The UK’s Macabre Final Election 327


This is the final general election of the United Kingdom. The SNP has put Independence at the heart of its campaign, eschewing the dreadful error of the “don’t mention Independence” campaign of 2017 that led half a million potential supporters to sit on their hands on voting day. The SNP is going to win a thumping victory and eliminate the Tories from Scotland. Johnson’s hardline unionist pose, denying the sovereign right to choose of the Scottish people, would not be able to survive such a result. If the Tories were to think they would succeed in treating Scotland as Spain treats Catalonia, they would have a very rude awakening. Equally the SNP leadership will be politically unable to impose acceptance of whatever parameters Westminster attempts to impose. The divergence of politics and culture between Scotland and England is now so stark that the union is already over as a functioning political entity. It is now just a matter of arranging the obsequies.

It is essential to maximise the SNP vote at this election. Anything else is a distraction. It should be stated plainly that there is no seat in Scotland where an SNP vote risks handing the seat to the Tories. There are several where a Labour vote or a Green vote risks handing the seat to the Tories. To vote Labour or Green in Scotland in 2019 is an act of irresponsible self-indulgence. It must be SNP. After independence, which will be very soon, we can all go our own ways.

It is karma for the Lib Dems role in austerity that, just when the opportunity should arise for them to make massive gains as the major Remain party in England, they are saddled with Jo Swinson as leader. Her instincts are entirely right wing. When asked at her campaign launch why she said Jeremy Corbyn was unsuitable to be Prime Minister, by a journalist seeking more Corbyn knocking copy, her first and most immediate response was that Corbyn would not be prepared to give the order to British submarine commanders to fire nuclear weapons. Swinson combines inanity, delusion and ambition in a deeply unpleasant mix. It should not be forgotten that the Lib Dems were down to a handful of MPs after the last election and Swinson became leader from a very small field. Now some careerist Blairites have joined the sinking ship, Swinson’s right wing instincts are further reinforced. I am sure there are a few decent people still left in the Lib Dems. But they are invisible.

Nevertheless, there are many seats in England where people need to vote Lib Dem to defeat the Tory. The best practical scenario for the end of the UK is a Labour/Lib Dem/SNP alliance, that will eschew hard Brexit and agree a second Independence referendum for Scotland. Another scenario will also end in Independence but be messier and more dangerous. Even if we achieve Independence through a second referendum (and other options are available), that referendum would be a much dirtier fight even than 2014. We are already seeing in this election just how unrestrainedly pro-Tory the British media now is, and another Scottish referendum campaign would suffer not only that, but every dirty trick in the playbook of the British security services. Nevertheless, I have no doubt of the result.

Of course it is true that the media has always been biased, but it has got much worse. There has been a radical shift in the culture of the media in exactly the same way there has been a massive shift to the right in the Tory Party. While plutocrats always owned almost all of the media, in the complex relations within media institutions there were countervailing currents. Of course it was never true that editors and journalists had perfect ethics or integrity, but there were some notions of decency, balance, fairness and simple respect for the truth which did actuate, to some extent, editors and journalists. Even though these cultural factors might on the whole be outweighed by deference to the wishes of the bosses, by party allegiance or by personal ambition, these notions of proper conduct did on occasion provide some influence on behaviour and thus on media output.

Those journalistic standards have been almost entirely abandoned and you will scan the media in vain for evidence of fairness and balance. It is not a coincidence that at this time two of my good personal friends in the media, with whom I have major political differences but who are good professionals and decent people, John Sweeney and Peter Oborne, have left their posts at BBC Panorama and the Daily Mail respectively.

The state media is as bad as the plutocrat owned media. The BBC’s complicity in the Tory attack on Corbyn has been absolute, including the Tory set up interviews with Ian Austin and yesterday’s long anti-Corbyn plug by Sajid Javid on Marr. The Tory campaign is a disgrace. Johnson like May before him is being kept well away from any actual voters, and the BBC lights and frames his entirely artificial events with the careful precision of a Leni Riefenstahl. Kuenssberg and Robinson are simply Tory propagandists.

When realism does break through it is through citizen journalism, not the media. The outrageous statements of a ranting Boris Johnson in Northern Ireland, contradicting the EU withdrawal agreement, would never have been mentioned by the media if they had not gone viral from an individual’s mobile phone.

The claims that Johnson did not understand his own deal are wide of the mark. He is not stupid; he knows what is in it. If you listen very carefully to what he said then and subsequently, he is not claiming his deal does not specify any checks between Northern Ireland and the mainland. What he is stating is his assurance that there will be no checks. This confirms the fears I have been reporting within the FCO, that Boris Johnson simply has no intention of actually implementing the withdrawal agreement. He has been negotiating in bad faith with the EU, and signing up to things he has no intention of doing in order to “Get Brexit Done”. He has no moral scruples over lying, it is not his style to think beyond immediate personal advantage, and he is still enamoured of the idea that in the end the EU will always buckle because it needs the UK market.

The stars have aligned perfectly for those of us who support Scottish Independence, and I am delighted that both Irish unification and Plaid Cymru have been given a bigger boost than seemed plausible just a very few years ago. This election is sordid, tawdry, corrupt and uninspiring; a fitting end for the UK and its long history of callous exploitation. Never has a state been more adept at using its system of law to shift resources from the poor to the rich. Never has a state’s dissolution been more overdue.

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327 thoughts on “The UK’s Macabre Final Election

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  • Goose

    Other election news today : FS Raab attacking Corbyn over his criticism of the army coup in Bolivia.

    Some facts:

    Evo Morales was Bolivia’s first indigenous president since elected in December 2005, taking office in January 2006.

    He achieved “an unprecedented decade of political and social stability and a growth rate between 4% and 6%” — 4.2% in 2018.

    In October, he was reelected for the third time, defeating challengers Carlos Mesa and Chi Hyun Chung, his popular support topping theirs combined.

    His style of govt is described as “radical rhetoric and…orthodox economic policies.” The international financial organizations admire his economic approach.

    **However, he’s against US intervention in Venezuela; repeatedly denounced the US blockade of Cuba; opposed the US backed military coup in Honduras.

    Which puts him in the US’s bad books under this current administration.

    • N_

      If Evo Morales stays removed, this will be a very sad time for Bolivia and for the world.

      One of the causes of the rise in support that propelled him to the Bolivian presidency was that the previous government had privatised the water supply. It has even made it illegal for people to store rainwater. That’s the ruling class’s sky, that is.

      Venezuela has practically been destroyed by US sanctions. At least 1 in 5 of the population have left. Typically those who still have jobs are paid in rapidly inflating bolivars and they have to buy things using US dollars. Getting a passport to have a chance of getting out costs a lot of money in bribes. Gangs rule much of Caracas.

      Chile is being stomped on right now too. Events there aren’t being reported much. The government has declared martial law. The authorities have been killed several protestors, injured many using plastic bullets and other weapons, and detained thousands more. The trouble is shaking the entire country.

      • N_

        Evo Morales is said to have boarded a plane for Mexico, where he has been granted political asylum.

        Of course once upon a time Hugo Chavez in Venezuela also discussed leaving, in his case for Cuba, but the coup in which he had been overthrown was stopped and reversed by a fast uprising that caught the CIA on the hop.

        I am not sure why Morales would go to Mexico rather than Cuba. It may be something to do with airspace.

        How does the coup in Bolivia relate to the martial law in Chile?

        • Pyewacket

          Both Bolivia and Chile have vast Lithium reserves, the new Oil. America on the other hand, has hardly any. Might be a contributary factor.

          • Bramble

            With the growing importance of alternative energy and batteries being a fast-developed substitute for fossil fuel, lithium is on the way to becoming the new oil.

          • Deepgreenpuddock

            Lithium is available from sea water.
            There are certainly resource issues related to battery technology but Lithium is one of the lesser problems.

