Left Turn

Amid the peeling of bells and peasants dancing in the streets, gorging themselves on idylls of Labour Party wipe-outs in six months time, it’s been hard to discern just what thinking No people make of it all (I’m excluding Jackie Baillie).

So I was pleased to have sent to me this piece by Jean Barr, emeritus professor of Glasgow University and a confirmed Unionist, published in the Left Review.


I recommend it, not just to support the team at Review, but to benefit from a glimpse into a mindset that is blinded by revulsion at belief in country and allows her entire political outlook to be defined by it – in a way only a fundamentalist nationalist would recognise. How ironic is that?

I think it is insightful by revealing the convoluted emotions that cloud the judgement and steer the mind towards rejecting the very ideals the author espouses but is, through her prejudices, obliged to reject because of their nationalist branding. Progressive ideals are dismissed because they are labelled with the Scottish flag – her own country’s flag.

This is, to be blunt, a form of narrow-mindedness which Unionism has made its own by trumpeting British national interest from immigration to defence to euro-scepticism while simultaneously scoffing at Scottish pride as something lesser and faintly sinister. British nationalism is the NHS and the Olympics but Scottish nationalism is border guards and Anglophobia.

Left-minded Unionists are trapped in aspic, seeing the changed world outside but unable to join in, wallowing in their memories of the Cold War, communism and anti-Vietnam marches. ‘It was the real thing in my day, you know. None of this pandering to identity.’

Jean Barr lards her case against the new Scottish Left with what I can only call mis-readings of events. One wonders which campaign she was following when she is able to write… ‘In the run-up to the referendum and in its aftermath, the leftist case for Scottish independence reveals a dogged reluctance – even refusal – to engage in robust democratic dialogue with critics, especially those who also identify with the left. Dialogue means people together examining their thoughts and assumptions. It demands effort as well as empathy and imagination.’

A reluctance to engage…? Is that what the Yes movement was about…hundreds of them springing up from Shetland to the Border…staging public events, hustings, stalls, publishing papers, opening blogs, forming new media, knocking doors…and inviting Unionist speakers of any and all stripe to come along and join in and yet were either turned down or promised speakers who never turned up, cancelling meetings all over the country. Every Yes activist has a similar tale to tell. Did Better Together stage a single, open public meeting in the land? I know they didn’t have a single one in Glasgow. Where was the non-nationalist Left…hiding from the people, it would seem, or lost in space while their case was made by George Galloway.

Come to it…where was Jean Barr? ‘Challenging thoughts and assumptions’ is exactly what was happening under her very nose with trade unionists, food bank volunteers and lapsed Labour voters standing up in public to tell their stories of enlightenment and transformation. It was wonderful to behold. This was the greatest dialogue Scotland has ever had on any area of public policy and here is an intelligent citizen blind to it. Staggering.

She clearly feels that the sense of community and belonging we felt at reshaping – or trying to – our country was nothing more than a form of exclusion, which demonstrates our limited outlook and lack of universalism. She quotes Adam Smith. ‘For Smith, sympathy, the ability to put oneself in the other’s shoes rather than standing in judgement of them, requires continuously challenging one’s own assumptions: too much emphasis on belonging and on being the same limits and stultifies, leaving those outside the clan ‘in a limbo of coldness and indifference’.

Is that what Asian for Independence was about? Is that why the SNP declared that everybody living in Scotland was a Scot – no exclusions – and colour, country and religion made no difference at the same time a Unionist British government had vans touring London telling immigrants to go home?

I suspect the author felt cold and indifferent because she couldn’t come to terms with events and has projected it on to the movement which was precisely the opposite. This is what I mean by a prejudice that stains every thought. I defy anyone who joined in a Yes event, perhaps the Calton Hill rally, to say it was judgmental of anyone who disagreed or that it excluded anyone. The international media agreed.

There is much worrying analysis which describes Yes as sectarian – yes, the biggest single movement in modern history which has harnessed public mood into an array of parties and organisations and which commands groups of hundreds for political branch meetings and this week 3000 prepare for the RIC conference. It is almost unbelievable that an idea which has gripped public imagination and galvanised all sections of our society including our youth could be dismissed as sectarian and exclusive. Indeed, one is forced to conclude that that if anyone is judgemental, it is the author herself whose assessment flies in the face of the facts.

