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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  • N_

    Reporting of the cyberattack on Labour on BBC Radio 4 earlier today:

    * Labour got attacked; implication: Labour say it was a really big powerful attack;
    * experts say it was a small attack.

    (1: Labour haven’t actually said it was a really big powerful attack.)

    * Labour reported it to the state
    * state officials say there’s no evidence it was carried out by a state agency

    (2: Implication: aren’t those socialists whingey?)

    (3: Labour haven’t actually said it was, or might have been, carried out by a state agency.)

    (4: the implication was that it wasn’t carried out by a British state agency. If the cap fits… )

    The whole report could have been written by Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

    • N_

      Correction: Labour have said it was a really big powerful attack. The BBC’s implication was that it wasn’t.

      • N_

        The Torygraph, aka the Borisograph, is going mental accusing Labour of “ramping up” the seriousness of the cyberattacks it has experienced.

        Haha! When one side’s propaganda has the other side complaining about it, that’s good for the first side. Labour has done well over the flooding too, with headline quotes from Labour figures saying Tories don’t care about the English North and Midlands, and that if the flooding had been in Surrey the Tories would have declared an emergency much faster.

        Nice one, Seumas! Excellent work.

        Could it be that both Isaac Levido and Eugenics Cummings are out of their depth? A key point may be that Seumas has done this before in Britain. Levido has only done it in Australia, and Cummings hasn’t done it anywhere. The right wing are running around like a right bunch of whingers, tearing their hair out over the extent to which they’re going to insult voters in northern England by treating them like morons, and not even knowing which of their parties will be standing in which constituencies. Maybe working class people in the North aren’t as stupid as the Tories think they are. Maybe working class northerners will tell the right wing it can shove all of its parties.

      • Alasdair Macdonald

        The BBC website uses the word ‘reportedly’ to preface the account – a bit of dog-whistled scepticism.

  • Ralph

    “John Sweeney and Peter Oborne, have left their posts at BBC Panorama and the Daily Mail” – thanks for that good news, Craig. sweeney’s a little s****, glad he’s gone, although a lot more should have followed, and insofar as oborne is concerned, he wrote some interesting articles, but then he flipped, or showed his true colours, so I’m also glad to see the back of him.
    Wouldn’t it be fair to say, that all those Scot mps who want independence should abstain from being in the coming GE based on principles etc, in that they’ve got an absolute cheek to determine England’s relationship with the eu – i.e. independence, THEN want their OWN independence??? Hypocrites much?

    • Terry callachan

      Scottish MPs will abstain from the coming GE
      If all English welsh and Irish MPs will abstain from a vote on Scottish independence in Westminster

      Here’s the deal
      England votes to leave the union and becomes independent then votes for brexit
      Scotland gets independence and stays in EU
      Wales has an independence referendum
      NI has a reunification referendum

      Job done
      Everyone’s happy

      Won’t happen because English MPs want it all
      They want brexit and they want to keep control of Scotland wales and NI
      To keep control of Scotland they have to stop Scotland staying in the EU even though 66% of people in Scotland voted remain
      To keep control of NI they have to stop reunification with Ireland to the south but reunification is the only way to end the border troubles
      Wales voted brexit and appears to want to stay under England’s control…for now

      • Ralph

        It’s not England which wants to vote to be independent of Scotland.
        As far as I’m concerned, if the majority of Scots want independence then ok.

  • Wikikettle

    This country deserves Boris for another five years !! Jeremy would be taking on a failed state and a poisoned chalice handed to him from his own Party.

  • Alexander

    Much more interesting than what Vladimir Putin and his circle are doing (secret info: they are splitting their sides laughing), is what Washington is planning. After coming to the UK, Trump went to Ireland. About a month ago, Mike Pence spent rather longer in Ireland. Many believe that Washington is preparing for UK leaving the EU, meaning that they will need new channels into the central workings of the EU, and Ireland is probably the new horse they are preparing to ride.

    If this happens a lot of us (I am Irish) think that the border problem will solve itself quite simply, by the border disappearing. I also believe that the Scots Nats will hold the balance in Parliament.

    • N_

      Britain has never been the main channel that the US has used to get access to the central workings of the EU. That’s Germany.

      The idea that the City will decamp to Dublin is puff. For starters the legal system is very different.

