Nearly There

If people didn’t understand the EU referendum, is there a chance they compound the problem by misunderstanding this election?

We never got near the real issues in the referendum because the Leavers were determined we shouldn’t and the Remainers, led by that clown Cameron, were too complacent to bother.

It’s worth noting that we only really got down to real politics when it became apparent that Theresa May wasn’t a leader at all, that it stretched credulity to call her a politician. We were being led by a scarecrow that was afraid of crows, that couldn’t talk to anyone without patronising them and whose career had been a procession of mini catastrophes – failing to curb immigration, antagonising the police, undermining national security and having nothing new to say on terrorism despite six years at the Home Office.

That was when leadership emerged as a key question for voters, not, as she planned, the big choice from the outset of the campaign when she arrogantly believed she could mince Corbyn in the media machine. As Roy Greenslade has been pointing out in the Guardian, even her staunchest boot-licking media supporters have stopped lauding her as the tough leader the country needs and instead fallen back on childish and often inaccurate depictions of Corbyn. The irony is that leadership is now the key question because he clearly has something a growing number prefer that her brittle, overbearing persona doesn’t. It’s probably honesty. A sad man in an allotment he may be but, compared to her, he’s authentic. He’s a mealy-mouthed dreamer offering stuff a broke Britain can barely afford. He relished his notoriety as an acquaintance of the terrorists back in the day because he is fundamentally a rebel. But then British governments privately spoke to and negotiated with the bombers even as their terror continued to take lives. Britain has armed those who would later become our terrorist enemies and, when it comes to the Libyan-affiliated bomber of Manchester, it seems we facilitated his journeys from North Africa to England and back. Corbyn may be a soul brother of men of violence but he’s never actually aided them directly, unlike successive governments.

So May is now exposed as a hollow drum, echoing sound bites and insulting what the Tories think of as little people – like the nurse looking for a pay rise. That silly woman was treated like the six-year-old she clearly is and reminded that there’s no magic money tree. In that television moment Theresa May summed up the history of her entire party. Tories believe they are superior and the only differences between them is the degree to which they patronise everybody else. If you’re a patrician Tory you accept that with your privileged position goes a responsibility to give a bit to the less well-off. If you’re a hard right Tory, like those who have captured the current leadership, you are a social hyena scavenging off the misfortune of others. (It’s hard to think of an intelligent way to justify the cruelty deliberately inflicted on the disabled and the vulnerable by Tory cuts and policies so brutal they are condemned by the UN).

But, across Scotland, backed by the Labour Party, that is what we are being urged to vote for. We are to endorse an authoritarian hard right party in power which is still working its way through George Osborne’s cold-blooded spending cuts (another £9bn to go) 10 years after the financial crash. Voting for Conservatives means endorsing what is on track to be a 20 year generational decimation of the welfare state – not harming a handful of scroungers but crushing the life styles of those who can’t walk unaided or whose learning disability restricts them to long term unemployment or low-paid menial work. Their policy is for low wages and long hours which kill family life for hundreds of thousands who work round the clock. Working conditions can be brutal but the unfair dismissal process has been closed to most applicants allowing unscrupulous employers to get away with it. In-work pensions have disappeared. The real magic money tree is the Bank of England which printed hundreds of billions to shore up the banks who caused the financial crisis in the first place. Theresa didn’t patronise the bankers. She wouldn’t dare. She’ll fall over herself again when they bleat about the difficulties of making massive profits after Brexit. She will find a way to ease the troubles of big business because history shows the Tories always do. But nurses? Police? Nah…you’re two a penny and you’re not One of Us.

This is the Britain the Tories have created and which we are now asked to endorse. In Scotland we do so, not by voting Tory but by voting for Ruth Davidson’s candidate (fill in the blank).

