Gold Dust

UKG3

By Mike Small

“You may write me down in history,
With your bitter twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I rise”
– Maya Angelou

Relentless poll evidence shows that hopes of anyone going back in any box now seem very remote indeed.

As the polls suggest the SNP could win as many as 55 of Scotland’s 59 seats, up from six at present, across the land you can hear the sound of the penny dropping as if cast down a long dark well.

James Kelly writes of the loss of Jim Murphy’s security blanket  and, in feverish tones Alex Massie writes of the “End of Britain”:

“…a good proportion of English Tories would accept a notional bargain in which Scottish independence was the price of levering the rump UK out of the EU. That leaves Scottish unionists, especially right-of-centre unionists, as the forlorn last-believers in a faith long since abandoned by everyone else — including those they mistakenly reckoned as their co-religionists. “

As James Kelly pointed out yesterday – our own pundits are struggling to keep up with the new and unwelcome landscape. Yesterday he wrote of Kenny Farquharson’s overly-optimistic wishful-thinking, to keep the Mad Nats from the gate that somehow ‘good old British fair play will not permit Labour to take office if they are the second-largest party, and if Labour are the largest party, they will choose to do a deal with the Liberal Democrats and the DUP rather than the SNP.’

This optimism is today overtaken by Ed Balls changing tack and clearly leaving the door open to a Labour-SNP pact (‘Ed Balls put a post-election deal with the SNP back on the table ‘).

It’s a scenario explored by the Guardian’s Alberto Nardelli in their poll of polls coverage who states: “Labour and the SNP combined are projected to win 322 seats.”

Not everyone’s overjoyed at the prospect.

A Times editorial weeps (‘Dangers of the SNP’) that “The rise of the Scottish nationalists poses a mortal threat” and that:

“David Cameron declared after the Scottish independence referendum in September that the question had been settled for a generation and perhaps for a lifetime. How wrong could he have been? Though Scotland voted to remain part of the union, the margin of victory for the No campaigners was comfortable rather than crushing. It has galvanised the nationalist cause. “

The prospect of a Lab-SNP coalition is deeply unsettling for the people of the Times, who revert to type and dig-up some good old Better Together lines arguing:

” A renewed push for independence would plunge Scotland into years of uncertainty on even so basic a question as what currency to use. Business would migrate south of the border. Depositors would take their money out of Scottish banks, which would need to restrict the supply of credit. ”

That may sound familiar – and the language of ‘danger’ may seem slightly hysterical, but it’s true.

If Scotland returns a huge swathe of SNP MPs the barely concealed loathing will, we suspect, burst forth with abandon. Which is odd. Because this is the political arena these people have just spent a lot of energy pleading us to be part of.

The only solution to prevent this outbreak of democracy is either a two-tier level of MPs (which is what William Hague has attempted) – or to force alliances that could attempt to shape British politics in very different directions.

Britain is a political entity busted open which could fire-off in many radically different directions.

Depending on how UKIP do and whether DUP hold their nine MPs from Northern Ireland – we could see a desperate cobbling together of a Tory / UKIP / DUP coalition.

Such an idea isn’t fanciful.

If the Anglo-British right see the prospect of the Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon holding sway they will react with virulent decisiveness. Having created (an entirely false) vision of Miliband as a dangerous radical – and clearly still terrified by the very idea of those awful Scots – establishment England will circle the wagons.  We could yet see Peter Robinson and Nigel Farage around that Cabinet table.

So the numbers game matters and the stakes are high. As The Times puts it: “The numbers are sobering.”

Many of us might have shared the feeling of ennui that the General Election was a disappointing sequel to the indyref blockbuster, but it turns out to be much more interesting than we thought.

What we are seeing is real fear emerging as Plan Murphy looks to have been a big fat flop. It’s not just the constitution they are scared of losing, it’s the institutional, undeniable and unending privilege of power and wealth. It’s UK Gold.

As George Monbiot wrote back in December:

“Scotland is rudely interrupting the constructed silences that stifle political thought in the UK. This is why the oligarchs who own the media hate everything that is happening there: their interests are being exposed in a way that is currently impossible south of the border. For centuries, Britain has been a welfare state for patrimonial capital. It’s time we broke it open, and broke the culture of deference that keeps us in our place”.

