Workers Unite

Ah, consensus. What is the deep satisfaction that comes from working harmoniously with others but the balm of humanity itself? Brothers and sisters together in search of peace and shared destiny…

It makes you wonder how St Francis would have fared as a politician. ‘The Hon Member for Assisi Central is asking like-minded MPs from different parties to join together to prevent Brexit.’ For it is in giving that we receive

You can argue that being together in a political system and voting in a chamber, albeit for different policies, is a form of co-operation and it is certainly true that under the skin of a parliamentary institution, agreements are reached between groupings and individuals whose precise form is rarely divulged to voters. It’s probably the case that without such clandestine channels, the system itself would seize up.

What we rarely see is an outward display of partnership in which selfish interests are subjugated in favour of a wider common good – in the way everyone except the Tories combined to deliver devolution as the expressed will of the people. Twenty years ago they showed it could be done because there was a manifest public majority for what had been a long-anticipated initiative and because, briefly, their interests aligned.

Aren’t we approaching a similar place today? Accepting the primacy of world peace and climate change as global challenges, it remains the fact that EU membership and the UK’s continuing engagement with the European institutions is the single most important issue confronting the country. Given that it was essentially an internal Tory Party game of Cleudo that led to the referendum being held at all while continuing EU membership was for most liberals and conventional conservatives a comfortable fit, is it not remarkable that those same forces have not coalesced to save the country?

The evidence of decline is pretty much universal from the Bank of England to the Resolution Foundation to the TUC. There is as much unanimity among economists as there is on climate change among scientists. To disagree is join the flat-earthers.

What happens when there is a gathering threat to the country – it’s economic and social health, it’s international relations and its defence? Coalition was the response in the face of German aggression. And what should happen when there is common agreement – co-operation.

Is the problem that in Britain there is no agreement on how to proceed? Well, it’s surely tricky for democrats that in a free vote the people have spoken. My question though is what did they vote for? Yes, it was to leave but how many knew and accepted it would mean lower living standards, higher food prices, greater bureaucracy, fewer jobs and travel restrictions? Some polls now say the majority would vote to stay in having been confronted with the evidence they were denied during the referendum process.

But even if we accept that the UK must now ‘leave’, does that also infer departure from the areas that guarantee us free trade and market access? Has anyone ever voted knowingly to make themselves poorer? It is around the customs union and single market where the non-Conservative parties should now be talking to each other to produce a common front. I’m pretty confident some discussions do take place one-on- one and views are synthesised into party positions but the great enemy of all politics is the people, or rather how the politicians view the people. Most are terrified of public opinion and would rather do the hokey-cokey in a chimpanzee onesie than fall foul of voters’ wrath. It is fear of the public, and of course the newspapers they read, that prevents much honest discussion of issues or the implementation of policies that will face short-term hostility. The maintenance of a united public front is paramount.

The block of progress here is of course the Labour Party. Or more specifically, the leadership. I don’t doubt the nationalists, Green and Liberals at Westminster would combine to form a united front, however gingerly they worded the text. But to change government direction, the Opposition needs to be on board and yet, watching Corbyn, it’s hard to know if he’s up or down the gangway, if he’s committing to sailing at all or if he’s just about to be seasick. This isn’t an issue on which prevarication is acceptable. There has to be a principle behind his position, a stance in which he believes and a bottom line which he will not breach. What is it? How can we have come to far in the Brexit saga and yet still be in doubt?

The conclusion has to be that in principle, he agrees with Brexit – it would be best if we were out. He sees a state free to interfere in the market at will and to plough subsidy into the holes he identifies without Brussels diktat. Just how much of industry and services there will be after Brexit is another question. His natural stance is to be at war with business and it is the power brokers of the conglomerates imposing globalisation who have the ear of the Brussels bigwigs. That’s the narrative except for those pesky EU-inspired rules on tax havens, meeting corporate tax obligations and ensuring workers’ rights.

Currently Labour are contorting themselves to make this look like pragmatism even to hiding division but organising Brexit out of a vote at conference. A government-in-waiting it is not.

