Labour Pains

The agony of the real Labour voter…trapped in an odious campaign funded by a rich man’s club of Tory donors and yet impotent and unable to speak up. Month after month of humiliation as pro-Trident Jim Murphy champions their cause, the Clyde shipyard workers are turned into traitors, and bankers, aristocrats, landowners and millionaire bosses pay their bills. Meanwhile their real option of Devo Max is first removed from the ballot and then castrated by their own party as an act of expediency.


One by one, Labour men and women with the courage of their convictions appear in the media stepping over no man’s land to join the swelling ranks of the true progressives openly and proudly campaigning for no more welfare cuts, full employment rights, no redundancies, universal benefits, re-industrialisation and social justice.

Always the same question – what happened to their Labour Party? When the people take to the streets to demand change why is their side absent, devoid of mass support and instead shoulder-to-shoulder with the CBI, UKIP and the BNP? Why is their party working hand-in-glove with Tories and taking the unearned income from Tory donors? Why would the British elite in their banks and country estates be so passionate about retaining a political system which punishes the workless, the female, the single parent and the disabled? How does it work out that the interests of the very people Labour despise are now aligned with those of the Scottish working class?

And of course, they aren’t. The reason the titled and the wealthy hold on to power and money is because the British state makes sure they are looked after first. And Labour has spawned its own nursery of wannabe Lords and Ladies who ride the golden coach into the ermine club and, without any democratic mandate, only allegiance to the source of patronage, scoff at the gullible voters they left behind.*


Just as Blair, Mandelson, Brown and Darling are comfortable with the corporate wealth dispensers and accumulate faster than greedy Tories, so their successors Miliband and Balls plead with southern voters to trust that they too will protect the middle earners and professionals first by retaining the Tory austerity budget. After all, who else can suffering Labour supporters turn to?

What disappoints and at times, disgusts me, is that I don’t believe more than a rump of Labour people truly believe in the party’s offer, either in the referendum or the British General Election but can’t find a voice to say so. I know they aren’t nationalists and don’t support Salmond, which is why the No campaign denigrates him – out of fear and respect – but are they hearing what they want to hear from their leadership?

They’d love to and kid themselves Miliband will deliver and will win the election but they know this is all a forlorn hope, the triumph of wishful thinking. If the lines were delivered by someone they trusted – a Dewar perhaps – they might feel assured but they know Johann was a mistake and so is Ed. How can they stay silent when Scotland’s future is at stake, our belief in a fairer society is in the balance – look at Labour’s delight when UKIP won a Euro seat. That gave the game away. They welcome UKIP as a sign that Scots are just as avaricious, just as racist and selfish as Tory voters in the Thames Valley. It was Margaret Curran’s moment of the campaign – a woman representing our poorest area with male death rates less than 60 years and who wants to end the Barnett formula which she admits keeps up public spending.

Do Labour folk support this? Are they proud of the death figures of the ‘greatest ever Union’ which retains welfare budgets in London? Will this referendum end with the silent majority – the Labour voters – sitting on their hands, mind and mouths shut? Do they really despise their own politicians so much that they would defer to an old Etonian banker’s son and let him decide their policies and speak for them? Or are they just praying it was all over, the mucky affair ended with a No and we leave our future and our childrens’ in Westminster’s hands? Will they enjoy watching the champagne parties in the City, in the board rooms and the country houses of the No side’s campaign donors and supporters? Do they think the bankers will come round and thank them?


One day, and it may come soon, we will have to look in the mirror. If, as I suspect, Scotland votes Yes, how will a Labour voter feel knowing for the rest of their life that their fellow Scots took the bold step and changed our country? If there is a Yes, I bet you won’t find a No voter the day after, they will hide their shame by denying it.

If it’s a No, they will watch events unfold – from the budget cuts, the reversal of the advances of Holyrood and the return of a Tory-led government – in the knowledge that they did that. They will purposely have played their part in opening up their country to a generation of assaults beyond our control.

This is the time to speak up…for Scotland, social justice and self-respect. Silence is no longer an option.


*This is Your Britain, Labour.

