by. We are governed by organised global capital. National governments around the world are essentially ‘councils’ (to use Craig’s phrase).

          • reel guid

            There was no veto arrangement because Cameron decreed that there wouldn’t be one. One person deciding the outcome for a nation. And by nation I mean Scotland, not the UK. The UK is an amalgamation of nations. If it was democratic then all member countries would have the power of veto for major decisions.

            There is now a Westminster dismissal of a second indyref. So no veto to leaving the EU. Forced departure from the EU. And no independence referendum after a serious change in material circumstances since the first one. Now devolution itself looks vulnerable with it’s continuance dependent on the whim of the Westminster government. That’s clear after the UK Supreme Court’s trashing of Holyrood’s rights.

            If England is going to deprive Scotland of democracy and be unrelenting then we are morally justified in large scale civil disobedience.

          • mog

            There was no veto because it is in the Scotland Act- Cameron just announced it.
            I agree that the way the two referendums have worked out, have not best represented the desires of the Scottish people. However, imagine it playing out other ways:
            (i) Imagine the EUref was undertaken with no clear veto arrangement. Imagine the result was as is, and Holyrood decided to serve the will of the people of Scotland and block Brexit. Where would that leave us? The choice of 1.6m people overides the choice of 17.4m. Is that democratic?
            (ii) Imagine that a veto power was agreed before hand. That would add a whole different dimension to the EUref, making it about the future of the UK as well as the membership of the EU. How would people know what they were voting for, the independence of Scotland or the membership of the European Union?

            The Euref could only be undertaken as UK citizens voting as UK citizens because we are all either in the EU or all out. The same argument applies to MPs who felt obliged to represent the wishes of their constituents over the result of the country.

            Arguably there could have been an pre-agreement that if the result in Scotland was greatly at odds with the overall result (with a figure attached) then there should be a second Indyref.

            Then again maybe we should have had a referendum to decide if we wanted an EUref in the first place….

    • Republicofscotland

      Sounds to me Phil, as though you’re promoting British nationalism, as a good thing but Scottish nationalism, is of course divisive…oh please give me a break.

      • fred

        Read his post again and forget the conditioning telling you if it isn’t Scotnat it must be Britnat.

        There is nothing nationalist about a united humanity.

          • fred

            There was a time a there was nothing real about a united Scotland. Then there was a time there was nothing real about a united Britain. Then there was a time there was nothing real about a united Europe.

            Till recently humanity has been moving in the right direction.

          • Republicofscotland

            Indeed London was never a historically humane city, unless of course your nation was taken by force, and became a colony.

            Westminster’s good friends Saudi Arabia and Israel, of course, sport bags of humanity.

          • reel guid

            If that is the case then denying Scotland’s democratic rights isn’t going to keep it going in the right direction.

    • kailyard rules

      independent countries can ,and do, manage to co-operate. Less can be more etc.. You can still be proud of your various “british” roots within an independent Scotland. And whatever other ethnic roots one may subscribe to. The UK unity, the pooling and sharing, is proven to be mythic. Westminster/Whitehall waive the rules.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘…If somebody announced a new WMD had been developed which only kills babies less than 10 months old, the GMB would say that was great, providing their members could build it. Before anybody argues, remember their members already build WMD which would inevitably incinerate millions of babies….’
    I once made a placard of similar tone (in similar, though more imminent) circs:
    ‘What is more important, British jobs or East Timorese lives?’ (when Britain was selling Hawk aircraft to the genocidal Indonesian Suharto regime, which was totally insulated from any real reaction to umpteen UN Resolutions by it’s Western backers.
    Needless to say, the sales continued. Indonesia’s abominations continue today in West Papua – and ‘ours’ continue with the arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and support for Daesh.
    Indonesia’s genocidal invasion took place on Wilson’s watch (1975), and continued across administrations till around East Timor’s Independence in 1999 (under Bliar, but no thanks to him).

  • Jermynstreetjim

    “The SNP begins to look like a controlled opposition. The unionist establishment is delighted with the SNP. ” ! With Messrs N Sturgeon & A Salmond both being proud Privy Counsellors, such surmise is by no means stretching the acceptable bounds of credulity, which the likes of ‘Mel Kelly;’ here,in this attached link, also appears to caution at length ! 🙂

  • Jack Shae

    “No man has the right to fix a boundary to the march of a nation. No man has the right to say to his country: Thus far shalt thou go and no further.”..Charles Stewart Parnell Irish nationalist politician and one of the most powerful figures in the British House of Commons in the 1880s.