The total lack of critique of the British state and its systematic abuse of low paid workers and families, its militarism and campaign against civil rights shows where Jean Barr’s heart lies.

‘And a labour movement united at British level is better able to challenge the concentration of power and wealth at that level and bring the economy under more democratic control. Dealing with the limitations of nationalism will challenge the new left formation that is emerging in the wake of the referendum, in light of its apparent abandonment of class-based politics.’

So we are better able to cut the ruling class down to size and re-order society in favour of the poorest by maintaining the state which bankrupted the country, bailed out the bankers and cut living standards. Is Jean Barr living in the belief that there will be a Labour government with a radical agenda along any time soon?

Well…. ‘The Labour Party in Scotland and at UK level must speak of inequality and poverty as obscene; advocate redistribution and progressive taxation, including council tax reform; pursue public ownership, social housing and employment rights; and reverse the creeping privatisation of the NHS.’ (I think you’ll find the NHS privatization isn’t true, if you check with Labour).

To me those are exactly the policy ideas discussed at Yes meetings that Jean Barr couldn’t attend because she was scared of their sectarianism. I suspect she is whistling if she expects Miliband to deliver that lot.

This article ends with a cri de cour repeating the old canard that voting SNP will prevent a Labour government – no stats provided because they don’t stack up.

If this is a glimpse into No progressive thinking, we should begin to worry. Or Labour should, for this is another portrayal of Labour’s denial of SNP success, of refusal to accept that within Scotland we have created a new platform demanding social change and it doesn’t need the Labour Party or the United Kingdom to achieve it. The people are doing it for themselves…the people of Scotland.

Yes and the SNP need critics and need robust challenge but the British Left will have to do a lot better than this if it is to resonate.



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49 thoughts on “Left Turn

  1. I feel sorry for their closed minds and inability to move on. I’m fed up being told that I must “get over it”, “it” being the no vote, when I, and all my yes friends and aquantainces have moved beyond “it” to begin a new cycle!

    We are thinking of possibilities, whereas they are wallowing in their bitterness…poor them.

  2. I remember a similar article from Dr Jill Stephenson only a few weeks ago. For a Professor of German and History to come away with such nasty,venomous saliva-specked drivel simply defies belief.
    Now we have yet another ‘academic’ delivering the ‘establishment thinking’
    I’ve said it before but what on earth HAS happened at the Scottish Review

    • I too read this article in Scottish Review and tried to recognise myself as one of the deluded!
      As someone who has enjoyed Scottish Review since its inception, I now find that Kenneth Roy has completely lost the plot, with article after article an anti Scottish Government/SNP/Yes rant.
      Today, rather sadly I unsubscribed, not because of taking the Scottish Government to task, as is his right, but the completely unballanced turn the magazine has taken.

      • Glad to hear others are as disappointed with Scottish Review as I was. Kenneth Roy’s sour, trivial and contrived attacks on the Yes campaign and the Scottish Government and the poisonous rants of Ms Stephenson do nothing for its credibility. Mr Roy apparently thinks that the peaceful family demonstrations at the BBC were an attempt to intimidate journalists. I enjoyed his recent book, but the rest…….

        • Totally agree. Scottish Review used to be ASN interesting mix of diverse opinions but seems nmow to be so anti SNP and the Scottish government that I, a!long with many others, it seems have unsubscribed – though I do take a look at James Robertson ‘s stories, only bit worth reading now.

      • Thank you David. I thought that perhaps I was being too sensitive, but since Kenneth Roy’s on off resignation as Editor at least, his journalism has become unbalanced.
        The most recent edition was merely a set of Unionist rants. I was going to reply to the Email I got a couple f weeks ago asking me to renew as a friend on the basis that there was no need to support another Unionist propaganda sheet, but I decided that I wouldn’t bother.
        The fact is, as you have noted the Review has simply gone off.

      • I thought it was just me. The “Scottish Review” has indeed taken a strange turn. From writing intelligent articles on Scottish life and politics, it has descended into “Daily Record”/”Scotsman” default mode, SNP/Yes = Bad. This is a great pity as it was an informative and interesting magazine which I read as soon as I received the notification email. Increasingly, I just delete the email without reading it.

