Is That All They’ve Got?

I listened to the BBC dredge up the satirical ‘quisling’ quotes in Nicola Sturgeon’s interview this morning and imagined the Labour spinners smiling with satisfaction. And so did I. There could be no clearer sign – that’s all they’ve got.


As the despairing Big Two throw out uncosted, out-of-the-blue policies like dinosaurs clubbing each other to death, the SNP sails on regardless. The attacks when they come are contrived and threadbare like the ghost policy of Full Fiscal Autonomy – a faraway prospect – and a long-forgotten jibe made under a silly Twitter handle before candidate selection to a satirical site. Is that all they’ve got?

Dear Uncle Jim Naughtie harrumphed and noisily drew breath during answers on Radio Four to cover his failure to produce the killer line and was most animated during the discredited schoolboy game of ‘your candidate called No voters quislings’. It showed how low this election has sunk and how poor the quality of BBC journalism that they clung to the old ruse of searching through old tweets to find something – anything – that might hurt. It’s the hallmark of Labour spivs and spads, their equivalent of rummaging through the dustbins and, no doubt – if you can stand the imagery – McDougall and McTernan would hug themselves with satisfaction that the usual piss poor media would do the rest. But it leaves the question: Is that all they’ve got?

As a matter of fact, it is because over on Radio Scotland I heard Mhairi Black being given the same low-grade routine on GMS when Gary Robertson asked her three different questions about a quote she made relating to ‘gullible’ No voters. I couldn’t for the life of me see how that was a point of attack. After all, even Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown indicated as much the minute Cameron appeared at 7am on September 19 to announce EVEL. They had been duped, said Brown. Betrayed. That is a common Labour line in the campaign. Can there be any doubt that many No voters were lulled into it in the belief of benefits to come only to find their votes won’t count at Westminster? To say, as Black did, that ‘some’ No voters were gullible is an understatement. But, whoever dug it up, it was deemed a killer line of attack on GMS which she easily defended and another limp attempt at downing the Nats crashed and burned. It’s all they’ve got.

Danish Actress Sidse Knudsen meets Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Toby Williams

When you read of the tensions in Labour bursting into the open it rather confirms their failure, doesn’t it? Murphy hinting strongly that before he arrived Labour went to sleep is a straight pointer at Lamont but ignores the hard truth – Labour has lost ground since he took over. The doubts of nationalists and the unions are being confirmed day by day proving that Murphy was a mistake as he never had the popular or even internal support he liked to claim when he saw himself swimming as a big fish in the wee pond. This is not a temporary, localised problem but an historic failure which Scots have watched like a slow motion train crash. Still Labour don’t get it. Jack McConnell is laughably disconnected when he says the SNP rise is a protest vote since it turned into a tide under his leadership. Remember he was general secretary when Blairism was adopted by the Scottish party, he was instrumental in everything that happened when disillusion set in in the nineties and it was in direct opposition to his appeasement of London as First Minister that Scots voted, not for independence, but for a party that would stand up for Scotland. Labour’s failure has McConnell’s fingerprints all over it. His attitude is confirmation of a suicidal myopia that cannot accept repeated defeats as anything other than a short-term problem – a problem of the electorate, not Labour. ‘When will the people wake up and vote for us again?’

I don’t know how many seats will fall to the SNP, not as many as the polls say I doubt, but to me two dozen is a four times increase and anything higher is seismic. They will deserve it because it’s been an inspirational, people-based advance which showed maturity in defeat, deft footwork by the leadership and a modern leader who is now the effective front of progressive politics in Britain – an amazing 51 per cent across the UK chose her as the best leader in a Sky News poll. When the Labour machine and the media is reduced to student politics for its questions, we have the answer to the question – Is that all they’ve got?

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45 thoughts on “Is That All They’ve Got?

  1. Brilliant, incisive…well done.

  2. Heard the Naughtie one this morning. His “Yes but..No but.. but he said… but she said No but…. interviewing technique smacked of desperation. I bet he was dying to bring up the Cindyhairgate affair.

    Yep, that’s all they’ve got. Damn them all, their Kale and Potatoes

  3. Gavin C Barrie

    Just as a compliant media and “Vows” arguably won the referendum, the FPTP voting system is likely to produce a distortion of democracy. However these are but steps on the way. The 2016 Holyrood elections will be the true indicator of the people of Scotland’s political will.

    • The thing is, that first vote for a party you’ve never voted for is the hardest … subsequent votes come much easier, so the Holyrood election will be a Very Interesting thing to watch.

