Another Country

Really? He’d rather not lead the country than deal with progressive allies? He’d let Cameron back in for five years before reaching even a loose arrangement with nationalists? Really? Is that what Labour folk are voting for…

My first reaction is brutal – he’s not fit to lead. Miliband has retreated step by step from the Tory and media battering until he has threatened to leave the people in the hands of the barbarians. He hasn’t the vision and rational thought to see the SNP position for what it is…a hand held out to another left-of-centre party to create a stable government. And in return for what? Essentially, the delivery of the Smith proposals which Labour is already committed to. Forget Trident, it’s a red herring. The SNP will vote against renewal but the rest of the House will vote Yes and it’s settled.

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Miliband has crumbled into the very position the Tory strategists prepared for him because it makes it much less likely he can cement a government. He has made voting Labour a truly risky business now because he will need allies but he won’t reach out to the those very allies and instead prepares for a five-year nightmare of daily negotiations (which will take place anyway) and regular defeats.

Imagine, after five years of a pillaging, people-crushing government, rejecting help from the like-minded support you need to save the dignity of women, the disabled and the low paid who vote for you. This could be an historic failure. Miliband could already have written his political obituary. Is there no solidarity any more in which common interest is recognised and other differences set aside in a broader interest, a wider cause? Labour seem to lack any fraternal bone in their body, preferring to work with the other Unionists against Scotland and with the Establishment against Nationalists. The first message is: We want to wield all power ourselves. We do not share. We have the copyright on control.

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There is in this, of course, the fabled wriggle room. Miliband never did need an actual deal with the SNP and, if the cards fall as we suspect, he will still be dependent on them so that whatever denials he makes now, he will be taunted mercilessly as the puppet of the SNP, something he would have avoided by taking a principled position as leader of progressive front government with SNP, Plaid and Greens. He will rely on his whips every night explaining how the SNP will vote and what needs to be amended to win their support – a dispiriting and exhausting process which, in reality, hands even more power to the Nationalists than a loose arrangement of confidence and supply. I also fear that the undemocratic side of our capitalist system – the markets – won’t much like a Labour government fighting for its life every day with each vote uncertain.

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Ah, but the SNP can’t afford to vote against Ed, you say. Well I think that horse has bolted. This relies on the Labour myth of 1979 that the SNP ushered in Thatcher. Wrong. It was also an aeon ago before the modern SNP had built its social democratic credentials and laid the foundations for the mass movement of today…before Holyrood, before consistent electoral successes and before government. If the Scots see Labour failing to deliver – the reason the SNP voted against Callaghan – they are much more likely today to punish Miliband for betraying us. The strength of the movement would much better survive the shock. In fact, the ghost of 1979 should hover over Labour as a reminder that if you do let down the SNP, they have the guts to destroy you.

The Labour line in Scotland manufactured to fit the Miliband announcement, is that voting SNP won’t save you from the Tories. Momentous mounds of manure…Even if Labour retained every single seat they won in 2010 – all 41 – it would still leave them short of the magical 326 based on yesterday’s Sky poll putting Labour on 271 and the Tories on 282. Allowing that a sustained week of repetition of the message may convince some Labour waverers to stay true, the Miliband approach might make a marginal difference in some seats but my own suspicion is that the riposte is more powerful – You’d rather have the Tories than the SNP – just like in Better Together? Have you learned nothing?

There is an escape route for Labour and that is the defenestration of Ed after the vote. I can’t imagine the more intelligent and radical MPs will be happy to reject five years of stable government and built-in majority with a left-leaning tug on the tiller from the SNP. This is their chance and they’ll want to take it even if it means changing leader rapidly. It’s not as if Ed has been a flash of inspiration they can’t live without. If they’d got the right leader in the first place, they would have been streets ahead by now. But that’s Labour’s problem.

The underlying message of all this to me as a Scottish Nationalist is that my country isn’t wanted. Even when half the population are backing the SNP, we are treated as pariahs. No party will touch us. We are toxic in Westminster. Every one of the major Unionist groupings has told us that a constitutional party of social democrats in Scotland – one that is so respectable that the Prime Minister signs the Edinburgh Agreement with them – doesn’t belong in the power structures of Britain. And you can see where I am going…the deeper realisation is that the day of independence draws ever nearer as layer after layer of British state apparatus rejects us and declares us outsiders not worthy of influence in government. We are truly another country and the more SNP people we elect, the more scared and irrational they get. At the very time the SNP has accepted referendum defeat and offers to help a Unionist party, they spit on us. Scots are finally getting the message.

