The BBC: Not even pretending to be unbiased about independence May 31 by weegingerdug There’s no point in beating about the bush, for a long time it’s been obvious that BBC Scotland’s commitment to neutrality and even handedness has an unwritten rider saying *except when it comes to Scottish independence, but now the Corporation is just taking the piss. It is well known that young Scots are more inclined to support independence than those of older generations, this is a pattern which has been deeply entrenched in just about every opinion poll since the independence referendum of 2014. Amongst the youngest age cohort, those under the age of 24, majority support for independence is overwhelming, people in Scotland under the age of 24 support independence by a factor of two to one.
At least young Scots support independence by a factor of two to one, except when they are young Scots who feature in a BBC online article entitled: “Scottish independence: Is it still a priority for young Scots?” The online article was a trailer for a report due to be broadcast on BBC2’s Newsnight Programme on Tuesday evening.
It does not auger well for the broadcast report. It appears that BBC young Scots not only oppose independence by a factor of two to one, but the two opponents of independence featured alongside a single supporter of the SNP are also former candidates for the Labour and Conservative parties, a fact which the BBC did not see fit to disclose. The piece glosses over the consistent and long established pattern in different opinion polls from different polling companies which find that by a very large majority young Scots favour independence and indeed the only age cohort in which there is a majority opposed to Scottish independence is the very oldest.
Nowhere in the article was there any acknowledgement of that reality, far less any attempt to examine why it is that younger people in Scotland apparently reject a British political identity and see Scotland’s future as an independent state. Neither was there any awareness that Britishness as a political construct is far weaker in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK and what role this weakening sense of Britishness might have to play in leading a large majority of young Scots to see Scotland’s future as an independent nation.
It could be argued that it is this weaker appeal of Britishness in Scotland which leads Scots as a whole, and young Scots in particular, to be less enthusiastic about big royal events than people elsewhere in the UK, or that it might be responsible for Scottish opposition to Brexit. It is plausible to argue that for Scots in general and young Scots in particular, a European identity and a European future are far more attractive and appealing than a British identity or a British future. This has been thrown into even sharper relief since the Brexit vote, now British and European futures are seen as standing in opposition to one another. The Better Together claim during the 2014 referendum campaign that by voting No Scotland could have the best of both worlds has been unmasked as a cruel joke.
All the piece has to say about the long established demographic pattern of large pro-independence majorities amongst younger age cohorts is :”Polls suggest Scots aged under 24 are more likely to back independence than the average person.” Then it quickly goes on to speak with one SNP supporter, one Labour supporter, and a Tory. The BBC certainly does not want to suggest that Scots under 24 are more likely to back independence ” than the average person,” an odd phrasing which suggests that if you do back independence you are somehow no longer an average or ordinary person.
This is not reporting in an unbiased way on an important story, it is not an honest and transparent attempt to inform the public in the rest of the UK about a very real and well established demographic fact in Scotland, a fact which is a demographic time bomb for the United Kingdom in its current form. What the BBC published is a clear and deliberate attempt to shape an anti-independence narrative.
Instead of a serious attempt to look at what the factors might be that are leading a large majority of young Scots to support independence, we got the usual BBC idea of ‘balance’ which is to stick on one person from the SNP and one each from the other large parties. In this case that turned the two to one support for independence amongst people under 24 on its head and gave us young people who two to one oppose independence. As noted above the BBC did not think it important to disclose that the Labour and Tory supporters had both been candidates for those parties. You might think that their own personal political ambitions would have a bearing on their views on Scottish independence, but not if you’re the BBC. In the BBC universe these two party candidates are more representative of the ‘average person.’ So that’s you telt, independence supporting youth.
However there was another and more insidious form of BBC bias on display here, the piece framed the independence debate through a party political lens. This is a framing which favours the anti-independence case as it portrays independence as being entirely about the SNP and so encourages people who may be sympathetic to the idea of independence but who are not necessarily SNP supporters to associate the concept of Scottish independence with a political party that they do not favour. This framing also avoids looking at more deep seated structural issues within the British state as being factors which have a role to play in creating a desire for independence. It means that the Westminster parties and the Westminster system do not need to look at themselves and their own failings, the wish for Scottish independence can then be conveniently blamed on ‘nationalism’ and the ‘grievance mongering’ of the SNP.
The BBC isn’t even pretending to cover Scottish independence in an even handed way any more. As SNP president Mike Russell said: “The BBC is now not even trying to hide its institutional bias against independence. This is not just lazy and shoddy programme making, it is an attempt to skew the debate. Those responsible shouldn’t be working in broadcasting.
The BBC: Not even pretending to be unbiased about independence May31by weegingerdugThere’s no point in beating about the bush, for a long time it’s been obvious that BBC Scotland’s commitment to neutrality and even handedness has an unwritten r
Unbelievable Perhaps the Old bill will have a look into that if they are not already Doing So https://www.scottishdailyexpress.co.uk/news/politics/snp-new-missing-money-furore-30133789?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar
SNP MP doesn't know what biological sex means and doesn't know what chromosones she has even though she has children. This idealogy brought down wee Jimmy but it seems that the SNP/Green loonies and Humza are doubling down on the I dont know what a m
SNP MSPs have agreed to send Nicola Sturgeon flowers following her arrest on Sunday, the deputy leader of the party has said.
Wonder if any of the cultists on the thread have sent her some flowers or a few bath bombs and scented candles to perk her up?
SNP MSPs have agreed to send Nicola Sturgeon flowers following her arrest on Sunday, the deputy leader of the party has said.Wonder if any of the cultists on the thread have sent her some flowers or a few bath bombs and scented candles to perk her u
The "still" indeed being the key word there. It's very tragic..
Back in the day the corrupt, self interested, compulsive liars from all flights of politics used to have splendidly mannered and civilised people. Sadly, at least in the anglosphere, a bunch of obscene, classless leftie or non-voter professional victim conspiracy loon misfit vandals decided to pretend they are right-wingers in a scheme to put eternal shame on it.
The "still" indeed being the key word there. It's very tragic..Back in the day the corrupt, self interested, compulsive liars from all flights of politics used to have splendidly mannered and civilised people. Sadly, at least in the anglosphere, a bu
Now for some good news Jun 13 by weegingerdug Like many people who support Scottish independence and who recognise that the SNP and Green Scottish Government is the only credible political vehicle for delivering independence, I was shocked – but not hugely surprised – by yesterday’s news that Nicola Sturgeon had been arrested for questioning by the police as part of their on going investigation into SNP finances. I had been expecting this development as Nicola Sturgeon was the last remaining person who had signed off on the set of SNP accounts which are central to this investigation who had not been arrested for questioning. Her husband Peter Murrell, former chief executive of the party and former party treasurer Colin Beattie had both previously been arrested for questioning, and like both of them Nicola Sturgeon was later released without charge, pending further inquiries. All three strenuously deny any wrong doing.
It’s important to point out right away that Scotland’s strict laws about contempt of court apply here, so it is very unwise to speculate about the investigation and I urge anyone commenting to refrain from doing so, specifically that means refraining from any imputations of guilt to any of those involved – social media is currently full of individuals who have already convicted and sentenced people who have not even been charged with any offence. Very often these are the same people who loudly protested that Alex Salmond was innocent before he had been charged with any offence. The exact same presumption of innocence applies now. So remember what yer maw telt ye – If ye cannae say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Naturally this event will spark off another media feeding frenzy just as we were hoping that things were starting to calm down after a very torrid period for the SNP and we could start trying to focus on a positive case for independence, the many and manifest shortcomings of a Conservative government in meltdown and on how the British state is failing Scotland on so many levels. Boris Johnson and two of his allies have resigned from Parliament in an almighty huff, provoking three by elections which are likely to prove extremely difficult for the Tories and on Monday there were handbags at dawn between Johnson and Sunak, with Sunak making a bid for the moral high ground, something which he could only manage because his opponent’s moral integrity is lower than the bottom of a deep mine shaft filled with all the raw sewage that the Tories have allowed to be released into England’s rivers and lakes. Johnson has accused Sunak of talking rubbish, which to be honest is all that Sunak has ever done, all dressed up in a management speak spreadsheet. But that never stopped Johnson from giving him a job.
But no, instead we’ve got BBC Scotland being nostalgic for the murder tent, having been gifted a shiny new angle on a story that was getting tired. So it’s another enthusiastic whirl on the SNP bad roundabout for the Scottish media and a massively convenient distraction for Douglas Ross and Anas Sarwar from the many controversies in their own parties.
But it’s not all bad news. There is more than a glimmer of hope. This storm will pass as all political storms inevitably do, and when it does the outlook for Scottish independence is bright. Even as the police investigation into the SNP’s finances rumbles on, gleefully reported by a Scottish media which all but turned a blind eye to the many Conservative financial scandals involving far far greater sums of money and allegations that tens of millions of taxpayers’ cash was being diverted into private bank accounts, there are plenty of signs that even though support for the SNP has been dented, support for independence has been unaffected by the SNP’s recent travails and the accompanying Scottish media onslaught.
An opinion poll published on Monday – the field work for which was being conducted as news of Nicola Sturgeon’s arrest broke – has found that there is majority support for independence. The Find Out Now poll, commissioned by the Alba party found that just 39.2% of respondents would back No in an independence referendum compared to 43.4% who favour Yes, with don’t knows running at 10.8%. Once the don’t knows are excluded, support for independence is at 52.5%. This poll agrees with other polls from different companies in showing high levels of support for independence among younger age groups, rising to significant absolute majorities amongst those under the age of 34 – even when don’t knows are included. It is safe to say that support for independence is the settled will of the young people of Scotland, only amongst those over 65 is there clear majority opposition to independence. That’s very bad news for opponents of independence, the writing is on the wall for this so called union. Support for Scotland remaining a part of the United Kingdom is literally dying off.
A previous poll carried out earlier this year by Find Out Now likewise found a majority for independence, a poll commissioned by The National in January had 54% in favour of independence and 46% opposed once don’t knows were disregarded. In fact the company has pretty consistently shown majority support for independence since it started polling on the issue.
It is striking that the polling companies which do not weight responses by the result of the 2014 referendum, Find Out Now and Ipsos, both report significantly higher support for independence than those polling companies which do weight their results by the outcome of the 2014 referendum and their polls consistently find majority support for independence. Given that the referendum vote took place almost nine years ago, it is doubtful whether weighting an opinion poll in 2023 by a vote that took place in 2014 serves any real purpose.
It is normal for polling companies to weight their sample, they do this in order to ensure that their polling sample is accurately representative of the broader electorate. Done correctly this increases the accuracy of the poll. In the couple of years following 2014 it certainly made sense for polling companies to weight their polls about Scottish independence according to the result of the referendum, however as the years pass, the reference point used by polling companies has gradually drifted out of alignment with the current state of the electorate. Polling companies which weight their results according to the result of the 2014 referendum are using as an anchor point the composition of the electorate as it was nine years ago, not as it necessarily is today. The electorate now is very different from the electorate that voted in 2014, around 60,000 people die each year in Scotland, so that means that approximately 540,000 people have died in Scotland since the 2014 referendum.
The total electorate in the referendum was 4.2 million. 540,000 of those people, or 7.8% of 2014’s total electorate, are no longer with us. Given that then as now older people were far more likely to oppose independence and the 540,000 who have passed away since 2014 will disproportionately consist of older people who tended to oppose independence, it’s easy to understand why weighting polls about independence by the 2014 result will result in artificially depressing the true level of support for Scottish independence. And this is without taking into account factors such as the false recall of a vote which took place nine years ago.
Indeed it is quite likely that there are already consistent majorities for independence in Scotland. The British nationalist parties and their friends in the media will understand this too, hence the frenzied barrage of attacks we have seen of late on the only pro independence political party which is able to win elections and bring about that all important vote on independence.
So despite the fact that the SNP and the Greens are a flawed vehicle, I for one will be keeping the faith. Because the prize of independence is tantalisingly close.
Now for some good news Jun13by weegingerdugLike many people who support Scottish independence and who recognise that the SNP and Green Scottish Government is the only credible political vehicle for delivering independence, I was shocked – but not h
The gammon filth are dying off and the young are all voting for independence,it will be a huge yes soon enough..
