Austerity v humanity and the rise and rise of Nicola Sturgeon

HUGThe story of the lead-up to the 2015 general election is the story of Nicola Sturgeon’s emergence as the voice of progressive politics not only for people in Scotland but all over Britain, battered by five years of a Tory-led coalition government that has extended itself in using the 2008 global economic crisis as a pretext for waging an all-out assault against working people, the disabled, immigrants, benefit claimants, and every last manifestation of the common good in British society – i.e. public services and the NHS.

The latest leaders’ debate – at which Cameron’s non appearance backfired spectacularly, delivering a message of malign contempt for the British electorate – saw progressive politics at long last given a mainstream platform, and how refreshing it was. Austerity is the very antithesis of humanity and its champions have much to answer for when it comes to the roll call of human despair, destitution, and damage it has wrought.

Nicola Sturgeon, along with Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood and the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett, outlined a vision of hope as an alternative to the conservatism of the mainstream parties, Labour included, who remain prisoners of Thatcherite nostrums to greater or lesser extent.

Ed Miliband’s repeated rejection of Sturgeon’s offer of help in keeping the Tory’s out illustrate the bind he’s in. Of course, in the event of a hung parliament, the Labour leader will cooperate with the SNP and other progressive forces in order to govern. But as a prospective prime minister, and with a feral right wing press south of the border to contend with, he can’t admit to it with just a few weeks to go before the polls open on May 7.

It is key that Miliband becomes the next occupant of Downing Street, but that likely won’t be on the back of a Labour majority. When it comes to this the political genie is well and truly out of the bottle, with those who continue to hold to the mantra that the only way of getting rid of the Tories is by voting Labour increasingly tilting at windmills.

This election is not about independence. A vote for the SNP in Scotland in May is a vote against austerity and a progressive alternative to the status quo. That said, Nicola Sturgeon is clearly to the left of many within her own party, and her huge popularity, which now reaches beyond Scotland, brings with it the danger of being unable to deliver on the hope she has unleashed. But, no matter, for those whose lives have been blighted by one of the most vicious Tory governments in many years, hope is more than a word it is a lifeline.

Austerity is not only morally reprehensible it is economically illiterate, the economic equivalent of treating a cut finger by taking an axe and hacking the entire arm off. The country is crying out for an investment-led alternative in order to return sustainable growth to the economy. Such an alternative is founded on the understanding that self interest is indistinguishable from common interest and vice versa.

Yes, Nicola Sturgeon, in articulating the need for transformational change, has become the story of the 2015 general election – to such an extent that the old saw, ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’, needs to be amended to read ‘woman’.

Austerity v humanity. The choice and stakes in a general election have never been more stark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

345 comments on “Austerity v humanity and the rise and rise of Nicola Sturgeon

  1. This election is not about independence, true, but in a way the rise and rise of the SNP is about something more fundamental than even that. The Labour Party and the labour movement could be marginalised in Scotland even within the Union. As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s a bit like a colour revolution against ‘Labour Scotland’.

    Admittedly the game in this election is complicated. By coming across well in England, Sturgeon may make the idea of a Labour government relying on SNP votes less scary, and therefore encourage more Labour votes in England and Wales. Which might just give Labour enough seats not to need SNP support, which in turn may be why Sturgeon won’t actually recommend voting Labour in England and Wales. And so on.

    Nothing personal — I can well understand why you along with so many on the left and far left are voting for the SNP, but I can’t go along with it myself.

  2. This election is about a single issue; austerity. In the first leader debate we saw, for the first time, an equal debate in which half the time went to politicians who oppose austerity against the four pro-cuts parties. Now we see a similar debate over Trident opening up – ideas are being debated that have not been for a long time, and on every crucial issue the divide is clear; Lab, Lib, Con against Green, Plaid and Sturgeon. Labour can’t win outright, and don’t deserve to, and every day I am meeting ex-Labour voters who are voting Green here in Sheffield in Council seats we can win.

  3. The snp exists to get Scotland out of the UK.

    They are more likely to achieve that goal if the next government at Westminster is Tory.

    Why would they want to help establish any sort of Labour government if it hinders them in achieving their goal.

  4. For the SNP every election is about independence.

    It’s maybe worth bearing that in mind.

  5. Feodor on said:

    I share others reservations about Sturgeon (and Bennett and Wood too). Their verbal denunciations of austerity are one thing, but they seem to lack much of a grasp of economics and are more than a little short on policy. I’m left asking: What exactly does the Sturgeon-Bennett-Wood ‘New Deal’ consist of? Doing what is done now, but adding the prefix ‘progressive’ to it? Because a lot of their talk merely has the feel of a marketing platitude–and I refuse to get suckered by advertisers, be they private or public.

  6. ex-Labour voter on said:

    David Cameron did not turn up for this debate.
    But, on Trident, he really did not need to.
    Ed Miliband sounded just like him.

  7. Uncle Albert on said:

    “her [Nicola Sturgeon’s] huge popularity, which now reaches beyond Scotland”

    I live in England and more than a few of the people I know, who only take an interest in politics during elections, have expressed disappointment at not being able to vote for Sturgeon. This astonishing break-through gives the lie to Labour’s view that progressive policies don’t win votes.

    It took the Tories 18 years to destroy themselves in Scotland. Labour has effortlessly managed to do the same to themselves in only five. It’s now difficult to see how they’ll be able to recover. And of course, in the wake of the devastating defeat that appears to be heading Scottish Labour’s way, Murphy must go. I’ll certainly be raising a glass of Ardbeg in celebration.

    Let’s now hope that the SNP, Plaid and Green contingent have a strong presence in Westminster and are able to sideline Labour’s Blairites.

  8. Ken MacLeod: it’s a bit like a colour revolution against ‘Labour Scotland’.

    Yes, that is exactly what it feels like to me.

    The danger is a political marginalisation of not only the Labour Party, but the labour movement in Scotland

  9. Ken MacLeod,

    well worth reading by Ken:

    http://kenmacleod.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/scotlands-colour-revolution.html

    depressing though to imagine Scottish Labour, overwhelmed by a tide of enthusiasm based upon deceit, false promises and exagerated expectations.

    We saw how the entirely sensible reservations in East Germany about the pace of Wiedervereinigung without any safeguarding of jobs, rights and institutions in the former DDR were overwhelmed by a Tsunami of popular opinion, that meant that change which was inevitably coming anyway after the opening of the border and the removal of the Wall, took place in the most incautious and rackless way possible, regardless to the damage to jobs, GDP, productive capacity, workers rights, womens rights, or security of housing tenancies

  10. Uncle Albert on said:

    Andy Newman,

    The Labour movement is already being politically marginalised – by consequences arising from Miliband’s cooked-up Falkirk crisis.

  11. jim mclean on said:

    anon,

    Because they are openly couring the labour electorate, if they support the tories they are doomed, doomed ah tell ye.

  12. jim mclean on said:

    Anyone else read the Rowntree Trust report proposing that the universal benefits given by the SNP are in reality a massive hidden subsidy directed toward the middle classes to the cost of impoverished women and children. Can someone tell me why a millionaire banker can travel into work with his free train pass while an unemployed man has to walk miles for a job interview or even to sign on. Plus why have the SNP refused to raise income tax for high earners.

  13. John: This election is not about independence.

    Every vote for the SNP helps it towards its primary objective. Which is, of course, independence.

  14. Noah,

    Support for independence is the product of social and economic injustice. End austerity and support for it diminishes. End it not and it grows. In truth, Ed Miliband needs Sturgeon and the SNP not just to defeat the Tories but also the Blairites.

  15. John: Support for independence is the product of social and economic injustice.

    Not so, unless Independence is (falsely) promoted as the ‘answer’ to injustice. And of course that is exactly what the SNP is doing.

  16. John: Ed Miliband needs Sturgeon and the SNP not just to defeat the Tories but also the Blairites.

    Much more likely, the Blairites will use the failure to maintain Labour’s Scottish vote as a weapon to defeat Miliband.

  17. jim mclean on said:

    I still think Labour can still edge in with a small working majority and even if they are only the largest party they should go for a minority govenment as the SNP will not be able to bring them down. Remember, the bias towards Labour in the English seats means the Tories really need a 3 or 4 percent lead just to match the labour seats. I believe that the number of people recieving disability benefits in the marginals is enought to win thos emarginals for labour if they voted as a block.

  18. Noah: Not so, unless Independence is (falsely) promoted as the ‘answer’ to injustice. And of course that is exactly what the SNP is doing.

    Whatever the reason, the inarguable fact is that support for Yes was largely driven by rejection of Thatcherism/Blairism.

    Sturgeon understands this. Since assuming the leadership she has clearly shifted the party’s rhetoric left. As for actions, we shall see.

    But, you know, when you have Labour members clinging on to the minimum wage and working tax credits as reason to be cheerful we’re really talking very thin gruel indeed. Blair was no progressive, and anyone who asserts he was is no friend to working class people. Rampant inequality, privatisation, the abandonment of Clause IV, the institutionalisation of low pay, the subsidisation of business via tax credits, worship of the City, the rich, the market, trickle down economics – and that’s without foreign policy.

    This is progressive? On what planet?

  19. Uncle Albert on said:

    jim mclean: people recieving disability benefits in the marginals is enought to win thos emarginals for labour

    Why on earth should anyone claiming benefits vote Labour?

    Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves, has declared: “We are not the party of people on benefits” and promised to be “tougher than the Tories” when it comes to slashing the benefits bill.

  20. Karl Stewart on said:

    John,
    Just wondering John, as you’re up there. Any indication on how it’s going for Katy Clark in North Ayrshire and Arran?
    She’s just about the best MP we’ve got in my opinion and it’d be a tragedy if she lost.

  21. jim mclean on said:

    Uncle Albert: Why on earth should anyone claiming benefits vote Labour?

    Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves, has declared: “We are not the party of people on benefits” and promised to be “tougher than the Tories” when it comes to slashing the benefits bill.

    Because they screw what they can out of Labour in the next couple of weeks and get universal credits scrapped. The revolution has been cancelled, their is no new party of the left in the offing despite the utterances from the messianic doomseday cults of the left and if Milliband gets in he will be trying to earn some brownie points with cuddly projects. Cynics rule, ok.

  22. Vanya on said:

    #25 Well a few of my neighbours are desperate for a Labour government due to something I’ve mentioned on here a few times, but seems not to register with some people for reasons that escape me.

    Clue, they are on benefits and they live in 2 bedroom flats. £11 a week may not be much to some people…

  23. Uncle Albert on said:

    jim mclean: if Milliband gets in he will

    If Miliband gets in (without needing SNP/Plaid/Green support), he and Reeves will be able to claim that it was the ‘not the party of people on benefits’ and ‘tougher than the Tories on scroungers’ position that won it for Labour.

    This will only strengthen the Blairite belief that progressive policies don’t win votes.

  24. Vanya on said:

    #28 Sorry, some of them live in 3 bedroom houses. £20 a week may not be much to some people…

  25. jim mclean on said:

    Vanya:
    #25 Well a few of my neighbours are desperate for a Labour government due to something I’ve mentioned on here a few times,but seems not to register with some people for reasons that escape me.

    Clue, they are on benefits and they live in 2 bedroom flats.£11 a week may not be much to some people…

    One reason alone to vote labour, were not going to get much of course but loved Gorden Brown who came out with s aurefire came out with a vote winner in this weeks local press, Free Travel To Food Banks…………………………………………… argh

  26. Vanya on said:

    My wife’s oldest friend, a lifelong Labour supporter, who lives just outside Edinburgh, just told her that if she lived in Glasgow she’d vote for Nicola Sturgeon if only she didn’t want independence!

    I think Noah is right in what he says, but I suspect that many Scots who are either lukewarm on independence or even downright against, will be attracted to the SNP at the moment.

    After all, I don’t get the impression that John lives in a vacuum.

  27. jim mclean on said:

    Vanya:
    My wife’s oldest friend,a lifelong Labour supporter, who lives just outside Edinburgh, just told her that if she lived in Glasgow she’d vote for Nicola Sturgeon if only she didn’t want independence!

    I think Noah is right in what he says,but I suspect that many Scots who are either lukewarm on independenceor even downright against, will be attracted to the SNP at the moment.

    After all, I don’t get the impression that John lives in a vacuum.

    I know more labour members of my family that will probably vote SNP this time round, just a case of Scottish Labour needing its arse skelped.

  28. John: Blair was no progressive, and anyone who asserts he was is no friend to working class people.

    And a lower vote for the (Miliband-led) Labour Party in this general election will strengthen the position of the Blairites.

  29. #35 I agree.

    The first setback to Blairism was probably the fact that Labour got a n absolute majority in 1997.

  30. Jellytot on said:

    Uncle Albert: If Miliband gets in (without needing SNP/Plaid/Green support), he and Reeves will be able to claim that it was the ‘not the party of people on benefits’ and ‘tougher than the Tories on scroungers’ position that won it for Labour.
    This will only strengthen the Blairite belief that progressive policies don’t win votes.

    If the Tories get in it will be an even greater disaster for Left/Progressive politics in Britain. They will feel everything they have done in the past 5 years will be validated and spurn them onto even greater attacks: “Thatcherism on Steroids” if you like.

    Only a Labour win can stop this.

  31. Vanya on said:

    #35 & 37

    The Blairites will argue, if Labour doesn’t win a majority, that the fault lay with adopting policies that were seen as anti-rich and anti-business.

  32. Vanya: The Blairites will argue, if Labour doesn’t win a majority, that the fault lay with adopting policies that were seen as anti-rich and anti-business.

    This doesn’t stack up given that the political locus of Blairism in the country at present is Scotland with Murphy, McTernan and co, where the polls reveal they are about to be on the receiving end of an electoral hiding. The right rather than left turn Scottish Labour took after the referendum with the election of Jim Murphy has only accelerated their decline rather than in any way arrest it.

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/mind-gap-labour-jim-murphy-5539941

  33. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    That is what will happen John. If we fail this time the argument that will prevail is that L abour were too left,

  34. #39 To be clear, I don’t agree with them either with the pragmatic or the principled argument against such policies.

    I think the Greens in England will benefit from being assocuated with this apparently progressive axis, and I understand completely why the SNP vote is going up so significantly, as well as sympathising with the motives of many of those who are going to vote for them.

    I still maintain that the poorer rhe result for Labour, the more the hand of the Blairites will be strengthened, because they will not be focussing on the place where a small minority of the UK population live but on where the majority are.

    They will argue that the blame lies with policies that were too radical, while we know that the opposite is the case.

    And the implications of that could be pretty significant.

  35. Uncle Albert on said:

    Andy Newman: If we fail this time the argument that will prevail is that Labour were too left,

    Ah, I get it. Vote for the pro-austerity/pro-TTIP/pro-£100bn Trident/tougher than the Tories on benefits/pro-business party and the prospect for progressive policies improves.

    Good luck with that on the doorstep.

  36. jim mclean on said:

    Uncle Albert,

    The SNP are going to allow nuclear weapons in Scottish waters but not Scottish Land plus the Right in the SNP have not gone away. The reality is for a purist there may be no point in voting. Though to cheer you up Jim Murphy might lose his seat.

  37. Vanya,

    Vanya: I still maintain that the poorer rhe result for Labour, the more the hand of the Blairites will be strengthened,

    So however outrageously right-wing the Labour leadership are, we must vote for them because otherwise they will become even more outrageously right-wing. I think I’ll write a book about that. I’ll call it Catch-23.

  38. Andy Newman on said:

    Ian Birchall,

    Except it is clearly nonsense to describe Labour at the moment as outrageously right wing, when it is standing on a relatively left manifesto.

  39. Andy Newman on said:

    BTW, back to the main argument.

    The reason I think John is over optimistic is that if Labour is not the single largest party, there will be a media frenzy about its legitimacy, and no amount of SNP huffing and puffing is going to stop a Conservative govt, “reluctantly ” governing as a minority, perhaps with LD and UKIP.

    And the only way to ensure Labour is the biggest single party is to return Scottish Labour MPs.

    If the SNP triu

  40. Andy Newman on said:

    Sorry I had to stop halfway through. Back now.

    This is the problem. The SNP can posit themselves as wanting to lock the Tories out from Downing Street, but if the Conservatives are the largest party, then there will be a media frenzy against such an outcome, and as the SNP Are a Scottish party, were the Conservatives the largest party in England, then the popular mood in both nations may get quite heated. The Scots trying to prevent England forming the govt it chose, the English trying to exclude the Scots from participation in the British govt.

    This I believe is what the SNP are playing at.

    There is a very real danger of an interaction of two populist battles to exclude Labour from power. Both harnessing irrational emotional arguments.

    What I think is well described by Ken Macleod as similar to a Colour revolution in Scotland, where there is an almost post rationalist tribalism about SNP support, with people projecting quite incompatible hopes onto the party, and almost relishing the possible destruction of Labour – a UK wide party linked to the unions.

    The other phenomenon will be a right wing mainly English chorus, orchestrated by the press and echoed by the BBC, that despite Labour being better placed to construct a majority in the Commons, by mixture of coalition and confidence and supply, the Conservative Party are the legitimate government, and the scale of Labour’s defeat in Scotland will be weighed both to judge Labour’s legitimacy, but also the degree to which the SNP, representing a sectional interest, are legitimate partners. Or even whether a minority Labour govt would have legitimacy if propped up by the Scots, even if only on confidence and supply basis.

    Frankly I see the SNP relishing all this, and the result being both a Conservative govt and increased tension between England and Scotland

  41. Andy Newman: What I think is well described by Ken Macleod as similar to a Colour revolution in Scotland, where there is an almost post rationalist tribalism about SNP support, with people projecting quite incompatible hopes onto the party, and almost relishing the possible destruction of Labour – a UK wide party linked to the unions.

    This analysis requires the collective amnesia of people whose lived experience of Labour in power has been negative in order to resonate. You can’t roll back the tide with scaremongering Andy. You have to come up with a record that substantiates the assertion that Labour is a party of the millions rather than the millionaires. Ken’s description of a Colour Revolution is a bit tendentious with regard to Scotland, I feel. Yes, there has been an eruption of anti-Labour sentiment and politics north of the border, but why do you feel that is? What is its locus? And don’t you feel that it might be justified?

