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The lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter…

If you are reading this in England you may be wondering what I’m on about. You’ll be thinking that The Labour Party is getting ready to turf the Tories out and sort the upstarts of UKIP and the LibDims. If you were here in Scotland you would be looking out onto a political topography on which the lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter has diminished to a degree, which is nothing short of astonishing.

There’s a long way to go until May 2015 but at the moment polls are indicating that Labour are polling around 20-25% whilst the SNP are polling around 51% to 60%. No need to look at the figures for the other parties they are struggling to gain double figures.

During my stint leafleting on the run up to the Scottish Independence vote I met a few Labour voters. They all seemed to fall into the same sort of “type”. They started shouting fairly quickly, they tore up any leaflets or newspapers I was attempting to deliver.

Whilst a lot of Labour voters voted NO a lot also voted yes but not enough so why have so many Labour voters changed to the SNP now? Well it’s simple, very, very simple. Labour have not represented their historic support base since Tony Blair strode onto the world stage. The other reason is that Labour sharing the stage with the Tories and being so negative and wilfully telling porkies was just too much.

I can provide a great example of how inept Labour politicians have been. In the 80’s I had to visit a client in Greenock. I was surprised when I got there. On both sides of the road there were shipyards, heavy engineering, metal bashing and more. Step forward Maggie and her desire to stop metal bashing and go for services instead.

Jump forward to New Labour being in power. Almost all of the manual, metal bashing jobs and the other industries that supported them were gone. I had cause to visit Greenock a number of times and all of the yards were gone. Some housing and the odd supermarket replacing the yards. Not a huge amount of jobs on offer and a populace fighting over call centre jobs.

Blame Maggie? A good bit I’d suggest. But and this is a really big but, the Labour Party had made no real effort at all to help Greenock and many similar places throughout Scotland back to prosperity. And yet the people in these working class towns still kept on voting for Labour. It’s a disgrace many times over. Thankfully it’s now changing and the Labour vote is crumbling.

There isn’t a day that goes by that my twitter feed doesn’t contain a good few people saying they voted NO and they were wrong to do so. Too late, but not too late as in forever, just wait and see.

So all Labour has to do in Scotland is come up with policies which will appeal to their own traditional voter base and for the potential voters to actual trust them to deliver.

That’s easy.

Really?

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Who will pay for social justice?

Okay, at times I get a bit utopian. I know this. But I also know that if you want to effect change you have to aim high because by doing that you should get more of the things further down the tree that you want. Getting the whole tree is the aim but it’s a big bite.

There’s a lot being made of equality, social justice and various other trendy sounding stuff. People want a fairer local community just like we used to have. This will require change and change is never cheap is it!

So where will the money come from to gain the benefits from the changes which some people think need to be made?

Who has money? The government? Your local council? The EU?

It’s an easy answer. None of those have any money. Not even a single penny.

Does that shock you?

So how do the government, local councils and the EU spend money then? Easy they dream stuff up and then they set a budget and then they spend the money. There is a smidgen of some sort of controls but not enough to bother them apart from the EU who haven’t had their account signed off for years and years!

The money all comes from you and me too. Taxpayers. People who buy stuff. Companies who buy stuff and then pass on their costs which are taxes of one kind or another onto us whilst making a profit which is also taxed.

It’s a never-ending roller coaster of take, take, take by the government, councils and the EU.

So the money that needs to be found to enact social justice comes from the taxpayer. But what if the taxpayer is unemployed? What if people stop spending money? What if employers employ less people and make less profits? What if the economy bombs and tax revenues go down? What if a lot of large companies stop paying taxes in the UK and pay them to another country because it’s cheaper for them and EU says that’s all right to do so?

The government, council or the EU won’t have enough money to enact the changes they want.

The solution? Well an economy, which is working well, is the answer. It’s a no brainer.

Now I have to introduce a bit of bad language. In order for the economy to grow and be stronger, capitalism has to be used. Nothing else can happen unless there is some sort of capitalism in place. Ask the Russians. Ask the Chinese. Ask a whole variety of countries from all over the world.

The lack of controls on capitalism isn’t capitalisms fault. It’s the fault of the government and the EU and also the councils who have the controls but don’t implement them.

The government have a mechanism, which oversees the capitalist system. It’s a government department without a minister. It’s the Office of Fair Trading and another department within a department the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Both are tasked with maintaining fairness and ensuring that large businesses do not have too big a part of the markets in which they operate.

Have you heard of these? Not recently? Do you remember the OFT was taking the banks to court to stop them charging people ridiculous fees on their bank accounts? That’s the sort of thing the OFT was set up for. They didn’t win because it was claimed that they weren’t entitled to take actions against the banks, which the government supported.

