Double or Drop

Hello Darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again…

Yes, it certainly is a murky view ahead with darkening clouds billowing under Brexit skies and storm warnings from across the Atlantic. But don’t give us your doom and gloom here in Bonnie Scotland where we’re forever laughing at the world. Oh yes, we are.

We’ve already started off with a sweetie bag of delights, just like on Crackerjack!

Labour is going to form a ‘progressive alliance’ with other non-Tory parties…devout Baptist John Mason becomes our own Katie Hopkins and Labour managed to get themselves on the wrong side of helping to save babies’ lives. It’s like Double or Drop. Give them a cabbage, Eamonn.

Poor old John. As a man of conviction he finds himself out of the loop in permissive society, questioning on abortion, querulous about homosexuality, he’s now ducking razor-edged ninja throwing stars from the monstrous regiment of ladies (as he calls them). Implying a girl doesn’t always say Yes first time unleashed the rage of the language guardians who in two sentences turned him into a rape apologist. Yet surely he was only giving us an insight into his own life? ‘Hello, I’m John. I’m an accountant. Are you interested in creationism? Did you know I won the Shettleston by-election with a swing of 22 per cent? What? You don’t want to go on a date?’

That this tripe made ‘news’ in our so-called national media showed how diminishing resources have hollowed out the Press, destroyed judgment and trivialised the role of journalism. Cod outrage is now the currency of our national debate.

I’m not outraged by Labour’s response to the baby boxes but I am as ever astonished at the acidity of their incompetence which could strip the paint from a Victorian pillar box.

Picture, if youse will, ladies and gentlemen…a poor wee baby at Christmas time born to a shilpit mammy struggling on her own, when arrives the saintly Nicola bearing all the basics for the bairn in a box bed found to prevent cot death – totally free. Opening it, the desperate mother turns on her. ‘Whaur’s the breast-feeding booklet, ya numpty?’ She glares. ‘A poem by the Makar? Could you no’ lift one from a real poet like Auden or Rupert Brooke? Typical Nationalists.’

Labour’s unerring capacity to misjudge and misread has rendered them ineffective. Nothing they say carries weight as a result and they can never escape their marginalisation. It isn’t that criticism of a good idea is impossible. It just takes strategy. To avoid opinion thinking you’re against the boxes, it is key that you first give them unequivocal support. You say this is a great idea backed by Labour.

When they are produced you express surprise that breastfeeding doesn’t appear a priority so you suggest that future boxes emphasise it more. Labour would make them even better, becomes your line. It will, in my view, still sound churlish (they do contain nursing pads and information on breastfeeding) but so long as you get the tone right you can instil the idea that the SNP idea isn’t perfect. You can map out a little bit of baby box territory for yourself.

What you don’t do is say this is just a PR exercise and a wasted opportunity which goes against the grain. Nobody but a die-hard would say the SNP are using this purely and alone for political marketing. It is a tested idea with a measureable success record. And it’s popular. Why fight it? Yet now the public thinks Labour is against a winning initiative which is aimed at families. And when we read of Labour politicians in England hoping to replicate it themselves, it leaves the branch office looking small-minded, grudging and tribal. What was the point? And who is advising this shambolic operation?

As for progressive alliances…I can think of many Scottish nationalists who will breathe a sigh of relief that the idea has been scotched. Destroying Labour is the motivation for far too many Yes campaigners who conflate it with independence into the twin aims of the movement. Labour’s antics have contributed massively to the Yes side’s recruitment with the sentiment of being betrayed perhaps the most salient mantra of a substantial number of indy supporters. Too many on either side simply could not countenance working together, however distantly. This is the true underlying reason for rejection rather than the mock horror of Labour claiming to be socialists. This is another Labour failed attack. Does anyone describe either the Labour Party they have known for the last 25 years as socialist or the SNP they have known as not progressive?

As Labour shrinks, so their message reduces. The socialism claim seems to be based solely on one point – a declared intention to raise the income tax rate by 1p. To the barricades, comrades…the revolution is here! Meanwhile, they will spend the people’s money on modernising the nuclear deterrent. They will abstain when social justice is on the line. They will surrender on leaving the EU. They will send people to the House of Lords. They will restrict immigration. They will contest the people’s right to self-determination.