    The union link is an argument based on form over content. How much influence do the unions have over Labour policy? Falkirk is the answer.

  42. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    This is how it will end John. It is not scare mongering, just an appreciation of how this will all play in England, and with the right wing press.

    If the SNP win a landslide in Scotland and the Conservative Party are the largest in Westminster, and largest in England, then the press in England will create a constitutional crisis, backed by concerns about business confidence etc to lock Miliband out.

    There will be escalating divergence between the two nation’s moods, that will be resolved by the Conservative’s offering Srurgeon full fiscal autonomy in exchange for abstaining in Westminster .

    Both SNP and Conservative will sell this to their constituencies as legitimate compromise in the new circumstances.

  43. Andy Newman,

    It’s all ifs, buts and maybes though. The other possibility is that an anti Tory majority has the constitutional right to form a govt, however loose, regardless of the vituperation of the right wing press.

    But you can’t expect people in Scotland to adhere to TINA any longer. The Westminster duopoly has been an impediment to the democratic process and the emergence of small parties, offering a more progressive and bold vision of the future has to be welcome. One thing Jim Sillars said during a debate I had with him in the run-up to the referendum that struck me as true is, “We need to get middle England off our backs.”

    Until Labour returns to its base and core values and purpose, it will continue to be a party seeking consensus rather than one that shapes consensus.

  44. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    I don’t really know why it is. What I do know is that this is not happening in England and Wales, and in London Labour is storming ahead.

    So the extreme negativity about Labour is a Scottish only phenomenon. Did people really experience the last Labour govt so negatively? Didn’t people see their NHS improve, school s being repaired and built. Thousands of new staff in the NHS and schools. Didn’t people benefit from better workplace employment rights, civil partnerships. Didn’t people in Scotland in particular benefit from Labour bringing in devolution? What about working tax credit, etc. Did people in Scotland really have a negative experience.

    In England we are finding working people comparing the current conservative govt with the last Labour govt, and seeing how things were better under Labour.

    In Scotland it seems the last Labour govt us being compared with the land on honaloo where puff the magic Dragon lives, as people project wild hopes onto the SNP, who are carefully all things to all people. This is the aspect that reminds me of a Colour revolution.

  45. Andy Newman on said:

    Andy Newman,

    BTW I know comparisons are odious, and there is no real Colour Revolution, but there are aspects that are reminiscent.

  46. Andy Newman: Did people in Scotland really have a negative experience.

    Much of what you say is true, but the perception is that Labour under Blair betrayed and abandoned working people. Inequality went through the roof under Blair, PFI, welfare reform, the refusal to repeal Thatcher’s anti union legislation, the deepening of the housing crisis.

    But overall the stench of Iraq plus Labour’s patchy record when in power at Holyrood has entrenched the perception of them as an establishment/Tory-lite party whose time in office was defined by the betrayal of Labour values.

  47. Uncle Albert on said:

    Andy Newman: So the extreme negativity about Labour is a Scottish only phenomenon.

    The Heywood and Middleton (2014) by-election result suggests otherwise.

    Labour called the by-election early – before the funeral of the previous incumbent, Jim Dobbin. It was thus timed to coincide with the Clacton-on-Sea by-election (won by UKIP). This meant that UKIP’s resources would be divided.

    Even so, the UKIP vote went from 2010’s 0.7% to 38% and UKIP were less than 700 votes short of winning what had previously been one of Labour’s safest seats. At the count the Labour candidate was heckled by UKIP supporters over Labour’s privatisation of the NHS.

    The tide of negativity about Labour is already rising in the north. And the Left within Labour are marginalised and seemingly too diminished to fight their corner. Meanwhile Labour’s elite have pulled the ladder up, they refuse any opportunity for internal democratic reform or renewal and consequently are unable to reflect or coherently adapt to changing public opinion. The elite themselves seem incapable of understanding their predicament and appear to be set on the pathway to irrelevance.

  48. John: Inequality went through the roof under Blair, PFI, welfare reform, the refusal to repeal Thatcher’s anti union legislation, the deepening of the housing crisis.

    But overall the stench of Iraq plus Labour’s patchy record when in power at Holyrood has entrenched the perception of them as an establishment/Tory-lite party whose time in office was defined by the betrayal of Labour values.

    Yet despite all that, in the 2010 general election Labour’s proportion of the Scottish vote went up. In contrast to Labour’s generally low vote in the rest of the UK, there was actually a swing to Labour of 2.5% in Scotland.

    So I don’t buy your explanation for the current anti-Labour phenomenon in Scotland.

  49. Andy Newman: If the SNP win a landslide in Scotland and the Conservative Party are the largest in Westminster, and largest in England, then the press in England will create a constitutional crisis, backed by concerns about business confidence etc to lock Miliband out.

    Indeed, and if it occurs (as it may well) they will also ram home that Labour got a lower share of the popular vote than the Tories.

  50. Noah: in the 2010 general election Labour’s proportion of the Scottish vote went up.

    What was the turnout in 2010?

  51. Noah,

    I think the answer to your question in post 59 is simply that people in 2010 were voting to keep the Tories out. They believed the best way to do that was to vote Labour. So despite their anger and frustration at how Labour had behaved in government they voted for them in huge numbers when it became clear a Tory victory was possible. The lessons learned by many however was that it didn’t matter how many votes Labour won in Scotland, the Tories could still get in. That is one of the reasons that Jim Murphy has been so unsuccessful in trying to win votes from the SNP by raising the spectre of another Tory government. That arguement no longer washes with a growing section of the Scottish electorate who are saying we voted Labour despite their move to the right but still ended up with the Tories.

  52. The turnout across the UK in 2010 was 65.1%, in Scotland it was 63.8%. Whilst turnout was higher than in 2001 and 2005 it was still the third lowest since the end of WW2. Labour’s vote of over 1 million and 42% looks likely to be a high water mark North of the Border with the latest polls showing them as low as 24% and the SNP as high as 52%.

  53. Pete Jones on said:

    Andy Newman:
    John,

    I don’t really know why it is. What I do know is that this is not happening in England and Wales,and in London Labour is storming ahead.

    In England we are finding working people comparing the current conservative govt with the last Labour govt, and seeing how things were better under Labour.

    I don’t have a direct answer for London, but surely in Scotland it is simply that the referendum has given the political space for working class people to express an alternative to rampant neo-liberalism that both major parties essentially back. First past the post has limited the potential for this previously, but PR in the Scottish parliament opened a door to it.
    Incidentally, Andy ‘s post election analysis is good, but misses out that the snp’s electoral base has moved leftwards, and sees them as a vehicle for progressive change, not just independence (though many voters also conflate the two). If they effectively back an austerity tory administration for the UK, expect a left resurgence in Scotland.

  54. Karl Stewart on said:

    Labour doesn’t need to win in Scotland to win the election. It’s a common myth that they do, but it isn’t borne out by the facts.

    The last time Labour won, in 2005, Labour would still have won a working majority even if all Scottish votes had been removed.

    Same goes for 2001 and 1997.

    Labour needs to win in England and Wales and the campaign has been an intelligently fought one.

    The “air war” focussing on solid, ‘bread annd butter” policiy plans that will make a real, practical improvement to working-class people, and which are striking a real chord with people, and the “ground war” strategicly focussing on winning the target seats required for victory.

    And while UKIP are making real inroads into the traditional Tory vote, and Labour’s line of attack on UKIP in presenting them as “more Tory than the Tories is also striking a chord. the impact of the Greens on Labour’s core vote is lesseing as the campaign develops.

    I see a Labour victory as very much achievable, with a 3 or 4 per cent lead in popular vote and a working majority of 20/30 in Parliament., and this is achievable regardless of what happens in Scotland, as long as Labour outperforms the Tories in Scotland.

    Regarding Scotland, my big hope is that Katy Clark can successfully defend her seat in North Ayrshire and Arran. Whatever the criticisms of Labour in Scotland, surely none of those apply to her?

  55. P Spence on said:

    No one mentions the mass movement the SNP has become against the elite vehicle that Labour presents. What is Labours activist base like? Very low indeed. Working class and many middle class people live lives of chronic insecurity in atomised communities with no protection against the vice like effects of modern zero growth capitalism pushing workers towards increasing immiseration. Flat lining productivity arises from a weak labour movement unable to protect workers from low wages. The marginal improvements in workers rights have all bar a few been reversed: employment tribunals have been asphyxiated. Social security has become a torture chamber design to bully and intimidate the weakest. Labour is not offering to break out of the market liberal orthodoxy in part because the PLP is not accountable to Party members; it is a careerist machine and that applied particularly so in Scotland. The Falkirk affair was symptomatic of the Party’s moribund state: and how did ex-army officer buffoon whose name slips my mind get anywhere near representing the working class in Falkirk in the first place? Post election will be a time to rebuild and that should start with ideology and redetermining the socialist project.

  56. Uncle Albert on said:

    Karl Stewart: Whatever the criticisms of Labour in Scotland, surely none of those apply to her?

    Indeed.

    Katy Clark was the only Labour MP to vote against the Tory Budget Responsibility austerity package. Yet she remains in the Labour Party.

    No doubt Murphy will want to add Left Wing credibility to his re-branded policy platform and want Clark alongside him. But Clark should have jumped from the sinking ship long ago.

    Choosing to go down with a ship of fools demonstrates poor judgement, not solidarity.

  57. Vanya on said:

    #58 The close shave for Labour in Middleton and Heywood was a wakeup call for many people up here.

    Of course the irony of the Labour candidate, being heckled over the NHS is that she was a Unite branch secretary in a branch representing members in a local pct, who had recently spoken at a rally in Manchester againat TTIP..

    Given your attitude to Labour, would you have seen her defeat by UKIP as problem? Do you think it will be a bad thing if she losws to rhem in the general election?

    I rhnk UKIP are in dexline, and the NHS stuff is unravelling, but I’d be interested to know your views on this necertheless.

  58. Uncle Albert on said:

    Vanya: the irony of the Labour candidate, being heckled over the NHS

    However, Mike Kane, a Progress insider, who comfortably won the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election (2014), grounded his campaign on saving the NHS. Yet, when Brown was PM, Labour’s influential Progress faction lobbied Brown for more privatisation of the NHS.

    And, when Chancellor, Brown insisted that only the private sector could manage the NHS effectively. An account of these conversations (and much more) is provided in Allyson Pollock’s book NHS plc. I resigned from the LP after reading Pollock’s book (having re-joined when Ed became leader).

    The point is (re UKIP heckling) that, because of Labour’s record and questions arising from a close scrutiny of Labour’s Efford Bill, Labour will only be able to get away with presenting itself as the defender of a publicly owned NHS for so long.

    And when Labour’s credibility on the NHS is shot away, what will Labour be left with?

  59. John: Ken’s description of a Colour Revolution is a bit tendentious with regard to Scotland, I feel. Yes, there has been an eruption of anti-Labour sentiment and politics north of the border, but why do you feel that is? What is its locus? And don’t you feel that it might be justified?

    I can very much see where the eruption is coming from, and in my post I take some care to acknowledge the limitations of the analogy. Nor is the analogy intended to disparage or discount the upheaval. Comparing Labour in Scotland with the ex-Communist ruling parties in the post-Soviet sphere — complacent, cynically trading on past associations, in places corrupt, etc — was hardly a compliment, and in line with my many past criticisms of Labour.

  60. GM: people in 2010 were voting to keep the Tories out. They believed the best way to do that was to vote Labour. So despite their anger and frustration at how Labour had behaved in government they voted for them in huge numbers when it became clear a Tory victory was possible.

    Even for that, you still need a huge chasm between people’s perceptions of the Labour and Tory parties, such that, eg, the epithet of ‘red tories’ would have no purchase.

    GM: it didn’t matter how many votes Labour won in Scotland, the Tories could still get in.

    That is of course arithmetically true, and indeed it would apply to any area within the UK that had a Labour majority. As part of the case for a political position, It is clearly an argument for a nationalist (or at least separatist) position, and it only only works to the extent that a nationalist outlook has already gained quite a strong foothold in people’s minds.

    The key factor not so far being raised here is the shift caused by the independence referendum campaign having taken place, the way in which it was conducted, and that it took place with the Tories in power.

  61. Noah: The key factor not so far being raised here

    Apols to Pete Jones, who did raise exactly that factor in his comment #64.

    However, my take on that referendum campaign is a much less benign one.

  62. Uncle Albert: Choosing to go down with a ship of fools demonstrates poor judgement

    As against the presumably good judgement that would be shown by… becoming an ‘independent’? or joining… TUSC? the SNP?

  63. Noah: The key factor not so far being raised here is the shift caused by the independence referendum campaign having taken place, the way in which it was conducted, and that it took place with the Tories in power.

    And, within that, the key fact yet to be mentioned was Labour’s disastrous decision to join with the Tories and Lib Dems in the Better Together campaign against independence. This, I assert, will go down as a low point in its history to rank with Ramsay McDonald’s decision to form an austerity National Government with the Tories in 1931.

    There does come a point, Noah, when you have to move beyond form and examine the content of Labour. You seem to be ascribing the shift to some inherently irrational fever on the part of people in Scotland. This shift has been a long time coming. All the referendum campaign did was provide the spark.

  64. John: And, within that, the key fact yet to be mentioned was Labour’s disastrous decision to join with the Tories and Lib Dems in the Better Together campaign against independence.

    Absolutely, or at least that was one of the most important factors. As I recall, you along with some others pointed out at the time the dangers of it.

    John: You seem to be ascribing the shift to some inherently irrational fever on the part of people in Scotland. This shift has been a long time coming. All the referendum campaign did was provide the spark.

    Yes, obviously the material and historical circumstances have created the context which the nationalists can now exploit.

    I do think that there is an element of irrationality to it, as Andy has already alluded to. Inherent? No. That’s the case with plenty of political movements, particularly those with a strong nationalist dimension.

  65. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    Well the content of Labour is that a government led by Ed Miliband will repeal the bedroom tax, abolish zero hours contracts, repeal the Health and Social Care Act, crack down on tax avoidance, abolish non Dom status, reduce student tuition fees, tax properties worth £2m or more, increase the minimum wage, build 200000 houses per year, and abolish employment fees.

    What is more, Ed is offering a new post-Blairite social contract, where the social health of our society will be judged by the degree where working people succeed.

  66. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    Can you turn the same tool of looking at underlying social content to the SNP, where it seems to me the party promises to be all things to all people. And the hopes raised by SNP rhetoric are ever escalating.

  67. Andy Newman: increase the minimum wage,

    Here is a prime example: an increase in the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020. Mere crumbs, Andy, and in no way good enough to address the massive shift in wealth from the poor to the rich that has taken place under both Labour and Tory govts of the recent past.

    The bedroom tax is not a factor in Scotland, as the SNP, under pressure from a growing grassroots campaign, intervened to offset the cost.

    With a shadow work and pensions secretary who recently consigned benefit claimants to their fate, and with Labour’s attachment to Trident and the fact, as I have mentioned, they elected Jim Murphy as leader in Scotland – every positive argument you make for Labour is offset by a negative.

  68. Vanya on said:

    #69 I don’t disagree that Labour deserves to be attacked over its record in respect of NHS privatisation.

    As I asked you though, given what you say about Labour, would you have been bothered if they had lost the seat?

  69. jim mclean on said:

    Remember the SNP gave Amazon five million of public money to build a depot where they employ agency workers on zero hours contracts at minimum wage. Then there was Trump, Salmond fiddled the planning laws so he could build his bloody golf course.

  70. To the person who just tried to post under the name “Harvey”, attempting to propagate a nasty smear about one of the people who write for SU:

    You’re a coward; you don’t even have the guts to post under your own name. But sometimes it’s easy to trace the false names and contact details that people use. We know who you are.

    You might disagree with the writers on SU, but at least they put their names to their work. You? You won’t even stand up and speak openly.

    Don’t expect us to give you a platform for your nonsense. Disagree with us if you want, but don’t ever try to smear people using lies and anonymity.

  71. Andy Newman: Can you turn the same tool of looking at underlying social content to the SNP, where it seems to me the party promises to be all things to all people.

    This is surely an important point. The record of the SNP in power has included, eg, preventing Scotrail from coming back into the public sector and giving the contract to Abellio, privatising the maintennance of the Forth Bridge, and imposing austerity on the Scottish NHS.

  72. Vanya on said:

    John: The bedroom tax is not a factor in Scotland, as the SNP, under pressure from a growing grassroots campaign, intervened to offset the cost.

    #78 This was with support and encouragement from Labour, or so I understood. Am I wrong about that?

  73. jim mclean: Remember the SNP gave Amazon five million of public money to build a depot where they employ agency workers on zero hours contracts at minimum wage. Then there was Trump, Salmond fiddled the planning laws so he could build his bloody golf course.

    This is irrefutable. But what is also irrefutable is that the SNP have a new leader post-referendum, whose words thus far indicate awareness of the locus of the surge in support for the Yes campaign with the result that she’s been changed by it.

    There are of course dangers in the meteoric rise in support for the SNP, both as a result of the referendum and Sturgeon’s anti-austerity rhetoric, and that is that they and she fail to deliver. Those words will have to be backed up by actions.

    But the question now is over whether to lend support and mandate to those words in order to make that action more likely?

  74. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    How does her verbal opposition to austerity square with wanting FFA, that would take £7.6 bn out the Scottish economy?

    Indeed, how will the “progressive alliance” between Plaid and the SNP weather the difficulty that Wales is a net loser and Scotland a net winner from the Barnett formula?

    The difficulty I have with all this is seeing how there can be a happy ending unless Labour is the largest party, and I don’t see how Labour can be the largest party if we don’t win more seats in Scotland than currently projected.

    What is more the rhetoric in Scotland about Labour’s alleged betrayals, is not going to be helpful in moving forwards. “Red Tories”. *really*

  75. George Hallam on said:

    Vanya: #69 I don’t disagree that Labour deserves to be attacked over its record in respect of NHS privatisation.