Under Davidson, Scottish Tories have gone from ineffectual social climbers in club ties and sensible shoes, to a jeering mob. They have infantilised the electorate by pretending there are no issues except denying Scots a vote on independence. They have taken simplistic messages from focus groups and, presumably with their tongue out, carefully copied them out as policy. This way they have harnessed the anti-SNP lobby and blinded them to what they are actually voting FOR. I’m sure it’s true that many don’t want a referendum but at least you can vote No if there is one. How will you stop Brexit without a referendum? As groups like the farmers and fishermen slowly see evaporate the chimera of taking back control, as firms in chemicals or aviation or food supply see sales processing clogged with compliance, admin and delay, will it seem foolish to have cast aside the idea of a Scotland-only way out of the mess?

Tory voters are being taken for fools, treated like Theresa’s nurse who thought a pay rise seemed reasonable without realising she just doesn’t count in the Tory worldview. If May wins on Thursday we will also have to deduce that her incompetence that helped the terror attacks – especially getting rid of police in England and firearms officers – simply didn’t bother the voters enough. Other than the murderers themselves, no one in the UK is more culpable than Theresa May.

If Davidson takes seats it will be because she played a nationalist card, narrowed the choices down to British Tories or Scottish Nationalists and across our country it will be clearer than ever who wins that argument. I prefer it when they fight on our ground.

So we need to remember that in Scotland, the forces of progressive politics run strong. If as happens, some seats are lost, that doesn’t make a victory. You know that’s true because it’s the opposite of what Paul Sinclair said in the Mail, he the latest in a line of Labour types whose sectarianism is visceral and in proportion to their need to make money from the Unionist press. The SNP will win this election in Scotland. They will remain the government in Scotland. A referendum is government policy. May is weakened in Brussels and the truth of Brexit is yet to dawn. We take the long view and the day gets ever closer.

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28 thoughts on “Nearly There

  1. If she’s the scarecrow, “Scottish” Labour are the munchkins in laland, with the Moof and Dugtail the heartless lion and hollow tin man.

  2. Really liked this piece Derek. P Sinlcair provides much evidence of what Labour North has been for some time / together with the new emboldened Tory loyalism in evidence -‘it ain’t pretty’ .
    Your writing is one of the aspects that keep like minded folks going, more power to ya sir!

  3. My only gripe Derek is that, just as with the recent local council elections, the SNP’s campaigning in this election has been largely insipid – and that’s being charitable.

    I know they are ham-strung to some extent by a largely hostile media but with over 100,000 members and some big money resources they have the assets to at least have a go at overcoming that.

    Yet with only 3 days left I see no zest, I see no fight, I see no confidence. Instead they seem to accept that only their core vote is going to vote for them so what’s the point of trying harder? Where, for example, is the debunking unit they have been promising for so long?

    And if current polling predictions are true and accurate we could see them losing more than just a few of their existing seats. If they stay mid to high 40s (by no means guaranteed) they might just get away with it but anything less than that would be a propaganda disaster at this stage.

    It doesn’t matter that they still hold the majority of the seats – all the media will portray it as a devastating indictment.

    My own view, for what it’s worth and as a non-member of anything, is that the trigger for indyref 2 was pulled too soon and we are paying the price for that now. I thought it was a tactical blunder at the time and I still think so now.

    I just hope that I am wrong.

    • Steve, I know what you mean. To be fair, the entire election from the media in Scotland has been to try and pin anything and everything bad on the SNP’s management of devolved powers. there has been next to no proper debate on how the GE might impact on Scotland. To that extent SNP are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      BUT, why do they still miss open goals when they DO get the chance. I assume MPs and MSPs will have received some form of media training? If so, they didn’t get the message! We do have a handful of good media performers, Nicola being a polished performer herself, but after the top 5/6 the skill level drops off appreciably.

      Finally I agree with you about some form of rebuttal unit. I accept that we will never get a fair Hearn in the MSM/BBC, so we have got to find other ways to get the message out there. Which brings me back full circle. During these nonsensical debates, SNP representatives should’ve been showing up the interviewers for the vacuousness of their questions and bringing this back to Tory and Labour National policy and the adverse impact on Scotland.

      Too late now for major changes, and the tragic events of the last weeks enters into that mix. But the next 72 hours need to be far sharper and effective. I have everything crossed and hope we can at least hang on to 45+ seats.

