The Danger Signs

A brief history of the rise and fall of the Labour Party and it’s relevance to one party in today’s Scottish politics.
(With grateful thanks to Barrhead Boy @ScotPol1314)

The Labour Party in Scotland is now a small party on the periphery of relevance. Since its formation in 1888 until 2007, it had dominated the political landscape of Scotland. It is ironic that its first ever Scottish MP was Robert Cunninghame-Graham who had defected from the Liberal Party in 1888. The irony that he went on to be a founder member of the Party we now know as the SNP is not lost on many of us.

The final collapse of Labour in Scotland as a major force in 2015 did not come as a surprise to some of us involved in politics. The demise of the Labour Party was there for all to see, if you had been paying attention. From 1979 onwards when Thatcher got the keys to No10, their fate was sealed. She single- handedly destroyed not just the Labour Political Party but the entire Labour Movement. One by one she either broke up, sold off or closed down all the large unionised Labour industries. Strikes by the Miners or TGWU or ASLEF often crippled the country. Her solution was to break them one by one. Demonise trade Unionism and Socialism then the public would say nothing as she crushed and sold off national assets and jobs to her friends in the city.

In any conflict, be it politics, business or actual war, you deploy similar tactics. You research your enemy/competitor, you look for their weakest points and you exploit them to your advantage. That is exactly what Mrs Thatcher did to great effect. The phrase you are only as strong as your weakest point applies. When it came to the Labour Party and Movement it was, relatively easy for the Tories defeat Labour in election after election.

Over decades, the Trade Unions and Labour Party had been taken over by carpet baggers and careerists. Unlike the founding fathers of the Movement, the incumbents Thatcher faced in 1979 were troughers that were more interested in their own bank balances and quality of life than the working and living standards of their fellow party members and voters.

I personally never bought into the fables of the foreign owned media in Scotland about the ‘giants of the Labour Party and Movement’. Dewar, Smith, Brown, Reid, Murphy, careerists, not carers! Donald Dewar the father of the nation? As Ricky Tomlinson the actor would say, ‘my arse!’ Dewar, like the majority of ‘Scottish Labour’ elected representatives, was never a Socialist. He attended the same school as the present leader of the Tory Scottish branch office, Jackson Carlaw, The Glasgow Academy. The dear Green place’s version of Auld Reekie’s Fettes. It is to this day one of the most expensive schools in the entire UK. It is not, nor has it ever been, a hotbed of left-wing radicalism. In Scotland up until the very recent past, if you wanted a career in politics, the Labour Party would be the only sensible option. To gain entry you only needed to fake socialism, learn a few key words and phrases and the unsuspecting membership fast tracked you to a safe Westminster seat. Too many of these charlatans made a good living from impersonating a Socialist. Scotland has since 1707 been infected with that most English disease of class. The posh accent and ability to construct sentences without grammatical mistakes opened doors in the Labour Party. That someone who had gone to a posh school, then university would stand on the podium and address the proletariat as comrade, brother, sister had an almost svengali affect on the membership. When they talked of their fellow brethren in the Trade Movement in reverent tones, this was further confirmation to the masses that at last the aristocrats and upper middle classes were understanding the plight of the working man. Tam the miner, coalman, welder never stood a chance of a Westminster billet against a privately schooled comrade. Slowly but surely, the careerists and carpet baggers had inveigled their ways into every nook and cranny of the movement. The Movement became controlled by people in Morningside, Kelvinside who convinced those in Oxgangs and Govan they had their best interests at heart. They pretended they understood the daily struggles and hardships of those living on the breadline. They said they were working every day to bring equality to their electors and members. The reality was they were working to enrich themselves only.

Anything Labour in Scotland ever did was for the benefit of the Party, not the nation or the voters. As long as the Party prospered, they prospered. As long as their voters remained in poverty, they remained in office. Regional Councils, Holyrood, these were not to improve our governance, it was about stopping the SNP and protecting their seats at Westminster in both the Commons and the House of Lords. Those that took the elected seats and the those that ran the Party were self-aggrandising entryists. They did not join the Labour Party to advance the lifes of the proletariat, only their own.

It was not just in Scotland. Thatcher knew that the Labour Movement was built on sand and headed up by chancers. She crushed them very easily. Still in Scotland and Wales, the voters believed that the next time Labour got back into power at Westminster that land of milk and honey, that socialist nirvana would at last arrive. The great work started by Atlee and Bevan would at last be completed. Then in 1995 the new messiah arrived. They had a new ‘aristocrat’ a silver tongued, shiny skinned smooth as, silk confidence trickster. How a Fettes educated social climber ever managed to rise to the top in the Labour Movement shows just how badly infected the core of the Party had become. The very heartbeat of the Party was Clause IV. The snake oil salesman managed to con the membership in 1995 that it had to go and be replaced with,

‘The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that, by the strength of our common endeavour, we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.’