  3. Is there something about Emeritus Professors?

  4. What on earth are these so-called academics like Jean Barr & Jill Stephenson teaching our youngsters? They are so limited in their outlook & obviously don’t seem to observe what is happening round about them. Maybe they spend too much time shut in little rooms trying to think of ways to seem controversial – meanwhile missing everything that is going on. I wouldn’t want any of my children or grandchildren taught by these people who are so out of touch.

    • ronald alexander mcdonald

      I suspect that they’re living in a parallel universe of their own making. Closeted by the theory of academia without application of any practical experience.

      I wonder if they have ever asked themselves why the UK has operated a trading loss for 31 consecutive years. If that were a business (would have gone bust years ago) it would have completely restructured. So why hasn’t UK Ltd done so, either under the tories or labour?

      Well The City of London makes circa 45% of it’s money in the currency/bond markets. They have issued around £2.5 tr of gilts to foreign govt’s to make up the shortfall. Who has to meet the redemption payments? The poor mugs the tax payers and everybody who relies on The Welfare State.

      They want to retain that system!!! They think it will deliver social justice!!!!!

      It’s like expecting Hitler to respect the rights of jews.

      • When you are an ’emeritus’ professor it means you’ve retired and only have an honourary position. A bit like the Upper House for retired politicos, but without the £300 a day.

    • I believe Jill Stephenson knows something about cheese and wine parties…

  5. Well said D.

    That women was a hard read. It’s frightening to know someone with such prejudice is teaching . far too many so called scholars have views like her.

    We have the blind everywhere terrified of change , even if it was for the best.

    Thankfully the younger voter is aware and open to change and they have a voice now . I have high hopes for our future . The Referendum is over but change is coming regardless

  6. “This article ends with a cri de cour repeating the old canard that voting SNP will prevent a Labour government – no stats provided because they don’t stack up.”

    Luckily, Wings Over Scotland has. The results, if anything, show the OPPOSITE:


  7. Steve Asaneilean

    The Labour Party and the “traditional” left in Scotland have metamorphosed into suicidal moths flying into a flame of their own ignition.
    One million people voted Yes. Only 86,000 of them were or are now members of the SNP. This recurring childish and lazy equating Yes with some supposed (i.e. non-existent) bigoted nationalism is tedious, fatuous and dull.
    How can supposedly high-powered academics be so stupid? How can they so wilfully ignore that it was Yes that was open, inclusive and progressive – espousing fairness, equality and social justice. Name me one No event or organisation which was anything like that because I can’t.

  8. “a labour movement united at British level”, rather than at European level, or internationally, looks almost like a form of nationalism. Solidarity stops at Southampton, apparently.

    “sympathy, the ability to put oneself in the other’s shoes rather than standing in judgement of them, requires continuously challenging one’s own assumptions”

    This would be more persuasive if British nationalists (among them Jean Barr) had not spent the last 300 years presenting people who dared to suggest that Scotland might be better run if it governed itself as cranks and extremists.

    The sanctimonious left would be better engaged in removing the gigantic caber from its own eye, before concerning itself with any hypothetical motes in Yes campaigners’ eyes.

    • @nordbreton

      Barr’s ‘solidarity’ ends at the White Cliffs of Dover. Sadly British nationalists think they are internationalists, but in fact it was the No campaign who kept on telling us of the horrors of being a foreigner or a foreign nation. That tells me that Barr is a diehard Brit nat. She never mentioned the Fawlty Towers syndrome among the No campaign. Darling in particular must have mentioned foreign, or foreigners, in a negative sense, literally hundreds of times during the referendum campaign. Strangely it was barely picked up by the MSM in the UK either….

  9. Scottish Economic Analysis Unit

    My God, and that comes from a so-called academic? That’s one of the most arrogant and out of touch essays that I have had the misfortune to read in a very, very long time.

  10. Did Better Together stage a single, open public meeting in the land?

    No, not in an official way. The only unionist who held an open meeting(s) in Scotland was funnily enough George Galloway.

    Derek, this kind of an attitude displayed by Jean Barr is fairly typical among the middle classes in Scotland. Many of them think this way. In truth they are in all likelihood British nationalists, but they will never admit it because of the abuse they have given the SNP in particular for decades. I stopped reading after she said that the Labour Party should be campaigning against inequality (where has she been for the last 20 years?). She is so far from reality about politics in the UK, that it is no wonder she never engaged with the independence referendum. Barr is not interested in understanding the events of the last few years in Scotland, I suspect it is completely beyond her.

