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 http://www.barrheadboy.com. If you want to see more of his posts, click the link.