The poor are always with us

Sunday afternoon and I’ve just kicked the kids off the Mac…told them they need some physical activity so they’re doing press-ups in front of the telly

First a thanks for your responses. Some of these are heartfelt and others defiant. They all mean lot to me but I was struck by this from Margaret.

Is that the grudge and grievance Grahamski that leaves me unrepresented over here in Falkirk? Where the Labour Party not only make the policies , they audit them too,so democracy Labour Party style. The Labour Party who parachutes people in to the area to represent the electorate , not because they have a vision for Falkirk but because of who they know, whose lack of leadership has allowed their party political problems to ‘ spill over ‘ into one of the areas biggest employers ? If wanting democracy to work for everyone not just the cronies in the area really is grudge and grievance politics well I’m aiming for something better than what your party has, is and will ever offer. Do you want me to start about your Party’s performance re fracking in Airth or what about the schools in the areas capacity , the list could go on except you call it grudge and grievance , the rest of us call it democracy . Your Party’s petty , narrow little minded ness is multiplied all over Scotland .What is wrong with people wanting something better, relevant to their lives and maybe even democratic , something those who have had it in their gift to implement over the last 50 years but decided the minority Labour Party was more important than all the people of Scotland . Tell me Grahamski if we vote no , name me one thing you and your friends in the Coalition ( democracy in action,except no one voted for a coalition ) will do to improve the lives of all of us living here- one thing? Then tell me one thing (that’s a fact not a myth I’m after),that will make all the people in Scotland’s lives worse off ?

So, thanks to Grahamski for winding up a passionate response and doing his bit for the Yes cause. I knew he would be good news – a kind of James Kelly of the blogosphere.

But I found myself agreeing with Margaret, although I’m not up to speed on the local detail in Falkirk. But isn’t that message about Labour in power a common thread throughout our post-war history.  I have voted Labour at different times depending on where I was living and what the election was about so, although I’ve always been pro independence, I have previously responded to what I felt was the right message from Labour.

I think my doubts took root when devolution was prominent in the 70’s and many Labour folk were trying to decide what came first for them – Scotland or improving social conditions across Britain. I didn’t see them as mutually exclusive but many in Labour and especially the Left, saw devolution as a distraction from the real cause. I respected that but always doubted that Labour really was prepared to focus on wages, housing, employment support and local environment to improve life for the millions on Britain’s low employment housing estates.

I even had a bitter exchange with Robin Cook at a news conference which led to him storming out in front of the Press saying he’d had enough. Sorry, Robin. I was young and angry rather than old and angry.I fully accept that much the Blair Government did improved lives for many, a point confirmed by recent in-depth academic analysis, with the caveat that any party in power for 13 years is bound to bring about improvements through natural progress. But I salute them where Labour succeeded.

I rather feel though that I was right back then to doubt that Labour’s declared objectives would be matched by reforming zeal. Just think of the massive parliamentary majorities they racked up when all Britain lay before them and they could have delivered virtually anything they wanted unhindered – except by the City of London of course, which seemed to be more powerful than Her Majesty’s Opposition during the Blair Years.When we were told then, as we are today, that supporting our own country’s home rule means we are deserting the poor and vulnerable of Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, I bridle.Surely the people who abandoned the poor and vulnerable were the Blair-Brown Labour Government which had the political control and the economic muscle to transform their lives but which lacked the will to do so.

I look at our post-industrial towns and city-edge areas and wonder where the visible signs of improvement are to be found.  There is a pall of poverty hanging over many of these places; grubby streets, boarded-up premises, lack of light and vibrant activity, devoid of the normal human bustle of healthy, relaxed humans. I see shelpit, mildly feral youth, faces baring the mark of ill-health in poor quality clothing, uncared-for surroundings which reek of depression.

My God, I sound like Cochrane in the Telegraph complaining about municipal socialism…

But those observations, regarded by Labour themselves as a cliché of the middle classes and insulting to Scottish working people, are a cliché simply because they are true. I try to put aside any prejudices I may have and look through the eyes of a visitor and it isn’t a pretty site.