 

 



Categories: Commentary

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52 replies

  1. Gold Dust indeed. I’m so pleased to be alive at this time in our history. My Grannie would be envious.

  2. I do think it would be foolish to underestimate the resilience and ability of the British state to absorb shocks. What might at first seem a serious challenge with a little time and patience might be easily negotiated. The British state undoubtedly over reacted in the latter stages of the referendum campaign but afterwards quietly kicked a lot of the aftermath into the long grass. Suspect it won’t over react again and in the aftermath of the General elections something will be cobbled together.

  3. The unionists are trying a rerun of the referendum campaign and it should tell all Scots that we are only tolerated so long as we vote to support the London based parties.
    The SNP pose a “mortal threat” to whom?
    Not us Scots,that is for sure,especially since independence per se is not being promised (for the comfort of No voting Scots) but a block of MPs whose focus will be on defending Scotland’s interests within the British state,something that British Labour has singularly failed to do.
    British Labour’s ideas of “pooling and sharing” have resulted in the rich getting richer and the poor poorer with increasing wealth being accumulated in SE England at the expense of most of the rest of us.
    Scotland first.

    • ‘The UNIONISTS are trying a rerun of the referendum campaign’?? I thought it was the SNP, trying retrospectively to pretend the ‘referendum (they claimed, thinking they’d win it, would be) for a generation’ had still not/never taken place….

      • Yes, the Unionists are trying a rerun of the referendum campaign. The SNP want more powers for Scotland: the Unionist parties just want to stop the SNP at all costs, even if it means allying with each other. One has accepted the referendum result, and is now working towards different goals; the other is carrying on as they always have.

        Or can you present another explanation as to why New Labour lords, activists and councillors are advocating tactical votes for the Tories or Lib Dems in certain areas?

      • I don’t think many Scottish voters really see GE2015 as an opportunity to rerun the indyref, however the unionist parties and press continually frame it as one because of the electoral risk that the SNP still poses to them and the union. All this talk of tactical voting against the SNP in May really reeks of desperation.

        Personally I haven’t seen any prominent SNP politicians pushing for another indyref any time soon, nor burying the result of the September vote – they know they lost. But Scottish independence, as a cause, has become a movement greater than just the SNP. It’s not in the nature of a movement to stop. 😉

      • I’m in Alan Reid’s constituency. No hint of a policy platform that offers anything that could be praised or critically analysed. In fact his Facebook Page is entitled ‘Me or the SNP’ and is full of Better Together rhetoric. Similarly his letters to the press actually contain lies about the SNP intention at Faslane. (If he’s reading, sue me Alan). His acolytes are bent on the same path. Interestingly recent local canvassing suggests he, at least, is on to a loser. Nevertheless, with the tories not funding any contest in the constituency and who have a candidate, reputedly to the right of UKIP (they have a well known Twitter nutter standing -the mother of the ukip Gordon candidate I believe) and labour in Scotland settling for putting up a fight at the next Holyrood election peddling as they are fears on an NHS and avoiding talking about the burgeoning English student loan debt timebomb, none of the parties is set up to fight an election on a platform of policies. Nicola Sturgeon has already set out a broad based platform to contest a UK election. Nobody that I speak to is looking back. We lost the referendum. I regret that deeply. I still want Scotland to be independent but that will only happen if there is a majority vote for that option at some time in the future.
        Personally speaking, I’m more concerned about a Unionist Alliance in Scotland because I believe that will wipe out Labour up here and provide, in the short term, a right wing UK government hell bent in selling off everything to private industry. I note the Union Jack on public works announcement in the past couple of days. I remember Yes being criticised, unreasonably in my view, as flag wavers yet all the evidence is that it is the Butcher’s Apron that is being waved around me.

  4. It really is obvious: the only time Westminster takes heed of Scotland is when it believes Scotland to be some kind of political and constitutional threat.
    Scotland must send as many SNP MPs as possible down to Westminster. To vote for any unionist party is to vote for continued Westminster hegemony at the expense of the best interests of Scotland.