Will it be soon as in October 2023 like Jimmy Skankie the messiah foretold or are you working to Humza's five year timescale now now that you've found out she's a lying ****bag?
The gammon filth are dying off and the young are all voting for independence,it will be a huge yes soon enough.. Will it be soon as in October 2023 like Jimmy Skankie the messiah foretold or are you working to Humza's five year timescale now now that
I'd be absolutely astounded if no one is brought to justice for this clear misappropriation of Party fund. How can a fund of that magnitude not missed and the person responsible called to account?
This is clearly an inside-job. As such the people closest to the money must know how the money has gone awol. More embarrassing time for the SNP to come, no doubt.
I'd be absolutely astounded if no one is brought to justice for this clear misappropriation of Party fund. How can a fund of that magnitude not missed and the person responsible called to account?This is clearly an inside-job. As such the people clos
Johnson the liar and bully who led a lying and bullying party by weegingerdug Everyone always knew that Boris Johnson was an entitled liar and a bully who has never taken responsibility for his behaviour at any point in his life. Now it’s official, the Commons Privileges Committee has published a damning and brutal report which finds that not only had Johnson lied repeatedly to Parliament but he also held Parliament in contempt, undermined democracy, and was complicit in a campaign of abuse and intimidation directed at members of the committee.
Johnson is the first British prime minister who has been found by MPs to have deliberately and repeatedly misled the House of Commons. The Committee found that his repeated offences were so egregious, offences for which Johnson continues to refuse to accept responsibility that it recommended he be suspended from the Commons for ninety days, a sanction which would have triggered the recall process meaning Johnson would also have become the first British prime minister to be recalled by his constituents and voted out of Parliament. That was an indignity too far for the immensely vain and entitled Johnson. Johnson had received prior notice of the committee’s findings but rather than face the humiliation of being censured by the House and the prospect of a recall by election which would almost certainly have seen him booted out by his constituents, Johnson flounced off in a furious and petulant huff, resigning as an MP.
The committee recognised that its proposed ninety day suspension of the former Prime Law Breaker was rendered purely theoretical by his cowardly decision to run away from the verdict of MPs, so the committee has proposed an additional sanction, to remove the former member’s pass from Johnson. This pass is normally given automatically to all former MPs, and allows them unfettered access to the Parliamentary estate where they can meet with serving MPs and government ministers. It is this pass which makes former MPs so valuable to lobbying companies, giving them a potentially lucrative source of income after leaving Parliament. However Johnson’s offences are so serious that the committee has decided to make him persona non grata, no longer welcome in the halls, meeting rooms and bars of Westminster.
Since resigning as an MP he has since continued to rant about the committee, denouncing it as a “kangaroo court” and insisting that the committee is “talking tripe.” In his angry and self-pitying attempt to make out that he is the real victim here and his continuing refusal to accept that he has done anything wrong he merely confirms that the committee’s assessment of his was correct.
This is a man who was never fit for high office yet this serial liar and bully was repeated defended and enabled by the Conservative party. Sunak may now be one of Johnson’s many political enemies, but he too was one of Johnson’s most prominent enablers for years. The Privileges Committee has a Conservative majority but this report is not merely damning in its findings about the former Prime Minister, by implication it is damning about the entire Conservative party which supported, promoted, and enabled him for so many years.
The Commons will vote on the report on Monday, don’t be surprised if Rishi Sunak suddenly discovers that he has a ‘pressing engagement’ which requires him to be far far away from London. Although most Conservative MPs are now fed up with Johnson’s antics, he still retains a cult like following among the Conservative grass roots and some Tory MPs will be afraid that if they vote to uphold the report their local Conservative association may take steps to deselect them as Conservative candidates. So likewise don’t be surprised to see mass Conservative abstentions on the vote. Even now the Tories are still too gutless to stand up to Johnson, and the frothing British nationalist quasi fascists of G Beebies ‘News’ are still defending him, making excuses for him, and platforming his lies. Despite everything, they still don’t understand the meaning of the term complicity. Democracy doesn’t die in the dark, it dies under the bright lights of a right wing ‘news’ channel.
Boris Johnson is a liar and a bully who led a party for which lying and bullying are what pass for policy and principle. He might be gone now and might have suffered a political savaging from which there can be no coming back, but the deceitful mendacious Conservative party which he shaped in his image is still very much a cancer on the body politic.
There are few areas in which the lies and deceit of the Conservative party are more starkly apparent than the way in which they have treated Scotland and the devolution settlement.
A new report from the Scottish Government on the impact of Brexit on the devolution settlement has set out the Conservative Government has used Brexit as an excuse to undermine the devolution settlement and to by pass and undermine the Scottish Parliament. The paper sets out numerous instances of the British Government introducing legislation or taking measures which have a direct impact on devolved matters. Since 2016 nine laws have been passed by the Conservatives at Westminster which ignore the Sewel Convention which states that Westminster “will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent” of the devolved legislatures. Prior to the 2016 EU referendum there were no breaches of the Sewel Convention, since then the British Government has been doing so increasingly often and increasingly blatantly.
One of the key commitments of the anti independence parties in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, and one which was critical to them winning a No vote in that referendum, was the promise that the Sewel Convention would be made legally binding. However since then the Conservative government has obtained a UK Supreme court ruling that writing the Sewel Convention into the Scotland Act was without legal effect, and the Conservatives have been growing increasingly brazen in their contempt for the Sewel Convention. Today’s report from the Scottish Government finds that the British Government no longer feels that it needs to pay any heed to the Sewel Convention, which is – or rather was – a fundamental principle underpinning the entire devolution settlement. If the Westminster Government can feel that it is able to interfere with the powers of the Scottish Parliament at will then the entire purpose of devolution is rendered impotent.
The Sewel Convention is dead. Scotland has been lied to by the British parties. Labour does not propose to do anything to alter this lamentable state of affairs if it gets into power. Voting Labour does nothing to protect Scotland from a Tory party for which lying and bullying are guiding principles, it merely gives us a brief respite under a Labour party which can only get elected by aping Tory policies and methods. Only independence can protect Scotland from British nationalist deceit.
A Valencian dug living in GlesgaJohnson the liar and bully who led a lying and bullying party by weegingerdugEveryone always knew that Boris Johnson was an entitled liar and a bully who has never taken responsibility for his behaviour at any point in
Fantastic value compared to the hundreds of millions pumped in to Hull 804.
The heid men should give themselves another Brucey bonus as a reward for a job well done.
Just hope wee brassnic turns up for a photo op at its maiden voyage.
£1 millions a month? Fantastic value compared to the hundreds of millions pumped in to Hull 804.The heid men should give themselves another Brucey bonus as a reward for a job well done.Just hope wee brassnic turns up for a photo op at its maiden voy
poor old mamalush must be foaming at the mouth - the sinking of the SNP must be driving him bananas !! Hence his stepping up of the propaganda. Just think of the damage the SNP has done to poor old scotland. It is just old fashioned hatred of the english
And some of my best friends come from the other side of the wall - But they chose to live in engerland - I wonder why??
poor old mamalush must be foaming at the mouth - the sinking of the SNP must be driving him bananas !! Hence his stepping up of the propaganda. Just think of the damage the SNP has done to poor old scotland.It is just old fashioned hatred of the en
BBC Scotland: Never mind the future, here’s the fitba Jun 20 by weegingerdug The BBC is no longer even pretending to hide its contempt for Scottish independence and the constitutional debate which has defined the Scottish political landscape since prior to the 2011 Holyrood election – back when the anti independence parties were still maintaining that if the people of Scotland wanted an independence referendum then all they needed to do was to vote for a Scottish Parliament in which there was a majority for holding one. That principle has since gone oot the windae along with the convention that no Westminster government would interfere with the powers of the Scottish Parliament without the consent of the people of Scotland and their elected representatives, the notion of the United Kingdom as a voluntary union of nations, the British state’s acceptance of the right of the people of Scotland to determine for themselves the form of government best suited to Scotland’s needs, and the guarantee that Scotland could only remain a part of the European Union by rejecting Scottish independence.
The other principle that has gone oot the windae is the supposed commitment of BBC Scotland to being a public service broadcaster serving all the people of Scotland. It is now screamingly apparent that the only Scottish public that BBC Scotland is committed to serving is that part of the Scottish populace which is obsessed with the fitba, loves the royal family, and has no interest in Scottish independence.
Anyway, today (Monday 19 June), First Minister Humza Yousaf launched the latest in the series of the Scottish Government’s white papers on independence, although you wouldn’t have known that if you were relying on BBC Scotland because it did not see fit to mention it during its lunchtime news bulletin. The white paper published today was about a written constitution for an independent Scotland. You can read the paper here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/building-new-scotland-creating-modern-constitution-independent-scotland-summary/
The document sets out why having a written constitution is so important in order to guarantee fundamental rights to citizens and to protect democracy from political parties with authoritarian leanings, like the Conservative party. Under the British system the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of Parliament means party that the leader of the party which happens to enjoy a majority in the Commons effectively has the power to do whatever he or she likes without any real constraints. That is why both the Labour and Conservative parties are so wedded to it. Labour’s half baked constitutional proposals left that doctrine untouched.
We have seen the dangers of that with this hideous Conservative Government, which has trashed the Sewel Convention and is hell bent on undermining the devolution settlement without even making a pretence of seeking a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland to do so. It is also making a bonfire of the right to strike, the right to peaceful protest and is introducing anti-democratic voter suppression measures which benefit the Tories with the most spurious justification.
Central to the proposed Scottish written constitution is enshrining the fundamental principle that in Scotland it’s the people who are sovereign. Amongst other key points it proposes giving constitutional recognition to the Scottish NHS and enshrining a constitutional right to healthcare that is free at the point of delivery. The constitution would also enshrine Scotland’s status as a nuclear weapons free country. This commitment has been welcomed by Scottish CND, and will also be welcomed by the majority of grass roots independence campaigners, many of whom have long been motivated to seek independence as the only means of removing the abomination of nuclear weapons from the Clyde.
The other key proposal is for an interim constitution which would go into effect on day one of independence. This would broadly be based on the European Charter of Human Rights. the interim constitution would also mandate the setting up of a constitutional convention comprising representatives from across civic Scotland as well as constitutional experts and all political parties which would be tasked with drawing up a permanent constitution which would be formally adopted after being approved in a national referendum.
Some have wondered why this constitution cannot be drawn up now. The answer is simple. This constitution will be for everyone in Scotland, even those who currently oppose independence. All sectors of Scottish society must be involved in drawing it up. Those who are currently opposed to independence will not wish to involve themselves in drafting a Scottish constitution. They will only be willing to do so after the fact of independence. But in order for the new constitution to be widely accepted, they must be involved in drawing it up.
Whether you currently support independence or not, the launch of this white paper is an important development in Scotland’s long constitutional debate. Yet the launch of this paper was not mentioned at all on the BBC national lunchtime news, while the BBC’s “news where you are” told us that the most important story in the nation today is that some fitba team got a new manager.
This was then followed by a piece about Keir Starmer making a promise to do something that the Scottish Government has already promised to do – although the BBC didn’t see fit to mention that fact – this being Starmer’s commitment not to authorise any new oil or gas fields in the North Sea. You might have thought that the existing commitment by the Scottish Government might have been germane to a story puffing up Keir Starmer’s new found green credentials, but not apparently if you are a BBC Scotland news editor. Then we had a report about debt. Then it was back to more fitba and then the weather. Priorities, eh?
The BBC couldn’t display more contempt for that half of the Scottish population which supports independence if it tried. Never mind adult discussions about your constitutional future Scotland, let’s talk about the fitba instead and then talk about Keir Starmer promising to do something that the Scottish Government is doing without mentioning that the Scottish Government is already doing it. Some independence supporters often wonder why support for independence is not higher than it currently is after Brexit and all the chaos and mess created by this arrogant and dysfunctional Conservative party. Look at the BBC’s news selection waffling on interminably about the bloody fitba, and a Scottish press that’s more interested in ferry timetables than in the Conservative party’s destruction of democracy. That’s why. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, but if Scotland had a media that was truly representative of the range of public opinion in this country, we’d be independent already. And that’s why the BBC and the print media are determined to ensure that Scotland never gets a representative media.