I see we are now being guided by Margaret Curran to believe those folk – she mentioned Easterhouse in her constituency – have not been helped by devolution and hints maybe we should think again. Yes, let’s gives back powers to the people who know best in Whitehall who are currently humiliating her constituents by heaping the blame for austerity on to them. Let’s trust in a system that allows the super rich to prosper to an obscene degree while at the other end of the scale, household incomes fall. The gap between Haves and Have-nots grew wider than ever while Labour ruled.

She is also shifting the blame for the miserable state of life for thousands of our fellow Scots on to the devolved government now that her own party – and Margaret herself as a minister – is out of office.

Does that mean that the previous 300 years can neatly be written off as well and therefore played little or no part in the deprivation we live with in parts of Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire and Glasgow? Is it Holyrood’s fault that men in poorer parts of our biggest city die in their fifties?

Turning lives around is a long and arduous task and, apart from time and money, it demands iron political will. Does it look like Labour have it? Or does it look, as Margaret, my email contributor, says, that people whose heart is in the right place, end up compromised by their own party system and defeated by the spending priorities of a leadership with eyes elsewhere. The downtrodden have the lowest expectation so Labour’s poor response is regarded as good enough in areas with a dismal voting turnout.

Do you detect anger at social injustice from Scottish Labour? Who stands out as a campaigner for those on low incomes? Who among the backbenchers has made a name as an outspoken champion risking the wrath of the leadership? Let’s be honest. The nearest thing to a social justice campaigner in a Unionist Party is Iain Duncan Smith.

How else do you explain the decision to resists minimum pricing of alcohol? It is simply recorded fact that it destroys minds, health and families and over time is a key driver of deprivation. Even if there wasn’t scientific evidence that it worked, why on earth would you oppose when you don’t have your own alternative solution? Blindingly obvious answer: You don’t care about people’s lives. You care about your party and your career.

Of course, if you can be sure the party approves first and you won’t blight your own progress, then you can speak up for families afflicted by drink but the trick is to be get your priorities in order first.

If the system won’t change things, you change the system…at least that’s what I think we’re doing in the independence movement so that we harness the nation’s desire for good housing, health and happiness for all. But the Scottish Government message is a very general one rather than a specific anti-poverty initiative.

I think this should be regarded as a national emergency and the first priority of Independence Government One.

For too long we have accepted that many of our fellow Scots live lives the rest of us would regard as intolerable and because it’s too difficult and there is no leadership we look away. We regard the inhabitants of such places as not like us, undeserving, beyond redemption. But they are us.  They are not the government’s problem, they are ours and there should be an end and no return to the way in which Labour MPs have used the needy as a political voting base while failing to put their jobs on the line in the interests of transforming their lives.

Rather, in urban parts of our country, they themselves seem to have benefitted with comfortable careers and, I notice, a seemless move on retirement and pension into the patronage factory of the Lords.

The time will come though, independence or not, when the SNP will be judged on how it has treated the needy. Under a devolved system they can rightly claim to lack all the levers like welfare but the trick surely is to be seen in communities refusing to take No for an answer when the questions are asked. Are they generating at street level an unmistakable sense of determination to change lives? I’m not sure.

Maybe the strategists think anti-poverty is a message best kept under the radar for fear of putting off the mortgage-mongers in the commuter bungalow belt. I don’t agree. There is no higher calling for a society than ending poverty – or trying – and it is a policy area which nationalists should own. No one else will.

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0 thoughts on “The poor are always with us

  1. Derek here are my my thoughts on Labour for what they are worth:
    I have been a socialist all my adult life. I am an admirer of three socialist sons of Scotland in particular, James Connolly, John McLean and Jimmy Reid. All three men, true socialists, true internationalists and true Scots who believed in the right of self determination for their country. The present day Labour Party is not socialist, it is a right wing cabal of self seeking charlatans interested in nothing but power. It twists and turns in response to the neoliberalism of the Tories and abandons the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, the needy and the elderly in its greed for power. It is the party which deregulated the banks, almost bankrupted Britain, engaged in foreign and illegal wars and supports weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde. The Labour Party in Scotland is the party which sacrifices its principles on the altar of Westminster and sides with the Tories to deny its own people their right to self determination. It neither deserves the name Labour nor the name Scottish.