    I am afraid to say a lot of the ‘winners’ in the referendum are not doing themselves any favours, particularly with articles like that. To me it appears she hates the Yes side, and voters with a passion. I believe generally that Yes voters acknowledge the need to win over some No voters to independence sometime in the future. Of course, there is some bitterness on the Yes side, given the disappointment of the result, and conduct of many unionist politicians. However, what is also very noticeable is the bitterness and venom among some on the winning side, which is more interesting. You would think they would be happy and magnanimous given the result, but instead…


    Over 1.6 million people in Scotland voted Yes.

  11. And this is a “Professor” who penned that drivel?? Well, if that represents the mindset of your typical no voter, then there is no hope for the Scots to be represented as a “nation'” not now, nor at anytime in the future!

    I’m quickly coming round to concluding that most No voters are beyond redemption, and I fear the reasons are so deeply bound up within the Scots psyche as to be totally indecipherable to any psychologist who cared to probe deeply enough.

    Our ONLY hope is that the young Scots, who have not “enjoyed” the “benefits” of their BBC oriented media, and who, by and large, don’t read (news) papers, and who are far more switched on computerwise than their older counterparts, are swayed by the obvious benefits of making our own decisions rather than leaving it to foreign nations to do so on our behalf!

  12. Professor Barr seems to want what no British Government, of any colour, will ever deliver. Yet she still feels that we of a left-leaning disposition should allow ourselves to be manipulated by British so-called Labour ideals and representations. If the professor, who I have to admit to having never heard of – so what did she do during the referendum campaign – wants us to cling to mother I can only conclude that her feelings of socialism are overwhelmed by her British Nationalism!

  13. Unbelievable! I read that piece by Jean Barr and it left me angry at the blinkered attempt at re-writing history. They are in denial alright, and this is how they treat a victory? I’ve never personally seen a death of a political party in my time (maybe the shortlived SDP), but it really feels that Scottish Labour are in their final throes. There is so much they either don’t understand about Scotland today or they’re stuck in some alternative universe called the 1970s.

  14. Its a desire for us to admit defeat in a way that ends the argument for all time. Not going to happen.
    Its desire for us to forget being Scottish and just be “British” for once can’t you…even try it for a little bit, who knows, *shock horror* you might enjoy it. That requires me to embrace a happy clappy image for Britain, that as far as I can tell, never existed. It requires me to ignore all that is going badly wrong in happy clappy land and keep voting labour.

    The truth is, they barely managed more than half of the vote. And when you count those who did not vote, the true ration of no to yes is much lower. Hardly a ringing endorsement of Union. The no camp seem the most miserable. I always thought that would be us. But no, we seem more hopeful, more engaged.
    I think for Jean Barr and those like her, they know this question will come around again, and this time, they not going to manage what little they did. Hence the desire for us to forget it…just forget it. Cease to be Scottish. Stop asking awkward questions about social justice and keep voting labour.

    Not going to happen.

    The truth is that Labour does not need Scotland’s votes to win. It needs England’s votes. But it knows it needs Scotland’s votes to keep our Nation in the union, so it can spend its resources. The dilemma for Westminster is that Better together did such a fantastic hatchet job on Scotland, the nation is never going to feel comfortable with the idea of being British. Except for the die hard British nationalists. But they are increasingly going to be aware of how little respect Scotland actually has within the union. I think this is were articles by Jean Barr come from. An awareness of how much the no vote actually cost the union in terms of acceptance. The banal unionism as described by Colin Kidd has been swept away. There is a feeling of sheer desperation for things to go back to being how they used to be. When Scots didn’t have a right to ask awkward questions and just accepted the reality of the union, and tried to make the best of it.

    The other point is that labour has abandoned the left. Its no more left wing than George Osborne is good at sums. The real left now increasingly finding itself a new home in other parties. The polls reflect this. People are seeing that there is an alternative to labour. But that alternative is not sympathetic to the union and sees no point is using its resources in a wasteful fashion. No reason to remain in the union. Increasingly (beyond spiteful threats) no real case by unionists to remain either. This is for me the crux of Labours problem. It needs to reach out, but instead can only clench its fists, screw up its face in hate and spit at anyone who isn’t labour, and engagement be damned.

