They Don’t Like It Up ‘Em

It’s as if John Major (think Clive Dunn as Private Jones) had hobbled into the Lords and shaken the snoring Ken Baker by the shoulder.

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‘Wake up! Wake up! Before it’s too late…’

‘Eh? What? Has Maggie returned? Is that Arthur Scargill?’

‘No. It’s me and I’m not inconsiderably concerned at the threat from the barbarians over Hadrain’s Wall…’

‘Righto. Actions stations. Call Captain Manwearing…’

The Home Guard of Old England is assembling, rubbing the rust off bayonets and pulling tight the battledress tunic to see if the buttons still fasten. The Scots must be stopped – they actually might be in government or just help a party stay in power when the whole system was designed to keep the democrats from the regions out. It’s as if women had been allowed membership of one’s club. And it just won’t do.

This is presented as anti-SNP but in a way it’s anti-Scottish because the SNP is nothing without the support of the Scottish people and the voices now clearing their throats in rebellion are protectors of an essentially English concept of the UK. Here’s a Daily Mail headline over an article by the quintessential English patriot Max Hastings….

The terrifying prospect of the Scots ruling England is now all too real: MAX HASTINGS on nightmare scenario facing Britain after the Election.

It isn’t that they mind Scots being there so long as we play the game by their rules and that doesn’t include actually running the country if it means delivering benefits to the North. Benefits in this sense should naturally flow south – and they do.

Kenneth-Baker-Snail-puppe-007

Scots running Britain! It’s a nightmare right enough.

There are a few misunderstandings in all this that I’m afraid the BBC’s alleged best – journalists on the Today programme – just allow to sit there. This morning in a three-way discussion, held bizarrely without any SNP or even Yes voice present – we heard from Jim Naughtie (who knows what’s happening because he’s in the Edinburgh studio), from the aforementioned belted earl Baker and Kezia Dugdale.

I think there was one passing mention of the referendum but not one of them pointed out that the No side won and therefore the both the rise in support for the SNP and their role in a UK government is no longer predicated on an independence agenda. It remains the dream, of course and, if there is a major opportunity afforded in the coming years, it will be taken but the offer to back a Labour government is in order to ratchet up the powers and role of the existing Scottish institutions within the UK.

Ken Baker sounded hysterical to the point of apoplexy and possibly in need of incontinence pants at the prospect of any such deal ‘breaking up Britain’.

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Now I have to tell you I interviewed Baker many years ago on the subject of devolution and he was against it then, albeit covert under the idea that Scots should not benefit uniquely – that is, everyone must have devolution. That is literally cover for opposition to any change in governing structures in Britain – ‘the country I love’.

But I wasn’t to think he was anti-Scottish. Oh no. ‘Even my wife is Scottish, you know’.

The indyref should be the point of reference since throughout it, the Unionist call from the top of government down – and even, remember from the Monarch – was Don’t Go. We’re stronger together. You have a strong voice in the decision-making of the UK.

They seem to have completely forgotten the entire process and are now openly telling us that they will not allow our voice to be used at the top table because they don’t like what we’re saying. There isn’t in all this a trace of embarrassment or apology, leaving me to think they are saying in effect – More fool you for voting No. We said and did whatever we had to in order to win and you fell for it.

Now they even dare to dream of a return to National Government with echoes of wartime to counter the threat…the Nation is in Peril (from a dangerous enemy).

How that idea must make the Better Together remnants in Scottish Labour’s HQ squirm. I wonder how many Malcolm Tucker moments they have in there. First Gisella Stuart, a Labour MP, suggests the grand coalition…then a Tory lord and it turns up on the Today programme with Kezia having to refute it. ‘Has Armando Iannucci joined the fu**ing SNP? Who’s writing this?’

On Kezia…you know how you feel when you hear a presenter say ‘Nicola Sturgeon joins us now’. I feel optimistic and keen to listen and afterwards often mouth Good for you, darling. Well done.

