Sadness in his Eyes…

The idea of a post truth era helps explain a lot. Today for example Labour front man and unrepentant Unionist Duncan Hothersall tweets: Can anyone seriously deny that Our People First is a shared value between Trump and Sturgeon? Horribly uncomfortable though it makes you?

Now Hothersall has been Labour clickbait since pre indyref and still has only got 7000 followers despite being editor of Labourhame and chair of Edinburgh South CLP and running a programme of relentless self-promotion. Tells you something. But Duncan’s real gig is winding up the Nats and that’s fair enough albeit desperately shallow. However I am playing his game today because that little tweet is, for once, entirely relevant to part of today’s debate and symptomatic of where the rump of Unionism now stands.

First, to the question he asks…my reply is: Can you name a politician in any country on earth and in history who hasn’t been elected to put his country first? Try this on a Glasgow doorstep – Hello, I’m from Labour. We’re the party that doesn’t put you first.

Then ask Duncan his own question: Who do YOU put first? Who are your people?

How is it possible to engage in elective politics without committing yourself to defending the people you represent? Does Duncan have an answer? Indeed, since I had to, I saw on his timeline references to eradicating poverty in Scotland and improving transport. Whose poverty and whose transport? That’s right, the Scots.

So on a political level Duncan is deeply concerned about the issues facing the Scots but when it comes to making those shallow observations on Twitter he implies he has a nobler constituency in mind. Who? Does he mean British voters outside Scotland? Could that be Labour’s real problem – that they have failed consistently to give the impression of caring enough about the Scots individually and as a nation? And, indeed that’s exactly the finding of the post-2007 election research – Scots no longer believed Labour represented them or stood up for their interests. So by playing rhetorical games, he does in a way reveal the deeper truth, that his default position is not defence of Scottish interests at all. In reality Labour is ready to run in the other direction if the Scots need their help…horribly uncomfortable though it makes you.

Oh, come on, it’s only Twitter. And that’s true, it is. But that’s where so many of our random thoughts now emerge and this little emission suggests that Duncan is desperately trying to align the excesses and unpleasant impulses of volatile right wing Trump with Sturgeon with the SNP – a party that Trump has made his sworn enemy. Why would anyone honestly engage in serious political discourse do such a thing? Or is it a joke? If not, it tells us Duncan has some profound issues over understanding. Put aside tribalism in so far as any of us can and ask yourself if left-leaning, socially conscious, EU-supporting, anti-Trident Sturgeon who entered the Forbes List of the world’s top 50 most powerful women this week – at number TWO in the UK – is on any level remotely similar to Trump. Ah, but he only meant in one respect. And so he did and of course the reason is that there is no other basis for a comparison except on the weasely rhetorical point he concocts. Even that is paper-thin because Sturgeon constantly references other nationalities in her remarks, she welcomes immigration, she engages with Muslims, her internationalism is clear and has European cooperation at its heart. Those are her people – all of us in Scotland, irrespective. And Trump’s concept of putting people first…?

There is no rational connection between the two – she’s even publicly criticised the President elect. But when truth, or even serious discourse, is deemed irrelevant it’s a field day for pedlars of distortion and innuendo. It is so nakedly contrived that, far from challenging Sturgeon, it tells us more about Hothersall himself. As I’ve argued often here, the desperation evident in this kind of infantile barb demonstrates the failure of their arguments. Nobody with a serious and respectable case to put to the people or with the remotest chance of opposition, let alone government, would engage in such pointless tactics. It’s now commonplace for oafish and maladroit remarks to emerge for example from the once solid Murdo Fraser who had a strong claim on leadership of a rebranded party of the right, but is now reduced to joke tweets. These are the gambits of the defeated who see no prospect for improvement, the argument having been lost. They become careless with fact and generous with contempt.

How much more respect would you have for a Labour front man who decried Trump’s xenophobia and thanked our lucky stars it wasn’t shared by our leaders and our nation. To be fair, that’s what Kezia has been doing. Get on message, Duncan. Or it won’t just be a post truth era – it will be post Labour.

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17 thoughts on “Sadness in his Eyes…

  1. Derek nails it when he talks about the ‘gambits of the defeated’. I’ve noticed increasingly idiotic tripe coming particularly from Murdo Fraser. Last time I saw him on television his arguments were incoherent. He appears to be courting ridicule on twitter. He maybe thinks he’s winding up the Nats, but I would say he’s showing himself to be a bored empty vessel desperate for attention. Any attention.

  2. Labour – they’re nothing more than an angry mob with torches and pitchforks. A joke in search of a punchline. Reduced to making idiotic attacks that can only make them look utterly ridiculous. Protected by the Scottish media, they just keep doing it. They don’t know any better.

    The astonishing thing about this farce is that the Scottish Tories are now doing the same thing. After taking advantage of Scottish labours collapse, they then decided to copy them as well.