          • Natasha

            Where’s the electricity going to come from to charge (so-called) zero carbon lithium batteries up with (let alone the energy needed to mine refine distribute & manufacture the batteries and build the associated wind, solar & hydro infrastructure)? Even 100% domination of global lithium supplies will hardly be a pimple of the arse of Big Fossil’s 85% and rising domination of global energy consumption. Wind and solar supply about 1% each, nuclear 2% hydro 4% and about 8% burning dung and grass. https://tinyurl.com/AtomicHuman

        • gpcus

          It’s all part of a massive normalization of the continent… the US centralized capitalist empire, that is going through a period of internal instability need to start pumping more wealth from the periphery to the center in order to calm its problem down. South America for its geographical position and socio-economic structure is always the first to go to; It has been done before, in the ’70s, btw… expect more riots in Chile, Ecuador, Argentina in the near future, so that law limiting more personal liberties can be enforced and more or less democratically elected neo-liberal strong-men can be put in place to sell national resources rights to supranational corporations.

      • Tom Welsh

        It’s Latin America that desperately neeeds a political and military union. Everyone from Mexico on south should combine and stand shoulder to shoulder against the murderous lying thieving gringo invaders.

    • Michael

      Regarding Raab and his kind, I think to demand your opponents congratulate what you congratulate and condemn what you condemn is as totalitarian as it gets without the jackboots. It’s not just an attempt to control opinion or speech but the effort to control other’s thoughts..

  • Coldish

    Thanks, Craig. Your comments on odious LibDem leader Swinson should encourage patriotic Scots in East Dunbartonshire to get rid of her, hopefully this time permanently.

    • Hamish McGlumpha

      “should encourage patriotic Scots in East Dunbartonshire to get rid of her”.

      Problem is, with Bearsden and Milngavie at the centre of this constituency – dormitory towns for those who occupy the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, and most of the plumb senior public sector jobs in Glasgow – (the verb is chosen very deliberately) – mainly English, largely doing missionary work in Scotland on behalf of the Empire, the ‘patriotic Scots’ are thin on the ground, and the SNP is up against here.

      • Herbie

        So, a good tactic in that constituency would be to push a leftist economic narrative against Swinson’s neoliberal garbage.

        Hold the Braveheart stuff.

        And were the SNP really serious they’d have teams on the ground reinforcing this message thru student unions and connections in the public sector unions etc.

        • N_

          Yes indeed – portray the National party as left or right or whatever the voters want to hear. Appear Bravehearty or “economics experty” according to audience.

          Similarly know how to say “We’re really green in this climate change emergency” with one face and “We’ve got lots of oil and we’re going to use it” with another. I have even been called names for pointing out that most of the oil that’s extracted goes for transport fuel.

          Does any Scottish businessman who supports the SNP and who’s currently getting big “enterprise grants” think state handouts to businesses will decrease after independence? Or are they all drooling at the thought of more money being given to capitalists by the state?

          At least the idea of UDI on less than 40% of the vote has an amusing side. Seriously, no army regiment is going to take orders from a local council, even if Nicola Sturgeon puts on some epaulettes.

          Comparisons of Scotland with other countries – one minute it’s Ghana, then it’s Croatia – can be hilarious when made by those motivated by football thug-syle xenophobia who are rationalising.

          • kathy

            You really do not understand Scotland, Scots or the SNP very well at all – and there is no xenophobia to talk of in Scotland. You have a bloody nerve when you consider the rampant xenophobia down south.

          • N_

            Everything is Scotland versus England for you, eh, Kathy? I even mentioned football too. Imagine being so patently obviously xenophobic when decrying xenophobia because it’s viewed by many as negative. The reason I am replying is because you wrote that “there is no xenophobia to talk of in Scotland”.

            Please click on this post, follow the large number of links to articles about racism and xenophobia in Scotland, and then say what you think. Golliwog dolls on sale in Glasgow!

          • WT

            N I appreciate that there is racism everywhere but did you actually read any of the reports you mention here? Its a right mixed bag you’ve been rummaging in – one is even from way back from 2004 and I am sure you must know the limitations of the one by IYC. I think you misrepresent the difference between north and south of the border. My own experience down south was that in many areas the atmosphere is openly toxic. This is due to UK government decisions to make the ‘hostile atmosphere’. Scotland is not insulated from the toxicity of the media and the UK government’s anti-immigration propaganda, but it still fares better than England. The reports you mention don’t bear out what you are saying here.
            Here’s some quotes from your reports:
            …official crime statistics published last year said there were 3,349 racial offences reported in Scotland in 2016/17 – 10% fewer than the previous year and the lowest number since 2003/04, but the number of racial offences in England and Wales increased from 35,944 in 2011/12 to 68,685 in 2016/17.
            Mr Davidson acknowledged that the political debate around immigration at Holyrood was “healthier” than that at Westminster, with a much more welcoming attitude to migrants from all of the major parties.
            More than half (54%) agreed with the statement ‘the Scottish government is doing enough to tackle discrimination in Scotland’.
            Here’s a couple of recent links for you on the present situation in Scotland:
            https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/17/eu-citizens-feel-safer-in-scotland-than-in-england-report-says
            https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/european-families-feel-safer-scotland-england-190916165520931.html
            https://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland-takes-twice-uk-average-of-refugees-1-5009079
            With regard to Gollywogs for sale in Glasgow it is a disgrace but unfortunately I have seen these on sale in England too and in Europe. Its a horrible world but we should be encouraging Scotland to improve its attitudes to race without painting it as beyond hope. You are being unfair.

          • kathy

            “Everything is Scotland versus England for you, eh, Kathy?”

            Er…That’s yourself and your fellow English supremicists you are talking about.

            You never give up do you?

          • kathy

            “Everything is Scotland versus England for you, eh, Kathy?”

            I believe you are projecting your own bias. When you are discussing xenophobia, of course you have to compare two countries with such close historical links as Scotland and England have in order to in order to discuss why they are so different. As for your comment about racism and xenophobia in Scotland, I did NOT claim that Scotland was free of it but relatively so compared to England.

            By the by, I was shocked when I was living in the metropolitan city of London in the 90s, to find a small shop near Great Ormond Street hospital, selling golliwoggs.

  • Keith Alan

    You mean Boris is going to Leave and not implement the Withdrawal Agreement? Fantastic. Lying to get Brexit done? You mean just like Remainers have been doing ever since the referendum was announced? Personally I’d support the arrest, trial and imprisonment of every single MP and civil servant that has impeded Brexit (that has been so comprehensively voted for 3 times by the British people) so a few lies are fine by me as long as we leave.

    • TonyT12

      What a mistaken and optimistic analysis, Keith. Boris Johnson has no idea what to do next. His instructions come from Dominic Cummings who has his own agenda – nothing to do with Leavers nor Remainers. Johnson only wants to be P.M., whatever that title might mean to him today or tomorrow.

      Cummings certainly has minimal interest in what you think, nor what might benefit you, Keith. His only interest is in getting you to enable his ambitions to upset as many apple-carts as possible, and to get paid well for it. Then presumably he will sometime make a run for it – Cummings is no suicide-bomber.

    • glenn_uk

      Don’t talk so daft, Keith. “Comprehensively voted for 3 times”, indeed. The single non-binding referendum produced a fragile majority, sold on the basis of utter lies, with the vast majority – including you, given what you’ve written here – having zero idea what they voted for.

      A 30-year campaign of lies by the right-wing “popular” press helped blame the EU for every lacking in society, despite the fact that our European neighbours have a much higher standard of life. You should try visiting there sometime.

      Your hero Farage on the day of the referendum said that if Leave lost by just a few percent, then another referendum should be called for. Obviously he changed his mind on that soon enough. Like you, he has fascistic leanings – although he hasn’t publicly called for jailing dissenters as far as I know.

      On what charge should they be jailed, btw, or do such trifling details as the law not matter to people like you and Johnson any more?

      • Peter

        @glenn_uk “Don’t talk so daft, Keith. “Comprehensively voted for 3 times”, indeed. The single non-binding referendum produced a fragile majority, sold on the basis of utter lies, with the vast majority – including you, given what you’ve written here – having zero idea what they voted for.”

