Scary Monsters

I was driving back from Troon and Philippa Whitford’s adoption do in Central Ayrshire with Burns country sparkling and fertile when I switched on the radio. A voice I knew but couldn’t place produced pinpricks of apprehension…words falling over themselves as they tumbled out in a stream…fear, concern, danger. It took me back to the appalling Better Together campaign and of course, it was Alistair Darling, hyperventilating as ever about Nationalists and Tories. Poor man sounds afraid and worried all the time…I imagined him bursting into the front room: Margaret! Margaret! I was going to make tea but there’s only enough water in the kettle for one cup which means we can fulfil just half of our tea promise – a 50 per cent failure! The danger is that one of us will go without unless we press for a solution. What can we do? This is a real threat to our tea drinking. I’d call the housekeeper but I suspect she’s a separatist. Remember how she bought that tartan tea cosy? Wait! I’ve got Blair McDougall on fast dial…


Is this man really an elder statesman of the British state? He may be wealthy through it and no doubt ennoblement awaits, but I think he is broken by Westminster, a Scottish radical corrupted into ineptitude.

It was yet another facet of the nappy and rattle campaign by Unionists to deny democracy to SNP-voting Scots, a kindergarten version of It’s no’ fair.


Embarrassing as this is for the whole idea of modern democracy and the fabled fairness of Britain, it does have an up side as there can be no Scot left in any doubt about how he is truly regarded by the majority opinion in the metropolitan capital after this Scotophobic* denunciation. It tells me that some people count for more than others, that some peoples’ origins are more important than others, that the franchise is qualified and when the chips are down, that our role is secondary to just about everyone else – including right wing, quasi-racist zealots and religious sectarians with historic links to paramilitaries.


This is covered of course by the excuse that Nationalists want to ‘break up Britain’ – who wouldn’t? Unfortunately for those like the incompetent failure that is John Major, the democratic process has decided that issue, not forever, that’s certain, but for all practical purposes and to deny that is to deny the peoples’ will. They say: We ignore the result of the referendum. We discount the vote. We are now effectively re-running the campaign. Well, it’s an election and there are some very frightened politicians desperate for anything to save their skins, grubbing even for previously hated opponents’ votes as principle takes flight before preservation. All of this unedifying protest is designed to scare people into voting for them and, whatever they say, when the votes are cast, deals will be done and understandings reached and, one way or another, bankrupt old Blighty will hobble on pretending to be a World Power.

Labour, if the numbers work, will reach an accommodation with the SNP simply by moderating their policies to suit (which will make them appear more generous and popular) and by saying any gains for Scotland had previously been agreed by the Smith Commission (if powers go beyond Smith, who can be bothered arguing?)

For most voters, the fact that a government has been created will be enough. It avoids the horror of a second election and the same vilified Scots will again become a semi-extinct breed to be ignored as Westminster is consumed by its metropolitan obsessions. People will tire of the Tory-led outrage at nationalists propping up a government and make them seem like bad losers. Others may even grow to like the SNP and their rational left-of-centre approach.

The scary interlude is similar to Darling’s dismal and mendacious BetterTogether campaign. Remember how No was a vote to save the NHS? The same NHS now threatened by whoever might win the election?

There is one thing we can do, though and that is to understand how English minds are working because English people deserve explanations and reassurance rather than the Armageddon foretold by Britnat loonies in the Mail and Express.

In my experience, England sees Westminster as primarily an English institution with statelets bolted on. It is one reason why there is no widespread move for an England-only parliament – they’ve already got one. They have been told forever that they are pre-eminent in numbers and resources, that other nations were, in the ancient sense, conquered and therefore ‘theirs’ and that the prevailing hegemony of the UK is England’s. The whole spatchcock contraption of Union only stays afloat so long as England feels it can dominate but when there is regional insurgence it begins to lean and pitch dangerously, threatening to turn turtle.

So I think English people are entitled to wonder about the SNP and its motives. After all, we don’t normally believe politicians’ promises so why should they believe Sturgeon when she says she comes in peace? She does want to break up Britain, right? Her line is that she doesn’t want to do it quite yet.