  4. John Robertson

    I have been awaiting the “killer blow” but, as you say Derek, its beginning to look like there isn’t one! I still can’t believe the seat projections but, on the other hand, when you look at the broad based appeal the SNP currently have (in my experience) then maybe anything is possible? The SNP have reached critical mass and Murphy & Co haven’t realised that when they do their “SNP baaaad” routines they are indirectly criticising more than half of the population – negative campaigning can only work if you are up against a minority and trying to persuade the majority not to join the minority.

  5. They have nothing except lies and spin because the Westminster system has nothing substantial to offer Scotland and neither have it’s representatives.
    The system is designed to serve London and the SE which was OK when there were benefits to other areas derived from being in the empire but that is long gone.
    It’s just taking some Scots longer than others to realise that this is the reality we live with.

  6. The Have nots are having the haves…

  7. I actually laughed out loud (and I live alone} , when I read the shock & horror story of a childhood Nicola “evilly” cutting the hair off her wee sister’s dolly. I remember feeling quite angry when that Labour MP Diddy David Hamilton referred to her in his misogynist comment as “the wee lassie in the tin helmet”, but this latest dollgate rubbish is just as laughable as it is pathetic. As you put it Derek, “Is that all they’ve got?”

    • I took my grandad’s hand clippers to my teddy in 1961 but he is still with me and I’m 59. So there.

  8. I enjoyed reading that. I really love it when the BBC or the Daily Comics produce anger-reports that our champions tear to shreds. There was a time when we’d despair over having no voice, no response to the sludge that’s foisted on us. Not any more. Our champions are listening to and reading the same sludge – and wiring-into the bitter little media who produce these.
    I don’t know a lot about political stuff, or Economics or GDP or FFA or IFS, but I understand slight and slander and I’ve been slighted and slandered for as long as I can remember.

    I was at Wembley in 1977. I was on the pitch, a young lad celebrating after the final whistle. I took a piece of Wembley turf home with me to Roystonhill, positioned it around my granny’s pot-plant and enjoyed that victory each time I looked at the grass growing in the pot for months after. You know, we were vilified for that victory celebration. We were vilified in the Daily Record and other so-called Scottish rags – ‘our’ newspapers. We were youngsters having fun in ‘The London’ and they didn’t like it. Jane Franchi hosted a BBC quiz show, ‘SuperScot’ around that time and Jane thought it would be clever to remind Scots that we were all ‘disgraced’ by Scottish football hooligans at Wembley. I was hurt and angry that we were being reminded; “Ach, we’re nae-good” by Jane Franchi. Who-the-hell is Jane Franchi anyway? Is that all they’ve got?

    Thanks, Derek, for championing us and calming us down when they insult, slight and slander us.
    Keep up the great work. I enjoy reading you, mate.

    • Thanks Kevin. You’re welcome. And by the way, Jane Franchi’s a friend of mine…

      • A friend; that’s nice, Derek, but I’m still influenced by her comments that evening. Hmm.. I wonder if she remembers them, and realises the effect her little off-the-cuff comments can have on a People?

        On the other hand, if I thought for a minute she voted Yes last year, then…

  9. Spookily I was writing a little piece the other day on this very subject which I was hoping to contribute. All the fear and smear with zero policy content. On the back of this fine dissection, I’ll just bin it now (mutters).

    • Please don’t bin it mac. Your musings are always worthwhile.

      • Ach it was just one of my idle rants. I’d called it Chaos Theory and was swithering whether to offer it up at all as a contribution. So many cracking pro writers on the sites have covered the subject matter in the past week. Frankly I think I’ve rather missed the boat on the subject matter at this point.

        Still it was good just to get it off my chest and onto a screen. 🙂

  10. That’s all they’ve ever had, and without the internet they’d undoubtedly still have it.

  11. The BBC has, over the last two years or so, lost all credibility in Scotland. They are a disgrace; a sick joke.

  12. We have not yet opened the chapter entitled ‘From Constituents to Consumers’
    subtitled ‘ how politicians stopped seeing voters as people to serve but as consumers to fleece’.

    Many Labour voters realise the Party has deserted them but without understanding just by how much.

    The age of civil society and public service is gone, sadly ; now that we know that what has replaced it is unbridled greed leading to fortune hunting, how on earth are we going to change that to something that works for society as a whole.

  13. Breaking news- snp candidate is reported to have used the word ‘bloody’ when 17 yrs old. Labour demands sacking on grounds of unsuitability for public office.

  14. Derek, unlike us you are an insider in terms of Scottish politics. You know a lot more about the inner workings of the political parties in Scotland than us. That being said, could you tell us why Iain Smart gets away with his awful and inflammatory statements on social media, and is still invited onto Scottish politics shows to represent Labour? He is followed on Twitter by Jim Murphy, Kezia Dugdale, Douglas Alexander, and a host of other prominent figures in Scottish Labour.

