Jurassic Bark

Something strange has been going on beneath the swirling seas of the constitutional stand-off. Yes, of course the sole elected Tory MP looked ridiculous telling the mass-elected SNP majority they couldn’t even get a vote on the biggest issue of the UK’s recent history. (There’s only been one Tory MP, or as in 1997, no Tory MP, from Scotland for 20 years.)

No it was the vehemence of some Labour people that was striking. London dictating to Scotland was bound to offend many beyond the YES community and so it proved with even Unionist voices raised in doubt and protest. But when I tweeted that May’s intervention meant that effectively all those voting against a referendum at Holyrood next week will be supporting the Tory government’s position, the Labour dinosaurs began roaring in denial. How Tom Harris objected to being lumped in with the Tories. Even moribund lord and failed socialist George Foulkes murmured in protest. Labour would vote on its own motion, he said. And of course that’s probably right – there will be a Labour formulation although ultimately it will come down to a Yes or No to an SNP-Green motion.

But the point is that by moving ahead of the vote, May has taken the lead for them all. She has laid out the ground which is no vote before Brexit. That’s what they will be voting on and any opposition will be in support of the Tory position. Her stance is de facto the counter to the SNP, begging the question in the chamber: Whose side are you on?

It gets worse. As far as I recall, Kezia’s last known position (and this is liable to change) was simply no referendum. She has occasionally qualified it with ‘not within five years’ but broadly she has stuck to a direct No. There should be no referendum. Yet yesterday  after May’s declaration, Kezia tweeted…’there should not be another referendum until after Brexit at the earliest.’ In pinning down a timetable this way, she has explicitly followed the Tory Prime Minister’s formulation. Kezia has in effect taken her lead from May who has said the same thing and tailored her own policy accordingly. She is mimicking the Tory government and next Wednesday will vote along with the Tories in support of their rejection and timetable.

No wonder the Labour rump is on the defensive. As a political gambit, this is catastrophic. Having been cast as Tory surrogates in 2014, here they are again, learning nothing and bowing down to Tory diktat.

Is it going too far for Labour to say they both don’t want a referendum and don’t think a London government should block one? Seems logical to me both to discourage another vote and simultaneously stand up for Scotland’s right to call one if the votes are there. That is democratic. Siding with Westminster against the expressed will of Scotland in parliament is suicidal and is the key reason Labour lost the election in 2007 when Scots were sickened with McConnell and his crew kowtowing to London HQ and being told off by Blair’s  ministers. Maybe Kezia missed that period when she was applying for work with the SNP then getting schooled in politics by Foulkes.

Labour tweeters tried to draw a comparison between them backing a Tory position and the SNP getting Tory backing in government after 2007. That’s true – although it was occasional support – but if they can’t see the difference between winning votes to get through domestic legislation and standing up for Scotland against a Tory government on a critical question, they need to examine what the think politics is for.

There is in this the seeds of discontent. These moments are when politicians are tested. Times like this demand to know what you’re in politics for. The dizzying truth is that Labour no longer does know the answer, either in Scotland or the UK. They’ve surrendered Scotland to the SNP and the UK to the Tories through arrogance and ineptitude. I guess the agony of the dinosaurs like Harris and Foulkes is that they know it too. Hence the dying bellows from the Land That Time Forgot.

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27 thoughts on “Jurassic Bark

  1. No change from SLAB. They are deservedly on the way to extinction.

  2. Should have posted my reply to your previous article here.
    Couldn’t agree with you more Derek, they never learn and never will, they are DEED
    Check out what they have being doing in North Lanarkshire with the extra money given to schools by the SG, they will be completely gone by May.

  3. ”Times like this demand to know what you are in politics for ” – Well for most of the SLAB it was a nice little earner , until those damned nationalists started upsetting everyone by demanding that we do something for Scotland .
    Let’s face it , being an MSP keeps James Kelly off the streets – for that we should be grateful !