      • Robert Graham

        yes way too nice ,to obviously hostile presenters , this idea of replying to unfathomable inept questions that every answer under the sun has been well rehearsed by the host , I have yet to hear the phrase westminster parliamentary election mentioned , what in heavens is going on , this perpetual instance on speaking about reserved matters is beyond a bad joke , the SNP should and could have stopped it in its tracks , they have allowed unionist parties to set the agenda and the questions , lets hope they know more than us and are allowing this for a longer term goal to be reached,

    • Another way to see it is that indyref2 triggered this GE, and if the result is a hung parliament in which the SNP can use the balance of power, it may mean some fewer seats but will also make for a big step forward.

      I share your frustration with SNP communications, sometimes. What form do you imagine having-a-go-at-the-hostile-MSM might take? How do you think STV is doing?

      • As I said a few weeks back, I think the SNP should have tackled the issue of getting questioned on devolved matters by repeatedly saying they were happy to answer such questions but pointing out these were devolved issues and this was a Westminster election.

        The FM’s attempt to do that last night on BBCQT was welcom but it’s really the first time I had seen anyone challenge it directly.

        But, you are right, it’s very hard to swim against a raging tide.

        • Totally agree that the Scottish electorate doesn’t understand devolution and it needs to be a key job for SNP politicians to keep pointing out what is reserved and what is not.

          Even Robert Smith of the Smith commission concluded that people didn’t understand devolution.

    • Well you’re certainly wrong to use the word insipid to describe our campaigning. Sometimes, like Derek in this post, you have to take the long view.

      But that doesn’t stop us working our socks off canvassing and getting out the vote, which thousands of us are doing – as we have for years now.

      Comfy is it, that armchair?

    • Hey Steve, just to let you know that we in our constituency have been on the streets for the past four months, firstly for the council elections, and then for this completely unnecessary General Election. We are supported by a brilliant backroom team, led by an M.S.P who works night and day in our cause.
      As a result, we got all but one of our candidates elected to our local council, and, without giving any secrets away, we are going to obliterate the unionists this Thursday.
      So please, while it’s all right being pragmatic, not too much doom and gloom. We will become an independent nation, and the sooner the better.

      • Thanks Alex – and sorry for being a doom monger. I have no doubt about the effort that folk like you and punklin are putting in and I am sure my local party activists are doing the same.

        It just feels that at an official national level, in both this and the recent council elections, the foot has been taken off the accelerator a little.

        As I said, the repeated asking of devolved matters questions has gone almost unchallenged when I have heard it on the radio or seen in on TV. I think that is a mistake and it has allowed the SNP to be attacked on these devolved matters.

        But it is hard when the three Unionist parties are basically recreating Better Together and working from the same platform. In my area the LibDem and Tory leaflets are almost identical and clearly point to a degree of collusion going on.

        All a bit sad really.


    Perceptive and profound ! Required reading !

  5. From the heart, Derek. Totally agree.

  6. As for yon pair, they should campaign as The Cringe Sisters

  7. The SNP are stuck between a rock and a hard place in this election and they are constantly being attacked from all angles. It saddens me to see loads of ignorant mouthy people, who say they voted SNP, making dreadful comment on social media about what the SNP have failed to do, blind to the fact that due to the way the UK is wired up they are not in a position to do anything.

    It seems there is a large part of the Scottish population that does not understand devolution and how it works. Of course the Tories and their Unionist chums are playing this for all it is worth, I received a leaflet urging me to Vote for Ruth (she is not standing!) and then in the small space that was not about stop #indyref2 and SNPBad were a small list of policies on entirely devolved issues which have nothing to do with this election. Of course all of these are vague and would require funding but not to worry Davidson never has to face scrutiny anyway.