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45 thoughts on “Labour Pains

  1. What an amazing article! your best ever Derek.

    • Actually Derek, every time I see a NO speaker on the media, I give silent thanks. An interesting experience is watching Johann on TV with the sound turned down, so you can concentrate on the body language. A psychologist friend who watched her was very clear about his clinical verdict. These people are simply not credible. They come across as full of hate, negativity, and contempt for anyone who has no social or political significance. The psychopathology of social conservatives, is now well known. it is apparently a evolutionary adaptation to survival conditions in the last Ice age. It is genetically encoded in the DNA. It really does show, when you watch these people. Knuckle dragging social fascists. Why do I say this?…..simple. Wellington once described Napoleon’s presence on a battle field as “Worth 50,000 soldiers”. Likewise, the NO campaigners are a godsend to the YES activists. Every time they open their mouths, they lie, deceive, and hate. But it is so transparently obvious. I breath a sigh of relief every time I see Lamont on TV. This women is a mobile disaster in every studio she visits. Hurrah!!. The time of transformation and liberation approaches.

      • lastchancetoshine

        Definitely an interesting phenomenon Graham, and the negativity certainly comes across. My worry though is the influence it has on people who aren’t particularly engaged.

        Unfortunately I get the feeling that many people associate the feeling that’s communicated with the debate as a whole and not strictly with the no campaign. These are the people who say “they are all as bad as each other”, and it may all be wrapped up with the “No because I don’t like Alex Salmond” way of thinking, perhaps because often his apperiences in the press and on the telly are framed negatively.

        Many of those people will carry that negative feeling with them into the polling booth with them without ever looking at the issues for themselves.

        Do many people think of an appearance by Johann or Alistair Darling say as just someone talking about independence rather than someone who wants them to vote no? ( To be fair with Johann sometimes it’s difficult to tell)

  2. Hit the nail on the head, Derek. I still can’t believe the position labour in Scotland has put itself in. But as you say – Silence is no longer an option. Thanks.

  3. Good article if premised on the flawed idea that there are genuine progressives left in the labour party.

    How can there be?

  4. Excellent article

  5. Excellent article. I watched the Referendum Debate on BBC2 last night and was angry how some Labour woman, Jenny I think her name is, ridiculed David Hayman’s vision of a nuclear free and fairer Scotland after a Yes vote. I don’t know how he stopped himself from punching her. And then there was an overblown businessman, John somebody or other, spent his time shouting about the joys of the Union. I don’t think the Portree audience were impressed by either of them.

  6. I tweeted similar yesterday how did Labour end up in bed with BNP SDL Britain first and funded by Tories and bankers

    But such is the hatred of Salmond by some in Labour they would happily see Scotland in ruins
    Its Scotland or the UK thats the choice

  7. British Labour (especially people like Darling) have always said that a Tory government in London was better than any government in Scotland.
    This is where we are at,a Labour conceived pretendy parliament in Edinburgh,designed to give Scots the appearance of democracy but in reality leaving power in London.
    The lack of democracy in our country is what this referendum is supposed to correct or affirm and that is what Darling and his friends are so desperate to hide through a smoke screen of irrelevant side issues.
    They do not want voters to think about this,rather the uncertainty of it all should they vote Yes.
    Excellent stuff Derek,thank you.

  8. Excellent. The Atlee government was one of the transformational UK administrations, but that was nearly a lifetime ago. Since Thatcher/Reagan made greed and self-interest a respectable philosophy both Tory and Labour have vied with one another to kowtow quite openly to the rich and powerful so that present-day Labour boast of being even tougher on benefits, immigration and other poor-punishing policies favoured by the Establishment classes. To whom do the poor and disadvantaged turn now that Labour have disowned them? It is dismaying to see that even in the Guardian, which used to be left of centre, journalists and commentators still put their faith in Labour and deride Scottish Independence.

    Although many are confident of a Yes result, my fear is that too many Scots, possibly a lot of them Labour voters, will be swayed by the scare stories, innuendos, smears, half-truths and downright lies coming from the Westminster parties and Scottish Labour and vote No. Tell a lie often enough and people will begin to believe it. Scotland will be condemned to be ruled for who knows how long by an incompetent, corrupt, self-serving elite more interested in ensuring that the money-laundering capital of the world maintains its pre-eminent position rather than creating greater equality.