When they announced Kezia my eyes widened in alarm – Kezia, Ken Baker and Jim Naughtie. How would she bear up? Well first of all, there is an unfortunate tone to her delivery which slightly infantilizes her. When I hear her voice I think of an earnest member of the Youth Parliament or maybe a sixth year student from Eastwood High describing the school referendum. She doesn’t so much sound youthful as just a touch childlike. For what it’s worth, I really would work on that because the voice is a crucial tool at every level and neither her lispy student studio voice nor the insistent shouty chamber one convey either maturity or vigour.

Of course it’s content that matters and again her one trick is to repeat the agreed line even to the point of learning it by rote – you can actually finish her sentences for her.

(Am I missing the Labour conference?)

Well I did read the advance of Miliband’s effort in the Herald which left me puzzled because he appears to be saying the Tories can wreak havoc on Scotland without actually winning the election.

‘They could do it without a majority.’

Does he mean in coalition, as we have today, or does he mean they can wreak havoc if they are a minority in parliament (and still require support from elsewhere to approve cuts?) Why doesn’t he tell us what happened when we voted Labour last time?

‘We will end Tory austerity.’

Is he saying Labour will reverse Tory spending cuts?

‘It would mean £1bn of cuts to the NHS.’

Why is he saying this when he told us the NHS would be saved with a No vote?

Will he categorically rule out any arrangement with the SNP?

I must go and check. I’m sure it’s just me who’s confused.

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40 thoughts on “They Don’t Like It Up ‘Em

  1. Such a good put-down “…you can actually finish her sentences for her” hilariously true!

  2. It’s the most anti-democratic line I’ve ever heard even from the British establishment! Would they rather the people of Scotland turned their backs on democracy and engaged in some sort of armed struggle? Since that is where the logic of their arguments (such as they are) leads.
    I’ll take a step back and assume and indeed hope that isn’t on their agenda. So what they are actually saying is that the SNP are only welcome at Westminster if they don’t have any influence and if they wish to exert that influence they must renounce their core raison d’être: presumably, whilst garbed in sackcloth and ashes!
    This is not democracy it is an attitude redolent of British imperialism, I have only one thing to say to the noble Lords your Empires long finished.

  3. Seems to me that there is significant a vacuum in English politics due to the Labour’s twenty year drift to the right. In both Scotland and England there is a widespread revulsion of the elite and inequality (Major & Baker etc).

    In England UKIP are capturing some of this protest vote, but really it will take a left leaning party to fill the gap – the Greens aren’t yet ready and the LibDems have blown their opportunity. In Scotland we have the SNP and the attractive option to explore leaving the union. In England there is no equivalent option. Watch out for something to develop in England over the next decade (the Greens?). I wish England et al. all the best in this process towards better government, but remain fervently hopeful that Scotland will have by then chosen to take it our course.

  4. Do you think they’ll rush an emergency bill through parliament to ban the SNP and all it’s 100,000 members, as being a terrorist (democratic) organisation?

  5. Gavin.C.Barrie

    Well, Pam McMahon, it is an option. All’s fair in love and war. They declare their love for “this country”, and they do appear to feel under threat.

  6. Linda Lumsden

    It’s akin to an abusive marriage where the husband says to wife .”sit down and shut up, I make all the rules/decisions here” It’s getting beyond ridiculous and verging on racism.

  7. What a fright they have coming this May.

    They are already sounding desperate and will get worse as May nears.

    Popcorn and juice at the ready, Guffaw practiced and perfected.

    Wee dance as i amble through to the kitchen for a top up. This is getting better every week.

    I know some out there think that the scares and like will save a few votes for Labour. I don’t doubt they will have their die hard supporters. But the are a minority now. Spouting drivel without saying anything other than SNP-Bad.

    I doubt they will reach 20% now. Far too many folk have woken up to UK politics and found it wanting.