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66 thoughts on “Another Country

  1. smiling vulture

    Prob with Eds bluff–not working with SNP

    Its on record,English press,media will go fcuking bananas(like they haven’t already)

  2. Only issue with this excellent piece Derek is “…another left of centre party…” the mask & all pretence has finally & irrefutably slipped on that one, for me.

  3. I have to say this has all the elements of Perfidious Albion dealing with the upcoming Irish Free State. This time though we have the information to exclude the usual bloodbath of a violent revolution. And with Oor Nicola we have the perfect antidote to the blustering war mongers of Westminster who solve every problem by assuming that they have the right to order everybody else around.

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      I am beginning to think that they have dusted that plan down as a starter for 10. Probably was the same one that lost the American colonies

  4. Bugger (the Panda)

    I think Miliband is strategically inchoate. He walked into the Tory VOW bear trap and Cameron shafted him royally. This time he has allowed Cameron to bully him into the shambles of a position on the SNP. Fool me one time, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    • Yup fell right into it, pushed by the Tories and right wing press. Makes you wonder who actually runs the UK, doesn’t it!

    • It’s staggering just how foolish an announcement this was. Yes it’s a numbers game, yes the South-East has the majority, but what ill-researched focus groups, what numbskull advisers, what myopic battle-room could come up with such a stupid conclusion? These guys aren’t fit to run a corner shop, let alone a country.

  5. After that ludicrous announcement, the only thing to make him look more stupid would have been if he’d actually fell off the podium.

  6. Acting like a chess player but playing like a draughts player. He can only do one move at a time. Stupidity masquerading as integrity. He’ll be picking up his jotters if he fails to make that deal.

  7. And I thought the end of the union treaty would be Dave’s legacy.

    No, it only took two minutes of madness from a cowardly halfwit to undermine the myth of democracy within the union.

    Who knew?

  8. Derek, you’re stating the bleedin’ obvious. It’s needed.

  9. He’ll be out come the 8th of May ..what an absolute trumpet,the offer of help to lock out the Tories was there just too stubborn to take it… we will not forget

  10. Excellent, not often left speechless by the current cluster of ‘leaders’, but this time the jaw was on the floor. #bbcqt

  11. Millibland, with the help of Murph E Coyote, have just dug Labour’s grave. No matter how much backpeddling they do after the election, the right-wing press will hammer them if Labour dare to try to take power now, with all the pronouncements from Ed about not working with the SNP, and with the glue sniffer shouting that only the largest party gets to form a government.

    The only viable option for Labour is a government of national unity with the Tories – they’ve excluded themselves from every other option.

    • I (unfortunately) agree that the only route left to save face is a Con/Lab coalition which will be a disaster to the UK and probably worse for Scotland. Effective opposition will fall to SNP/Plaid Cymru/Greens with numbers far too few to make any difference to the combined howling right wing mob. The Vow will go out the window. However, I think that these circumstances could be deemed sufficient to warrant the consideration of another referendum.

  12. katherine hamilton

    “they spit on us” Ouch, Derek, but you know what, you’re right. That’s what it feels like.

  13. Got to agree with Giesabrek. There’s no distance between them policy wise that will make a difference . They’ll side with them on Trident, Austerity – looks like a Grand coalition of Tory Lab in the better interests of the Union – unbelievable? We’ll see!

  14. With a Grand Coalition, would the official opposition not be the SNP?

    • They would, which could be a little fun that’ll compensate for getting locked out 😉

    • Katrine Paterson

      That would be the ultimate farce! The people of Leeds gave all of them a good roasting last night. Brilliant!

  15. Perhaps he has a cunning plan, dreamt up by his Chicago spin guru, David Axelrod. Is he tough enough to boss the SNP? Hell yeah!
    Zaza Gabor was right though, “Men who are macho, aren’t mucho”

  16. Steve Asaneilean

    I said many months ago that if the SNP got more than 50% of the vote and more than 50% of the seats in Scotland then any attempt to lock them out would be seen by the whole world as profoundly anti-democratic.

    Now it looks like all of this may come to pass – we’ll see how the rest of the world reacts (as well, of course, as the majority of Scottish people when they see themselves jettisoned for daring to exercise a democratic right).

  17. I am blistering furious at this disgrace of a man. What an utter disgrace. I am now feeling deeply ashamed that Sturgeon even offered him the hand of friendship in a progressive alliance.

    Pearls before swine!

  18. I agree with you Derek. Miliband is not fit to govern. We’ve been resisting this, but it must now be faced. The Tory press were right. The man is putty. He hasn’t an ounce of moral fibre. To hell with him and all his crew!