    What do we do then? What is plan B?

    • There was a pollster recently (can’t remember which one) which asked Westminster 2015 voting intentions after a No vote. Labour’s vote collapses and the SNP vote soars. I think that’s the Labour voting Yessers intending a howl of outrage.

      If that is true and we send a majority of SNP people to Westminster then, since we will have denied Ed his trusted tranche of SLAB robots it will be a Tory govt, probably, then with more numbers they get more speaking opportunities and Scotland becomes too ornery to govern.

  9. Excellent piece, Derek. You are well into your stride – no stopping you now!

  10. smiling vulture

    If NO win they will try to shut down independence for good.As the YES side goes into depression,they will bring in some obscure bill,stopping Scotland holding a referendum for about 50 years.

  11. Excellent stuff Derek that hits the nail right on the head.

    Labour have cheerfully embarked on a scorched earth policy in Scotland without realising that they are going to be its victims too.

    Incidentally I watched Ed Miliband PMQ today and came away with the inescapable conclusion that there is no way this guy is ever going to persuade the people of Britain to elect another Labour Government.

  12. Absolutely, Derek. It really is difficult to understand how Labour voters can sit back and see the Party they support prance around as the front of house for the behind the curtains landowners and Tories (many of whom are not even resident in Scotland so have no vote).

    Scots voted in election after election to get rid of Tory MPs, and now we have Labour running around doing their bidding, and being financed by them to do it. A complete about turn. But Labour supporters seem happy enough to accept that. Otherwise they would be clamouring for a complete change of policy and an insistence that their Party work for a Yes vote. Too late now, so Labour aficionados will have to live with their Party’s reinvention and their own acquiescence.

  13. Dr JM Mackintosh

    Excellent article Derek. You really have a real understanding of the dilemma for labour voters.
    You will have to keep going to the cinema !

  14. That was superb. Many thanks, Derek.

    Labour needs a new name, a new leader and a new beginning in an independent Scotland.

  15. Another hit Derek. It has taken a bit of time, but historically less so, for the Westminster establishment to turn the workers’ party into a mirror of itself. Subsumed and assimilated so effectively they weren’t even aware the process was taking place. Westminster isn’t the place for Scottish aspirations to be met. It never has been. Time to cut the cord from this pernicious and self serving establishment once and for all. Labour voters will be the key. I only hope the scales fall from their eyes before September 18th.

  16. Very well said and a powerful post Derek.

    Whatever happens on the day, on September 19th I’ll be proud to say I voted YES. Proud of the people I’ve seen canvas, leaflet, make speeches, debate in public and post online. They’ve been working toward real progressive change for the electorate. From whatever walk of life, political background, point of origin, some in the most difficult of circumstances, they’ve given of themselves to make a difference for the better and the future of others.

    That I believe is the real difference between the two campaigns. Better Together, the continuance of the union and UK state is based on elitism, self interest, greed and patronage at its core. YES to an independent Scotland is based on creating a better country for generations yet to be, a country where the people are sovereign and their government is directly accountable. It is essentially selfless in its aspiration, a statement of intent to better the lives of the many, not the few.

    I’m with Margo on this. We’re on the side of the angels for a change and it feels good. 🙂

  17. Plaudits are deserved Mr. Bateman.

    Now the real matter at hand is how this message is made public and understood by the subjects of your excellent article

  18. Bang on the nail, Derek.

  19. I too am depressed at times with the thought that Labour and their allies will win this referendum but then I see the smiles that my little pink badge gets and I think back to the depression of the 1997 campaign and look what happened then. Labour for all their bringing forth the Devolution bill were not with it, they were truly against it hence the two votes, it was the settled will of the Scots then it was not so settled. Well the Scots showed them, they thought that being them we would not vote for the tax component, well they were wrong then too.
    I think you have said exactly what most of us think about Labour and I think that it is mostly either those who are politically unaware of what has happened that vote for them. They cannot raise enough activists without importing them and I often wonder who these people are? I doubt any of them come from working class homes, they all seem to be non working class/never had a job, wannabe politicians. Well at least the ones I have met at my door.