    This weekend he said in a tweet that the SNP supported the Holocaust, in which around 5 million Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis. This is merely the latest a long running saga of smearing the SNP as Nazis/fascists. He called Mhairi Black a “wee Nazi” not that long ago.

    Why then are so many prominent SLAB figures following him on Twitter? Some people have suggested he must have some sort of influence on SLAB (metaphorically he knows where the bodies are buried). Is this correct?

    • Iain is highly thought of in Labour circles and has been influential over the years. He was a strong supporter of devolution when the party went cool on it.He has many friends and contacts who remain loyal. He was a very good contact for me in the 90’s. I like him. I have no idea what has happened to him to publicise these revolting remarks but I also think he expresses a horror and fear of the SNP (not just opposition) shared by many Labour people who wouldn’t dare say so openly. Labour can’t get over their hatred and are unlikely to be revolted by Nazi nonsense if it refers to the Nats. It is astonishing the BBC has not issued a boycott to distance themselves from his comments but Iain is a long-time pal of John Boothman. Iain is one thing but the BBC is yet again making an error of judgement which opens them up to criticism.

      • Derek, thanks very much for the reply. I really appreciate it. A grandfather and a great uncle of mine were in the RAF in the Second World War. I vote for the SNP, and independence last year, and have no problem with immensely respecting and supporting their actions against the Nazis, while at the same time backing the SNP in the past and at the present time.

        Your remarks confirms my fears about Scottish Labour’s virulent attitude towards the SNP. The hatred is poring out of them, and it does Kezia Dudgale and co no good whatsoever to ignore and seemingly condone Iain Smart’s horrible comments and smears. I know there are people in the SNP who hate Labour, but from their side of the fence it seems to be much more irrational.

      • It sounds like they have brainwashed themselves and cannot think rationally about the SNP. It seems to have been in the 1960s under Willie Ross that the irrational hatred of the SNP began. Gerry Hassan suggests it was the shock of Winnie Ewing’s by-election win at Hamilton in 1967 that was the start of it. Home rule has been a part of Scottish politics since 1888 when the Scottish Home Rule Association was formed. It was Labour Party policy until the 1950s. The step change was the 1960s. Even last year, an ex-Labour Party friend of mine told me that when the indyref started, she started looking for Labour for Yes and was dismayed to find there was none. She’s since joined the SNP. After being a Labour member for 40 years.

      • Iain Smart’s comments need to be answered, he himself desecrates the memory of the Holocaust by conflating and comparing civic Scottish nationalism with genocide, by his demagogic abuse of that imagery and language.

  15. Great stuff Derek. It would certainly appear that that’s all they’ve got, and it’s having the opposite effect to the one they hoped for.

    Macart – please don’t bin it, I’m sure it will make great reading & I for one would love to see it 🙂

  16. True character emerges when the going gets rough. So, watch out for the anecdotes appearing this week from all round Scotland of allegations concerning the local SNP candidate making a passing but potentially questionable comment at some point over the last five years on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere, long forgotten and resurrected by Labour to damage leading candidates – it won’t be coincidence, but proof of the dig-the-dirt campaign now launched by Murphy’s backroom boys – national Project Fear re-engineered into local Project Smear.

  17. its a truism in life and indeed History that the Status Quo (not the band) are often the last to recognise that change is happening.

  18. smiling vulture

    Dan Hodges
    ✔ ‎@DPJHodges

    If UKIP break 6% at the next election I’ll streak naked down Whitehall in a Nigel Farage mask whilst singing Land of Hope and Glory…

    7:56 PM – 15 Dec 2012

  19. Muttley 79 re Smart

    Someone on WoS posted a link to a petition to have Smart kicked out of Slab ( not 38 degrees) the other day which apparently only got about 750 signatures. I can’t be sure of course but I suspect that’s because most people now just basically couldn’t give a toss what some odious schmuck like Smart and his slab buddies say or think about anything anymore.

  20. No reasonable person objects to hard questionning of snp leader & candidates. The SNP after all is the party of Government in Scotland, the third largest party by membership in the UK and look to be sending down a large number of MPs on May7th. What I object to is the media treating the SNP like interlopers, as they’re not a ‘real’ party. Death to the Cringe! Please can we one day have the media which reflects Scotland’s political landscape.?

  21. Hi Derek

    Enjoyed this thanks, mirrors what I’ve been feeling. I think they’re shot. While some friends fear what will come this weekend/next week I just think they have already tried their best and it will just look increasingly ridiculous. Very few people believe them now anyway.