    This is very low key.
    The facts are that the Labour Party crippled the NHS by forcing through PFIs and opened it up to privatisation. The LP’s current policies will not save the NHS. Labour Party supporters have worked assiduously to undermine campaigns to defend the NHS.

    “deserves to be attacked” makes it sound like a moral issue when it’s actually just a matter of self-preservation.

    Vanya: given what you say about Labour, would you have been bothered if they had lost the seat?

    Given the self-seeking attitude of the Labour Party leaders, is anything short of losing seats likely to bother them?

  76. Vanya on said:

    #86 Glad to see you’ve managed to find some time out of your busy campaigning schedule to comment on here George.

    On the subject of campaigning btw, I was out yesterday leafleting for the CPB candidate for Audenshaw ward in Tameside, and you may be interested to know that the headline slogan on the leaflet was “People Before Profit” 🙂

  77. John: the SNP have a new leader post-referendum, whose words thus far

    Yet you’re unwilling to cut that kind of slack to Ed Miliband and the Labour Party!

    John:There are of course dangers in the meteoric rise in support for the SNP, both as a result of the referendum and Sturgeon’s anti-austerity rhetoric, and that is that they and she fail to deliver. Those words will have to be backed up by actions.

    No they won’t. Sturgeon can put out as much anti-austerity rhetoric as she likes re: policy at the UK level, without any danger that it will be tested in action, because her party cannot be the (main) governing party.

    While at the same time, the SNP in office at Holyrood practices its own version of austerity-lite and neoliberalism-lite.

    So, this is a bandwagon that can run and run. But I fear, not in a good direction.

  78. George Hallam on said:

    Vanya: #86 Glad to see you’ve managed to find some time out of your busy campaigning schedule to comment on here George.

    I’m not a candidate, so if like Andy can spare the time then so can I.

    Vanya: On the subject of campaigning btw, I was out yesterday leafleting for the CPB candidate for Audenshaw ward in Tameside,

    Excellent.

    Vanya: and you may be interested to know that the headline slogan on the leaflet was “People Before Profit”

    There is no copyright on the slogan. Nick Wrack, is using it in Camberwell & Peckham. Good luck to them both.

  79. Noah: Yet you’re unwilling to cut that kind of slack to Ed Miliband and the Labour Party!

    Noah I’m not sure what party you believe Ed Miliband is leading, but my recollection is that it’s a party that voted for more austerity recently.

    So, no, I’m not willing to cut the leader of a party any slack who is happy to visit misery and despair on my class.

  80. John: I’m not sure what party you believe Ed Miliband is leading, but my recollection is that it’s a party that voted for more austerity recently.

    Que?

    Surely even the SNP only accuse Labour of proposing less austerity.

  81. And btw, as I already pointed out, the SNP position, in practice in Scotland, is basically the same as the one they accuse Labour of at the UK level.

  82. Uncle Albert on said:

    Vanya: would you have been bothered if they [Labour] had lost the seat?

    I may as well be ‘bothered’ about tomorrow’s sunrise. The sun will do what it is going to do regardless of my concern.

  83. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    This doesnt make sense to me, how can the SNP change the economic course ?

    I have speculated above how the story might run if the Conservatives are the largest party.

    Let us imagine that Labour is the largest party. But short of a majority. Sturgeon has already said she will not put the Tories into power, so if Labour forms a minority government, then the SNP would have no bargaining power. If Labour puts forward Queen’s speech, then the SNP have to vote for it, or allow it to be defeated and bring in the Tories like they did back in 1979.

    Importantly, SNP has a political problem to contend with over English opinion and the right wing press about whether it has a mandate to dictate a different economic policy that either the English have not voted for, or insofar as the Greens have presented an anti-austerity economic policy, it will have been decisively rejected by voters.

    I think you underestimate the problems caused by the disconnect between Scotland and England in terms of political culture, and what seems to be an almost proto-Peronist trajectory of the SNP.

    There seems to be a contradiction in your position that the SNP can drive the UK’s political spectrum to the left, while at the same time castigating Labour as utterly useless, given that the best that SNP could achieve would be a junior adjunct to a Labour government.

    The campaign of intimidation against Labour activists, the irrational shouting down of Labour supporters for not having policies that the SNP doesn’t have either, the distortion and belittling of what Labour achieved in the past, the spite by cybernats, – all of these would make it very difficult for the Labour Party as an institution to work with the SNP in any structured and formal way.

    Especially given the undoubted campaign of destabilization from the press and some business leaders that Miliband Will face. The legitimacy of SNP as a partner of a UK government when it has the stated intention of leaving the UK will come under sustained assault.

    During the Indy ref you were forensic in your scrutiny of the undercooked exaggerations of the Nats promises. They are selling the same snake oil now, and this time you are buying it.

  84. John l on said:

    And so it is that the pro independence movement has, probably, rescued the election for the left and from the right. If the referendum had never happened in all likelyhood we’d be looking at a tory coalition and the main story of the election being the rise of UKIP.

  85. Andy Newman on said:

    John l,

    No. Labour is doing well enough in England and Wales, and especially London, it is the possibility of Labour being eclipsed in Scotland by the SNP that is allowing the Conservatives the scent that they could win.

  86. John l: And so it is that the pro independence movement has, probably, rescued the election for the left

    Andy Newman: No. Labour is doing well enough in England and Wales, and especially London, it is the possibility of Labour being eclipsed in Scotland by the SNP that is allowing the Conservatives the scent that they could win.

    Andy, Labour is a pro-austerity party. Austerity has nothing to do with the left. It is right wing and reactionary. Are you in favour of austerity?

  87. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman:
    John l,
    Labour is doing well enough in England and Wales, and especially London,

    True, and doing better as the campaign goes on.

    If Scottish seats are hypothetically disregarded – Labour needs 79 gains in England and Wales to win a hypothetical ‘rUK’ Parliamentary majority.

  88. Andy Newman on said:

    John: Andy, Labour is a pro-austerity party.

    But to what degree is that true? Labour’s policy is to grow the economy, not shrink it.

    This is what the SNP say:

    A team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power at Westminster would argue for a more moderate and balanced approach to deficit reduction across the UK – focusing on tackling inequality and promoting social justice.

    That commitment could have come almost word for word from the Labour Manifesto.

    SNP and Labour are both comitted to deficit reduction

    SNP and Labour both want the deficit reduction to be more “balanced and moderate” (That sounds exactly like Ed Balls language)

    I haven’t seen SNP’s detailed proposals yet, but Labour is seeking to reduce the deficit by increasing tax receipts, firstly by raising the top rate of tax, but also be the Mansion Tax on properties worth over £2m, and by abolishing non Dom status, cracking down on tax avoidance, etc. They will raise tax receipts from the working population in a different way by raising income, and thus taxable pay, this will be done by raising the minimum wage, abolishing zero hour contracts, abolishing unpaid internships of more than 4 weeks, and a guaranteed paid job with training for every young person who has been unemployed for over a year. Getting the economy moving again will increase corporation tax income, stamp duty, and VAT receipts.

    Although I haven’t seen the details of what the SNP is proposing for the Westminster economy, we do know that Sturgeon wants full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, which would take £7.6 bn out of the Scottish economy, a figure that could only be recouped by a growth rate twice that achieved by any other developed economy for a number of years. Even if by some combination of unexpected rise of the price of oil, and some entirely unforseeable good luck elsewhere to allow these growth rates, the immediate impact of FFA would be the necessity of substantive reduction of spending in Scotland, until this dream growth kicked in.

    If Scotland had voted yes to independence, then the collapse of the oil price would have led to the Scottish government being unable to pay for existing public spending, let alone build a sovereign wealth fund, and although it would still have been in the interim part of the UK, the political circumstances would have been created where the UK could not have subvented that Scottish deficit.

    As it is, Scotland voted to stay part of the UK. This is the new reality, that if the SNP win a landslide in Scotland, and the parties which are UK wide – particularly Labour – are marginalised in Scotland, then the political landscape changes from being UK wide parties setting forth UK wide priorities to a new paradigm of sectional bargaining.

    Because of this, and because the political debate in Scotland seems almost completely divorced now from that in England, then the SNP are presenting themselves as almost the sole legitimate voice for Scotland, and it is almost unpatriotic not to support them. This means there is a marked lack of scrutiny or critical judgement. The SNP’s economic policy, rhetoric aside, seems hardly distinguishable to me from Labour’s, and in so far as it might be different, they are setting out a stall which may play well to the gallery of their voters, but which seems engineered to create a constitutional crisis, that will allow the SNP to huff and puff about wanting to lock the Conservatives out, but in reality will play into a political storm about Labour’s legitimacy, whereby Alex Salmond, as leader of the Westminster group of MPs, couldn’t be doing more to help cameron short of offering to personally drive him the the palace to kiss the Queen’s hands.

  89. Andy Newman: Labour is seeking to reduce the deficit by increasing tax receipts,

    Did Labour MPs recently vote for a further £30 bn of cuts over the life of the next parliament or did they not? I’m sorry, but you seem to be in denial about this.

    https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2a08-Labour-MPs-backing-for-austerity-Bill-a-disservice#.VTSxlKb4vFI

    Andy Newman: Labour is seeking to reduce the deficit by increasing tax receipts, firstly by raising the top rate of tax, but also be the Mansion Tax on properties worth over £2m, and by abolishing non Dom status, cracking down on tax avoidance, etc. They will raise tax receipts from the working population in a different way by raising income, and thus taxable pay, this will be done by raising the minimum wage, abolishing zero hour contracts, abolishing unpaid internships of more than 4 weeks, and a guaranteed paid job with training for every young person who has been unemployed for over a year. Getting the economy moving again will increase corporation tax income, stamp duty, and VAT receipts.

    As I’ve said, the increase in minimum is mere crumbs out of a surplus the vast bulk of which will remain the provenance of the rich and big business. The amount raised by the mansion tax, and the ease with which it will be collected, is a matter of conjecture. I don’t believe it will raise the kind of revenue being touted by Labour. The top rate of income tax to 50 percent is yet another piecemeal reform. I could go through the rest of your comments and say the same.

    But what’s clear is the panic, bordering on hysteria, that Labour supporters and members such as yourself are experiencing in response to the SNP’s emergence in Scotland. It’s almost as if the Scottish electorate are committing a crime by daring to shift its allegiance from Labour. This is absolutely not the way to deal with this phenomenon. I have to say, I have even detected a whiff of anti Scottish sentiment in your remarks. I would seriously advise a change in tack.

  90. Uncle Albert on said:

    Andy Newman: the undoubted campaign of destabilization from the press and some business leaders that Miliband Will face.

    The only way this can be avoided is for Miliband to persist with the Tory austerity agenda. Labour can only prevent an oppositional Tory/Press campaign by avoiding progressive policies, whether supported by the SNP or not.

    The real difficulty for the Labour Party is the degree of pro-austerity support within the PLP. Many within the PLP would prefer to see Miliband fail, and will attempt to destabilise his leadership, if there is any prospect of a Miliband-led government implementing progressive policies.

    Of course, Labour must argue for a Labour majority right up until 10pm on the night of 7th May. After that moment, if polling is an accurate indication of the result, Labour’s Left must forcefully and convincingly argue for a nationwide anti-Tory alliance and, if possible, include support from the LibDems and the various Northern Ireland parties whose support can usually be bought with a cheque.

    This will test the resolve of Labour’s progressives. It just isn’t good enough to warn against supporting the rising tide of anti-austerity sentiment simply because of the difficulties an anti-Tory alliance will face.

  91. Andy Newman on said:

    John: Did Labour MPs recently vote for a further £30 bn of cuts over the life of the next parliament or did they not? I’m sorry, but you seem to be in denial about this.

    Well no they didn’t.

    Labour voted to accept the charter of budget responsibility which included what was downgraded by the coalition to an “aim” to bring the current structural deficit into balance on a rolling three-year programme rather than setting a 2017-18 target.

    Not only did the commitment become a woolly “aim”, but the aspiration of £30bn of deficit reduction can be achieved either by raising taxes, or spending cuts, and the rolling three year programmes means that even the Tories could talk about dates, without having any real commitment to planning to meet them.

    The charter of budget responsibility itself allows a wide variation of how it can be achieved, and while Osborne has said this needs to be done with cuts, that is only the Tory interpretation, and the charter does not rule out spending rises in line with GDP growth, does not rule out tax rises, and does not rule out borrowing for capital projects.

    Ed Balls dd not, and has not committed the party, and Labour MPs did not actualy vote for,£30bn in fiscal consolidation in 2016-17 and 2017-18. What they approved was a mere “aim”, and this is fully consistent with Labour’s approach of not being bound by any timetable, saying instead “How fast we can go will depend on the state of the economy, including what happens to wages, growth, the housing benefit bill and events around the world.”

    The whole charter was a political wheeze by the Tories, seeking to lock down the Lib Dems and Labour in a trap. The tarp was in the carefully phrased terms that you were either voting for or against “responsibility”, Labour side stepped the trap, and comitted to nothing in particular, other than the aim that we can all agree with that it would be better to move, as circumstances allow, to a situation where government income covers government expenditure.

    This is being spun as something that it is not.

    John: As I’ve said, the increase in minimum is mere crumbs out of a surplus the vast bulk of which will remain the provenance of the rich and big business. The amount raised by the mansion tax, and the ease with which it will be collected, is a matter of conjecture. I don’t believe it will raise the kind of revenue being touted by Labour. The top rate of income tax to 50 percent is yet another piecemeal reform. I could go through the rest of your comments and say the same.

    Well I am looking to see what the SNP’s economic policy is in detail, once they have published their manifesto today.

    John: what’s clear is the panic, bordering on hysteria, that Labour supporters and members such as yourself are experiencing in response to the SNP’s emergence in Scotland. It’s almost as if the Scottish electorate are committing a crime by daring to shift its allegiance from Labour.

    Voters in Scotland are as entitled to vote for whoever they want as voters anywhere else, and clearly they seem inclined to reject Labour. That is their prerogative.

    However, it is entirely reasonable to point out that this would put us into an entirely different political paradigm, and the outcome may not be what voters wanted, given how it would play in he larger UK context.

    Also, as I have said, Sturgeon has explicitly said that the SNP wants FFA, and the IFS has said that this would lead to £7.6 bn, per year, in reduction of income for Scotland, which is already running a structural deficit.

    How could this be achieved without austerity.

    John: This is absolutely not the way to deal with this phenomenon.

    Well how can you deal with what seems to be a Tsunami of “anti-politics”, where hopes are projected onto a political party or movement, without critical scrutiny of whether those hopes match the likely outcome, or even match the intentions of the leaders of the party? This is not a specifically Scottish phenomenon, but the SNP is the single largest example of it in the UK at the moment.

  92. Andy Newman on said:

    Uncle Albert: Labour’s Left must forcefully and convincingly argue for a nationwide anti-Tory alliance and, if possible, include support from the LibDems and the various Northern Ireland parties whose support can usually be bought with a cheque.

    Yes, I agree. I am sure that I and other on the left of the party will argue for that.

    But the prospects for success will depend upon whether or not Labour is the largest party, and what the arithmetic is.

    It will also depend upon how the other parties conduct themselves, and whether they seek to box Labour (and themselves) into positions that are politically untenable through megaphone diplomacy.

  93. Andy Newman on said:

    John

    : have even detected a whiff of anti Scottish sentiment in your remarks

    I am certainly very negative about the SNP who I think are irresponsible, and populist chancers, seeking to frame themselves as the only legitimate party in Scotland, promising things they cannot deliver, with their excuses all set up in advance.

    I fear that the people of Scotland are going to be disadvantaged, and the result of the election will not be what those voting SNP for progressive reasons hoped to achieve.

  94. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    POST 103 SAYS (quote)”Labour voted to accept the charter of budget responsibility which included what was downgraded by the coalition to an “aim” to bring the current structural deficit into balance on a rolling three-year programme rather than setting a 2017-18 target”(unquote).
    Semantics I say, budget responsibility is other words for cuts, cuts and more cuts. In other words the Labour Party is a Party of Austerity, just like the Tories and just like the SNP here in Scotland.

  95. Andy Newman on said:

    John: Latest Guardian poll has Labour set for 271 seats compared to the Tories on 270.

    with a 3% margin of error?

  96. Andy Newman on said:

    Jimmy Haddow: budget responsibility is other words for cuts, cuts and more cuts.

    *sigh*

    No, budget responsibility means getting the government’s income to cover its outgoings.

    This can be achieved by increasing the income, for example through corporation tax, stamp duty, income tax and VAT.

    If the real underlying economy was growing, then the deficit could be reduced while actually increasing public spending.

    What is more, the charter for budget responsibility does not rule out borrowing for capital investment.

    Ironically, the Socialist Party seems to accept the Conservative Party’s view that the deficit can only be reduced by cuts.

    You can bleat “no cuts, no cuts” like a sheep, but trying to actually understanding the argument might help you.

  97. Andy Newman on said:

    stephen marks: Flying Rodent casts his usual cyclical eye on the SNP;
    http://flyingrodent.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/oor-election-scotland-edition.html

    I’m fairly confident that Parliament won’t be much improved by sending forty angry nationalist ragers there with a mandate to pick fights over the most politically expedient issues that they can find.

    Remember, the Nats want independence, and sooner rather than later. From their standpoint, a well-functioning Westminster Parliament delivering a popular, fair and mutually-profitable programme for Scotland and the UK, would be about as welcome as compulsory amputations or the Bubonic Plague.

  98. Andy Newman: The charter of budget responsibility itself allows a wide variation of how it can be achieved, and while Osborne has said this needs to be done with cuts, that is only the Tory interpretation, and the charter does not rule out spending rises in line with GDP growth, does not rule out tax rises, and does not rule out borrowing for capital projects.

    Ed Balls has committed to what he describes as a “sensible mix of spending cuts and tax rises”. This means continued austerity. He has not committed to ending austerity, merely what he describes as “Tory austerity”. Now you can spin it however you wish, but Labour if elected would implement spending cuts.

    The only hope within the PLP lies with the Labour left, as per: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/03/john-mcdonnell-miliband-will-have-backtrack-spending-cuts

    Do you support cuts, Andy, even in the face of all the empirical and analytical evidence that not only are they morally reprehensible but economically illiterate?