  19. Ed there is still time show you can change, join the women make real change happen for the common good, you can do it loads of your party are there already nothing to fear

  20. Miliband disgusts and enrages me but he is not alone. What the hell are we doing clinging on to this Union? Any Scot who does not take utter umbrage at the attitude of Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and Farage (and their followers) towards the Scots and their democratic right to vote for who they want to represent them and their right to be heard equally in government is an embarrassment. For heaven’s sake unionist Scotland – waken up and grow a spine – as Derek states so poetically we have been spat on. And that is once too often for me.

    • Just to add, Karen, that’s Scots in the widest sense – or people of Scotland might be better. There’s plenty of English independence supporters, many of whom are also SNP members (like me!)

      All the Unionist parties display contempt for the people of Scotland; why should we want to stay.

  21. It concerned me, for many years, that I saw the rUK as a foreign country. Now that Ed has helped me to understand that Westminster has always seen Scotland as a foreign country, and indeed a colony, I feel ever so much better!

  22. Unionists love Scotland, it is the Scots that they dislike.

  23. robert graham

    Well i had to watch it again yes he really did back himself into a corner was that no deal with anyone my way or no way “in politics stupidity is not a handicap” — napoleon — i think he might have been right your move ED

  24. jacquescoleman

    Milliband the coward falling on his knees trapped before the unelected hysterical screeching of the Right Wing Tory media. Another step in the downfall of a Labour Party trying to appease SE England with Tory Lite promises instead of producing a proper left wing agenda which would better help the poor throughout the UK, even those in some of the London Boroughs.

    And on Trident, “The SNP will vote against renewal but the rest of the House will vote Yes and it’s settled.” I disagree with you. I’d be willing to make a small wager that if the SNP has a large number of MPs, Trident renewal will fail. There are enough MPs of ALL stripes in HoC against it for so many different good reasons that it really is ILLOGICAL to vote for Trident renewal. Hell even the senior military brass and the Yanks are against it.

  25. I absolutely agree with your summary Derek, nothing unusual there, I agree on most conclusions you write.

    But if you don’t mind too much, here is my take on things.

    https://auldacquaintance.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/deal-or-no-deal/

  26. Independence will never go away now. Hysterical Millpede in full (English) nationist mode. A gibbering coward who has been strung along by the tory’s like a puppet. What a loser.

    No voters must now see the “conspiricy” stuff has a lot of truth to it . If i was one i would be ashamed to tell ANYONE .

    On a personal note it dooms the union message for good. My YES vote wasn’t wasted and the truth has slowly gotten through to even the more cynical voters. Happy days 🙂

    I often left the phrase “tick tock ” aimed at Slab mp’s . Now it’s much nearer the truth that the union is on it’s last legs.

    P.S. Has the Welsh and Irish commented yet. It’s you guys too ??

    • Good article.
      Milliband was elected leader by the Unions, the same Unions want a deal with SNP to lock out Tories. Milliband has bitten the hand that feeds and will be gone by 10 May. That WAS a defining moment last night, and a large leap on the road……….

      • Right now I am not putting a bet on the demise of Miliband. Labour have always been reluctant to get shot of those they never should have elected as Leader.

  27. I remember there was a Labour List article a while back suggesting Ed Balls was being lined up as a sacrificial lamb paving the way for a deal with the SNP. I’ve actually been thinking for a while that what the SNP should actually do is say they’ll back a Labour Queen’s Speech etc, but only if Miliband steps down, because as you say, he simply isn’t fit to run a country.

    Of course, the only problem with that is you’re then presented with the same problem the Scottish branch office has every time they jettison their latest regional manager – who do you put in charge instead? And if there’s one thing Labour is good at, it’s promoting inadequate politicians beyond their capabilities, like some sort of obsession with trying (and failing) to disprove the Peter Principle.

    There is, of course, nothing actually preventing a Borgen-style scenario, where the popular leader of the smaller party is made PM, due to her being a more palatable choice to the public than the inadequate leader of the bigger party. I believe I’m right in saying that there is no actual rule stating that the Prime Minister needs to be a Member of Parliament, since Alec Douglas-Home spent twenty days as Prime Minister without being a member of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

    Imagine, Nicola going from trying to “break up the UK” to actually leading it in eight short months. It’d be hilarious. Or perhaps the recently-elected member for Gordon could be called up instead (but still taking orders from Nicola). And then we could really cause some mischief…

    • thefattestcandy

      “There is, of course, nothing actually preventing a Borgen-style scenario, where the popular leader of the smaller party is made PM” – That’s true, though in this instance Sturgeon isn’t standing which means it will be Salmond. The English would just _love_ that!!