    • “Scotland must send as many SNP MPs as possible down to Westminster. ”

      I’d be happy with that, so long as they did what they and their party stand for – declare independence – then take the train back north of the border.

      • The SNP have constantly reiterated that the only way they will declare independence is when the people of Scotland want it. They haven’t pushed the “x number of SNP MPs = independence” line for decades. Their 2015 election promises are based upon gaining the powers of the Smith Commission and pushing for more powers, as per the result of the referendum.

      • “the only way they will declare independence is when the people of Scotland want it.”

        A majority of SNP MP’s elected in Scotland means the people of Scotland want independence.

      • “A majority of SNP MP’s elected in Scotland means the people of Scotland want independence”

        No. Because, for one, it can be achieved with a minority of the votes.

        Secondly it would need to be in the SNP manifesto. And if it was in the manifesto, the SNP vote would be a good bit lower than it is now.

        I can’t believe we’ve still got people taking this “spring UDI on Scotland without warning” line. Very contemptuous of the democratic process.

  5. I’m sure a Lib/Lab/Con coalition is inevitable to ” save” the Union!

  6. What larks !
    I’m saving a present of a bottle of good red biddy for election night.
    The spectacle of somersaulting apple-carts will fill my dessicated old heart with joy.

  7. Read some of these qualm peddlers in the MSM, including a recent one from Alex Massie. You could be forgiven for thinking that the UK was holding a referendum on Scotland joining the union for the first time. Not addressing a nation that until recently, they were constantly telling how much was wanted, while proclaiming what a burden it was, all at the same time.

    It was pretty clear to me, that what they expected to happen was the collapse of the SNP, labour resurgent once more and Scots sitting quietly at the back of the bus. Just like it was in the good old days. So certain that the good old days were just around the corner, they even decided to sabotage the smith commission before it got off the starting blocks.

    The sheer panic you’re seeing now is the realisation that they could not even put the question of Scotland on the back burner for a few months till the GE was over…let alone put it to bed for a generation.

    I always thought: yes or no the union was finished. I didn’t expect the UK to be the one who finally pulled the plug on it. Not for any mean reasons like establishing an English parliament, but the for the insane idea that Scotland having influence not granted by its support of UK Labour is an existential threat. So out of fear of that threat, they put in place the means for ending it anyway.

    Westminsters problem solving mechanisms are fundamentally broken. I think the British state may not be able to absorb this shock without coming out of it mortally wounded. A self inflicted wound to boot.

      • If you had come to Scotland from some foreign land and had no idea what the fuss was all about. You would be forgiven for thinking that the Better together campaign, was really a campaign to stop Scotland from joining.

        There does seem to be an odd mindset in that campaign that basically said “If we extol the virtues of Scotland, The Scots may decide to leave”. The swing to the SNP tells me that the bulk of voters who were scared into voting no by the campaigns relentless negativity, were deeply resentful of it.

        What the result did, in the end, was to show that the Union was nothing more than a convenient fiction. A half baked compromise and fudge pretending to be more than it is.

        Was there a positive case to be made for the union? Yes I think there was. That those who defended it, were in the end scared of the positive case, will the subject of arguments for decades to come.

  8. Personally I find the British State panic and fear of change HILARIOUS! LOL!
    They’re pissing their pants with worry that the whole rotten shitheap that is Westminster is going to get flushed down the Thames.
    Hee heee
    Karma my freinds!

  9. The end game must still be full independence.Its probable something will be fudged to try and keep us in line but for me its all to late.Its hard not to resent another nation thats made it a policy to keep us in the dark and how different would our country have been had there been more honesty,democracy and transparency.

  10. A majority of Scots seats won by the SNP in May will constitute a clear mandate for independence. Independence is what the SNP stand for and if the Scots people vote in an SNP majority in Scotland then independence is what we should have. That is democracy UK-style and Scots should abide by it as we always have. So should our neighbours.

    • A declaration of independence is simply not going to happen just like that.

      The predicted support for the SNP is generally around 45-48% which, thanks to FPTP would give them a considerably larger share of the seats. That, however, is nowhere near a clear mandate for independence and the SNP know it.

      I still believe its “when” and not “if”, but winning independence is going to be a long game.

