Ish – the problem for Scottish Labour

One Nation Labour

Robin McAlpine on Scottish Labour’s identity crisis.

A Tory acquaintance of mine was canvassing for his party during the Blair years. He was canvassing one house which was a large modern villa with an SUV and a BWM in the driveway. He was confident of a positive reception – but was disappointed; the family was voting Labour. “Why?” he asked. “You are doing well and surely you want to look after your interests? The Conservatives will do that best”. “But we do want to live in a fair-ish society too” came the reply.

It was that ‘ish’ that got to him. They explicitly didn’t want a fair society, just one which felt sufficiently fair-ish to make them feel better about their affluence. But certainly they didn’t want their affluence affected in any way. This was Blair politics at its most effective – the poor had nowhere else to go so it was all about the guilty affluent.

I believe Ed Miliband to be a principled and honest man, in terms of his political instincts the best leader Labour has had since John Smith. His political skills are woeful but his politics are good and I have no qualms about saying that he might well surprise us all and be a much better Prime Minister than we may expect. On the other hand he could be completely useless – and I’d still rather have him than the alternatives.

But – but – I am tired of hearing Labour defended either because somehow they’re supposed to be better than they say they are (‘they don’t really mean the horrible stuff about immigration’, ‘Miliband is more radical than he’s letting on’) or because we are supposed to take the soundbites at face value. It is time we assessed them on the basis on which we ought to be assessing them – their manifesto.

And my goodness they should just have put ‘ish’ after every sentence. They’re going to raise(ish) the minimum wage but they’ve had to bring the target forward one year because otherwise it would rise no faster than if they did nothing. They will redistribute (ish) but not using basic or higher rate income tax, national insurance, VAT or corporation tax. I look forward to another debate with the Scottish Labour left (both of them) who spent the whole referendum telling me that independence should never happen in case we seek to be competitive on corporation tax. At the heart of Labour’s message on the economy is that they will maintain the ‘most competitive’ (i.e. lowest) corporation tax in the G7. (I routinely criticised the SNP over this stupid policy during the campaign. So over to you now Neil Findlay et al – do you still oppose corporation tax competition or was that just something you said back then?) They’re going to abolish(ish) zero-hours contracts, but only the ‘exploitative’ ones, not the generous ones which make up the employment conditions of CEOs… And in place of real redistribution? Token digs at unpopular people (those owning mansions and bankers’ bonuses). It’s not that I disagree, it’s just that targeting these unpopular groups is about as politically courageous as condemning murderers as bad.

Then there is their reform(ish) agenda. They are going to reduce tuition fees to twice the rate they inherited in the last election they won. They’re going to tackle Europe’s most dysfunctional energy market by freezing bills for two years and the most expensive (and one of the poorest performing) train systems in the world with a fare freeze (and they’re only outdoing the Tories on this one because they have promised that they will fully compensate the corporations involved).

And then a load of numbers to cover health and education. Most of it is a new target, an arbitrary number of new nurses, a new badge (what is it with politicians and ‘gold standards’?). Oh, and in case anyone thought that there is nothing of the firebrand left about Labour they are going to – deep breath – ensure that all teachers in state schools (in England) will be qualified. Gosh.

It’s not that there is nothing good in this manifesto. It’s just that the good stuff is either totem stuff or just not properly explained. They’re going to cut expenditure but ‘protect’ tax credits. They’re going to ensure that there are 200,000 more houses built, but where, how or why are not details which are dwelt on. The National Investment Bank is welcome but I just know they’re going to screw it up and let the City of London capture it too. The vague stuff about devolution to England is good but the numbers (£30bn of total expenditure) are tiny and yet again it is not clear that this ‘devolution’ is going to come with any democracy. I’m all for an ‘all-out assault’ on tax avoidance, but I just feel that what Ed Balls means by this phrase is going to be something short of what most of us would describe as an all-out assault. And while I can’t quite make out how strong the commitment is, at least they are now coming out against too much more of the privatisation of the NHS in England.

However, there is one subject area where the ‘ish’ disappears – and that’s austerity. Austerity is a political ideology that fetishises balancing budgets, cutting deficits and avoiding all borrowing as a means of shrinking the state. Here Labour isn’t messing around. As far as I can see all the additional tax rises they have identified are hypothecated against specific spending commitments – and they have certainly ruled out any of the big tax-raising options. Which means that they have really only got the same set of cutting options as the Tories. Ed Balls isn’t being equivocal about this – there will be cuts and they will apply to Scotland. For me, worst of all, is that they want to make all politics in this country a subset of the Office for Budget Responsibility. That is a body established to police anyone who is tempted to challenge the ideology of austerity even a little bit. Labour will submit completely to Osborne’s OBR – and force every other political party to do the same. To claim you’re anti-austerity in Scotland on the back of this is unsustainable.