BBC Scotland: Never mind the future, here’s the fitba Jun20by weegingerdugThe BBC is no longer even pretending to hide its contempt for Scottish independence and the constitutional debate which has defined the Scottish political landscape since pri
Starmer’s litany of broken promises Jun 22 by weegingerdug It’s being reported that if Labour gets into power following the next Westminster General Election, Keir Starmer not after all going to abolish the House of Lords. I know, I’m as shocked as you are, which is to say not remotely shocked at all. Ever since he became leader of what used to be the Labour party, Keir Starmer has been shedding promises like a bad case of dandruff on a black jacket.
When campaigning for the Labour leadership Starmer promised that if he became leader and won the next General Election he would abolish the House of Lords, introduce a federal system, nationalise the railways, the English water companies, the post office and energy companies. He vowed to defend freedom of movement within Europe as the UK left the EU. He also promised to oppose Tory attacks on the rights of workers to take industrial action. He also committed to abolishing university tuition fees. A Labour Government was going to introduce tax increases on the top 5% of earners. It was going to abolish Universal Credit and the Tories’ cruel sanctions regime.
Three years on those promises are looking pretty threadbare. In May Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said that her party had “no plans” to increase taxes on the highest earners. Instead Starmer has been criticising the current “high tax burden” and talking instead about growing the economy. Universal Credit will no longer be abolished by a future Labour government, instead Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth has promised to “reform” Universal Credit but made it clear that Labour intends to keep “conditionality” a part of the system. That’s code for sanctions. Starmer has done a U turn on his previous promise to abolish university tuition fees and has drastically scaled back on his promise to invest billions on the development of green energy.
The promises to nationalise the railways, English water companies and energy companies have basically been scrapped in their entirety. Instead Starmer promised greater regulation of companies that would remain in the private sector, saying in July last year: “The answer is going to lie in regulating the market, changing the market, rather than simply taking things into public ownership.” He also acknowledged that the private sector would continue to have a role to play in the NHS in England. So his promise to end private sector outsourcing in the NHS in England has bitten the dust too.
Starmer has also now ruled out any return of freedom of movement within Europe, and has said that he would not seek to rejoin the European Single Market or Customs Union. Starmer will maintain the hard Brexit foisted upon us by the Tories as he is too worried about chasing votes in Brexit supporting constituencies in the Midlands and North of England to care about those of us who think Brexit was a bad idea to begin with and its implementation has made a dreadful situation far far worse.
Starmer’s promise to introduce “radical devolution” and a federal system looks like a bad joke now. Gordon Brown’s much heralded constitutional review landed with a resounding ‘meh’. We got a promise to introduce some minor tinkering with the powers of Holyrood, giving the Scottish Parliament minor borrowing powers and control of job centres. Whoop de doo indeed. The fanfare announcement of the abolition of the House of Lords and to replace it with an elected ‘Senate of the Nations and Regions’ turned out to consist of a promise to consult on this proposal before deciding whether or not to include it in a Labour manifesto. Even if it did make it into a Labour manifesto there’s no guarantee it would be implemented.
Labour had a manifesto commitment in 1997 to reform the House of Lords and end the hereditary principle in the upper chamber, despite a landslide Labour majority in the 1997 General Election there are still hereditary peers in the Lords and we now have a bloated upper house stuffed with the cronies and associates of politicians who are appointed for life in a system of institutionalised patronage. Labour promised to reform the system of life peerages so that membership of the Lords reflected the vote share of the parties, as a counterbalance to the First Past the Post system so beloved of both Labour and the Tories in the Commons. The 1997 Labour manifesto said: “Our objective will be to ensure that over time party appointees as life peers more accurately reflect the proportion of votes cast at the previous general election.”
That didn’t come close to happening, instead Blair’s government was embroiled in allegations of cash for honours with peerages being doled out to Labour donors. The Tories picked up that particular ball and ran with it and the Lords is now essentially a London club for Tory donors and high profile supporters.
Now Starmer appears to have scrapped the promise to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a new elected upper chamber which would have the role of guaranteeing the devolution settlement and protecting the powers of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments from a hostile Westminster government. Instead Starmer proposes to tackle the problem of a bloated House of Lords stuffed to the gills with Conservative life peers by stuffing it with dozens of new Labour life peers.
In other words Starmer is not only not going to introduce any meaningful reform of the undemocratic House of Lords, he is also not going to do anything to protect the devolution settlement and the Scottish Parliament from a future Conservative government. That is a grave omission especially given the deeply worrying trajectory of the Conservative party which may very well completely espouse extreme right wing authoritarian populist English nationalism as it seeks a path back to power after losing the next General Election. For Scottish voters at the next Westminster General Election voting Labour in order to get the Tories out is the very definition of short term gratification that comes at a terrible longer term cost. In any event voting SNP in Scotland also has the desired effect of reducing Tory representation in the Commons.
All that will happen is the election of a Labour government that has adopted Tory drag in order to appeal to Brexit voters in England. It will be Blairism on steroids, and Scotland will remain exposed to the full blast of an even more cruel and authoritarian Conservative party which will inevitably return to power eventually. If Yes voters do desert the SNP for Labour as some polls suggest, they will have done nothing to keep out the Tories that they could not have done by voting SNP, and they will have boosted the English nationalist tendencies of Labour and the Tories by giving them the false impression that Scotland is no longer interested in independence. Scotland will be worse off and even more vulnerable than it is now.
Starmer’s litany of broken promises Jun22by weegingerdugIt’s being reported that if Labour gets into power following the next Westminster General Election, Keir Starmer not after all going to abolish the House of Lords. I know, I’m as shocked a
The SNP's new auditors have flagged up an issue with its accounts, the party has revealed.
Its treasurer said the SNP was still on track to file the necessary paperwork with the Electoral Commission on time.
But he said one "qualification" has been made by the auditors because of missing documents.
The accounts will note that the original records for some cash and cheques had not been retained for the current and prior financial years.
The records relate to membership, donations and raffle income.
The auditors will state in the accounts: "We have been unable to satisfy ourselves by alternative means regarding the completeness of income in respect of the above limitation in scope.
"Consequently we are unable to determine whether any adjustment to income is necessary in the current or prior year and the potential impact on opening reserves accordingly."
The SNP said the qualification was down to "administrative processes" and there was "no suggestion of misappropriation of funds".
It also said that administrative changes had already been made on the recommendation of the auditors and that "there is no suggestion that the accounts do not present an accurate picture of the party's financial position".
The information was outlined at a meeting of the party's National Executive Committee on Thursday evening, which approved the accounts for 2022.
Party treasurer Stuart McDonald said: "We have already engaged with auditors and implemented administrative changes in accordance with their recommendations and will continue to do so.
"Our learning from this process will also feed into the governance review which is under way, and which will see us adopt the best practice and procedures in terms of oversight."
The SNP had to find new auditors when the Johnston Carmichael firm quit after working with the party for more than a decade.
Johnston Carmichael informed the SNP of its decision last September, but it was not made public by the party at the time.
Humza Yousaf has said he only found that the party no longer had auditors in place after he won the contest to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader in March.
Mr Yousaf announced at the time that the party would carry out a review of its governance and transparency.
The party initially struggled to find another auditor willing to take on the work, but eventually appointed Manchester-based firm AMS Accountants Group at the start of May.
AMS managed to submit accounts for the SNP's Westminster group to parliamentary authorities by the end of that month, which it needed to do to avoid losing up to £1.2m in public funding.
It must now file accounts for the party as a whole with the Electoral Commission in July.
The party is still at the centre of an ongoing police investigation into its finances and funding which has seen officers arrest Ms Sturgeon, her husband Peter Murrell - the party former chief executive - and former treasurer Colin Beattie.
All three were subsequently released without charge while further inquiries are carried out.
Mr Murrell had been the SNP chief executive since 1999 but quit in March after it emerged the party had given misleading information about its membership numbers to the media.
The Glasgow home of Ms Sturgeon and Mr Murrell was searched as part of the investigation, as was the party's HQ in Edinburgh, with several boxes seen being removed from both properties.
A luxury motorhome was also removed from outside the home of Mr Murrell's mother in Dunfermline.
The police inquiry centres of what happened to more than £660,000 of funds given to the party by activists to be spent on a future independence referendum.
Speaking after being released from police custody on 11 June, Ms Sturgeon said: "I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing."
Very murky indeed.
The SNP's new auditors have flagged up an issue with its accounts, the party has revealed.Its treasurer said the SNP was still on track to file the necessary paperwork with the Electoral Commission on time.But he said one "qualification" has been mad
SNP ran up £148,000 taxpayer bill at Cop 27 climate conference Nicola Sturgeon and other officials spent thousands on luxury hotels, flights, and food
By Oliver Gill, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT 5 July 2023 • 7:02pm SNP delegates who attended last year’s Cop 27 climate conference spent a night in Italy and two weeks at a luxury Sharm El Sheikh beach resort, running up a taxpayer bill of nearly £150,000....
SNP ran up £148,000 taxpayer bill at Cop 27 climate conferenceNicola Sturgeon and other officials spent thousands on luxury hotels, flights, and foodByOliver Gill, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT5 July 2023 • 7:02pmSNP delegates who attended last yea
Toxic Westminster and BBC enablers Jul 10 by weegingerdug The British media is currently engrossed in one of its periodic bouts of moralistic pearl clutching over the story of an unnamed but “well-known” presenter who is alleged to have paid thousands of pounds over a period of some years to a teenager in return for sexually explicit photos. Phillip Schofield must be breathing a huge sigh of relief right now that the media focus has turned to someone even creepier and more disasteful.
Sexual contact between a teenager and a much older adult man is abusive and exploitative even when the younger person is over the legal age of consent. What is lawful is not always right. The gross imbalance in experience, income, and power makes the relationship alarmingly problematic and renders the concept of consent moot in a moral, if not legal sense. The older, more powerful, and wealthier the older person is, the more coercive and controlling the relationship is likely to be. However although in this case the young person was reportedly first induced to send explicit photos to the older man when they were 17 and over the age of consent, an offence may still have been committed.
Although the age of consent is 16, the minimum age at which people are allowed to send explicit photographs is 18. According to the Observer newspaper: “One key legal issue is whether the young person sent the BBC presenter any pictures when they were 17, which could amount to possession of child sexual abuse images, a serious criminal charge that incurs a minimum of six months’ prison. If explicit photos were exchanged only after they turned 18, it is possible that no law was broken.” But then, not breaking any laws is not the same as behaving appropriately or in a non-abusive manner.
Over the weekend we were informed by various talking heads that the presenter at the centre of these allegations cannot be named because no criminal charges have yet been brought. All over Scotland you could hear the sound of SNP members laughing so hard that they cracked their ribs. On Sunday, BBC director Tim Davie was preaching that everyone who has not been charged with any crime has the right to privacy while just a couple of weeks ago the BBC was outside Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon’s home, giving abundant visual clues to ensure that the whole world knew where they lived. In at least one report I saw, their house number was clearly visible.
Naturally with this story getting wall to wall coverage in the newspapers it was going to be interesting to see how the BBC handled it in its weekend look at what the papers were saying. And true to form BBC Scotland was its usual predictable self. The BBC Scotland Sunday Show spent just two minutes quickly trotting through the BBC presenter sex pics story which dominates the newspapers. And then it spent six minutes on a made up story that wasn’t in any newspaper about an imaginary SNP split. The BBC has been morally and politically bankrupt for many years, its primary purpose in Scotland is to fend off Scottish independence at all costs. As such its supposed role of holding power to account is merely performative. The only power that is to be held to account is devolved power.
That said, it is still hugely hypocritical that ministers and MPs are criticising the BBC for not taking sexual misbehaviour seriously. At the last count more than 40 MPs have been investigated for it, two are on bail, two are currently in prison, and there are reports that others are under police investigation. Open Democracy reported recently that a Conservative MP on police bail after being accused of rape has been given the go-ahead by his local party to stand in the next general election. He has not been suspended by the Conservative party, bear that in mind the next time that Douglas Ross demands that Humza Yousaf suspend Nicola Sturgeon. A significant number of Conservative MPs have come under fire for allegations of sexually abusive behaviour.