This was the first but not the last time the Labour spin machine duped its members and voters. The compliant corrupt media, just like the establishment, realised the Labour Movement was dead.

This was the first time the New Labour Party deployed its Machiavelian abuse of the English language and truth. The age of spin or as we all know it, blatant lying became the accepted norm in UK politics. The right-wing corrupt media embraced this guy because they realised long before the unsuspecting public that the New Labour Party was indeed just a Tory Lite Party. We didn’t get rid of Thatcherism and her divisive politics. We extended them into the mainstream of all politics in the UK. The choices to the people were The Tories or New Labour Tories.

When Margaret Thatcher was asked what she regarded as her greatest achievement, she is said to have replied: “New Labour”.

The rest as they say, is history!

One last word on the ‘Worker’s Party’ and their desire to be back in power at Westminster. The Labour Movement have elected a Knight of the Realm from a privileged background to be their next leader. It needs no more comment than that.

Fortunately, there was one part of the Union that decided they didn’t want Tories lite or full throttle. The SNP stepped into the vacuum left by the rebranding and retuning of the Labour Party. The success of the SNP has outshone anything that was ever achieved by Labour at the ballot box. The SNP too in government has achieved more in 13 years than Labour managed in 100+ years. Labour in Scotland’s job then and now is the same as the other British Nationalist Parties squatting in Scotland. They have always acted in the best interests of England’s imperial governance of Scotland. The 3 House-Jock Parties, are to ensure that nothing must be seen to be better than the equivalent service or law in England. That is why when there is some type of Health, Transport or Educational crisis in England, the House-Jocks start attacking the equivalent service in Scotland. We all know the truth that in every devolved power under SNP control, it has the best outcomes and standards in the entire Union. However, if you listened to the House-Jocks or the corrupt media, you would think the exact opposite. Nobody sums that up better than our finest Socialist, Lord Foulkes!

The SNP sweep all before them in election after election. Whenever the next election comes along, there is nothing to suggest that will change. The House-Jock Parties keep looking in the wrong places for that ‘magic bullet’ that just does not exist. It is all about the constitution stupid!

We should however be very cautious for, as the headline says, there are danger signs. Post the Referendum, the SNP was overwhelmed with new members. This is, of course, to be welcomed. However, it should be noted that we also need to be wary of the motives of some of those more recent arrivals. We should also be critical of the actions of many of our longstanding members. The recent trial of our former First Minister has offered us up an insight to some of the inner workings of our Party.

This blog has highlighted the dangers of allowing carpet baggers to destroy a party from within. We are not immune to it in the SNP and greater YES Movement. We cannot deny that there are now some among us that think Independence is a nice option but not their main motivation. This was made very clear in sworn evidence from one of the accusers in the Salmond trial. We must not become complacent like the Labour Party. We have to remove these people from our Party before they inflict similar damage. Alex Salmond has the evidence, and he is right, now is not the time to be having those discussions. Whenever this horrible Coronavirus has been defeated is when we need to address this problem head on, though recent actions taken by the Tory government may mean we have to move more quickly. When the debate begins, we must not hesitate to take the necessary action to keep our Party and its ethos at our core. I want to say quite clearly, those that put themselves before our nation’s independence have no place in our movement. Those that would scheme and lie for personal advancement need removed from our Party and Movement. Our politics is about the nation and the common weal, nothing else!

Nobody is bigger or more important than our Independence!

Should this not be your ethos, I respectfully suggest you are in the wrong Party!

This is a slightly updated version of a blog originally posted by Barrhead Boy (@Scotpol1314) on his website If you want to see more of his posts, click the link.

Is it do or die time for Scotland?

Perhaps the question above should be “Does Scotland have a future?”.

And now the end is near, and we face the final curtain. A few days ago, I wrote the words for a amended version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”, entitled “We’ll go the Yes way”. (See it here). What it was meant to show was how we recovered from the disaster that was the first IndyRef and went on to win IndyRef2. Perhaps the lack of interest in the posting (sorry to bleat, but I’m in a bad mood) might have been a demonstration that there are now a fairly large number of people who don’t expect a second IndyRef soon.

