Sunday, 12 June 2011

Unionism and Independence

Last week again the MSM were making the agenda in Scottish politics by continuing to concentrate on the independence referendum and the result of a small poll, which stated support had increased by 6%, sent them into overdrive.

Meantime the Scottish government concentrated on the care of the elderly, job creation and the economy to name but a few national issues.  However all the MSM wants to discuss at present is the referendum and I'm sure Alex Salmond is quite content for them to linger as long as they like on this particular issue, as long as they do give some column width to other important proceedings.

Last week the Guardian's Kevin McKenna wrote a rather weird article about Scotland and independence but this week he has redeemed himself somewhat and faced a few home truths.

The Unionists don't know where to turn now that they've realised the people are fully aware the last SNP government did more for Scotland than the Unionists did in 12 years of devolution and for 40 years prior to 1999.

They have to find a counter-argument to the SNP's desire for independence and they've been meeting in non-smoke-filled rooms. It's reported the Tories and Labour want John (now a Lord) Reid to lead the campaign to keep Scotland within the UK. Nothing less than a Lord will do.

Influential figures within the two main UK parties believe that Reid is the "obvious choice" to take on Alex Salmond.

He would be excellent from a nationalist point of view.  The Scottish MP Tom Harris refers to his colleague as 'popular and trusted'.  That may well be in close Labour circles, but many people in Scotland associate John Reid with the Afghanistan war when he promised, in 2006, that the extra troops he was sending to the conflict would leave again 'without a shot being fired'. Since then over 200 of our armed forces have lost their lives.

They also remember how he augmented his MP's salary by securing a £50,000 job with a private security company - G4S - which operated in Iraq and continues to operate in Afghanistan.

Mr Reid's biggest 'claim to fame' though was when he was Leader of the House of Commons in the immediate aftermath of the decision to invade Iraq and was responsible for swinging support for the invasion among Labour MPs.  Throughout the UK millions objected to the then Labour government's invasion of Iraq but their voices were ignored. John Reid was one of the protagonists who steadfastly stood shoulder to shoulder with Tony Blair.

To add to their woes Ed Balls (of all people) is to set up a task-force to fight for Scotland's place in the UK. Will John Reid be heid bummer? Now he's decided to throw in the towel as chairman of Celtic FC, he may well think, with time on his hands, why not. The Unionists' problem is he's the past not the future.  Too many older Scottish Labour MPs and ex-MPs carry too much baggage from the Iraq/Blair/Brown era.

A look at Alex Salmond's cabinet shows the SNP are intent on looking and moving forward. Populations like positive, up-beat governance.

Should John Reid head any 'No' campaign I very much doubt if the news would send a meagre ripple throughout the SNP.  Nonetheless, Alex Salmond isn't one to become complacent because he knows Labour does have a strong core vote, but as long as he adheres to being honest with the electorate he has little to fear.

Note: In the spirit of fairness - that politically ill-defined buzzword - the Labour party is offering membership to all under 27s for 1p. No conditions appear to be attached but a 'source' informs me that those joining at the special rate and who live outside Scotland must be prepared to travel to Scotland to campaign when required and pay for their own food and accommodation. Travel will be subsidised but a considerable percentage will be charged.  Cheap at twice the price!



John Page said...

John Reid well known bully of the Parliamentary Ombudsman? A nasty political headbutter, but annoyingly also arguably the most effective minister of the Labour years.

(Not that that's saying a lot, mind you.)

David Farrer said...

If you want to win an election it's important to get your own natural supporters to vote for you. In this case such people are called unionists. Tens of thousands of them support a certain football club that plays in Govan. And John Reid was the chairman of Celtic!

You couldn't make it up.

subrosa said...

I'd agree he's 'arguably' the best Labour have had for years John but he's no elder statesman such as Rifkind.

subrosa said...

But David, why go for him to lead the No when the Celtic No vote is more or less assured regardless? Or maybe that's no longer the case.

petem130 said...