Meanwhile the ‘non-progressive’ SNP gives out baby boxes, takes more in tax from higher earners, keeps further education free along with prescriptions, has a Welfare Fund for poorer families buying essentials, refuses to privatise water, extends childcare, gets 80 per cent of Scots on the living wage, ameliorates the Bedroom Tax, stands against nuclear weapons and nuclear power, reforms land ownership, works with the STUC against the Trades Union Bill, tackles climate change and takes on big business to curtail alcoholism. Why would a progressive party want to endorse that?

The reality of Labour is that it is forming an alliance with the SNP – by its members defecting to join the Nationalists. The laughable hysteria from Socialist Anas, the millionaire’s son with kids in private school, was identified years ago as the play- acting it is. He is one of a breed who thinks that saying simple things clearly wins over opinion, like Brits speaking l-e-n-t-e-m-e-n-t to foreigners. And it isn’t it telling that a quarter of former Labour voters can switch straight to the Conservatives in Scotland? What kind of socialists were they that they could swap Kezia for Ruth? It seems Labour harbours a lot of people who are very far from socialism in their beliefs.

I don’t see an alliance emerging here or in Westminster because Labour are now pulled in two directions at once. Anas’ socialists in England are now courting UKIP voters by backing Brexit and bringing down the shutters in immigration – surely an awkward fact for a second generation immigrant politician? The real question is why would other progressives work with Labour when it is itself split on the key issues of the day and no sign of which way it eventually take?

The Tory hegemony is set to continue and could be endorsed by a massive election victory in the coming months if the gap between them and Labour widens. Whatever does happen, it looks as if Scotland is going to be hit with the meteor of independence in the next two years, a kind of galactic collision between isolationist right-wing Tory Britain and progressive, internationalist Scotland. That’s how the dinosaurs disappeared and the same could happen to Labour.




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37 thoughts on “Double or Drop

  1. I wish I could have written like that, Derek, a brilliant summary of all that is wrong with the North British branch of the Labour Party.

  2. A Happy New Year to you Derek

  3. Aye. Right again man. Getting monotonous. More please.

  4. Happy New Year Derek. This is the best I’ve read this year 🙂
    Funnily enough my wife and I were discussing the increasing use of yous/youse by the trendies.
    As a person in touch with everything, can you give your thoughts on this disturbing (to OAP’s ) trend?

  5. Spot on, Derek!

    Happy New Year!

  6. This… ‘it leaves the branch office looking small-minded, grudging and tribal.’ Because they are.

  7. Glad you are back on the blog, and this was an excellent piece. Anyone voting Labour in Scotland now needs their heads examined. I hope to hear much from you in 2017, as your writing gives me hope and motivation.

  8. It is a tested idea with a measureable success record. And it’s popular. Why fight it? Yet now the public thinks Labour is against a winning initiative which is aimed at families. And when we read of Labour politicians in England hoping to replicate it themselves, it leaves the branch office looking small-minded, grudging and tribal. What was the point? And who is advising this shambolic operation?

    Hopefully Alan Roden! 😀 😀

  9. On the hollowing out of the Press. There could have been so much for them to write about if they’d shown the smallest support for the SG.
    Basing their whole output on negative takes and Labour in Scotland press releases has consigned them to an ever decreasing press presence.
    Just presenting the Lab story on baby boxes, not examining the evidence given to the Supreme Court on Scottish’s constitutional place in the UK shows those those journalists as little men.
    When Scotland becomes independent the chapter describing the part played by the press in Scotland will be as that of lord HawHaw in WW2.

  10. Well said Derek.

    The usual suspects and their meeja have started the year as they mean to go on. Or in other words, ‘same shit, different day’.

    Manufactured news, faux outrage, misrepresentation the ‘go to’ strategy for a desperate and desperately blinkered breed.