    • Wikikettle

      Its amazing what Putin and Lavrov have achieved for their country and its dignity despite sanctions and only an economy the same size of South Korea. Russia is stretched to the limit defending its huge land mass and most of its surrounding states with NATO forces. It can’t let Serbia fall and as any General would tell you, had to secure Crimea and prevent NATO taking it over. What happens in EU and Nord Stream will be the next battle. The Americans I am sure, with their own revolution, be quite happy with the unification of Ireland and Scotland gaining its independence. I am wary nationalism and the forces unleashed in a smaller less powerful England.

  • Wikikettle

    Trump represents similar isolationlist camp as the Henry Fords between the wars. He will only survive until Republicans ditch him from directions of the permanent security state.

    • Loony

      Alone among major economies the US is not reliant on international trade to any great extent. The shale revolution has, for the moment, delivered US energy independence. Trump understands all of this and thus able to tell the rest of the world “You want to trade then you trade on our terms” Sure anyone is free to reject US terms, but it has no effect on the US. Therefore whatever the outcome Trump wins.

      Of course everyone else loses – this just cements the relative advantage of the US. It needs to maximise this advantage in order to offset the loss of the $ as global reserve currency. The US also gains through no longer needing to guarantee global security. Given how the foreign man is prone to pouring over every egregious abuse of US power then you would think a US withdraw would be welcomed by everyone outside of the US deep state.

      The UK stands to be one of the great losers in all of this since it is so reliant on imports for the basic necessities of food and energy. Maybe the US will cut the UK a special deal. It seems likely that the US will be much more interested in the defenestration of the City of London than in acquiring the rotten and corrupt NHS. Only fools believe that anyone envies the NHS.

      It is too much to expect the British to ever come to terms with their own gargantuan stupidity. What kind of country gets itself into a position where it needs to import over 50% of its energy and nutritional needs, and the only way it can accomplish this is via the overt support of US military power. Maybe some people still think that the US is a colony of the UK. Maybe that is why Trump is so hated because he does not recognize the colonial status of the US. Where are all the anti-imperialists?

      Again you would think that a loss of power of the City of London would be welcomed – but oh no, the radical anti-establishment progressives leap to the defense of the City. One reason for the relative poverty of the UK hinterland (including Scotland) is the magnetic power of the City in drawing money to itself. So long as the City of London retains its dominance then it will draw money from Scotland irrespective as to whether Scotland is a constituent part of the UK or notionally independent. You would therefore expect Scottish Nationalists to be right behind both Trump and Brexit. That they are not tells you that they are prepared to sacrifice the Scottish population at the alter of their own egos.

      • Ian

        Haha, you’re having a laugh with your bogus facebook cut and paste. Not to mention your combination of Walt Disney and Charles Dickens when it comes to the UK, a country you have clearly never been to.

      • Ken Kenn

        You’ve not got the hang of Globalisation have you?

        The experts who brought us The Financial Crash may have been based in the big borrowing big spending US but the Gigantic Squid and its fellow squids operated around the World.

        If China hadn’t have ben around still producing like billy’o you’d be watching the BBC on your old flat screen and paying a lot more for the US made stuff.

        The City of London is a giant launderette who make dirty money clean ( involving Russian Oligarchs – mates of Putin or otherwise) and they buy assets in London as they see the government of the UK as not being harmful to the confiscation of said assets.

        Ironically for these fellow Capitalists in the US their assets would be in danger.

        After all Trump is just another prick with a wall.

        Finally being as Donnny is cuting up rough with the WTO ‘rules’ then Johnson and Farage will have their work cut out conducting a take it or take it deal from the US.

        Unless Sanders wins of course but like Corbyn his own side is busying itself with trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.

        T’was ever thus in the Lands of the Free.

      • michael norton

        America doesn’t need China
        but China almost certainly needs America.
        America can grow, excavate or make anything it might require, it might be initially more expensive to manufacture stuff in house but the benefits are greater home employment and a higher level of satisfaction/sustainability.
        China has based its monstrous growth on low wages and export, the two go together like a hand up a glove puppet.
        If America no longer wants to buy China made stuff, China is stuffed.
        Millions sacked and people asking questions of the dictatorship.

        • Ken Kenn

          Across China wage growth is just that – growing.

          Across the sclerotic austerity West it’s not got above pre – Crash levels.

          America need China like it needs Japan and Germany’s surpluses and various ‘ tributes ‘ from it’s rentier capitalists.across the globe.
          It went from being the lender of first resort to being borrower of first resort.

          The Chinese et al buy US Treasury Bonds but are now buying gold like mad.

          The Chinese are not stupid they will not bring the US economy down in one fell swoop just manage the decline of the US economy assisted by history.