The Labour party arrogance just beggars belief but more power to them. There,s little chance of them achieving much apart from foot shooting and intimate knowledge of their navels.

They can't be serious about John Reid. His baggage immediately dramatically reduces his appropriateness not to mention his recent footballing rants. On the other hand thecsooner they get him into post the better. It clearly signals the they learnt nothing and have no understanding of the views of the Scottish people. Of course we shouldn't underestimate them tho.

One of the successes of the SNP at the election was in their use of social media. This could be built on to connect more directly and to involve people more. Not in the Westminster way of silly surveys etc. but in a meaningfully valued way.

Success will be easier if the Scottish people feel involved, consulted and part of the discussion and decisions.

Labour will soon be doing BOGOFs what a scary thought. Buy one membership and get ine free. Next step will be to put a minimum price, or introduce loyalty points.

JRB said...

For far too long the unionists with a show of complacency that borders on arrogance have ignored the hopes and aspirations of the Scots people.

It could be argued that the unionist’s obsequious kow-towing to the political and financial power base that is London has in itself driven many Scots into the arms of the SNP.

Now, after a near fatal election result, the unionists have realised that there sphere of political power and influence in Scotland has all but been wiped out. Terrified that their support may be lost for a generation or more, the unionist have been left floundering. Their only answer has been to try and manipulate any independence debate, by putting forward such a blustering buffoon as Michael Moore (quickly disowned by his superiors); and now we are to have the spectre of Lord Reid to be wheeled out of retirement.

… they think that will really put the ‘frighteners’ on we Scots – Aye right!

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

A 'democracy' wheels out its hard men.

Say's it all really.

Nikostratos said...

as ever the separationists resort to Obfuscation,distortion ,lies personal insults revisionism and hate mongering.
No doubt all at the behest of the snp party(who no doubt will deny it they always do)

the Cybernats rally once again only this fight will be different the fact is only due to a collapse of the Lib dems are the Seperationists in limited power.

this time there will be just two partys one of 'Separation' poverty and doom for the Scottish people.

And one of the 'Uniters' of Scotland within the United Kingdom and within the European Union.
A brotherhood of nations with prosperity and freedom for all.

Jo G said...

"But David, why go for him to lead the No when the Celtic No vote is more or less assured regardless? Or maybe that's no longer the case"

On what basis Subrosa?

Remember Rangers' followers have some affection for the Unioin flag. Also the Orange Lodge is on record that if forced many would "take up arms" against independence for Scotland.

Jo G said...

McKenna's article last week was, for me, quite funny. He spoke of purchasing Taransay as a sanctuary for certain folk if independence comes. It raised other issues too tho and many were valid. McKenna has previously said that Salmond is one of, if not the, most gifted politicians of his generation. He also has said he is the best in the UK today. He just happens to be against independence for Scotland.

ON Reid, what I remember him for is labelling those who opposed the Iraq war as "traitors" to our armed forces. I will never forget my rage when I heard that comment. The biggest traitors to our armed forces were the Labour government, containing Blair and Reid, who sent our forces into an illegal war using LIES in Parliament in order to get approval for it.

Jo G said...

On the state of the Unionist Parties in Scotland right now we should also remember that in the event of a yes majority for independence that does not mean the SNP will have won the right to govern in Scotland forever.

I think McConnell tried to make London Labour see that Scotland has its own identity even within the Union and wanted them to embrace a more separate approach here for Labour at Holyrood. But the very idea of allowing MSPs even a smidgeon of independence at Holyrood terrified London Labour. McConnell was bounced. I think he was absolutely right.

Salmond too is recognising that it is wise to be negotiating for more powers to be transferred here - under devolution - just in case. I think he is prepared for either option, outright independence for Scotland, or the right to function within the UK but essentially running our own show.

Jo G said...

"as ever the separationists resort to Obfuscation,distortion ,lies personal insults revisionism and hate mongering."