  99. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    POST 110 – “moan” They say you can take a person out of the SWP but you cannot take the SWP out of the person. The Socialist Party DOES NOT ACCEPT (quote)” the Conservative Party’s view that the deficit can only be reduced by cuts.”(unquote), but instead the Socialist Party is for the taking of the wealth off the less than the one per cent (0.001% in fact) which would end austerity . That would be achieved by a democratic socialist plan which would open the way to eliminate, poverty, unemployment and invest in technology and finance into solving humanities problems. That is the Socialist Party way.

  100. Jellytot on said:

    Uncle Albert: After that moment, if polling is an accurate indication of the result

    That’s a big “if”. I find all this horse-trading about the makeup of possible coalitions after May 7th somewhat premature. It’s eminently possible that we could find Labour possessing a workable majority on May 8th. Labour supporters should be working to that end and not getting themselves distracted by the enemies of the Labour party.

  101. Andy Newman on said:

    John: Ed Balls has committed to what he describes as a “sensible mix of spending cuts and tax rises”. This means continued austerity. He has not committed to ending austerity, merely what he describes as “Tory austerity”. Now you can spin it however you wish, but Labour if elected would implement spending cuts.

    No I don’t support “cuts”, though I would happily see the back of Trident replacement.

    But riddle me this, how is the SNP’s manifesto “anti-austerity”

    http://www.snp.org/sites/default/files/page/file/04_16d_snp_election_manifesto_290x280x.pdf

    This is what they say they will do:

    We will also vote for the following revenue raising measures –
    the reintroduction of the 50 pence top tax rate, a tax on
    bankers’ bonuses, a bank levy, a mansion tax, a crackdown
    on tax avoidance, the abolition of ‘non-dom’ status and
    reversal of the married couple’s tax allowance.

    sound familiar

    In addition they are calling for a modest real terms increase of spending:

    propose modest spending increases – of
    0.5 per cent above inflation – in each year of the next Parliament

    Rhetoric aside, this is completely compatible with labour’s economic policy, provided that there is growth, and it only takes modest growth to acheive that net 0.5 real term spending increase, espcialy starting from the low base line afterthe coalition cuts.

    They are promising very little extra than labour, if even they are saying anything different at all, but the triangulation of the political contest leads them to use more left language, as they are pitched against Labour, whereas Labour is selling a very similar package in more cautious language, as their contest is against the Conservatives.

  102. Andy Newman on said:

    John: As I’ve said, the increase in minimum [wage] is mere crumbs out of a surplus the vast bulk of which will remain the provenance of the rich and big business.

    Yes, Labour is promising to raise it to £8.00 by 2020, incidentlt this is a rise ahead of predicted inflation, so that the minimum wage will converge with the living wage over 5 years. Phased change means that the increase will not immediately be eaten up by boosting inflation, will let businesses plan for it, and sets a social context where both wage competition as individuals move between jobs and also collective pressure from unions can force up the wages floor.

    What is the mighty increase that the SNP is offering, that would not be mere crumbs, and that we could see would set us on the path for socialism…. ….. *wait for it* ….. ….. *drum roll*…. …. *and the winner is* — — £8.70 by 2020.

  103. Andy Newman on said:

    John: He has not committed to ending austerity, merely what he describes as “Tory austerity”.

    SNP manifesto:

    “With a strong SNP team at Westminster we can use our influence to end the needless pain of Tory cuts.

    You see Labour has pledged itself lower social security sending.

    Is this an indefensible “cut”. Let us looks what is might mean:

    Well, Labour will introduce a fairer deal for those in private rented accomodation, legislating for stable three year tenancies, and putting a ceiling on rent rises. This will make a saving on Housing Benefit spending, not at the expense of tenants, but of landlords.

    Labour will not only raise the minumum wage, (though admittedly by 14p per hour per year less than the SNP would rise it, what are Labour like), but also abolish zero hour contracts, as well as the measures that allow agency working to be abused by employers, which will lead to increased wages, and to a decrease to what is currently a state subsidy for low paying employers through working tax credit.

    Labour unashamedly wants to decrease the overall spend on JSA, by creating more jobs, and getting more people into productive employment, so they can pay their own way, and contribute as tax payers.

  104. Andy Newman on said:

    Jimmy Haddow: but instead the Socialist Party is for the taking of the wealth off the less than the one per cent (0.001% in fact) which would end austerity

    So that would be an injection of capital to the HMRC, but that would not in itself increase revenue.

    The capital gained by your plan might be used to reduce the governent’s debt. However, the deficit is the difference between revenue and expenditure, and your expropriation of wealth might reduce the debt, but how does it increase revenue?

    Or are you happy to indefinitely run a deficit?

  105. Uncle Albert on said:

    Jellytot: Labour supporters should be working to that end and not getting themselves distracted

    Quiet, backroom discussions will already be taking place. Expect Sturgeon to abandon the ‘red-line’ on Trident renewal in favour of Labour’s review: the security of the nation will be preserved and Labour will be seen have won a major, ‘national interest’ concession.

    Andy’s “megaphone diplomacy” will exist only in the media and in ‘tough-talking’ press releases issued by party HQs.

    The greatest threat to a Labour government will emerge from the likes of Murphy, Wee Dougie and the well-organised Progress faction as they attempt to derail any Labour-led progressive alliance.

  106. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman: Well, Labour will introduce a fairer deal for those in private rented accomodation, legislating for stable three year tenancies, and putting a ceiling on rent rises.

    This policy in particular is winning Labour a lot of support in London, which has the lowest proportion of owner-occupiers in the whole of the UK and the highest proportion of private renters.

  107. jim mclean on said:

    Uncle Albert: The greatest threat to a Labour government will emerge from the likes of Murphy, Wee Dougie

    The won’t have much time to stir it as they will be signing on.

  108. Uncle Albert on said:

    jim mclean,

    We know what has to be done to make that happen.

    I’m doing my bit. I have an SNP poster in the window and I live in the Tory south…

  109. Andy Newman: Let us imagine that Labour is the largest party. But short of a majority. Sturgeon has already said she will not put the Tories into power, so if Labour forms a minority government, then the SNP would have no bargaining power. If Labour puts forward Queen’s speech, then the SNP have to vote for it, or allow it to be defeated and bring in the Tories like they did back in 1979.

    Or how about a scenario in which the Tories garner the most seats and attempt to form a minority govt, or even a coalition with UKIP and the DUP. Would Labour, in conjunction with the SNP and other anti-Tory parties, be willing to vote down a Tory or Tory-led coalition Queen’s Speech, even in the face of an eruption of right wing outrage, knowing that if they do not it will spell the doom of public services, the NHS et al. as we know it?

    I have to tell you, I hae ma doots.

  110. jim mclean on said:

    Uncle Albert:
    jim mclean,

    We know what has to be done to make that happen.

    I’m doing my bit. I have an SNP poster in the window and I live in the Tory south…

    My problem is I hate the SNP candidate in Glenrothes

  111. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    It is a good question, and that is why these debates are useful. We need to be preparing the ground for that scenario

  112. jim mclean,

    Disgusting and despicable, especially the description of it by SNP candidate Natalie McGarry as “community justice”.

    In my constituency, I find myself in the position of being unable to vote for any candidate. The Labour candidate accepted a campaign donation from Blair, while the SNP candidate is somebody I debated in the run-up to the referendum, when she was speaking for the group ‘Business for Scotland’.

    It looks like a ‘none of the above’ in my case.

    On the wider point, there are some swivel eyed crackpots within the SNP’s ranks and membership. The huge upsurge of new members brings with it its own problems.

  113. Andy Newman on said:

    jim mclean: Still the dark side is there, no matter who is leading the party.

    This is what I was referring to as the neo-Peronist side of the SNP, combining populist policies with a culture that regards dissent or disagreement with the party as unpatriotic and illegitimate.

  114. Andy Newman on said:

    John: In my constituency, I find myself in the position of being unable to vote for any candidate.

    If only “Elvis Loves Pets” was standing

  115. Stephen on said:

    Well I for one applaud the SNP for having the courage of Labour’s convictions Just look at their manifesto

    “We will also look to release additional resources by backing series of revenue raising measures – the reintroduction of the 50p top tax rate ( a policy adopted 4 weeks ago) , a tax on bankers’ bonuses, a bank levy, a mansion tax, a crackdown on tax avoidance, the abolition of ‘non dom’ status, reversal of the married
    couples’ tax allowance ( all policies unmentioned up til now) , and a review of the pension tax relief available to the wealthiest.”… except Labour aren’t going to the ‘review’ tax relief -they are going to restrict it. But fair play to Nats for (almost) catching up with Labour on these important policies….

    on ZHC’s ( my emphasis)

    SNP Manifesto: “We will support efforts in the next parliament to end unfair and exploitative zero-hour contracts, with a time-limited consultation , which fully involves business and the trade unions, to agree the most effective way forward.”

    What exactly is the commitment here? To try to reach an understanding acceptable to business and ehh that’s it. Haud me back.

    Labour Manifesto : “Labour will ban exploitative zero-hours contracts. Those who work regular hours for more than twelve weeks will have a legal right to a regular contract.”

    So a minority Labour Government puts forward it’s plans forward for a ban… the SNP put forward their plans to consult big business and reach to reach an agreement.. which proposal will Con Dems support? … of course people will say that the SNP will push Labour left. But only because flags in today’s Scotland flags beat facts.

    SNP saying nothing about protecting permanent staff from being undercut by agency staff ( fish don’t gut themselves you know…) nor about repeal of fees for Employment Tribunals

  116. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    It looks like a straight SNP Lib Dem fight there anyway.

    I can understand that a Labour candidate in a tight marginal where every £££ might count might feel in a dilema about the Blair money, but Day seems unlikely to make much impact there anyway

  117. Andy Newman: It looks like a straight SNP Lib Dem fight there anyway.

    Exactly. The Lib Dem incumbent, Mike Crockart, is actually a good constituency MP. He’s built up a lot of goodwill locally. He’s been good on international issues and is one of the more progressive Lib Dems.

  118. jim mclean on said:

    Here is a question that is cropping up here and there, if Nicola had been charge for a while before the referendom could she have carried it fot the YES side?

  119. Reading this story in the local paper about protests against the appalling Esther McVey – it’s probably she’ll lose her seat to Labour – and then seeing something on TV about Labour’s impending near extinction in Scotland, reminded me of a story I heard from a Labour activist about canvassing in this Wirral constituency decades ago. He knocked on a door in a housing estate in a place called Moreton (which thinking about it, may just be in the neighbouring constituency of Wallasey) and asked the man who answered if he would be voting Labour. ‘Aye, well’ the man replied in a thick Scottish accent, ‘I normally vote SNP’.

  120. Uncle Albert,

    Such results would make a Tory government more likely.

    So good news for the Tories and the SNP.

    Not sure who else would regard it as good news.

  121. jim mclean,

    Mao Tse-tung was once asked what difference it would have made if Khrushchev, rather than Kennedy, had been assassinated. After a few moments thought he replied, ‘I don’t suppose Aristotle Onassis would have married Mrs Khrushchev’.

  122. Uncle Albert on said:

    anon,

    Labour’s Chuka Umunna has today said he wants Michael Heseltine to advise a Labour government.

    Umunna describes the Thatcher cabinet minister as a “visionary” who has inspired “a lot of people in the Labour movement”.

    Most probably, the election of Murphy and Wee Dougie will make a Tory government more likely.

  123. Uncle Albert,

    Every seat the SNP takes from Labour increases the likelihood of a Tory government.

    The SNP want a Tory government. It would help them achieve their ultimate goal of independence.

    There may be little difference between Tory and Labour, but such differences as they are will mean a lot to the worst off.

    And the worst Labour government will be better than the best Tory government.

  124. jim mclean on said:

    And now the bad news, the money from the Scottish Govenment to cover Discretionary Housing Payment will not cover the needs of claimants this financial year. So bedroomtax bites in Scotland.

  125. Uncle Albert on said:

    anon: The SNP want a Tory government.

    I find that beyond credible.

    However, you will perhaps accept that the SNP’s electorate don’t want a Tory government. That is important.

    On the other hand, in Scotland, the Labour Party appear to no longer have an electorate.

  126. David on said:

    Labour Party activists in Scotland have been saying to people on the door steps who are not voting Labour, and are thinking about voting SNP, that they should vote for the Trades Unionists and Socialist Coalition and or the SSP. Talk about splitting the SNP vote.

  127. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    POST 147 – David it will only be in 10 constituencies in Scotland that labour activists will be tell people to vote Scottish TUSC rather than SNP, rather than the whole of Scotland as you have suggested. Personally I think they would rather suggest they vote for another political party rather than Scottish TUSC because they would not want a real anti-austerity party in Scotland getting many votes because it will push through the perception that TUSC is going nowhere; so I am a bit sceptical of your statement. All the opinion polls indicate a wipe-out for the Labour Party from the SNP so a few votes here or a few votes there is really not going to make much difference. What will make the difference will take place after the GE with the Labour/SNP coalition, just like in Edinburgh Council, carrying on the Tories austerity programme over the next few years. That is when the Scottish TUSC and other anti-austerity Left arrangements will come into fruition.

  128. Karl Stewart on said:

    703154″>anon:
    Uncle Albert,
    There may be little difference between Tory and Labour, but such differences as they are will mean a lot to the worst off.
    And the worst Labour government will be better than the best Tory government.

    Absolutely spot on. That’s why we should vote Labour and do our best to maximise the Labour vote.

    anon:
    Uncle Albert,
    Every seat the SNP takes from Labour increases the likelihood of a Tory government.

    Politically speaking, everyone on the left is hoping and paraying for Katy Clark to hold on in North Ayrshire and Arran, and maybe a handful of other decent Scottish Labour MPsbut not very many.

    Mathematically, however, your analysis is absolute nonsense – Scottish seats, mathemtically, are just not that significant.

    We’ll win this election in England and Wales – as we did in 2005, 2001, 1997, 1966, 1950 and 1945 – I.e. every time we’ve won a majority, we would have won without Scotland.
    You’re perpetuating a myth.
    Scotland only makes a Tory win more likely if the Tories outperform Labour in Scotland.

    (And politically, I sincerely hope Katy Clark wins in North Ayrshire and Arran, but not at all bothered about losing people like Murphy – are you?)

  129. jim mclean on said:

    David:
    Labour Party activists in Scotland have been saying to people on the door steps who are not voting Labour, and are thinking about voting SNP, that they should vote for the Trades Unionists and Socialist Coalition and or the SSP. Talk about splitting the SNP vote.

    Come on – I know of Ulster Unionists telling folk to vote SDLP, split the vote or support the lesser enemy, I sometimes think I love political tactics more the politics themselves.

  130. jim mclean on said:

    Now here is a thing, Full Fiscal Autonomy, the SNP are backpeddling fast as f#ck for the simple reason it means taking on the benefits bill when they have guaranteed they will not raise the pension age, end austerity, no benefits cuts. All these are paid through Central Government at the moment. The generational split is far greater in Scotland than England and if it comes to the crunch the young would, and in my mind should bugger off elsewhere rather than toil for my generation. Blame Thatcher all we want but we baby boomers were queuing to buy the nationalised industries and flog the shares as as soon as possible, we stole all the best social housing, we demanded low taxes and high services and called the young lazy scoungers forgetting that our parents fought a fucking war to screw what the could out of the state for the generations that followed. Pissed of tonight comrades.

  131. #148
    ‘Mathematically, however, your analysis is absolute nonsense – Scottish seats, mathemtically, are just not that significant.’

    ###

    In the event of a hung Parliament every seat not held by Labour is of equal value, it doesn’t matter where it’s located.

  132. Uncle Albert,

    I’m only a Scot who has been following the machinations of the SNP since the 70’s. What the hell would I know?

    The Scots don’t want independence. They want a slightly left of centre Labour Government.

    The problem for the SNP is that, if, like you, you’re credulous enough to believe their public face, that’s exactly what they are going to deliver through Westminster, a slightly left of centre Labour Government, thereby shooting their fox stone dead.

    They have also of course said that under no circumstances will they support a Tory Government, but at the same time have suggested they will impose demands on Labour before supporting them. Clearly if Labour refuse to meet the demands they will not receive the support of the SNP, thereby allowing a Tory Government.

    I suggest that you, and those who think like you, should apply a bit more critical analysis when considering what the SNP are about. Their only goal is Scottish independence. Nothing else matters to them, and no price is too high for them to achieve that ambition.

  133. Nicola Sturgeon on the Today Programme this morning was very impressive. There is no doubt that she has shifted the political discourse away from an emphasis on deficit reduction to anti austerity. In confirming that the SNP would not vote down a Labour Queen’s Speech, and with Ed Miliband looking and sounding better with every speech, the ground is being laid for a progressive shift in UK politics.

  134. John Grimshaw on said:

    John,

    And in fairness to her she made it clear that yes she is in favour of independence, but that she respected the decision of the Scottish people in the recent referendum. She said that she would not be pursuing any new referendum. She also reiterated that she wants to do deals with Miliband in order to create some kind of anti-austerity coalition. She again rejected the idea of supporting the Tories. She rejected the low level nastiness that has been going on emanating both from her side and the Unionists. Of course this could all be politician speak. If the Tories win though and the SNP clear the board in Scotland I would’ve thought it makes new referendum more likely than less?

  135. ‘If the Tories win though and the SNP clear the board in Scotland I would’ve thought it makes new referendum more likely than less?’

    ###

    Sturgeon and the SNP are urging the English to vote Green, and the Welsh to vote Plaid Cymru. That’s not consistent with wanting a Labour Government.

    They want a Tory government because they consider it will further the cause of independence.

  136. anon: They want a Tory government because they consider it will further the cause of independence.

    Which of course would make Sturgeon guilty of lying to the British public.

    This constant refrain from Labour supporters and members does Labour no favours at all. It would be better, I think, if they undertook a period of sober reflection as to why Labour in Scotland is so reviled and support for the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon within working class communities is now through the roof.