But what might happen if there’s no IndyRef. For years now, I (and others) have been warning those who favour waiting until circumstances are more favourable before another IndyRef: you are not advocating a no risk option. We can’t take the risk that we might lose, they say. Of course, they are assuming that, in the meantime, the Westminster government won’t do anything to scupper our chances. Westminster not doing anything always seemed unlikely to me and, as time passes, with support for independence growing, it’s becoming more and more likely that waiting is the worst of all possible worlds for those for whom independence is the first, or even the only, option. If there ever was any doubt about the dangers, surely recent announcements by the Westminster government must have laid these to rest.

So here, in no particular order, are a few examples of what will happen if we don’t soon have the courage to take matters into our own hands.

A new committee has been set up in Westminster, unofficially at the moment. Let’s call it the union committee. Membership includes the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their remit is to find ways to strengthen the Union. Anyone reading this who believes the committee’s remit includes looking for ways to strengthen the devolved governments really needs to seek medical help.

At the moment, food standards are devolved to Holyrood. Westminster intends effectively to remove that power from the Scottish Government post-Brexit. They will still allow Holyrood to set their own standards, but they’ll insist on Scotland accepting food from any other part of the UK (could they mean England?). This means that Scottish Government rules would apply only to companies based in Scotland, thus disadvantaging them as prices of goods from other parts of the UK (mainly England) would be produced to lower, and cheaper, standards. The ability for the Holyrood to set their own standards would be a poisoned chalice.

Westminster’s excuse would be that it allows them to negotiate UK wide trade deals, such as the one with the US. The US have demanded that the UK accept chlorinated chicken as part of a post-Brexit trade deal. We’ve probably all heard about chlorinated chicken, the US tendency to wash their chicken meat in chlorine to remove the bugs. The practice is banned in EU countries. Of course, the US do it because their standards of poultry rearing are poor compared to current UK (actually EU) standards, so there are many more bugs to remove. Perhaps the best way to compare food standards between the two is the incidence of food poisoning, about 1.6% of the population per annum in the UK, compared with 16% in the US.* Because of their higher production volumes and lower standards, US food is cheaper to produce, so UK farmers will have to reduce prices (and standards) to try to compete, or go bust. As Westminster will be desperate for deals, they are bound to accept US demands. The Scottish Government will no longer have any real power to maintain current Scottish food standards as Westminster will impose their rules UK wide. Is cheaper, bug ridden chicken really what we want in Scotland?

Chlorinated chicken is only the tip of an extremely nasty US iceberg. US beef producers also use growth hormones to increase the size of their cattle. This practice is banned in the EU as it has been shown to increase the incidence of cancers and other diseases in humans, particularly in the children of consumers. Antibiotics are also heavily used in US dairy production, mainly to suppress diseases caused by poor farming methods, leading to the development of antibiotic resistant bugs.* It is likely that the UK will accept the importation of US beef and dairy as part of the deal with the US. The Scottish Government will have no power to prevent these products being sold in Scotland. Are cancer inducing beef and resistant super bugs really what we want in Scotland?

Ok, I hear you say, consumers can decide whether or not to buy beef or chicken produced in the US, because the country of origin will be clearly marked on the packaging. Oh no it won’t. Food labelling is now also subject to Westminster veto and the US has demanded that country of origin is excluded. If Westminster agrees, as they are likely to, it will be imposed in Scotland, as with the rest of the UK. As with food standards, the Scottish Government will have no usable power to prevent it.

Food standards will not be the only power reserved to Westminster post-Brexit. What about the NHS? We know that the giant US medical and pharmaceutical companies are desperate to get their hands on the NHS, but this will only work if the NHS is considered as a single UK organisation. We already know that there are considerable differences between the Scottish NHS and the English one, principally because of the differences in approach between Westminster and Holyrood. Vast chunks of the English NHS have been privatised while the Scottish NHS is still in public hands. But that will all change when responsibility for the Scottish NHS is once again reserved to Westminster. As an aside, has anyone got an explanation for the number of recent adverts and announcements from a body called NHS UK? A sign of things to come, perhaps?

Recently announced is the Westminster plan to remove the power to provide state aid from Scotland and the other devolved governments. This power will now be reserved to Westminster. This will prevent the devolved governments from encouraging business development in their country, either existing businesses or new start-ups. Those who believe Westminster will spend much of their time worrying about business development beyond the English border may be disappointed. (Interestingly, can anyone speculate on why the border between England and Scotland appears to exist, while the border between Scotland and England doesn’t. Weird? Perhaps it’s just that business borders exist, but pandemic ones don’t.)

