Buying the Result

I’m fair enjoying the online debate on the right and I’m gratified it’s happening here. Thought I’d just put my tuppence worth in to the Vitol business as I think the acceptance of this donation is both the clearest sign of the unprincipled approach of Better Together and also will be a stain on the entire campaign once it’s over. It seems to me it epitomises the bullying, corporatist mentality of the Union itself in which big business dominates and politicians fawn.

I still wonder in amazement at a politician with, presumably, left-wing principles like Darling seeing no contradiction in banking a cheque from a major Tory donor, never mind one with such a dirty business track record. At what stage in a politician’s development does he simply throw off all his previous instincts and ideas and morph into the very thing he used to detest – hard-nosed, uncaring, greedy and arrogant?

As we read today of Labour people unable to work with Tories and detesting Better Together, it’s a reminder that out there all is not complacency and satisfaction. Surely one of the main reasons is Johann’s early mistake of refusing to consult properly on the course the party should take. Wasn’t this a case for a special delegate conference in which the issues could be thrashed out and the doubters appeased? That could have kept the unions closely on board and given the membership context to their campaigning. I’m not sure she even consulted her backbenchers to make sure she was on the same wavelength. It’s another sign of her failure as leader, however champion “a debater” she may be.

But on Vitol I’m still shaking my head at the attempt to link an SNP minister on behalf of the Scottish government holding a reception for a children’s charity which has among its donors a family trust including Ian Taylor with Ian Taylor in a personal capacity making a massive donation  – half the total budget – to a political campaign. That is just puerile. One is charity to a good cause unconnected with the SNP or the government or politics in general and the other is partisan investment to keep afloat a political movement committed to maintaining a system from which the donor derives massive commercial and personal advantage. And he doesn’t even have a vote. Who needs one when you can buy the result?

The Unionist argument seems to be that civil servants should trawl through the accounts of every organisation and charity in the country and filter the results to avoid any that have money from sources they don’t like. And just how do you think Better Together would treat that news? The same way they treated Chris Whatley and Elliot Bulmer – with synthetic outrage and systematic mendacity.

The same point of difference applies equally to Taylor’s investment in Harris Tweed. However risky – Brian Wilson describes it as an act of faith – it is nevertheless a business investment, one that has paid off. Well done, Ian Taylor and well done, Brian Wilson whom I think should be knighted by his beloved British state for saving the industry. But it is in a different category again from a massive political donation. In truth, I’m not really bothered about low-level donations – below £7500 – from any legal source as no individual donation can in itself pay for enough influence to change or win the vote. So I would treat such an amount from Taylor with revulsion because of his company’s morally questionable behaviour and judge Better Together accordingly, but I would accept it was legitimate. It is the degree of funding from a single source with such an anti-liberal and anti human rights background that is wrong…wrong in social democratic Scotland, wrong in a debate about how our country should be run and wrong for every single Labour voter in Scotland, except Alastair.

By the way, I’m not happy either at huge sums that have and may still come the Yes campaign’s way from Brian Soutar whom I also regard as at the very least, socially illiberal, as in anti-gay. There are differences with Taylor such as Soutar’s residence and while his business empire has suffered criticism for putting rivals out of business, his commercial misdemeanours are petty indeed compared to the known record of Vitol. Nevertheless, any business type making a monumental contribution to a political cause has to be questioned because, however committed to independence Soutar is, does any businessman ever do anything for totally altruistic reasons?Personally I see these as in a totally different category from anyone who gets lucky on the Lottery for instance  and back their favourite cause with cash but have no dodgy business background or commercial way of benefitting. Is that wrong?

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0 thoughts on “Buying the Result

  1. Enjoyed a break away with friends; no sooner cranked-up the model when ‘ping’ another friend, Derek, arrives. Firstly, I see you have been busy (catch-up required). Secondly, to matters current, Vitoil and BT are worthy friends with a healthy common weltanschüngen, see brother Dave (head of BT) setting up another arms deal in Sri lanka – sorry, I mean condem-ing Sri Lankan war crimes. They all belong better together in rUK.