          By the way I’m no great fan of China but it is an example of the State being in charge of investment not individual greedy capitalists with their failed ( see The Financial Crash ) shibboleth of private investors know best.

          You see the results in Brexit and Trump.

          Oh and by the way are you saying that it was alright for The British Empire to have its Industrial Revolution but no other country.

          Fortunately ( or unfortunately depending on which side you’re on? ) The Yanks ploughed through that notion and became the biggest producers in the world.

          They are no longer and neither is the UK.

          There are many new kids on the block and no amount of Self interested nostalgic patriotic Nationalism will stop that.

          That’s history for you.

          You don’t see it coming but you note its effects later.

          Sometimes many years later.

          By then it’s too late to do anything about it.

  • Marmite

    Thinking about Craig’s title here, all that can really be said is that this is a nation whose people have so much bullshit on their face.

    I don’t usually read The Conversation, because I see it as an expression of just how politically incompetent and complacent most academics are; but today it published something interesting.

    This is a nation where supposedly people can vote, and if they were half-intelligent, they’d be voting Green (since Labour, the next least evil thing, is still addicted to totally obsolete ideologies like economic growth, etc.). Instead, what we have is a tragically undemocratic situation where decent people can only fathom the idea of voting strategically.

    What I see in forums is mind-blowing though, and a sad indication of how severely twisted are the minds of so many. Either that, or some pro-Tory machinery is paying out millions to get everyone to bash Corbyn. Other than being a socialist, which I guess in backward Britain is still something of a crime, what did this guy do to deserve this?

    How did Britain get to the point where its people would rather see mass homelessness, poverty and hunger, more environmental degradation and war crime, than vote in a party simply for being committed to egalitarianism? Many said that the British had lost their minds after the 2016 referendum. What will the world say when they vote next month to sell off the country, feed the immoral growth ideology of neoliberalism further, and enslave themselves even more?

    No wonder Labour has just announced a committment to adult education. They must think the whole nation is completely bonkers, and that its people cannot see through all the bullshit stuck to their face.

    I’m sure some will say it is reductive to see this madness as exclusively a problem with really poor education standards in this country, but I struggle to think what else is in the way of people coming to their senses.

    • Hatuey

      Actually, the big fly in your ointment is Labour’s part in the mess. If Corbyn refuses to rule out upgrading Trident, on what basis do you think he represents meaningful change? The Trident issue is really low lying fruit and if you can’t reach for even that, if you can’t win the argument on that, just give the hell up.

      Same old same old.

      Labour always pretends to be radical and loving when it’s in opposition. Always. The people of Scotland see through the scam and I am so happy to see that Labour probably won’t win more than 1 or 2 seats here.

      • Wikikettle

        Hatuey, indeed. Corbyn would want to get rid of WMD, but Conference and his bought and sold MP’s, and Unions wont allow him. I also suspect that quite a few SNP are subverted. Col Richard Kemp along with many have openly said they would never allow Corbyn
        to become PM.

        • Wikikettle

          Polaris, Trident and its upgrade are huge money spinners for US. They have done nothing but made us doomsday targets.

          • Hatuey

            Yes, and a five year old could win that argument against anybody.

            I don’t doubt for a second that Corbyn would want to dump Trident but the fact that he has decided and accepted it would politically unacceptable to do so tells you everything you need to know.

            If you aren’t prepared to piss people off in politics, you shouldn’t be in politics and you certainly shouldn’t be characterised as a radical.

            Corbyn is a run of the mill centrist. In the context of English politics the centre appears as the radical left but that says more about English politics than it does about Corbyn. If he ever won power, tilting to the right would be a minor adjustment for him.

        • Wikikettle

          Hautey, if Corbyn is a centrist as you claim, and a sell out, the state would not be so nervous about the possibility of his becoming PM. The problem they have is that they have nothing on him. He has to chose his battles. Not just against the war mongers, but from his own NEC, Cabinet and MP’s. Note he was in favour of Chris Williamson but over ruled by his NEC.

          • Hatuey

            I don’t think you understand. The state isn’t centrist today, it’s to the right of where UKIP was. There are a few pockets of resistance but you see them resigning and retiring on a daily basis — nobody is explaining it like that, but that’s what’s going on. In that context, a centrist government is potentially a big problem.

            Anyone that rejects the Shanghai model, low tax, zero worker protections, Brexit, and anyone that thinks the rich and big business should pay tax like everybody else, anyone that thinks you should feed the poor, etc., all things considered normal and centrist until recently, is at odds with their plan for the UK.