Tamworth MP Chris Pincher has been suspended from Parliament for eight weeks after an investigation was launched when he was alleged to have groped two men at the Conservative Carlton Club. Six further allegations against Pincher later emerged, involving behaviour over a decade.
Neil Parish resigned from his seat in Devon after admitting to watching porn in the Commons on two occasions. More serious was the case of Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan who was jailed for 18 months in May 2022 for groping a 15-year-old boy in 2008.
David Warburton, who represented Somerton and Frome, had the Tory whip removed after he was allegations of cocaine use and sexual harrassment emerged. Warburton resigned as an MP in June, admitting to the use of cocaine, but continuing to deny allegations of sexual harrassment. Instead he asserted that the Me Too movement had gone “too far.” Because he’s the real victim here, you understand.
Former Conservative minister Andrew Griffiths was found to have raped and physically abused his wife by a family court judge who considered evidence at a private trial in 2021. Griffiths stepped down as an MP prior to the 2019 General Election.
Former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke was jailed for two years in September 2020 after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault following a month-long trial.
Rob Roberts, the MP for Delyn was allowed to rejoin the Conservatives despite an independent investigation finding he had sexually harassed a junior member of staff.
Meanwhile the BBC has, with no explanation, dropped a Panorama inquiry into claims of sexual harassment of junior staff by Westminster MPs. It is of course entirely coincidental that the Conservatives effectively appoint the BBC’s governors. The documentary has been months in the making, had been due to be broadcast this summer, but has now been removed from future broadcast schedules without any public explanation from the BBC. One of the contributors, a former parliamentary employee who had waived her right to anonymity in order to talk about her experiences said that she had not been given a satisfactory explanation for the cancellation of the programme.
Mhairi Black, in her recent letter announcing that she would not be seeking re-election, denounced the toxic culture of Westminster, she was not wrong. It’s a toxicity which spreads its tentacles into every British institution. They say rot progresses from the head down, and the Westminster Parliament is a toxic putrid cesspit of sleaze, corruption, abuse, dysfunction, and the waste of billions of pounds of public money. But hey, ferries! And Brendan O’Hara and Angus MacNeil had an argument. That’s what’s really important here. Ammarite?
Toxic Westminster and BBC enablers Jul10by weegingerdugThe British media is currently engrossed in one of its periodic bouts of moralistic pearl clutching over the story of an unnamed but “well-known” presenter who is alleged to have paid thousan
Nicola Sturgeon billed taxpayers for a business class flight and a hotel room costing more than £500 per night so she could go on a “farewell tour” to London.
Documents disclosed by the Scottish Government show that Ms Sturgeon’s luxury return flight from Glasgow to the UK capital, which takes less than 90 minutes, cost the public purse £715, bringing the overall bill for the trip to £1,230.
The booking, in her final days as first minister, was made despite rules stating that ministers must make “cost-effective travel arrangements” which are “consistent with ministers’ commitment to reduce emissions”.
On the same night, one of Ms Sturgeon’s senior ministers also stayed in London but found a hotel that cost less than a fifth of the price of the £515 room she stayed in.
Ms Sturgeon’s one-day tour of London was seen as largely self-promotional, with her most high-profile engagement an appearance on ITV’s Loose Women. She loves loose women by the looks of things
Nicola Sturgeon billed taxpayers for a business class flight and a hotel room costing more than £500 per night so she could go on a “farewell tour” to London.Documents disclosed by the Scottish Government show that Ms Sturgeon’s luxury return
Home A Valencian dug living in Glesga Lies, hypocrisy and distraction: the British media toolkit Jul 17 by weegingerdug There’s something deeply wrong with the right wing British nationalist media – AKA the media – and it represents a serious threat to the future of democracy in the UK.
Last week we had a wall to wall obsession with a highly paid BBC presenter who had allegedly paid a young person under 18 but over the age of consent for explicit photos, and blanket coverage of multi-millionaires batting balls about a tennis court, a middle class sport that the great majority of young people will only be able to fund if they can find a wealthy BBC presenter to pay them a fortune for explicit photos. By Thursday we learned that the unnamed presenter in question was Huw Edwards and that the police had determined that no criminal offence had taken place. The media narrative swiftly pivoted from pearl clutching moral outrage to “poor Huw and his struggle with mental health issues.”
This story was first reported in deeply moralistic tones by the Sun newspaper. That would be the same Sun newspaper which often carried photos of naked 16-year-old Page 3 girls from 1970 until 2003. This means that possession of certain old issues of the Sun is now a criminal offence. Possessing these old copies of the Sun is literally a crime of indecency. But now the Sun poses as the great champion of moral standards, ‘scuse me while I boak.
The concern shown for the privacy of Huw Edwards and the concern for his mental health stands in very marked contrast to the treatment meted out to former Scottish Government minister Derek Mackay after it emerged that he had sent a teenager over the age of legal consent text messages calling him cute and suggesting that they meet up.
Derek Mackay was not alleged to have procured explict photos of the young person, and a police investigation determined that no offence had taken place. To be very clear, I am not condoning Derek Mackay’s behaviour, just because something is lawful doesn’t mean that it is right or appropriate, however unlike Huw Edwards Derek Mackay was not only publicly named, and no consideration at all was given by the media to his family, but he was also subjected to BBC presenters insisting that his position was untenable and supporting calls for him to be sacked immediately. Zero concern was shown for his mental health or his family’s wellbeing.
Likewise the media treatment of Nicola Sturgeon, Peter Murrell, and former SNP treasurer Colin Beattie, as well as then SNP MP Michelle Tomson, has been markedly markedly different from the concerns for the anonymity of Huw Edwards and the Conservative MP who is out on police bail while being investigated on an allegation of rape. All of the SNP figures have been publicly named, doorstepped, and subject to strident calls for their resignation yet none of them have been charged with any offence. There could not be clearer or more obvious examples of double standards.
In the case of Michelle Thomson, she announced eight months after allegations of “irregularities” in her property transactions surfaced that she had had no contact whatsoever with the police in connection with the matter, despite Police Scotland announcing in September 2015 that they were conducting an investigation and a media witchhunt ensuing. No charges were ever brought against Michelle Thomson and no offence was ever found to have been committed. But that didn’t prevent the media from publishing her name and conducting a feverish and highly public campaign against her.
While the Huw Edwards, moral panic was going on, the Conservatives were continuing to trash standards of honesty and decency in public life and all without the media appearing to notice or care. Rishi Sunak – Mr Integrity, Accountability, and Professionalism- managed to take time out of his busy schedule of ignoring the contemptuous antics of his former boss and predecessor to condemn the BBC for its handling of the Huw Edwards affair but so far has not been able to utter a single syllable about Boris Johnson being found to have lied to Parliament or about the seven Conservative MPs and peers who had colluded with him in a campaign of intimidation against members of the Commons Privileges Committee who were investigating his many and repeated lies.
Johnson has continued to lie and to treat democratic accountability with contempt, aided and abetted by a right wing media that continues to indulge him. Distracted by Huw Edwards and middle class ball batting, the media scarcely noticed that Johnson missed the deadline for handing over his old mobile phone and WhatsApp messages to the Covid Inquiry. Johnson and the Conservative Government claim that they cannot hand over the data because Johnson has forgotten the password. Allegedly the combined forces of the British Government are unable to access the data, we’re now deep into “the dog ate my homework” territory when it comes to Johnson’s excuses.
Mind you it’s not totally implausible that Johnson can’t access the data on his old mobile phone, it’s possible that he was using face recognition and now he can’t remember which of his two faces he originally used.
Meanwhile the right wing press continues to ignore Conservative wrong doing and to shamelessly gaslight the public about Brexit. According to the Express on Sunday the UK’s new planned trade deal with CPTPP group of South East Asian and Pacific countries is a Brexit boost worth £12 trillion to the British economy. However according to the Conservative Government’s own modelling, over the long term this trade deal could increase UK GDP by just £1.8 billion. That’s 0.015% of the figure in the Express headline, which must surely take the record for the biggest Brexit lie told by the British media, a field with a lot of competition. One Asian financial analyst told Sky News the impact was a “cosmetic” post-Brexit announcement.
A study by Bloomberg Economics published in January found that Brexit is costing the UK economy £100 billion a year, with the effects spanning everything from business investment to the ability of companies to hire workers. This new trade deal will not make a dent in that figure. The £12 trillion figure is in fact the combined GDPs of all the countries in the trade bloc. Joining that bloc certainly does not mean that those countries are going to devote their entire economies to the UK. The combined GDP of the EU is over £16 trillion but the UK walked away from that while the Express cheered, waved union flags and went on about migrants and Meghan and Harry.
The exact same lies, misrepresentation and distraction characterise the British media’s reporting of the Scottish independence debate, all wrapped up in a bundle of double standards, demanding that pro-independence politicians are subject to a level of scrutiny and accountability that is levels of magnitude greater than that given to the British nationalist right, and prioritising stories about the fitba and ferries over any news which is positive for the independence case. This is why support for independence is not higher than it is, yet it is a testament to the strength of desire in Scotland for a better country that half the population currently want independence despite a constant barrage of British nationalist propaganda that is only going to intensify in the months and weeks before the next General Election.
HomeA Valencian dug living in GlesgaLies, hypocrisy and distraction: the British media toolkit Jul17by weegingerdugThere’s something deeply wrong with the right wing British nationalist media – AKA the media – and it represents a serious threat
Better a diamond with a flaw than a stone without Jul 25 by weegingerdug In a sign that the by election defeats in England last Thursday have spooked the Conservatives, there are reports that senior figures in the party are calling on Rishi Sunak to consider holding the election in late spring next year, as they believe that this would be the best way to minimise the inevitable losses that the Tories are expected to suffer. Those in the party who favour the idea fear that leaving the General Election to the last possible moment in November or December next year risks missing an “economic sweet spot” when inflation has come down but before the full effect of interest rate rises on mortgages has started to bite. Those who have been shielded from the effects of interest rates due to being on relatively low fixed-rate mortgages are gradually seeing their deals expire. One Tory MP told the Guardian newspaper: “Every person who ends up paying an extra £500 a month because they’ve come off their mortgage deal between the spring and the autumn will end up blaming us.”
Some Conservatives feel that an earlier election would be the best strategy to avoid the complete and utter trouncing that anyone with a functioning moral compass believes that the Tories really deserve. On the basis of lies the Conservatives delivered a hard Brexit that has wrought massive economic damage, during the pandemic they privately made a mockery of the lockdown restrictions that in public they were urging everyone else to abide by, meanwhile they used the pandemic as an excuse to enrich themselves and their cronies with a procurement process for government contracts that was blatantly based upon favouritism and was an open invitation to corruption.
Meanwhile, like a vampire’s familiar, the Tories spent their days demonising the poor, the marginalised and the powerless. They threw up a distracting smokescreen of culture war issues as they got on with undermining the devolution settlement, introducing voter suppression measures and trashing democracy, in the UK as a whole, but especially in Scotland.
Then after enabling and defending Boris Johnson, who lied and cheated throughout his term in Downing Street, the Conservatives compounded the damage by inflicting the chaos and disaster of Liz Truss upon us all, a wretched inadequate of a politician who was only prevented from wreaking even more damage because the catastrophe of her government became apparent after just a couple of weeks. Truss then blamed her downfall on the “leftist establishment” in the money markets and the Bank of England. Yes, you read that right. That’s the kind of fantasist bollocks that is espoused by large and influential parts of the Conservative party these days.
As we all know, once Liz Truss imploded in office, the Tories turned in desperation to Rishi Sunak, the man rejected by the party membership just a few short weeks before. Sunak acceded to Number 10 promising that he’d restore professionalism, integrity, and accountability to government, none of which he’s done. First Sunak appointed the odiously inept quasi-fascist Suella Braverman to the Home Office in order to pander to the frothing far right in his party even though she had been forced to resign from the same job just days before for breaches of the ministerial code. Then in May he continued to defend her after it came to light that she had sought the assistance of civil servants in order to secure preferential treatment in dealing with a speeding offence.