That’s known as a fudge. Not one of those wee finger of fudge jobs though. It was just a way to ensure that the banks didn’t have to pay out for charges they had illegally levied. It did ensure, however, that the banks were able to continue making charges they continue to illegally levy.

The government then is not on our side even although we pay for it several times over. The political parties and their MPs are not on our side either.

Social justice has a cost. Taxpayers will have to foot the bill. Maybe those who are keenest to see social justice happen should form a queue and throw all their cash into a huge fund which will pay for it.

Totally not going to happen is it?

 

 

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Gray by name and grey by nature.

Iain, our present Labour MSP leader in Scotland has given his last speech in the position. In doing so he has underlined the reasons why the Labour Party in Scotland finds itself in a position that they could never have contemplated. Their support is disappearing quicker than “snaw oaf a dyke” and they have scraped the bottom of the barrel for political talent and come up wanting.

That their fall from grace should be so fast and so absolute is no surprise. For years they have treated Scotland and the Scottish people as theirs. They have used Scotland as a means of shoring up their Westminster presence. They have said they represent “the working man” and yet they have failed over and over again to address the real needs of Scotland.

They have failed to manage the change form heavy industry and the more traditional trades which had provided jobs for the Scottish people. The new jobs they chased were transient, low skill and even worse public sector. Labour also have to shoulder their share of the blame for squandering the oil “bonanza”. Shame on them.

Can we trust Labour? No matter what they say they are a Unionist party. Westminster draws the best Scottish Labour talent, it’s a bigger stage for them but they then become more anti-Scottish than any non-Scot. Just look at the treatment of RBofS and BofS and the Dunfermline Building Society. Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling couldn’t get them sold off quick enough. No thought about the impact this might have on Scotland. You would really expect more from Scots with a pride in being Scottish.

This isn’t an anti-Labour whinge. It’s an anti-Labour as they have become whinge.

It looks like Labour are heading up a dead end. They might rally a bit but they are looking tired and the three leadership candidates? None of them look like good long-term propositions.

The reality of course is that this is actually bad thing. The Tories are nowhere and the next election will wipe the LibDems from the political map. Where is the opposition going to come from? Not the aggressive, negative and grey of Mr Gray. The confident, well informed and challenging opposition which will ask hard questions of the SNP and most importantly keep them honest.

History will judge failure to take full advantage of the present drive towards independence very harshly. This is the time for all MSPs to put Scotland first. Nothing else will do.

 

 
 

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English Independence.

This article was originally written for the Subrosa Blog and is reprinted here with permission.

Quite an diverse debate occurred on the Subrosa blog after the post relating to the SNP and the likely timing of the referendum on independence. It’s a hot topic for sure and one which is already steeped in too much politicking by the Westminster gang. There is only one gang down in Westminster, the lie however has them being three separate parties standing for different things. We all know they stand for the same things with the slightest of shades different. Number one of which is, of course, to get elected at any cost, saying anything at all which will make them electable then junk it as soon as they get in.

Whilst we are on the subject of being electable let’s be very clear on a very important issue. The Labour Party is a Unionist Party and has no interest at all in Scotland as a separate entity. Scotland is important to the Labour Party because it used to bring in a reliable and significant vote, which realised more seats in Westminster. For that reason alone the English should be complaining.

It is an on going mystery to me to try to understand why English people do not assert their Englishness ,outwith sport anyway. Why are the English not pressurising Call me Dave to stop kow towing to the EU, for goodness sake man! Stand up and do what most of the rest of the EU countries do. Do the bits that are acceptable and ignore the rest. What can they do? Sue you? You don’t have any money. No one has any money apart from the Chinese, Russians… complete the list with all the countries who used to be our enemies.

You English people owned the world or at least the bits which were worth owning. You exploited what you discovered which, at the time, was the way things were done and now we see Call me Dave apologising for it? Is Call me Dave English? Does he talk up England?

Mr Huhne, now there’s a man who knows nothing about being English. His intention is to see your beautiful landscape and gorgeous wee villages covered with pylons and windmills, whilst at the same time freezing your pensioners to death.

I am a huge fan of the English. I’ve worked all over England and have always enjoyed myself and enjoyed the areas I’ve worked in. I’m a big fan of London and have spent endless hours wandering around just enjoying the Englishness of it even although immigration has been huge. It’s not as good as Edinburgh though. Obviously.

It’s less of a thing for Scotland to want independence and also inevitable that it will happen. It’s more of a thing for England to gain independence. To get the confidence back that made England great. It should be Great England not Great Britain. I doubt you’d find many people in Scotland, Ireland and Wales who would describe themselves as British.