            That’s why they hate him. It’s not a rhetorical point I’m making. In fact, it couldn’t be more real. You’ve basically got a team of crooks waiting to make a killing from this transition. A Corbyn government would be a nightmare for them.

            The reason Boris is making a big effort to appear pro-nhs, keen on spending, etc., is because he knows people don’t want the Shanghai model and he’s trying to con them into a false sense of security and defend himself from attacks along the lines I’m suggesting here.

            He also knows if it works he won’t need to spend like that again; the whole welfare system and public sector as we know it is getting dismantled.

          • Marmite

            In such a backward country, where you still have everyone going around parroting this nonsense about the ‘loony left’ (but not stopping for a second to consider the notion of a ‘loony right’ because the brains don’t permit), did you ever think that any party but a centrist-right one stands half a chance?

            Everyone always wants to see immediate action, but history teaches that change is more incremental.

            You might be so cheerful that a Tory victory will be a victory for Scottish independence, but you seem not to care that nearly 60 million people down south (many of which would die for the ‘privilege’ of being in Scotland at this moment) will suffer very badly as a result. And I don’t think that’s apocalyptalism, but quite literally the reality.

          • Hatuey

            Marmite you make an interesting point when you ask “did you ever think that any party but a centrist-right one stands half a chance?”

            But that’s as much a statement about the political culture as it is about any party or leader.

            England has been voting for rightists in one form or another since 1979. I can’t think of one successive government since then that didn’t take the country, its political culture and economy, further to the right.

            Judged in objective rather than relative contextual terms, it follows that if Thatcher was politically active today she’d stand to the left of Corbyn. She’d also be straightforwardly defined as very pro-European. You can easily validate the truth of those things for yourself, no need for me to bore you.

            Scotland has been chained to this doomed ship against its will for 40 years, arguably longer. And it isn’t a coincidence that Britain or England lurched to the right when Scottish oil profits went online. When Harry Enfield and England danced to the tune of “loads a money”, the Scots (who were paying for it) were watching their industrial base being dismantled and 100s of thousands were made unemployed.

            And now you expect what exactly, pity? Pity those who voted for all those Tories? Pity those who voted for Brexit and all that thinly-veiled racist crap?

            Okay have some pity. Have ten times as much pity and understanding as the English electorate has afforded Scotland since it elected Thatcher and took us down this road.

            Generous to a fault, as ever.

    • Xavi

      It’s proof propaganda works. BBC and Co have turned the country’s most obviously honest, well-intentioned and public-spirited politician into a daemon in the public mind while representing the most dishonest, self-interested and disengaged politician into an embodiment of selfless patriotism.

  • mark golding

    We can I am sure dig deeper into Craig’s statements; ‘Never has a state been more adept at using its system of law to shift resources from the poor to the rich and ‘callous exploitation’ (recast as) of the innocent, the fettered, the committed and the weak-minded by an institution of totalitarian Conservatives whose ideology and principals accept the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Please park and reflect and muse that tenet for a moment; reflection here will dim as I put my finger into those minds of those who rearranged ‘the stars’ out of alignment when Y2k proved scaremongering is mainstream media/BBC fodder and a way to control the minions, the sycophants.

    Y2K and the election of George W Bush; is it a dream? is it surreal? For certain the 2000 US election turned out easy to rig, mere tampering, the important fix was unfolding.. Bush the younger was instructed to pull FEMA out of the cabinet, severing it from government expressly for a crucial ‘independent’ role post Millenium and eventually into creating mass terrorism, cloaking murder by chaos, inventing angels and proxy war..

    The minds of the sordid, tawdry, corrupt had darkened to collective hysteria by fear and then murder necessary to protect the whole.

    Hobbs gave us the vision of this holism in ‘Leviathan’ which interestingly is embraced by Etonians and why war lover, (consistently voted for the illegal Iraq war), Boris the deadly spider will walk back through the portal door of No.10.

    … it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us. [Charles Dickens]

    • Hatuey

      Hobbes, not Hobbs. And I only point out because he’s one of my favourite philosophers.

      Speaking of red herrings, does anyone know what happened to the hole in the ozone layer? They told me it was caused by deodorant and stuff and was going to cause an ice age. We didn’t have deodorant but it worried me all the same.

  • N_

    This is the second time that a Conservative party running an election campaign under Isaac Levido has watched its opponents get cyberattacked – coincidence or what?

    The British Labour party has been cyberattacked. Jeremy Corbyn made the point that this is the first time in Britain that a political party has been subjected to such an attack. Well guess what. It’s not the first time in the world. The same thing happened earlier this year against the Liberal Party, the Labor Party and the Nationals in Australia. The Australian Conservative Party, which was not subjected to attack, and which was running a campaign under Isaac Levido, exactly as the British Conservative Party now is, won the election in a surprise victory.