    Of course BBC Scotland are up to their neck in this one as well. Any sane person would expect this organisation to hold a position where they attempt to make clear the differences within the electoral system. Cue a phone in with Stewart Hosie and I am still waiting to hear a question that does not relate to a devolved issue. Hosie tries to state that these issues are outwith the scope of this election which is true but that just leaves him looking evasive at best, so job done for any unionist. The question becomes why are BBC Scotland allowing callers through to ask these questions when they know they do not apply to this election. Let’s just call it gross incompetence but it is just more of the same from the pitiful crew at Pacific Quay.

    I have to say that I am not feeling overly optimistic about the outcome of this election and it shocks me to my boots that there are appears to be so many turkeys in Scotland prepared to vote for Christmas with bells on without once engaging their brains and asking the obvious questions. Makes you wonder if the idea of Scotland is even worth it.

    • Iain, I have days like that as well :-). It’s a nervousness which (for me at least) comes from the constant anti-SNP message pumped out by the media, especially the BBC. I hope by now Derek accepts that there are SOME at least in the BBC Scotland that are actively working against the SNP.

      But trying to be optimistic, the shift in the polls might be enough to make someLabour voters switch back to Lab from the Tories they might have given their vote to before the latest Theresa may debacle. That may be enough to limit SNP losses to single figures.

      That said, I still think we will lose seats, best guess (hope?) is between 45-50 seats. Still a stonking win in anyones’ book, but the media will claim that this means Indy is dead (again). Thursday night / Friday morning will be a nervous time for a lot of our politicians.

  8. Lovely piece, Derek.
    May is of course not a ‘leader’ and is now being held to account for her woeful 6 years as Home Secretary.
    Corbyn is not a ‘leader’ in any shape or form.
    He is an old style Marxist, with required Bob Dylan cap and unkempt beard.
    He would lead a Party in Government which included multilateralism in its manifesto while he remains a member of CND and a Unilateralist.
    You can’t spend thirty years or so on the fringes, a back-bencher, then suddenly morph into the New Labour Hope.
    He is 4 months older than I, and the thought that I would suddenly rise from my armchair to lead the UK, is quite frankly risible.
    The New Labour group have withdrawn temporarily, licking their wounds, patiently waiting for Corbyn’s downfall, either through decrepitude, or electoral failure.
    In truth, there are no mature seasoned politicians left in any of the Three UK Parties.
    The UK is leaderless and rudderless.
    I laugh at the comments above that the SNP are not being aggressive enough in their rebuttal of the tsunami of lies and distortions of the coordinated Unionist and MSM assault.
    I wonder how May Farron or Corbyn would react if they were told that they might only win 45 seats in Scotland, after 10 years in government.
    We are in the End of Days, politically, chaps; for the UK that is.
    Scotland will be an Independent nation within your lifetime, and even the quite obscene efforts of the Establishment, media, and compliant politicos and press will not halt our inevitable journey towards Self Determination.
    After June the 8th, no matter who wins, reality will bite, as Brexit unravels, and the true cost to the UK of leaving the EU becomes painfully obvious in our pockets.
    Now is not the time for Indyref 2. October 2018 certainly is.

    • As usual I agree with your blog Jack, but continued MSM,BBC & ITV comments about SNP being bad and the Scottish people not wanting indyref 2, poles suggesting how we are going loose up to 12 seats to Ruths tory’s it does make us doubt ourselves. However I remain the original optimist (45-55 SNP MP’s) will be a result worth celebrating

  9. Seeing another SNPbad question forming up on the questioner’s, or on Nick Robinson’s, lips and looking at the demeanour of Nicola standing, waiting, she knows the answer is “This is for another, a Scottish, election not for this Westminster election” – she looks like she is surrounded at Murrayfield geeing herself for the impact of several New Zealand forwards, but knowing that she is ready, that her difficulty is, yet again, to remain courteous and in command of the SNP policies. And she does it, again, and with aplomb.

    MSM/BBC show this as pervarication or weakness – of person or policy. We see the strength – of person and policy.