There is no one who posts here whom I would term a cyber-nat and especially not the lady whose blog this is.

I would say about the sentence I have highlighted from your post that your own approach contains all the traits you allegedly find so unacceptable in others.

Allan said...

"as ever the separationists resort to Obfuscation,distortion ,lies personal insults revisionism and hate mongering."

Hmmmm, not like New Labour then Niko?

Yes, Reid would be a very strange choice bearing in mind that his campaign to oust Elizabeth Filkin as the Parliamentary Standards ombardsman could be viewed as the starting point of the expenses scandal that erupted 2 years ago.

However, he still has a reputation as a "hard man" of British politics, even more so than Balls or Brown - he wasn't highly rated by Blair for nothing. It will be interesting to see if his profile does increase across the media over the next few months.

Jo G said...

"However, he still has a reputation as a "hard man""

Thug is better.

I would say Reid is now also irrelevant. He was totally immersed in the Iraq matter and on a par with Blair in the shocking crime, in my view, that the UK Parliament was lied to and the people of the UK were lied to also over Iraq.

He is also well past his sell by date. If Labour in Scotland is to survive it is the mindset that has to change. Reid doesn't have that mindset.

CrazyDaisy said...


Good evening, bonnie soft nite too. Nothing has been declared, best we keep our powder dry until we have some clarity.

Mind you, the fact that they're talking means they're already rattled! I can honeslty say I'm now putting my money where my mouth is and working to shape the (near) future SDF/SDS.

I am positive that Independence is well within our grasp, it will be achieved through strength, principled debate, moral courage and loyalty to all Scotland and fully inclusive.

Alba Gu Brath

Crazy Daisy

Key bored warrior. said...

Should the Gods smile on Scotland and the SNP take Inverclyde, not impossible. The political fall out from that would smother any comeback from the Unionist camp, and could even trigger an early referendum from the SNP.

The stench from Iraq will forever waft from John Reid. He is the old guard whose time came and went. He was a self publicist and revelled in his reputation as a political heavy weight. I remember his last speech to the Scottish labour party conference as he went on the attack on the SNP. It was quite sad really to see a fine orator reduced to such stereotypical Unionist propaganda.

He twitched and shrugged and sneered his way through a scaremongering rant that was straight out of the Britnat supremacist story book on Scotland.

It was all ripping, and tearing, and waste land, and desolation, soup kitchens and border posts, wailing grannies with their faces pressed to the barbed wire at Gretna, passports, a run on Scottish currency, house values plummeting, refugees at the border, potholed roads, no services, no electricity, no water, no shoes in fact no feet.

He did the full number, but then we know how these Britnat Jocks earn their corn in London, they tell them what they want to hear. Who can forget Iain Davidson's treacherous cry of "who cares," when Angus Robertson was asking a question in the Commons. I bet he never put his hand in his pocket that night to fill his fat gut.

So Reid to head up the unionist fightback, BRING IT ON.

subrosa said...

Who else do they have petem. A Tory or a Libdem wouldn't be suitable.

Loyalty points for joining? I like the thought.

subrosa said...

I doubt if too many of our age would be frightened by John Reid JRB. Amused may be more appropriate. :)

subrosa said...

Their brightest and best Crinkly. Shows they really are in a bad way.

subrosa said...

Jings Niko, you'll be working for the Thesaurus next. :)

subrosa said...

Jo, I meant that in relation to John Reid and yes of course there are unionists everywhere.

subrosa said...

McKenna's article this week was rather complimentary to the SNP don't you think Jo?

I only once came across Reid and that was many years ago. Pompous shouldn't be in appropriate.

Where independence is concerned Jo, I'm sure Salmond has all angles covered aren't you?

subrosa said...

Auch poor Niko Allan. He must get lonely at times.

I'd forgotten about the Firkin incident and I'd agree he's regarded as a 'hard' man. Pity he can't tell the truth though.

subrosa said...