    Coincidence, huh? Remember that Boris Johnson hired Isaac Levido to run the Tory campaign when many assumed the job would be given to Eugenics Cummings.

    Any guesses at what specific aspects of campaigning Isaac Levido was believed to be able to help with, to have expert knowledge and experience in?

    By the way, the Australian Signals Directorate (the Oz GCHQ) has claimed “oh no, it definitely wasn’t us, and we would never cooperate with the Conservative party because that would be illegal” blamed China.

    • N_

      This could be the big story of this election. Anyone who despises the Tories and who can help look into this business should get stuck in.

      • N_

        I messed up what I wrote about Isaac Levido in Australia. He was working for prime minister Scott Morrison and the Liberal/National side, so his side WAS one of the victims of the cyberattack, ALONG WITH the opposition Labor party. Curiouser and curiouser! Why would someone want to attack both sides in an election campaign? Were they training for a more important attack somewhere else?

        OK can someone please respond here who has some decent knowledge about the Australian election of May 2019, so that I don’t make any more howlers. I haven’t got time to read up about it.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    The BBC’s golden girl, Jo Swinson has the Midas touch in reverse. Party central’s dictat to run against Labour in all constituencies in all circumstances is rapidly backfiring. Activists in Canterbury are in open revolt. Discontent has spread to Derbyshire where an Election Agent has resigned from the party and a Candidate is threatening to follow suit. One day to go before nominations close, not a good time to create a crisis.

  • michael norton

    Mister Jeremy Corbyn will visit Scotland on Wednesday with a pledge to deliver “massive investment” if he becomes U.K. prime minister.

    The Labour leader said the general election on 12 December would be
    “a once-in-generation chance to transform Scotland and the whole UK”.

    Mr Corbyn will set out his plans during a two-day visit to key Scottish seats.

    Now is he trying to stick it to Boris
    or stick it to Nicola?

    The number of Scots in work fell by 43,000 in the three months up till September.

    The economy of Scotland was doing better than the rest of the U.K. but just starting to fall behind.
    Maybe give J.C. a chance?

  • N_

    The Tories are holding back their manifesto, perhaps until only 2 weeks before the vote.

    The Labour manifesto gets signed off on Saturday. It will then be released fast, possibly given on Saturday afternoon under embargo to the Sunday papers and then published to the world on Monday morning. So there could be 10 days between the Labour manifesto and the Tory one. That’s unusual.

    The Labour manifesto will contain some surprises. Come out of that corner and land some vicious punches as soon as the bell rings, OK, Seumas?

    (And if Labour promise in their manifesto to abolish private schools, they can count me as a paid-up party member. Which will be good because it will also mean I can vote for Diane Abbott as party leader – and hopefully as prime minister – when a vacancy arises.)

    The strategy should be as follows:

    a) a huge manifesto bounce (without this, it’s almost impossible to see how Labour can win);

    b) another Zinoviev letter in the final week, this time with the shoe on the other foot. (Do you think we’ve forgotten, Tory scum?)

    As for Len McCluskey, credit to him for being critical of Zionism but listen to what he says about what is supposed to be his area, workers’ organisation and the labour market:

    With the Conservatives seeking to make migration a key election issue, McCluskey said Labour needed to show how it was going to prevent pay and conditions from being undercut before it could consider relaxing its stance. ‘It’s wrong in my view to have any greater free movement of labour unless you get stricter labour market regulation.’

    I understand where he is coming from, and he is right that Labour have got to address the issue of immigrants undercutting native workers’ wages, an issue which is considered smelly and untouchable by the dinner-party left who have rarely met any working class people, whether native or immigrant, whether from the North or from London. But for socialists this is not a difficult one at all. It’s easy: give migrants union cards. Run educational and propaganda campaigns to get them in the unions. Of course that does not solve the low level of workers’ organisation in say the construction sector, but McCluskey should know that unity is strength. There’s nothing like a closed shop in that sector – I wish there were – but to the extent that there is SOME union power, get the immigrants on the inside of that. Many immigrant unskilled labourers are actually MORE likely to join a union than the Sun-reading “white van man” native who aims to be a landlord.

    I am hoping that the Tories have totally underestimated the intelligence of many people in the Northern English working class. Spending time working for the BBC in Salford Quays and then going to some fancy bars in central Manchester in the evenings doesn’t tell anyone sh*t about the Northern working class, many of whom aren’t such a bunch of moronic Powellite knuckle-draggers as the Tories and their UKIP Brexit Party pals are hoping.