    • Robert Graham

      exactly the same on well lets call it womans hour , why is your health service so rubbish ? , why have your approval ratings dropped further , why are your schools turning out abject dummies , and it goes on this endless drivel must be depressing day after day , when her answers are disregarded out of hand , and probably not even listened to by the presenter, who races to the next question in mid answer , aka bbc scotland who seem to be in a race to the finish , or if in front of an audience the presenter rephrases the question then cuts in half way through the answer if its going to well .

      • Nicola Sturgeon is without doubt the only political leader of any substance in the UK today.
        There are many English comments expressing this, and wishing that she would stand for WM.
        There is a very real possibility that the SNP will hold the balance of power Down There come Friday morning.
        Lovin’ it.

  10. State broadcaster the BBC is there above all to serve the establishment, and not the public; so when the interrupting interviewers do their bit, when news is manipulated so evidentially, Scotland insistently low-lighted, these people are only doing their job as demanded of them; it means the actually culpable escape criticism, as if the Pacific Quay office was the guilty party.

    It’s the bigger folks in the establishment who direct and approve what’s going on. The same folks who decided to have no oil reserve fund – just imagine had there been a big pot of oil-fund money which had come from Scotland, and what a Scottish audience would have made of seeing that on its way to…well, not Scotland. Would’ve convinced us we were self-sufficient, and that would be unacceptable to the folks in charge.

  11. I think you’ve pretty much nailed that Derek. 🙂

    It’s Scottish democracy v Tory narrative. Its selflessness v self interest. Inclusion v exclusion. Tolerance v intolerance.

    This is where 300 and odd years plus change has always been headed. The next two ballots in our journey are perhaps the most important in our history. The choices we face will define us to the world. It’s more important than flags and the surface cosmetics of statehood. It’s more important than party politics. These ballots are about who we are as people. What we sign our name to. Where we stand on social justice and true unity with like minded souls across the globe.

    What KIND of country do we want to live in? What legacy do we wish to leave to future generations and to the world at large?

    Those who are familiar with this site and a host of other indy sites KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt who we are and what we stand for. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt what the Tories of all shades are and what they stand for. What they’ve done to protect their hegemony. What they’ve done to our politics, our communities, our families.

    They cannot and must not be allowed to win.

    You know what is at stake. You know what they intend for our democracy.

    Get Your Vote Out.

  12. Robert Graham

    I didn’t watch last nights inquisition probably more of the same drivel , a three to one assault on the SNP , I know its hard but Nicola and the SNP should have nailed this Reserved guff at the very start , instead we get Holyrood on stilts in every debate , OK lets say Unionist parties gain some seats, but if on Friday morning the SNP have more seats than them their NO to another referendum bites the dust ,
    However its spun they will have failed , however much tripe is spoken the plain fact remains they went into this election opposing a second vote that is their only policy , if they dont get a majority , THEY FAILED.
    Can we now have a collective – F/OFF – and respect the result . Please .

  13. Well said, Derek.

  14. They may very well have captured the anti-snp lobby – but they are still Tories and they will what Tories always do – fuck your shit up. Because the one thing the Tories love more than eating the peanuts out of rich mens poo, is to beat up and mug the poor, the elderly, the sick and anyone who works in the public sector. But what is sickening to me is that Scottish Labour want to hold the victims down while the Tories get to work. The tories have destroyed the only credible allies they had that could appeal to social democrats and left of center of voters. The union will boil down to British conservatism vs Scottish progressive politics. Ruthless may very well gain some seats, but only because Scottish labour are so utterly wretched in their opposition to Scotland having any agency in the Union, let alone be independent. Any unionist gains can be seen as nothing more than the inevitable shift in the Scottish political landscape that will set the stage for the next independence referendum. And like poor old Scottish labour, Ruthless and her merry band of bigots will realise what their victory has cost them. They can’t scare us into being British. They can’t browbeat us into being British. They cannot sneer or smear us into being British. They sure as hell cannot hate us into being British. But their greatest failure is they couldn’t think of a way to make us want to be British.

  15. Just don’t understand why those put up by SNP to answer media drivel are not better prepared and much much more aggressive in putting interviewers down. Also don’t understand why there are not heavy very personalised negative campaign adverts taken against Ruth and TM.

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