  4. To describe Tom Harris now, or during his gravy train ride as a neo conservative on the Blair Brown New Labour caboose stretches it.
    He now has a ‘PR Consultancy’, writes for a Tory Dead Tree Scroll, and threatens to leave Scotland for the Motherland when Scotland opts of Self Government. ‘Bye,
    Foulkes is just a sad old throwback, like Sillars and Gordon Wilson. Is there an Elephants’ Graveyard for Old Unionists? The HoL ?
    The choice for Labour MSPs next week is stark.
    They know that there is no chance of a Labour WM Government in the next 10 to 15, possibly 20 years.
    Corbyn is and always was a Militant Marxist anarchist who slipped under the wire during the Kinnock Purge.
    He has no intention of, neither has the expectancy to, form a Government and lead the country into a Socialist Nirvana.
    So where do the Labour MSPs stand as individuals? Is it a three line whip? Will they readily sup with the Davidson Devil?
    I’d imagine that if they vote down this Indyref motion, they can kiss goodbye at LA level in May, and expect to be reduced to Lib Dem level at the next Holyrood Elections, if we are not Independent before then.
    Corbyn and McDonnell intend to destroy the Labour Party completely. They are tired old Reds, and it shows.
    Dugdale defies analysis.
    Is she really as bone headed and, frankly, stupid as she comes across?
    I called her ‘Ruth Davidson’s echo chamber’ the other day, and John Swinney entertainingly lampooned the Fran and Anna of Holyrood at last week at FMQ.
    Andrew Neil could barely conceal his contempt for Murdo The Queen’s Eleven Fraser today on the Daily Politics; he really is one down the food chain from a parish Community Councillor, prattling on about SNP Bad on Education, Health, and so on. The man who has not been elected raged that the SNP didn’t have a majority.
    His reputation as a mindless dolt increases every time he appears in public and opens his mouth.
    Seven times he stood for election; seven times he was rejected.
    Yet here he is, like that other loser, Prof WATP Tomkins, on our screen lecturing us about majorities and mandates.
    They are as you say, Derek, dinosaurs from a Land that Time might have forgotten, but we haven’t.
    The Old Stagers, the gravy trainers, the fellow travellers have all been booted out.
    If Labour votes with the Tories, they will forever be branded Red Tories with good reason.

    • Ruth and Kez, the Fran and Anna of Holyrood, that comment deserves to go viral!!
      Sums them up latter day haggis bashers living in the past.

  5. Thankfully there are good people, Labour supporters in Scotland, who know what to do:


    They put Dugdale, Foulkes, Darling et al to shame.

  6. Gavin C Barrie

    For possible survival Dugdale and her troops would best abstain on the coming referendum vote next week. At least then they can be called cowards. Voting No to the proposal, well what would they be called? Patriots?

  7. Andrew Sanders

    Has anyone else noticed how often rejected Labour MP’s or MSP’s are invited on to GMS to comment on current affairs? ( eg Margaret Curran ) Is there any chance that even one of the diminishing number of Labour MSP’s at present in Holyrood will do the right thing and vote with the SNP and Greens on the indyref2 vote next week ?

    • @ Andrew Sanders

      “Is there any chance that even one of the diminishing number of Labour MSP’s at present in Holyrood will do the right thing and vote with the SNP and Greens on the indyref2 vote next week “?

      Andrew , if only . However always remember the ‘Scottish’ in Labour is but a smokescreen ……they are a Unionist party and merely a branch office who are not there to make decisions that benefit Scotland or it’s people……… but whose sole purpose is to be wholly subservient to the policies as dictated by Labour HQ …….though Keiza takes her instructions not from HQ’s leader but from others within Labour HQ party who are more sympathetic and aligned to the right wing policies of their friends….. the Tory party.

  8. Steve Asaneilean

    There is a strange notion out there that the way (Not) Labour are in Scotland now is something new or, at least, relatively new.

    But it’s not. I grew up North Lanarkshire – their heartland of old – in the 1970s and even then it was a party and organisation riven with cronyism, nepotism, bigotry and sectarianism.

    Look at the worst housing schemes and the most deprived communities in Scotland then ask who has been in charge of them for 70 years and done nothing?

    Things become extinct when they cease to be relevant or necessary and for (Not) Labour that has been the case in Scotland for at least a generation.

  9. Bill McDermott

    Nicola stays on the front foot by seeking to meet Theresa May to discuss timing.

    I note that most of the journalists have swallowed No 10’s position of implying but not stating that Indyref can’t be held until after 2020. Nicola and Angus stating they agree with Theresa May’s first statement that it should be after Brexit.

    Nicola is correct to close this down to a meeting to negotiate the timetable, having the very strong deal-breaker, that it is when we know the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, which is already in the diary for the end of September 2018.

  10. In the debate the SNP and Greens need to make very clear in the Chamber for all to hear and see what the vote against means. It should be hammered home again and again.

  11. When all that Kezia can aspire to be is a “me-too” version of Ruthless, her party is doomed.

    The irony is, we keep trying to give her good advice, help her get her party somewhere positive, but she (and they) just don’t seem to want to know. Instead they appear to be hell-bent on repeating the errors of 2014 (with minor tweaks) all over again. The only likely result being that they will bleed what little support they still posess to either the SNP or Greens on the one hand, or the Tories on the other.