Sunak has since studiously avoided making any public comment about the parliamentary censure of his former boss Boris Johnson and the Conservative MPs and peers who colluded with Johnson in a campaign of abuse and intimidation aimed against the committee of MPs who were investigating Johnson’s lies.
The low quality and poor character of the leading figures in the Conservative party is genuinely frightening and for the first time in my life I genuinely fear for the future of democracy in the UK.
This fear is compounded by a timid and supine Labour party which is so fixated on grabbing the authoritarian levers of power that the British system allows to the party which wins a majority in the Commons that it has turned itself into a mirror image of the party which it claims to oppose. Labour is as gung-ho for Brexit as the Tories are, wrapping itself in the British flag while it is as determined as the Conservatives to demonise and punish the poor and refuses to reverse or undo the vile policies introduced by the Conservatives in a display of performative cruelty.
This is a Labour party which will do absolutely nothing to reform the dysfunction which lies at the heart of British malaise, the House of Commons. That’s because every bit as much as the Conservatives the Labour party is in thrall to the seductive promise of absolute power that the Westminster system offers. Labour is never going to change a political system that it seeks to profit from. All that Labour offers is a respite from the Conservatives, a respite bought at the cost of turning itself into a party very similar to the Conservatives. And then having done nothing to change the underlying system, England’s electoral pendulum will inevitably swing back to the Tories and we will find ourselves at the mercy of a Conservative party which wholeheartedly espouses corrupt reactionary nationalist authoritarianism in the mould of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán or Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Without the threat posed by a strong SNP, those Tories will most assuredly seek to abolish the Scottish Parliament.
This is why, despite its shortcomings and inadequacies, anyone in Scotland who values democracy needs to vote SNP at the next General Election. It is the only party which has a realistic chance of winning Westminster seats. Voting for other pro-independence parties will merely split the pro independence vote and allow an anti independence candidate to win. Paradoxically, Alba and the other pro independence parties are only significant as long as the SNP continues to dominate Scottish politics. If the SNP loses that position then Alba and to a lesser extent the Scottish Greens become political irrelevances, minor parties with no realistic chance of power or meaningful influence for decades to come.
If the SNP loses its dominant position in Scotland, the narrative will not then be – Scotland rejected the SNP because the SNP was not vigorous enough in its pursuit of independence. It will be – Scotland has rejected independence and is content with the Westminster system, and this country will be even more vulnerable and exposed to the harm and indignity that Westminster chooses to inflict upon us all because people who support independence fell into the trap of allowing the perfect to become the enemy of the good. In the words of the Chinese proverb: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a stone without”, because Labour and the Tories will only use that stone to batter any hopes of Scottish self determination into submission. The Tories will abolish the Scottish Parliament the next time they gain power. The only people who will be satisfied will be the anti-democratic opponents of independence.
Better a diamond with a flaw than a stone without Jul25by weegingerdugIn a sign that the by election defeats in England last Thursday have spooked the Conservatives, there are reports that senior figures in the party are calling on Rishi Sunak to con
The looming catastrophe for the Tories Aug 10 by weegingerdug A new UK-wide poll has been published this week which gives figures which are utterly catastrophic for the Tories, and which gives some hope to the SNP that the outlook for the largest party of Scottish independence is not as dire as some are gleefully predicting.
The mega poll was carried out by Find Out Now and election experts Electoral Calculus for Channel 4 News and interviewed over 11,000 voters across the UK. The poll is devastating for the Tories, giving Labour a lead of 22%. To make matters worse for Sunak the poll appears to show that the Tories are performing poorest in the seats where they had been strongest in 2019. In very strongly Conservative seats their share of the vote plummets from the 64% the party won in 2019 to just 37%. Electoral calculus notes that this is an even worse picture for the Conservatives than Tony Blair’s landslide in 1997. In that election Conservative support held up better than the UK-wide average in their strongest seats.
The results of the poll, if replicated at a general election, would see the Tories left with the embarrassment of just 90 seats out of the 317 that they won at the 2019 general election while the Labour party would have its best ever result, winning a crushing landslide of 461 seats. Meanwhile the Lib Dems are forecast to win 37 seats while the SNP would win 38.
38 seats for the SNP would not be a great result, representing a net loss of ten of the 48 seats the party won in 2019. However it would not be the utter disaster that some have forecast, and the SNP would still comfortably remain the largest party in Scotland in terms of seats and vote share. It also needs to be taken into account that this poll will strongly discourage the Conservatives from going for an early election, particularly because it forecasts that Sunak and seventeen other cabinet ministers would suffer the humiliation of losing their own seats. Sadly the horrendous Suella Braverman is not amongst them but the Tories would lose the Viceroy General’s Dumfies and Galloway seat, so it’s not all bad. This would make Rishi Sunak the first British Prime Minister to lose his seat at a general election since Arthur Balfour in 1906. We could also be seeing the back of “but we’re family Penny Mordor, sorry Mordaunt, the woeful Greg Hands, and the personality free zone that is Oliver Dowden. Upon hearing that Mhairi Black would not be standing for re-election Dowden remarked that he entered the Commons at the same time as her, to which she retorted that he’d be leaving at the same time as well.
All this means that the Tories are likely to cling on as long as possible in the hopes of minimising their losses, so it’s unlikely that the election will be held until the end of 2024.
This gives the SNP over a year to turn their fortunes around in Scotland, by that time the interminable police investigation into the party’s finances ought to have long since concluded, hopefully with no charges being brought, in which case perhaps someone could recommend a good grief counsellor for BBC Scotland and the Herald’s Tom Gordon. Although no doubt the Scottish media will quickly find some other SNP bad issue to bang on about incessantly.
This poll proves that Starmer’s claim that he needs people in Scotland to vote Labour in order to kick the Tories out is complete nonsense. It was always nonsense but this poll ought to kill the claim off for good. Labour currently looks set to win a majority of well over 200 seats, and since there are only 59 Scottish seats in Westminster just now, a number set to be reduced to 57 at the next general election, you don’t have to be a genius at mental arithmetic to realise that the outcome of the election in Scotland will have no impact at all on the final result. It merely makes the difference between Keir Starmer having a massively overwhelming majority or a hugely overwhelming majority. But no matter how enormous the majority, you can bet that Labour still won’t abolish the House of Lords or remove charitable status from private schools.
Starmer wants to target Scottish seats for the simple reason that he wants to neutralise the prospect of Scottish independence, then he can enjoy his huge majority without troubling himself with Scottish demands.
What Labour will do is deny Scottish democracy every bit as much as the Tories currently do. Starmer doesn’t want people in Scotland to vote Labour in order to keep the Tories from power, an SNP vote is as effective for achieving that as a vote for Labour’s optional Scottish identity mark. Indeed the Labour party under Starmer proves the old adage that you should not listen to what someone says, you should pay heed to what they do.
What Starmer is very obviously doing is formulating policies designed to appeal to voters in Brexit supporting seats in the North and Midlands of England, the so-called Red Wall seats that fell to the Tories in 2019. He is not proposing policies which are in tune with Remain voting Scotland, and he is certainly not advocating anything remotely close to the federalism that Gordon Brown swore was just around the corner in 2014. What we are in for with Keir Starmer is Blairism on steroids, more Westminster centralisation, more privatisation in the NHS in England, more cruelty to those on benefits, migrants and asylum seekers. Plus of course the hard Brexit bequeathed to us by the Tories will remain intact as will the fetishisation of the monarchy, and the inequalities and injustices which characterise the British state.
Martin Baxter, CEO of Electoral Calculus noted: “With every month that goes by, Labour are edging towards a grudging landslide victory at the next general election. Without overmuch enthusiasm, the public look likely to reject the Conservatives and are mostly embracing Labour.”
This is true, there is little eagerness for Keir Starmer’s grey centre right managerialism but there is certainly widespread despair with the Conservatives and a desperation to get them out of office. We have probably reached the point where nothing Sunak can do will be able to rescue the Tories from the electoral thumping which awaits them at the next general election. But their politics shall live on in Starmer’s Labour party. Tory peer Zac Goldsmith one of Johnson’s allies who was criticised for colluding in Johnson’s campaign of abuse and intimidation directed at MPs on the Privileges Committee investigating his lies to Parliament said this week that he could see himself voting Labour at the next election. That’s how far to the right the Labour party has grown under Starmer.
But if Labour does get its landslide,after a few years the electoral pendulum will inevitably swing back to the Tories and the entire sorry cycle of the rightwards drift of British politics will take another turn, screwing down the misery, and Labour will yet again ape Tory policies in order to get back into power
HomeA Valencian dug living in GlesgaThe looming catastrophe for the Tories Aug10by weegingerdugA new UK-wide poll has been published this week which gives figures which are utterly catastrophic for the Tories, and which gives some hope to the SNP tha
Chapter 1 : Once upon a time I was a bonnie lass and my first boyfriend was English who jilted me and left me standing at Gretna Green That was when I first discovered that I hated the English , and the tories
Chapter 1 : Once upon a time I was a bonnie lass and my first boyfriend was English who jilted me and left me standing at Gretna Green That was when I first discovered that I hated the English , and the tories
"It is sad. I saw Nicola’s interview and she does cut a sad, almost reduced figure.
“But the reality is she led independence into a cul-de-sac, she’s left her successor with a difficult, almost impossible legacy, and she’s under police investigation.
“I don’t know who’s advising Nicola at the moment - if anyone - but I’d have thought a period of silence might be a good policy. But it is very sad.”
Salmond, her protege, adding his sorrow at the mess she has become.
Surely can't be long now before she is considers doing a Krankie tribute act at the Fringe before her looks start to go.
"It is sad. I saw Nicola’s interview and she does cut a sad, almost reduced figure. “But the reality is she led independence into a cul-de-sac, she’s left her successor with a difficult, almost impossible legacy, and she’s under police invest
Labour’s Scottish optional identity mark: Fantasy politics from a fantasy party Aug 15 by weegingerdug On Monday Keir Starmer was on one of his trips to Scotland to pretend that he cares about us. He certainly doesn’t care enough to take any Scottish opinions on board, or indeed to show any awareness that such a thing as a Scottish opinion exists. The Labour leader is one of those British nationalists who are of the unshakable view that the opinions of Scottish people are the opinions that he tells us we are allowed to have. Starmer is interested in one thing only, winning a Labour majority at the next Westminster general election. In pursuit of that he will say anything that appeals to the Brexit voters in the English regions that the FPTP system makes the deciders of the next election. He will happily U turn on any policy that does not serve that purpose. What voters in Scotland want does not enter into his calculations no matter how many platitudes he utters about how important Scotland is.
Ever since the many and obvious policy differences between Starmer and the Labour branch office in Scotland have come to light apologists for the Scottish Optional Identity Mark have been insisting, “We are allowed to have devolved policies,” and Starmer has been like, “LOL. No. Not in a Westminster by election you’re not.”
They are divided on Brexit, on the two child benefit cap, on the bedroom tax, on free school meals. On Monday Starmer insisted that anyone looking for policy differences between him and the Scottish Accounting Unit “would have a very long search.” So now Starmer joins the Tories in the brazen nature of his gaslighting. It took me all of ten seconds to find some policy differences, and Labour is putting a nonsensical proposition to the voters of Rutherglen who are being asked to vote Labour in order to oppose Labour policies. Although exactly how a newly elected Labour MP in Rutherglen is going to get Keir Starmer to change his mind is not explained. It will happen by magic.
But then in a very real sense Starmer is right when he insists that there are no policy differences between him and Scottish Labour, in no small measure that’s because if you are looking for a distinctive political party called Scottish Labour you’ll be in for a very long and fruitless search before you realise that there is no such thing, there is merely an Optional Identity Mark and a Scottish Accounting Unit registered in Newcastle. A party that does not exist cannot have policies of its own. Since “Scottish Labour” is nothing more than a marketing brand owned by the Labour party and registered as such with the Electoral Commission then finding a division between that marketing brand and the political party which owns it will always involve a “very long search.” It’s like searching for a difference between the contents of a branded tin of baked beans and a supermarket own brand tin of baked beans made in the exact same factory. Both are going to give you the exact same amount of bloat and gas. You cannot have a real and serious difference of opinion with your imaginary friend.
