Class War

And there it is – democracy in action confounding the pollsters, the parties and, judging by the surprised faces of Cameron and Osborne, even the Tories. Bloody hell, Sam…where did that come from?

The answer, in broad geographic terms, is southern England, an area that is home to the wealthy and sorted. There are spots of red there, notably in multi cultural London, but mostly it is a satisfying Royal blue. West and north there are great brushstrokes of, call it Blood red, before the monumental sweep of yellow…or is it a more piquant Mustard shade. Tory Britain has reasserted itself, bestowing on an old Etonian the distinction of an outright win to carry forth their hopes of (I’m checking the file here) self preservation. At least that’s how it appears in my desk index but in Central Office it goes under A for Austerity which translates as redistributing to the comfortable and making an example of the unqualified and the artisan. The former is Hard Working Family and the latter the Benefit-dependant. In the 21st century class war the Haves are winning hands down.

You can fob off the comparisons if you like but a union official told me today that the trades union comrades are planning their own Thatcher era resistance to the imminent onslaught they now expect. Leaving it to elected representatives – including an SNP anxious to play its role at Westminster in impeccable style – is ruled out. It’s Back to the Eighties – Tories Out.

The hard-to-grasp bit isn’t the SNP flood, but the abject failure of Labour and Left politics in general in England. The context of GE15 – crippling austerity, food banks, zero hours contracts, campaigns to help bankers, Trident renewal, child poverty, the slowest recovery on record – was like a script crafted by the Webbs – Beatrice and Sydney – directed by Marx and edited by Keir Hardie. You could foment a revolution based on that lot. But, through faint hearts, fear of the very machinery of authority the party was born to contest, and febrile leadership devoid of charisma, they bungled the chance to rescue the hopes of working class Britain. They stuck to numbers and arid economics insisting on parroting the neo liberal claptrap of the City and their friends the Conservatives who will always sound better at it than Labour. A poor leader, hamstrung by cruel public perception, and a finance minister who never really tried to remove his fingerprints from the Brown economic farce, were the public face of a confused campaign.

In some ways, thank God the SNP don’t have to prop them up. That could have been embarrassing. At least Miliband was decisive in defeat and walked. That’s leadership – but it doesn’t apply to the branch manager whose wheedling about not enough time and it’s somebody else’s fault fits perfectly the careerist we’ve come to know. I hope he does stay. There can be few better weapons than a confirmed loser leading the opposition.

If Cameron had any imagination or humility he would have taken Nicola Sturgeon aside quietly in a Whitehall Office after the Cenotaph today and said: We need to talk. The messages are already mixed – first it’s One Nation Toryism and then it’s Smith implemented in full. Oh good. Cameron’s really in touch then…

Here we have the perfect storm – a No vote close enough to be a warning – and now an avalanche of votes for the champions of Home Rule. The message is screaming – Scotland wants Devo Max – without the trickery, the Treasury memos and the Labour Party vetoes. Only the most myopic diehard could fail to hear the message because behind it is the clear warning…if not, it’s independence round two. I believe Cameron failed the test of leadership on becoming PM and should have met with Salmond to find common ground on devolution. I fear he will fail again with Sturgeon, lacking the imagination as he does, lounging feet up on the desk as hero of the hour. If he values the UK, he must see it is now in more ‘danger’ than ever.

Watch out too for the media to turn to the Barnett Formula as a means of punishing Scots. For voting SNP, we will be told that England pays the bills, so be very careful, Jock. Start getting your evidence together now for the storm will break all over again.

And well done the people who played their part in the greatest election victory in our history. I now imagine any part of Scotland from Coatbridge, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Glenrothes, Sutherland, Perth, Ayrshire or Skye and know they voted SNP. The parade of faces who have been swept away swim into view and my sympathy for their rejection is tempered by memories of how much I wanted them removed. There will be two new clubs formed – one for the three who won against the SNP and one for the three sad Nationalists who didn’t win May 7. You can’t win ‘em all.