Last, but definitely not least, the change I think is worthy of most attention. This is the development proposed to the so-called “UK internal market”, of which the food discussion above is just a part. This came into ‘existence’ in 2013 to be used as an argument against Scottish independence. Because most of Scotland’s exports go via English ports, Scottish ports having been deliberately underdeveloped as a consequence of the Union, the anti-independence brigade claimed that the rest of the UK was Scotland’s biggest export customer and very little went to Europe or other parts of the world, so independence would significantly reduce Scottish exports. A lie, of course. However, as a result of Brexit, this argument has now developed from a debating concept into a justification for destroying the devolution settlements.

Westminster are now proposing to create a formal UK internal market in law. This will cover not just foodstuffs as mentioned earlier, but potentially all aspects of production. The problem this creates for the governments of Scotland and the other devolved nations is that although they can set whatever rules they want, they will be forced to accept any rules thought necessary by Westminster, whether they are required by or acceptable to the devolved nations. And you can bet that any rules introduced by Westminster will only benefit rich people or England or both, or, at best, will be better for rich people or England or both than anyone else.

To make matters worse, the UK government are going to appoint a committee of friendly Tory types to scrutinise all devolved government bills (and I don’t mean invoices) to decide whether they have any impact on the operation of the internal market. If they decide it has a negative effect, they will have the power to recommend that a bill is amended, or even cancelled, making it really difficult for the Scottish Government and the other devolved administrations to pass any legislation. The Tories have been desperate to get rid of devolution ever since it began and now they’ve got both the opportunity (big Tory majority, out of Europe) and the excuse (negotiating UK-wide trade deals) to make it happen. The Tories are not going to miss an open goal like that. I’ll let you work out for yourself how often the committee will find that Scottish legislation has an impact on the internal market.

However, the SNP are on to the problem. Several senior SNP figures have made strong statements criticising the actions of the UK government and Mike Russell has written a strongly worded letter to Michael Gove demanding that they halt the changes. Little chance of a government with an eighty seat majority listening, especially when every Tory in Westminster will be cheering at the chance to be really nasty to the Scots, with the Scottish Tories cheering loudest. Of course!

What else might Westminster do? No doubt there are other powers they haven’t yet thought of removing from Holyrood. Who would be prepared to bet against the power to hold referendums, or even the power to hold elections being among those taken away. Remember that the Tories can move quickly if they have to. It won’t take long to convince Tory backbenchers to go along with an anti-Scottish action. It might take only a couple of weeks to effectively shut down Holyrood, or at least stop it from really doing anything meaningful.

So what’s to happen. The worst of the changes won’t take effect till after Brexit, though it might even be earlier, and if the EU objected, which they likely would, in a couple of months or so there’s not much they could do about it. I suppose invasion by a combined Franco-German army to support Scotland is probably out of the question. It might have a slight negative impact on the Brexit negotiations, but as the Tories are looking for the most negative outcome they can get, I don’t suppose they would be particularly worried.

I think we’ve now reached the stage where it’s do or die. If we think of waiting for better times, better times may (and likely will) never come. There’s no downside for the Tories if our government don’t act soon. Even waiting till May next year seems hugely optimistic. However, the Tories can wait to get all their ducks in a row as their ducks seem to move faster than ours.

We’ve reached the last and the most important question of all. Do we go now, or do we never go?

It’s time to decide!

*If you want to find out more about the dangers from US foodstuffs, see here an article by Ros Taylor on the LSE blog, quoting Professor Erik Millstone of Sussex University.

We’ll go the Yes way

(With sincere apologies to Claude François, Paul Anka and Frank Sinatra)

We hope the end is near
And this will be the final showdown
My friend, we’ll say it clear
We’ll state our case, we won’t be put down
We’re governed by a fool
We want out, via the expressway
And more, much more than this, we want the Yes way

Indyref, when it came through
the result, incomprehension
We’d done what we had to do
We’d seen it through without exception
We’d planned to see each house
We believed that’s where success lay
But more, much more than this, we went the Yes way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
We bit off more than we could chew
But through the wind and through the rain,
Through the effort and the pain,
We faced the noes and hist’ry shows, we went the Yes way

We lost, and there were tears
But giving up, we were refusing
Fighting through the years,
In the end, we’ll not be losing,
To think, we’ve done all that
In Indy 2, we’ll have success day
Once again, for one last time, we’ll go the Yes way

For what is a Scot, what has he got?
If not his country, he has naught
The love of country’s what he sees
He’s not the type who’s on his knees
Our future shows
We’ll fight the noes
And go the Yes way

We’ll go the Yes way