Weirdly, Labour appears drunk on hubris as if an election had been won and the conferment of a laurel wreath on the leader’s brow was formality awaited. They look very silly, worse even than the Lib Dems pretending those years of coalition for no discernible return, never happened. Instead of looking for allies, instead of thinking strategically in the wider interest, all we hear from Brighton is sound and fury with student politics warning that they will smash the SNP and ‘return Scotland to Labour’ – all deeply unfortunate and misguided when the need is for unity in the face of both austerity and Brexit. High on their own rhetoric, they have forgotten the people and ignored the national interest. The language is designed to insult Labour folk who have switched or who seek independence – despite it being shelved for the time being. This is not a party of partnership or maturity. It is not a party of European social democracy. Labour has become a left-wing UKIP, self-regarding, inward and disruptive. It is having too much fun for serious politics.

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15 thoughts on “Workers Unite

  1. They can’t do unity because it would require unity for a real purpose, but the Labour Party would require unity where they were the top and everybody else would be lesser contributors, not simple because of smaller numbers but would need to be of lesser importance.
    Unity would require everybody to vote Labour so they could be in power and only them.
    So unity isn’t on the cards.

  2. The Labour Party are like a weathervane, they just say and do whatever they think will win them more votes. ‘For the many not the few’ don’t make me laugh. Still, it is a tragedy that so many Scots continue to buy into this tripe, I mean how many times do you need the wool pulled over your eyes to realise they are just a bunch of hypocritical conmen.

  3. Good Question Mr Bateman , best of luck obtaining a meaningful coherent answer, regarding Labours approach to Europe, or indeed anything.

    We had yesterday a Labour person from Scotland ,I am not sure if she’s an MSP or council Union rep or whatever , anyway she took to the stage at Labours conference and came out with the biggest load of tripe and barefaced lies I have heard for some time , she even managed to outperform Jackie Ballie, and the departed Serial Liar Kezia, she was on fire , a very passionate Liar .

    Which brings me to Labour in Scotland, only with the connivance and backing of a compliant media does it exist, they are completely removed from reality , in a world of their own, the slight of hand manoeuvre from Mr Sarwar in signing over his shares in the family business to one of his children, is breathtaking in its approach, he really believes the public are that Gullible and stupid, he might be right ,for people to vote for this crowd of Charlatans means there are a lot out there, and they are allowed a vote , God help us all surrounded by stupidity, and people with total memory loss .

  4. I find labour’s conduct so reprehensible I doubt if I could ever vote for them again, and I write as one who voted labour for most of my life. Wingsoverscotland today reveals the depths to which the party will sink to regain power – assisted by a compliant media. Are there no honest journalists left ?

  5. I will never vote (Not) labour again.

    They refused to let a baby into conference – allegedly for not having registered but I suspect it was in case it uttered the word socialism.

    (Not) Labour now is about as far away from the socialist values of their founding fathers like Keir Hardie and Alexander MacDonald as it is possible to imagine.

    As so eloquently demonstrated elsewhere, they created (or at least colluded with) the current mess of austerity, inequality and the great corporate rip off culture but now expect the SNP to clear that up and find the money to do so.

    And they would clearly have a Tory-run UK in perpetuity rather than a progressively-run Scotland. They care not a jot for ordinary Scots. It’s party and self-gain above everything else no matter what – and keep Scotland shackled to Westminster regardless of the cost to Scots.

    Look at Sarwar. He will happily attack the Scottish Government on an education system his parents refused to use for him and which he will refuse to use for his own kids. At the same time he makes his own three children paper millionaires and whilst saying it’s okay for his family company not to pay living wage. And then talks about the many not the few!

    Utter hypocrisy – yet our compliant media and their journalists say and do nothing.

    Th SNP need to take the kid gloves off and set up an aggressive debunking machine which harasses and harangues the media until they are prepared to see through the lies of (Not) Labour. They have been far too placid of late going all the way back to the general election.

    The First Minister started to fight back last week but that needs to continues – she needs to use FMQs to highlight the lies and hypocrisy of the Opposition parties because at least FMQs gets reported.

    • Well said. I agreed, the First Minister should continue to point out the hypocrisy of Labour, though her fingers were rapped for doing so in making it a personal attack.

  6. Have you ever known to vote to make themselves poorer, yes all the no voters in the independence referendum.

    • Alasdair Macdonald.