    Time for a wholesale change.

    Lab/Con/LibDem- Bad.

    SNP GOOD . Now get out there and keep telling folk the truth. Keep talking and refuting their lies. It’s working. Check the polls and before anyone says ” It’s just polls ” It shows we have a huge lead over the numpties. if they were the opposite the bast***s would be shouting from the rooftops .

    Has any party ever turned over such a big lead before ? I doubt it.

    Tick tock Slab. 😮

  8. Your comment on Ms Dugdale is a bit middle aged man patronising and condescending.

    I actually find her tone and demeanour engaging, which is more than I can say for Jim Murphy or previous SLab leader Johann Lamont.

    • Steve Asaneilean

      Each to their own I guess longshanker. She comes across to me as a whinging, moaning “Kevin”-like teenager – with an air of “know-it-all” arrogance thrown in for good measure. And I am quite a bit younger than Derek!

      But now I guess you’ll just call me patronising towards teenagers…

      • Not at all. Each to their own etc. Virtually any opposition MP can be labelled as “whinging, moaning”.

        Dugdale did well against Sturgeon a few times at FMQ re education appeals and NHS waiting times.

        Derek’s advice regarding presentation is merely opinion, albeit more authoritative than most – I miss him on Radio Scotland for example – but opinion nevertheless.

        Regards

        • She’s a wee whiny whinger – cannot stand the sound of her voice or the nonsense she talks. She only got the job because she’s a Blairite follower of Murphy, otherwise she wouldn’t even have been considered.

    • jacquescoleman

      You must have a tin ear. Derek’s description of her voice is apt.

      • Must have been watching different FMQ’s to me….she was owned by Sturgeon on each and every occassion including education and NHS.

    • I am a middle aged female and I find Her voice very irritating! She doesn’t seem to draw breath either and comes across child like. She is not the only one who I find hard to listen too, across the political spectrum there are women voices which grate every nerve.

  9. It’s ironic that the Tories with their single representative MP in Scotland acknowledged that Scotland is a country and not just a region of England (when Cameron signed the Edinburgh agreement).
    Labour never have and never will do the same,one must assume for political advantage.
    The English Tories are now the ones screaming about the break up of their country and from that we should assume that they mean England.
    Without Scotland,England is a busted flush and even UKip know this,hence why our influence in terms of how Scottish affairs are conducted is supposed to be minimal.
    All that the London based parties have left in their election arsenal is trying to convince No voters that this is a rerun of the referendum and that the SNP must be stopped at any cost.
    However,unlike Westminster,we Scots act in a democratic way and there will be no referendum without the consent of the Scottish people through party political manifestos in a Scottish election campaign.
    What the London elite fear is that their self seeking undemocratic practices will be exposed by a block of MPs who do not conform to the club rules and things may be changed utterly for them.
    Thanks Derek,great stuff again.

    • jacquescoleman

      “Without Scotland,England is a busted flush”

      And you should know that in a D Heil article two days ago an editorial stated that the UK would be bust if Scotland gained Independence. I was shocked to my core bearing in mind all the guff they write about subsidies.

  10. Well I find Ms Dugdale…unengaged with the reality of what is going on.Under pressure she reacts like a melting icecream. Her voice reminds me of an un tuned violin,same ole chit different day.Snp have certainly got Liebour and fellow bed mates Torie on the run,looking forward to getting, my country back to the people for the people.The corruption,backhanders, undermining that has come to the fore front is indeed worrying,what will we discover once labour and the Tories are un seated>? I think there is far more lurking in the dark corridors of WM. @RICKY share the popcorn 😛 this is indeed going to be worth watching.

  11. Steve Asaneilean

    As posted on the previous blog Derek – if the SNP secure more than 50% of the seats AND more than 50% of the vote then this attitude from Westminster will be shown up for the anti-democratic garbage that it is.

  12. Well dissected Derek.

    Its beyond parody at this point.