    Next week in Parliament will surely signal the point of no return for Labour in Scotland. They will either choose to turn away from the precipice at the 11th hour and save themselves or (as seems far more likely) head straight for it and their doom regardless.

    It’s absurd, it’s a slow-motion car crash happening before our eyes, almost as if it’s preordained.

  12. I am puzzled as to what constituency Labour in Scotland is trying to appeal to.
    Is it the no surrender types,which isn’t restricted to wee Orange men (Trump impersonators) but angry White middle class people as well (plenty here in Red Morningside).
    Many of the latter have abandoned Labour as not being able to fight the evil nationalists and have thrown their lot in with the Tories so Labour are now pretty well stuck with sectarian bigotry.
    If they are seen by their current supporters as appeasing the nationalists,the narrow support they currently enjoy will vaporise,so they have little option but to vote down the proposal to hold another referendum next week.
    Thanks Derek.

  13. There is a big decision for Scottish Labour coming up in Holyrood over the indyref2 vote. It will be a defining moment on their position regarding the role, status and significance of the Scottish Parliament in representing the expressed will of the majority of the Scottish people.

    Its worth recalling from the Scottish Labour website these notable quotes from Kezia Dugdale’s speech made on 16th June 2016 at a cross-party rally in support of a Remain vote in the EU referendum:

    “I’m proudly, passionately pro-European.”

    “Your vote, your individual vote, can make the difference between remaining part of a union that is essential for jobs, economic growth and the funding of public services, or your vote could be the one that sees us cast off alone in the world.”

    These remarks need also to be placed in the context of Labour Party posters placed outside polling stations on EU referendum day: “Labour IN for Scotland”. Notably, not just “Labour IN” or “Labour IN for the UK” but specifically “IN for Scotland”!

    So it seems reasonable to ask: after a clear majority of the Scottish electorate supporting the “IN for Scotland” plea, what is Scottish Labour and its MSPs now going to do for those voters that followed Labour’s advice and did vote “IN for Scotland”?’

    From Kezia Dugdale’s recent comments, it seems the answer is nothing. It seems they are likely to vote with the Tories to remove the rights of Scotland’s people to exercise choice; and to ignore the expressed will of the Scottish people in the EU referendum; to disregard the Scottish Government seeking to honour its winning electoral manifesto over EU membership – the membership which Labour ‘officially’ supported; and moreover siding with a Tory Government that seems intent on ignoring both the majority will of the Scottish people and also the majority will of the Holyrood parliament – a parliament that Labour is so proud of telling us it created.

    It seems that Labour in Scotland wishes the majority of people of Scotland to sacrifice (again) in order to preserve ‘solidarity’ across the UK state, with people in England and Wales who chose by a majority to make a different choice (on Brexit – and on voting Tory).

    The opportunity to exercise choice over maintaining membership of the EU, which the party in Scotland supported, is clearly less valued by Labour – does Labour solidarity stop at the Straits of Dover? Of course fortunately for the present leadership of Scottish Labour, the position they hold seems to coincide with their view that there is no conceivable circumstance in the known (and unknown) universe that could be worse than Scotland being independent!

    • Exactly, stewartb.
      You reiterate the excellent Joanna Cherry’s arguments on last week’s QT.
      What the Unionists are saying is that Holyrood is not really a Parliament. It can be over ridden by WM whenever they feel like it.
      May’s intervention this week was an astonishing gaffe, inspired we are to believe by Davidson, her Scottish lap dog.
      They all use the phrase ‘the British people voted to leave the EU’, when in fact they mean 17 million plus change, opted for Empire 2.
      Well, ‘the Scottish People voted for a second Referendum if they were pulled out of the EU against their express wishes.’
      We the people instructed our Parliament last May to call a referendum on Self Government, rather than be dragged out of Europe against our will, As changes go, it doesn’t get any more ‘material’ than that.
      That Referendum will take place during the term of the current Administration, but after we are aware of the terms of Brexit, but before we are out of the EU. The window is therefore Sept 2018, and April 2019.
      Many of us with more than two brain cells have made this observation repeatedly during the post Brexit vote in June ’16.
      No buts, no ifs, it’s democracy.
      I see Brown the ‘patriot’ is lurking about in hotel lobbies with Dugdale and Roden. I wonder on whose expenses account the coffee and croissants were billed?
      The Nazis used the ‘patriot’ card a lot in the early 1930’s.
      Come on Lord Darling of Flipper. Come out come out, wherever you are?
      May and the mere sight of Brown must have added 100,000s to the YES vote.