        Sorry Glenn, you’ve demonstrated here perfectly the dishonesty/deceit/delusion/disrespect of the, if you’ll please pardon the term, Remainiacs.

        The three times to which Keith refers, I presume, are the referendum; the 2017 general election; and the 2019 European elections, all of which delivered pro-leave results.

        To my knowledge, prior to the referendum, every single MP agreed that the vote would be binding and respected by the government. Any that didn’t agree were in any case over-ruled by the PM and the government – everyone knows it was a binding referendum.

        Stating that the “vast majority” of Leave voters had “zero idea” what they were voting for just displays the widespread contempt among many Remainers for those who voted the opposite way.

        People voted to leave the EU and become an independent country once again. They knew very well what they were voting for, it’s not rocket science. They voted to become an independent country but to maintain the best possible relationship with Europe and the EU.

        Remaining in the single market and customs union is not becoming an independent country, in fact it makes us even less independent than we were before because we would be subject to EU rules and regulations but have no say in forming those rules and regulations. It quite literally is the worst of all worlds because it abandons the advantages of staying in as well as the advantages of getting out – quite mad and a national humiliation.

        Yes I voted Leave but I didn’t vote in the EU elections because I couldn’t support Labour’s EU position and I’d never vote for Farage or the Tories.

        I voted Leave because I believe the EU’s undemocratic, anti-democratic commitment to neoliberalism is profoundly wrong and unhealthy and there is no sign that it will change because it is wedded to the interests of the banking, financial and multinational corporate sectors. I also think that if we get a Corbyn government, which I sincerely hope we do, the EU will form significant opposition to it on competition, government intervention and privatisation issues. Italy was threatened with massive fines earlier this year for their much more modest intervention proposals.

        So I will more than happily vote Corbyn, though, as currently presented, I don’t support his EU position, in the expectation that, if elected, his government will be heading for a profound clash with the EU which could then lead to serious EU reform, or us leaving, but also potentially to unforeseen much more messy consequences.

        I voted to leave the EU, not Europe. I do believe the countries of Europe should grow ever closer but, until the EU reforms profoundly, with the UK as an independent country.

        That ever closer relationship is how, in my mind, we respect the 48% but it is difficult to respect many Remain campaigners/voters when they are as divorced from the truth as they claim Leave campaigners/voters are.

        • Mighty Drunken

          “I voted Leave because I believe the EU’s undemocratic, anti-democratic commitment to neoliberalism is profoundly wrong and unhealthy and there is no sign that it will change because it is wedded to the interests of the banking, financial and multinational corporate sectors.”

          Yet every UK government over the last 40 years has been more neo-liberal than the EU. They have become even more neo-liberal overtime. With Brexit and a Conservative win (both seem likely) you will see neo-liberal late stage capitalism at its height. The aftermath is more likely to be a dystopia than a socialist paradise.

          • Peter

            @Mighty Drunken

            I take your point but disagree with your forecast.

            An extra two weeks of campaigning in 2017 would have delivered a Corbyn government. We have four and a half weeks to go in this one and the Labour ‘offer’ knocks the rest into a cocked hat.

            Anybody who understands the state of the country and what is needed and looks at Labour objectively will put their tick in the appropriate box.

            I agree that if your forecast is correct the future is very gloomy indeed, but even then, it would be just a matter of keeping on to the next one.

            It’s a very complicated situation I’ll grant you, and with four UK parties as well as the Scottish, Welsh and Irish parties vying for our votes there are no guarantees, but, as in 2017, I believe Corbyn has the correct answers and has every chance of delivering the opposite of what the MSM/Establishment keeps telling us.

    • N_

      Well that’s a funny one, Keith, because Boris Johnson himself voted against Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement twice. It was precisely when it looked as though it was going to pass with support from quite a few Labour MPs that the ERG brought down the government, trampling even over the Tory Party’s own leadership rules and using connections with constituency chairmen who are mostly huge fans of Enoch Powell and Ian Smith.

      Also you clearly think two wrongs make a right, so I won’t be coming to you for help with moral philosophy.

  • Hatuey

    Great piece of writing, even if I disagree with important parts;

    “The SNP has put Independence at the heart of its campaign, eschewing the dreadful error of the “don’t mention Independence” campaign of 2017 that led half a million potential supporters to sit on their hands on voting day.”

    That’s not what I see. I see Sturgeon hedging her bets as usual and trying to be clever. Independence features more largely in this campaign than it did in 2017 — it didn’t feature at all in that campaign — but not largely enough. It’s in amongst other stuff, like the NHS, Brexit, having as many SNP voices in Westminster as possible, and so much else of the usual stuff.

    I’m definitely not the sharpest of tacks, but if you drown the message of independence in a soup of other things, well, that means the election isn’t about independence. And whilst doing that might help the SNP win seats, the old “all things to all men” strategy, they’ll be winning on a muffled fudge of a manifesto that gives them no clear mandate for anything.

    The more I look at the SNP strategy here, the more I see a repetition of the failed 2017 approach.

    Sturgeon’s wait and see approach to Brexit has been a cataclysmic and senseless failure. We have wasted years. She bottled it when May humiliated her with “now is not the time” line and now we are about to come out the other end with Boris ruling over us (probably with a strong majority too), ripped out of the EU, and nothing concrete in terms of indyref2.

    It’s harrowing for me to watch good people who have invested so much in the independence movement being put through this.

    Harrowing.

  • Hatuey

    BTW, the idea that we are to sit and hope for something so unlikely as “a Labour/Lib Dem/SNP alliance, that will eschew hard Brexit and agree a second Independence referendum for Scotland” is so depressing to me that it literally makes me feel sick just thinking about it.

    It will never happen. You’re talking about an hung parliament and in that situation Boris would have first crack at forming a working majority are we to additionally hope that he stands aside out of some sense of decency?

    • Cardiffjock

      The largest party – if it doesn’t have an absolute majority – doesn’t automatically get to form the government. But I accept that, looking where we are now, it’s hard to see how Lab & LibDems, added to perhaps 50 SNP seats would get the number required…

      • Hatuey

        No, Cardiff, I think you’re complicating it. If there’s a hung parliament, regardless of who the largest party is, the precedent is that the incumbent government & party gets first crack at forming a new government. 2010 was exceptional in that respect.

        • N_

          There is a government. Boris Johnson won’t have to be “invited to try to form one”, except in media talk. Nor is there any real “trying” involved after an appointment. A government could write a queen’s speech and watch it get spectacularly voted down, and so what, given the FTPA? And the FTPA came in after 2010.

          In practice, if Labour are the largest party or a very close second, all eyes will be on the third and fourth largest parties. Inter-party talks would be facilitated by the civil service, because it’s about what policies a government would have, not in manifestoland but in reality. (If it’s only supply and confidence, all that’s required is a big bung, for instance with Nicola taking over from Arlene, and the poshboys wouldn’t have to countenance individuals of such an irritating ilk poking their noses into matters such as “defence” spending or central banking for example.) if a majority could be commanded by a collection of two or three of the opposition parties who had decided they wanted to command a majority together, whether under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn or under someone else, then Boris Johnson would “advise the queen” to appoint the person they wanted the government to be led by.

          Doubtless the SNP can think up reasons for helping the Tories stay in office and saying they’re not really doing it, and I won’t be at all surprised if the Liberal Democrats do the same. Which is why anyone in Scotland who wants to get rid of the Tories should vote Labour, as also applies in Wales and England.

          • Hatuey

            Jeff, to be fair, if he’d said that at the start rather than the end, nobody from Scotland would have read much further. Labour are polling at record lows right now and that’s great to hear, even lower than they did under Dugdale.

            N is in that dark cave most Scottish people were in until they realised that the Labour Party was just a front for anti-Semitic terrorist-loving communists.

            Seriously, if you were part of that fringe party in Scotland, wouldn’t you be thinking it’s time to embrace independence? By that I mean independence from London HQ, right now Scottish Labour is just a branch office, and independence for Scotland.

            I mean, if you believed in socialism and all that brotherhood of man stuff, why wouldn’t you want to enhance your chances rather than be the laughing stock.