  137. George Hallam on said:

    anon: Sturgeon and the SNP are urging the English to vote Green, and the Welsh to vote Plaid Cymru. That’s not consistent with wanting a Labour Government.

    Obviously, if you want a Labour government you ask people to vote Labour. But why would anybody want a Labour government?

    anon: They want a Tory government because they consider it will further the cause of independence.

    Perhaps, but you need some evidence. Note: not wanting a Labour government is not proof that you want Conservative government.

  138. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    Equally John, Sturgeon’s support for voting Green in England will have done nothing to address why the SNP are so distrusted, as that is clearly – in so far as The SNP have any influence- likely to decrease the number on Labour MPs , and increase the number of Conservative MPs

  139. #160 George Hallam

    To repeat myself, I’m Scottish. I live in Scotland. I’ve watched the various twists and turns of the SNP since the 1970s. I think my experience gives me some insight into how they operate.

    As to why anyone would want a Labour government, the answer is simple: because it would be better than a Tory government. Unless you’re a Tory of course, or a Tory government would make it easier for you to achieve your political goal.

  140. ‘Which of course would make Sturgeon guilty of lying to the British public.’

    ###

    Hardly a consideration that’s likely to trouble a Scottish nationalist.

    Not if it’s done to further the cause of Scottish independence.

  141. George Hallam on said:

    anon: To repeat myself, I’m Scottish. I live in Scotland. I’ve watched the various twists and turns of the SNP since the 1970s. I think my experience gives me some insight into how they operate.

    Fair enough. I always give weight to the person on the spot. As a pedant I was more concerned with the form of your argument than your conclusion.

    anon: As to why anyone would want a Labour government, the answer is simple: because it would be better than a Tory government.

    Yes, I thought you might say that.
    I’d have been more impressed if you’d have said, “Because it would be worse than a Conservative government”.

  142. Karl Stewart on said:

    anon:
    They want a Tory government

    But the only trouble with that statement is that it’s actually not true. They say they won’t go into partnership with the Tories under any circumstances.

    What you’re saying has as much basis in fact as claiming UKIP secretly “really want” to stay in the EU.

  143. ‘They say they won’t go into partnership with the Tories under any circumstances.’

    ####

    So they’ll support Labour without any preconditions then will they? Because anything else amounts to support for the Tories.

    The SNP strategy is to bring about a Tory government whilst appearing to try to achieve the opposite.

    The gullible and the credulous, such as yourself, are falling for it.

    You remind me of Billy Bragg urging people to vote Lib Dem because they were going to abolish student fees.

  144. Karl Stewart on said:

    anon,
    I think if I was just inventing things with zero basis in fact and presenting them as arguments I’d probably choose to remain anonymous too.

  145. Jellytot on said:

    anon: The SNP strategy is to bring about a Tory government whilst appearing to try to achieve the opposite.

    The SNP do seem to be in a “win-win” situation at the moment – the only thing which would rain on their parade is a Labour majority government.

  146. Uncle Albert on said:

    jim mclean,

    You have to hand it to them: the Right are prepared to walk the walk.

    If only Left MPs had responded similarly to the prospect of the Iraq disaster or to Labour’s privatisation of the NHS.

  147. jim mclean on said:

    anon,

    I think we may see the Nats win the vast majority of seats in Scotland with the majority of the working class still voting labour.

  148. Karl Stewart on said:

    anon,
    No, your opinion is based on a thoroughly discredited Daily Telegraph article.

    And you’re not Scottish, you don’t live in Scotland and you never have.

  149. John Grimshaw on said:

    Uncle Albert:
    jim mclean,

    You have to hand it to them: the Right are prepared to walk the walk.

    If only Left MPs had responded similarly to the prospect of the Iraq disaster or to Labour’s privatisation of the NHS.

    I understand from the Daily Record that Jim Murphy is going to stand for First Minister even if he loses his seat.

  150. John Grimshaw on said:

    jim mclean:
    anon,

    I think we may see the Nats win the vast majority of seats in Scotland with the majority of the working class still voting labour.

    How so?

  151. John Grimshaw,

    Not sure if I agree with the point but I think what’s meant is that the SNP have already secured the middle class vote, it’s in the bag. That’s not really surprising because the policies implemented by the SNP in action up here have been designed primarily for the benefit of the middle class (council tax freeze, free tuition fees, free prescriptions etc *)in order to win over the middle class. The SNP now need only top that up with working class votes to get a landslide. So the majority of working class people might still vote Labour without that resulting in Labour candidates being elected.

    * Policies funded, not by increasing taxation, but from existing budgets, achieved by cutting in other areas, to the detriment of the worst off.

  152. Vanya on said:

    #177 At the risk of being pedantic, surely nationality is part of identity, and by definition anon doesn’t have one?

  153. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    #177 At the risk of being pedantic, surely nationality is part of identity,and by definition anon doesn’t have one?

    I see Vanya. I think you are right someone is being pedantic here.

  154. John Grimshaw on said:

    anon,

    Okay. However I was under the impression that a large number of working class votes were in the process of swinging from Labour to the SNP? How many middle class people are there in Scotland?

  155. John Grimshaw,

    I did say I didn’t necessarily agree with the point, I was just trying to explain what I think it meant.

    And the middle class, however you define it, is probably pretty much the same size in Scotland as it is elsewhere.

    I’d imagine they are the people Alex Salmond had in mind when he said ‘we didn’t mind the economic side so much’ about Thatcherism.

  156. Karl Stewart on said:

    Vanya:
    At the risk of being pedantic, surely nationality is part of identity,and by definition anon doesn’t have one?

    Indeed, and therefore the claimed “Scottishness” is probably as much an invention as the Daily Telegraph article that she/he bases her/his arguments on.

  157. Karl Stewart on said:

    anon:
    … the policies implemented by the SNP in action up here have been designed primarily for the benefit of the middle class (council tax freeze, free tuition fees, free prescriptions etc *)in order to win over the middle class…

    So let me get this straight, the SNP secretly want the Tories to win the election and the proof is…that the SNP have introduced those fundamentally reactionary Tory policies of abolishing prescription charges and tuition fees?

  158. Karl Stewart,

    The SNP want independence.

    They are more likely to persuade the Scots to vote for independence if there’s a Tory government at Westminster.

    At the moment the majority of Scots don’t want independence. What they want is a Labour government that’s a bit, but not too much, further left than what’s currently on offer. Non Blairite Old Labour, if you like. John Smith and Donald Dewar type left (I can’t believe I just typed that).

    What the SNP are offering is a Labour government not only kept in power by themselves but pulled left by them. In other words something approaching what Scots want. Delivered at Westminster. If they deliver that then the demand for independence will subside.

    Why would a nationalist want that?

    As for the populist policies introduced by the SNP, the winners were the middle class. As I said these policies weren’t funded by increasing taxes. They were funded from existing budgets by cutting elsewhere.

    I appreciate that the whole SNP/Scottish independence thing this is all a bit of a novelty to you and it’s a lot easier just to accept a story that you find pleasing than to apply any degree of critical analysis. But that’s just lazy and foolish.

    Seriously go away and find out for yourself how the council tax freeze and the prescription charges and student fees policies were funded. Find out who benefited and who paid the price.

    You probably won’t though, you’ll just come back with some silly ad hominen retort about whether I’m Scottish or not.

  159. Karl Stewart on said:

    anon,
    I’m not pretending to be Scottish. I’m in London, will be voting Labour, helping out with the ground work, and trying to persuade other people to vote Labour.

    As far as Scotland is concerned, I reall want Katy Clark to hold on, but not too bothered if the likes of Murphy lose.

    Either way, whether Labour wins the general elecyion or not will depend on what happens in England and Wales.

  160. ‘Either way, whether Labour wins the general elecyion or not will depend on what happens in England and Wales.’

    ###

    Labour will win if it gets most seats. It doesn’t matter where they’re located. At the moment the party likely to take most seats from Labour is the SNP. So the main threat to Labour, the party most likely to stop us having a Labour government, is the SNP.

    Thank you for clarifying that you live in London. That goes some way to explaining your ignorance of Scottish politics and the SNP.

    I’m surprised you’re not voting Green, as urged by the SNP.

    I’m a bit perplexed though as to why you think anyone would claim to be Scottish when they’re not.

  161. Andy Newman:

    ex-Labour voter,

    Labour not perfect SHOCK.

    *hold the front page!*

    What a strange comment. The Labour Party is “not perfect” In the same way that the Conservative Party is “not perfect” i.e. it exists to advance the interests of the bourgeoisie.

    The premise in the opening article with those who continue to hold to the mantra that the only way of getting rid of the Tories is by voting Labour increasingly tilting at windmills is also misconceived – the aim is not simply to get rid of “the Tories”. We also need to get rid of Labour, the Liberal democrats etc,

    That’s unlikely to be achieved at this election, unfortunately, but there will be a public meeting tomorrow (Thursday 30 April) in Oxford in which elementary common sense will be taken for granted and what it means in practice discussed. The meeting will be from 7:30pm to 9:00pm in the upstairs function room of the Mitre (junction of High St and Turl St). The title is Why you should vote for the Socialist Party of Great Britain and it will feature SPGB candidate Mike Foster as well as a speaker from the CCS. The details are:

    Oxford C.C.S. talk and discussion
    Why you should vote for the Socialist Party of Britain
    Thursday 30 April, 7:30pm to 9:00pm
    The Mitre (upstairs function room), junction of High St and Turl St
    All welcome

  162. #190

    Why you should vote for the Socialist Party of Britain

    should, of course, read

    Why you should vote for the Socialist Party of Great Britain

  163. John Grimshaw on said:

    anon: Thank you for clarifying that you live in London. That goes some way to explaining your ignorance of Scottish politics and the SNP.

    Anon. I’m not sure what beef Karl Stewart has got with you, as always I just patiently listen to the debate, however please don’t resort to the “your from London and therefore know fuck all” line, it doesn’t do anyone any favours. I come from Manchester and it does sometimes get a bit boring when people from my area suck in their breath and shake their heads and wonder why you’d want to live down there.

  164. John Grimshaw on said:

    anon: So the main threat to Labour, the party most likely to stop us having a Labour government, is the SNP.

    The main threat to us having a Labour government is the Labour Party surely?

  165. John Grimshaw,

    Well perhaps I might have been less hostile if he hadn’t accused me of lying about being Scottish [though why anyone would want to lie about such a thing I’m not sure]. Perhaps he’s too proud to concede that he might have been naive and credulous to have accepted the SNP’s posturings at face value. Maybe he can’t accept that some of us might know more about the SNP than he does, simply by having being in a position to watch them up close over the decades.

  166. Uncle Albert on said:

    anon: What the SNP are offering is a Labour government not only kept in power by themselves but pulled left by them. In other words something approaching what Scots want. Delivered at Westminster. If they deliver that then the demand for independence will subside.

    Why would a nationalist want that?

    The SNP would have to accept that because, as you acknowledge, that is what the electorate want. If the SNP don’t deliver on their “posturing” they will go the same way as Scottish Labour and the prospects for independence will be dimmed.

  167. Uncle Albert,

    They may have painted themselves into a corner, but I suspect they’ll find a reason not to back Labour if the situation arises.

    I just hope it doesn’t and Labour have a majority without them.

  168. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    (quote)”The SNP is on course to win every single seat in Scotland, leaving Labour with zero”(unquote).
    Is this real how can the Labour Party fellow travellers down south handle this? Well I have said it before the Labour Party only has themselves to blame. Labour’s crisis in Scotland is rooted in their pro-business, anti-trade union and pro-war policies over decades, but Labour’s central role in Project Fear in last year’s independence referendum has also been a catalyst for a collapse in working-class, and I may as well say middle class, support. I do not agree with ANON though, the SNP have made strenuous rhetorical efforts to claim the mantle of an “anti-austerity” alternative standing to the left of Labour and that has masked the true aspects of the SNP leadership which have been in reality carrying out the Tory austerity programme to the hilt the past 5 years. The SNP is a capitalist party and will carry out capitalist austerity policies in Scotland, along with the Miliband Labour Party in whatever form of coalition they come up with, that will still hurt the Scottish people and when that takes place they will be found out by the Scottish people. I consider when May 8th comes there will still be some Labour seats in Scotland, not much, but still a few; but I can see the Labour Party blaming the SNP for not getting enough vote/MPs to form a majority government. As I said it is their own fault.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/the-snp-is-on-course-to-win-every-single-seat-in-scotland-leaving-labour-with-zero-10212220.html

  169. Uncle Albert on said:

    anon,

    If the SNP are able to deliver “something approaching what Scots want” by backing a Labour government that is probably what they’ll do. By doing so the SNP will have performed the function of a successful political party and their credibility will be enhanced. This will assist in realising further ambitions.

    Your mistake, I believe, is in thinking that the SNP’s only route to independence requires a Tory government.

  170. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya,

    🙂 Technically as you know Vanya I’m from Stockport. I just say Manchester for the benefit of southerners. The older Stockportonians would suck in their breath and shake their heads if you said Oh your from Manchester.

  171. Uncle Albert: If the SNP don’t deliver on their “posturing” they will go the same way as Scottish Labour and the prospects for independence will be dimmed.

    This is not the case. The SNP are at no risk of having to deliver on their posturing because they will always be able to blame UK or ‘English’ institutions.

  172. Uncle Albert,

    Let’s put it this way.

    If we wake up next Friday to a Tory government the SNP leadership will not be unduly disappointed and will regard it as a great opportunity.

    Would you agree with that?

    Incidentally the Scottish Sun have come out this morning in favour of the SNP. I believe they’re supporting the Tories down there.

  173. Jellytot on said:

    anon: Incidentally the Scottish Sun have come out this morning in favour of the SNP.

    Murdoch pitching for political influence with the governing party in a future independent Scotland?

  174. Jellytot,

    Or a future Tory government of the UK.

    It suits the Tories for the SNP to do well. They’ll take seats from Labour.

  175. anon: If we wake up next Friday to a Tory government the SNP leadership will not be unduly disappointed and will regard it as a great opportunity.

    Whatever is subjectively taking place in Nicola Sturgeon’s mind, every time she proclaims that Miliband as PM could not govern without SNP support she gives a boost to David Cameron.

    This assertion of course damages the Labour Party, and not only because it diminishes Miliband’s credibility as a future leader of the country. English voters including many potential Labour voters would generally be unhappy about a UK government having to rely on the SNP. Hence Sturgeon’s statements drive English people away from Labour and into the arms of the Tories.

    The Tories are fully aware of this and are playing the issue for all it’s worth.

    As Murdoch’s call to voters north and south of the border underlines, there is a de-facto tactical alliance, against Miliband and the Labour Party, between the SNP and the Tories.

  176. Tim Vanhoof on said:

    Pretty sure there are more former Labour activists campaigning for the SNP in this election than remain campaigning for Labour.

  177. You can all say what you like, but Labour would win this election with Scottish seats, and the fact they will get very few (or none at all) is because they are seen as right-wing, and close to the Tories, allowing the SNP to pose as a radical anti-austerity alternative. The entire fault here lies with the Labour Party, not the Murdoch press, the SNP, or the electorate.

  178. Meanwhile, here in Sheffield, Maxine Bowler, who responded to the alleged rape of a teenage SWP member by asking ‘Had you had a drink?’ is denying the accusations by saying that they are ‘gossip and rumour’. Sheffield TUSC, dominated by the SP, is unusually silent in defence of one of it’s lead candidates.

    https://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1394440

  179. Noah,

    “English voters including many potential Labour voters would generally be unhappy about a UK government having to rely on the SNP. ”

    Luckily all those who argued to preserve the union can explain to those unhappy English voters that in UK General Elections Scottish votes count too!

  180. Tim Vanhoof on said:

    Miliband has just said on the BBC he’d rather not be in power rather than negotiate with the SNP. Who’s letting the Tories in now?

  181. Vanya on said:

    #211 Where are all those people who had a go at Ed M for his silly mistake of posing with the Sun, now that the Sun is supporting the SNP?

    At least Ed M can safely say HE isn’t actually backed by the Murdoch evil empire.

    Maybe when he said what you’re quoting he was bearing in mind Sturgeon’s endorsement from Murdoch.

  182. amnon on said:

    Noah: Whatever is subjectively taking place in Nicola Sturgeon’s mind, every time she proclaims that Miliband as PM could not govern without SNP support she gives a boost to David Cameron.

    This assertion of course damages the Labour Party, and not only because it diminishes Miliband’s credibility as a future leader of the country. English voters including many potential Labour voters would generally be unhappy about a UK government having to rely on the SNP.

    I don’t think too many English voters would be particularly worried if the SNP forced a Labour government to abandon Austerity or abolish Trident.

  183. vox: allowing the SNP to pose as a radical anti-austerity alternative.

    Well indeed it is a pose, and one that should be challenged.

    For all the obvious faults of the Labour Party, its current leader is the only one since Michael Foot to have moved the party to the left. No coincidence that Murdoch is now backing the SNP,

  184. Tim Vanhoof: Miliband has just said on the BBC he’d rather not be in power rather than negotiate with the SNP. Who’s letting the Tories in now?

    He doesn’t have to negotiate with the SNP. If Miliband has the chance of forming a (minority) government, the SNP will have either to allow him to do that or put the Tories back in.

  185. vox: It could hardly have moved to the right could it?

    Of course it could, were the Blairites fully in control.

  186. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    It will not be the Tories that will push the SNP and the Scottish people towards independence but Miliband and the Labour Party after tonight’s performance. Talk about boxing himself into a corner, does Miliband has no political nuance to understand that is not the way to win support in Scotland. The best way for the Labour to form a stable political form of coalition is to work with the SNP because their policies are about the same and more in tune than with the Lib Dems or the Tories or UKIP. It will all come down to the day and a political mess afterwards.

  187. jim mclean on said:

    It does show the childish side of those parts of the Scottish left who are wetting themselves with excitement at the prospect of Labour being defeated and a party that was born out of the Romantic Facist ideologies of the 30’s sweeping the board in Scotland.