    Is this really what being “Better together” was supposed to be? Or is this the panic of unionist parties who don’t how to deal with the fact that almost half the Scottish Electorate voted not to be British? And in May 2015 sent the most clear and concise message to the parties of Union? Is there a creeping realisation that Scotland is drifting away from the UK regardless of the No vote? Is that why there is so much anger at perceived Scottish exceptionalism? Is SNP-BAD driving them to defend the indefensible then create astonishing narrative fallacies that the SNP is in fact the racist fear monger in the room?

    The only alternative is that Labour & the rest of the Unionist parties in Scotland, really are the dumbest ****ers in the room.

    I mean…they can’t really think they can sneer and browbeat those yes voters back into the fold?

    • Isn’t that the real point. The increasingly moronic mutterings, particularly on Twitter, by the likes of Murdo Fraser would in any other country with a functional, free press result in said individual being publicly ridiculed. Instead credence is given to the outpourings of Fraser, Kelly, Carlaw, Baillie et al by an amateurish, biased media. Classic example was the behaviour of Gordon Brewer backing up the opposition with his ludicrous hounding of the Transport Minister to resign because a train broke down.

  3. Mr Hothersall is well known for disingenuous and misrepresentative statements concerning anything YES movement or Scottish Government over the past few years, but that is a particularly despicable tweet.

    It is also entirely representative of particular elements of Labour in Scotland. Though TBF, not just Labour. Why are they specifically unfit to govern for the population and why are they unfit to serve? Simply take a look at any FMQs, any relevant twitter spat, any news column sound bite or broadcast pundits couch and its right out there. If they are not outright insulting half of Scotland’s electorate, they are fomenting societal disintegration through their relentless assaults on our system of government, our public institutions and our elected representation.

    I realise they’re not the swiftest, but the clue for them rests in the word ‘population’. If cannot or will not govern for all, then you are not fit to govern for any. Its just that simple and they have made their feelings quite clear on what they think about a fair sized chunk of Scotland’s population. S’okay though. I’d say by this point that the feeling is mutual.

    Don’t know if you’re aware of the post Derek, but there is an excellent deconstruction of this current distasteful trend from Scotland’s opposition parties over on Wilderness of Peace, (Al Harron’s blog), titled Cresting the Rising Tide. I’d link directly, but linked posts tend to go awry for me when I post here for some reason.

    When it comes to a point where elements of our political class hold the public in such contempt is beyond sad. The likes of Mr Hothrsall should not however be too surprised to find the public have opinions of their own regarding the political class and that today an engaged public really, really do not appreciate being treated like dust beneath some policy wonk’s chariot wheels.

  4. So sad that the ” opposition” focus on point scoring and the infantile .An insult and disservice to the people of Scotland only made possible by a largely contemptible main stream media.

  5. Now all you have to do, Derek, is substitute ‘Duncan Hothersall’ with ‘BBC Scotland’ and you’ll get the full picture.

    Otherwise, you are spot on as usual.

  6. Very well said. Your points are real and serious and Labour in Scotland really must reflect on what they are offering the people of Scotland. Logically there must be issues where Scotland’s interests are the opposite of the UK’s as a whole. To find their relevance again, Labour in Scotland must find policy positions that demonstrate that they get this.

    The Brexit vote was the ideal opportunity to start this comeback and indeed there were early signs that some (Kez almost) in the party get it. However, either the chain was yanked or there was a stushie internally, but they’ve blown it by abstaining last week.

    I want to be able to vote labour, but they need to have a distinct plan that meets the aspirations for Scotland, even if that is short of full independence.

  7. To think I used to vote for them. I was f**king stupid.

    The sooner we eradicate Labour completely and let the bitter remnants coalesce into a busload of foaming at the mouth UKIP fans. Well ..

    The better?

  8. Let me get this out of the way first of all. I cannot share your view, Derek, that Murdo Fraser has ever shown any promise in the past to be leader of the Conservatives Up Here. He is a serial election loser, and TBH, comes across as a sneering privileged oaf every time he appears in public. Adam Tomkins stood in our constituency, and was soundly cuffed. Yet he can hold down two jobs, £35k a year for 1 1/2 days at Glasgow Uni (£100 k for five day week?) and tweet away merrily on camera during FMQ when he actually graces us with his presence, as yet another political back door List Tory.