    Dear God, taking a swipe at baby boxes. We’re living through the effects of austerity ideology and yet to face the tidal wave of oncoming brexit fallout. People need ALL the help they can get and whatever form folk can afford. Yet in the mindless hatred of the unionist parties and their media, all they see is yet another SNP policy to be opposed, denigrated or disparaged.

    People are suffering the effects of economic hardship right now. Its not fake, not imaginary, but heartbreakingly all too real and current. There are people in 21st century Scotland who can’t afford to feed or clothe themselves. That’s not just an indictment of our catastrophic central government, their management of the UKs economy and their appalling media narrative either. It’s an indictment of our own political class, their willingness to use any and all subject matter to assault their opposition and to hell with the consequences for their own population.

    I’m sick of them Derek. Beyond disgust and straight on to contempt for the entire breed.

    Same goes for this manufactured stooshie surrounding Mr Mason. It reeks of rinse and repeat from both the media and opposition parties. Their narrative has become so insulting and offensive at this point, I simply no longer see a way where they bridge a chasm of their own creation.

    At this point I’m kinda struggling to find any sympathy with their plight.

  11. @cluthab: A high school English teacher explained “yous” the increasing popularity as the evolution of Scots-English to be similar to many European languages, which have a plural second-person. Most obviously French tu & vous.

    • Thu and sibh in Gàidhlig

    • Thanks J. I belong to a generation who got told off for bad speech. It never leaves you. Queens English and all that guff.

      • Some English teacher: ‘you’ IS the plural – the equivalent of French ‘vous’; the equivalent of ‘tu’ is ‘thou’ – which has merely fallen into archaic disuse. ‘yous’ is therefore a double plural (like ‘sheeps’ or ‘catses’ in respect of many sheep or cats).

        Whilst use will normalise such usage – and if prolonged will change the grammar – the high school teacher of English should have at least understood the above – unless misreported.

        In my part of Lanarkshire, this usage has been persistent throughout my 60-odd years.

        So yousyins – an indicative extension of the ersatz plural – can all bugger off.

  12. `What kind of socialists were they that they could swap Kezia for Ruth?` the same scum that jumped from Tory to Labour in the Blarite years,self serving sociopaths.

  13. I have heard native Gaelic speakers saying “youse”, which would make sense as Gaelic, like many European languages, differentiates between “you” singular (tu) and “you” plural (sibh).

  14. There’s an ancient idea that when we turn our backs on them and the gods are forgotten they cease to exist. Much the same could be said for the Labour Party in Scotland.

    They turned their backs on the working class who effectively ceased to exist in the eyes of New Labour and in turn we have turned our backs on Labour who will now effectively cease to exist as a consequence.

    And that for me is the best strategy – ignore them and they will wither. We don’t need to hunt them to extinction. Just let them do it themselves.

    Their response to the baby boxes was one of the crassest political gaffs I have ever seen. They should have handled it as you set out Derek but instead they scored a hideous own goal. The most polite people I know when I told them about Labour’s response gave me one of those telling WTF looks.

    And then, to top it all off this week, we had a leadership candidate for Unite, allegedly the biggest and most powerful trade union and major financial backers of the Labour Party (and movers and shakers therein), blaming foreign migrants for the woes his members find themselves in. When even the most potent of trade unionists have drifted this far to the right you know the game is well and truly up.

  15. Happy New Year to all.

    Enjoyed the article greatly, Derek, especially the succinct and accurate comparison (paras 13 & 14) between Labour and SNP

  16. Thank you for your excellent summation of politics in Scotland as of day four of the new year; only three hundred and sixty one to go giving, therefore, plenty of time for the usual suspects to continue digging holes for themselves. Labour (in Scotland) have neatly alienated many, if not most, of the female part of the electorate who, as an educated guess, probably make up fifty percent of the total.

    As for John Mason on twitter and the subsequent twitterfest and meeja feeding frenzy, carry of digging chaps.

  17. The Scottish branch of the Labour Party wants to be handed Scotland on a plate and no questions asked, because they don’t have a scooby how to go about winning back the support that haemorrhaged from the party. To most of them, Scotland is theirs by right and the SNP are usurpers of their personal throne and crown.