I want to see a transformative plan, a recognition that Britain is in a mess and needs seriously to rebalance almost all aspects of its economy and society away from inequality, corporate exploitation, fragmentation and failing democracy. For all the decent sentiments in this manifesto and for the handful of genuinely good things in it, it seems only interested in the transformation of one thing – Labour’s electoral fortunes. And if anyone says ‘yes, but we have to win first’ I will scream. Labour, you won three times in a row and created this entire mess. This time round isn’t going to fix it either (unless you really do have a radical, secret manifesto). How long do you want before you’ll do something.

And so to poor Scottish Labour. It has been desperately trying to pretend that it is Britain’s radical option. It claims to be more anti-austerity than the SNP (which it clearly isn’t), more interested in working people (hard to see how they can justify that), less craven to corporations (impossible to sustain) and so on. All at the same time Ed Balls has been desperately trying to pretend that he is Tony Blair to keep the City of London on board and prevent the corporations rebelling (once again they did it anyway – when will people stop trying to buy-off corporations?).

I’ve been arguing for a while now that the problem that Labour (and the unionist media which has kicked back into full activist mode with their handy guides to tactical voting against the SNP disguised as news stories, saying what Labour needs said but can’t say) is that people aren’t stupid. They can hear the contradictions, the fact that Labour is saying diametrically opposite things to different groups of people, but both through the media. Where we can all hear. And of course we can look back to see what Labour was saying when it wasn’t desperate (something for nothing, time for tuition fees, hurray for flexible working conditions).

I’m really not sure the media gets the difference between honesty and truth. It is possible for not all of your individual claims or numbers to turn out to be true but for your overall aim and message to be honest. It is also possible for every one of your numbers to be perfectly accurate but for the overall message to be dishonest. When Nicola Sturgeon gets the value of oil wrong that doesn’t make the overall thrust of her case for independence any less honestly felt. But if Jim Murphy gets the value of oil right, that doesn’t mean it is honestly true that he has converted from being a right-wing Blairite to being a socialist.

What Labour has been saying in Scotland is dishonest. It is not anti-austerity and it is not a radical party of the working classes – certainly not on this manifesto. What the SNP has been saying may have a few substantial holes in it, but people seem to believe that their intent is consistent and honest. The media hack-pack has always rated politicians who are able to dissemble convincingly (Blair was admired for the self-assured convincingness of his dishonesty). The rest of us tend to credit honesty.

So could we for a fraction of a second please stop treating the Scottish voting population as if they are mindlessly following the SNP because they are in some way pre-modern (which seems to make up the bulk of what many unionist journalists think). You know, I know, everyone in politics knows that what Labour in Scotland is saying does not match what Labour in London is really saying and that what Jim Murphy is saying is not what Jim Murphy thinks but what he thinks he has to say to keep his job. Since you know it and I know it, can’t you possibly credit the wider population with having worked it out too?

The Labour Party manifesto is honest. It accepts the broad ideologies of financialised City-of-London capitalism and deficit-reducing austerity. It makes no claims to be anything other than a kinder form of cutting the state. It is the supremacy of the austerity bit over the kindness bit that results in all those ‘ishes’.

It is time for Scottish Labour either to back UK Labour and stop pretending it isn’t an austerity party – or to split from the UK party and write a different manifesto.



Categories: Commentary

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138 replies

  1. The “ish” description of Labour policies is spot on, although it should be prexifixed!

  2. Interesting piece.

    I assume that in the interests of balance and fairness that the other parties will be subject to the same scrutiny. How for example Scotland can grow(ish) Faster(ish) than any other economy in the West and pay for all the nice sounding things that we are promised.

    no, I thought not. Such across the aboard fairness doesn’t seem to bother folk here. need to rely on other media to do this.

    Please don’t assume that we are all too daft to see through the fact that the First Minister seems to believe Hope and Growth can pay the bills. Where it the growth coming from?