  15. May I suggest that what you are contemplating is something too often overlooked in politics: the problem that Isaiah Berlin described as the ‘incommensurability of values’. The implicit assumption is that values are essentially common and the ‘debate’ is about facts; once the facts are identified, or clarified or explained properly there will be common agreement. Somehow this rarely happens, save in cases of fairly elementary muddle or confusion. Berlin was sceptical about such an analysis resolving much of importance (I oversimplify for brevity’s sake). He was right. I suspect this is a product, at least in part, of a culture driven by the predictive success of science and mathematics. Something psychologically much deeper is going on that creates value-incommensurability (deeper than Berlin’s analysis, but that is another story).

    On the issue of IndyRef2 I do not think there is any organised, substantive failure to accept “defeat” at all among ‘Yes’ voters, save at the margin. I think Yes has generally, and in real political terms, been gracious in defeat. ‘No’ voters have discovered to their surprise that they won a Pyrrhic victory. Of course ‘No’ voters must be persuaded to change; we must offer the hand of fellowship and seek common ground.

    Nevertheless some ‘No’ voters will never change their mind. Whingers, frankly, can be ignored. Some ‘No’ voters did not just want victory, but expected the annihilation of their opponents. They have been profoundly disappointed in their expectation and they find it hard to accept that, as the smoke of battle clears, there they stand – 45% of the electorate, still expectant, still determined: an unavoidable and growing force in the land. This is a problem only for intransigent ‘No’ voters. Too bad.

    ‘Yes’ voters, on the whole, already understand that all this will take time. They should be confident that while progress may not be swift, there are grounds for optimism. It probably will not require a generation. They can rely on something Harold MacMillan either said or never said (who cares?): “Events, dear boy, events”. Events skewered MacMillan; they skewered Thatcher; they skewered Blair; Brown … … they will skewer Scottish Labour. Events are the nemesis ever hanging over Westminster. They just happen; endlessly. All you require to do is wait … ….

  16. According to the good Professor Emeritus the Irish should have become less Irish after their split from Britain. All that communing with other Catholic states in Europe, neutrality, joining the EU etc. etc. does not seem to have made the Irish less Irish or less patriotic.

    Yet somehow Scottish independence would emasculate us Scots because we would no longer just have England to measure ourselves against? What a blinkered and ahistorical viewpoint.

  17. The fact is that for a large proportion of the ’55’ the current system, the status quo, delivers very nicely. It is designed to work – or perhaps has evolved to work – for close to the majority. When the government increase the 40% tax threshold and at the same squeeze benefits you learn that its all about divide and conquer. Keep just enough of the population on board to keep the system going and it cannot fail. At the same time that system works exquisitly for a tiny majority – lets call them the super rich in the City. Those, through their connections with the governing classes, pay for the continuation of that status quo.

    Jean Barr is just another member of the ‘55%’ of scociety for whom the system delivers a dividend and she uses her position as an academic to defend it. Even if what she writes is just a lot of tosh. As she is a professor it is just that little bit harder to call into question what she says.

  18. we have politicians and academics with first class degrees in rhetorical effluent. (aka pr) will they bring back latin to blind us. we not all educated and we are not all stupid. privileged twats.

  19. I’m glad you found the article of interest Derek. I too noted the conflicted emotions and blinkered mindset, lodged in the 1970s and international socialism.

    When did that ever happen? Did the workers of the world ever unite?

    No, but dozens of nations have been born and found their feet since then. Even tiny Malta (population 450,000) manages to go it alone and recently celebrated its 50th birthday (after a referendum), in the same year we held our referendum… and rejected our freedom because of the dour doyens of Middle Scotland like emeritus Professor of Adult and Continuing Education, Jean Barr.

    Barr seems resentful of the new Scottish left that she sees forming in front of her very eyes, but cannot recognise it as a comrade because it is not Marxist but nationalist. John Warren talks about the ‘incommensurability of values’. I suppose I would call it brainwashing. In her case she seems to have a double dose, unionist and Marxist.

    I remember in 1992 when Scotland United were rallying for a Scottish Parliament I delivered a leaflet to a stair in Merchiston, Edinburgh. I hadn’t got out of the door of the close when this old harridan of a woman came flying out at me in a fury, brandishing the leaflet I had just put through her letterbox and waving it angrily in my face, saying, ‘What’s this rubbish you’ve just put through my door? WE can’t have a Scottish Parliament, don’t you know that? We don’t have the brains. Everybody clever goes to ENGLAND!!!’