  20. The trick Labour is pulling is similar to that of the Republicans in the US. There you get poor, working-class tribally loyal Republican voters who will vote for massive tax cuts for multi-millionaires. People who can’t afford health insurance will vote against universal health cover. Families that are being poisoned will vote against environmental measures that would protect them. This is what Labour has become – they are selling a brand but the product is nothing like it used to be.

  21. I would prefer a substantial clear confident YES vote decision by the electorate. In the event of a No vote, then it would be no more than half-time from my viewpoint. I would align with whatever party or group continued to campaign for independence.

    In the event of a NO vote it would be hard to thole the smugness of the Establishment Unionists, and to empathise with the “average Labour voter” who voted No, and witness the bitterness that may develop among them as they realise their blunder, as austerity gales in.

    Finally, I do expect a YES. The final hurdles are to shake the comfortably off Grannies and GrandDads out of their complacency that voting No means life continues as is with a NO vote and to contemplate the future for their grandchildren.And to encourage belief in the poorest in our society that their votes matter and betterment in their circumstances possible.

  22. I can’t work out how they think they will win back all of us that used to vote for them by being so outlandishly rude to us because we don’t agree with them on everything. It’s suicidal and they can’t see it.

    I’ve heard ex party members say things like “our MSP has just become tiresome as all she does is slag off the SNP”

    I’m sure there are some of them reading this so for you… WE stopped voting for you because you stopped doing what you are supposed to be doing and we don’t trust you any more.

    It’s our Ball (the peoples) not yours and not the SNPs, they haven’t stolen it, we have taken it off you and given it to them for the meantime. If you want a shot of it ever again, you need to stop being rude to us and behave like grown ups.

  23. Inspiring writing Derek. You put into words what so many are thinking. The MSM are too busy manipulating public opinion to spell out the truth. A strike of public sector workers today goes unsupported by Labour. They’re committed to austerity and that means poverty wages at the bottom and magnificent bonuses at the top. Former Labour voters like me can not support a party that sells itself to the highest bidder.

  24. Paul Goodbrand

    We are talking about Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

  25. Cag-does-thinking

    I like it when you post weblogs Derek, your words are very powerful and make a great contribution to the debate. Another great piece. I think the statement today that the three “main” parties will support the legislation to get round the EU legal ruling which hasn’t even been written yet (!!!!) tells you all you need to know about the Westminster version of democracy and where Labour are at this point in time. And maybe explains those inexplicable extra checks at airports over the last few days; after all if there is a terror threat then any legislation can be passed without a critical word from the main stream media.

  26. An Excellent piece. Everything you write is correct. I sometimes sit and think, “how can these NO people live with themselves, going along with the constant smears and sneers against their country. Don’t they realise these insults apply to THEM as well. And all of it bankrolled by rich rentiers and wasters from the City, London property investors, and their like and funded from their tax evasion.” The Labour Party has lost its soul not only in Scotland but in the rest of the UK.

  27. Great article Derek.

    And brilliant comments too.

    I may be wrong but feel Labour have damaged themselves so badly in this referendum that they will have only a small bitter support afterwards. To listen to the vile drivel thrown out at us , to hear only anti Salmond or anti SNP without anything positive to offer sums them up as the party of puppets . losers and liars.

    YES voters now have information that has been hidden from us for decades and we get the info out there by chappin doors and chatting. The MSM are so bad that even their own supporters cringe every time a “new” scare comes up.

    BT?NT have nothing to offer. BT/NT use fear and scares to intimidate voters. They lie and the spin knowing we don’t believe them and this has been their undoing. Labour are deid . No way back.

    Wait till nearer the referendum date when they realise they are going to lose and watch as they turn on each other , like rats. How many will turn i don’t know but for most of them a YES vote means they are finished in politics in Scotland.

    I will never forget or forgive the parties for their damming and vile abuse . For Downing Scotland at every turn . For laying with the tory’s while we have food banks and welfare sanctions causing children going hungry..

  28. As a former Labour voter, this article sums up the present situation perfectly.

  29. i sincerely hope there are enough of us to swing it
    great article derek,in my view all companies are feart and they disgust me,we musnt lose

  30. I think we can recognise in a lot of these labour voters a form of political shell shock. They’re in a daze, confused, cognitive faculties fundamentally broken. The UK is disintegrating around them, the sheer swivel eyed dishonesty and corruption at Westminster is destroying the accepted norms of what it meant to be British. Its being redefined to mean something much less and meaner than it was.