  2. Im affraid Bill got it spot on for me. Labour will in the near future be a party of the past, historic and bereft of affect in the positive future of Scotland.

  3. The MPs, MSPs, Councillors, Spin Doctors, Lords and Ladies of the Labour Party in Scotland are just Sociopaths. There is no excuse for allowing the poverty that grinds our communities down to have continued. In fact Labour have actively encouraged the seeds and causes of poverty. I ask you, what kind of person does that? What sort of sick organisation actively, and I repeat, actively nourishes and stokes the causes of poverty? It is completely rotten to the core. But, by extension (and I deliberately take my thread into this area), what kind of journalist and commentator allows this atrocious activity to go unchallenged. Where is the forensic examination of a Labour Party politician’s record, where is the questioning and challenging that lays bare the paucity of their humanity?
    Blindingly obvious answer: You don’t care about people’s lives. You care about your party and your career. I don’t mean you, Derek, I mean the people who have been talked over, blogged over, teeth gnashed over, in this Blog and others. Those journalists of the BBC, STV, The Herald, The Record, The Courier, The Press and Journal and umpteen opportunities in between.
    This Blog, this breath of fresh air from the 4th Estate, is such a catharsis.

  4. The best yet.

  5. How do we change the way things are in places like Easterhouse? I don’t believe the way things are is down to the people who live there, every baby who is born there is as capable of achievement as the baby born in Bearsden. If people grow up in depressing surroundings, it’s no wonder they become depressed. An independent Scottish government should ensure that they build adequate supplies of public housing and I don’t mean barrack blocks which much of the current stock resembles. Many years ago, I saw an interesting TV programme about council housing in Northern Ireland. The powers that be over there insisted that houses should have architectural features, for example, blank walls weren’t allowed. If we build houses which people are happy to live in, in pleasant surroundings with decent amenities, things have got to improve.

    I live in a pleasant suburb in comfortable circumstances in lovely Victorian house, presumably the sort of person who wouldn’t be interested in the plight of Easterhouse residents, but in fact, I grew up on a post war corporation scheme, three of us in one bedroom with only a coal fire to heat the house. I think that many of us in Scotland are closer to the poverty issue than people might think. The state of Scotland’s housing stock and its environment is a national disgrace. All those years swilling at the trough has blinded Scottish Labour to reality. No wonder the people have rejected them.

  6. Derek,
    Excellent article and very much instructs us that independence is entirely about what we are going to do with it.The status quo will not do.If you visit the NE of Scotland you will be amazed at the affluence on display,although I am sure there are pockets of deprivation even there.The contrast between there and the west of Scotland is stark and very much begs the question of why(Labour in particular) allowed this situation to arise.
    I can only assume that it served their purpose to keep their Scottish heartlands in a culture of dependency for political reasons.
    I really hope that the Common Weal project is taken seriously by Scottish politicians as it offers a framework for real and beneficial change for most Scots.
    There is no excuse for the poverty levels currently seen in Scotland and in my book,Labour are largely responsible.
    Thanks again Derek.

  7. I’m with A Smith above
    Best post yet!

    National emergency absolutely.

  8. Poverty should be front and centre in the independence debate. Every time the likes of Sarwar mention it, the YES spokesperson must abandon the ‘must stay positive at all costs’ mantra and go for the jugular. Labour’s record in addressing poverty – or not – is nothing short of disgraceful. It is one of the main reasons that I will never mark an X against their name on a ballot paper, whether we re-gain our independence or not. They are dead to me and don’t deserve an opportunity post independence to pick up the battons of the party’s founders that they so wilfully abandoned when they raised their skirts to middle England. A new party of the left – minus the trough swillers that pollute Labour’s benches – in a new and progressive Scotland post independence will do just fine.

    • Great post Derek and great comment Scotty. The indy vote for me is about wanting something radically better than what we’ve had up to now. I’m fed up with people making snide comments about poverty and ill-health in Glasgow and blaming it on individual lifestyle decisions. Bigger answers are needed the smoking ban and alcohol pricing are a good start but in an independent Scotland we could do so much more.