But in another sense there are no policy differences between Starmer and the Scottish Accounting Unit because the policies that Labour candidates in Scotland stand on are the policies that Keir Starmer dictates to them. They do what Starmer tells them to do and when they get to Westminster they will be under the exact same obligation to vote the way that Starmer tells the Labour whips to instruct them to vote. This is an election to send an MP to Westminster, not Holyrood. There’s no such thing as a Scottish Labour MP in Westminster.Labour’s candidate is campaigning to become a Labour MP. As such he is simply either lying or is delusional if he’s claiming to stand for anything different from what Starmer has said is Labour policy.
Michael Shanks, the Labour candidate in Rutherglen and Hamilton West recently told the Daily Record that he is “not against” the UK rejoining the EU, this is in marked contrast to Starmer’s espousal of the hard Brexit foisted upon us all by the Tories. However Starmer has explicitly ruled out not just any return to the EU but also to the UK rejoining the European Single Market and Customs Union, rather, he has insisted that his government will “make Brexit work” which is rather like insisting that you will make a computer work after it has been smashed into dozens of pieces and claiming that you are going to make it work even though you do not intend to put any of the broken pieces back together again. It’s an absurdity, but what is equally absurd is for a Labour by election winner in Scotland to imagine that he’s going to change a Labour party policy which was never designed with appeal to voters in Scotland in the first place.
It is telling indeed that in a by election which Labour tells us is so crucial to a revival of its fortunes in Scotland that Starmer won’t even throw it the bone of promising to scrap a policy as universally reviled as the two child cap. “If we win a GE, we’ll ask the boss really, really, hard if he’ll change the policy.” Is the garbage hand that Labour in Scotland has to try and play.
With Keir Starmer all Scotland gets is absurdity heaped upon absurdity, an intelligence insulting exercise in offering the illusion of change but none of its substance. Scottish Labour is a party which is not a party, putting forward policies that don’t exist and which even if they did exist it would have no means of implementing. The entire balloon of unreality only continues to exist because the media in Scotland has a vested interest in not popping it. The media in Scotland knows full well that there is no such thing as Scottish Labour in the context of a Westminster election. There is only Labour.
The kind of magical thinking offered to Scotland by the Labour party is the kind of froth that only works in opposition, should Starmer make the electoral breakthrough in Scotland that he so craves, it is highly likely to be very short lived. Victory will reveal the true colours of Starmer’s right wing British nationalist pro-Brexit Labour party, and this revelation will occur in a Scotland where support for independence will remain unaffected by whatever occurs electorally to the SNP
Labour’s Scottish optional identity mark: Fantasy politics from a fantasy party Aug15by weegingerdugOn Monday Keir Starmer was on one of his trips to Scotland to pretend that he cares about us. He certainly doesn’t care enough to take any Scottis
Biting the hand of Project Fear Labour’s moonbeams and fairy dust Aug 21 by weegingerdug During an interview last week, Anas Sarwar, the branch manager of Labour’s Scottish Optional Identity Mark, told us that even though he personally opposes independence, that ““doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to support independence, or the right to wish a referendum at some point in the future.” Is Anas wanting praise for demonstrating that he has a basic understanding of the concept of democracy? That’s not actually unlikely given that British nationalist politicians of late have appeared to struggle with the notion that when the people vote in a way that they dislike, they are supposed to accept the result.
However while Sarwar tells us that he accepts that the people of Scotland have the right to “wish a referendum at some point in the future,” he decidedly avoided specifying what the democratic mechanism might be for turning that wish into a reality. That would be way above his pay grade and result in him being slapped down by his boss, Keir Starmer. So we are left with the usual Labour party mechanisms for implementing things that people might actually vote for, which would be moonbeams, fairy dust and clicking the heels of your ruby slippers together.
It is screamingly transparent what Anas Sarwar is trying to do. He’s attempting to make a pitch to independence leaning voters in the up coming Rutherglen and Hamilton West by election by making out that he’s open to the idea of another independence referendum but not actually saying anything different in substance from the Labour party’s current policy of refusing to accept the will of the people of Scotland as expressed at the ballot box in the May 2021 Scottish Parliament election. He’s telling us that the people of Scotland can continue to wish for another independence referendum, but the part he is not saying out loud is that his party is going to continue to ignore that wish, and he knows that ignoring it is only made easier if the SNP do badly at the next general election.
Sarwar talks about “wishing a referendum at some point in the future” because he and his boss refuse to accept that the question of whether Scotland wants another independence referendum was democratically settled at the ballot box over two years ago, and was settled in favour of another referendum. But Sarwar and his anti-democratic allies refuse to accept the result of that election, choosing instead to find spurious reasons to weasel out of it, and embarking on a campaign of gaslighting, trying to persuade us that the 2021 election wasn’t really about another independence referendum at all.
The reasons given by Sarwar for refusing to accept that the current Scottish Parliament has a mandate for another independence referendum are reasons which, if accepted, would mean that no government in the UK, devolved or otherwise, would ever possess any sort of democratic mandate to do anything at all.
So what we get instead are more empty words and repetitions of the case that the branch office put to the Scottish people in 2021, a case which was rejected by the electorate.
Labour previously thrived on the kind of deceitful trick that the party is currently trying to pull off in Rutherglen and Hamilton West. Its Scottish representatives would “hint”, signal” or even promise a particular policy which would then be summarily rejected by Labour’s Westminster contingent once the votes of the Scots were safely in the bag.
Labour did this with its promises for Scottish devolution during the 1970s and again in the 1990s. The final bill for a Scottish Parliament that was eventually passed by the Labour governments of Jim Callaghan in the late 1970s and Tony Blair in the late 1990s was a heavily watered down version of the promises that Labour had previously made to the Scottish people. The original proposal for a Scottish Parliament in the 1990s would have given Holyrood control of broadcasting and greater tax raising powers than was allowed by the Scotland Act when it finally passed.
Labour did the same in 2014, promising that a No vote was not a vote for the status quo, but rather a vote for strengthened and enhanced devolution. We have learned with the painful benefit of hindsight that we were not indeed voting for the status quo, we were voting for a Scottish Parliament that would be constantly be attacked and undermined by the Westminster Parliament. As soon as the No vote was in the bag, Labour immediately resiled on all the promises it made during the referendum and its role in the Smith Commission consisted of trying to minimise as much as possible any additional powers that were to be granted to the Scottish Parliament.
Now Labour is telling us that a vote for Labour in Rutherglen would be a vote to “pressure” Keir Starmer to return to his now abandoned commitment to abolish the abhorrent two child cap on benefits and Anas Sarwar is trying to pretend that he’s not “hostile” to independence supporters.
But you don’t have to be gifted with the power of premonition to know that the second the Labour party gets the result it so craves, we will immediately be told that it’s a rejection of another independence referendum and a full throated acceptance of Keir Starmer’s right wing policies. The Labour party does this repeatedly and there is absolutely no reason to believe that it will not do so again. The people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West, and the people of Scotland as a whole, deserve far more than to be treated as useful idiots by a Labour party which goes back on its word the moment that the votes have been counted. In Gordon Brown’s revealing words when asked about the non fulfilment of his Vow – you should have read the small print.
The Labour party, both at a UK level, and in its Scottish Optional Identity Mark, has become little more than an exercise in finding new ways to promise absolutely nothing. Sarwar does this by pretending that his branch office has far more power and significance than it really does, a deceit which much of the Scottish media is invested in colluding with. To that end he speaks warm words about welcoming the support of independence supporters but the second their votes are in the bag both he and his boss Starmer will declare that those voters have rejected another independence referendum. There’s not even any need to read the small print. Labour is blatant in its dishonesty.
Biting the hand of Project FearLabour’s moonbeams and fairy dust Aug21by weegingerdugDuring an interview last week, Anas Sarwar, the branch manager of Labour’s Scottish Optional Identity Mark, told us that even though he personally opposes indepe
Nicola Sturgeon in leaked video, Mar 2021: " (h/t @johncferguson ): “The party has never been in a stronger financial position than it is right now ... just be very careful about suggestions that there are problems"
2021: £732,072 deficit 2022: £804,278 deficit
Liar Liar panties on fire.
Nicola Sturgeon in leaked video, Mar 2021: " (h/t @johncferguson): “The party has never been in a stronger financial position than it is right now ... just be very careful about suggestions that there are problems"SNP accounts: 2021: £732,072 defi
The failure of British Democracy Sep 6 by weegingerdug Keir Starmer has high hopes of becoming the next Prime Minister. However his claim to deserve the office rests not upon any positive offer of real and meaningful change from a Labour party which he has taken so far to the right that a conservative American Republican senator has hailed the British Labour party as ‘reaganesque’ in its taxation policies, but rather in the moral, intellectual, and political bankruptcy of a Conservative party whose policies and style Starmer so eagerly apes. Ronald Reagan, for those too young to remember, was the American president who ushered in an era of tax cuts for the better off combined with the decimation of government programmes to assist the poor and the low paid. It should be obvious to everyone by now that so-called trickle down economics have been a historic failure, but it lives on in the guise of ‘growing the economy’. It is beloved by the right because it provides a fig leaf of intellectual cover for the greed and selfishness ]of the wealthy.
Reagan campaigned on the racist trope of the ‘welfare queen,’ blaming America’s economic woes not on the rich who refused to pay their fair share of taxes, but on poor, often African-American single mothers, who relied on government assistance to feed their families. Then as now, many of those who were so demonised were in fact in low paid employment, but the poor were blamed for their poverty, not the employers who did not pay a living wage.
The result was a widening of the gap between rich and poor and the mushrooming of shanty towns in American cities as homelessness exploded and the closure of facilities for people with mental health problems saw mentally ill people dumped on the streets with no support.
Reagan’s economic policies were eagerly copied by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative party, with similar results. The Tories have sought to change the language so that the poor receive ‘welfare’ or ‘benefits’ – a handout graciously doled out by taxpayers, rather than ‘social security’ a safety net to which all contribute and upon which all can rely in time of need.
The Conservatives have not only changed the language of social security, they have destroyed the concept of social security itself. Over the past couple of decades we have witnessed the normalisation of food banks and the normalisation of homeless people begging in the streets of our towns and cities. Neither of these things are ‘normal’. A supposedly rich and developed economy in which citizens are routinely forced to beg on the streets or to turn to charitable handouts in order to put food on the table is a society which has failed. There is nothing inevitable about homelessness or food and fuel poverty. They are the direct consequence of decisions made by successive Westminster governments.
Traditionally after a bruising and brutal period of Conservative misrule, Labour has laid claim to the Buggin’s turn chance of taking over the reins of power by claiming that it will reduce and adjust the size and weight of the boot which the Conservatives have stamped down upon the neck of the poor and the low paid. Certainly no one by now seriously expects that a Labour government is going to get rid of the boot entirely. The Labour party, like the Tories, has a vested interest in the continuation of the dysfunctional Westminster system and the inequalities which it produces.
However now we have a Labour party which insists that it will not raise taxes on the wealthiest, contrary to the assertions made by Anas Sarwar during the contest for Labour’s Scottish branch manager. On 8 February 2021 he said: “I think we need a progressive tax system where we get the powers we need to do a progressive tax system. I think people can, in that top bracket, pay more.”
Now that his bosses in London have categorically ruled out any tax increases on the wealthiest and will not raise income tax on the highest earners or introduce a one off wealth tax of 5% on all individual wealth above £500,000, which would only be levied after mortgages and other debt had been taken into account and which could be paid off in instalments over five years. This one off tax which could raise an estimated £260 billion, which at a stroke would solve the funding issues blighting education and the NHS. But Labour is not going to do anything like this, so we can look forward to Anas Sarwar being pressed by BBC Scotland on how his promises fail to match Labour’s dismal reality. Yeah, right of course that’s never going to happen.
Instead BBC Scotland is going to continue to foster the impression that the aerated concrete which puts schools and other public buildings at risk of collapse was personally mixed by Nicola Sturgeon and her husband in a murder tent in their garden.
Labour’s claim that it’s not going to raise taxes on the rich but rather will focus on ‘growing the economy’ are simply code for the same discredited trickle down economics which have caused such societal blight for decades. Labour is no longer promising to adjust the weight and size of the Tory boot on the necks of the poor, Starmer’s Labour party is saying: “Nah, the boot is just fine.” There is no longer any meaningful choice in British politics.