    In a nutshell, all those things which would have been under jeopardy in an independent Scotland and safe in the hands of the union are apparently under even more threat within the union and only Labour can save them (sigh).

    Vote SNP get Tory – The worst, stupidest, laziest, most illogical bloody catchphrase ever dreamt up by the pathological liars and practitioners of dark arts known as campaign managers ever. Yet many voted for Labour voices and rhetoric throughout the referendum only to be absolutely guaranteed future Tory governments by following the lead of Labour campaigners. Scotland has absolutely zero control over the electorate of the rest of the UK where, let’s face it, the real decision as to who sits in the big chair gets made. People have voted in almost exclusively Labour majorities from Scotland for almost forty years. Remind us again how this has prevented the Conservative party from forming majority government for a great deal of that period? Remind us again how even in the years of Blair and Brown how they rolled back the effects of Maggie’s and Major’s carnage? Oh wait no they took us to an illegal war and presided over the single most devastating economic crash since the 1930s.

    Even today we have a Labour party who worked hand in glove with a Tory/Libdem government to ensure austerity economics are unleashed on the Scottish electorate, hell some twenty eight of our feeble forty voted in favour of a further thirty billion pounds worth of austerity measures, supporting the Tory govt. Fear the Tories? At this point you’d be forgiven for wondering which ones? Blue, red or gold?

    And now we have members of both parties and the media punting the idea into the ring of the formation of an emergency Conservative/Labour coalition in order to avoid the odious task of dealing with representation from a partner who has just voted to retain said political partnership.

    Seriously? This is better together? This is what people voted for? To be regarded as second class citizens of the UK, a people who are only allowed a democratic vote so long as its from a pre set menu?

    I’ll be voting for representation with the best wish interests of the the Scottish electorate at heart and it most certainly won’t be for any of those parties and the system which brought us austerity economics and food bank culture.

  13. And even now, I just cannot get my head round the breathtaking arrogance of people like John Major. I will be whipping up everyone in my family and my friends to ensure the maximum SNP vote in May. We need a big swing in Inverclyde to oust the SLAB MP. My biggest fear is that too many SNP voters will think the result is a foregone conclusion (in Scotland) and will not go out to vote.

    • My biggest fear is that the MSM will continue to support the brit unionists and the silent inferiorist jocks will vote labour again. Here in Edinburgh nothing seems to have changed after 18 September.

      • I live in Edinburgh and I can’t agree. There are still Yes posters up in windows, I still see people wearing Yes badges, and a Yes hub has opened in Liberton and there’s a Yes cafe in Leith. Edinburgh Women For Independence is going strong.

  14. We mustn’t take anything for granted. Out campaigning today there was a fair bit of “I voted No because I don’t like Alex Salmond”, “the SNP is ruining the NHS in Scotland” as well as the usual “No Thanks”. It would be a big mistake to underestimate the power of propaganda from the BBC and the likes of the Herald. Many people still believe the lies and the spin. They have cloth ears and don’t want to hear from any alternative view.

    This is NOT a done deal folks! Keep campaigning!

    • Where were you campaigning Bill?

      • @MBC – Ayrshire with Philppa Whitford, an outstanding candidate.

      • @MBC – replied from an iPad but it didn’t recognise me so I will repost. We were campaigning with Philippa Whifored in Central Ayrshire. As I am sure you know, Philippa is an outstanding candidate, with integrity, capability and knowledge. She would be a formidable force in Westminster,

          • I agree we can’t be complacent. I find the polls astonishing and don’t really believe them.

            What kind of people were giving you these negative reactions? Low information voters? Over 65s? Or younger folks, clued up?

            One thing that I predict might count in our favour is that many of the low information and apathetic voters won’t bother turning up whereas Yessers will.

  15. ‘We will end Tory austerity.’ Yeah, by bringing in Labour austerity.