    I was gobsmacked. I could only look at her in pity. I know it was an incredibly unchristian thought, but in consolation to myself, I could only think that I would likely outlive her and see the day when we did have a Scottish Parliament, but she might never see that day; that I was right, and she was wrong, and her day had been.

    But at a deeper level I felt real horror, at the sheer depth of crippling poison that 300 years of a union with ENGLAND had visited on us Scots, how it had paralysed our national spirit, how it had leeched our self-belief, and seeped the energy and lifeblood out of us that it could produce such abnormal levels of national self-loathing as that.

    Because at that time, apartheid was coming apart in South Africa. Every day on our TV screens you would see them dancing and chanting and marching in Soweto, dancing for their freedom. There was this incredible buzz of freedom in the shanty towns, they were politically awake. They felt their power, they dreamed freedom.

    And here we were in Scotland fiercely clutching self-abnegation self-annihilation like it was our very ‘nouris milk’.

  20. A very good article this time Derek. And it makes one ask where DO these lefty ’emeritus’ professors live? It appears not in the world as it is now but in some fantasy location from thirty years ago where everything has a pink glow while they wait for their Red Prince to come from erewhemos across the sea and reinstate REAL left wing policies in the UK.

  21. So basically I’m not a progressive, outward looking, socially inclusive leftie, I’m simply a wrong headed flag waving tribalist? And the good professor’s narrative differs from the average Labour politician’s how? Near as my poor uneducated mind can tell, the professor’s conclusion is exactly the same as the average Labour spad’s sound bite with the exception that the professor takes longer to say it and uses bigger words. There may even have been a dictionary involved. 🙂

  22. The article reads as one long wail from academia and the chattering classes about how politics today isn’t like the politics of their youth. Any minute now they will be telling us to get off their lawn. I suspect they are horrified by the fact that many of the electorate are now politically active and doing it for themselves rather than waiting for pronouncements from those who consider themselves entitled to tell the voters (their inferiors) what to think and to have those pronouncements slavishly followed.

    Ultimately the referendum has seen a sea-change in how we do politics in Scotland, and old Labour have to evolve or die. It’s not looking good for evolution though, since the article ends with the weary old exhortation to vote for Labour to get rid of the Tories. They really must try a lot harder to convince the voters, mabe (here’s an idea) by adopting some policies and persuading people of their merit? Don’t think it will happen though. Labour’s muscle has atrophied to the point where they are almost paralysed and can only rely on the old reflexes. The saying about old dogs and new tricks comes to mind.

  23. My post at 0853 pm 19th still awaiting moderation? What am I doing wrong?

  24. Bugger (the Panda)

    Derek, let them be. Eventually they will twig but, the longer that takes, the better.

    As for the Scottish Review, I agree, lost the plot?

    K R really hates AS with a vengeance.

    Maybe that is the key to their inability to understant the sea change in politics in Scotland; hate?

    • They could simply try observation, empathy, understanding, humility. Perhaps one of these professor types may one day ask us what we think and why we think the way we do?

      But probably not. (shrugs)

  25. If you are interested in another No view, here’s another from the Scottish Review by Professor Carol Craig (she of the book on Scottish confidence) which also appeared on the blog WakeUpScotland just before the referendum.


    In it Carol notes that you might find it hypocritical that she who promotes Scottish self-confidence and wonders where we get our Scottish cringe from, should decide to vote No (well yes, Carol, I do) but it’s because breaking up the highly centralised UK is going to be impossibly complicated and create a huge amount of damage and instability to both Scotland and rUK and she feels basically that it carries all the dangers involved in separating a pair of Siamese twins who share one set of heart and lungs (my metaphor, not hers). No separation has occurred in modern times of such highly integrated systems (Czechoslovakia?).

    I don’t think is an argument against indy, but rather an argument that the 18 month timetable suggested by the SNP might have been a tad optimistic. Three years might be more like it, but heh, when you’ve waited 307 years to recover your liberty, what’s another 18 months? Powers could have been transferred one tranche at a time after the systems had been set up in Scotland to deal with them. That would have been nice and stable for everybody.