  188. amnon on said:

    jim mclean:
    It does show the childish side of those parts of the Scottish left who are wetting themselves with excitement at the prospect of Labour being defeated and a party that was born out of the Romantic Facist ideologies of the 30’s sweeping the board in Scotland.

    The SNPs rise and the Scottish LP’s collapse is primarily because the SNP has campaigned on an Anti Austerity programme, while Labour is offering more Austerity.

    The SNP has occupied the space on the left vacated by New Labour’s move to the ‘centre’.

  189. Andy Newman on said:

    amnon,

    To be more precise SNP have campaigned on anti austerity rhetoric not policy, and been buoyed by a post referendum surge of emotion

  190. jim mclean on said:

    amnon,

    Yet the SNP council tax freeze is severly damaging social services, they talk the talk but do not walk the walk, they have the power to raise income tax for the rich and lower it for the poor and have never used that devolved power. Remember, with an 80% turn out the SNP are on course for taking every seat in Scotland with the support of 40% of the electorate. The figures have not changed much since the referendum. Those in the Scottish Labour Party, including those like myself who left it, must be able so take some of the blame for taking too much for granted.

  191. anon on said:

    The nats have the luxury of being able to offer all sorts of goodies in the full and certain knowledge that they’ll never have to deliver on their promises and will be able to gain political advantage by being able to blame Westminster/ the English for their failure.

    But as Jim McLean points out they haven’t used the powers available to them up here to address austerity, for fear of alienating their core, bedrock support among the middle class.

    My view is that the growth in their support is linked to the decline in class consciousness that accompanied the de industrialisation of the country. Class consciousness has been replaced by nationalism.

    I think it was more by accident than design but it seems that over the long haul for them the SNP played a master-stroke in helping to bring down the Callaghan government in 1979.

    Their strategists will no doubt approach the post election interregnum with that in mind.

  192. John Grimshaw on said:

    Noah: He doesn’t have to negotiate with the SNP. If Miliband has the chance of forming a (minority) government, the SNP will have either to allow him to do that or put the Tories back in.

    True Noah but presumably they would attempt behind the scenes negotiations on any issue they wanted to holding the threat of not supporting what the minority government was proposing.

  193. Karl Stewart on said:

    Tim Vanhoof:
    Miliband has just said on the BBC he’d rather not be in power rather than negotiate with the SNP. Who’s letting the Tories in now?

    EdM is fighting for a Labour majority, of course he should rule our coalitions and post-elections deals. If he said he would do a deal with another party, he’d effectively be urging Labour supporters not to vote Labour in some seats wouldn’t he?

    And don’t forget, even if the SNP score the 45-48 per cent in Scotland that’s being predicted, that’s just under 4 per cent in all-UK terms, so a hypothetical Labour/SNP coalition would clearly lack electoral legitimacy even if it did scrape past the 326-seat mark.
    It would be based on less than 40 per cent of the popular vote.

  194. anon on said:

    John Grimshaw: True Noah but presumably they would attempt behind the scenes negotiations on any issue they wanted to holding the threat of not supporting what the minority government was proposing.

    The only bargaining chip available to the SNP in that scenario is to threaten to support a vote of no confidence thereby bringing down a Labour government.

    Good luck trying to explain that to the electorate up here.

    The last time the nats did such a thing we ended up with Thatcher.

    Mind you Alex Salmond is on record as saying ‘we didn’t mind the economic side so much’ about Thatcherism. The ‘economic side’ presumably being the de industrialisation of the country.

  195. Noah on said:

    Noah: Whatever is subjectively taking place in Nicola Sturgeon’s mind, every time she proclaims that Miliband as PM could not govern without SNP support she gives a boost to David Cameron.

    This factor is now being reflected in some opinion polls which show the Tories inching ahead in the popular vote, associated with dislike among the English electorate for SNP influence on a future (Labour) government.

    Eg, this from Labour List:

    “Yet this same polling [in marginal seats] also shows the Tories message about a Labour deal with the SNP might be having an affect, as 47% of voters in these seats want the SNP to be kept out of government. Meanwhile 58% say they’re worried about the SNP’s influence over a Labour government, and 28% of Labour voters in these seats want to keep the SNP out of government.”

    It’s increasingly clear that the anti-Labour / pro-SNP trend in Scotland is a big boon for the Tories.

  196. amnon on said:

    Noah,

    I doubt that many English voters are too worried about the prospect of the SNP forcing a future Labour government to scrap Trident or abandon Austerity.

    The reason that Labour has failed to pull ahead of the Tories in the during the campaign, is Labours failure to offer people an alternative to Austerity. In Scotland, where the has faced
    a credible challenge from a party campaigning on an Anti-Austerity programme, its support
    has collapsed.

  197. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    POST 229 – Or even the Labour Party’s failure to offer a rhetorical anti-austerity, just as the SNP done, means the is no separation between the Tories and Labour. The reality is the SNP in power have carried out Tory cuts in Scotland since 2010. Their proposed public spending increases, even if they were fully implemented would still leave over 90% of the austerity cuts intact. For me it is all smoke and mirrors from the SNP and the SNP’s support for big business and capitalism mean the SNP are not a sustainable vehicle for working class people seeking a struggle against austerity. Of course neither is Labour in Scotland for all the reason I have said before in a multitude ways in a multitude of threads previous. For me the building of a new working class party is the key over the coming years, as hard as it may be.

  198. Noah on said:

    amnon: I doubt that many English voters are too worried about the prospect of the SNP forcing a future Labour government to scrap Trident or abandon Austerity.

    Whether or not English voters are worried about it, there is no prospect whatsoever of the SNP ‘forcing’ a future Labour government to scrap Trident or abandon Austerity.

    Oddly, you omit to mention worry about the SNP wielding sufficient prominence & influence to increase the pace of Scottish separatism.

  199. Andy Newman on said:

    anonymous,

    Yes that is an interesting article. There does seem to be a Peronist dimension to the SNP’s support, where policy and even their record in government are regarded as irrelevant, and the defining issue is which party “believes in Scotland” , with the implication that skepticism about the SNP is unpatriotic.

    I have been told of Labour campaigns in Scotland where activists simply feel too intimidated to knock doors

  200. Andy Newman on said:

    Btw, in terms of the complete collapse of critical thinking in some parts of the Scottish left, I was saddened to see Tommy Sheridan and family posing with SNP placard

  201. Vanya on said:

    #234 The fact that Tommy and Murdoch are both supporting the SNP is a bizarre irony methinks.

  202. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    POST 234 – Why are you saddened to see Tommy Sheridan standing with SNP placards? You are either deliberately trolling or you have got no understanding in what is taking place in Scotland today to make that statement. From Sunday 21 September Tommy Sheridan has openly campaigned for the Scottish people – both left and right – to “lend” – his words – their vote to the SNP this General Election. That is why the Socialist Party Scotland have been politically arguing against him in the political spectrum and within SOLIDARITY – the political party Tommy Sheridan is co-leader to the point that the Socialist Party Scotland cannot be politically associated with Tommy Sheridan and Solidarity any longer. I post the Socialist Party Scotland’s reason below:

    http://socialistpartyscotland.org.uk/2015/03/14/why-socialist-party-scotland-has-left-solidarity/

  203. Andy Newman on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    It is bizarre that you interpret the political movements involving millions of people in Scotland through the prism of your own small group of co thinkers.

    Of course I know what Sheridan has been up to, it is still sad to see.

  204. BigTam on said:

    #233 – dash me, they’re rough folk, these Scottish Peronists – certainly wouldn’t happen in Chippenham, what?

  205. Uncle Albert on said:

    Andy Newman: the complete collapse of critical thinking

    Ah, I get it! Don’t vote for the anti-austerity party, instead vote for the party promising more of what Paul Krugman terms “austerity madness”.

    Yes, exemplary critical thinking.

  206. anonymous on said:

    Uncle Albert: Ah, I get it! Don’t vote for the anti-austerity party, instead vote for the party promising more of what Paul Krugman terms “austerity madness”.

    Yes, exemplary critical thinking.

    The next government is either going to be lead by Labour or the Tories.

    One or the other.

    It’s binary.

    That’s what should determine how socialists vote.

    Any other consideration is just self indulgence.

  207. Uncle Albert on said:

    Vanya,

    Nicola Sturgeon: “If Labour puts forward a Budget that imposes more cuts on vulnerable people, as clearly they intend to do, the SNP will vote against it. We will seek to use our clout in the House of Commons to get a fairer deal.”

    anonymous,

    Preferring not to vote for Scottish Labour, a party led by a hard-Right, war-mongering Blairite who sits on the council of the Henry Jackson Society “is just self-indulgence”?

    It’s a funny old world.

  208. Andy Newman on said:

    Uncle Albert,

    So how would that work?

    first of all, it is all hot air as the SNP’s economic policies are actually not that radical, by it us impossible for anyone but the government to propose tax or spending in Westminster, and secondly

  209. Andy Newman on said:

    And secondly, voting down Labour would mean voting with the Tories, with the aim of a replacing Labour with a Tory government

  210. Andy Newman on said:

    Uncle Albert,

    But the party is not led by Murphy at a UK level, but by Ed Miliband, the most left Labour party leader since Foot

  211. jim mclean on said:

    Andy Newman,
    And the SNP will be led by Alex Salmond at Westminster, he has in the past agreed to let NATO weapon carrying ships and planes use Scottish waters and airspace but does not want them on Scottish Land.

  212. anonymous on said:

    Uncle Albert,

    I’m in Scotland.

    I’m voting Labour, not Scottish Labour.

    A vote for anyone else makes a Tory government more likely.

    I don’t want a Tory government. You are evidently unconcerned about the prospect. As you say, it is a funny old world.

  213. Andy Newman on said:

    BigTam,

    Ho ho, you are such a wit.

    There seems a bizarre disconnect which assumes you can insult the English, build a polutics based upon articulation of a sectional Scottish interest, and assume that you won’t wake up the dark slumbering beast of English nationalism.

    I may have many political faults but having studied English national identity for many years, I am still suprised how much anti-SNP feeling is coming up on the doorstep of working class voters in Engkand.

    As Chesterton warned
    “For we are the people of England, and we have not spoken yet”

  214. anonymous on said:

    jim mclean:
    Andy Newman,
    And the SNP will be led by Alex Salmond at Westminster.

    Alex Salmond, the guy who said ‘we didn’t mind the economic side so much’ about Thatcherism.

    The guy who kept a minority SNP government in power at Holyrood with the support of the Tories.

  215. Andy Newman on said:

    jim mclean,

    Indeed, and leading what I suspect will be an ill disciplined group of a SNP MPs, who will be suprised how underemployed and relatively marginal they will br in Westminster, away from the very different politucal context of Scotland

  216. Andy Newman on said:

    anonymous,

    This indifference to the likelihood of a Tory government is part of the SNP suspension of reality, even (or especially) if they win every seat in Scotland, they will be relatively powerless in Westminster, and where it is politically impossible for them to exercisr any real bargaining power, and outsude the election period they will struggle to get press attention.

  217. anonymous on said:

    Andy Newman,

    The SNP MPs will not be undisciplined. They will be uber loyal to the party line, a little nationalist laager at Westminster, intent and focussed on causing division, fomenting English nationalism and bound together by their ardent intensity to break up the UK.

  218. Andy Newman on said:

    anonymous,

    Possibly. What I find hard to understand is the paradox of Scottish nationalists thinking that they are hard done by from the English, but if they can provoke a baxklash of Englush nationalism, Scotkand would be better off.

    over the last few years there has been a hardening on English attitudes, and if politics does become a nationalist battle over allicating resources, Scotland may not be the winner, and if it did lead to independence, the crowd pleasing choice woukd be for rUK to grind out the best possibke deal for Engkand

  219. John on said:

    anonymous: They will be uber loyal to the party line, a little nationalist laager at Westminster, intent and focussed on causing division, fomenting English nationalism and bound together by their ardent intensity to break up the UK.

    I disagree with this. On the contrary, I think the more influence and clout the SNP has at Westminster the less likely there will be a desire for another referendum on independence on the part of its current leadership.

    These shrill warnings amount to scaremongering and highlight a grievous lack of understanding when it comes to the locus of the huge political shift to the SNP. I maintain that Sturgeon is to the left of many within her own party, and she also has to keep the diehards on board, hence her less than unequivocal pledge not to seek another referendum anytime soon.

    The huge wave of popularity she’s riding will have to crash against reality at some point, when I think the SNP will start to crack at the margins between its more moderate wing and the assorted wing nuts who will settle for nothing less than full independence. The emphasis for the left in England at this point is how to engage with this phenomenon rather than attack it.

    The political terrain in Scotland has changed and it won’t be changing back again anytime soon.

  220. anonymous on said:

    John,

    I can’t see the SNP having any influence or clout at Westminster.

    They either back Labour without preconditions or ultimately end up voting with the Tories to get Labour out.

    The nats strategy is to continue to drive a wedge between Scotland and the UK, further fuel a sense of resentment in Scotland against the English, antagonise the English into a response, and generally build up a greater head of steam for another independence referendum when they think the time is right.

    The English left have to grasp the fact that the SNP are not socialists, and even their left wing element are nationalists first and socialists last.

    The idea of finding common ground with them is a non starter. They are not to be trusted.

  221. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    I don’t see how the left can engage with a post-rational force that is all things to all people, and which uses emotion to deny the legitimacy of dissenting voices.

    The mix of incompatible political programs and forces cannot be reconciled.

    What is more, the political reality in England also needs to be factored in, which from the conversations I have had with people is on the cusp of taking an anti Scottish turn

  222. Uncle Albert on said:

    John: The emphasis for the left in England at this point is how to engage with this phenomenon rather than attack it.

    Quite right, John.

    Of course, right up until the polls close on May 7th Miliband has to maintain that he’s aiming for a majority. After that moment the game changes.

    The danger then for “the most left Labour party leader since Foot” is destablisation by the Progress/Blairite brigade. Murphy and co will attempt to prevent any engagement with a popular thrust for a fairer deal for ordinary people. The Blairite Right (supported by the media) will manifest their opposition to Miliband as outrage at the prospect of support from any non-Labour (i.e. SNP) anti-austerity MPs.

    If Miliband wants to hold it together he’ll have to appeal over the heads of the PLP Blairites and non-progressive elements in SNP leadership directly to the electorate.

    In the meantime the best we can do is ensure Murphy is defeated (he will be dependent on Tory votes) and that his defeat and Scottish Labour’s Pasok-like demise is correctly linked, not to “the most left Labour party leader since Foot” but to the Blairite ‘red-Tory’ policies that have done so much to erode Labour’s traditional support.

  223. jim mclean on said:

    Scottish Labour’s demise can also be laid at the door of Westminster and Holyrood who have strangled local authorities of finance making Scottish local authorities impotent, unable to deliver basic services, Labour’s failure, and Murphy can wash his hands off this one, was not informing the public of what was happening and that the election of a town dog catcher in Texas probably has more democratic relevance than electing a Scottish Councillor.

  224. Andy Newman on said:

    Uncle Albert,

    This is nonsense as you are seeking to prescibe how political developments will pan out without having the capacity to infuence them.

    One of the essential problems is that the SNP’s policies dont match their own rhetoric. Andthey are therefore they are inherently seeking to crash the situation and play to populist anti English sentiment

  225. Uncle Albert on said:

    Andy Newman: I don’t see how the left can engage with a post-rational force

    This is how the anti-Miliband, Blairite narrative is being established.

    Jim Murphy, the courageous “strong leader” has faced down “nationalist thugs” from the “dark side”.*

    And to defeat the menace Labour must request the support of “Tory and Lib Dem voters”.

    For the Blairites the sinister threat makes it unthinkable to enter into any sort of accommodation with the swivel-eyed, anti-austerity-crazed SNP. Better to have a Tory government…

    * http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2015/05/04/nationalist-thugs-in-scotland-will-boost-scottish-labours-vote/

  226. anonymous on said:

    Uncle Albert,

    Can I ask when you started to take a serious interest in the SNP?

  227. Andy Newman on said:

    Uncle Albert,

    That all fails on the fact we know the SNP are not anti-austerity, and that the SNP would really rather have a Tory than Labour government

  228. anonymous on said:

    #259

    Uncle Albert

    ‘In the meantime the best we can do is ensure Murphy is defeated (he will be dependent on Tory votes)’

    ##

    ‘The SNP candidate standing against Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in East Renfrewshire has sent out a letter to identified Tory voters, asking them to lend their support to the Nationalists instead – because the SNP “understands” Conservative party values, concerns and priorities.’

    http://labourlist.org/2015/05/snp-appeal-to-tory-voters-we-are-just-like-you/

  229. jim mclean on said:

    Funny thing, Jim Murphy was elected leader of the Labour party by the members of the Labour Party and Nicola Sturgeon was not elected as leader but appointed.

  230. Uncle Albert on said:

    Andy Newman: the SNP are not anti-austerity,

    Nor is Scottish Labour. Nor is rUK Labour.

    But let’s not forget the electorate.

    Murphy has even managed to mention socialism. Not, it must be accepted, because of a late-in-life conversion. It is now the electorate who are leading the politicians. Even Cameron delivered a banker-bashing speech today in Bath.

    If “the most left Labour party leader since Foot” is to realise any worthwhile ambitions as a Prime Minister he is going to have to find a way to engage with progressive opinion within the Labour Party and opposed to the Labour Party.

    The Blairites are already mobilising to prevent a broad anti-Tory coalition – hence this evening’s briefings to the media: “Senior Labour figures are considering the option of forming a minority coalition with the Liberal Democrats”.
    Your ham-fistedly wrong dismissal of the Scottish electorate as a “a post-rational force” only assists the Blairites with their campaign to marginalise whatever progressive ambitions Miliband might harbour.

  231. ‘ the most left Labour party leader since Foot ‘ may well be the faintest praise I have heard for a long time when you think about who the competition has been ..

  232. Uncle Albert: The Blairites are already mobilising to prevent a broad anti-Tory coalition – hence this evening’s briefings to the media: “Senior Labour figures are considering the option of forming a minority coalition with the Liberal Democrats”.
    Your ham-fistedly wrong dismissal of the Scottish electorate as a “a post-rational force” only assists the Blairites with their campaign to marginalise whatever progressive ambitions Miliband might harbour.