      • Weegiewarbler

        Salmond is not leader of the Westminster SNP MPs… Salmond hasn’t even been elected…. Yet.

    • thefattestcandy

      Ignore my previous comment, should’ve read the whole of yours before posting…

  28. thefattestcandy

    IMO, if things shake out the way the polls are suggesting and Red Ed and the other unionist parties refuse to do a deal with the SNP, then it will be taxation without representation. To me this would constitute legitimate grounds for Indy Ref Mk II or more preferably UDI.

    Roll on the May 8th.

  29. One quibble.

    Labour ain’t no ‘left of centre Party’. They are fairly right of centre.

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/uk2015

  30. John Thomson

    Something substantial would have to happen before a second referendum was called, dont know about you guys but I think it just happened. Must be the earliest xmass present I have ever recieved and more to the point WANTED

  31. Exactly, exactly, exactly. The same to all the commenters, too. Not only has Miliband painted himself into a corner, he’s left the door open on the other side of the room, and there is nothing between us and the exit other than an honest desire to make sure that going through the door is supported by the majority of Scotland.. I think this will be an example of the kind of “circumstance” Nicola mentioned, and if we wait patiently just a few more days to see how things pan out, we will have the right, the might and the world’s blessing to pack our bags.

    Those who voted no in the belief that Westminster would treat us as equals will be spitting tacks. Even die-hard Labour-voting unionists will be seething, unless they’re permanently blinded by irrational hatred of the SNP and would hurl themselves off cliffs if told to do so by Labour HQ.

    What sickens me most of all is that politicians are willing to use Machiavellian strategies to keep themselves in power, playing the electorate against itself and – yes, Derek, it’s exactly that – spitting on our democratic rights.

  32. Tory Lab Grand Coalition “to save the nation” ?

    • A stability pact….required to maintain England’s system of governance in face of the threat posed by elected Scottish MPs.
      We are irrelevant to the politics of England.

  33. Bottom line is that Ed gets all his information on the SNP from within his own party mostly I would imagine from the Scots in Shadow cabinet, so basically Margaret Curran and Douglas Alexander. anybody getting all their information from that source is simply going to have a distorted picture.

    If your trusted advisors were so fuelled by hatred and irrational, you’d make poorly informed, self destructive decisions as well and you wouldn’t even know you were doing it.

  34. […] Ed Miliband single handedly tonight destroyed any chance Scottish Labour had of surviving this General Election by stating he'd rather not be Prime Minister than deal with progressive allies. He's a man in meltdown and crumbling before our eyes – start writing his political obituary now: http://derekbateman.co.uk/2015/05/01/another-country/ […]

  35. Highland girl

    If they would rather have a Tory Government than a deal with the SNP then come the Holyrood elections Labour will be absolute mince ! Independence negotiations ….bring it on !!

  36. Nice piece. Same place as at IndyRef. No change as far as I can see.

    But ‘Essentially, the delivery of the Smith proposals which Labour is already committed to’ . Naw. We want a whole lot more than the watered down to a millionth part SLAB style Smith.

  37. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!”

    Wattie had it right with the quote above. What disappeared with Ed’s statement was the deception that Labour has any connection with the left or with the workers who built his party to protect their interests. It is now run in the interests of the Islington intellectuals who’s credo is power at any cost.

    Last year on a train journey I was asked why I was supporting the Yes campaign. I gave a lengthy explanation. When I finished I was asked “but what happens to England?” I hadn’t really given that much thought. I have now.

    England has to re-invent its polity to provide an alternative to a craven right-wing market focused agenda which is contrary to the interests of the vast majority of its people. It isn’t going to get that alternative from the present Labour Party.

    People in Scotland are a few years ahead in spotting Labour’s deception but the rest of these isles will now surely catch up. Labour would back Cameron’s agenda of further cuts imposed on the working poor and those with disabilities rather than support a progressive alliance seeking to do the things Labour claims it wants to do.

    An alliance with the Tories will do to Labour in England and Wales what the SNP has done to them in Scotland. Trade Unionists will never forgive them. They’re morally bankrupt and will be deservedly finished. A Grand Coalition would be their last hurrah.

  38. There is the issue that the palace has been making noises to the effect that the Queen won’t dignify a speech that doesn’t have a deal behind it. I think it might be more that the palace may know that a speech will not pass as parties are expected to keep the palace appraised of negotiations, and in such circumstances the whole escapade would be a waste of everyone’s time.