    • Seriously? You’re still spamming threads with the “majority of Scottish MPs = independence” stuff? Surely it’s been made crystal clear by now that the SNP has absolutely no intention of doing that?

      Imagine we’d voted Yes and Labour managed to get a majority in May, then claimed that showed people had changed their mind about independence. According to your logic, they’d be right. But it would clearly be undemocratic, as would the SNP claiming a majority of seats equalled independence so soon after the referendum – especially if they won them with less than 45% of the national vote.

  11. There is going to be many thoughtful, scary, nights in the old boys club that is Westminster.
    They “Loved” us, now they are crapping themselves in case we exert democracy. To try and deny us that, truly does mean the end of the UK. It did not have to be this way, but like all else, they mismanaged it.

  12. There will be no UDI. Independence can only come when a majority of the Scottish people vote for it. It’s not currently on the SNP manifesto, so voting SNP in the GE is not voting for independence, however I would like to see the party include Referendum Part 2 in the manifesto for 2016 and the vote taken in the Autumn of 2017.

    • “Independence can only come when a majority of the Scottish people vote for it. ”

      That will happen in May when the people of Scotland vote a majority of seats SNP. Manifestos are not important, its what the people want that matters.

  13. While I share the delight at the discomfort of the established UK parties, I believe that the SNP won’t get near to 50 seats. In fact, I suspect that they will do well to have half that.ni would settle for 25-30 particularly if it cleared out some of Glasgow Labour dead wood.

    It’s already been said but it’s worth repeating, no matter how many MPs SNP return, UDI won’t be on the cards. Lessons from elsewhere in the world show the errors of this approach but the fact is it would be fundamentally undemocratic and I for one would not be able to support it. I believe many other supporters of Scottish Self determination would be of the same mind.

    • “…it would be fundamentally undemocratic”

      A Scots majority vote in favour of a party whose raison d’etre is independence = independence. That is democracy.

      • I’m sorry Darien but I believe that you are wrong. As someone who has campaigned for Yes and is now in the SNP hoping to help them win seats at westminster in the face of a loaded press running a pro UK agenda, I would not support such an idiotic move

        The SNP are standing on a platform of ‘more powers’. As far as I am aware, a referendum is not part of their manifesto though Sturgeon has indicated a possibility if the Euro referendum comes out No. Voting for the SNP is not the same as voting for independence. This is a First Past the Post election. It is not a referendum. If you are suggesting that we should ignore that more than 50% of people who voted cast their vote for NO I think you don’t understand the problem.

        You saw the Storm troopers of the Union on the 19th. Do you honestly believe that these guys will roll over even with a democratic mandate never mind UDI. Given the role that big business played in loading the dice against Yes what do you suppose would happen to food supplies? Telecoms?

        Have a read at Anthony Sampson’s The Sovereign State The Secret History of ITT. It’s an old book but it explains quite well the role of multinationals as tools of state. In particular the facilitation of the rise to power of Franco in Spain Might help you understand what you are up against. Don’t forget to consider everyone who is employed or in receipt of a pension. Since you don’t intend to ask them to agree with your position, how will you placate or reassure them?

        Do you honestly believe that UDI would be a positive move for Scotland?

      • With respect, your prophesy of doom sounds reminiscent of Better Together’s project fear threats.

        If crumbs from Westminster’s table is the SNP’s bag, then all they need remember is to doff their bunnets as they plead fir mair fi oor Westminster Lairds.

        Appreciate independence is not for the faint hearted.

      • I saw what happened to Rhodesia when it declared UDI, I understand that some countries in Europe still do not recognise Kosovo and I believe that there is a danger of Northern Ireland style Binary politics if the 2 sides entrench in alliances for Yes and No. Is that doom and gloom? Maybe.

        It looks like you and I will need to continue to see a different path. However I believe SNP are likely to have 25-35 seats max. I believe that won’t gain a majority vote in Scotland In achieving that and the likelihood of SNP being kingmakers in Westminster is small. Under these circumstances, feel free to declare UDI.

      • If you are genuinely interested in conducting some kind of live experiment into how capital reacts when threatened by disruption in (a relatively small) nation / economy – then go for it.