  14. Alasdair Macdonald.

    There are Council elections in May. This is an opportunity for the supporters of independence to get out in force and vote in favour of proindependence parties. Because of STV, supporters of independence should vote for all candidates Green, RISE, SNP, SSP (I have listed these alphabetically) who support independence.
    A strong representation from those parties is a strong riposte to ‘Now is not the time.”
    With STV, we will also see how the votes for the unionist parties are redistributed. Since Ms Davidson has clearly captured the unionist territory, Labour voters are faced with a binary choice – do they give their second votes to the Tories, and boost Ms Davidson’s fortunes and that of Mrs May in the wider U.K. or do they choose a pro Independence Party? We will also see how Tories in no-chance constituencies deploy their votes. Will we see more Morningside Ian Murrays?

  15. I’m getting on a bit and sometimes I miss out on earth shattering events but only recently was it made clear to me that the ultra right wing Tory MSP, Adam Tomkins, an academic at Glasgow University is the same person as the co-author, with Alasdair Gray, of “How we Should Rule Ourselves.” This engaging pamphlet explains that the component nations of the UK can become truly democratic by declaring themselves republics.

    How could someone who was so recently a republican socialist make such a quantum leap? Some mistake surely?

    • No. It’s the same guy. Apparently he just hates monarchy. That’s his big beef. He was just using Scotland as grist for his republican mill. He didn’t really mean it. Chancer.

  16. Question Derek .. how do we encourage those that oppose independence by their lies and in your face manipulated news that is preferential to all the Unionists suffering with cognitive dissonance ? WTF can we all do to hold lying politicians to account for being nothing more then a job with a good wage packet

    • @ Shane,

      We can’t ‘take on’ the media Shane, but we can ‘become the media’ You are already doing this by coming on this site and making a comment. If anyone is looking in on Derek’s site, but doesn’t comment because you don’t think what you say is clever enough or whatever reason, just write something even if it’s to say you enjoyed another readers comment or you liked something Derek wrote. This is what is meant by ‘becoming the media’

      A site like this is a worry to Unionism, because it has some very good articles and people read it, but a site like Wings Over Scotland terrifies the Union because it also has good content AND every article has at least 100 comments.

      Get involved, get your point of view into the articles you read, support the smaller or new independence supporting sites by reading and making comments.

      That’s how we do it.

  17. Last week at FMQs both the Tory and Labour leaders suggested that the SNP, without an absolute majority at Holyrood, had not really won the contest and lacked any mandate to carry forward its stated policies.
    A brief check reveals that in the Central Edinburgh seat that she won last year MS Davidson gained 30.4% of the votes cast and that Labour’s Kezia Dugdale relied upon the to get to Holyrood. Regional List. Are they seriously suggesting that they have an authority that the government lack? Perhaps both would be better employed concentrating on ” the day job.”

  18. The buzz word from Unionists seems to be the scottish people dont want another referendum , Who says ? the unionist media 99.99% who literally hate the SNP Government despite being elected on numerous occasions by the people .
    This Tory party that has the backing of one fifth of the voting public’s support and have one MP , suddenly proclaim to be the voice of the people , if that wasnt so farcical it would be funny .
    The BBC as usual have two approaches to the Independence movement , and the SNP , go with every story that they presume to be harmful , or what they usually do Ignore anything that supports the SNP , the BBC only show what benefits the Union everything else gets blocked now that is totally unacceptable in a democracy , but we are not in a democracy , recent events have shown this Union for what it is its an Occupation we have no powers to change anything .

  19. Thank you – another great post Mr.Bateman!

  20. They may not like it, but it is what it is. Labour and the Conservatives working and voting together… again.

    At least it’s consistent.

  21. Now the party that time forgot big time! Clive Lewis wants to split the Labour party into a Scottish one and English one “to save the Union.” He cites the last Ref1. It is more like a ploy to save the party.
    A party now at war within itself and the Unite union, according to leaks.
    Brown has popped up again re devolution, after claiming Vow1 had been a success. Again, the focus is not on Scotland primarily but the UK all to save the Union. He forgets that the gainers will be the Tories whom the Scots have not voted into government for decades.
    Strange goings on in the red Tories.

  22. Events are unfolding at Holyrood , the debate on calling for another referendum is ongoing , I wish i could be bothered watching but the mind numbing monotonous benal rants of the Unionists is too much to bare , they after all this time , have nothing to offer , all the arguments and benefits of this Union have turned to dust and it needs now to be put to sleep , and out of its misery ,Why do they cling to this Corpse it benefits no one , if anything its holding us back , like a giant trailing anchor .

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