    • N_

      Many Northern working class people follow what’s in the media. They feel INSULTED by the plan that’s being discussed so blatantly of tricking them into helping the Tories win the election by offering them an arrow on the ballot paper with “Brexit Party”, not “Conservative”, written on it, pointing towards the box where the Tories want them to put their “X” to help defeat Labour.

      The Tory thinking goes like this: “In 2017 we thought we’d get the UKIP vote but we didn’t realise the extent to which many working class UKIP voters hate our guts and much prefer to vote Labour than Conservative. So this time we’ll give them a fake ‘third party’ which we’ll say is different from us, and we’ll give it a name we know they love so much, ‘Brexit’, and for added ‘ease of use’ we’ll even make its symbol an arrow. That way they can help us and not realise it.”

      I won’t be surprised if with such a contemptuous attitude the Tories fail to win the North.

      I like the North of England. This is where the Luddites came from.

  • N_

    Boris Johnson heckled in Yorkshire: “Everyone’s in poverty – the country’s a joke.”

    That’s some beautiful Yorkshire straight talking. I ❤️ you, Yorkshire!

    Yorkshire people will all vote “Brexit Party” to help the Tories? In your dreams, Tory scum!

  • michael norton

    Scottish First Minister Ms. Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold a new referendum in 2020.

    She has said her SNP MPs would only consider putting Mr Corbyn in Downing Street in a hung parliament if he accepts the “principle” of such a vote.

    Mr.Corbyn has said no thanks.

    • Hatuey

      It’s not likely to happen anyway, as Sturgeon knows.

      Boris with a 20 something majority is the most likely outcome, and I that’s the outcome that suits Scottish Independence leaders most.

      Ripped out of the EU against our will by a bunch of right wing weirdos who want to dismantle the public sector (not just the NHS) and ditch Barnett formula? Support for independence will hit 65% by Christmas.

      And the mood in Scotland when that result is announced is going to be very dark. I won’t be surprised if people take to the streets. You might not even need a referendum.

      As for England being left in the clutches of these maggots, I think in the longer term everything will work out. You’ll have the example of a prospering Scotland to use as an example — that’s already happening to an extent –and between that and the misery of Shanghai you’ll probably come out of this better off.

    • Hatuey

      Yeah, England votes for the most vile right wing bastards imaginable at every opportunity and it’s Scotland that’s to blame.


      • michael norton

        Well, it is not yet decided, there is another four weeks of this shit to go.
        If Jeremy was taken in by the soft talking of Nicola, the Tories and the Brexit and the LibDem lot would say he is in cahoots with the SNP to break up
        The United Kingdom.
        That would be the Death Knell
        of the Labour Party in England and Wales.

        • Hatuey

          I was summarising the last 40 years not the next few days.

          I think you’re essentially right that there’s games being played but it’s probably more complicated than any of us know.

          The SNP have an easy hand to play and, assuming they win 35 or more seats, which they will, they can’t really lose.

          As has been hinted at, a bolstered Boris forcing Brexit down the throats of Scots along with a move to the right isn’t a cloud without a silver lining for the SNP leadership. I personally think that would be the best outcome as an independence supporter.

    • Ken Kenn

      Not really.

      Sturgeon is hardly likely to say vote for Labour in Scotland in order to beat the Tories.

      She’s going to stick to the vote SNP line.

      Unlike Swinson ( the insanity of vanity candidate) the SNP will work with Labour.

      Hopefully the SNP will take all the Tory seats and Swinson’s.

      As a Labour person just doing that would be cause fora pre Xmas celebration.

      All the best – as they say

  • Marmite

    I see that the tediously unimaginative propagandists have once again played the ‘anti Semitic Labour’ card.

    How low, how vile can one be? If I was Jewish, I’d be deeply insulted by the way the media trivialises the term. But I’m more saddened by all the decent people who are too gullible to know better.

    It’s precisely because one can’t stand any form of racism that one should be exposing such fake allegations.

    Undermining the left has always been about targeting and abusing minority groups like this.

    If one rejects racism, surely that means a rejection outright of Liberals and Conservatives, and the bullshit that they endlessly churn out.

    • Hatuey

      Might I suggest you take this up with the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, who vigorously rebuked the idea that the allegations were smear or propaganda and insisted that it was a very real problem and that Labour must face it…

      Let me know if you need the link to the video.