  • Chas Mac Donald

    You’re right about most of it. It’s all Swinson roundabouts in the Lib Dems. They seem to have some particularly debilitating learning difficulties.

    As for Javid on Marr, I disagree. I thought Marr savaged him, to be honest. True, he turned at every opportunity back to badmouthing Corbyn. But the wee skinhead was so blatant, predictable, and clumsily nimble about it that he looked and sounded like a wee bot. Marr was not impressed, but boy did he give him the rope to hang his bahoochie with.

    Lastly, Sturgeon’s game is a wee bit cunning. There’s quite a resentment against her, as we all know. She’s playing the long rope, too. Boris is getting sufficient to allow him, and the Tories, to muck it all up and adversely affect Scots interests. Which is what they will claim when Brexit finally happens. Sturgeon will have been seen to not actively agitate against Brexit (e.g. not forming great alliances with the other opposition), and can then claim the cataclysm isn’t the SNP’s fault. Nobody will believe it, but it will have sufficient traction, and Westminster will be devoid of an actual club to beat the SNP with when it comes to seeking IndyRef2.

    My feeling is that IndyRef2 is still too close to call, but when the campaign starts, much of the rhetoric will appear to be new, and not the same old same old. But they have to get the cybernats under control. They lost IndyRef1 for us. That can’t be allowed to happen again.

    • N_

      So much for 11 dimensional chess. It’s obvious the SNP want Brexit and for Brexit to bring big trouble in Scotland because they can blame it all on “down south” and “Westminster” and say it boosts the case for razor wire along the border and backhanders from “helpful” billionaires from Russia to keep at least some of the hospitals operating independence. If there’s a confirmatory referendum and the result is Remain, and Brexit never actually happens, it will be a case of “the SN-who?”

      Those who want a hung parliament should vote Liberal Democrat or SNP. Those who want a Labour government should vote Labour. Any Labour supporter who is considering voting tactically for the SNP should realise that that party would only use your vote for its own propaganda purposes.

      • Hatuey

        What’s remarkable is that you think typing stuff like that will be persuasive or something.

        You’ve lost the plot.

        Do yourself a big favour and take a break from here, N, you’re cracking up.

  • Dave

    Many years ago I vowed never to vote for Labour or Conservative, but without that vow I would vote Corbyn/Labour for his sensible patriotic compromise offering a 2nd referendum choice between soft-Brexit and Remain, which I think soft-Brexit would win.

    The question asked is who would campaign for soft-Brexit and the answer is those opposed to Remain, a binary cross-party choice like the previous referendum, but with a clear Leave option, clearer in fact than the Remain option which could result in UK joining the Euro! Simples!

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Dave November 12, 2019 at 05:32
      What is more important, a many-years-old vow, or changed circs where our NHS and much more is at stake?
      I remember a story, I don’t know if it was true, where a nun was well known in her small community for having made a vow to never tell a lie. Someone was hiding in her convent, and the Gestapo came and asked her if the person (probably a Jew) was in the convent, and she replied no.
      The Gestapo officer took her word. She had broken her vow, but the person hiding survived.

    • Martinned

      Of course Soft Brexit wouldn’t win such a referendum, because everyone to the right of Phillip Hammond would boycott that referendum. And then we’d start all over again after the next general election.

  • Anthony

    “I am sure there are a few decent people still left in the Lib Dems. But they are invisible.”

    In terms of politicians, I genuinely cannot think of a single one. I also do not believe that LibDems genuinely care about Brexit any more than Boris Johnson does. If they did, they would have stood down all their candidates in Tory-Labour marginals, since Lanour is the only party that offers a realistic hope of stopping Brexit.

    it further illustrates how dishonest the liberal media is in this country that it does not ask why the LibDems are aiding a committed Brexit party against a party that has promised a 2nd referendum? The reason they don’t, in my opinion, is because the liberal media cares far more about maintaining austerity and a warmongering foreign policy than it does about stopping Brexit. Maybe somebody can provide an alternative explanation.

    • Martinned

      Why would the LibDems stand down candidates in Tory-Labour marginals, given that the Labour leadership is more devoted to Brexit than Boris is?

        • Martinned

          If the LibDems are the kingmakers, as they were in 2010, they can demand whatever they like. Just like under Cameron they negotiated a referendum on AV and no referendum on the EU. (And like Cameron expected them to do again in 2015, before he accidentally won a majority.)

          And Labour doesn’t have a committed policy any more than the Tories do. In both cases they are hiding a wide range of opinions among the MP (candidates) under a pile of unicorns. The only difference is that Johnson cares about power more than Brexit, while Corbyn cares about leaving the EU more than about getting power. (OK, that’s not the only difference. The other difference is that Johnson probably has more control over his party than Corbyn does over his.)

          • Anthony

            They couldn’t demand anything more from Labour on Brexit than what is already the party’s official committed policy: a 2nd referendum with a choice between Remain and a soft Brexit.

            If Johnson granted them a 2nd referendum to prop him up it would be a choice between Remain and his hard Brexit.

            So you see the idea that the Lib Dems are genuinely anti Brexit just doesnt stack up. By reducing the Labour vote in Tory-Labour marginals, they are clearly hoping for another coalition with the Tories in which they can achieve more Libyas, bedroom taxes and finish off the privatisation of the National Health Service.

          • Anthony

            Because revoke has scant support beyond a few fanatics and would tar either Labour or the Tories with the same anti democratic brush the Lib Dems have tarred themselves with.

    • Tom Welsh

      Many decent and moral – but rather naive – people have always voted Liberal Democrat (or, before that, plain Liberal).

      It’s the leaders who are such dishonest stinkers.

  • Mrs Pau!

    I am an English woman sympathetic to the cause of Scottish independence. I fear that as the EU moves closer to full political union, so the degree of locsl independence – political and economic – that member states retain will diminish and this will be particularly true for the smaller member countries. I also think the degree of influence over this process that smaller member countries will be able exercise will be very limited. The Franco German juggernaut rolls on. Just saying.

    • SA

      Mary
      Our foreign policy is completely dominated by the US. At least as members of the EU we would have a major part in the decisions. Being the 51st state will be a much worse place to be.

    • Mighty Drunken

      It would take the agreement of every EU country for full political union. As the EU commission is made up directly of the representatives of each nation states government I find it very unlikely it would ever get proposed. Can you imagine every executive of every EU country agreeing to limit their own powers to that extent?

      Anyway the UK is awful at local independence, where are the regional assemblies? The UK would work a lot better if we had a decent federal system. Instead almost everything is ruled by London.

  • giyane.

    I have to disagree. By definition a Tory is stupid, at this time in which Conservatism means sacrificing the spiritual for greed.
    It might look macabre from the outside, for want of a better word , a druid of the Thatcher Market cult, sickle in hand, going out to garner Misthepoint for his tribe. Yes the tribe is totally hoodwinked into thinking the bosses’ brand new executive cars mean the economy is booming, but their children having nowhere to live and nothing but promises from both Labour and Conservative , must grind their consciences down from time to time.

    Why doesn’t Labour not just promise Housing from somebody who looks like they know how to build one. Really the Labour MPs are the macabre ones because they’re always spouting politics when people want action.
    Yes Boris , we find the profit motive, persimmon boss 70 billion pound bonus, disgusting.
    There are other reasons for living than filthy lucre. Yes Boris we trust Russia more than America. Yes Boris we don’t like Israel.

    Live with it.

  • fwl

    It is not really fair to make comparisons with Spain and Catalonia. David Cameron agreed to a reference and to respect the result. The Spanish government refused a referendum and very harshly punished the result of the DIY referendum. So whatever Scottish nationalists may feel about the role of media in the referendum it was essentially a lawful and honourable process.

    Referencing Spain does of course raise the obvious issue of how would an independent Scotland get back into the EU in the face of what would be very obvious Spanish resistance?