    They put their faith in something that turned out to just as demented and swivel eyed as the con-dems. Who can they turn to? who can they put their faith in? Labour are not blind to this, and so have embarked on a program of trying to scare their own and the undecided into staying British. Labour aren’t doing this because they think any of it is true, nor that they think the UK is OK. They know exactly how badly they have damaged it, but unfortunately for the labour voter and for the rest of us, labour are largely career opportunists with their eye on ermine trim, non-executive directorships, expenses that’d make a movie celeb blush with embarrassment. They’re in it for themselves and they know Independence will stop that in its tracks. They know if they lose trident, the US will have little interest in them. They won’t lose their seat in NATO as its not a nuclear alliance. But they’ll lose a vanity toupee that made them look important.
    Cameron doesn’t want us to go, not because he thinks Scotland was the one who put the Great into Great Britain. He doesn’t want us to go, for the simple reason that we will be a success, and a rebuke. A rebuke to the idea that Austerity was essential. A rebuke to the nonsense that universalism was unaffordable. A rebuke to the constant message from the right, that it costs too much to care about Human dignity.

    Most No voters I met are simply scared. Uncomfortable with the idea of voting no, plagued with doubt. I think they know a NO vote is going to be a bad idea, but like the labour voter looking for a magical old labour rebirth, they are putting their faith in something holding back the tide. “The tories won’t win, they say – labour will turn it around, they widdnae dare mess with the NHS”

    Putting your faith in a labour party that didn’t so much triangulate a right wing voter, as get captured by it, is the the fantasy here – not independence. There is no way in hell that having dismantled welfare in England, they or indeed the conservatives will tolerate a Scotland, that is still part of the union, having its own publicly funded NHS. They simply cannot allow Scotland to be different from the rest of the UK. If that means destroying Scotland to save “union” – they will do that. But having done it, they’ll lose Scotland, making the same mistake the tories did back in 78.

    Labour in its current form has the most to lose with a no vote. They have become lazy. Complacent. With regards to the SNP, they have engaged on a campaign of belligerent imbecility that is quite staggering to see, They lack ambition. They lack vision. They aspire to mediocrity Their politics have become miserablist in their tone. They wallow and exult in anything that paints us and them as worthless scroungers. Hell they even applauded George Osborne for saying that Scotland had contributed nothing to the success of sterling. Is it any wonder then, that your average labour voter simply doesn’t know what to believe in anymore.

    Its your labour? not anymore it isn’t

    • I agree that SLAB know what they are doing. They are knowingly burning political capital in the hope of a No vote. Think about it, London Labour will lose if Scotland goes. All those ‘in the bag’ seats will go. They may not make a difference very often but when Labour does get a majority they give them a workable majority immune to occasional by-election losses.

      They calculate that any lost support can be weaned back over time. I’m not so sure. Look at what happened to the Tory party and is happening to the FibDems. If Labour isn’t careful we will end up with Holyrood split between SNP, Green and Socialists with only token representation from the unionist three.

      Then there’s that poll question about GE voting intention post a No vote that predicts the collapse of the Labour vote and them all going to the SNP. That would turn the Clyde Valley yellow.

      If you add in the SNP’s sheer technocratic competence in the parliament that runs rings around the other parties and governs so well then we may have SNP governments for a long time to come. Especially post a No vote with the unionist three continuing to send any Scottish talent south. That is the reason the SNP govern so well in comparison, they have put their best in the job. Which is what any country deserves in its politicians, surely?

    • SNP
      =free prescriptions
      =retained NHS
      =scrap road and bridge tolls
      =abolish unnecessary ministries
      =give vote to 16year olds
      =free bus passes
      =legislate against football hooligans
      =dump the PFFI
      =arrange a referendum
      =and much much more
      I am proud of them
      They are very positive about the future.


    • Hope that the rumours of the Record moving to Yes are true I suppose. As I say above I think the Sun will not be far behind as nasty Uncle Rupert does not like backing a losing side.