  9. Depressingly accurate. What will become of Labour in an independent Scotland?
    This ought to be their opportunity to go back to their roots and campaign for what appear to be long last values. But with politicians of the calibre of Curran, Sarwar, and closer to home, Lamont, Baillie et al, there is nothing to get excited about. These hypocrites only have self interest at heart. Or if they don’t, they do a rubbish job at trying to disprove it.
    Doubtless there will be some “Damascene like” moments by some of these folk and their cronies. But can we ever trust them? Who or what will they really be interested in? Their country or themselves?
    Only Mr Grogan and his ilk have any credibility within the labour movement in Scotland, and they are villified and smeared at every opportunity by their own party!
    However, independence is the first step in a process of shaping a more just and povery free country. Bring it on!!
    Loving the blogs Derek.

  10. ScottyC1314 – absolutely spot on. YES must go for these Labour crooks every time social injustice of any kind comes up. These cretins have held the poor in Scotland down for too long. They must be brought to justice, first by the voters then by the law!

  11. Great read again Derek. National Emergency is exactly the attitude required!
    Stewart Hosie said something while debating with Lord George Robertson the other day that struck me as very concise ( if a bit sound bitey).

    ‘Scotland is already a very rich Country, Independence will allow us the powers to create a rich society to go with it’

    What we need is some righteous anger and campaigning zeal added into the mix though!

  12. Hi Derek,
    The one thing that makes me wonder about the Labour Party, isn’t so much as now, but what happens later on in the day on that fateful day, of Friday the 19th September 2014.
    Should the day come to pass, and Scotland does return the vote as a vote in confidence for Independence, then from that moment on, there will be some serious soul-searching for the Scottish Labour Party.
    I have no doubt throughout the day, the news will constantly tell us what the percentages are for both Yes and No as we get closer to that magical 50%, but if Yes is ahead, and ahead by a good 5%, then we will know that something extraordinary could be about to happen.
    So, you can almost imagine the moment. The moment when a major announcement is about to be made, and we need to go live to the Scottish Parliament; it is at that moment, for Scottish Labour, that their world will cave in, and their worst nightmare is confirmed.
    What do they do next? What does Johann Lamont, Margaret Curran, Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie, and a good few others do? Do they resign? Do they get fired?
    Straightaway, the game has changed. They must either adapt to the new world, or die. And basically, Labour potentially, could be looking down that barrel of the gun; the death of the Scottish Labour Party. Will they have contingency plans in place for the Brave New World? Or will there be civil war as they tear the heart and soul of the party apart.
    I for one, do not see them winning the first General Election of Scotland. To be honest, I don’t see them winning a GE in Scotland for the first 10 to 15 years. I actually believe the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Lib Dems are better placed to win such elections. The Conservatives are already so low in public opinion that they can only rise and get better. The Lib Dems have policies that are similar to the SNP, so they should do OK. But not Labour. So what becomes of them on that fateful day if things do come to pass and Scotland chooses ‘Yes’. It certainly makes me wonder…

    • Who cares ?

    • Maybe we’ll know quite soon. Do you remember 11th September 1997? They announced the results constituency by constituency, and they were obviously geared up for a prolonged period of overnight uncertainty. Then the first constituency declared, not one in a traditionally nationalist area, and it was a clear win for Yes. We kind of waited for the second in case it was a fluke, but it wasn’t. After that the poor wee returning officer was announcing to an empty hall while everyone else went off to the party.

      It was obvious so early that I crept into my mother’s bedroom. (She had announced she wasn’t staying up all night at her age, tell me in the morning dear.) I whispered, are you still awake? She replied, I’ve got the radio on. Then, in chorus, we whooped – it’s a landslide!

      Wales, now, that was a different story. Right to the wire. If I’d cared, I’d have been a nervous wreck.