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23 thoughts on “Class War

  1. smiling vulture

    Scotland at ease left of center

    Edinburgh No went SNP—cheered me up

    Jim Murphy hanging on—does he have nae shame

  2. I can understand Murphy desperately trying to cling to his political career because without it,it will be the job centre with little prospects of employment.
    How many employers have positions for people with his qualifications and job experience….maybe Irn Bru could use him for something.
    Cameron has gone from the “family of nations” to a single nation (England) in his shifting view of the UK and it’s constituent parts and I imagine his instinct now is to ignore the SNP and get on with the business of running England.
    As usual,England gets the government that it votes for and so do we.
    Thanks Derek.

    • The only rationale for Murphy’s behaviour is integrity deficiency. He can’t hold the post without being a member of WM or Holyrood. So the Dug is de facto leader … Bit like President Ford after Nixon .. and I wouldn’t buy a used car from Murphy either.

      The use of Barnett as a wrecking bar sounds about right for Cameron – but he’ll need the SNP when his swivel eyed Europhobes turn on him and his majority evaporates

      • Charles Kearney

        And now it Begins! The finest Political strategist in Britain is Loaded for Bear and as the Euphoria dies down in the Tory Camp they will return to the in-fighting and the demands of the Fascist Tory Back Bencher’s who wish to withdraw from the The EU and the World. Salmond and Co. will set about them as they scatter like Sardines under attack from a Group of Sharks! If John Major thought he had a Bad Time with ‘The Bastards’ Cameron will not know what Hit Him! I’m not given to Blood sports, but I can’t wait for this!!!

  3. Heh, zero surprises. Ed simply wasn’t a leader, as was painfully proven in that QT leaders special. The Conservatives and right wing press hung him out to dry and he allowed their narrative to direct his responses and his future.

    As for Cameron? Westminster will be Westminster. They simply can’t fight several hundred years of entrenched attitudes. They will, predictably, try to give away as little as they possibly can and in that lies their future constitutional dilemmas both with Scotland and the EU. They don’t know how to play nice with others and share.

    Watch and see.

  4. Thoughtful as always. I thought today there was a slightly different regard being paid to SNP. I enjoyed watching Wark scrabbling to run after Nicola as she went to the Glasgow count, and Ms Burd got a wee trip to London to catch hold of Nicola.

    Tonight on Question Time was very interesting and some were almost fawning over Swinney, a few weeks ago, he was regarded as a leper on that panel. Surely even the embittered can’t fail to see how professional SNP are, no smugness, no prevarication in official duties etc.

    I truly feel sorry there is a Tory govt but it’s a slim majority, and as pointed out, it has a good portion of right wing fruit loops ready to kick off on a number of issues. Cameron looks more stupid than he is, and has BoJo at his side now, so I think he might try and buy off the SNP as best he can without FFA.

    I wish the Trade Unionists luck because the poor and vulnerable need some kind of champion/uprising. No one takes pleasure at the morally bankrupt having 5 more years.

  5. So sad to live in one of the only three constituencies not to return an SNP MP. Even the constituency where I voted SNP religiously for decades with no hope at all has gone SNP, but not the one I was fighting to win this time.

    We thought we might have done it when the third Ashcroft poll showed us well ahead, with the collapsing LibDems apparently collapsing to us. However, it looks as if the remaining LibDems decided to go the other way at the last moment, and prop up Mundell.

    Now there is a candidate to be SoS for Scotland. But only one. And he’s useless. This could be interesting.

  6. Bugger (the Panda)

    One of your best Derek, really. When you get your tail up, your quil can be quite rapier like.

  7. Steve Asaneilean

    If I were Cameron (and thank goodness I am not) I would go for full federalism because it’s win-win for him.

    He gets rid of part of the country that despises his party and gives him nothing but grief.

    And he creates an English Parliament over which the Tories would have an almost endless grip.

  8. Whatever “baubles”Cameron decides to try and buy us off with, will be meaningless, unless they contain an element whereby the Scots retain a sizeable proportion of the tax revenues pertaining to their vast whisky and offshore resources for home consumption, rather than as, at present, are spent propping up the London Establishment and SE England.