    Well we don’t at this stage know how things will align, but we do know that any possible progressive or centre-left government would be led by the Labour Party, and the biggest single component would be the parliamentary Labour Party.

    The SNP have already said that they would abstain on matters which only affect England, unless there is an impact on Scotland, this means that coalition would be impossibe anyway, as it would leave Labour unable to deliver its programme. Furthermore, Sturgeon’s economic policy positions are entirely rhetorical, and therefore designed to take credit for whatever she approves,of, which playing to the gallery about anything that is difficult.

    The difficulty with the SNP is that they have positioned themselves as an entirely sectional party, and also one whose policies are a slippery as soap. So that they can both try to embarrass Labour by presenting a left face, while quiety preferring a Tory goverment that will further the caue of division and seperation

  233. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: The SNP have already said that they would abstain on matters which only affect England, unless there is an impact on Scotland, this means that coalition would be impossibe anyway, as it would leave Labour unable to deliver its programme.

    I was under the impression that the SNP had abandoned this position. Have they reiterated it?

  234. John Grimshaw on said:

    anonymous: ‘The SNP candidate standing against Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in East Renfrewshire has sent out a letter to identified Tory voters, asking them to lend their support to the Nationalists instead – because the SNP “understands” Conservative party values, concerns and priorities.’

    Surely there is going to be a lot of this going on. In Scotland where the Tories can only win the one seat in the Borders, then their supporters elsewhere are a “resource” to be appealed to. I suspect they are unlikely to vote SNP, whatever the SNP think or say because Tories are pro-Union. Some may very well vote Murphy as his policies may sit nicely with them, then again they may not be able to swallow voting Labour. Let’s face it many politicians of whatever hue are not so principled that they would rule out votes from their “opposition” if it meant them getting a better chance of being elected.

    How much of this will go on in England? In Sheffield Hallam where a relative is campaigning for Labour, she knows that the Tories are telling their supporters to vote Lib-Dem to keep Clegg in. In Hazel Grove across the hills, which has been Liberal for some while, my mother is telling me she is voting Liberal to keep the Tories out.

  235. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Comrades: thirty-five years ago today – 5 May 1980 – I went to, and joined, my first Labour Party Young socialist meeting and four weeks later I joined the Militant Tendency/CWI and here I am still a member of the CWI, wonderful in it.

    POST 266 – Jim McLean with all the due respect I have you do talk bollocks at times. Nicola Sturgeon officially launched her campaign for leadership for the SNP after Salmond resign. Nobody challenged her because everybody in the SNP saw her as the only heir to Salmond. Sturgeon announced that she would resign as Depute Leader, triggering a concurrent depute leadership election. Nominations for the SNP leadership closed on 15 October, with Sturgeon confirmed as the only candidate. This left her poised to take the leadership unopposed at its Autumn Conference in November. Sturgeon was formally acclaimed as the first female Leader of the Scottish National Party on 14 November 2014 at the Autumn Conference in Perth, with Hosie as her depute. This also effectively made her First Minister in waiting, given the SNP’s absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament. I am being continually accused on here as to looking through the prism of my small, ‘cultist’, organisation – the Socialist Party Scotland – yet I find the same can be said for the Labour Party fellow travellers who distort the reality that takes place in Scotland even though they live in Scotland. I will see you all after the election where I will be campaigning in Glasgow for one of the Scottish TUSC candidates on Thursday.

  236. Sam64 on said:

    An organisation called Swap the Vote http://voteswap.org/ through social media now exists to try match Labour and Green voters within the overriding aim of keeping the Tories out. I am still waiting on my offer to vote Green in Liverpool Riverside (rock solid Labour) in return for a Labour vote in a Labour marginal – I am thinking of Wirral West where Tory Esther McVey is in trouble, but anywhere to this end would do.

  237. Andy Newman on said:

    John Grimshaw: In Hazel Grove across the hills, which has been Liberal for some while, my mother is telling me she is voting Liberal to keep the Tories out.

    How did that work out in 2010?

  238. Andy Newman on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    This is what Sturgeon said:

    “And we will make our voices heard, when appropriate, by voting on matters which affect England but which also impact on Scotland financially.
    “We will vote on nominally English matters at each and every opportunity when Scotland’s national and economic interests are directly affected.

    This means that for all devolved matters which do not have a financial impact, whether direct (the budget) or indirect (Barnett) on Scotland, then the SNP will abstain, thus leaving Labour unable to – for example – lower tuition fees

  239. Sam64 on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Presumably Sturgeon was talking about a hung parliament with a number of non-aligned parties voting on legislation piecemeal, the largest party setting the legislative agenda, i.e. the most likely outcome after Thursday – the intelligent press, the Guardian, seems primarily interested in the a second election this year that eventuates when this unstable and unsustainable scenario breaks down. Now if Labour were to come to an organised accommodation with the SNP, a coalition post Thursday, as most progressive people in this country want, then, arguably, Sturgeon would be entitled to change her tune and say that in the interests of the priority of a wider anti austerity coalition it would be legitimate for SNP MPs to vote on English matters.

  240. Sam64 on said:

    Actually, thinking about it, another Tory – LD coalition is quite possible. Clegg made that quite clear on the radio this morning. However, there are all sorts of rumours that if Cameron fails to get at least close to an outright Tory majority, the knives will be out for him and he’ll be replaced by another well known old Etonian prick of a more right wing hue making it difficult for even Clegg to cosy up in cabinent. So who knows.

  241. John on said:

    Andy Newman: the SNP will abstain, thus leaving Labour unable to – for example – lower tuition fees

    Tuition fees affect students all across the UK. Students from Scotland are materially impacted by tuition fees in England, as many study there, so I think here you’re guilty of a tendentious rendering of Sturgeon’s likely role as a progressive voice at Westminster.

    As I said previously, attacking the SNP is an exercise in tilting at windmills. It’s about engaging constructively with them rather than giving credence to the kind of anti Scottish rhetoric and sentiment expressed in the right wing press. The SNP’s democratic mandate on May 8 will be every bit as legitimate as Labour’s. Labour needs to get its head round that, else pander to a tide of establishment hysteria over an electorate in Scotland that refuses to know its place.

  242. anonymous on said:

    #277

    ‘It’s about engaging constructively with them’

    ###

    You simply have no idea bout the nature of the beast you are dealing with.

    Their objectives are not your objectives.

  243. anonymous on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    The letter is as clear an exposition of the duplicity and hypocrisy of the SNP, and the naivety of their fellow travellers, as you could wish for.

  244. Andy Newman on said:

    John: Tuition fees affect students all across the UK. Students from Scotland are materially impacted by tuition fees in England, as many study there, so I think here you’re guilty of a tendentious rendering of Sturgeon’s likely role as a progressive voice at Westminster.

    The responsibility lies with Sturgeon and the SNP to make clear what they mean, the explicit meaning of her actual words is that the SNP would abstain on English issues where the equivalent matters are devolved to the Scottish parliament, unless they have a financial effect on Scotland. Education is a devolved matter.

  245. Andy Newman on said:

    John: think here you’re guilty of a tendentious rendering of Sturgeon’s likely role as a progressive voice at Westminster.

    Where is the substance to this “progressive role”?

    They are the party of Brian Souter, and the party that has frozen council tax for donkey’s years.

    The problem is that they are a sectional party, representing a sectional interest within the UK, and worse than that they don’t even want the outcome to succeed.

  246. John on said:

    Andy Newman: They are the party of Brian Souter, and the party that has frozen council tax for donkey’s years.

    Desperate stuff. Labour have supported the council tax freeze and as for dodgy supporters, where do we start when it comes to Labour, the party responsible for British participations in the most brutal and barbarous imperialist war in modern history.

    I think you need to spend some time reflecting on the history of your party. You think people in Scotland are likely to forget or forgive Labour entering a coalition with the Tories against independence? This was a low point among many in Labour’s recent history. In many respects, the electoral hiding they are about to receive is poetic justice.

  247. anonymous on said:

    ‘You think people in Scotland are likely to forget or forgive Labour entering a coalition with the Tories against independence?’

    ##

    The people of Scotland voted against independence.

    And for all your current posturing the previous SNP government at Holyrood was only kept in power because of the arrangement they had with the Tories.

    The SNP are more than happy to work with the Tories if it suits their purpose.

  248. John: You think people in Scotland are likely to forget or forgive Labour entering a coalition with the Tories against independence?

    No John, I just don’t get it. I have shared platforms with Conservatives, both over specific single issues, like opposing local hospital closures, but also over broader issues like opposing the change to AV voting.

    Politics often involves working with people with whom we disagree to achieve outcomes for the common good.

    There is a difference between agreeing over a single issue, and agreeing over all issues.

    With hindsight, it would have been better to run a separate labour movement no campaign, but having common ground with the Conservatives over the union is not the same as being a Conservative.

    John: Desperate stuff. Labour have supported the council tax freeze and as for dodgy supporters, where do we start when it comes to Labour, the party responsible for British participations in the most brutal and barbarous imperialist war in modern history.

    Well here is the paradox though, isn’t it? Do you really think that Labour is “responsible” for the history of British imperialism? Is it not more accurate to say that Labour has always had a subaltern attitude to the prevailing imperial interests of British capitalism, and within that has there not always been an anti-imperialist minority?

    But within that, was it not Labour that gave independence to India? Was it not Labour who kept the Uk out of the Vietnam war? Was it not Labour who more recently broke the pattern by not backing intervention in Syria?

    Whatever unsavory friends you may think that Labour may have, it is still the party linked to organised labour, and it is a party that seeks to acheive social justice, whereas the SNP seeks to achieve the promotion of the sectional interest of Scottish people.

  249. Andy Newman on said:

    John: In many respects, the electoral hiding they are about to receive is poetic justice.

    It is not the Labour Party who will suffer if there is a continued Conservative government, it will be the people on zero hour contracts, the people paying the bedroom tax, the people who will fail to get the NHS care they need, etc.

    the political disconnect is that in Scotland politics seems to have become divorced from achievable practical outcomes, and instead has become wrapped up in rhetoric and dreams of who will “speak up for Scotland”. This is playing England against Scotland, instead of building on common values for social justice.

  250. Omar on said:

    Andy Newman: This is playing England against Scotland, instead of building on common values for social justice.

    Of course, Andy, the new generation of the Scottish working class have taken a good look and decided they were not the beneficiaries of these alleged “common values” under Labour, and you paid a dear price for it regionally. And just to reinforce how out of touch you were with the same working class, you elected a right-winger like Jim Murphy to lead the party in a region you desperately need to win seats in, for which, if the polls are correct, you’ll be even more severely punished by the Scottish working class.
    The combination of hubris and political amateurishness that Labour has put on display in Scotland over the last 10-15 years is the reason the party faces implosion in a region that it used to never have to worry about electorally. This latest intervention by Brown reeks of desperation. It’s actually quite pathetic.

  251. Omar,

    Maybe. But where dies that get us?

    Moving to supporting the SNP is a move towards abandoning class politics altogether, and indeed we saw in the Indyref the way the Yes campaign sought to characterise any rational critique of their over optimistic snake oil as “project fear” or “talking down Scotland”

    The result will be a cul de sac for those seeking social justice in Scotland

  252. Noah on said:

    John: a tide of establishment hysteria over an electorate in Scotland that refuses to know its place.

    The purpose of the establishment hysteria is to reduce the Labour vote in England, by putting across- as the Sun said this morning- that a Labour government would be ‘run by Scotland.’

    That line only has to be swallowed by a few percent of potential Labour voters in order to give Cameron a plurality of MPs on Friday.

    What we have is a political pincer movement, with Scottish Nationalism north of the border and English nationalism being used south of the border, to crush Labour in between. Murdoch of course is blatantly wielding both jaws of the pincer.

  253. jim mclean on said:

    Of course when the drug money moved it was clear there was something in the wind.

  254. John on said:

    Andy Newman: Moving to supporting the SNP is a move towards abandoning class politics altogether

    It is Labour who abandoned class politics not the Scottish working class. They have merely responded and your shrill pronouncements to the contrary are astoundingly crass and self serving. Very disappointing, it has to be said.

    As Omar rightly states above, the election of arch-Blairite Jim Murphy as leader in Scotland proves that Labour still has some way to travel before it even begins to claw back some of the huge ground it has lost. It does not have the divine right to the support and loyalty of working class voters just because trade unions are affiliated to it. This is form over content.

    I for one am looking forward to Labour being decimated at the polls in Scotland on Thursday, as I am sure will people in Iraq, who frankly concern me more than any number of Labour apparatchiks.

  255. John on said:

    Noah: Murdoch of course is blatantly wielding both jaws of the pincer.

    I’m afraid politics is more complex than this. Murdoch’s support for Labour during the Blair years, did it prevent you voting Labour then?

  256. Noah on said:

    John: Murdoch’s support for Labour during the Blair years, did it prevent you voting Labour then?

    There was more than one election when I couldn’t bring myself to vote Labour during that period. Murdoch’s involvement was far from being the only factor but it was part of the mix.

  257. Noah on said:

    John: I for one am looking forward to Labour being decimated at the polls in Scotland on Thursday, as I am sure will people in Iraq,

    Another Tory government in the UK would be definitely worse for the Middle East than would a Labour government led by Miliband.

  258. anonymous on said:

    #291

    ‘I for one am looking forward to Labour being decimated at the polls in Scotland on Thursday,’

    ###

    And are you looking forward to having a Tory government?

  259. John on said:

    anonymous: And are you looking forward to having a Tory government?

    I’m looking forward to an anti Tory majority at Westminster.

  260. John on said:

    Noah: Another Tory government in the UK would be definitely worse for the Middle East than would a Labour government led by Miliband.

    You think there’s no reason to welcome the electoral punishment of one of the most passionate cheerleaders of the Iraq War, Jim Murphy? As an anti imperialist I would hope so Noah. Pro Israel, pro market, pro Trident, pro war – tell me what’s progressive about any of that?

  261. Noah on said:

    John: You think there’s no reason to welcome the electoral punishment of one of the most passionate cheerleaders of the Iraq War, Jim Murphy?

    On a UK level, the person who receives ‘electoral punishment’ by a wipeout of Labour north of the border is Ed Miliband, not Jim Murphy. And the the lesson that will be imbibed will be that Labour’s failure to win a majority (or even maybe a plurality) is due to having a leader who is too left wing.

    On a Scottish level, the eclipse of the party of the organised working class (for all its very many faults) by parochial nationalism is hardly to be celebrated.

    In terms of international policy, there is now (due to Miliband) a perceptible difference between Labour and Tory, with the Conservatives markedly worse.

    Fewer Labour MPs makes the Tories relatively stronger, and gives them a better chance of hanging onto power, or surging back to power after another (early) election.

    So no, I don’t welcome the prospect of the Labour Party losing several dozen MPs.

  262. anonymous on said:

    John,

    Why do you regard the SNP as anti Tory?

    That doesn’t make sense.

    The SNP were happy to work with Annabel Goldie to retain power at Holyrood.

    The SNP candidate in East Renfrewshire is on record as saying that the SNP share the same values as the Tories.

    And most importantly, a Tory government at Westminster will help the SNP achieve their goal, their only goal, Scottish independence.

  263. Omar on said:

    Andy Newman: Maybe. But where dies that get us?

    Where it gets us is hopefully a coalition in which Labour has to enact more progressive policies, like ending austerity, than in the recent past in order to ensure support from their coalition partners. There’s no doubt in my mind that Nicola Sturgeon is a much more progressive force than you and other scaremongers give her credit for. Scots have not bought snake oil but have chosen to support a party that is more progressive and anti-austerity than Labour have so far demonstrated.

  264. John on said:

    Omar: Where it gets us is hopefully a coalition in which Labour has to enact more progressive policies, like ending austerity, than in the recent past in order to ensure support from their coalition partners.

    Exactly.

  265. Andy Newman on said:

    Omar: Where it gets us is hopefully a coalition in which Labour has to enact more progressive policies, like ending austerity, than in the recent past in order to ensure support from their coalition partners.

    That won’t happen.

  266. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: How did that work out in 2010?

    My mother’s position is not my position Andy. If I was still living there I would vote Labour. My point is that in such a close run election there is going to be a lot of tactical voting and so I wouldn’t always read too much into which grubby way politicians are trying to get a majority. Or indeed which way voters are trying to get out their most hated other party. If I were in Scotland I would vote Labour or TUSC depending on the facts on the ground.

  267. anonymous on said:

    John,

    Because there is sufficient disparity between their politics to make that credible.

    Because it wouldn’t suit the purposes of the Labour Party for there to be a Tory government, nor vice versa.

    And because I cannot envisage circumstances ever arising where either of them would reach an agreement to allow one to govern with the support of the other.

  268. John on said:

    anonymous: Because there is sufficient disparity between their politics to make that credible.

    Really? Did the past two decades not happen? Imperialist wars, Trident, privatisation, poverty pay and casualisation of labour, welfare reform, anti trade union legislation, pro Atlantic Alliance, etc, etc.

    I believe Nicola Sturgeon, as with Ed Miliband, is to the left of many within her party. I also believe that the more influence she and the SNP have at Westminster the less likely we will see another referendum on Scottish independence. I don’t think the SNP will continue to remain a united party for that much longer. There will be a split between the more moderate and sensible wing and the assorted diehard wing nuts that have filled its ranks since the referendum.

    I could be wrong, but this is how I see it. I also think that long term the working class in Scotland and throughout the UK would be better off with the electoral annihilation of the Blairites in Scotland.

  269. anonymous on said:

    John,

    You appear to think that getting rid of Blairites will allow you to change the past, to undo the wrongs they are responsible for. Your wrong.

    The price to be paid for getting rid of Blairite MPs and replacing them with SNP drones is a Tory government.

    That’s too high a price to pay. It’s self indulgence.

    And you’re wrong about the SNP. You don’t understand what they’re about or how they operate.

  270. Sam64 on said:

    John,

    ‘assorted diehard wing nuts that have filled its ranks since the referendum’.