    What I find with both articles is that the reasons both writers give for voting No aren’t their real reasons. Reading between the lines what you feel is that they simply cannot bring themselves to in any way, shape, or form, appear to endorse the SNP. One feels that if it had been Labour leading the charge for indy they would have had a far lesser problem with it. Both cling to the view that Labour is Scotland’s natural party of government, not the SNP. There is an inability to see what Labour has become and in fact, never was, since the time of Willie Ross, at least. Labour ditched any commitment it ever had to home rule in the 1950s. It has been fooling the Scottish people ever since about standing for their interests.

    So at the end of the day, despite being highly intelligent women, the issue is plain and simply a tribal one. They can’t bring themselves to abandon the primary loyalties to Labour they were raised on.

    • Am I the only person that found an ‘expert’ on ‘Confidence and Well-being’ being somewhat lacking in these qualities highly amusing?

      The real reason may not be disconnected with personal finances. The idea that an IScotland might have introduced fair taxation and omfortably well off academics might have found themselves paying a little more tax. The Horror! The Horror! The irony being that devolution of income tax, or part of income tax, without the larger taxes is apt to lead to the very thing they secretly fear. Ho ho!

  26. Spot on macart763 – any academic worth his or her salt would do basic research which included asking those whose views you seek to challenge what they actually think and why. This simply doesn’t happen – so we end up with the verbal garbage of personal views wrapped up in some distorted vision of academic respectability. But where is their evidence? Shameful really when you think about it.

    • During the past two years especially, commentators, professors and pundits have all queued up to give their personal theories on what motivates the SNP and the wider YES movement. Who we are, what we are, what beliefs we hold, our likes, dislikes and such. To this day I’ve never met one of them, yet they’ve felt free to wax lyrical on how we, as yes voters, should bet categorised. Labelled like specimens in a jar. Like I say, couldn’t put a face to a single one of them.

      Strange, but true.

  27. Seems to me that the esteemed emeritus Prof. Barr should take herself post haste to spread the word of international socialism (smirks) to the benighted denizens of UKIPland.

    Good luck with that.

  28. I think the train has left the station and it will not be derailed people are crying out for meaning full change
    not just the usual spin , they want a system of government that works for every body . A Scotland where people can have a worth while future., and not forced into leaving just to try and find a job. But I think if we want to build a better system it will not come cheap. We have a daughter in Sweden and they pay more
    in taxes, but the benefits out way this .

    • I agree with that. We could have Nordic standards of welfare if we had governments with the courage to grasp the nettle and start taxing the rich and wealthy and the corporates instead of bending over backwards to divert wealth from the 99% to the 1%. Trouble is, politicians have been captured by the rich, the wealthy and big business and its in their interests that they govern the rest of us. This neo-liberal consensus started with Thatcher/Reagon and continued with Blair/Brown. The great crash, facilitated by Brown, Darling and Balls was the pinnacle of this “philosophy” when they decided to bail out the bankers with huge sums of our money and put all the costs onto the rest of us. Osborn has continued with this disreputable austerity strategy (which almost no reputable economist believes works) of punishing the poor so as to reward the rich. (it made me sick to watch him try to defend bankers’ bonuses against EU plans to curtail them while at the same time condemning vast numbers of UK citizens to poverty)

      We need to sweep them all away, but even after reading “Rebooting Democracy” (thanks for the tip in a previous thread) I don’t know how we can do it.

  29. Such people also seem unable to get their minds round the fact that there are different ways of doing things in government. The Westminster model, outdated and inefficient as it is, is certainly not the only one. Governance should be about much more than by how much income tax is raised or lowered, or who wins and loses in the welfare system. Governance should work to an overall plan.

    The Scottish Government will now expect its contractors to pay the living wage, and has been in discussion with its cleaning contractor to pay this from (I think) the end of the year. This is about much more than giving people a much needed pay rise. This money will be spent by those benefitting on essentials, probably in local shops, so helping boost the local economy, create more jobs, increase the income tax take which can then be ploughed back into the economy by the provision of infrastructure or services so creating more jobs…and so the cycle continues. The Scottish Government is working to a well thought through plan to grow the economy, but greatly constrained as it does not have all the necessary powers to achieve a significant difference.

    But all that matters to some is sticking the boot into the SNP. Sad.