Evening CD. Rain here now but that's fine. Don't mind it during darkness.

They're talking all right CD. Sky reported Cameron's coming to visit this week. Goodness me - must be serious!

subrosa said...

The SNP have a good candidate KBW but I hear the labour one is also strong. Will be interesting.

I think that too. Iraq was the finish of him.

William said...

"the people are fully aware the last SNP government did more for Scotland than the Unionists did in 12 years of devolution and for 40 years prior to 1999."

Is this codswallop something people are just meant to accept as true? Say it often enough and it must be true, right?

"They have to find a counter-argument to the SNP's desire for independence"

Not really. There is a million and one questions the SNP will need to answer regarding independence. The fact they haven't been asked yet - or that the SNP hasn't volunteered to answer them - doesn't mean there is no counter-argument to separation.

subrosa said...

Well they've certainly done more in this part of the country than the others did in 12 years William. One example is the A9. Labour/libdems did nothing about it.

Although that road requires fully dualing at least many of the blackspots have had serious alterations.

I'm really looking forward to the unionists reasons regarding staying in the union. We should have some good debate then.

William said...

They tampered wi' a road. Are you being serious, SR?

subrosa said...

William, you obviously have little or no experience of the A9. It's the arterial route from the south to the north and carries more traffic than any other A road in Scotland.

Jo G said...

Yes Subrosa, I think McKenna's article this week is very complimentary but he's gone further in the past to highlight that the SNP aren't just about Salmond and stressed he has an entire team with him who are competent.

This week's article lays bare the state of Labour in Scotland. It isn't a nice picture.

Yep, I think Salmond definitely has all angles covered. I would however really like him to re-focus after a bad start in my view with all the SC stuff.

subrosa said...

Labour hasn't been a nice picture for the majority of us for 40 years Jo. We just thought they conveyed an ideal. A dream in other words but they've even lost that.

BobDobbalina said...

Whatever you may think of John Reid, at least he can never be accused of hypocrisy, or of failing to make up his mind and stick to his guns.

As a resolute Marxist Neocon, Irish Republican Unionist, and enemy of terror who found time to befriend both Karadzic and Mladic, the staunch anti-monarchist Lord Baron Reid of Cardower is the right man for any job that pays a lot and doesn't have to be done all that well.

subrosa said...

An eloquent assessment of the man PackageArrived. Thanks.

BobDobbalina said...

I thought maybe the Irish republican bit was a bit strong. It seems to have been a brief youthful flirtation, more to do with singing songs and scandalising other students than any kind of real political stance. Oh, I'm PackageArrived, btw, changed my name.

Great blog subrosa, I'll be following it from now on.

Off-topic, can anybody tell me why it's impossible to sign up for Newsnet Scotland? I know they had a DDOS attack, but it now seems that I can't register there at all?

subrosa said...

Hi Bob. The Irish republican bit is a bit strong in the west I believe. Not so over this side.

No idea about why you can't sign onto Newsnet. Don't they have an email somewhere you can contact them?

BobDobbalina said...

I just meant "Irish Republican" might be a bit strong as a description of John Reid, possibly even libellous, so I was covering meself. The rest is still true though, heheh.

I tried to email them at Newsnet through the "contact us" tab, but when I tried to send it it just says: "No direct connection allowed." Ah well, I can still read the articles.

subrosa said...

Ah I see Bob. Don't think I called him that.

Mmm, seemed like you've upset the Newsnet hoose Bob. What have you been doing? Not agreeing with certain individuals? Tut tut.

It's not very democratic not to allow every one of their readers contact access though. I don't like that for any reason. All that would be required is for them to respond to one email from you explaining.

I read Newsnet, but I read a variety of sites because I like to inform myself of differing opinions about Scottish and UK issues. Newsnet tends to be an SNP fringe party at times, especially in the comments, although there are some very well informed commenters who I highly respect.

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