There is a greater prize here because, if it does fall to the SNP to shore up Labour, they can demonstrate to the whole UK – and a wider Europe suspicious of independence – just how astute and adroit they are in playing the government game and producing sensible pro-British policies which in turn will soften English hostility. Understanding of Scotland and our national ambitions can flow from that and potentially ease the path to independence in future. Played well, the SNP bloc can be creator of a Westminster Enlightenment.

*Fear of the dark (apt) and Scots.

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31 thoughts on “Scary Monsters

  1. Unfortunately Derek,the people of England may soften their view of all things Scottish but their right wing press will not because of the threat we present to the neoliberal There Is No Alternative consensus.
    When English people see that there is a real alternative,and that there always was,just not allowed to see the light of day by the English press barons,there will be a Major backlash against the political parties who stood behind these policies.
    Labour in Scotland are about to find this out and it should be a wake up call to English politicians as to what is coming down the road should they continue with austerity and the dregs of Thatcher’s baggage.
    Thanks Derek.

  2. This is the same Dahling of the Tory Party Conference who used to be a bearded revolutionary leftie in the International Marxist Group, whop supported a Scottish Workers Republic and idolised John MacLean, Clydeside and Scottish Workers Republican hero – and he ain’t the only Labourite who made that leap into right wing Labour careerist politics..

  3. Bugger (the Panda)

    I heard that interview and thought he was close to a breakdown, really.

    He was stuttering, totally not answering and just shouting SNP bad and blaming Cameron for the SNP’s ascendence.

    On question saw him make maybe 6 different attempts to start a response and then when he did it wasn’t an answer to the question. Nauchtie was a bit astonished.

    The interview was not short and thus would normally have been the sound opp for later bulletins. The BBC did not rebroadcast it, I think. It must have been too inchoate to be edited into something meaningful.

    Car crash radio it wasn’t. It was way beyond that. It was a kamikaze effort.

    I loved it.

  4. I think you’ve nailed it Derek.

    Just what are people going to think of their media and elected representatives in England when the prophesied armageddon doesn’t happen? What if a significant number of SNP representatives turn out to be a good thing or at the very least not harmful to the English electorate? You’d think that the people of England may have some pointed questions to ask of their politicians and their media, yes?

    The truth, as always, will out.

  5. Don’t know how you can still listen to radio – each time we turned to a new station in the car yesterday, we immediately got “SNP BAD, BAD SNP, Want to break up the country, SNP BAD…”. Was a delight to go to our own music.

    Having said that, wondered in what cave Darling was hiding. Is the “Establishment” going to roll out every washed up politician from previously failed governments to tell us our vote doesn’t count at Westminster? More to the point, why is the media giving them oxygen? Why are there utterances considered relevant?

    Anyway, on a more pleasant note, thought you did a terrific job hosting Philippa’s event in Troon on Monday evening – you have a career on the stage awaiting if this journalism stuff begins to pale :-). I am the wee wummin who welcomed you when you entered the building, but, ssh, don’t tell anyone and blow my cover 🙂 although the Panda knows who I am … hmmmm

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      The Newsprint industry is part of the Establishment. Who owns them? Nearly all are owned by overseas domiciled Fat Cats or like the Guardian are registered in an overseas tax haven. Even if the Scotsman is not making a profit, the owners will do everything possible to hold on to it, because it is influence they want. That and control.

      • Owning the London, or NY Times was a way into the establishment and many new money industrialists chose that route into the “magic circle”. It was worth running the papers at a loss to get their politics, and honours across. Usually advertising more than compensated for anything else. Rupert Murdoch was the exception. He was still a rough Ozzie to the Anglos Establishment and because of his family connections to Cruden he backed Independence to spite them, buy eventually crawled back.

        There was a time in the 80’s when the Labour establishment in Scotland threatened the Herald because they thought it “too nationalist” and withdrew all Government and local government advertising. It worked and the Herald has never been the same since. True, cynics might wonder at the Sunday Herald coming out for Independence, albeit late in the Referendum campaign, and then the National, all helping to keep the stable going. I do hope the National van get some decent advertising. It is still going to the Brit Herlad despite the sales figures.