  13. Very good article Derek. I agree that poverty, and the issues around it (housing, employment, pay, general environment etc), should be the major issue to deal with if independence is achieved. Only independence will give Holyrood the powers necessary to be able to enact co-ordinated policies to improve the lives of disadvantaged people in Scotland. It will also be impossible for even politicians to escape responsibilty for inaction or failure to act on poverty. I think there are grounds for being sceptical about the SNP delivering far reaching change for the disadvantaged in society (I believe they would be able to achieve at least moderate change). The SNP has essentially been a political movement dedicated to delivering independence for Scotland. It contains in its ranks a decidedly, if small, right-wing faction, whose desire I suspect for social justice is not overwhelming (Mike Russell, Fergus Ewing). While Salmond’s links with Murdoch and Trump have been overplayed moderately by his Unionist opponents and the media, I do think there is a danger when a prominent and talented political leader spends too much time in the company of wealthy individuals. New Labour are definitely a warning in this regard (and in quite a few others areas as well)… There are other parties and organisations on the left who will provide competition for the SNP though. That is a plus. Finally, I always thought Malcolm Chisholm was a decent man and Unionist politician, and I do think he cares about poverty. He appears to have been sidelined though in the last decade or so. The likes of Baillie, Curran, Lamont, Gray, Sarwar etc have been promoted over him for some reason.

  14. Pertinent and in some ways blindingly obvious.
    Poverty and deprivation is the issue. I (like many in Scotland) would be classed as so called “middle class”, but my roots are post war housing in Clydebank and a family which display the poverty statistics so well. Father dead at 62, brother dead at 50. Unemployment and mental health issues ravaged my family – and continue to do so today.
    I want a focus on removing this scourge from Scotland’s future. Labour have refused resolutely to tackle it – or it would be a moot point, having held the power in Scotland practically since the end of WWII. They need swept away with the fresh broom of independence – but we also need to understand and know what the goals of an indy Scotland would be, in this area.

    • Hi Hazel?
      Totally agree with you. Labour have had nigh-on 100 years to sort this, and they did nothing. Some of the poorest places in Scotland have voted for Labour again and again. And what have Labour given them; more access to benefits. They did nothing to raise the poorest up.
      Well Labour have had their chance. Come September the 18th 2014 …hopefully, it’s ‘game over’ for them!
      Cheers again, James Turbert (JLT)

    • Yes, I would be classed as middle class as well. However, my family has moved from working class to middle class. My father left school when he was 15. He worked for a few years, and then went to evening classes to do his highers. He then went to university, and became a doctor eventually. My grandfather had to leave school when he was around 11 years old, as his father (my great grandfather) was killed in an industrial accident. The owners went around to see my great grandmother, and asked her if her husband had been ill before he set off for work, before telling her he was dead. They never paid any compensation to the family (it was in the first decade of last century, before trade unions were properly established). My grandfather and his siblings all had to leave school, and do hard manual labour to save the family. They sometimes had to steal food to survive, other times gamekeepers would give them food. One of my great uncles served in the army in the First World War, and he was shot in the leg, and lay in no man’s land for hours. He never really recovered, and died a few decades later, when he still fairly young. My grandfather went to America in the 1920s to find work. He met by grandmother on the east coast of America. The period before the establishment of the welfare state was brutal. The Tories are wanting to return us to this era. The safety net is being torn up. I would imagine this kind of a story has been replicated thousands and thousands of times across Scotland. I do not think you ever really forget about your roots, the struggles of your family over the generations. I am very proud of my roots.

  15. JLT
    What do they do next? What does Johann Lamont, Margaret Curran, Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie, and a good few others do? Do they resign? Do they get fired?
    I am all for the yesterdays Fish Supper solution. Tumbril and beating drum.

    • BtP
      Hi mate. How you doing since the rally?
      Anyway …is the Maiden not somewhere in a museum at the bottom of the Canongate. Personally, I too, would be curious to see if the blade still drops as sweetly as it did a couple of hundred years ago.
      But seriously though mate, and unbelievable that I am saying this (…it must be that virus thing going about), but I do fear for Lamont and her crew if the Scottish people do cotton on to the fact that this mob have been telling some serious porkies to them over the last few years.
      In the end, Lamont, Darling and Co would be better off retiring to England in the immediate aftermath of a ‘Yes’ vote. I wouldn’t want to be walking the streets of Glasgow or Edinburgh if the truth really does become public knowledge! Put it this way …would you want to walk the streets as a well known public figure after telling folk that they are ‘too poor, too wee, too stupid’. Retire to England …bugger that …I would be off to someplace like deepest Indo-China or possibly the darker regions of the Amazonian Rainforest! And even then …I might not be safe. There is always a Scotsman somewhere….