  2. Total disgrace that the media in Scoltand do not feel strongly enough to completely condemn the ‘Against Scotland’ BT campaign funding, but prefer to offset with so – called SNP smear story.
    A certain Grahamski has been trying this on here

  3. People who fund the Tory party expect a return on their investment.
    Either a seat in the HOL or some business advantage or both.
    I am pretty sure that Taylor was expecting a return on his investment in the No Scotland campaign but would be speculating to say that it was related to Dart Oil fracing activities in the central belt (or lack of them now).
    These sort of people do not get misty eyed about the UK or the Union flag
    or any other trappings of state.They would ditch the lot in a second if they thought it was to their advantage.
    Labour supporters of the No campaign must be having a very hard time with their consciences knowing who is funding them and why.They will just have to follow the example of their glorious leader and be ‘pragmatic’.Saving the British Labour party is more important than a small matter of conscience or democratic rights.
    Apologies for the rant Derek.

  4. Roibert a Briuis

    The simple fact is UK politics are corrupt to the core and baring a revolution or disintegration of the state its not going to change and we cant change it. WE in Scotland have the chance of a lifetime to wipe the slate clean and start all over again making the nonsense of UK lobbying illegal and I hate to say fund pollyticians from the public purse………….with no external monies or jobs allowed and a means for the votes to get rid of the nupties that don’t perform for their constituents . Maybe then we can get the pollyticains that we do deserve and run Scotland for the benefit of the people.
    YES YES YES

  5. “with,presumably,left wing principles, like Darling…” with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek, presumably.

  6. Great Britain was born out of sleaze, corruption, deceit and boxes of silver (for the don’t knows). 300 years later nothings changed just become an industry, one of the few left in GB that thrives.

    Let’s be done with this unholy alliance.

  7. Alistair Mackinnon

    The bequest made by the great Edwin Morgan to the SNP has remained glossed over by nearly all. It stands however in great contrast and reproach to all those entities who ignore the immoral nature of the Ian Taylor contribution.

  8. Seems back to the BT bunker worked !

  9. Something an Independent Scotland will need to ensure doesn’t creep in is this need for corporations to buy priviledge by any means. We could call it “The Anti-Creeping Law”!!

  10. There is no dubiety here, BT accepted monies from a source which bribed war criminals in more than one country. I’m struggling to see where there is any justification in accepting that donation on any level. Completely appalled at their lack of principle in acceptance or humility in their exposure.

  11. It is a disgrace that Better Together accepted the dirty money from Ian Taylor. It is alarming that he almost succeeded in silencing those who sought to question him. It is a further disgrace that Better Together did not speak out against the attempt to bully those who questioned the donation into silence.

    And the icing on the cake is that Better Together think they are so deep in the ordure that they can start throwing dirt at a children’s charity in an attempt to smear the SNP.

  12. “I still wonder in amazement at a politician with, presumably, left-wing principles like Darling seeing no contradiction in banking a cheque from a major Tory donor, never mind one with such a dirty business track record.”

    I don’t Derek. Darling doesn’t see beyond the hard cash. Same lack of principles must have underpinned his strategy of maximising MP expenses by flipping main residencies. He probably saw that as a victimless crime.

  13. You miss the point Derek. The problem the SNP have (or had because they dropped it as soon as they were exposed) with running a sanctimonious campaign against Vitol is the same one the Labour Party had: sooner or later you look like a hypocrite.

    Split hairs all you want but it’s bad politics to attack your opponents for accepting money from a source when there are pictures and reports of several of your most senior figures celebrating donations from the same source.

    Aye but, doesn’t quite cover it…

  14. I don’t see why Labour people would be uncomfortable working alongside Tories in the Better Together organisation, if the referendum is mainly a question of identity. We should remember that the principal identity of people like Alistair Darling, Ruth Davidson, Johann Lamont etc is British. They are fighting to defend their nationality and identity which takes precedence over social and economic matters, for the time being at least. They may well be ‘proud and patriotic Scots’ but Fred Trueman was a proud Yorkshireman and Cilla Black is a proud Liverpudlian. For British-oriented people, being Scottish is just part of being British, and proud Jocks or no different from proud Scousers or Geordies. It’s almost unreasonable to expect the ‘proud and patriotic Scots’ to put what they see as regional interests above national ones.

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