    A harsh assessment of your countrymen and women, many young and hitherto apolitical. Is that really how you’d characterise the influx of new SNP members over the last 12 months?

    Doesn’t say much for the supposed Scottish democratic renaissance. It’s perhaps too easy to sneer.

  271. Two things strike me about the debate on this particular thread.

    The first is attitude of Labour supporters towards those voting SNP in Scotland. Perhaps it is not meant to be but it is an attitude that is both patronising and reeking of paternalism. This manifests itself in comments like the Scots electorate has become emotional, or self-indulgent or has fallen for the snake oil salesmen of the SNP. In effect many on here must assume that the majority of Scottish voters have abandoned all critical facilities’ and been consumed with a temporary madness, brought on presumably by too much heather, tartan and shortbread during the referendum campaign. It is of course insulting and indicative of an attitude endemic in the Labour Party up here that has for so long seen Scotland as its personal fiefdom. When those parties of the Union spoke during the referendum about staying within the UK as an integral part of the family of nations what they really meant was, “stay, but do as you have always done, don’t rock the boat.” When hundreds of thousands look like they will vote SNP, (including incidentally tens of thousands of those who voted No) then it is a different story. The actress Elaine C smith described this attitude last year as, “Vote Labour, shut up and get to the back of the bus.”

    There appears to be a complete lack of analysis as to why we are where we are in terms of why Labour’s support has collapsed and also an acceptance it seems of the rhetoric of the right in England and Wales which will argue any Labour Government supported by the SNP lacks legitimacy. Ironically, the greatest advocates of Scottish Independence during this campaign have not been the Sturgeons and the Salmonds but the Milibands and the Camerons and all those rushing to paint the Scots, who voted to remain part of the UK but are choosing to vote in large numbers for the SNP as some kind of swivel–eyed loonies marching south to destroy Britannia.

    My second point is that an analysis of the actual electoral position has been by and large completely ignored during this debate. The uncomfortable truth for Labour and its supporters is not that it would be the SNP who by taking Labour seats by the score in Scotland deny Ed Miliband his rightful place in 10 Downing Street, but that the party in England and Wales has once again failed to convince enough people to vote for it.

    Whilst of course the polls could be wrong, it looks like Labour are on target for somewhere between 250 and 270 seats…in the best case scenario still around 50 or so seats short of the required majority they would need to win outright. That means that even if Labour was to replicate its fantastic result in Scotland of 2010 and return 41 MP’s then it would still not be enough for a majority.

    Why is it that after 5 years of an austerity driven Con/Dem Government that Labour cannot gain a majority? The answer for me lies not in attacking the SNP or accusing Scots voters of self-indulgence but in recognising that the deliberate Blairite strategy of abandoning the core working class vote in pursuit of a narrow and fluid demographic of middle income voters has come home to roost. What is noticeably lacking in most of the discussions on Labour’s vote is that in the poorest parts of our towns and cities across the UK, the majority of people will not vote at all. These people used to be the bedrock of Labour’s support.  It is those communities abandoned by Labour that the key to their future electoral success lies. In Scotland, many of those from those same type of communities were re-engaged and re-energised during the referendum campaign and they see Labour as part of the problem, not the solution. They see voting for the SNP as a way to hold
    a minority Labour administration to account. If Labour fails to form that administration then the blame cannot be laid at their door.

  272. John on said:

    Sam64: A harsh assessment of your countrymen and women, many young and hitherto apolitical. Is that really how you’d characterise the influx of new SNP members over the last 12 months?

    I was speaking figuratively, of course. Not all the SNP’s new members fall into this category but there’s no doubt that a significant number do – those for whom independence is an end in itself.

    The point is that the SNP’s rise inevitably precedes a fall in terms of its inability to meet the expectations being placed in it. It is very much a party of mixed ideas, politics, and vision, which cannot obtain over the longer term. The priority for the left in England is how to engage with its more moderate and progressive wing, rather than treating it as if the Scots are on the verge of mounting an invasion of Westminster.

    Labour only has itself to blame for the huge shift that has taken place in Scotland, yet people on here prefer to attribute it a post rational fever of some sort. This is the product of a reductive analysis of the locus of the SNP’s current popularity.

  273. anonymous on said:

    #35
    This manifests itself in comments like the Scots electorate has become emotional or self-indulgent or has fallen for the snake oil salesmen of the SNP’

    ######

    ‘Revealed: Emotion, not logic, lies behind the SNP surge say experts’

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/revealed-emotion-not-logic-lies-behind-the-snp-surge-say-experts.124891889

    The accusation of self indulgence is against those wallowing in schadenfreude at the prospect of Labour MPs losing their seats to the SNP when the price to be paid is the increased likelihood of a Tory government. That IS self indulgence.

    I’m surprised that you can’t accept that the SNP are snake oil salesmen. I don’t think it could be any more obvious.

  274. Noah on said:

    GM: Why is it that after 5 years of an austerity driven Con/Dem Government that Labour cannot gain a majority?

    Your analysis seems to depend on the assumption that Labour should naturally be able to defeat such a government (possibly even without Scottish votes?) so long as it pitches to its core working class base.

    However, as the experience of the Thatcher period indicates- especially that of the 1983 general election- that is, sadly, an utterly fallacious assumption.

    The key problem which the Labour Party faces in trying to get elected is that the better its policies, the more united and determined are the capitalist establishment and media in their machinations to keep it out of office.

    Even in the early 1980s, when the level of working class political consciousness and organisation was distinctly higher than it is now, those machinations scored notable successes. It would be unrealistic to expect them not to be making an impact nowadays.

  275. Andy Newman on said:

    Noah,

    Not only the counter arguments and dirty tricks from Labour’s opponents, but there is no special entitlement for Labour to convince working class voters, and those who most identify with Labour may only be a minority

  276. [Comment deleted at the request of the commenter – GM, don’t be so hard on yourself; it takes time to learn the quirks of a site like this 🙂

    Tony]

  277. Noah

    All of that is true to one degree or other, however the turnout trend in General Elections since 1992 has been downwards. The vast majority of those abstentions have come in what could reasonably be described as working class areas. All of your arguments were equally applicable during every election Labour has ever contested during its history. What the Labour right would have referred to as “pragmatism” (i.e. appealing to a different demographic)  may have been successful in the short-term objective of getting Blair elected, but it appears that is at the cost of Labour’s core support. This is what lies behind Labour’s disintegration in Scotland…not self-indulgent nationalism.

  278. anonymous…‘Revealed: Emotion, not logic, lies behind the SNP surge say experts’

    If you click the link you supplied you will find that the focus group surveyed provided these telling insights ;

    “Labour, both groups agree, are no longer true to their founding principles. “They’re like a band, I liked their first few albums, but…” says one member of the Glasgow session. Adopting the analogy, the moderator asks when they last put out a decent record. “When John Smith was there,” says another of the ex-Labour voters. “It’s been downhill since then.”

    “One member of the first group has heard her local Labour MSP is great, but the party don’t even get credit for that. “What she wants seems to be more what the SNP is going for at the moment,” she remarks. “Labour are more like the Tories.”

    “The responses may explain why Scottish Labour’s messaging has fallen flat. Why bother voting Labour to keep out the Tories if there is little that sets them apart? “

  279. John on said:

    Noah: However, as the experience of the Thatcher period indicates- especially that of the 1983 general election- that is, sadly, an utterly fallacious assumption.

    If we accept that progressive politics starts at a clear disadvantage, opposed by a hostile, conservative establishment, media, and business elite, then pandering to it by embracing its interests is a lose-lose. It’s akin to accepting dominant position of a mugger by letting him pick your pocket.

    The word is fight, struggle, taking your message to the masses in the knowledge that what you are selling is in their interests. What you are proposing is Blairism, a Thatcherite deviation from core Labour values in order to win elections.

    History records that whatever Labour won under Blair and his gang, it is nothing to what Labour has lost.

  280. anonymous on said:

    GM,

    The point the research is making though is that those responses are based on emotion rather than reason or reality.

  281. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    No, you paradoxically put too much weight on elections, and too little weight on governments.

    Which government we have matters, and we need a Labour victory.

    But important shifts in politics and the scope of what is and is not possible happen between elections

  282. Noah on said:

    John: What you are proposing is Blairism, a Thatcherite deviation from core Labour values in order to win elections.

    Far from it. My view is that the 1983 Labour manifesto was the best overall policy declaration from a major UK political party in my lifetime. But I don’t think that John Major’s dictum of ‘understand less, condemn more’ is very helpful in trying to analyse political processes.

    Having lived through the 1980s as an activist, facing an onslaught of media hysteria and manipulation including the hyped-up creation of the SDP to split the Labour vote, I can comprehend why the Labour Party subsequently started going into a headlong and humiliating political retreat, culminating in Blairism.

    But now in Ed Miliband we have a Labour leader who has dared to move in the other direction. The overwhelming media invective and manipulation against him- and Labour- is precisely because he is moving Labour away from Blairism.

  283. John Grimshaw on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    There are 73 seats in London as against 59 in Scotland. Given the rising population in London and the same trend, then at the next boundary reorganisation in 2018, Labour should win more.

  284. anonymous,

    You don’t think the current situation might have something to do with the fact that the “3 main parties” have all spent recent years/decades spectacularly discrediting themselves? Or that the SNP is quite clearly outflanking Labour on the left (whether you think they’re sincere or not, that’s what they’re successfully doing, especially since Sturgeon became leader). The fact that it isn’t happening to the same extent in England is because there isn’t as established an alternative to the Tories/Labour/LibDems as there is in Scotland. Yet.

    There is nothing irrational about the growth of support for the SNP under these circumstances.

    As for Geraldine O’Riordan, her comments reek of condescension, and not just to Scots but to “ordinary people” (as politicians and journalists often refer to us, as if they’re something special). How many times have we heard this crap before to dismiss a given group (women and the working class would be two obvious examples)?:

    ‘They don’t really understand politics. They don’t make informed, rational choices like we do. It’s all just emotion with them.”

    Patronising shit is all it is. You think she’s a being of pure rationality, unswayed by the petty emotions that affect the thinking of lesser humans? Seriously, where in that article is there the slightest hint of evidence for her assertion? It’s an interpretation, likely shaped by her own unexamined assumptions, not a scientifically proven fact.

    She talks of “narratives”:

    1) “that the LibDems sold out to take their place in Government”
    2) “The Tories are… the party of big business and the rich, with the toxic legacy of Thatcher”
    3) “Labour… are no longer true to their founding principles”

    Sure, they contain value judgements, but that’s inherent in any political opinion. None of them are rationally indefensible, or opposed to “reason or reality”.

  285. anonymous on said:

    JN,

    Paul Waugh @paulwaugh · 13 hrs 13 hours ago

    Tory sources tell @BBCAllegra they fear they would have been ‘trounced’ by Labour in this election but for the SNP.

    ###

    So, good news for the Tories and good news for the SNP.

  286. Andy Newman on said:

    JN,

    OK, let us look at irrational claims from the SNP during the Indy ref:

    Inability to distinguish between assets and institutions.

    Claims that iScotland could have currency union with rUK. Even though that would be unacceptable to rUK.

    Claims that iScotland would continue with EU membership, even though there was no mechanism in the EU constitution, and as an accession state Scotland would lack the stable pre-existing institutions to satisfy the requirements of the acquis.

    Any attempt to scrutinise these claims was met with a wall of denial and claims of “talking Scotland down” or promoting fear.

    In this general election the SNP has relied on rhetoric about opposing austerity which is not matched by their own actually existing cautious economic policy. They have discounted the potential difficulty of the Tories benefitting from Labour losing seats and votes in Scotland, and the possible attempt by the Tories to refuse to relinquish power if they are the largest party, and the political difficulty of talk of “locking the Tories out of power”.

    It is clear that no party with say 50 seats can dictate the economic policy to a party with say 270 seats. This could only be envisaged at the cost of splitting the larger party. This isn’t going to happen, and is political posturing by the SNP ,

  287. Omar on said:

    Andy Newman: They have discounted the potential difficulty of the Tories benefitting from Labour losing seats and votes in Scotland,

    At the end of the day it didn’t matter, Andy. Milliband and Balls-Up simply couldn’t put together a coherent critique of a government that should have been sitting ducks after 5 relentless years of austerity. Labour has let down the poor and working-class of this country badly.

  288. jim mclean on said:

    Omar,

    No they did not, Labour were working on an economic and social campaign and the Tories played the SNP like a well tuned fiddle and won a majority as the voice of English Nationalism.

  289. Noah on said:

    jim mclean: the Tories played the SNP like a well tuned fiddle

    “In Australia, Crosby and his longtime business partner and collaborator Mark Textor also honed their electoral technique of “wedge politics”: finding an issue that can be exploited to split off an opponent’s traditional supporters. With typical shrewdness and ruthlessness, Crosby identified the surge of Scottish nationalism in recent years as a wedge that could be used against Labour, both in Scotland and in England.
    Crosby has a keen, almost flirtatious, appreciation of smaller parties that undermine his clients’ main opponents. When Jenny Jones was the Green party candidate for mayor of London in 2012, she remembers: “We were shut up together in green rooms from time to time. He gave me a couple of pieces of [unsolicited] advice – he said I should move my campaign to the left.”
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/08/lynton-crosby-wedge-politics-general-election-tories

    “Every vote mattered in the referendum and, unusually, almost every vote can count in this election, too. Which makes it all the more galling that Cameron and Lynton Crosby have run a campaign encouraging Scots to vote SNP. Each time they raise the spectre of a Labour government dependent upon SNP support, a small cheer is heard at SNP HQ. This, after all, is the most popular election outcome in Scotland. A Labour government backed and ‘kept honest’ by ‘Scotland’s voice’. English voters might fear this; their Scottish counterparts welcome it. To the extent that such an outcome causes ‘chaos’, it is a chaos that has been encouraged by the Conservative and Unionist party.”
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9521672/this-election-has-been-all-about-scotland/

  290. Omar on said:

    jim mclean,

    Jim, the onus is on Labour to make the case for why they should be first choice in the rest of the UK. Long before this SNP business they should have had England sewn up with the number of openings the Tories gave them. They simply didn’t have the smarts to exploit it or an inspiring leader to deliver the message convincingly. Simples.

  291. John on said:

    Omar: Jim, the onus is on Labour to make the case for why they should be first choice in the rest of the UK.

    In hindsight any chance Labour may have had in Scotland was utterly destroyed by its decision to coalition with the Tories in Better Together. This was the straw. I think people, including me, have underestimated the impact this had in Scotland. It was viewed as further evidence of the extent to which Labour had lost any vestige of association with the working class, despite the Labour manifesto and undoubtedly progressive policies under Ed. The shift took years to happen. It will likely take years to reverse.

  292. P Spence on said:

    The Tories and their press attack dogs have played a blinder fracturing the opposition with nationalism and UKIP xenophobia, while destroying the Libdems, and with the economy growing OKish this result was predictable.

    Nationalism is the enemy of class politics and has to be confronted and not pandered to. The Referendum in 2014 should never have been conceded and it is now clear only served the interests of the English ruling class and Scottish opportunists.

    I predict Cameron will move quickly to give Scotland independence and exclude Scottish MPs from the Commons: locking in Tory hegemony in England. The capitalists in the City will not blanch and the English new nationalists will be free to claw back subsidies and benefits that go to de-industrialised Scotland .

  293. Noah on said:

    Omar: they should have had England sewn up with the number of openings the Tories gave them. They simply didn’t have the smarts to exploit it or an inspiring leader to deliver the message convincingly

    Would that be your explanation also for the defeats of 1983 to 1992?

  294. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    POST 339 Cameron will not give Scotland independence however there may be a form of FEDERALISM that will be negotiated due to the pressures of the competing national and class issues that will take place over the coming moths and years. Despite some people on here consider that having the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly is Federalism now, I would like to suggest it is not. What could be offered will be the creation of an English parliament along side the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish existing institutions with a UK upper chamber. I think sections of the capitalist ruling class will rather have that than the break up of the UK, which would damage their international business and security repetition. I watched the BBC 1 England edition as the results came in and for once I thought the political discussion was sane, especially when Andrew Marr came into the studio, after they got the exit poll he along with other pundits were arguing that to stop the break up of the UK there has to be a federal basis so watch this space as they say. Of course as a socialist and Marxist in Scotland I will be [cult nonsense snipped to avoid a rise in the suicide rate amongst SU readers… how is it that these people always sound identical, no matter who they are? scary cult]

  295. Calvin on said:

    Omar,

    they [Labour] should have had England sewn up with the number of openings the Tories gave them. They simply didn’t have the smarts to exploit it or an inspiring leader to deliver the message convincingly. Simples.

    The Left Front in France has both the smarts and an inspiring leader, and a third advantage: the large and effective organisational base of the PCF.

    Yet in 2012, in the first round of the presidential election (a round in which voters can vote ‘with their heart’ in the knowledge that there will be a second round where they back the Socialist Party candidate), Jean-Luc Mélenchon espousing a passionate anti-austerity agenda, scored just 11%, finishing behind both the Socialists and the Front National.

    So perhaps the causes of Labour’s defeat aren’t that simple.

  296. SU Admin: [cult nonsense snipped to avoid a rise in the suicide rate amongst SU readers… how is it that these people always sound identical, no matter who they are? scary cult]

    How about a little less denigration and a bit more political discussion.

    Not particularly impressed by you behaviour here Tony.

  297. Omar on said:

    Calvin,

    I wasn’t aware that France was under any form of austerity in 2012, tbh. But if the “solution” for Labour is they have to be more like the Tories then that is simply misguided. I have always maintained that to win this election, putting Scotland aside, Labour would have to attack them from the Left and articulately and, most importantly, convincingly put the case forward against austerity and Tory number games. Milliband and Balls simply didn’t pursue this with the kind of passion needed, one that mirrored the suffering of the victims of austerity and cuts. It was like they were going through the motions of being an opposition Labour Party without having the appetite for the kind of bare-knuckled brawling the situation demanded. Playing along with the right-wing narrative of “let’s blame it on immigration”, for example, was a huge mistake and ceded territory to the Tories and UKIP.