      At the start of the 20th century, Robert Tressell, wrote the book, which, possibly more than any other, influenced people to vote the newly born Labour Party(It believed in socialism at the time) – “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”. The title was chosen because so many working people voted against their own interests.

      More than 100 years later, barely seven years after the longest spell of Labour government, we are seeing employment conditions almost as bad as those in Mugsborough.

      Has anyone in Labour in Scotland even heard of the book, never mind having read it?

  7. “…. but the great enemy of all politics is the people, or rather how the politicians view the people. Most are terrified of public opinion and would rather do the hokey-cokey in a chimpanzee onesie than fall foul of voters’ wrath.”

    But Mr Sarwar offers a somewhat different insight, as expressed as his hustings at the party conference in Brighton. He (almost casually) offers the view that the people of Scotland just “have no appetite” for having an opportunity to decide on our EU future by referendum. Too wee, too poor, too stupid and now also too disinterested …. or simply content to wait and see how the Westminster power brokers decide what Scotland’s fate should be. Such a fine, inspiring candidate seeking to be a future First Minister of Scotland!

  8. You are right Derek. When they say:” Smash the SNP”. What they actually mean is smash Scotland from any ideas it has about breaking away. They want to hold Scotland forever ,even if the UK is physically and mentally destroying our souls.

    The union at any cost. This is more precious to them than democracy, liberty and culture.

  9. I think Corbyn wants out of the EU so that he can re-nationalise public utilities. EU rules don’t allow re-nationalisation.

  10. Not being big on conspiracy theories but I think Labours stance is more basic. Maintain the system .

    Maintain the broken, morally corrupt , self serving two party system even although now more than ever it’s been held up to the light and everyone can see the party in power are inept and leading us off a public school education cliff and there is no opposition.

    They can sing The Red Flag as much as they like, they can fire out as much rhetoric as they can carefully script but Labours voting record is what they should be judged on and it shows clearly they are no opposition.

    You only have to look at Wales where Labour have been/ are in power then ask so why aren’t you carrying out all these sparkly policies there Jeremy?

    The Tories and their policies are beneath contempt ( and that’s before we even mention Ruth Davidsons Casuals) but Labour appear to be driven by Momentum another strangely well funded social media experiment trying to influence the younger vote for another contrived snap election

    So what are people to do when their Govt fails them and the opposition fail them?

    We have a choice.
    Wait another 15 years until England catches up and decides it might or might not want a privatised, vastly unequal society but led by what the media call a ‘ socialist’ or want a privatised , vastly unequal society but led by what the media call an old school mate.

    2. Go to Europe and look around at the standard of living, return to Britain see the decay ( and I don’t just mean the buildings) book return flight to destination of choice.

    3. Get out on the streets to march for a voice ( provided GBBO or Masterchef or some other vital component for conversation in the UK is)

    4. Independence

    Ps. I wish Momentum and Owen ( there’s been a peaceful revolution under Labour) Jones would stop lifting stuff from Indy Ref and if they do, explain why the ‘ new politics’ is acceptable for Labour but in Scotland we are still being insulted by ‘ the We aw hate the Inglish guff’ and that’s why we want to govern ourselves

  11. We badly need a Scottish ‘Al Jazeera’ independent ‘national’ news outlet. One that is not financed or controlled by billionaires or Tories from England.

    But we cant get this unlike many tiny regions worldwide. Until we can get our message out to the ‘unbelievers’ using a spoon that fits in their mouths, we will never be able to stop them consuming BBC crap.

  12. Workers Unite – a nice theme , I bet thats how the staff employed by Glasgow Council are feeling knowing that their council is single handedly keeping the scottish legal profession in very lucrative employment , their council have spent countless number of years , and as yet an unknown amount of taxpayers money , fighting to stop women employed by the council receiving equal pay ,. even employing QCs and Lawyers .

    The Equal Pay Act 1970 introduced by a Labour government , being willfully strangled by a Scottish Labour council , my thats a vote winner if ever i saw one , this one item should be front and centre of every news report , But the BBCs favourite word ” BUT” it’s included in every item about the SNP on BBC Scotland ,

    This along with other damaging items on any unionist party will willfully be spiked buried and not be allowed to see the light of day , Thats yer Scottish Democracy for you .

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