      • Wikikettle

        Hatuey. I note John McDonnell does not sit next to Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons very often. Its also worth noting that John McDonnell agreed to be interviewed by Alastair Compbell. I am sure Jeremy Corbyn would never agree to give such a platform to Campbell. I also heard George Galloway talk about the so called ‘real problem’ of Anti Semitism in the Labour Party with actual figures of the complaints compared to the membership. It was infact the Labour Party that elected a Jewish Leader. George also recalled the blatent Anti Semitism he experienced from Conservative MP’s when he himself was there. I get the feeling that John McDonnell is positioning himself among the many who would like to leader after Jeremy.

        • Hatuey

          To be honest, wiki, I get the sense from comments on here and elsewhere that a lot of people believe this whole anti Semitic thing was basically invented — by the media and other natural enemies of Labour — to be used as a club with which to beat Labour.

          Frankly, I don’t care either way.

          But, if Labour politicians believe the above to be true, that it’s manufactured, designed to smear them, I care that they aren’t willing to say that and confront those who are being accused of engineering it. That’s cowardly.

          I can be as pragmatic and diplomatic as anyone when it comes down to it. And maybe there are good grounds (that I don’t see) for not confronting those who are behind this alleged smear head on. But in real life, if someone called me anti Semitic, there’d be a good chance I’d go for them.

          Why would you not confront those who you believed were behind a smear like that head on if you believed it wasn’t true? If we are talking about the media, why not go for them guns blazing? The damage is done anyway.

          If it’s about public perception, again, I think confronting it head on would be the best strategy. For example, if Labour refused to give interviews to the BBC or allow them into venues, news conferences, etc., as punishment for their part in what they believed to be a smear, I think that would go down well with the public and force the BBC to be more careful towards them.

          I also think that would be a natural and understandable response to an accusation as serious as this — what you might expect from people wrongly accused and innocent.

          But Labour haven’t done that and consequently they need to put up with people like me and others quoting John McDonnell who says it isn’t a smear and it’s real.

          • Wikikettle

            Hatuey. Both Jeremy Corbyn and Chris Williamson are not racially prejudiced in my opinion. Do you think they are ? I hope all the actual cases of alleged racial prejudice and full details concerning members of the labour party are made public and there is Judicial case to test the assertion that to speak out against crimes perpertrated against Palestinians is Anti Semetic.

          • Wikikettle

            It is terrible that prominent Jews, such as Noam Chomsky, Prof Norman Finkelstein are called “Self Hating Jews” by Pro
            Israel policy against Palestinians. This is dangerously equating the word Jew to be associated to pro Israeli policy of expropriation of Palestinian land – by the very people who defend Israel and settler squatters.

          • Wikikettle

            I also think Noam Chomsky is a far greater authority on so called anti semitism than john McDonnell

          • Marmite

            The criticisms of antisemitism in Labour are not all made up, for the simple reason that antisemitism is being conveniently redefined to include just about everything.
            I would have thought this was obvious.
            I suspect racism is one of those things that exists anywhere and everywhere, and can catch one off guard if one is not careful, and no doubt there have been some unskillful remarks made here and there.
            In this case, though, antisemitism has been defined as widely as possible, to include any form of objection to the ongoing violence of the Israeli state, so as to create confusion and doubt over the whole issue, and make it difficult for even the most skilled orators (who want to keep their jobs) to deny publicly that it exists.
            Hence, the video with McDonnell to which you refer.
            If education was of a better quality in England, there would be no discussion about this nonsense, because people would have called all the allegations bullshit long ago.
            What is so vile about all this is that racism is so unashamedly present in all parties to the right of Labour, but you don’t see that endlessly parroted about by all the sleazy, mercenary, or pea-brained journalists that inhabit these isles.
            And I think the way in which power manipulates language and public opinion is something that you should CARE about.

          • Hatuey

            Wiki, it doesn’t matter what I think. I don’t even care what I think.

            What matters is what Corbyn and those around him think and what they do in response to these allegations.

            If Corbyn and his colleagues believe or know the allegations to be groundless and a smear, they should confront those who are behind it. That’s what an innocent party would do.

            If they have decided the best way to deal with it is to act apologetic, even though they believe it’s a smear campaign, that’s cowardly.

  • Andrew Paul Booth

    By continuing to compare the constitutional position of the nation of Scotland in relation to neighbouring England, of which it has always been separate, to that of the Spanish region of Catalonia to Spain, of which it has always been a part, these last thousand years, Mr. Murray, you risk greatly weakening your cause (splitting the UK, of which there is no Spanish equivalent). Please research and reconsider.