  30. Just a superannuated 1960s Labour loyalist. She harkens back to the Thatcher era for comparison with today:

    “It is conveniently forgotten that in 1983, 25% of Scots voted for Margaret Thatcher, a percentage of the population roughly equivalent to the proportion of people who voted for the SNP in the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary election, and not that much lower than the overall percentage in the UK.”

    Thirty-one years ago! Well, we all must pay heed to that insight. It’s clearly relevant, isn’t it? But that’s obviously the world she lives in. Labour yesterday, today and tomorrow, world without end, amen. And I don’t doubt it’s helped her.

  31. As we all know, “Old professors never die – they just lose their faculties.”

  32. There is a medical definition for the prof’s condition.

    Psychological projection (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
    Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others.

  33. Thanks to Westminster’s late intervention in our referendum,Scots voted for Home rule rather than independence.
    We did not vote for a continuation of the UK as it is currently constituted which is what supporters of the British state are in denial about.
    As A.S.said,politics in Scotland have changed utterly but the mind set of some have not.

  34. Memo To Prof Barr: C- for that fact free and totally subjective meandering attempt Jeannie. Must try harder!

    The lack of insight in Jean Barr’s essay is staggering. Antediluvian beliefs in ‘Labour’ and ‘socialism’ and that somehow,only at the ‘British ‘ level mind, can equality be realised is completely risible. As a working class person who had never canvassed or participated in political activity before, I joined the ‘YES’ movement along with a diversity of people that central casting couldn’t have assembled.

    The universal belief in a ‘New Scotland’ with justice, fairness and equality as the main drivers made all of us strive and push for months to get the message out to ordinary people. All the time being drowned out by the bourgeois press and the State controlled and directed BBC and commercial stations.

    The ‘YES’ campaign was truly a people’s movement. All the vested interests stood against us. For a cardboard socialist like Ms. Barr that must have shocked her at a deeply unconscious level. Cognitive dissonance is a common reaction amongst people who find their deepest beliefs challenged and undermined.

    Individuals who react like this, first of all get angry with the source of the contradictory information. They may even scapegoat this source, accuse it of lying or wrong-headedness. If there is insight, realisation, understanding and acceptance of enlightenment will follow. Otherwise bitter and recriminatory outpourings and denial will continue.

    Ms Barr is in a state of denial. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being a British nationalist with a vested interest in the status quo, whilst posturing as a true believer in the old socialist shibboleths. There is nothing bad, but hardly admirable, in enjoying a very comfortable lifestyle whilst denying others less fortunate the political right to change and possibly destroy the crumbling system which props up your comfortable sinecure and inflation linked lifestyle.

    What is wrong, is to abuse her position of power as an academic, in order to denigrate a national movement; to categorise the people in it as unthinking and distasteful with reactionary attitudes; but at the same time defending the Neo-Liberal Capitalist State that is reducing the working class to zero hours and food bank related penury and degradation. The hypocrisy of ‘Academics’ such as Ms Barr ranks alongside the revolting antics of her true comrades, the ragged arse fascists of the Orange Order.

    How Ms Barr’s pride must have flourished in the dull glow of burning saltires ignited by these reactionary lumpen proles.Those were real fascists Jeannie, on our streets, and your British State agitated them into hatching out and fouling our city.

    My advice Ms Barr is go and read up on the revolution that is happening in your back garden. It’s a real one, about real people striving against a dying imperial state and it needs her and all of her comrades help (will she still have comrades?), and its reverberations are going to shake the foundations of both her academic and personal faculties to their very core.

  35. I believe the problem with the Professor is just a simple case of Tribalism. It’s a human failing, which seems to transcend all common sense and which runs through parts of the Scottish population at unhealthy levels. I see it on a regular basis where is manifests itself in the “Get it up you Salmond” and similar sentiments.
    Kenneth Roy has clearly fallen foul of it.
    I emphasise again that the Professor is not “of the Left” but is simply consumed with, and drowning in, naked tribalism.
    Sadly, until sections of the Scottish political and media set look in the mirror and recognise that they are essential acting in a base, tribal manner and that this drives their actions, then there is no hope for them.
    On the positive side, it can clearly be said of large sections of the Yes campaign that they are and have been “thinking things through” and are evidentially able to articulate their thinking. That’s good.
    As long as Yes keep to that approach then the future is rosy.

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