Zombie Nation

No sooner does Polly mess it up, than another M25 Media Luvvie makes the same mistake. Poor Jim Naughtie really is sounding like All Our Yesterdays and just too doddery to keep up. He’ll never retire because he believes the nation needs him, so management should step in to avoid subjecting us to more care home radio.


He was interviewing Labour’s Branch Manager on Radio 4 and couldn’t cut through the Murphy bluster while asking why Labour were behind. Murphy just drops into the Denial Zone and witters on about the polls turning his way, winning majorities and, bizarrely (for a democrat) moaning about the Nats ‘getting in Labour’s way’! I think that’s the old Labour Right to Rule mentality popping up again…

Labour are struggling because the message isn’t getting through to a phalanx of voters who’ve heard it all before – and watched it all disappear in power. Labour have been successful so long as working class Scots thought there was no alternative and for decades there was no way they’d vote SNP for Westminster. So, as in England, they were trapped with a single option and consoled themselves with the myth that this was a family tradition or it was rooted in the shipyards etc and gamely cast their vote for GMB official Cooncillor McPhail who was nothing more than a tea boy for the leadership and couldn’t deliver a letter, let alone a policy.

This zombie politics finally burst into the open when for two and a half years the anti-Tory Labour Party hugged, high-fived and hustled with…the Tories. The Undead were unleashed and all Labour can do is rush inside and barricade the doors while hideous opinion polls loom in the window. If you live a grim life that never gets any better but you believe your representatives are doing their damndest to help you, you put up with the games they play because that’s how it works. But when they throw aside the flags of struggle to march shoulder to shoulder with the same people that keep you in your place, the awakening can be terrible to behold.


Labour’s message is lost in the bedlam of groaning as they insist yet again they are (variously) the party of Scotland, of the working class, of hard working families, of social progress. The reply is: No. You’re party that sold us out…

Naughtie had just been to Ferguslie Park so you’d think he’d have brought that intellect to bear and drilled down to find the real motivation of poorer Scots, if only to educate the English audience that is his master. But I don’t think he’s really interested in that kind of empathetic journalism. His interview showed that he’s interested only in the Westminster chessboard and who can manoeuvre whom.

I think the politicians have a legitimate complaint here because the make-up of parliament is decided after the vote and before the vote we’re entitled to hear what the party offers are. Either the media should have agreed to stick to policy issues for the first week or so, or, more realistically, broadcasters should have asked journalists to start every interview with policy-based questions and turn to coalition and similar deals afterwards. We need to hear the politicians exposed on policy questions to make it a proper election and so far that’s not really happening. (It would help if they wouldn’t spin their opponents’ weaknesses so much).

The Murphy line is that the polls are merely reflecting the indyref – an odd assessment since No won that vote yet the current polls put the SNP way ahead – and, he says, when folk concentrate on the election, they will want a Labour government not a Tory one. Well, some will no doubt, but it sounds like a desperate plea six months from September with a rock solid pattern in the polls. And how motivated would you be by a message that says: Vote for me – I’m no’ as bad as him?

This dismal trope has two flaws. First, it strikes exactly the same threatening tone as Better Together contrived in the indyref – one that says: If you don’t back me, something terrible will happen to you… This is not a surprise with the Better Together leadership sitting in Murphy’s backroom, but it is shocking to think they’ve learned nothing. Second, Scots are over Westminster, sick and scunnered by its hideous hypocrisy and wasteful incompetence and, if they do care who gets to bow and scrape before the Monarch first and to grin outside Number 10, it’s not enough to miss the chance of pulling down their goalposts and digging up the turf. This is a demonstration against failure, an act of protest against duplicity and a statement that says: We are Scotland – and don’t you forget it.


And I’m afraid there is for me another negative about Labour…and it’s Murphy himself. Am I biased? Guilty, of course. But I can be disturbed by a convincing case against me and am not immune to clever argument. But Murphy is a hard listen because to my ear he is sinister as if deliberately speaking quietly to underline his menace. Instead of conviction, he carries threat and that sense will only increase as we near the denouement.

Were this a cartoon strip, I’d have him as Razor Jim, gum-chewing, scar-faced and whispering: You owe your allegiance to my gang…know what I mean?

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42 thoughts on “Zombie Nation

  1. Just as the Conservatives became largely detached from Scotland, so Labour become largely detached from Scotland. The former did so as they encouraged everyone to aspire to be English middle class, while simultaneously preventing sections of society from getting there.