        Some papers, like the Metro, Glaswegian, etc, can exist on advertising alone. I notice newsagents are left with bundles of Daily Reptiles atto be returned. So they must be living on advertising alone?

        Thanks gads for the social meejah.

  6. I was pleased listening to the Daily Politics at a Sheffield bowling green today when they did a vox pop amongst the bowlers. The two men were well disposed to a link up between the SNP and Labour. One of the old women was just the usual unthinking prejudiced Tory.

    Frankly I think that the more the John Majors and the right wing press attack this outcome the more left leaning voters will be in favour of it. They actually used Nicola Sturgeon’s words about stiffening Labour’s back bone.

  7. It’s been mentioned before Derek about the SNP forgetting it’s purpose, in the mire of Westminster government.

    The Ship Of Theseus :”The ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus’ paradox, is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object which has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object”.

    We dinnae want to be too successful now!

    • Unless Nicola is very careful and stays close to her Commons Brigade, she may well find her head turned and heading where she would rather not go. But, she still has to come back home where she will be left in no doubt about her direction.

  8. Where can I find the Darling interview?? Just listening to Sarah Smith interviewing Nicola Sturgeon on Scotland 2015 from last night. Sarah was not the soft soap she waswhen interviewing Gordon Brown and Labour lot. Disgraceful.

    • Antoine Bisset

      I did not hear that. I did see Ed Miliband being interviewed by Evan Davis earlier in the week. Reasonable questions and Ed was allowed to finish speaking (although rubbish of course) and Davis held a respectful silence while the great man’s words were absorbed. A very very soft ride.
      Davis interviewed Farage last night. Farage could not complete a single answer as Davis interrupted every single time throughout the interview frequently talking over Farage and shutting him up. It was rude, unhelpful for viewers, and typical BBC. That is how they treat the non-mainstream politicians.
      With Ms Sturgeon up next Monday she will know what to expect.

  9. Anne – It didn’t look like an interview. Sarah has every right to challenge. However it came across as her sitting on the RUK side of the fence, and Nicola on the other side.

    It was basically like a game of one upmanship, rather than asking questions and listening to the answers. It seems to be the way with presenters nowadays that they think people tune in to watch them, rather than the person being interviewed.

    What Sarah does is allow her opinions on the SNP to guide her questions. Rather than staying detached from her own beliefs. I am sure the BBC don’t do this deliberately!LOL.

    • Katrine Paterson

      You are right BJ. Sarah can’t stop bending over backwards for Labour. She is more than biased. It was too much when ‘Murph’ was interviewed. I just couldn’t watch it.
      I don’t think her late father would be very proud of her performances.

      • Bugger (the Panda)

        Personal opinion here but John Smith was Labour through and through, right or wrong and would have been proud of her performance. Remember her Mother too a seat in the H of L, as well. Labour till the end.

        • Bugger (the Panda) commented on Scary Monsters.

          in response to Katrine Paterson:

          You are right BJ. Sarah can’t stop bending over backwards for Labour. She is more than biased. It was too much when ‘Murph’ was interviewed. I just couldn’t watch it. I don’t think her late father would be very proud of her performances.

          Personal opinion here but John Smith was Labour through and through, right or wrong and would have been proud of her performance. Remember her Mother too a seat in the H of L, as well. Labour till the end.

          Yeah. I never bought the Saint Smith line. He was no island in a sea of Red Tories. Anyone joining the Labour Party does not understand socialism, or they are just career numpties.

  10. Let’s imagine 50 SNP MP’s at Westminster, on £84,000 pa and £200,000 expenses.
    That’s 50 reasons for delaying the Independence timetable. While the rest us us have to wait up here champin’ at the bit.
    I don’t think so somehow. 50 or no MP’s, the SNP need to make a bee line to Independence.
    Loitering in the corridors of Westminster power won’t cut it for Indy supporters.

