Thursday, 30 October 2014

Jim Murphy is Scottish Labour's only hope - Spectator Blogs


At the risk of intruding into someone else’s calamity, if you can’t enjoy this what can you enjoy? By this I mean, of course, Scottish Labour’s meltdown. (Suggestions the party…

Peter A Bell's insight:

I was wondering if Alex Massie was genuinely so appallingly shallow as to suppose that Jim Murphy might be the saviour of British Labour in Scotland. Then I got to the update at the end of the article where Massie makes a direct comparison between Alex Salmond’s situation when he was both MP and party leader and the putative situation that Jim Murphy MP would be in were he to become leader of the entirely mythical “Scottish Labour Party”. At this point I realised that I had gravely underestimated Mr Massie’s shallowness.

Clearly, Alex Massie totally fails to understand that “Scottish” Labour’s problem is not, as he seems to suppose, finding somebody with a sufficiently mindless hatred of the SNP. Their problem is the tensions arising from the fact that they are trying to pretend to the people of Scotland that they are a genuine Scottish party while their bosses in London insist that they are no more than an offshoot of British Labour.

Few people represent this London dominance of “Scottish” Labour more than the odious Jim Murphy MP. Appointing him as leader would almost certainly add to “Scottish” Labour’s problems. There is not the vaguest possibility that it would resolve them.

Salmond did not have the problem of theses tensions. There was never any doubt in anybody’s mind (with the possible exception of Mr Massie) that the SNP was an entirely Scottish political party even if it’s leader was at Westminster.

Salmond also had a very capable deputy at Holyrood. Murphy’s deputy would be Anas Sarwar. Another MP almost as widely despised in Scotland as Murphy. And even if Sarwar was persuaded (read “bribed”) to quit as deputy to make way for an MSP, this would still be seen as a stitch-up.

Massie is just about as wrong as he can be. Murphy is not a plausible candidate for the leadership of “Scottish” Labour. What “Scottish” Labour needs is somebody who can remove those quotes from “Scottish”.

The rest of us should be asking ourselves why it appears to suit the British media - which, we must remember, is the voice of the British establishment - that Jim Murphy should be anointed as Lamont’s replacement. We hardly need to ask ourselves whether the interests of the British establishment are likely to be compatible with those of the people of Scotland.

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Scottish Labour leadership: Jim Murphy to run

JIM Murphy last night confirmed that he is to run for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party. The East Renfrewshire MP will make a formal announcement today.

Peter A Bell's insight:

The matter of managing First Minister’s Questions nicely illustrates the systemic defects afflicting “Scottish” Labour. Abysmal failings to which the party bosses in London and “Scottish” Labour’s old-guard are evidently completely oblivious.

The problem as Jim Murphy and his cronies see it is not how to provide functional leadership for the party’s North British branch; and certainly not how to start providing an effective opposition at Holyrood. From the perspective of Murphy and British Labour’s Westminster elite, the problem is entirely one of how to arrange things for the convenience of Jim Murphy.

It never occurs to this arrogant buffoon that he should bend to the demands of democracy and good government. No! The system must be adjusted to accommodate him. As ever, the personal interests and partisan priorities of British politicians takes precedence over the needs of the people of Scotland.

Should Murphy become nominal leader of British Labour in Scotland, he will inevitably be regarded as London Labour’s man. This can only exacerbate the already horrendous difficulties facing those who still cling to the notion of “Scottish” Labour.

Why should I care? Why should anybody be upset by the continuing melt-down of a faux party which has so disastrously failed our country and so casually betrayed the principles of the Labour movement?

Because, like it or not, British Labour in Scotland is a significant force in Scottish politics and is likely to remain so even as it decays. Democracy is ill-served by this significant force being in such parlous disarray. The solution is for “Scottish” Labour to rid itself of the British politicians whose hubris has brought brought them to this pass. It most certainly is not to elevate one of the most odious of those British politicians to a position of leadership.

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Saturday, 25 October 2014

What should Scottish Labour do?