    Labour are now stuck between trying to appeal to the regional working classes and the national aspirational middle classes. If they bothered to pick a side, they might get somewhere (or nowhere) in Scotland. (IMHO)

  2. I could be wrong but I fear that in last week of election battle Labour will promise another Vow with more powers for Scotland and our media will propagate this new Vow and sadly some people will fall for it again in Scotland as they know it worked (just). Of course this VOW MK2 will just another fudge and nothing of real substance will delivered as the last thing Westminster wants is more power devolved.

    • Norrie Hunter

      they have already started. ‘Full Fiscal Autonomy will mean more austerity’ and of course as there are three ‘main parties’ saying the BBC will report it as a majority against more powers.

    • Ohhh Silver19 , I’m waiting for the markets , the markets , SNP , uncertainty , coalitions , it’s all too much .

      Can’t remember which interview JM was giving but you audibly heard him check , then modify his tone , slowing and lowering his voice.Whenever I hear him , I always think he missed his chance- he should have been on the stage.

      • Yup And Jim is already lying but telling pensioners on his campaign leaflet they will lose their pension if they vote SNP. Someone needs to expose him for what he is.

  3. I see him as Uriah Heep.Umbly pretending to help/serve the people but power hungry for himself.

  4. P.S. your webserver clock is an hour out.

  5. Glad to read this. After listening to Naughtie’s dismal performance interviewing Murphy on Today, I just couldn’t work out exactly why Naughtie was so passive and ineffectual, failing to pick up any of Murphy’s stupidities & illogicalities – and there were plenty! It was embarrassing for Naughtie, actually. Meanwhile, Murphy is sounding sinister, negative and threatening – a continuation of the content and tone which we had to endure throughout the Better Together campaign. I’m just so thankful that the polls suggest it is simply not working. Murphy – or Scottish Labour – simply don’t deserve to win any seats in this election. There must be thousands and thousands of people like me who are campaigning their socks off to ensure a strong SNP win. Traditionally, I’ve been something of an armchair critic but, for the next 4 weeks or so, my diary is organised around campaigning & I’ve never done that before.

    • Well done, I’ve been out leafletting four times now, good exercise but bloody freezing, if we all do a wee bit it soon gets done.

  6. Jim appeared on tv last night with a mother and baby. The menace in his eyes would have traumatised the poor wee thing for life. Also heard Douglas Alexander saying and I quote:” The SNP are attempting to steal Labour votes”.

    Good god and here was me thinking the election was about winning and getting anyone to vote for you. I didn’t realise that Labour actually had first dibs on the working class voters! The SNP need to stop stealing voters that belong to Labour it’s just not fair.

  7. Couldn’t agree more Derek.

    I think the biggest change is in how the electorate view Westminster and how Scotland should relate to the UK parliament. The UK isn’t one country, its a unitary state run by a political construct and the treaty of union, a bilateral international treaty. We have to view Westminster as a parliament where Scotland sends representation, not just to govern, not just to determine legislation to carry the whole forward, but to safeguard our interests in the current partnership for however long it lasts (hopefully not too long).

    Looked at in those terms, then you send down your most able politicians to safeguard those interests regardless of party. You choose representatives that put the interests of the Scottish electorate first. This cannot be any of the unionist parties who currently simply do not view Scotland as a partner or a separate entity. They do not view our interests, our needs and aspirations as being different from any other part of the UK.

    Needless to say, I beg to differ on that. 🙂

  8. ronald alexander mcdonald

    I suspect that if the over 65’s were removed, Labours vote would be similar to the Tories.

    • I suspect that if the postal votes were removed the labour vote would be similar to the libdems 😀

    • Robert Roddick.

      Actually Ronald I am a nonagenarian lifetime SNP supporter. I knew even as I was listening to John Smith and Donald Dewar at University, that I was right. I also listened to Neil McCormick. I have a dear old friend in his eight sixth year and an ex Labour Councillor, having supported that party all of his life up until the Referendum. Some oldies have been conditioned over the years, but not all.

      • Very heartening to hear. It’s never too late to re-think your politics. I was very moved to hear only recently from my aunt that my grandfather (d. 1975) had been a Labour voter all his life but in the very last election he ever voted in (1974) he had voted SNP. That was when we sent 11 MPs. It made my heart just swell with pride. It was the first election I ever voted in and I voted SNP too.

  9. Macart – You are correct.

    If we view the UK like the EU. Then can you imagine a situation where the UK sends MSP’s to Brussels, and comes back with Brussels orders for London. They send dictat from Europe, and ignore the nation they are there to represent.

