This week the UK Labour party in Scotland signed their suicide note. It was for the best, the party has been dead from the neck up for decades, and the body is atrophied and weak. All that is left is for it to be buried. If we plant an independent tree on the grave it can take the nourishment left in the rotten carcass, and grow into something vibrant and fresh. That’s the only thing that Labour in Scotland is fit for now.
The events of the past few days have stripped away any pretence that the party leadership has the slightest concern for the best interests of people in Scotland. For the Labour hierarchy, the sole imperative is winning UK General Elections. That’s all the party exists for, that’s all it does. It has no real idea of what it will do when it gains power, gaining power is the means and the end. The Labour hierarchy is as imperious as the Tories when it comes to the absolute power of the Westminster Parliament.
Tony Blair, Jack Straw, John Prescott. Nuff said. All have offspring who have been selected as Labour Parliamentary candidates or who hope to be. Euan Blair, Will Straw, and David Prescott hope to repeat the ploy previously played by the Sarwar and Martin clans in Glasgow. In the English town of Corby, local Labour MP Andy Sawford also inherited his seat from his dad. Ed and David Miliband owe their preferment within Labour to their late father’s party connections, as do Wee Dougie and Wendy Alexander. Labour’s local government spokesman, Hilary Benn MP, is the son of Tony Benn, and Tony’s granddaughter Emily is set to become a Labour councillor. Jack Dromey’s selection as a Labour MP was not unrelated to the fact that his wife is Harriet Harman, he was also considerably aided by his extensive links to the trades unions. And it was recently reported that Jack and Harriet’s son Joe is very interested in seeking selection as a Labour candidate. What’s the betting he’s got a better chance of making it than a random Labour activist from Motherwell?
The next generation of Labour politicians will be the same as the last. Labour is as dynastic as North Korea. The key to advancement in the party is family and social connections, not politics or policies – a strategy which blew up in Labour’s face in Falkirk. But as the wreckage fell around the workers at Grangemouth the party leadership was nowhere to be seen. Like the Catholic hierarchy when faced with child abuse scandals, the priority of Labour’s leadership was to protect its own reputation and standing.
It’s clear now that when you vote Labour, you’re voting for someone else’s interests. You’re voting so that a self-selecting political elite can continue to rule us like lairds, collecting our votes in lieu of rent. And if the party perceives anything that might stand between the leadership and their career plans, it will be evicted as ruthlessly as a crofter in the Clearances.
This week the party reached a nadir not seen since George Cunningham’s shameless betrayal of democracy in 1979, when on the eve of the Home Rule referendum the Scottish born Labour MP for Islington introduced a measure ensuring that the votes of the dead counted as no. Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls stood shoulder to shoulder with George Osborne and Danny Alexander to threaten and bully Scotland and demand that even after independence Scotland must bend its knee and submit to Westminster’s will.
Labour is as complicit as the Tories in the theft of Scottish assets. Theft is the accurate term for it. Labour, the Tories, and the Lib Dems have come together to assert that the Bank of England will not be shared with Scotland. It’s a state owned institution with assets totalling £402.8 billion, but Scotland will get no part of it.
A large part of the assets owned by the Bank of England consists of debt owed to the bank by the UK Government. Much of this money was created out of thin air as a part of Quantatitive Easing, which the BoE spent on buying up UK Government bonds. The UK Government pays the interest on these bonds to the Bank of England, which in turn repays it to the UK Treasury. Scotland issued this debt along with the rest of the UK, but Westminster wants Scotland to repay it to them alone.
Labour, along with the Tories and the Lib Dems, want Scotland to take on its share of this debt but without conceding that Scotland is also an issuer of it, so that the debt repayments will continue to flow into the coffers of the UK Treasury and Scotland won’t see a penny. We’re just a colony which must do as it’s told. So much for the world’s most successful partnership of nations.
Westminster in its arrogance believes that Scotland must continue to subsidise the UK Treasury even after independence, while they deprive Scotland of assets that are rightfully ours. Above all they want to deprive Scotland of the very assets that would reduce the debt burden on a newly independent state. That’s why the Scottish Government is hinting that it may refuse to accept a share of Westminster’s debt, and they are perfectly justified in doing so.
The reason for all this is obvious. Scottish independence will expose just how much cash flowed from Scotland to the Thames, it’s a greater figure than even official figures suggest. The UK parties have spent the last 3 decades persuading voters in the rest of the UK that Scots are subsidy junkies. When the truth comes out the electorate of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be furious that they have been lied to for years.
Labour voters in Scotland were infuriated this week when Ed Balls sang from the same songsheet as George Osborne. The threats and bullying were identical. Vote Labour, vote team Tory.
As a full time carer who has to remain at home most of the time, I’m scarcely in any position to gauge public reaction. But the other evening my brother and sister in law called to ask me what Osborne and Balls really meant. They were convinced it was just more scaremongering, and wanted their opinion confirmed. They were angry with the Tories, the default position for the average Glaswegian, but most of their ire was directed at the Labour party they’ve always voted for. I’d always had them down as leaning towards a no vote, but that’s changed now.
And it was the same story with two other acquaintances. Unprompted, both spoke to me about their disgust and anger that Westminster politicians were shamelessly bullying and threatening Scotland. They don’t understand the details of quantatitive easing – neither do I – but they know enough to see that we’re being ripped off. It’s like a mugger telling you you ought to be grateful that he’s taking your purse. Both were previously don’t knows, both are now inclined heavily to yes.
A few wee straws in the wind, but the same story is repeating itself in homes across Scotland. We have seen that the UK parties are incapable of coming together to offer us the increased devolution most of us wanted before the referendum campaign started, but that they’ll come together at the drop of a credit note in order to steal from us. They have revealed themselves to us in all their avaricious and mendacious glory as the penny drops that this referendum will not be the shoe-in for the Union that they had expected. The panic has scarcely started.
Judging from the response so far, all they’ve done is to alienate Scotland even further. Labour signed its death warrant this week. They signed the death warrant for the UK too.