      • Bugger (the Panda)

        I agree JLT

        I am doing fine thanks.

        We should consider a Truth and Reconciliation route with the accused volunteering to tell the real stories behind their wasted life! holding Scotland back for personal benefit.

        that goes for the BBC as we’ll.

        I think we need to make all e-mails and communication records of the Naesayers public..

        Maybe Desmond Tutu could help here along the German reunification authorities and how they handled the Stasi files.

        I am being ironic?


  16. Derek

    There is actually a good James Kelly of the blogosphere, he does a blog called Scotland Goes Pop, dedicated to the politics around Scottish Independence, and the joy that is the Eurovision Song Contest

  17. sorry, should have included the url

  18. We know now the Labour politicians in Scotland are mainly interested in their own careers, cynicism their standard now, e.g. Ian Davidson turning up at a anti-Bedroom Tax Rally when he had abstained in the Parliamentary vote; Curran, Lamont and Sarwar with their we must help the whole country when Glasgow has 6 out of 10 of the most deprived areas in the UK, but Labour has controlled Scotland for 50 years. If they can’t help the constituents, their constituents, it is a cynical distraction from their failure.
    What I can’t understand is the grass roots Labour activists thinking this can be OK. That they must go on supporting this behaviour.
    Now there is another way, another Party that has the direction and will to go in the direction they wanted. Throughout my life I’ve supported this Labour Party, but not now,not in the future.
    We need to go on without them.

    • I completely agree, SCED300. You just need to look at the scandalous behaviour of the Labour-run council in South Lanarkshire, where millions have been spent on lawyers, in order to prevent the release of information which will support the long-drawn out case of hundreds of their most poorly paid women employees, to claim pay parity with their male colleagues; or at Glasgow City Council, where Gordon Mathieson wasted a huge amount of money and arrogantly dismissed the efforts of some of the foremost architects in the world anent the refurbishment of George Square, because he couldn’t get his own way over the design. Not to mention Falkirk! And not to mention the fast-talking, contemptible little Sarwar, who was outclassed by Nicola Sturgeon not only in debate, but in basic common good manners as well! Why are these self-aggrandising, pompous little men still in office? It used to be that you’d vote for a monkey waving a red flag, but surely Scots voters are more canny these days?

  19. Hazel – unfortunately our wee country has suffered many “scourges”. The Labour party in Scotland being the worst. The have watched it all happen since WWII!

  20. Well done Derek another poke in the eye for the unionist establishment exposing their lies and utter hypocrisy. Speaking of which the excellent debate from Abertay Uni, Hosie v Robertson is up on You Tube. I urge anyone who has not reviewed it to do so several times. And you will like me be left gasping at the dry negativity of Robertson but amazingly in such a debate in front of intelligent well educated people he chose to lie and revise history. Why does an educated man who has been in politics all his life lie? Well maybe because he has been a unionist politician all his life, he does not even posses the ability to recognise his lies and he actually believes his revised history is the correct one.
    Firstly as he spoke of the Catalans and Flemish independence movements he rounded that section of by saying that they have a distinct language and culture, and Scotland does not have any of that!! So in his warped view of us we do not have a reason to vote for independence in the coming referendum. Dear Jesus, if he put a dress on he could be Thatcher denying that there was such a thing as society. Incredible stuff. What an offensive mentality, which explains his politics.
    Then at the finally we hear him claim that it was the coalition government in Holyrood that abolished bridge tolls and imposed the council tax freeze, he really did. Hosie almost had a fit. What an outrageous performance from Robertson. No wonder he turned a pro union vote in to a pro independence vote.
    A truly stunning result for Hosie who I would say is of the same style and caliber as the late John Smith MP. Hosie demolished Robertson with facts and figures, the kind of stuff we need to see so much more of. No wonder Cameron is bricking it when challenged to debate Alex Salmond. The cowardice at the very heart of the UK, it will cost them dear.

  21. Scotland has around 8.5% of the UK population and 1/3 of the land area.

    With Labour’s ‘all in it together’ attitude, we are supposed to be content receiving similar funding per head of UK population, when obviously far more is needed to service a more widely spread population.