  32. John Dobbins.

    Derek, I wish I could be as optimistic as you about YES winning the referendum. Sadly, on numerous occasions, when talking to old comrades/colleagues in the Labour and Trade Union movement, I have been consistently confronted, by rote, with the gamut of “problems” that are detailed, day and daily, by BT and their allies in the corporate press, and BBC Scotland in particular. These range from the safety of pensions; what currency will be used; ship-building jobs; oil reserves; defence provision etc, etc. But, despite answering, assuring, and comprehensively destroying the false basis of their BT inspired concerns – especially about pensions – they, invariably, become “shifty” and “uneasy” after their every objection to independence has been “Scotched”. Unfortunately, many of them populate the so-called “undecided” group and, despite the logic of Scottish Independence, they are too ashamed to admit that they will, in reality, vote NO. With them, voting “Labour” IS a matter of faith – whether that be the hereditary Catholic or Orange variety; and, depending on where they stay. However, despite BT and New Labour MP, Jim Murphy, “distancing themselves” from the Orange Order; “Labour” doesn’t care where their votes come from, having cynically exploited concentrated, immigrant populations – or ghettoes – in the past, for its own benefit. But, despite this, even “Georgeous” Galloway and the Orange Lodge have no problem in being associated with New Labour – NEW LABOUR, how low can you get? Strange bedfellows indeed!

  33. dennis mclaughlin

    i am glad that your convictions are for Scotland and not the scorched-earth Bitter Together sort Derek.
    Alex Salmond could be assisted in his forthcoming debate with Switcher by having a careful read of your summary,well done laddie!.

  34. The best article I have read about mendacious Labour. Well written Derek. The SNP is keeping its powder dry till nearer the vote, they are the most successful party Scotland has ever seen. There is plenty of ammo to use with details of the present corrupt system, as explained in this article and we WILL get a YES vote.

  35. Don’t despair John Dobbins. A new Survation poll commissioned by the Daily Record, of all papers, put the Yes and No neck and neck. I know it says 47% to Yes and 53% to No, however, take the usual Don’t Knows and 3% error out and they are both at 50%. It sure made my day!!!

  36. Carol Jardine

    Great article. It needs a wider audience, especially die-hard Labour folk.

  37. John Dobbins.

    To ANNE: thank you for your words of encouragement but, unfortunately, the dent in the brick wall – against which, I have been battering my YES “napper” for years – is forever getting deeper! You also mentioned the “Daily Record” – my old employers. These are the same “geniuses” who declared a swathe of journalist redundancies in Scotland – just before the Holyrood elections in 2011 – after, stupidly, believing “the polls” (including their own) AND that of ex- Labour adviser, sorry, “impartial” “sophist”-ologist, John Curtice, all of which had confidently predicted that New Labour in Scotland would “gub” the SNP. This, projected, “stunning victory” for New Labour, was the “reasoning” behind the Daily Record redundancies which, would have the added “bonus” of “forever, wiping out” the SNP/Independence “threat” and allow Trinity Mirror to, seamlessly, INCREASE London produced news items – at the expense of “live, Scottish produced pages” which, would be drastically cut and produced by untrained and unqualified “interns”. But, despite Iain Gray and Co. getting well and truly “Subway-ed”, most of these redundancies went through. However, to “atone” for their stupidity and “Great British” hubris – Trinity Mirror threw the SNP a bone: they gave the SNP, MSP Joan McAlpine a column in the Record! So, everything’s alright then?!
    No, this is already the case with ALL “National” London based “news”-papers – especially, the “Scottish” SUN and the “Scottish” Daily Record – but, if Scotland rejects independence in September, it will “Herald” the death-knell of what remains of “Scottish” journalism. We will merely be “serviced” by “satellite” printing plants and websites; regurgitating London-centric “news” with a few pages of “North British” sport and earth-shattering headlines such as “Mrs. Wummin’s dug dies under a hail of bullets in Glasgow’s East-End! So, besides destroying Scotland’s “free at source” NHS, the NO voters will destroy our “free press” (joke) too. And, to CAROL JARDINE: My old grand-pappy used to say – “No matter how hard you try, son – you can’t educate pork”. And, re- most of the current “Labour” Party, that is now a statement of fact!

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