There is much talk in the Scottish media about a crisis in Scottish Labour. Some of it is of course froth (is the Scottish Daily Mail where we would seek advice in our best interest?). But some of it is substantial – based on the post-poll evidence, anything between 30-40% of Labour voters voted Yes in the referendum.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Peter Russell nicely illustrates the insanity that grips British Labour in Scotland. For only serious mental defect can explain his claim to be on the side of democracy whilst simultaneously demanding that the people of Scotland should be denied one of the most fundamental democratic rights - the right of self-determination.

Further evidence of Russell’s delusional state can be found in pretty much every paragraph of his demented diatribe. He genuinely seems to believe that the way to win back the 30-40% of labour supporters who voted Yes is to tell them that their opinions are worthless and their aspirations meaningless.

Russell also appears to believe that “Scottish” labour’s problems are merely presentational. It is not that the party needs to change. It is just that the public perception of the party has to be altered. The party is right. The people are wrong.

The problem with British Labour in Scotland is, not that it is seen as “Scotland’s UK party of social democracy”, but that it is not seen as a party of social democracy at all. It is seen as “Scotland’s party of the British establishment”. This is a party which happily allied itself with the Tories in defence of the ruling elites of the British state. A British state which, itself, is increasingly regarded as the very antithesis of social democracy.

Tellingly, Russell sees being “Scotland’s party of Scotland” as a very, very bad thing. There is, to his deranged way of thinking, no worse sin than for a party to seek a mandate from the electorate on the basis of a commitment to serve the interests of that electorate. All of which is explained by the fact that British Labour in Scotland persistently equates its own narrow interests with those of the nation as a whole. What’s good for “Scottish” Labour is good for Scotland. Fewer and fewer people are prepared to accept this partisan arrogance.

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Labour in turmoil as Lamont resigns

SCOTTISH Labour are in turmoil this morning after Johann Lamont ended weeks of speculation about her political future and resigned as leader.

Peter A Bell's insight:

All I can take from this is confirmation that British Labour in Scotland is as oblivious of its own parlous state and dire failings as the rest us us already knew it was. Lamont and her supporters appear to genuinely believe that she achieved something in the last three years other than being an embarrassment to herself, her party, the Scottish Parliament and the Nation.

Meanwhile, the real party leaders in London are so detached from reality that they imagine getting rid of Lamont is all it will take to change the party’s fortunes in Scotland. They actually suppose that some cosmetic changes will suffice to turn around a party that is in terminal decline - trusted by virtually nobody in Scotland.

The fact that the odious Jim Murphy is even being considered as Lamont’s replacement tells us all we need to know about the extent to which British Labour in Scotland is out of touch with the political pulse of the nation, looking determinedly inward as if to avoid the sight of the generalised contempt in which the party is now held. Murphy’s appeal is, not to the people who have turned their backs on “Scottish” Labour, but to the party’s Westminster elite.

As ever, no thought is given to Scotland’s needs and priorities. Murphy is a British politician. He is the property of British Labour and the British establishment. He is, in the eyes of the British state, a safe pair of hands dedicated to preserving existing structures of power and privilege at a time when the people of Scotland are increasingly demanding that those structures be dismantled.

There is no redemption for “Scottish” Labour so long as it remains, in reality, a mere offshoot of “London” Labour. As much as Scotland needs to bring its government home, it needs political parties which truly represent the people of Scotland. Parties that we can trust. Parties that we can be confident will put the interests of Scotland’s people above those of of the British state and its ruling elites. British Labour in Scotland not only fails to meet these criteria, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that it ever could.

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Electoral Commission unfit for purpose, claims think tank with links to Number 10

The body which oversees elections is “not fit for purpose”, and the list of voters to be used at next May’s general election will contain at least 13m errors, a think tank has warned.

Peter A Bell's insight:

It seems that the Scottish Government was right when it proposed to set up a new Scottish Electoral Commission to oversee the independence referendum.

Many people, including myself, thought the decision to accept oversight by the existing EC was a minor concession made by Alex Salmond in order to secure the Edinburgh Agreement without humiliating Cameron too much. But it seems that it may not have been such a trivial thing after all.