    That’s what we have had in Scotland. The old Londons men in Scotland springs to mind when describing Labour and Tory Mp’s supposed to represent us. It was particularly notable during the referendum. They came up to Scotland shouting at us to do as we were told. Instead of them representing Scotland they represented the Tory governement in London and Whitehall. The sychophantic 50 are now choking on their betrayal and they know it!

    It’s quite laughable now looking at the picures of Westminster Mp’s being bussed up to sort us Jocks out. The really sad party is some people believed their propaganda and voted no.

    • The greatest trick the devil ever pulled…

      That Jock, is the heart of the greatest trick Westminster politicians ever pulled. The nation’s lack of knowledge and understanding of the nature of the UK, historically, constitutionally and in international law. The whole point is the mushroom principle – keep people in the dark, feed them manure and then convince them its steak.

      We need to get past party representation to run Westminster and think best party to represent our interests AT Westminster.

      By shear weight of numbers the people of England, Wales and NI (who constitute one signatory of the treaty) will pretty much always decide which party runs the UK. That’s arithmetic for you. Therefore as the numerically smaller of the two signatories involved its kind of important that since we only very rarely affect the issue we concentrate more on sending down representatives who put our interests in the partnership first. We spent so much time and effort buying into the establishment bullshit line of ‘one nation’, it effectively allowed them to subvert our politicians, rob us blind as a partner and relegate our status to second class citizens in our own country and our country is Scotland, not Britain, not Ukania, but Scotland.

      Now the last team we trusted with this precious honour left a lot to be desired. I don’t think the team we’re lining up at the moment will be the least confused about who they represent and what their job is.

  10. Kirsten Easdale

    That old argument is dead in the water. No one is listening, and that kind of language coming from Labour, is the language of entitlement. Labour are not entitled to our votes. My vote, like anyone else’s, belongs to no party or individual, it belongs to me alone, and I, like everyone else, should be able to vote for who they believe in (whoever that may be) without being subjected to some kind of fairytale of emotional blackmail from the likes of the pretend leader of the pretendy party. Honestly, trotting out that old argument, is like Monty Python’s ‘Dead parrot’ sketch LOL The only real opportunity we in Scotland had, of ensuring that the Tories did not rule over us without being voted in, was to have voted ‘Yes’ last September, and the truth of the matter is, if Scotland had voted ‘Yes’ we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

  11. I thought I was the only one who hears Murphy talks and all I can hear is a thug (but probably one who’s not half as hard as he thinks he is) whispering in your ear “Ah’m Jim fuckin’ Murphy, sunshine. Dae as yer telt or I’ll cut ye.”

  12. You are not mad Kenny. I hear that when I see his sinister alien features. Oh he is creepy ,and gets creepier by the day. He is just a pub bouncer with a job in parliament.

    Arrogant , selfish, deluded , sinister with sociopathic tendencies…and he wants to be first minister. Of where North Korea!

  13. Ever since Murphy was Secretary of State for Scotland I have found him disturbing. It’s the softly way he speaks, trying to seduce the listener that his is the only relevant point of view. He is so obviously a lying b……!!!

  14. Bugger (the Panda)

    Is it just me or is Sir ( surely) James maughty not morphing into Souter Johnny?

  15. I am not sure the arguments matter so much now. Listened to Politics Scotland this afternoon; both Gavin Brown for the Tories and Jackie Baillie for Labour going on in Parliament that Scotland would be a mess with Full Fiscal Autonomy.

    is it just me or are folk not getting fed up with hearing Scotland run down by the Unionist Parties every time the finances of Scotland get a mention. Can the Browns and the Baillies not see that see that ever fewer people are listening to their “facts and figures” and all that is heard is their disdain for Scotland which in their opinion could not possibly survive without money from England.

    They insult us every time they stand up and speak

    • Antoine Bisset

      It does not matter if Scotland messes up full fiscal autonomy. Autonomy – the clue is in the word.

  16. In the face of Murphy’s Mafia-like threats,
    I only hope that Scotland’s hopes and dreams for Independence
    will consolidate into a sustained and enduring determination
    to govern ourselves fully and freely.

    As we are now may not be enough.

    We need to grow in confidence, in numbers and in resolve.

    And it looks like it’s happening.

  17. Davy in Newmill

    Murphy reminds me of Ka the snake in Disney’s Jungle Book….. Trust in meeeeee!

  18. I don’t think that many folk listen to the tripe that they spout anymore. I have completely switched off, I’ve heard it all before during the referendum, so I don’t need it repeated ad nausium.