  11. Political commentators in our “national” public service broadcaster are routinely coming from the default unionist field. The idea that Sarah Smith, Kirtsy Wark are, or could be, anything other than this is absurd.I find it easier to avoid them and the present trends suggest that this is what most people now do.
    I smile now when I hear that the “doyenne” of Scottish Radio broadcasting, Fiona Ross is to be wheeled out on a Sunday morning with comment about the good old days of yesteryear. Anyone who had the misfortune to try and ask the late Willie Ross a searching question at an election meeting in Kilbirnie could rely upon being shown the door without ceremony.

  12. Ken you are correct.

    BBC Scotland is a branch office of the Slabour party. Ken McQuarrie and the rest of them staff it with Labourites.

    I think this explains a lot:

    Don’t ever look for fairness from the BBC how can they be.

  13. Willie Ross – a truly detestable man.

  14. If the current anti-Scot campaign is anything to go by, I don’t think the SNP MPs will feel cozily at home in Westminster. It seems to me that they are more likely to feel under siege.

    They will also need to be super careful in all their dealings because there will be a hostile press ready and waiting to smear at the slightest suggestion of any impropriety.

  15. The narrative is, for the want of a better word, insane.

    A vote for the SNP is a vote to prop up and impose a labour government which would be a disaster. But if you are a tory in a labour held seat, please do vote for that labour candidate to keep out the SNP. Yes I know Scotland has voted for labour for a long time and this sort of implies that Scotland has been imposing its will on the UK from 1997 to 2010. I know I said labour would cost us dear and threaten our recovery, but really – you need to vote labour.

    A vote for the SNP is a vote for the conservatives. We cannot afford another 5 years of austerity. It would destroy communities, wreck lives. Its a blight on the social fabric of union and that we cannot have. But dear labour voter, if you are in area where the Tories are a close second – vote tory to keep out the SNP, because they secretly want the tories to win. I know this could result in 5 more years of what we have said would a catastrophe for the UK – but you need to think of national unity and put the UK first. 5 more years of pain is preferable to a labour government being held to account by the SNP.

    A vote for the SNP is like kicking man when he’s down. Dear lib-dem voter, whatever you do, please vote for any other unionist party than us. Seriously – we’re f*cked. Though come to think about it. Don’t vote Tory, clearly they are in league with the SNP to have another referendum and want to break up the UK. I know thats not whats being said down south. But its all a clever ploy to make the Lib-dems in Scotland look like the dumbest f*ckers in the room. Bear this in mind and we can bring about a golden age in politics.

    Hello, we’re #SNPout – A vote for the SNP is a vote for the SNP. We don’t like the SNP so you shouldn’t either. If you are not prepared to vote tactically you must secretly want the SNP to win, which means you are really an SNP voter and we don’t like the SNP. We are very probably going to gestate at some stage and become a more demented version of UKIP.

    Ever get the impression #bettertogether never really considered what would happen if they won a NO vote?

  16. Alasdair Macdonald.

    Alistair Darling is and has been defending the interests of his class. He postured as a licensed lefty, but, in 2008, when capitalism hit an existential crisis, he was completely single minded about the class based decision: shovel container loads of public money to his own class. When the existence of the Westminster/Whitehall/City of London nexus was threatened by the referendum, he was unequivocally on the side of the cartel. So, let’s not be surprised by his actions, as a fair amount of New Labour are of the same class, others have been bribed into the fringes of it and the rest are ‘useful idiots’.

  17. brek up the union????? its rather like a meeting where the largest contributor apologises ,but has to leave for more important business,we dont want to break up anything we just want to leave
    thankfully after the referendum we stopped believing in better together

  18. Hopefully one of the institutions high on the list of being disbanded will be the House of Lords. The thought of Darling being ennobled makes me want to vomit!

  19. Antoine Bisset

    All the SNP has to do at Westmisnter is engineer a vote for Scotland to be thrown out of the Union.
    Tories and Labour will vote for as it will leave an open contest between the two parties for control.

  20. Well here in Wales I haven’t heard a single person worrying about the SNP having influence. Not many people are actually talking about the election and most will sleep walk into voting for the same old parties. Hopefully they will wake up soon as you have in Scotland.

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