    I think folk can work out tactical voting for themselves and try not to be so patronising

    • dont you have the guts to use your real name why are you hiding behind that stupid barraload crap the best thing anyone reading the utter tosh you post is to ignore you the same way labour scottish branch are going to be ignored don’t bother replying because i am ignoring you ok friend, by the way friend in your case is not a term of endearment

      • We are all ignoring him Robert.

        • it seems the aim of this site to ignore anything that does not represent nationalist group think. The same tropes are used to cheering and mainly uncritical acclaim.

          Labour is bad. Those who voted to stay in the UK were stupid and fearful – gee thanks. Tories are the hated minority figures. Any other minorities you want to pick on? Over and over again the same old stuff.

          A site that should be engaged in respectful debate has degenerated into the Daily mail of the nationalists. Such a shame

          • I think you’d find your views given the respect of a fair hearing if you had the courage to use your real (and verifiable) name.

          • Where exactly in this assessment is the nationalism? The primary focus is a critical assessment of the Labour manifesto, refreshingly free of personal attacks, but this is neither nationalist nor uncritical of SNP as in the point about the White Paper’s line on Corporation Tax. (And to avoid any remarks about my blog name, my name is Tom Webster but it was already taken as a blog name.)

          • Using your real name. I am not alone in not doing so. My reasons are that I have been called the following on other threads for having the audacity to express a pro-UK view. I am

            Mendacious
            Cynical
            Corrupt
            Not redeemable
            Bellicose
            Neo liberal
            A dullard
            A gangster
            Untrustworthy
            Insincere
            A rotten carcass
            Metrocentric
            Haughty
            Foot dragger
            Belligerent

            And if you read the comments on this thread you will find more of the same

            Offering alternative views also means I am a troll. Is this how any minority view will be treated in a new Scotland. You really expect us to believe that this will be a broad minded,pluralist place based on this evidence

            I get it that if i want to read an appraisal about what all parties are proposing I can read a cross section of media. If I want a bit of pantomime with easily identifiable villains (Labour, No voters, those who favour the union etc) I can come here.

          • Barraload can I put in my two tuppence worth? And return to something you said earlier which is possibly also my take on why your response above might be very damaging to your cause in the long run?

            You said earlier that there is nothing wrong with tactical voting. Independence supporters do it, why shouldn’t folk who believe in the union do it. I agree.

            But surely you can see the trap opening up in front of Scottish Labour in particular?

            Tories voting Labour and Labour voting Tory/Liberal in a UK General Election is very different from Green/SSP voting SNP. The latter are all comfortably in the centre and centre left range in Scotland.

            Scottish Labour voters comfortable with parties on the centre-right range and vice verse? Really?

            The same problem that is besetting Ed Miliband who would cut his hand off to support some SNP policies but can’t because he needs to win the SE English vote?

            What would the point of Scottish Labour be – might as well have a single, neoliberal unionist party.

            And now to the biggest trap of all.

            The one obstacle to people who want Independence sooner rather than later is if Labour (or LDs) had the brains to stand up and run with Maximum Devolution and (here is the thing) mean it and deliver it.
            They would hoover up votes from folk who think it would save the union AND people like me who might still see it as a stepping stone.

            You think the SNP are making a mistake in talking about FFA? You want to argue whether it is costed or not? You think this site is too partisan and avoiding the issue? You are rather missing the point.

            Can’t you see what they have done? The SNP has made sure that Labour and the LDs are not only the parties against Scottish Independence BUT that they will remain parties which are against Maximum Devolution as well. Clever, clever, clever.

            It is fantastic that you are on this site arguing your case well. Don’t go. But I sense, as reasonable as you are, that in your heart of hearts you are still fighting irrational, woad-painted nationalists.

            A big mistake, that. Those in favour of the Union are actually competing with some of the finest political brains of our century. And right now, they have the opponents of independence where they want them.

            If Alex Salmond loses Gordon because of tactical voting some of us might still raise a dram. Why?

            Because he has baited a bigger trap which might just snap shut a decade from now.

          • So why don’t you go somewhere else then ???

            Your opinion is noted Goodbye.

          • Well, let’s put it this way. I had no opinion on independence until I listened to what the Unionists were saying and THEY changed my mind ….not in the way they intended. I suspect people feel the same about Labour. It’s watching what THEY have said and done up til now that is pushing everyone away. And it’s not just “crazy nationalists”; or even just that their former voters are turning away in some sort of mass “groupthink” ( when Scotland was an overwhelmingly “Labour” nation no Labour party supporters considered THAT groupthink, funnily enough). Their die-hard party members, and people who have run for office with them are jumping ship. Even their own former leader walked away in disgust after the “branch office” debacle.