The tide is turning and events are overtaking the politicians. The latest polls show a majority of people in England supporting independence for Scotland. Why not? We cost you money. We are not the same people. We share a similar language as we do with Americans and Australians but we are all foreign to each other at the end of the day.

Stride forward England. Believe in yourselves. Have the confidence to be who you need to be. Ditch the doubters and whingers. Recognise being English as being at the pinnacle of the world, but you’ll have to shove us Scots off first and we fight dirty.

 
 

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Traitors, Labour, Sold out, why?

Captain Ranty has an interesting post on his blog.

In some detail, he lays out the skulduggery carried out by the Westminster Labour Party in collusion with Labour and LibDem MSPs. Alex McLiesh and Tam Dalyell along with Tony Blair are specifically mentioned.

It would seem that these men signed away the rights to 6000 square miles of Scottish Territorial water. The water in which more oil may be discovered. The transfer took place. The document links are on the CR blog. It happened. Neither parliament was consulted. It wasn’t reported in the press.

The question is why would they wanted this and why would they agree to it? The inference is that this was a means to reduce any potential new oil wealth although the official line was that this was for adding fishing rights to the English fishing fleet. The documents you may care to look at on CRs site are the actual official documents and there are others which clearly state that a huge Scottish economic budget surplus would be the result of the oil discoveries made in the 70s.

The lies. We have been told repeatedly that Scotland gets more out of the UK than it’s fair share. This is a lie.

That we have this example of the duplicity of Scottish MPs and MSPs who represent Scottish people, do they know the meaning of that word They will say that they know better than us. That it was all part of a bigger picture. That it has benefited us more than would have been the case otherwise.

I am no fan of enquiries but here is a case where a televised enquiry is required. I want to see the guilty men sit and squirm. I want apologies from them to all the Scottish people. I want recompense from the Westminster Government. I want to see a payment made from the Westminster exchequer of £1500 for every person in Scotland as a starter. I want them to have to negotiate for the return of all oil tax and other monies with a starting point of how soon payments will start to be made rather than if.

I want, I want, I want. Petulant child? No. Angry yes. I know it’s not gong to happen. That doesn’t mean that our Scottish Government should not exploit this and expose and embarrass the treacherous, guilty men.

I’m sure they sleep soundly in their beds.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Politics, Scottish Independence

 

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Do we need the SNP?

The short answer to that is yes. The longer answer is … well a wee bit longer.

We needed the SNP  to “break the mold”  and provide the shock to the system which could impart real change and awaken those who were complacent at best and willfully negligent at worst. However, as with all things, the result of the change has exposed weakness to a higher and wider degree than expected, exposing the almost shocking Labour, Tories and Libdems problems.

Labour has found itself in the position of being intellectually bankrupt. Even more so this being caused by it’s own arrogance in its belief in its traditional voting support and the reliance, for strategic action and policies, on the UK party leadership in London. The best Labour politicians , such as they are, seek London as their stage which confirms them as devote unionists, even more Unionist than the Tories. The signs are that it will take a significant amount of time to re-organise the party into a fit and proper opposition to the SNP.

Which brings us to the Tories. The Tories are a party built on tradition and change is particularly difficult for them. The Tories in England, and in the London parliament ,have no mandate in Scotland to speak of. They are between a rock and a hard place. A potential candidate for the Tory MSP leadership has spoken up and suggests that they alter their structure in Scotland to be more modern and appeal more to Scottish voters. This is is received like a unpleasant odour, not nice at all and distance being the best form of escape. As has been pointed out by others, those who seek to carry this strategy forward may find themselves having to split form the party following an unsuccessful leadership result. This may be no bad thing but it will lead to an increase in the time required to form a valid opposition to the SNP.

The LibDems. Well what to say. They have managed to turn a modest up swing in their popularity into a plunging, embarrassing and catastrophic disaster which will take at least two elections to even slightly address. Everyday their cause in Scotland, as well as in England, is weakened further by the Party in London running away from the parties core beliefs and aims whilst desperately gripping onto power within the coalition. Death grip is probably more apt to use.

So, yes we need the SNP but we also require the strength and conviction to deliver what the Scottish people expect, need and want from them for our parliament and government. Unfortunately we have to rely on the opposition to provide credible and appropriate opposition which, will keep the SNP honest and drive them on to the absolute best of which they are capable. This may well not turn out to be the case.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Politics, Scottish Independence

 

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Old Labour, Nu Labour and Nu Trendies

This article was written for and originally published for Subrosa and is re-published here with her kind permission.

If you enjoy this blog article please link to me on Twitter account “@TediousTantrums”. I will then tweet you as more political articles in the same vein are published.