        You’ll get to see how aggressively capital reacts and responds to disruption and threats – especially against a weaker adversary.

        You’ll also get to see how vindictive capital can be, especially towards the easiest targets – those at the bottom, who would suffer the most.

        The lesson from last year is that capital would be happy with Scottish independence – as long as the conditions remain favorable. However, if there’s a suggestion that conditions will not be favorable, or there are rumblings of any funny business (however fringe / random – ‘A Day of Reckoning’ etc.) then they will not be happy – and in light of the above, capital’s response could be harsh in the extreme.

        Your friend there is right.

        However, if you are going for the UDI route, let us know when it’s happening (May 8?). I’ll want to get some beers in, popcorn, burgers, nibbles and stuff and watch it all unfold on TV.

        The only beneficiaries of such an approach would be England – especially the North of England, and of course London, and ‘Westminster’.

  14. Don’t be surprise if between now and May the British state manufactures some national crisis, probably terrorism-related, to try and scare enough of us into thinking it’s too risky for Scotland to go it alone. Or is there even a nuclear option?

  15. Darien… I’m with you… Pro Indy mp’s travel to wm on a coach… troop in… those who want to take allegiance as ” subjects ” …do so… the rest do & say as THEY feel… not what colonial convention states…. then refuse ANY partnership/coalition/deal from whoever…. as it is clear that we have no friends in the Eng. establishment…. get back on the bus & leave till the wm political elite have sorted themselves out…. ANY kind of deal with backstabbing labour who will change ANY situation to whatever suits them as a party… turns my stomach….

    • “Pro Indy MPs travel to WM on a coach”

      A coach? When was the last time you were on a long distance coach trip? It’s hellish. Surely Bransonrail would be a better choice (which would also better reflect the SNP’s corporatist position)

      That’s an interesting sentiment. Notwithstanding anything else, if the outcome of the election is ‘nationalist choice’ then the double edged sword is that the SNP might be ‘required’ to help form a functioning government for the UK (of which, like it or not, for the moment, you are still a part of)

      And similarly, like it or not, a UK government is still required to facilitate the functioning of your devolved administration.

      So if SNP MPs were just to ‘jump back on the coach’ (or train) … well, I’m not sure what would happen, other than chaos might ensue (including in / for Scotland).

      At the end of the day the country needs a government (and Scotland doesn’t have one / doesn’t have everything necessary in place to do so) and my guess is that if you ‘jumped back on the coach’ (or train) then the ‘westminster elite’ would have to form a UK Government (somehow) without you.

      So instead of having e.g. a Labour / SNP confidence and supply arrangement (where Scottish interests could be brought to the fore as much as possible) you’d get some form of coalition involving the ‘unionist’ parties.

      Or, you’d be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  16. the NO’s had it, for the time being. however like it or lump it, Westminster rule is coming to an end, all the signs are there , the corruption, the snobbery, the contempt, the “holier than thou” attitude. the British state is destroying itself and the sooner the better. Scotland, your time is nigh!

  17. Does anyone else feel a tiny bit uncomfortable with the Maya Angelou quote in this context? She was talking about the opression of black people. There are streets in Edinburgh that are named for Scotlands glorious reign as plantation owners. She was talking about slavery, and its aftermath, that our ancestors benefited handsomely from (amongst others of course)

    Before the shouting begins I completely understand the poem is *not* being used to suggest anything like that here AND I’m not saying it isn’t a resonant quote, but maybe just a wee nod to the slightly jarring historical reality in the circs would be…… polite.

    • Does anyone else feel a tiny bit uncomfortable? I do – and I’m the author.

      I recognise the discomfort you suggest, and was unsure about it but used it because I love her and found it powerful. Sometimes choices are difficult.

      • When economic policies dictate that you work as directed for your State Benefits, what you have IS slavery. Skin colour doesn’t enter into it – abuse is abuse.