  • reel guid

    One thing the SNP have to do is stop accepting every BBC invitation to have a representative on the panel of Question Time editions in England. It just makes the party look like it’s trying hard to please and to fit in to the Westminster system. They should be hounding the BBC to increase their Scotland only political coverage.

  • nevermind

    Why did English immigrants to Scotland have a vote in a Scottish Independence referendum? Would the essence of Scottish people’s votes not be enough? after all, it was not a general election but a referendum on the future of Scotland, a Scotland that wants to stay in the EU, for that matter…..

  • reel guid

    The favourite to become the new Labour branch manager is Richard Leonard MSP. His Wikipedia entry doesn’t say where he was schooled. It just says he was privately educated. It turns out though that he was at Pocklington School in Yorkshire. A real posh place that celebrated it’s 500th anniversary a few years ago. It a nice ivy-clad building that sits in it’s own 70 acres of grounds.

    Funnily enough there’s a huge list of notable former pupils on the school’s Wikipedia page. But no mention of Leonard. Have Scottish Labour been busy doing some online editing?

    • reel guid

      Leonard’s rival is Anas Sarwar. Educated at fee paying Hutheson’s in Glasgow.

      Has former bricklayer Neil Findlay been discouraged from standing again because he’s not posh enough? Aye. The party of the people.

      • kailyard rules

        Hutcheson’s Grammar on the south side of Glasgow is a far cry from Eton or Pocklington. Sarwar, the list MSP, wore the blazer and tie on his paternally managed boyhood path to a career in politiks.

  • Sharp Ears

    Labour’s Kezia Dugdale ‘was outed as gay against her will’
    BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme
    31 August 2017

    The article quotes Joanna Cherry SNP MP, Lord Chris Smith and Sir Alan Duncan who appeared in the programme.

    ‘They were among a number of politicians speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme about what it was like opening up about their sexuality.’

  • lysias

    Elections are a bad way to choose representatives. They end up choosing careerists. The Athenian system of sortition was a better way.

      • lysias

        No political system lasts forever. The Athenian system of sortition lasted from 508/7, when Cleisthenes instituted it, until 87, when Sulla abolished it.

    • mog

      Mandatory reselection would be a compromise.
      Each parliamentary candidate selected for the election of one term in office.
      I think that an independent Scotland most likely would be much less corrupt than Westminster, but for how long I am not sure.

      The focus on the British Establishment’s role in covering up a suspicious death twenty years ago today, avoids the role of the authorities of the republic of France in that murky affair. I am mindful of Sweden as ‘the shiny liberal haven’ in people’s minds – that is a bit close to Washington DC these days.

      • lysias

        I think the fact that the French went along with the plot is evidence that the orders came from Washington.

  • reel guid

    Given the calibre of the prospective new leaders for Scottish Labour it must seem to them that their slight upturn in the GE – much more imagined than real considering they finished third in seats and votes – is about to be wasted.

    Richard Leonard is a very scruffy Yorkshireman who immediately makes you think of Last of the Summer Wine’s Compo. Except he wasn’t educated at a Compo, but instead an exclusive fee paying establishment. He’d probably simply confuse people. Anas Sarwar is his far from formidable opponent.

    Labour folk might soon be rueing Kezia’s resignation. A case of better the drivel you know.

  • Dave

    The Welsh Assembly was recognised for what it initially was, for good or ill, a “glorified council”, but it is now becoming embedded and gaining new powers. The Scottish Parliament was the same, but admittedly with more starting powers, but those involved insisted on it being called a Parliament rather than Assembly, before it was a genuine Parliament, and for some the illusion is as nice as the reality.

    Not surprising really as the SNP progressed into office by retreating from independence with many of its voters remaining Unionist but stronger voice in UK voters. And of course NS has declared being very uncomfortable with the National part of the SNP name and now ironically due to Corbyn they in their own terms have lost the moral high ground, because they have been outflanked by the “Left” and need to argue for independence on National lines rather than as the only way to deliver social justice.

    And this means they have become scared of their own purpose as National becomes “racist”, because why would you want to leave the UK (echoes of Brexit) when social justice, real or imagined can be delivered by Labour and the real or imagined antidote to the “racist” charge was the EU, that’s no longer there.

  • Tony

    “But people forget it has historically been the trades unions who have defeated all previous attempts to use the Labour Party to advance a left wing agenda, and who even now enforce support of Trident and of nuclear power.”

    Very true. Corbyn now needs to take on and defeat Labour’s nuclear mafia.

    This is why it is so vitally important:

1 2 3

Comments are closed.