The distortion of democracy created by Westminster’s first past the post system – which neither Labour nor the Conservatives are willing to change – mean that we are all held ransom by a small minority of voters in Conservative-Labour swing seats. This in turn means that even policies which enjoy the widespread support of a clear majority of people across the UK have no chance at all of ever being adopted.
Most people in the UK believe that Brexit was a mistake, but neither Labour nor the Conservatives will seek to minimise the damage and restore British membership of the European Single Market or Customs Union. A major opinion poll published this week found that a clear majority of voters, even Conservative voters, would like to see the nationalisation of the gas, electricity, water and rail companies.
The poll, carried out by Tory donor Lord Ashcroft found that 60% of respondents across the UK backed these companies being brought into public ownership. Scottish Water and Scotrail are already publicly owned. A majority of both Labour and Conservative voters supported public ownership. However both Labour and the Conservatives are opposed to the move, so even though it enjoys clear majority support, it’s not going to happen. When neither of the two big Westminster parties feels the need to respond to majority opinion, it is a clear sign that the Westminster system has irretrievably failed.
Within this failed constitutional settlement, Scotland will never get what it wants. For the Labour Party, Scotland is simply a prop to lever it into power; for certain Tories, Scotland is little more than a summer estate, a pretty tartan bauble to disguise the truth that Britishness is simply English nationalism with its pants on.
The failure of British Democracy Sep6by weegingerdugKeir Starmer has high hopes of becoming the next Prime Minister. However his claim to deserve the office rests not upon any positive offer of real and meaningful change from a Labour party which he
Keeping the dream alive Sep 15 by weegingerdug An opinion poll carried out by Find Out Now was published this week showing that a majority in Scotland would vote Yes for independence if Westminster were to permit a vote, a vote which neither the Labour nor the Conservative parties will concede to because they fear that the No campaign would lose. According to this poll, once don’t knows are removed and likelihood to vote is factored in, 52% of respondents would vote Yes. The significance of this poll lies in the fact that it still produced a majority for Yes even though the polling company weighted its sample according to the result of the 2014 referendum.
As I have previously blogged, this practice made good sense in the the couple of years following the 2014 referendum as it helped to ensure that the polling company’s sample was truly representative of the wider population, however nine years out from the independence referendum there are good reasons to question whether this practice really does help produce greater accuracy as there are strong arguments for believing that it may instead artificially inflate the No responses and underrepresent those in favour of Yes.
This is because approximately 12% of the total electorate in 2014 has passed away in the nine years since, around 56000 or 57000 people die every year in Scotland. The leading causes of death are heart disease, strokes, and cancer, all of which are illnesses which tend to affect older people. It is a consistent pattern in polling on the independence issue that older people are less likely to support independence than younger people. This means that the 500,000 or so people who have passed away in Scotland since 2014 are disproportionately more likely to be older people who voted no than younger people who voted yes. In fact the youngest people to vote in the 2014 referendum, those who were 16 at the time, will now be 25. Many thousands of people in Scotland who were too young to vote in 2014 will now be of voting age, this age group is disproportionately in favour of independence.
What polling companies who weight their sample according to the result of the 2014 referendum are doing is to standardise their sample with reference to a Scotland which no longer exists, a Scotland containing a higher proportion of No voters.
The continuing use of this methodology by polling companies is most likely due to institutional inertia which is compounded by the fact that unlike polling for political party preference, there is no corrective in the form of an election which would lead a polling company to adjust its methodology. The reality is that most polls are commissioned by anti- independence media outlets which have no reason to pressurise polling companies to change their methodologies in ways which might potentially favour a larger Yes vote.
It’s a sign of how far independence has been normalised in Scotland that a poll showing a narrow majority for Yes is greeted with a shrug of the shoulders for the most part. Many independence supporters bewail these figures, wanting to know why support for independence is not much higher. The answer to that lies in the woeful state of the Scottish media, an overwhelmingly anti-independence media which is in no way reflective of the Scottish population it purports to represent. Scots are subjected to a constant and unending barrage of negativity and woe. Positive developments or news which is good for the independence case is brushed over and ignored, bad news is dwelt upon at inordinate length.
The really surprising thing is not that support for independence is not higher but rather that it remains unaffected by the incessant British nationalist propaganda which fills what passes for the Scottish media.
There are also complaints from sections of the independence movement that the SNP does not do enough to advance the case for independence and they blame the SNP for the failure of support for independence to break through in opinion polling and produce consistently large pro-independence majorities.
Not only does this ignore the role of the Scottish media in actively suppressing support for independence, it also ignores another vital role played by the SNP. Although all recent polling agrees in showing that support for independence is distinct from and unaffected by party political support in polls for the SNP, the reality is that it is only because the SNP is a dominant force in party politics in Scotland that independence remains a live political issue and moreover the issue that is central and definitive in the Scottish political landscape.
If Labour were to succeed in replacing the SNP as the largest political party in terms of votes or seats won at the next Westminster general election, the British nationalist parties will triumphantly declare that the general election was after all a de facto referendum on independence – despite denying it was such a thing beforehand – and will insist that Scottish independence is no longer an active political issue. Independence, greater powers for Holyrood, and meaningful constitutional reform of the sclerotic and undemocratic Westminster parliament will all be brushed under the carpet.
An opinion poll from YouGov published this week suggests that Labour hopes of overtaking the SNP in Scotland may be overstated. Should the SNP succeed in remaining the largest party in terms of seats won, this will be taken as a mandate for independence. Naturally the Westminster government will stall, prevaricate and gaslight us, but the issue of independence will remain very much alive and kicking at the top of the Scottish political agenda. If Labour does displace the SNP, hopes of independence will be snuffed out for the foreseeable future.
So when some people complain that the SNP has done nothing for Scottish independence they are mistaken. The SNP has fulfilled the vital task of ensuring that the issue of Scottish independence remains central to Scottish political discourse. It has done so despite almost the entire Scottish media being ranged against it and in the teeth of suspiciously well funded tactical voting campaigns organised by shadowy British nationalist organisations.
The truth is that the SNP is the only pro-independence party which has a realistic chance of winning Westminster seats at the next general election. The challenge for the party is two fold, first it must convince voters in Scotland that a vote for the SNP is equally effective in unseating a hated Tory government as a vote for Labour, and indeed that only an SNP vote represents a rejection of Conservative policies given Keir Starmer’s full throated adoption of right wing Tory Anglo-British nationalism.
Secondly the SNP needs to motivate pro-independence supporters, a far larger constituency than SNP supporters, to come out on the day and vote SNP as the sole means of keeping the issue of Scottish independence on the table. It’s the only way to keep the dream of independence alive.
Keeping the dream alive Sep15by weegingerdugAn opinion poll carried out by Find Out Now was published this week showing that a majority in Scotland would vote Yes for independence if Westminster were to permit a vote, a vote which neither the Labour
First day of the Scottish Governments legal challenge to the Uk blocking their new transgender laws where a bloke can decide he wants to be a woman whenever he wants.
Will the court side with wee Saint Nic over the bill that brought her down and dashed her big plans of a job at the UN? Will she be able to give a wry smile about being vindicated when making a living doing appearances at the Edinburgh book festival? Or will we see her doubling down about the nasty, boorish, colonial oppressors, toooaaaarrries whilst she sits in her cell at Cornton Vale struggling to cope with the anguish of another court loss compounding her already frail demeanour after her numerous referendum lossses?
It's all up for grabs over the next few days.
First day of the Scottish Governments legal challenge to the Uk blocking their new transgender laws where a bloke can decide he wants to be a woman whenever he wants. Will the court side with wee Saint Nic over the bill that brought her down and dash
Ms Sturgeon? Have you divorced her already? She has a loving relationship with a bloke called Peter. They love and live together. He just doesn't tell her about his collection of camper vans or his 100K loans.
Ms Sturgeon? Have you divorced her already? She has a loving relationship with a bloke called Peter. They love and live together. He just doesn't tell her about his collection of camper vans or his 100K loans.
The Lib Dem conference: the ego has landed Sep 26 by weegingerdug Party conference season is upon us, the time of year when politicians make speeches aimed at pleasing their party’s base and the rest of us switch off. These are likely to be the last party conferences before the Westminster general election which is due next year, and the parties will be using their conferences as an opportunity to set out their stalls for voters in the “let’s get rid of the Tories election” that is anticipated. Unfortunately for everyone who is not an avid viewer of those right wing ‘news’ channels that are proliferating on British televisions like dog turds on a dog park, all the British parties are vying with one another to adopt as many Conservative policies as they can in order to minimise the attacks on them by the UK’s ludicrously right wing media which means that although we may get rid of the Tories by name at the next general election, their mean spirited and vicious politics of punishing the poor in order to reward the rich will very much live on.
First up it’s the Lib Dem party conference in Bournemouth, always guaranteed to be an exercise in grandstanding, futility, and irrelevance. Naturally BBC Scotland took advantage of the excuse to give airtime to party leader Ed Davey, who was allowed to prattle on completely unchallenged for several minutes about how much he hates the SNP.
Not to be outdone by Labour leader Keir Starmer in the right wing U turn stakes, Davey has a right wing U turn of his own to debate at his party conference. In interviews over the weekend to mark the conference Davey refused to say that the LibDems want the UK to rejoin the EU, although this remains official party policy, at least for now. However the Lib Dem website https://www.libdems.org.uk/ merely talks about “eventually” rejoining the European Single Market and adds that the party’s “long term ambition” is to see the UK “at the heart of Europe once more”, carefully avoiding the scary words “rejoin the EU,” far less giving a time table for doing so.
The Lib Dems hope to boost their chances at the general election by treating it as essentially a series of local campaigns, focusing on local issues in each constituency in the hopes of taking votes from disenchanted Conservative voters and not scaring away Tory Leave voters by talking about rejoining the EU. Davey even claimed in one interview that no one is talking about rejoining the EU, something which is certainly facilitated by the BBC choosing to ignore the large pro-EU demonstration held in London over the weekend even as it gave coverage in the main news bulletin to a much smaller protest against banning American bully XL dogs which was taking place nearby.
However the prize for delusion goes to Scottish Lib Dem groupuscule leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, the man who leads the smallest group in the Scottish Parliament yet who has the biggest ego and the highest estimation of himself. Alex doesn’t need a kindly granny to tell him how wonderful he is, he does that himself each morning every time he looks in the mirror. Alex thinks this counts as self-reflection.
Onieweys, Alex’s unintentional comedy sketch which passed for his speech to the party faithful was notable for the claim that Humza Yousaf was going to be the last “nationalist” first minister of Scotland. He asserted that the SNP is “haemorrhaging fair minded, reasonable voters” and that people were “looking for a party to inspire them again, adding: “We are the answer they’ve been looking for, and it’s why Humza Yousaf will be the last nationalist First Minister of Scotland.”
This claim is deluded on three counts, firstly because despite their recent political travails the SNP remain by far and away the largest political party in Scotland and recent polling suggests that the next Scottish Parliament is most likely to retain a pro-independence majority, meaning that Alex looks set to have to continue confusing his self-importance with political relevance.
Secondly, and perhaps even more delusional, even if the SNP were to be ousted at the next Holyrood election as the largest party in terms of MSPs by either Labour or the Tories, both these parties are now nakedly nationalist. Both fully support Brexit, both wrap themselves in British flags, both extol the monarchy, the armed forces and “British traditions.”
Just because a key tenet of British nationalism is an abiding refusal to acknowledge that it is in fact a species of nationalism, and a rather nasty and intolerant one at that, does not give British nationalists a free pass, a Labour, or may all the gods forbid, Tory first minister of Scotland will still be very much a nationalist first minister, just an Anglo-British nationalist one. British nationalists are the Christian fundamentalists of nationalism. Certain Christian fundamentalists typically refuse to acknowledge that they have a religion. To their mind they possess the absolute truth, “religion” is something that characterises lesser belief systems.