    In any event surely all referenda which seek to major so-called constitutional change, such as Brexit or Scottish independence, should require a higher % than a simple majority. Otherwise we experience constitutional flip flop on a regular basis. What if Scotland left the UK and then encountered a rocky period so that a simple majority wanted to return and were denied a referendum but held their own illegal vote anyway and a majority wanted to return and the rest of the UK agreed?

      • Phil Espin

        I believe from an English perspective that Scotland did just that in 1702? Isn’t the correct quote: No “people”? The Scots elite allegedly selling out the Scots people to get the English to bail them out of their colonial losses. They then proceeded to exploit England’s empire building rapacity with their own zeal for making a pillaged groat as memorably illustrated by Craig in his excellent book on Sikunder Burns.

    • Dungroanin

      ” it was essentially a lawful and honourable process.”

      NO. I am aftaid it was not.

      Never mind the msm propaganda and high profile celebrity endorsements (Bowie!! From his home in NY).

      It was a SCL/CA DS operation – it was Peter Lilleys company running the postal voting end to end without an independent audit trail – that stuffed the ballots that swung the Indy ref.

      The Indy ref had to be held and knobbled BEFORE the brexit ref, by the same players using the same postal vote ballot stuffing – otherwise there would have been overwhelming support for Indy and remain in the EU.

      The lack of any authenticity by the Tory campaign so far and the full spectrum msm ad hominem tactics shows that THEY don’t do free and fair they only do ‘theft’ and win by hook or crook.

      Let’s see how many Postal Votes are rolled out ( it seems they didn’t need a million for the brexit ref…)

  • Theophilus

    “Never has a state been more adept at using its system of law to shift resources from the poor to the rich. Never has a state’s dissolution been more overdue.”
    Sounds like a pretty good description of the EU that the SNP is so desperate to join. Funny sort of independence. There are plenty of people in Scotland who understand what the consequences of an EU border with England would mean even if the SNP genuinely do not.
    Johnson plays fast and loose with his committments but so does the EU. I have just been listening to Arnaud Montebourg, former French Minister of the Economy pointing out, with examples, that the EU only stick to treaties when it suits them.

    • Republicofscotland

      “Sounds like a pretty good description of the EU that the SNP is so desperate to join. ”

      You forgot to add as an independent state among other independent states, who have more say in the EU than we currently have now.

      Give me some form of EU membership over the union anyday. I think the EU currently has over 40 borders one more won’t make much difference.

      • N_

        Let’s talk about the border.

        Trade
        Scotland’s border is one it does three-quarters of its external trade across. The border wouldn’t be like Norway-Sweden. Norway has about half the population of Sweden, not a tenth, and Norway is in the EU single market. The current Boris “Deal” would take Britain – Rump Britain (rB) in our scenario – a long way outside the single market. A sovereign Scotland inside the EU wouldn’t be allowed to strike its own trade deals with other countries, such as rB. Those deals would have to be done by the EU as a whole. Even Germany is not allowed to strike its own trade deals. Those are the rules. Don’t like them, then don’t join.

        Migration
        One of the requirements of the single market, and therefore of EU membership, is freedom of movement. The Scottish-English border would be home to large encampments on the Scottish side, populated by immigrants from the poorer parts of Europe aiming to get to the bright lights of London and in some cases Manchester. Think Calais but with Europeans this time. And remember, the sovereign rB government wouldn’t have to let Romanians cross into its territory just because the Scottish government thought that would be helpful of them.

        Travel
        Meanwhile, millions of Scots live south of the border, either permanently or temporarily, or envisage that they might at some time in the future, for reasons of employment or family. Or they might simply go and visit family members. After indepence they would have to go through customs coming back, because those are the EU rules – rB would be outside the customs union as well as the single market. They would also have to show identity documents travelling south, because how would the rB government know they aren’t Romanians or from some other country whose citizens would be “visa nationals”?

        Interesting, isn’t it, that the border areas of Scotland were heavily pro-Union in the 2014 referendum?

        Health treatment
        Say someone goes to visit their family down south and gets ill. How’s the NHS going to work? Try screaming “That’s just Project Fear” at voters who ask. The honest answer is you don’t know and you can’t give any guarantees. Then try blaming “Down South”. How stupid can you take Scottish voters to be?

        It would be possible to give sensible answers to these questions, but they would all involve “We would want and need to have a special and very friendly relationship with rB, within a permanent cooperation framework”. Try saying that on the doorstep. You can almost hear the supposedly “swing” voters saying “Stop taking the piss. It’s obvious that staying in the union is better.” Which is why the Nationalist pitches don’t say that. The pitches rely on xenophobia, on idiotic Braveheart “freedom” cack aimed at simple-minded people who haven’t grown up (how rich, spread about in a country that is up to its neck in guilt for the crimes of the British Empire), and on hints that businessmen will trouser even bigger grants from the state than they do now. (Guess who’s going to pay for that.)

        Scotland has many problems. They aren’t the fault of foreigners.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          Scotland and N I in “THE” Customs Union while England & Wales is in Corbyn’s “A” Customs Union (once MacDonnell has explained to the bearded one that tariff free trade is incompatible with unrestricted State aid to industry) would work out nicely.
          Oh, Ryanair do Edinburgh to Bucharest for £50.

        • Republicofscotland

          Trade.

          Scotland will still trade with the biggest trading bloc in the world, and exports from Scotland will not go through England a new trade route througha EU country will probably be the way.

          Canada, Japan and several other nations have concluded deals with the EU. We’ll retain EU food standards and workers rights the rUK wil probably fall under Boris Johnson’s (if he’s PM) every man for himself agenda.

          Migration.

          Scotland needs migration we need young vibrant folk who want to come and live and work in Scotland the Home Office is currently stifling this.

          Travel.

          Your first paragraph is a two-way street, which negates it. However we’ll have access to living, travelling, working and retiring across 27 EU nations along with health care with very little paperwork, you won’t.

          Healthcare.

          Like anyone travelling to a foreign country Scots will take out medical insurance, of course I’m not so sure you’ll have a free NHS at point of service after the Tories crash it over the next five years (again if Johnson becomes PM) in favour of privatisation.

          But lets not stop there shall we.

          We’ll have access to EU bodies in science, education, such as the Erasmus programme, you probably won’t.

          We’ll continue to receive EU grants for our farmers, which keeps many hill farmers in business. You’ll have no more EU cultural capitals of the year, which brought trade and tourists to cities like Liverpool.

          You won’t have your Human Rights protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Minority languages such as Welsh and Irish are recognized and protected under EU law, also The right to receive emergency healthcare in any member state (EHIC card).

          In fact here’s more of what you’ll miss, Oh wait that’s right you claim to live in Scotland. No doubt you’ll leave once we Scots gain independence and remain in the EU.

          https://smallbusinessprices.co.uk/remain-eu/

        • J Arther Nast

          N you say “The current Boris “Deal” would take Britain a long way outside the single market”. As I understand it the Boris Deal is merely a starting point and that an actual trade deal will take many years to negotiate. Together with many others I believe that the EU will have the stronger hand in these negotiations. Scotland moving towards independence will further strengthen that hand.
          The rest of your post seeks to reify a fluid situation, hardly Marxist I would have thought.

        • kathy

          “so let’s talk about the border”

          You are perfectly correct. The union makes perfect sense and could make us the most powerful and richest country in the world. Unfortunately, however, England views Scotland as its property rather than its partner and refuses to abide by the terms of the union. It also uses Scotland as a cash cow for all its vanity projects in London, thereby leaving Scotland impoverished, and generally ignoring Scotland’s wishes. This is an intolerable situation and must end.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        This could go some way to explaining the astonishing differential (32%) between the Remain / Leave vote in Scotland and England. The Highlands & Islands are scattered with infrastructure improvements that carry the “financed by the EU” plaque (of course it is legitimate to argue that it’s really UK money redistributed by the EU). It’s not as if Westminster never “invested” in the H & Is, but when they did (Corpach, Invergorden etc.) it was always stand-alone, quick pay-back initiatives sitting at the end of poor transportation links that were doomed to fail. The short term / short sighted investment policies of Westminster are driven by the four to five year parliamentary cycles (we should be so lucky) of UK democracy while the long term investment policies of the EU are enabled by the democratically Byzantine practices in Brussels.
        What puzzles me is Wales also benefited from Region 1 status but they rejected the EU.