    As for Murphy, he completely creeps me out. I feel I need to go an have a shower if I hear him. UUURRRGH.

  19. I too find Murphy’s performance disturbing. Derek, your use of the word “sinister” fits perfectly.
    The April 1st joke on twitter – AS for Speaker in HOC – was a beauty. The idea however conjures up a magical situation!

  20. “If you don’t back me, something terrible will happen to you”. Something terrible has happened to us over the past 30 or so years – neo liberalism and the end of government for the people, the resurgence of inequality, obscene levels of income and wealth at the top and poverty at the bottom, the almost complete annihilation of worker representation and rights in favour of employers, the privatisation of our assets so that we can be taxed by oligarchic rent seekers, the stagnation of wages for the majority since Thatcher, the demonisation of the “other” – immigrants and those not in work and those relying on social security to maintain a half-decent living.

    And the insidious use of language to characterise taxation, welfare expenditure, benefits, state borrowing as anathema, almost a crime, so that virtually no politician (apart from Nicola) dare advocate such policies; the polarisation of people as either strivers or skivers; the depiction of any modest suggestion to curb the excesses of our rapacious businesses as being “anti-business” or the idea that workers should be given more rights as destroying our “competitive advantage” or any mildly left-of-centre policy as “pure Marxism”; the intimidation of charities or the Church or anyone else with a conscience who speaks out against the terrorism of Osborne and Duncan-smith’s cuts to welfare while rewarding those at the top.

    So successful has this capture of the language of politics been that there is not a single UK-party politician, from either North or South of the border with the guts to speak up.

    As for Murphy and his lying and scheming tory cronies, both pink and blue, they wouldn’t recognise an uncomfortable fact if it was rammed up their backsides.

    Yes, we need SNP mp’s at Westminster, but until we get Independence there is no chance of any of the horrors of neo-liberalism being rolled back.

  21. Gavin C Barrie

    Razor Jim? Don’t think so, more an unfeeling zombie programmed to repeat and repeat his mantra

    Who would ever have thought that Johann Lamont would be a trailblazer, leading ScotLabour zombies to oblivion.

    I do miss Johann. Her mannerisms at First Minister QT were a treat, the glum visage, the dogged adherence to her provided script, the flailing angry hand/wrist movement, and yet when calm, a sort of Jack Benny nonchalant flip. (Jack Benny? Look it up on Wiki). Kezia is a poor follow-on, she looks and talks like she is bursting for a pee.

    • Poor Kezia, she seems a nice lass, but she reminds me of a someone in the school debating club. Not very effective at all, but maybe with a wee bit practice they may improve. I liked JL, didn’t like her party’s policies and I suspect she didn’t either. I saw her in action at constituency level and she was very effective and well liked. Bet she’s sitting back now with her popcorn having a good laugh at Murphy digging a hole for SLAB to fall into.

  22. Jim Murphy is the real version of 50 shades of grey!

  23. They simply do not get us ! As for Murphy, he sheds his skink like the snake he surely his. Alba Gu Bràth

  24. Has anybody, ever noticed that raised eyebrow look that he gives off when he is answering a question…must have taken him years to perfect that facial function, he definitely has sociopathic traits…

  25. Murphy is correct in so far as most Scots don’t want another English elected Tory government.
    However,the last Labour government that Scots helped to elect turned out to be Tory by another name and when right wing politicians such as Murphy were seen to be in bed with the Tories during the referendum,people finally realised that the current Labour party does not represent them in any way.
    The MP’s that Labour offer to Scots for election to Westminster are representatives of the British Labour party and not the people who elect them which is why the polls are showing little support for them.
    Top down democracy,where everything is decided at head office in London and distributed to the regions for consumption leaves individuals feeling powerless and at the mercies of the English press pack who appear to decide policy for all London based political parties.

  26. I think it possible, as highlighted in Wings, that even Naughtie might have had enough of James Chameleon Murphy’s disingenuity . On his morning interview, when Murphy was, yet again, stating as fact, the entirely incorrect story that the biggest party always forms the government, Naughtie is heard to utter something in what sounds like a sarcastic tone. It is at a low volume level relative to Murphy so it is difficult to make out exactly what he said.

    I tried using the fact that Murphy, deliberately or otherwise, speaks in a lower register, to filter out lower frequencies on Audacity which has made it a little easier to pick out Naughtie’s contribution.

    It is still not very clear, but I think it is possibly “Come back soon”.

    See what you think.


    It also seems that that programme was pulled from iplayer after the Rev. published his article.

  27. Beautifully put Mr Bateman.

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