    The problem as I see it is that the SNP have a ‘UK’ wide remit, and a set of policies from Defence, to the Economy, Foreign Affairs to WMD, and speak with the same authority and purpose as the WM Tory, Labour, and Lib Dem parties. NS is as much the boss of the 56 MPs as she is the MSP Administration at Holyrood. Hence her UK No 2 rating. Eeven our Sothern neighbours acknowledge that she represents Scotland within the UK I doubt that many Down There ven know who Dugdale and Rennie are, and Davidson may also have faded from memory since the Tory beanfeast.
    The SNP openly declares that they put the people of Scotland first, in all things affecting the lives of the citizens of Scotland.
    Their ultimate aim is Self Determination, and since this is the case, when NS speaks on outlawing WMD, or putting an end to right wing austerity economics, we the public realise that she means it, and that the SNP in Holyrood and SNP WM MPs all sing from the same Self Determination hymn sheet..
    Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale, and Willie Rennie, are mere makeweights, and it has been clear for at least the last decade, that they do as they are told by their SE Masters. Hence Johann Lamont’s Branch Office barb.
    The Unionist politicians Up Here have absolutely no power or authority, even in devolved areas. They look Southwards for advice on everything.

    In other words, the Scottish public perceive Sturgeon to be at the ‘Grown Ups Table’ at UK level, whereas Davidson, Dugdale, Rennie, Carmichael, Mundell, and Murray, are mere bit players, whose remit from their WM HQs is to frustrate, harry, gum up the works, and ensure that Holyrood stutters and falters as an Administration, and to hell with the well being of the citizens of Scotland, some of whom actually voted for them.
    For example, last week Anas Sarwar berated the FM because of alleged delays in 1500 elderly patients awaiting discharge from hospital back into the community. It turns out that most of these unfortunates live within Labour controlled West of Scotland Councils.
    I smell sh1te. Feet are being deliberately dragged by the Frank McAveeties of this world, and the associated Health Boards, and patients suffer, just to engineer another SNP Bad story.
    Are the pavements of Govanhill still littered with mattresses and old bits of furniture, or has GCC Cleansing got around to uplifting them yet?
    WE are not stupid. Unionism is dying and they all know it. They are determined to take as many of us with them when they jump off the roof.
    I don’t do Facebook or Twitter.
    But for any sentient being to argue that Scottish Self Determination is in any way comparable with the Trump phenomenon is indeed the last gasp desperation of a Tribe That Lost Its Head.
    I sense your impatience, Derek.

    • There seems to be a fin de siecle air around unionist run councils looking at the May local elections. Living in SNP controlled and represented Dundee I don’t recognise these tales from the likes of Glasgow.

      We are getting better, greener, cleaner. The roads of our revamped Waterfront are done, the park is open. The V&A extension rises as does our new Station. We await the sale and buildings on the now vacant plots.

      You can now stand in the Centre and look straight down to the Tay and walk straight down there. The traffic tamed and subject to crossing lights. Eastbound and Westbound separated by two blocks.

      I have a strong sense that our council is trying to make everyone’s lives better. They may still get things wrong, but they are trying.

      I don’t get that from the likes of Glasgow which is sad, but fixable.

    • Yes, the Trumpists and the Scottish selfdeterminationists are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum.
      The saddest thing is the number of Labour supporters south of the Tweed voting for policies endorsed by Farage and the leavers.

  9. All very entertaining for such as us on this and related sites however I doubt if there is any traction in ensuring final dismantling of labour stranglehold on local authorities in the upcoming elections in six months.

    Very disappointed at deference of Nicola and Humza to confected media storm over a broken down train. Why don’t the SNP have the balls to take the media on at every turn. Preface ever answer to silly questions with something along the lines of “are you not embarrassed to be a useful idiot asking such a silly question for the pond life spawned in the Westminster cesspool?” Then put whatever case needs to be made on the front foot. The endless quotes on BBC and dead trees are all about Nicola apologising for a broken down train. She should have been responded along the lines of the number of train services that run each year and the number of train breakdowns that occur each year that block the tracks and express this as a percentage. She could then have said that the transport secretary was examining how this compares with other rail networks and if there are any policy changes that could reasonably be introduced to bring the percentage down. Members will realise it will never be zero.

  10. Any political party that seriously puts forward James Kelly as spokesman for anything deserves all the opprobrium it gets .

  11. Salmond in Switzerland concerning Efta etc in dialogue with the Efta leadership.
    EBC has slanted broadcast in negativity around this. Trouble is,these subservient satraps from the EBC up north do nor realise the UK world has shifted. We do nor have a two party system of yore. Every boy and every gal is either a little liberal or a little conservative no more (apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan).
    The elms needs to grasp that the majority Scottish party at Holyrood and Westminster will follow through on issues regarding Brexit as they affect Scotland where 62% of the electorate voted to remain and all areas voted yes to remain in the EU.
    The yoon minority, ironically, supported remain too in Scotland – Dugdale, Davidson and Rennie were all remainders’.

  12. Good piece Derek. And you are right to ask – if the Scottish National Party shouldn’t put the people of Scotland first then who should they put first? And if Duncan is so bothered about it why does he not pull up folk in his own party like Gordzilla or Kezia who both put on public record their desire to put the Scottish people first?

  13. excellent article, well articulated ….. up there with the best you have penned, Derek.

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