        • Martinned

          Wales voted Leave because of immigrants from England: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/22/english-people-wales-brexit-research

          Otherwise, in a country where the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse leaves London maybe half a dozen times per year, and where the governing party will soon have (almost) no MPs from Scotland, it seems optimistic to assume that, absent the EU, public investment in Scotland would have been the same as in the EU.

          And yes, the fight for the next MFF has already kicked off. It’s extremely democratic, just not in the “one Party gets to do whatever it likes” way that English people are used to, but in the consensus-based ways of the Continent.

      • kathy

        “That “shifting resources from the poor to the rich” story would be more convincing if the EU wasn’t an important driver of convergence between poorer and richer regions”…

        Yes, but why is that?

        I would contend that it is because it is ruled by America which is the most neo-liberal country in the world. So, I can hear you ask. It is because little lapdog UK is a trojan horse for America forcing the EU to do America’s bidding. An example is the blocking by America of trading with Russia which would be extremelyy beneficial to both parties so you shoudn’t jump to quickly to the obvious conclusions but look at whatis really going on.2″

    • N_

      @MJ

      ROFL!

      If you and Craig arrange a wager, you should make sure you’re both clear about the effect of possible events in Northern Ireland on how the wager is settled. If the current “Boris Deal” goes ahead, the UVF could take over the ports by force and fast.

  • Adrian Evitts

    I’d dearly love to know what our Nige has been promised by Bozza and/or Uncle Donald that has prompted his about turn.

    Those south of the border with any kind of social conscience see precious little to inspire hope on December 12.

    • N_

      On your second point: I’m usually a cynical pessimistic b*stard, and, OK, I still am, but nonetheless I have hopes for the Labour manifesto that’s due to be out later this week.

      * Private schools are going to be an issue in this campaign. Never mind anyone who says they’re irrelevant. Like hell they are.
      * At the moment a one-on-one Corbyn-Johnson debate is scheduled. Who fancies Boris’s chances defending Eton and the view that making the rich richer helps everyone else? Like piling up marmalade on Ryvita, is it, or whatever stupid metaphor he has used for robbery in the past?
      * Boris is a liability. That’s one reason (not the only one) that the boot is going in to Corbyn. The thing about boots is they tend to come in pairs, one on each foot.
      * Labour are doing better in the polls than they were at this time during the 2017 campaign.

      Today I read that Labour has been the target of a large-scale cyberattack. The Tories are scared.

  • Dungroanin

    What’s interesting this morning?

    1. Jonathan Cook’s take on Freedland of the Gruaniads leading the charge on the AS JC
    https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2019-11-11/antisemitism-smears-corbyn/

    2. The sound of reteating Tanks?
    Le Mesurier’s death fall in Istanbul had quick and full coverage in the Mail yesterday, that was some fast work.
    Yet not a peep out of the Guardians Martin Chulov, who has been tge ubiquitous scribe of most things Syria.

    3. Is Bobo actually going to have a breakdown before he has to trundle out the manifesto? I mean why should he bother he may suppose, if his team can’t even guarantee that he RETAINS his seat? So a double Portillo moment at least with IDS.
    Don’t worry he has COBRA on the case working out how many troops to get on the streets ob Friday 13th – when it becomes obvious that their plan of stuffing the ballot boxes while maintaining personal attacks on JC & co and unleashing the Farage attack dogs – instead of having actual policies and fair election – won’t be swallowed by the population.
    So what’s the plan? Mass outbreak of snakes? Call Trump..?

    4. ..will potus stoop to save the British conspirators against his election? Will he fuck, not when he has an election year underway.

    But it is still early here and not yet morning in America

    • Ken Kenn

      Johnson ( possibly like Swinson? ) has up to Thursday to either stand and fight in their own Constituencies or run away.

      Farage has ran away and I think many of the Real Brexiters will stand on their own merits or de- merit.Oop North.

      For the BBC’s info ‘ Doer’ Johnson wasn’t going to do anything in the flooded areas.

      He said ” It is not an emergency ”

      Anyway tewo Americans of interest ought to assist here:

      Bill Binney for the Cyber attack and Greg Palast on how voting is rigged in the US and how it may be in the UK.

      The vast majority of these shenanigins has nothing to do with Russia.

      All home grown I think.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        Swinson could always throw her hat into the ring in Chippenham. Trying to overturn a Tory majority of 16.6K may appear to be a crazy option when she could defend her 10K majority in East Dumbartonshire but my contacts in North Glasgow whisper that the locals have gone sour on the egomaniac. In Chippenham, she is at least a “local lass”.

      • N_

        Wow, on the floods and the English Midlands and North! How the Tories are f***ing this up! Eugenics Cummings is supposed to be so brilliant, but he doesn’t seem to be doing very well, does he? Or I shouldn’t say Cummings. I should say Isaac Levido, because it’s Levido who is running the Tory campaign.

        It’s going to be one hell of a final week before the vote.

        Everyone should read up about the Zinoviev Letter and in particular the role of MI5 and the Daily Mail and how the Tory scum won the 1924 election.

    • Dungroanin

      I thought that CM may be avoiding piling into Le Mesurier to soon but just seen that he has found it hard to resist when the likes of Stewart and Urban are quivering their lips and shedding tears on twitter.

      That is not the sound of the Tank regiment retreating – it is dominoes falling…

  • Martinned

    While I’m pretty agnostic about Scottish independence, I’m confident that it’s not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. The Tories won’t let the Scots have another referendum, and the SNP isn’t going to take the Catalunya approach. (And if they did, they’d fail just like the Catalans did.) You can’t run a revolution under the leadership of peacetime politicians. I might have fancied Alex Salmond as being able to pull it off, because he seems to have the required amount of “consequences be damned”-attitude, but I see no evidence that Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else currently at the top of the SNP is capable of being that indifferent to short-term harm.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      A reasonable assessment of the current situation but Nicola Sturgeon is one to watch. She is cautious to embrace a radical position but when she does move there is steel there. To coin a phrase from a less enlightened era, “ya widnae want tae bring hame a broken pay line”.
      Sturgeon has committed to DEMANDING a Section 30 Order before the end of the year. Presumably there is a prepared position to respond to the expected rejection.

    • kathy

      “While I’m pretty agnostic about Scottish independence, I’m confident that it’s not going to happen”

      England does not have the legitamate power to stop it. I believe we are still subject to the rule of law.

    • Node

      “I might have fancied Alex Salmond as being able to pull it off, because he seems to have the required amount of “consequences be damned”-attitude, but I see no evidence that Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else currently at the top of the SNP is capable of being that indifferent to short-term harm.”

      I agree.
      Unfortunately the British establishment also agree and has taken appropriate measures.

  • john stack

    The English are cunning experienced colonisers. They have been on your case for a long time.
    They have colonised, flattered, bought, threatened, ridiculed, divided Scots and controlled the media.

    Eyes must be raised from the trough to a National identity and destiny whose time has come. Scots can feel it.
    YOUR Flag will fly in all Countries and on a Brussels mast as an Independent Nation in the European Union.

    If Scottish independence is buried it will be taken by real Scots who will not wait for it to be handed to them.
    If you had a fully separate Scotland how many would vote to go back under the Queen to be kept poodles with decisions made for them. It is an option for later !

    The fear of Protestant Scottish Nationalist control could drive minorities to feel safer in the arms of a UK Government . This vote could be decisive. You must REACH OUT TO THE UNCONVERTED , to Catholics, Muslims, Colonists, Immigrants, Fearful people, as equal Brothers and Sisters.

    • N_

      The English are cunning experienced colonisers. They have been on your case for a long time.
      They have colonised, flattered, bought, threatened, ridiculed, divided Scots and controlled the media.