    Never mind that the baby boxes are a Finnish idea, and that the boxes are also being rolled out in other countries as well as being trialled down south in some leafy county. No, the SNP Government has introduced these boxes and Labour hasn’t, and they cost less than the £250 Labour once introduced for each new family but *outrage* anyway.

  18. Someone linked the Scotsman article about the boxes not inducing lactation (or something) and I initially thought it was a spoof article. I was taken aback to find it was serious…although I use the word serious as loosely as an ISIS gunman, deranged from months of eating out of date humus, sprays an AK47 into an orphanage. Years of carping from the sidelines have left the opposition and media in Scotland as desperate and indiscriminate as the said humus filled ding bat.

    It is a sad state of affairs that people that purport to be politicians have so little to say.

    • The Scotsman knows its audience, right enough. I made a comment on one thread there about how the British GDP per head compares with countries like Austria (hint – poorly). Another reader suggested Britain’s held back by its population’s relatively high proportion of chavs. Or as they say in Austria, untermensch.

      Happy New Year, all.

  19. Having spent the first few days of this brand new year spluttering in disbelief at the antics of the ‘unionist’ parties, I now feel a wee bit better having read your blog.

    I don’t comment/thank you enough for your efforts.


  20. Derek well written piece , i enjoyed it , but the part about liebour working in partnership with SNP almost had me changing my underwear , if ever it came to pass that the competent SNP SG were to consider working with the current crop of self serving sub humans within liebour they would immediately lose my support and vote .

    What liebour in Scotland and wastemonster has done to the ordinary working family , all to protect their establishment deserves to be remembered historically . The disgust i feel for these parasitical space wasters in the Scottish Parliament is only tempered by their public shows of ignorance and incompetence

  21. Thank you Derek for expressing so well what I could not.

    Having heard about Labour considering whether they should form an alliance so THEY can get back into power and then encountering one of their creed spluttering about the baby boxes when they could get free cardboard boxes from the shops ( I am not kidding) I have been left speechless!

    Hope you had a good festive season and best wishes to you and yours in this New Year.

    Looking forward to your posts as usual.

  22. thank you Derek for a bit of sense …. I was losing the will to live and it’s only the 5th Jan….

  23. Thank you Derek for the analysis.

    Re “far too many Yes supporters” wanting to destroy Labour, I confess I do. I would love to have seen a progressive Labour Party and would even now like to believe that a progressive alliance could include them. But my experience through campaigning has reluctantly come to see Labour as the main obstacle indeed enemy to any kind of way forward to a social democratic Scotland.

    Btw, Crackerjack, Eamonn, tripe..? – my god your references are hoary! 😀

  24. Scottish Labour, labouring to think outside the box. Penny for Scotland? Hmm rings a bell. Alicsammin out to have thought about that… huh… Labour would have backed that idea too, Right?

  25. Excellent piece, Derek. Great start to the year! All good New Year wishes to you and your family.

  26. Thank you Derek – cheered me up considerably. Just wish your column was on BBC ( some chance ) or in one of Scotland’s dailies ( about the same chance ) Please keep going.

  27. “The Language Guardians”, how apt.

    Careful what you say: Can’t these idiots see that stifling comment by their nitpicking opposition, leads to censorship for all?

    Tactics SLAB. Sometimes simply agreeing with your opponent’s initiative brings benefit to you.

  28. Well good to see you back Derek Bateman a busy year ahead I predict, so the best of luck to you and all contributiors to your blog ,the shit storm is on the horizon ,
    Now that all avenues to promote Independence are blocked off apart from blogs like this and possibly Twitter we can expect interference on a industrial expect websites to be attacked with DOS Denial Of Service on a daily or weekly basis and more than a few strange visitors meant to disrupt any useful dialogue , so best of luck folks .

  29. @ Robert Graham, Yes such DOS happenings already occurring in the USA. One Journalist blogger has moved from one of the “notable” sites. Then he had his PayPal account blocked, no explanation just unable to withdraw funds, then a few days later,without explanation, unblocked. Harassment it seems.

    On the basis of play the ball not the man, I’m finding it intriguing just what Trump is going to do once in office. “Draining the swamp?”.

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