    I would take issue with your two dozen seats wish. I understand that we want to manage expectations and keep activists focused for the next 10 days but 24 seats is not a success. It would be a total disaster. This is a moment; we’ve been lucky to get a second chance and Scotland must grab it. 40+ is probable and that is what will constitute a success. It is simply not realistic to deny it.

    BTW I can tell you an ER exclusive – Creepy is out on his arse. So there’s one down right away.

  22. Heard that interview too, this morning, and cannot have been alone in heaving a deep sigh of irritation. I’ve said that a few times to myself and others recently – “is that all they’ve got?”

    Next to the stink and slime of Westminster politics, whatever they wave around as evidence that the SNP and Nicola are eeevvvilllllll is about as potent as a knock-off remedy – one part pish dissolved in a million buckets of water. Tap water contains more pish than that.

  23. Mhairi Black answered well with a straight and sincere response when grilled about the “gullible” comment. I think she’s well able to take a seat in Westminster.

  24. The interview of the FM on Radio4 PM today by Eddie Mair wasn’t much better. The AngloScots in the BBC seem particularly peed off.

  25. Jill de Fresnes

    Thanks for this. It has been galling to listen to the constant negativity and anti-Scot sentiment day after day and this type of posting does help. The main points I think carrying us forward – the professionalism of the SNP despite the disappointment of September and their focus on social justice and social welfare – once at the heart of SLAB. Why did none of the Labour party come out as Yes?? Little credibility. The inability of Westminster and rest of UK voters to understand that this is not a right wing nationalism but a groundswell – a sea change and an attempt for people to engage and to take the whole notion of democracy forward which highlights the massive failings and weaknesses of the current system. And this has sadly been reflected by the BBC and media with lack of proper discussion of SNP idea for more responsive and progressive politics. Whatever the result I am just so glad the Indie ref was not for nothing…

  26. though NS in her Evan Davis interview on telly last night came across really well. I think she would have converted anybody that was swithering , and hopefully convinced the English watching that she is not a raving foaming at the mouth separatist Nazi. She did magnificently handling all the wee trip up questions very well – too smart for the BBC !

  27. Sure that you have it Derek! It is all they’ve got and they are getting really desperate.

    “It is beyond irony that last week, the Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind was seen as a credible defender of the sanctity of the Palace of Westminster over the potential threat of an army of SNP MPs laying seige upon it,
    The idea that Sir Malcolm, who all but destroyed his distinguished career in public office with two little words -“how much?”- should be urging the electorate to have faith in his kind of democracy was beyond the pale.”

    Opening of a splendid editorial in current Holyrood magazibe by Editor Mandy Rhodes. Well worth a look!

  28. Brillian Derek.

    Sums up most of our feelings there. I honestly believe LIEbour are finished. You think 24 seats will be good and it will but your a wee tad on the safe side there. I doubt they will get less than 40.

    Pensioners, normaly hard core Labour are over this now. You should see how many there are out there canvassing and pushing the SNP line big time.

    This has changed my view. I thought the pensioners would save them but so many say no more. After the ref the older voter saved the NO campaign and the young swelled the SNP ranks . It was only a matter of time and i did think it would be years before we saw inroads.

    But this time the pensioners are with us. “Wee Nicola”, as we call her these days is a smart operator. Her stock keeps rising regardless of the scares and smears.

    The anti-Scot stuff being thrown out by the MSM and WM is adding to our numbers every day.

    45 seats is my guess. It’s funny how many times the number has come up so it’s my one.


    love to read your stuff as do many others. Always a joy tor ead and you speak plainly and to the point.

    Get it fired back up Sam. 🙂

  29. Not only that but Nicola consulting with the Danish Prime Minister- Rock on a Borgan for me. Side can come back for some hints and another series.

  30. Great analysis Derek and right on the money, as usual.
    On the amount of seats gained by the SNP, there was this American statistical guru on TV the other night, being interviewed by Richard Bacon. The bloke is a massive genius in the world of predicting results, they said and called it right for Obama against all the other “too close to call” pundits.
    His prediction for the GE2015 is that the NATS would return 48 MP’s.
    How good would that be!!
    He did however say that the Tories would be the largest party.

  31. I enjoyed reading that. I don’t think it only applies to Scotland either. I think Farage is right (take a’s probably the only time I’ll ever use those particular words together) when he says Labour are a rotting window just waiting for a push to collapse in the north of England as well. It probably won’t be UKIP that does the pushing, but I can see it coming. My friends in Leeds and Manchester are caught in the same vote Labour or get Tories mindset that Scotland was for a while. They hate the Labour party now and would jump at the chance to vote for a viable alternative. Many will be holding their noses votes for Rachael Reeves especially

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