      @Mods – The publication of this statement encouraging racial hatred is a breach of s18 of the Public Order Act 1986:

      1) A person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, is guilty of an offence if (a)he intends thereby to stir up racial hatred, or (b)having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        N,

        What if the statement is factually and historically accurate and the observation could be applied to any ‘race’ across the entire ‘British Empire’. Historical fact or the stirring of racial hatred? Which one?

    • kathy

      While completely agreeing with most of what you say, you are mistaken in thinking that the SNP are sectarian. In fact most of the supporters of indepedence are catholics as well as other minorities such as muslims and so on. In fact, some protestants are wary of independence as they fear too much influence from catholics.

    • W

      Without a doubt and I bet there would be a huge amount of support for your family and the move home. In my crystal ball I can see free temporary housing and other perks.
      11
      Haste ye back and good luck to you all. Slainte!

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    I am both a green party member and supporter.Of course I am trying to deal withe fact that I am generally uncomfortable with ‘Nationalism'(Although I think Scottish Nationalism, to its credit, has b avoided most of the worst aspects of nationalism that we see in England-i.e. that petty spirited, mean minded territorialism and chauvinism, narrow minded xenophobia-little Englanderism represented by the Faragiste leave movement and the right wing lurch of the English Tories.I am also an independence supporter ,as I see no prospects worth having, while shackled to the lumpen mass of shire minded conservative Englishism.
    An independent Scotland offers a prospect of reformed democracy and re-prioritised policies, away from vindictively penalising the poorer/poorest elements of our communities and providing the opportunity for a reset of human and civil rights and social justice policies.
    I am also a green because I believe the biggest problems we face are related to the environment and the Green party(both Scottish and English varieties) are the only formal political organisations that have placed the environment at the centre of their policies-in contrast to the Nats/Labour/Libdems/Tories. Admittedly these parties have lately recognised their shortcomings and have created some environmental ( greenwashed) ‘potemkin villages’ as a means of paying lip service to the climate and environmental emergency.
    So this creates a dilemma for me.Politically speaking the Greens are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.How can the greens raise their status and presence without actually standing in elections. The situation is further complicated by my vote being located in East Dunbartonshire(Jo Swinson constituency) and nothing would would give me greater pleasure than to see her smug self-satisfaction wiped from her neoliberal spouting, twisted austerity seeking mouth.
    So the dilemma, the local branch have put up a superb, high quality candidate-Carolynn Scrimgeour, certainly far superior to the SNP choice. But of course, electorally speaking, Carolynn has little chance of over turning the Swineson, while the Nat does have a decent chance
    .Do I hold my nose and vote Nat, thereby supporting the best chance of independence or do I vote for the best candidate in the field -the more honourable, more morally defensible choice?

    • Vronsky

      I am also a Green in waiting. I was for long an SNP member, including being a constituency convener (be quiet, -er is the Scottish spelling).

      We can’t deal with the impending environmental disaster unless we have political agency. If we remain wrapped in the dying husk of the English empire, there is no prospect of that. If I vote Green I won’t get a Green MP, but if I vote SNP I’ll get a slightly Greenish MP, and maybe one day the power to do more.

      Like you I mourn the poverty of choice, but let’s do what we can. And must. As Craig suggests.

  • Jack

    How will Labour, if they win, mitigate the concerns pro-Brexit people have no immigration? I believe that if those concerns arent respected, the Brexit supporters will continue to grow more and more and will cut support Labour even more in the longer run. In the end, for many elections today is about *focusing on the state, natives, tariffs vs *focusing on globalization, immigration, deregulation/market galore.

      • Jack

        Martinned

        Immigration is a bipartisan issue, perhaps more for the right than the left, regardless, Labour cannot afford to bury the issue if they win. If they do, they will lose even more votes.

        • Martinned

          I didn’t dispute that. (At least not in that comment.) I just wanted to understand what, specifically, you meant by “respected”. There’s a difference between trying to pretend an issue isn’t important, not worth discussing – something you might describe as “burying” it – and addressing it but trying to show leadership rather than governing by opinion poll.

      • Loony

        No, it means addressing concerns in a logical and reasonable manner.

        According to a Gallup poll some 750 million people would like to immigrate to the western world. How many of those people should be allowed to move to Europe. All of them, none of them or exactly how many.

        Unless you intend admitting all 750 million then what is to be the selection criteria. If you do intend admitting 750 million people into Europe then where are they going to live, where are they going to go to school, where are they going to work and what hospitals are going to treat them. These questions need precise answers that are derived via precise reasoning.

        In addition to 750 million would be immigrants global population is increasing at a rate of 228,000 per day. If we assume that 10% of this number would, in due course, like to move to the west then is the proposal to admit an initial 750 million followed by 22,000 people per day for ever? If this is not the proposal then what exactly is it.

        • Martinned

          some 750 million people would like to immigrate to the western world

          Talk is cheap. Given how few people move to another country even within the EU, the true number of people that would move here would be much lower.

          In any event, telling voters they’re wrong is not the same thing as telling them they’d also be wrong under some hypothetical free-migration policy that no one is proposing.

    • SA

      Jack
      Immigration of people has occurred from times immemorial. When the immigrants are powerful, they take over the land and exterminate the indigenous populations. When they are poor and exploited, they are a worry to our standards and to our values.
      The issue of Immigration to this country is heavily politicised. Moreover it is often conflated with asylum seekers. If any government does not have a method of regulating immigration it is the fault of that state or government and not the immigrants. Half the intolerable burden that you mention, even without your scaremongering 750 million refugees all knocking on our doors at the rate of a quarter of a million daily, is from outside the EU where there should have been some regulation and therefore it must have been either government policy or gross incompetence that has lead to such huge influx. So getting out of the EU will not solve you fear of being overwhelmed by foreigners. Please examine the motives of those spreading these scare tactics, and instead of joining them try to allay people’s unfounded fears.

  • mike

    The state broadcaster loves Killary. She’s the kind of war-mongering centrist psychopath who is such an easy sell to the voters.

    CIA coup in Bolivia – virtual silence; “Russian meddling” report – big news.

    One normalised and therefore invisible, the other cooked into a wet-dream psychosis.

    • Jack

      mike

      Also, apparently the report will say there was no meddling, atleast from the initial news reports. I assume, that conclusion is now nowhere to be seen in the finalized report.
      I see how that will be played out – Russia want(ed) Brexit – so do not support or vote for it!

    • Martinned

      CIA coup in Bolivia – virtual silence; “Russian meddling” report – big news.

      Well, yes, because only one of those things actually happened.

  • mike

    PS I suspect the suppressed Russian meddling report will indeed show the scale of the financial links between top Tories and Russian oligarchs and their dirty money. But the notion that VVP is orchestrating it all is pure fantasy.

    • Alyson

      Agreed. Russian oligarchs are destabilising established inter government networks through their involvement with the network of the global very rich, who like safe and properly run tax havens, and are happy to contribute generously to those who can deliver these. The Brexit Party on the other hand is more like the Mafia. It’s unpleasantness is very close to the surface. It has friends in Cambridge Analytica who are probably behind the cyber attack on Labour. And if we had proper journalists this information in this link would be at least in the mainstream media.

      https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/05/do-brexit-party-supporters-know-who-they-are-really-voting-for/

    • Jack

      I doubt the report will deal with that, that fact – russian oligarch money – have been known for years, intelligence services do not care since they are anti-Putin and the money goes to Tories.

      • Martinned

        Wait, what? You think there’s a single oligarch in Russia who is not in Putin’s pocket? After what happened to Sergei Magnitsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, why on earth would you think that?

        • Jack

          Martinned

          Russian oligarchs funding Tories are OK since they arent pro-Putin. I goes without saying, otherwhise these acts would be called meddling.

          • Martinned

            Of course they are pro-Putin. They are oligarchs. And it will be called meddling as soon as the Tories are no longer in power.

          • Jack

            martinned

            They live in UK because they fear repercussions in Russia, remember Putin got alot of support in the beginning of his career when he ran a war against oligarchs in Russia, you might say, anti-Putin oligarchs, then go figure why so many rich, wealthy russian oligarchs now live in the UK. In principle they do not like Putin at all, and neither does Boris so there you have the funding going on and it is accepted.