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Clegg: Salmond is like a Japanese soldier fighting on after the war has been lost - Telegraph

Deputy Prime Minister urges the First Minister to ‘call it a day’ and accept the result of the independence referendum

Peter A Bell's insight:

I think it is quite generally accepted that, perhaps more than any other individual, Nick Clegg epitomises the duplicitous hypocrisy and brazen dishonesty which pervades the terminally corrupt British political system. That being so, it would be redundant for me to dwell upon these all too obvious character defects. But the very obviousness of these reprehensible traits gives rise to a serious question. Why is it that the British media is so determinedly blind to them?

Why is it left to online/alternative media to point out that, as well as being puerile and unseemly, Clegg’s comments about Alex Salmond’s continued support for the cause of independence and refusal to rule out another democratic referendum are sickeningly two-faced? (I shall not refer to any of these online sources specifically as much of the British media censors any mention of their honest rivals.)

Many readers will be perplexed as to why it is only the alternative media which are able to point to the recently published “Liberal Democrats’ Pre-Manifesto 2014” and the fact that, referring to the AV voting referendum, it says,

"We still believe these are essential changes and will work towards them in the next Parliament."

Many readers will be wondering why the above article makes no mention of the glaring contradiction that this implies in relation to Cleggs infantile sniping at Alex Salmond.

Some may realise that this attack on Salmond is a product, not merely of Clegg’s innate hypocrisy, but also evidence of his total inability to comprehend the concept of an honest, worthy, aspirational principle which is greater than the imperatives of political expediency and personal aggrandisement.

Some may also realise that the reason the British media is not trumpeting the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the likes of Clegg is that, from owners to mercenary hacks, they are part of the same detestable system within which odious creatures such as Clegg thrive.

A month ago, Scotland missed its opportunity to be free of that quagmire. That doesn’t mean we have to be meekly content to accept the consequences.

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The Blame Game

I am knackered, Bushed, Exhausted, Drained, Burned Out….You name it….I am absolutely gubbed! I have given 3 years of my life to write and fight for Scotland to regain it’s Independence.. Why di…

Peter A Bell's insight:

I was prepared to grit my teeth and put up with the dreadful punctuation and random capitalisation, but the following line told me I should not waste my time reading any further.

"If It were not for the grassroots taking control we would have been absolutely gubbed!"

This one line encapsulates an abundance of ignorance about the nature of the Yes campaign. It was always clear that the anti-independence mob didn’t understand the nature of that campaign. It seems that this incomprehension was not confined to the unionist ranks.

The grass-roots didn’t “take control” of the Yes campaign. The grass-roots WAS the Yes campaign. It was always intended that it should be so. The anti-independence mob always thought of Yes Scotland as a top-down organisation directed by politicians and professional managers. An organisation, in other words, which mirrored Better Together. Other than in the very early days, Yes Scotland was never like this. And it was never meant to be.

Yes Scotland had a well-crafted strategy, the principal element of which was sowing the seeds for a campaign that would grow organically. In the early days, there was a lot of complaints that Hope Street was not providing direction for the nascent groups. That they would arrange a meeting where the skeleton of a group would be formed, and then walk away. While not entirely true - the team at Yes Scotland HQ were always readily accessible for assistance if required - the whole idea was to let these groups find their own level. To let them adapt to local conditions so that they could better communicate with local communities.

To say that this strategy was a “disaster” is complete nonsense that defies the evidence of 45% support for independence and an ongoing campaign that is, if anything, stronger than ever.

I continue to wear my Yes badge with pride. I am proud to have been part of something which has brought so many people together to strive for a common purpose. I am proud to have been part of something that engaged and energised so many thousands of people. I am proud to have been part of a movement which rescued our democracy and reclaimed it for its rightful owners.

Don’t tell me the Yes campaign was a “disaster”. I know this to be a lie every bit as deplorable as the lies which won the anti-independence mob their inglorious victory.

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