      • Aye, last time I checked there was a wee difference between Slavery, the Jim Crow laws and Scottish independence; all that waving the blue and white General Lee/ rebel flag/ Saltire! Fairly sure one or two Afro American’s would object to the linkage. Like Diana ROSS, Sam L JACKSON, Naomi CAMPBELL, Jesse JACKSON, Rosa PARKS, John COLTRANE, Will SMITH, Louis ARMSTRONG, Dizzy GILESPIE, Michael JACKSON, Frederick DOUGLAS, Marguerite Annie JOHNSTON, Martin Luther KING… do you see how the connection is a tad tasteless…Apparently the civil rights movement of equivalent of Better Together, was the Klu Klux KLAN!

        (mother was afro-american! so annoyed me! Your politics is not a struggle for basic human dignity, please don’t assume so.)

  18. “Having created (an entirely false) vision of Miliband as a dangerous radical”

    I think you’ve got this part wrong.

    Outside of the New Labour faithful, the vision of Miliband (or yes, Milibean in common parlance) is of a dangerous muppet, who hasn’t a clue about people, policy, economics, government, leadership etc. etc.

    There’s nothing ‘radical’ about him. The garbage he spouts is just a mish-mash of populist soundbites. “Ooooh look at the price of that, we must do something about that’.

    A couple of years ago he’d decided what the price of energy should be.

    Apparently he’s got a Masters in Economics from the London School of. I find that baffling; I did ‘Higher’ economics and his ‘theories’ bear no relation to anything even I learned. All that stuff about price fixing and rent controls is utter nonsense, and if anything would have the opposite effect to that intended.

    (I actually think he knows this full well, and these are just populist soundbites, which ‘evil big business and vested interests’ will prevent him from implementing)

    He’s not a dangerous radical. He’s a little man, who talks little.

  19. However many or few SNP MP’s are elected in May, their primary function will be to bring about better governance at Westminster. From a Scottish perspective this will mean enabling greater powers at Holyrood, from a UK perspective it will mean the changes to policy set out by Nicola Sturgeon, I have supported Scottish independence for more than 50 years and I have never underestimated the scale of the task to achieve it. Slow but steady progress has been achieved,particularly over the past 20 years and accelerating recently. To finally achieve our goal we will have to be pragmatic and declaring UDI doesn’t fall into that category. No-one can anticipate the turn of events that will ultimately lead to full independence. But by being responsible and ‘growing’ the Scottish Government, Scotland can be up and running with an experienced and effective government when independence comes. We need to be utterly committed to independence but we must resist being dogmatic. Dogma has no place in Scottish politics – SLAB is rooted in dogma and the corruption it breeds. We don’t need more of it, we need an end to it. Patience Darien.

  20. Is Darien a unionist troll?

  21. ‘Better Together’ or ‘Project Fear’ hung on, by the skin of their teeth, to their northern province, on 18 September 2014. ‘Be careful what you wish for’. BT got what it wished for. But BT wanted the UK of old to continue; they did not want a changed UK. They want Scots to continue to prop up Labour, to allow the Big Two taking turns in power.These shrill, tedious laments only highlight that ‘NO’ meant, ‘No change, please, we’re British’. Yes, indeed, be careful what you wish for BT. So, in the UK’s past, it was OK for Scots to vote Labour and deny England’s Tories (which happened once in a blue moon and only because England that year voted Labour) but it’s definitely not ‘OK’ for Scots to vote SNP and deny England’s Tories. Westminster is a club for only 2 power mongers, don’t try & muscle in, you Jocks, on England’s rights (altho’ its OK for a party you sweaty Jocks never voted for to rule you). And remember, much as they don’t want to be, these SNP MPs will be BRITISH MPs, unless you think it is OK to have 2nd class British citizens in the UK. But you denied this was the case during the Referendum, (even tho’ you said its our pound, our central bank, our eu membership – the only thing you wanted to share with an indyScot was your debt)! So if 50+ SNP MPs end up in Westminster in May, just remember it was BT’s wish to have them there. And if BT types don’t like it, well they can just shut up and get to the back of the bus, for a change. Oh, the delicious irony of it all!

  22. Reblogged this on Lochaber Women for Independence and commented:
    “You may write me down in history,
    With your bitter twisted lies,
    You may tread me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I rise”
    – Maya Angelou

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  1. Gold Dust - Mike Small, on Bellacaledonia - The People's Republic of Clydebank

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