          • Martinned

            No sane oligarch would think that living in Britain would make them safe from Putin. That was the whole point of the Skripal attack, to show that Putin and his people have no compunctions about having someone murdered anywhere in the world. Also, being friends with Putin is much more profitable than being his enemy. A good example is Roman Abramovich. Talking the talk in the West, but never actually picking a fight with the Kremlin.

          • Jack

            martinned

            Case in point: Alexander Temerko that is alleged to be named in the upcoming report.
            he fled Russia after authorities began looking into his finances.

          • Martinned

            Temerko isn’t what I would describe as a Russian oligarch, at least not anymore. He’s Russian, and he’s rich, but that’s pretty much based on what he managed to escape with after Putin went after Yukos. I wouldn’t describe someone as a Russian oligarch unless they had a continuing power base in Russia, either because they (continue to) control a large Russian (privatised Soviet) corporation, or because they have a political power base (or commonly both). Just being rich and Russian isn’t enough, imho.

          • SA

            Martinned
            “No sane oligarch would think that living in Britain would make them safe from Putin. That was the whole point of the Skripal attack, to show that Putin and his people have no compunctions about having someone murdered anywhere in the world.”
            First you must be one of the few people in the planet who think that Putin “murdered” Skripal. Well at least as far as we know the Skripals have not been murdered, but they have certainly been disappeared. Does this not make you at least a bit curious?

    • Jack

      mike

      You seems to be right, the newest news articles past days say that the report will cover just this = Brace yourself for the same Russia obsession that played out after Trump/election in the US.
      Interesting how Labour will deal with this? Taking the position of the Democrats and paint Russia as a boogeyman?

  • N_

    The betting market currently rates a Tory majority, a hung parliament with the Tories as the largest party, a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party, and a Labour majority (leaving aside the possibility of a tie) at 60%, 35%, 3%, 3%. (Note rounding error.)

    Whatever Nigel Farage does, between now and 12 December those figures aren’t going to shift monotonically in the Tories’ favour. It’s safe to predict that the implied probability of Labour being the largest party in a hung parliament will at some point exceed 3%.

    Outside of Boris Johnson’s “Camelot”-style promise of a new golden age and his supposed commitment to improving public amenities (really?), the right wing has a SINGLE policy: Brexit, also known as white power, “Enoch was right”, and “foreigners smell bad, but we’re OK with white Australians on the whole”.

    Labour have to SKEWER Boris Johnson. That may not be as hard as some believe. Then there’s Jacob Rees-Mogg.

    I doubt the Tories will get away with fielding only David Davis or Andrew Bridgen or candidates who speak like barrow boys, to defend the private schools. Nor, for that matter, with leaving the job to UKIP Mark 2 types. It’s not a Brexit issue. Scum like JRM and BJ are going to have to answer, and this is one area where their usual “scoff at your opponents as though they’re pieces of poop” (languidly in JRM’s case, cocaine-rush excitedly in BJ’s) won’t persuade many voters.

    Go Seumas!

      • Martinned

        That’s a not insignificant detail. Traditional social democracy has become a hobby for middle class and above white collar workers, such as civil servants and teachers. Britain is relatively late in that trend, but in most countries the workers would sooner vote for the populist right (e.g. Vox) than for the traditional social-democrats (e.g. PSOE). This is true even when the social-democrats choose to move to the left (e.g. the PS in France and, soon, the SPD in Germany). Eventually, the social democratic vote ends up split entirely between some kind of truly left-populist party (e.g. PSOE or La France Insoumise) and a more cosmopolitan party (in most countries the Greens).

    • Michael

      They can lie far more effectively with polls than they ever can with statistics, and if they put those “independent” poll results in pie-charts or graphs they can lie using pictures for those they know won’t bother reading them.

  • A London Bloke

    ‘This is the final general election of the United Kingdom’

    I would love that to be the case. But until Scotland’s oil has been completely drained, I don’t think Scotland will ever be independent.

    • Martinned

      Ever is a long time. I think that Scotland won’t be independent until a time when it no longer matters. If England and Scotland are core members of the EU, it matters very little whether there is an intermediate level of government in Westminster that governs them both. At the moment, the UK has too many opt outs for that to be true, and after Brexit it definitely matters whether Scotland is independent from Westminster or not, but eventually they’ll both end up part of some kind of United States of Europe, and then it won’t matter, just like it doesn’t matter whether North and South Dakota are one state or two.

      • Republicofscotland

        “just like it doesn’t matter whether North and South Dakota are one state or two.”

        How do you know that it doesn’t matter to the folk of North and South Dakota? Of course you could’ve attempted to be more relevant by mentioning California or Texas both have made noises about ceding from the USA.

        However Scotland (at present in a union) and England and the other EU nations are of course countries, that can leave the EU at will, North and South Dakota are not, and cannot.

        • Martinned

          I’m sure it does matter, subjectively, to the people of North and South Dakota. But it doesn’t have a substantial practical impact on their lives.

          (Unlike seceding from the USA, which most certainly would have a practical impact, which is why I deliberately avoided that analogy.)

          EU Member States can leave the EU at will, but the practical relevance of that is very small, because Brexit has demonstrated that no sane country would use that option. That’s the whole point of a post-sovereignty world: more and more we’re getting to a place where sovereign nations could theoretically do lots of things that, realistically, they would never do, so that the theoretical locus of sovereignty becomes irrelevant.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Labour should go big on cancelling HS2. £88bn and rising. The leaked, draft report says that the North of England and the Midlands will benefit more than London and the South East. That’s a highly selective comparison. How much of the £88bn is going towards compulsory purchase of overheated real estate in London? What benefits would be accrued if £88bn (or a fraction of it) was directed exclusively to improving transport links around the North of England and the Midlands?
    Now that’s a vote winner where it counts.

  • Lorna Campbell

    Everything is about resources and/or lack of resources. Power is the same wherever it is to be found. The oppressed are different but the methods used to exploit them and keep them down are always the same. The reasons for having power and more wealth than can ever be spent in one lifetime are in order to have power. Power enables those with it to steal the resources of others and use them for their own interests. The UK is no different from any other power, individual or state: it is always about one’s own comfort and well-being at the expense of someone else’s. We are about to enter a phase that the UK has never before been in – that of a right-wing, nominally democratic, Western state, and we don’t even have the excuse of a recent conflict on our soil or a breakaway from either an extreme right-wing regime or a left-wing regime, as so many countries have experienced. No, we seem determined to hurl ourselves into the abyss out of petulant spite and immature politics and politicians. You couldn’t make this up.

  • Tom74

    Interesting analysis as always, Craig. ‘Macabre’ is the word for the very sinister and obvious collusion between the Conservative Party, the USA and Israel, and nearly all of the media, including our alleged national broadcaster.
    I would, though, caution against hoping that the undoubtedly bad outcome of Johnson winning the election would bring positive results for Scotland or anywhere else. This has echoes of the way the Tory Remainers, New Labour and the Lib Dems clung on to the hope that by keeping Johnson ‘dangling’ half-out of power, he would do their bidding and Brexit would be scuppered. Johnson is an unpleasant and unscrupulous character backed by other worse individuals who would simply not countenance the implications on the military and the Royals of Scottish independence. They would find any way to stop it, just as they are presently trying to do to Corbyn and Labour. Look also at how brutally the Remain voters and politicians in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been marginalised by the Tories. Maybe the Scots are better organised and more resolute against these threats – I don’t know as I am not Scottish.
    Yes, the present situation of Mugabe-esque journalism is plumbing new depths. There seems to be more than element of desperation in it all, though, which encourages me t think believe that the Tories still think they could well lose the election. My sense has always been that the polls are deliberately hyped up at the start of the campaign to foster a sense of defeatism in the opposition party workers and voters (with the inevitable ‘narrowing’ of the polls towards polling day aimed at frightening floating voters into thinking the result is become too close to call).
    Overall, I’m inclined to think Labour support will hold firm from 2017, which should be good news as the Tories are, in my opinion, certain to lose seats.

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