    Of course, that will not happen in a zillion years, which is why I am convinced the Scots will very soon opt for full independence. Todays events have just hurried that process along somewhat………

  9. I dunno if it was a class war so much as a race war. Sounds to me that south of the border the message “How dare the Scots think they should have any say in Westminster” was heard loud and clear.

    Wonder if Labour still think we are Better Together today…

  10. Joe McTavish

    Clegg & now Milliband & Murphy: proof that taking on a leader’s role doesn’t make you a leader.

  11. Steve Asaneilean

    Certainly fascinating days ahead.

    I see September 18th as a “verbal warning” for Westminster whilst May 7th could be seen as the “final written warning”.

    How will Cameron play it? Let us go or drive us away?

  12. Giving Goose

    Self preservation and elite preservation will come to the surface in the next few weeks. Cameron can get a Federal structure through the Commons, one that builds in a Tory dominated England. All sorts of models can be constructed with favoured status for the South East built in. It’s Europe that is the Elephant in the room for the Tories. They have painted themselves into a corner with that topic and hence Scotlands future hangs on the thoughts of a minority of Right wing loons. The irony of UKIPs non appearance in Westminster must be telling for Cameron!

  13. Free Scotland

    Thoroughly agree, Derek, that the SNP propping up Labour could have been embarrassing. As I commented on another site, it would have been too easy for the anti-Scottish media to blame SNP and labour in the same breath for every labour gaffe.

  14. Free Scotland

    Jim Murphy’s attempts at hanging on are as likely to succeed as the search for a hollow-wall fixing suitable for hanging an elephant from a Ryvita.

  15. ‘Worth noting that Shetland and Selkirk voted SNP too!

    • Caroline Crawford

      Thanks for that info Graeme, I had a postal vote for Orkney and was trying to find out if Orkney had swung it more than Shetland for Lib/Dem. Pity I was right in my thinking

  16. Katrine Paterson

    To see the face of Murphy as the result came through was worth a sleepless night. He was feeling what I felt after the referendum.
    Total devastation. To think that he want’s to go through that again next year just proves that his ego knows no bounds. Plus, he doesn’t have the intelligence to see that he caused the demise of his party in Scotland.

  17. “There can be few better weapons than a confirmed loser leading the opposition.” But what exactly would Jim Murphy be in opposition to?

    Opposition in Westminster is played out by the Labour and the Conservative parties in turn. While Westminster trundles on with its two party system and its smattering of ‘minor’ parties, in Holyrood the binary system is not fixed. Labour’s position in Holyrood has become much more ambiguous and Annabel Goldie yesterday questioned whether Scotland was big enough to entertain two left of centre parties.

    Patrick Harvie can legitimately define himself as ‘opposition’ when he challenges SNP policy. Ruth Davidson has become much more clearly defined thanks to her unequivocal unionist stance during the independence referendum, but more significantly because she leads a right of centre party. It’s easy for her to oppose SNP policy.

    Kezia Dugdale repeats that the SNP manifesto was the cut and paste of Labour policies; Jim Murphy claims that the SNP has stolen Labour’s place. If that is true, and if more voters choose the SNP as the repository for their left of centre vote,does that not leave “Scottish Labour” redundant? Holyrood Labour MSPs cannot continue to claim that the SNP is not progressive while at the same time complaining that it has stolen all their policies. Unless Scottish Labour is genuinely further to the left of the SNP (which is where Colin Fox is) I do not see where it can go.

  18. Somehow I doubt there will be real reflection and introspection among Labour, but more, ‘we must have used the wrong tactics, lets look for some more tactics’.
    David Milliband and Alistair Campbell might be part of the new tactics.

  19. Waiting for the final tally at the Argyll & Bute count a colleague reflected on the curious fact that -as a result of the election – successful young Mhairi Black would be faced with a possible gap in her university course whereas Jim Murphy would now have the opportunity to go back to the university to finally complete unfinished business

  20. Re the future problems Cameron will face when his rabid Eurosceptic right wingers cause him trouble and Murphy’s refusal to stand down as leader of the Labour Branch Office, remember Napoleon’s sage advice to his Field Marshalls – “Never interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake!”

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