    • Hatuey

      Andrew, it’s very easy to dismiss what you’ve just said here as utter junk. Why? Because Spain didn’t exist a thousand years ago. It didn’t even exist 500 years ago. The nation state system defined in terms commonly understood today, didn’t exist until about 200 years ago.

      The Catalans have a bunch of characteristics that bolster the case for saying they have every right to claim nationhood. That includes all the important ones, history, culture, traditions, and language.

      Recognition as a nation state though isn’t a science or based on any of those things, nor any characteristics intrinsic to the people or land in question. It hinges on recognition and acceptance by other nation states. The principle of self determination ought to override that but it doesn’t.

      • Andrew Paul Booth

        By hitching their wagon to that of Catalan separatists, those who want Scotland out of the UK weaken their cause. It is a shame that a Scottish language can in no way now be revived and imposed by decree in education and in media as has been done in Catalonia since the corrupt Pujol regime years. Catalan culture and history have in no way otherwise been significantly different than those of neighbouring regions of first the kingdom of Aragon and later the unified kingdom of Spain other than certain Italianate influences, and Catalonia has never governed itself to a greater degree than it does now under the 1978 constitution of democratic Spain.

        The minority of residents in Catalonia who would have independence and less democracy than now have jumped the gun, have prematurely ejaculated, and are riding for a fall.

        History regarding the Westfalian settlement and the creation of modern European nation states in this context is pedantry, sir or madam with the Cuban-origin pseudonym, and is neither here nor there. It does appear, however, that you maliciously seek the breakup of the whole of Spain, as a Briton. I ask you to please reconsider. If your cause is the breakup of the UK, leave neighbouring countries out of it.

        • Hatuey

          Spain went out of its way to undermine the Scottish Independence movement in 2014 when they said they’d block our membership of the EU.

          Now the mask is off and we see the nature of the Spanish regime that sends armed thugs to attack peaceful protesters.

          I used to visit an area of Spain every year with my family, a place called Javea. sometimes 2 or 3 times per year. I’m now boycotting, haven’t been since 2014 and when I buy oranges I make sure they don’t come from Spain.

          I encourage everyone to boycott these scumbags. If there were no grounds for Catalonia’s independence before, as you suggest, there are certain grounds now after the violent thugs were unleashed and Spain started throwing democratic politicians in jail.

          Screw Spain. It’s another second world shot-hole run by small town crooks. If it disappeared off the face of the earth, the market for oranges would recover in 3 days. Nobody ever lay awake at night worrying about Spain splitting the atom…

          Does that help give some context to what I’ve said? Are we closer to understanding one another?

          • Andrew Paul Booth

            To my knowledge, Spain’s position regarding an independent Scotland’s right to continued membership of the EU has since been corrected and rectified, now the centre-left governs and we hope will continue to govern.

            Your other remarks are unworthy, surely, of yourself and of further comment.

  • michael norton

    Election promises of huge amounts of money are being made by most parties. The money to be borrowed.
    However the biggest is Labour
    now up to one and a quarter trillion pounds.
    This is Fantasy Island stuff, nobody is going to agree to any of this nonsense, the voters will be put off by these big lies.
    Why do British politicians continue to go even lower than ever before, why are they all such lying scumbags?

  • Robert Ford

    Speaking as an American of primarily Scottish and Scots-Irish descent, I look forward to hearing of an independent Scotland and a unified Ireland. I used to support the existence of the UK, but that was back when the UK was worth a shit.

  • Anne Yan-Yan Teoh

    Thank you, Craig Murray, for the voice of truth that makes the UK Great Britain. I am personally experiencing being an outcaste in the family for expressing my political viewpoints even though they mainly call for peace and co-operation and are simply against war, bullying and ‘callous exploitation,’ the last of which I had been a victim for 40 years, not knowing my ex-fiance was a neo-liberal racist with his ‘callous exploitation,’ of my trust and easy nature. Everything you ‘ve written here is true… I used to support Conservative for personal reasons ( Margaret Thatcher supported my case and my citizenship – saying I was a British citizen by birthright in Penang before independence – fact is, I ‘d been quite thoroughly anglicised through English) right up to May’s time but I can see Boris is full of risks. I don’t exactly like Corbyn ‘s ‘buying of votes’ with promises of unfordable welfare benefits , free broadband etc … but he’s more sane than the rest and he might prove to have some win win points for the economic advancement of the country and to keep the unity of the UK. Warmest regards for the future, and to your good health and success in good journalism and world class diplomacy.

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