Thirdly, it’s delusional because no one is inspired by the Lib Dems, least of all Scottish voters who favour independence and a return to the European Union. The Lib Dem’s brand of muscular unionism is just as unappealing as that of the Conservatives, and their promise of a federal United Kingdom is so much pie in the sky with as much substance as their desire to rejoin the European Single Market “eventually.” I have as much chance of becoming the next first minister as Alex Cole-Hamilton does, I even know how to wear a waistcoat properly, [hint Alex, you shouldn’t see your shirt poking out between the bottom of your waistcoat and your belt.] but I’d rather poke my eyes out with rusty knitting needles than stand for Parliament.
However there is one way in which Alex’s, ahem, prediction may come true. Scotland could become independent and then we’ll have a Scottish Prime Minister and not the First Minister of a devolved parliament. But then Alex is the guy who told the Oxford Union that Scotland should not and must not exist again. Very few voters in Scotland will find that extremist sentiment “fair minded and reasonable.”
We are in for a lot more of this kind of – what we can kindly call comedy – from the parties of we’re not nationalists we’re British as the conference season progresses.
The Lib Dem conference: the ego has landed Sep26by weegingerdugParty conference season is upon us, the time of year when politicians make speeches aimed at pleasing their party’s base and the rest of us switch off. These are likely to be the last p
Wee Brass Nic out on the picket lines today with the teachers on strike as if she wasn't the First Minister that brought in the repeated Council budget cuts that meant the Council couldn't pay Teachers a reasonable wage.
Imagine Boris having the audacity to get a photo taken at a picket line.
Still she loves a wee photy and and it allows her to show off her new Inspector Gadget coat.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-66946484?at_medium=RSSWee Brass Nic out on the picket lines today with the teachers on strike as if she wasn't the First Minister that brought in the repeated Council budget cuts that meant the Council couldn't
Home A Valencian dug living in Glesga Indy Pet Dance Whit’s aw this? Post navigation← Older posts The British failure of democracy in Scotland Oct 19 by weegingerdug In some parallel universe where British democracy is a functioning reality and the Scottish media is fair, balanced, and truly representative of the views of the population it is supposed to serve, today, Thursday 19 October 2023, would have seen the holding of the second Scottish independence referendum, a referendum which would have been preceded by a passionate campaign during which both sides of the argument would have been fully explored and given equal attention. When the votes were counted, it is almost certain that the people of Scotland would have chosen to vote Yes and after over three hundred years of Westminster rule Scotland would be poised to rejoin the ranks of independent nations where it truly belongs.
Sadly, as we all know too well, that is not the universe which we inhabit. In this universe the British state is characterised by lies and mendacity, claiming on the one hand to be a voluntary union of four nations while acting in practice like a centralised one nation state whose representatives repeatedly refuse to specify exactly how the supposedly voluntary nature of this so-called union can be put to the test through the democratic choices of the people of the smaller nations which are part of this pretendy union.
Meanwhile we have a media which claims to be unbiased and neutral, a claim which has as much basis in reality as the claims of British politicians who wrap themselves in British flags while asserting that they are opposed to nationalism. The reality of the Scottish media, and the wider British media of which it is a part, is that it has a strong right wing British nationalist bias which it typically refuses to acknowledge just as it refuses to acknowledge that British nationalism is indeed a form of nationalism, and a particularly reactionary and self-regarding one at that.
To live in the British state is to live in a state that deludes itself about its true nature, a delusion aided and abetted by a media which is more interested in colluding in the delusion than in holding power to account and defending democratic standards.
The real reason that we are not having a referendum despite the clear and unequivocal mandate for one given to the current Scottish Parliament is that the parties of “we’re not nationalists we’re British” are bricking themselves about the likely verdict that the people would deliver on all their lies and deceit during the last independence referendum campaign and the glaring mismatch between the “union of equal partners,” continuing membership of the European Union, and the imminent arrival of federalism which they promised Scotland in 2014 and the hard Brexit and continual undermining of the devolution settlement which they have actually delivered. And now it appears that Keir Starmer’s Labour party as much as the Tories is committed to a hard Brexit and equally hell bent on continuing to undermine and by pass the Scottish Parliament.
You could not ask for a clearer example of the betrayal of democracy but the anti-independence Scottish media has no interest at all in defending the basic precepts of democracy in this British state which it is so determined to keep Scotland a part of and refuses to hold the Labour and Conservative parties to account. Instead we get the fetishisation of ferry timetables and massive publicity for every big ego with a grudge against the SNP.
There are many who are keen to blame the SNP for the fact that there has been no independence referendum this week. Many of these have their own agenda seeking to promote their own pro-independence political party of choice, and that’s fair enough, that’s how politics works. But let’s be very clear here, it’s not the SNP who have betrayed democracy, it’s the parties of British nationalism.
Realistically what could the Scottish Government have done? Without the democratic expression of a majority for independence through the ballot box, “dissolving the Union” or unilaterally declaring independence is a fantasy.
In a Scotland where the overwhelming majority of the media is vehemently opposed to independence and polling suggests almost a half of the population is yet to be convinced of the case for independence it would be a recipe for civil unrest and violence from those Über-unionists who have a track record of violence. It’s not enough to assert that the people of Scotland are sovereign, you must ensure that a majority of people in Scotland and the international community agree with you. Indeed it is the antithesis of belief in the sovereignty of the people of Scotland to attempt to declare independence without unequivocal majority support for it as expressed through the ballot box.
Alternatively the Scottish Government could have attempted to press ahead with a referendum without the consent of Westminster and without first attempting to put it on a secure legal footing. However the referendum would most likely still have not taken place as the anti-independence parties would have taken legal action to block it, legal action which we now know would have been successful. If the Scottish Government had pressed on regardless local authorities under Labour or Conservative control would have refused to facilitate the voting process and would not have opened ballot stations.
The anti-independence parties would have boycotted the entire process in an attempt to de-legitimise it and reduce voter participation. Meanwhile the Scottish media would have subjected us all to a barrage of negative propaganda, insisting that there was no point in even independence supporters voting as the vote would be illegal and would not be recognised. Unlike Catalonia where there is a large and well funded pro-independence media and the broadcast media is ultimately controlled by the Catalan government, Scotland has only one pro independence newspaper and a broadcast media which is controlled by Westminster and which faithfully acts as an agent of pro-British propaganda.
The Catalan media was able to maximise the participation of independence supporters in the process, ensuring that it had the greatest support possible amongst the wider population. In Scotland the media would have the opposite effect.
There would have been a Yes vote on a very low turn out with many council areas not participating at all. The Scottish media and the anti-independence parties would immediately declare the entire process a failure and thus emboldened the Conservative government would then openly attack the powers of Holyrood in a way that we have not seen before.
Scotland would still not be independent and Holyrood would be rendered impotent while members of the Scottish Government could be finding themselves on trial. This might appeal to those who are fans of hopeless romantic gestures, but it would not have achieved independence and only reduced Scotland’s chances of achieving independence in the future while rendering Scotland powerless to resists the onslaughts of right wing British nationalism.
19 October 2023 is not the day that the SNP failed, it’s the day that the British state failed to uphold democracy in Scotland, and that is precisely why Scotland needs independence, because democracy in Scotland can only be guaranteed with independence.
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The cowardice of Keir Starmer Oct 26 by weegingerdug Keir Starmer is a coward. During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday Starmer had six questions for Rishi Sunak, not one of which related to the topic which dominates the news headlines and which it’s no exaggeration to say threatens the outbreak of actual world war three. But it still wasn’t important enough for Starmer to raise the matter at PMQs, because what is truly, really important and the sole priority for Labour’s dissembling and spineless leader is that at all costs he avoids the right wing media saying unkind things about him in case that prejudices his chances of winning the next Westminster general election.
There’s a very consistent pattern with Starmer. He is ruthless in one respect, absolutely any policy or position that opens him up to criticism from the right is dropped more quickly than you can say Keir Starmer is a shameless charlatan. I’ve lost count now of all the policies that Starmer has done a U-turn on. He’s dropped the commitment to abolish the hideously cruel two child benefit cap. He’s backtracked on Labour’s environmental promises. He’s scrapped his promise to nationalise the rail and water companies in England, those in Scotland are already publicly owned. Gone is the commitment to nationalise the profiteering energy companies. You can forget about the abolition of the House of Lords, and the federalism which way back in 2014 Gordon Brown vowed was on the cards. There will be no taxes rises on the wealthy and Labour says it will allow any development of new oil and gas fields authorised by the Tories to go ahead. Yet Labour could stop those right now simply by saying that it would block them once it gets into power. This would make the energy companies think twice about investing millions in projects that would be prevented from ever turning a profit.
On Wednesday there was news of yet another betrayal. Starmer has U-turned on his previous commitment to introduce a Scottish style right to roam in England following criticism of the plan from landowners’ groups and the right wing Countryside Alliance, the group which believes that the only people with the right to use the countryside are middle class Ruperts with shotguns looking to blow buggery out of the local wildlife. It’s official, Keir Starmer and his increasingly misnamed Labour party have aligned themselves with the upper middle class Get Orf My Land brigade who are determined to keep the English countryside free from working class types who can’t afford an Aga and a Land rover.
Starmer’s terror of being labelled even vaguely left wing is fully on display in his mendacious and spineless response to the current crisis in the Middle East. He merely joins in the chorus of those who say that Israel has a right to defend itself whenever anyone points out the worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza where over 6,500 Palestinians have now been killed in the Israeli bombardment of the blockaded territory which is rapidly running out of fuel, food and water and where innocent civilians caught up in the violence have nowhere to hide or to run to.
Of course Israel has the right to defend itself, no one is saying it doesn’t. The point however is that no state has the right to defend itself from those who commit crimes against humanity by committing war crimes of its own. This remains true even when the state’s citizens have suffered a cruel and horrific terrorist attack. The attack by Hamas on Israeli citizens was indeed dreadfully cruel and horrific and cannot be justified no matter how egregious the provocation. But that still does not give Israel the right to break international law in response.
No less a person than the UN secretary-general, António Guterres has described Israel’s bombardment and blockade of the Gaza Strip as “collective punishment of the Palestinian people” and as such are “clear violations of international humanitarian law”. Israel has the right to defend itself, but it does not have the right to inflict collective punishment on Palestinian civilians or to violate international law. To do so merely continues the hideous cycle of hate and retribution and drives even more Palestinians into the arms of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, virtually guaranteeing new generations filled with hatred who seek vengeance.
Starmer’s failure to address this escalating cycle of hate is a dismal failure of moral and political leadership. He was previously recorded saying during an interview with LBC that Israel had the right to withhold power and water from Gaza and has spent the days since denying that he meant what we all heard him say. He was then accused by furious leaders of a Cardiff mosque of “gravely misrepresenting” a meeting with them at the weekend and using photos of the visit to distract from the remarks he made to LBC.
He has also issued a diktat to local Labour constituency parties forbidding them from even discussing the current crisis. Starmer is more afraid of right wing criticism than he is of World War III. He will not even call on all parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate ceasefire. He will only do so when the Americans do so first.
All Starmer can bring himself to say is: “It’s clear that the amount of aid and essential utilities getting into Gaza is completely insufficient to meet the humanitarian emergency on the ground.” No ****, Sherlock.
Starmer is now facing a growing rebellion within his own party. some 25 Labour councillors hasve resigned from the party in the past fortnight. In addition 15 Labour party officials in Scotland have resigned in protest and now over 150 Muslim Labour councillors have come together to demand that the party’s leadership calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
Shebab Khan, a political correspondent for ITV news has claimed on Twitter that multiple Labour MPs are telling him that a couple of shadow cabinet members are considering resigning over Keir Starmer’s handling of the Gaza situation.
There is likely to be 18 months of a Starmer government between the next Westminster general election and the following Scottish Parliament election. He has already been revealed as a liar and a coward who panders to the basest right wing prejudices while wrapping himself in a British flag. Tony Blair managed to hide his moral bankruptcy before he was elected. Starmer can’t even do that much, and he will have nowhere to hide once in power. He is a godsend to the Scottish independence movement. Any Labour revival in Scotland will be very short lived indeed.
The cowardice of Keir Starmer Oct26by weegingerdugKeir Starmer is a coward. During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday Starmer had six questions for Rishi Sunak, not one of which related to the topic which dominates the news headlines and which