    Labour seem to think they can get the Queen out for a speculative speech that they dare the SNP to vote down, when really they have to make it worth the SNP’s while to give the Queen the nod that there are enough votes to pass her speech.

    Tick tock.

  39. ” We are truly another country…”

    I am even more convinced of that than ever.

    The only way forward now is full independence – Cameron and Milliband have both sealed the fate of the Union with the EVEL statement and the SNP ban.

    It is all about the swing voters of middle England – another country – and Scotland is irrelevant to them both.

    When and how do we get our second referendum?

  40. John Dobbins

    Derek, I don’t know why you insist that “Labour” is a “left-of-centre” party – nor is it “social” or “democratic. Indeed, to support this position, the “political fulcrum” would have to be moved so far to the right that UKIP would be deemed a Liberal “Democratic” Party.
    And, while I agree with your postulation that “Red” Ed will be deposed after the General Election – it won’t be for refusing to deal with the SNP; rather it will be because the New Labour establishment deemed that “the party” had moved “too far to the left” to ever gain a majority in Engerlund. Sadly, many in New Labour would rather see the return of a Tory government than a “progressive alliance” – that included the SNP – to keep Cameron & Co. out of power. However, “Red” Ed is as “left” as it’s going to get, and his successor will certainly not be of “the Labour left” (it no longer exists!) – plus, the English media won’t allow it! Indeed, if Ed’s “Big Brother” David ever makes a comeback, we should remember – and be terrified – that had he been elected as New Labour leader, his “cosy relationship” with “Princess” Hilary (Clinton) would have resulted in New Labour voting with the Tories, FOR our Armed Forces to fight, side-by-side, with ISIS – the Islamic Fascists/“Freedom Fighters – to oust the brutal Assad regime.
    And, if we are to take Ed at his word that: “no deal, arrangement or agreement” will be made with the SNP; then this will also be the final nail in the coffin for “Labour’s” historical ties with the Trade Unions – the very people New Labour are ashamed of – who fought so hard for the inception of a party that would represent the interests of the Working-Class! So, if “Red” Ed DOES refuse to deal with the SNP and allows a Tory government to take power by default – the “Labour” Party in the UK will be finished forever! So, well done “Mandy, Tony and ‘Super’ Gordy” – “may you live all the days of your life”!

    • Yes, Labour are slightly to the left of the Lib Dems and slightly to the right of the BNP: http://www.politicalcompass.org/uk2015

    • Dave McEwan Hill

      Can you provide some proof to support your description “the brutal Assad regime”?
      The Assad regime has a massive electoral mandate and is facing murderous well funded and well armed rebels which until recently at least were being funded and armed by US/UK because US/UK finds its access to Iran blocked by Syria.
      I wonder what the UK government would do if thousands of well armed terrorist rebels surrounded and attacked Manchester.
      No doubt they would manage to call them off with offers of Jelly Beans and Mint Inperials

    • Antoine Bisset

      The Tories managed to involve us on the wrong side in Libya and Syria. The notion of a democratic government coming out of chaos trumped the reality of stability under strong rule by legitimate governments – at least internationally recognised governments. The Tories learned nothing from the shameful debacle in Iraq. Our military have become a catspaw for the legitimisation of US powerplays.

  41. Heidstaethefire

    the message I’m getting is that my vote is not legitimate if I don’t pick from the Westminster menu.

  42. Stuart laid the truth out via James Callaghan’s book on why Callaghan more than likely lost the election in 79 http://wingsoverscotland.com/?s=james+callaghan

  43. Oh grow up. Miliband has to persuade someone to vote for him, and SNP supporters obviously aren’t going to. I’m not keen on jingoism. Phrases like “the Scottish tail wagging the English dog” do not appeal to me, and I have been explaining to people that in a genuine democracy you have to put up with other people’s votes. Although you can reduce their impact a bit by rigging election boundaries, you can’t disqualify people’s votes purely on the grounds that the people voting are Scottish.

    However, I can be as paranoid as the next person, and am terrified by the prospect of a Tartan horde massing on the borders, waiting to avenge itself for the poll tax, David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher, Bannockburn, and the wrongs done to Mel Gibson.
    The English have to be reassured that the Scots represent no threat to their peace, security and central heating, or they may scuttle into the arms of the Tories, That would be lose-lose for Labour and the SNP.

    Seriously, Ed Miliband is an English politician. Are you worried that he will keep his pre-election pledges in a situation where it would clearly be idiotic to do so? Once the election is over everything will be fine, so long as the Conservatives don’t have a majority.

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