Please leave a comment and/or Tweet, email or text the location of this article to people you think would also enjoy it. Thank you very much Tedious Tantrums.

From a political point of view my family only went one way, Labour. There were very good reasons for that and history played no small part. The family lived in a large town, which had grown up around mining, a harbour and chemicals. An old place with strong links into the steam revolution and heritage steeped in strong community ties.

My Great-Grandfather on the male side of the family was a miner, a dangerous job without a doubt. The mine owner owned the town including all the shops. For reasons lost in history my Great Grandfather decided to try to organise the men to form or join a union. The result of course was that he lost his job and was black listed by all the employers in the area. To get by and provide for his family he sold vegetables from a cart in summer and wood in the winter. He got by and the family survived.

My Grandfather was a member of the local Labour Party when things changed after WW2. He became a Labour town and county councillor and went on to sit on various committees of which Housing was his preference.

People were always coming up to him or coming to his house to ask for his help with some council issue. I’m not aware of him ever turning anyone away although there must have been times when he felt like it. In turn my Dad was also a member of the Labour Party for all of his adult life. He helped out with canvassing, running fund raising events and supported the candidates as best he could.

These three men were proud to be known as socialists and of being Labour Party members. They had simple aims, which were based in trying to improve the lot of the workingman and to try to ensure that each generation had a better quality of life than the one before. Towards the end of my Dads life it became more difficult for him to support Labour as they changed to become Nu-Labour. He still defended them and believed the working mans vote could only go to Labour but he knew the writing was on the wall. The need to be elected at almost any cost regardless of political manifestos was replacing the need to serve the communities which candidates were elected to do in the first place.

My own views had changed over the years also. I felt that in Scotland at least, the Labour Party thought it was their country and it would remain that way forever. I felt that they weren’t trying as hard as they should have been to deliver the best for the Scottish people.

Then there was the Poll Tax incident. One morning I was accosted by a chap with a clipboard, he stuck it in front of me and asked me to sign, what was, an anti Poll tax petition. I declined. As I walked away he shouted after me “You must be doing alright” in an accusatory manner.

At that moment my support for Labour died. For all the problems with the Poll Tax I liked, and still do to this day, that everyone in the community paid something no matter how small it was. Sure there were many issues not least the scale of charge per person depending on wealth which seemed rather unfair to those with less and perhaps more generous to those who had more. At that point in my life I’d worked hard to build a decent life and provide for my family. I’d done so by working long hours and creating a viable business from nothing and it provided jobs in the local area, I paid good salaries and looked after my employees who were for the most part loyal and honest. I was just an ordinary man doing his best. I wasn’t trying to be better than anyone, have more money or more or better things than anyone, I was just living my life as I saw fit without exploiting my fellow man. I was doing well and I was playing my part in the local economy, paying taxes being a positive contributor. How dare anyone accuse me of “doing well” when I believed that doing well in a fair way and improving you and your families lot was a fundamental human aim.

My Dad liked a debate he believed that everyone’s opinion was important and that their individual views should be protected and encouraged as would be his. In the past few years, and more so recently, I wonder what my Grandfather and my Dad would make of the way things have become.  I honestly doubt that they would recognise some Labour voters, activists and MPs as being socialists or even being true to Labour core aims such as they were.

Most of all though, I wonder how they would have reacted to the lecturing, meddling and sneering which seems to be such a popular part of politics. In my Grandfather and my Fathers day they took personal responsibility seriously but they also felt that they had earned the right to self-determination. The constant whining daily messages from the government based on the views of un-elected do-gooder activists would have been instantly dismissed as propaganda and pretty poor propaganda at that.

For some reason, which escapes me, left leaning politics has become fashionable. Obviously not trendy enough for them to actually get out there and do anything meaningful and worthy to improve peoples lives.  No it’s more of an ethereal understanding that people need to be saved from themselves and regularly prodded in the direction depicted by the trendy left as being the correct place to be. These people also seem particularly good at saying one thing and doing another. It’s not their fault however, it’s just they have such important lives and such an important message to deliver that they have to make the best use of time which means they don’t have time to follow their own dictates.

No time for five a day. An extra wee drink to help them sleep. And a jet to save time rather than a train, which is slow and full of those, well those “people”.

If we voters get what we deserve, and it looks very, very, very likely that we do, we will have a lot of pain ahead of us. The trendy lefties will of course have moved on by then to some other cause, which will restrict our lives even further.

If you enjoyed this blog article please link to me on Twitter account “@TediousTantrums”. I will then tweet you as more political articles in the same vein are published.

Please leave a comment and/or Tweet, email or text the location of this article to people you think would also enjoy it. Thank you very much Tedious Tantrums.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Politics

 

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