  16. We can hear the bleatings of Tory backwoodsmen saying that the “first duty of a government is to protect the populace.” By that they mean to spend as much as they credibly can on defence. This is conflated with the pretence that we can still meaningfully sit at the top table in our own right – hence the blustering over Trident.
    Well I would like to take issue with that. The first duty of a government is to serve the people and represent them in all forums.
    The connection to this blog post is that for Scotland to vote a majority of SNP MPs and for that not to be respected at Westminster should mean that all bets are off as to the next stage. I am not suggesting UDI unless we have a good inkling that the people want that, but I am suggesting that at the very least the people should be asked what their preference for Scotland’s constitutional status should be and it should be done on an STD basis.

  17. What I find so dispiriting is that if the kind of scenario that Edulis postulates comes about, that there is such a lack of intellectual calibre at Westminster with which we would be negotiating. There are just no statesmen. Though I suspect that’s it in a nutshell. As long as there were towering figures who could command respect the length and breadth of these islands then we remained united.

  18. @Edulis

    Regarding defense, I think dropping Trident as a red-line issue is sensible and practical.
    If there is ONE issue that would give a excuse for a Labour & Tory pact, it is that.

    Rest assured, there are plenty of Labour politicians who would rather see the Tories govern again, than give substantial devolved powers to Scotland.

    If the SNP does agree to prop up Labour, the best we can hope for is a beefed up devolution settlement, with corporation tax, capital gains tax, alcohol tax etc

    These would be seen as reasonable demands, because promises for substantial devolution were made at the referendum. Northern Ireland is also in line for corporation tax, and Gordon Brown has promised radical home rule close to federalism..

    Labour could possibly get away with refusing an SNP deal if ‘The security of Britain’ was the reason.

    BUT if Scottish voters, see Labour letting the Tories back in because they refused to concede some devolved powers, then they will be finished here.

  19. Since when did a properly registered, and legal, political party become an enemy of the state in the United Kingdom of Great Britain?

    Could it be only since, “The Establishment”, changed the terms of the bipartite, “Treaty of Union”, from being a legal contract between two independent kingdoms into a quadratic union of countries? a, (probably illegal(, change in which the country of England retained the Westminster United Kingdom Parliament as its very own, unelected as such, de facto Parliament of England?

    An unelected as such Parliament of the country of England that has 533 members elected as United Kingdom Members wearing two hats forming the de facto Parliament of the Country of England that funds itself as the United Kingdom Parliament and legislates for England using English Law and tags wee bits onto the legislation to accommodate the other three, now subjugated, countries that the de facto Parliament devolves English powers to?

    Always remember the strange views expressed by the sole Tory MP from a Scottish constituency. This person claimed in the public domain that, “The Treaty of Union EXTINGUISHED the Kingdom of Scotland and renamed the Kingdom of England as The United Kingdom”.

    This seems now to be a view widely held by, among others, the leaders of the three Establishment Unionist Parties and UKIP. To my view holding such views is a denial that Westminster and the Establishment are anti-democratic organizations. As such they are the enemies of the United Kingdom and the electorate.

  20. I prefer Jackie Baillie to Kezia Dugdale any day. I agree Derek, voice is important. I have always been impressed with Nicola Sturgeon’s debating skills and I doubt if Kezia has ever won any of the debates at FMQs.

  21. Katrine Paterson

    The storm might come sooner than May. A number of reports relating to government documents are in circulating. One handed over on camera in front of witnesses to the BBC, revealing corruption at the heart of government.
    Will the BBC dare to use it?
    The link below is for a damning review of the government’s energy and climate change policy.
    http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/archive/extreme_energy_and_climate-critical_review.pdf

  22. When you realign the North Sea border and put 6000 square miles into English waters , Something tells me that we are not really “better together” That sort of skulduggery could maybe just lose you some votes if you don’t understand that you should really give up, that applies to all who sanctioned the move including Sir Robert.

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