    This situation just seems ridiculous in a resource rich country – when we could take a national stake in that wealth to help eradicate the huge areas of poverty.

    Unionist politicians have really let this country down, by meekly accepting the current set-up – all to feel part of something bigger, and to help keep them in power.

    If people here actually knew the difference in standards in living in Norway, an easy comparison with a similar population, they should be FURIOUS.

    A fair and equal society, with savings of £90k per person in their oil fund, compared to Scotland’s negative £20k per person share of the UK debt..

  22. Sunday working too, well done. You should be on a platform, I’ve said before. Many, like you, have voted labour. For myself I stopped when John Smith died. I guess that I knew Labour would win in ’97, so my reservations about Bliar (with Iraq-later proven visionary) allowed me to vote for a Scottish party instead. Gordon Brown’s big mistake was moving over for Bliar. For him the verdict of history may have been different if he had hunted Tory Bliar at the outset. His crime was rolling over, as so many Scottish Labour MP’s who were dazzled with London gravy. I hated the mantra, ‘are you saying we should have left Suddam Hussein in power?’ History has the answer for them, YES we have destroyed a country that didn’t bomb New York.
    Derek, you’re right to set a pre/post referendum vote watch. After a YES vote all the Party groups must look to their manifesto promises, it can never be the same betrayal again.

  23. Spot on Derek.

    Just how long has Labour been in power in Glasgow? What have they done to improve the lives of it’s citizens? As one of those citizens, growing up in one of the worst areas of the city (Possilpark), I can confidently state ‘very little’. While it’s citizens live in damp infested houses, thay live it up on the boards of one of several ALEOs that are draining the coffers at an alarming rate.

    I have also worked in Easterhouse in two different capacities, both of which involved dealing with it’s residents, and I have seen first hand the level of poverty that exists there and right across the North East of Glasgow. This is all presided over by a council with a majority that allows it to make decisions without having to bother listening to input from councillors from other parties. I have it on good authority that they where involved in a habit of locking the other parties out of the debate chamber whenever decisions where being made. Democracy at work, Labour style.

  24. My late mother, Sarah, told me this slightly differently, she said ‘ It’s the rich who are always with us, and you will never give the rich enough, for them to be satisfied’

  25. Having spent time canvassing for YES in various impoverished parts of Glasgow over the past few weeks, I can say that the poverty, despair and utter alienation that I found there is simply sickening. For those who haven’t set foot into these forgotten lands, I urge you do so urgently. Words alone are insufficient to understand the scale of this National Emergency.

    As a case in point, Labour’s abysmal stewardship of Glasgow over the past 100 years is, of course, not only obscene, but begins to strike me as negligence on a scale sufficient to warrant a human rights investigation. This experience has set off within me a fervour, nay a Fire of Righteousness and Indignation, that will not rest till we acquire Scotland’s Freedom, and then turn to building a society where such fates never again befall Alba’s children.

  26. “Let’s be honest. The nearest thing to a social justice campaigner in a Unionist Party is Iain Duncan Smith.”


  27. I would be very interested to hear about what Grahamski has to say about this.

    From my point of view, it hits a lot of nails bang on the head.

    Labour are, quite simply, no longer fit for purpose and I hope that they get swept to oblivion after a Yes vote.

  28. labour`s legacy to Glasgow –poverty and sectarianism

  29. judge scottish labour by the calibre of the leader the follow

  30. I once had a debate with this Grahamski sometime back over the subject of trident. The simple truth is that Trident is leased from the US. We can’t even launch the bloody things without US approval and we can only fire at what the US wants us to fire at. I gave him many links included a parliamentary committee report that is on public record. His response? to dismiss it all as the uttering of a havering fool. He can’t can’t accept evidence that his precious nuclear deterrent is wholly US owned, how is he expected to be aware of his parties failings. Any failings that are highlighted are projected onto the SNP. It cannot be that he is that unaware. It highlights the casual dishonesty of Scottish Labour that forced me away from that party in disgust.

    Scottish labour lost in Scotland, because Scottish labour do not deserve to win. They have dined too long and too heartily on anti-tory sentiment and have a sense of entitlement that simply beggars belief.

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