            If you’re still on about radical nationalist agitators being the problem, then you’re enough out of touch to be considered delusional. And by definition, it’s just pointless to argue with a delusion, respectfully or not. Now, if you just happened to think that. despite all that, Labour were still the best option, that would be another matter, and one worth discussing. But failing to acknowledge that people are so disgusted they are changing their minds OF THEIR OWN CONVICTION, and suggesting they are so stupid they can all be brainwashed by a tiny minority of radicals….it doesn’t just belong on some sort of conspiracy theory site, it is positively insulting to the millions of ordinary people you clearly feel vastly superior to. Perhaps they need to go eat their cereal and let you make all the decisions, is that the gist of your point?

            And, while there were many people who voted no out of true conviction, a good many DID vote No out of fear….fear of the unknown, or fears that were pushed at them over and over. How do we know this? Because just a few months after the polls started to show that many MORE people would have voted Yes, if they had a second referendum. That’s a sudden swelling of regret to appear so quickly, if they were such principled voters on the day of.

            This is a small blog with minimal funding that most people have found by word of mouth or searching for what else is out there….comparing it to a major news outlet with massive amounts of money is laughable. It is these sorts of pathetic attempts on the part of Labour and its supporters that just contribute to the disgust everyone feels for them.

          • Firstly, don’t ever associate us with the Daily Mail. Secondly, you criticise us for picking on minorities like No voters. Eh…the No vote won the referendum so that makes them a majority. I find this site is generally positive and respectful and it has included a number of articles written by people who voted NO.

          • Elaine, on tactical voting I think there are bigger picture issues where people of different persuasions will find common cause even if it is in voting to stop something they dislike.

            The First Minister uses this approach in suggesting that Ed Miliband should accept her offer of coalition because it will keep the Conservatives out. It is an example of the argument that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, as be in no doubt the SNP see Scottish Labour as the enemy on its home political turf, but supposedly we can find common cause because both labour and SNP are political “enemies” of the Tories.

            OK, using the same logic as the First Minister, voters in Scotland may want to vote against the SNP and find common cause with their other political enemies because:

            1. They oppose an independent Scotland which is the raison d’etre of the SNP. They instead want the UK to remain as it is.

            2. They are not convinced the SNP economic case makes sense as it involves many spending pledges without a convincing explanation of the tax rises that this must involve, since austerity cuts are off the table and all that is offered are vague promises of growth even though the oil and finance sectors are unlikely to be the reliable engine of this growth.

            3. They believe that losing our independent nuclear deterrent is a dangerous move.

            So, the right-left analysis you use, I think, falls away. The trap the SNP has set for itself is that increasingly they are sounding unconvincing in arguing that “people should vote against Labour” and then “we’ll support a Labour government”

            Miliband was speaking for a lot of us in saying “no thanks” to that offer, unless that is the SNP is willing to negotiate on the above 3 issues. They have left no room for themselves to do this so they are likely to be spurned by other parties. You can’t blame the other parties for this since it is the SNP’s decision to lash themselves to these policies.

          • Barraload.

            Walking into a trap because you are also ‘lashed’ to honestly held beliefs, doesn’t make it any less of a trap !

      • It’s much easier to win the argument when you answer your own questions, Barraload! 🙂

        • Someone else said the same thing, which makes my point.

          Any view on here that is contrary to the orthodoxy is blasted. That I assume passes for debate on here/ I thought debate was an exchange of sometimes competing views rather than the ritual chanting of one set of views

    • Well, why don’t you write your analysis of the SNP manifesto and submit it as a piece to Bella? Or Newsnet? Or Commonspace? Or maybe another politics site like The Spectator, or Labourlist, or Left Foot Forward? I’m sure others could suggest a whole ream of sites I can’t bring to mind.

      Anyway, we’d be very interested to read it and you could plug it on here.

      Your move, Barraload.

      • I doubt i have the skill to do that. My point is that this site has no balance. i trawl various sites looking for a balanced critique of the views of different parties. i had hopes for this site, but…..

        • What you’re asking for is effectively the same as going to the Daily Mail website and expecting to read an entirely balanced view of the major parties. It’s just not going to happen. There is an editorial bias in favour of one party or another, one ideology or another. You can’t really claim that an article picking holes in the Labour manifesto while also criticising certain aspects of SNP policy on an openly pro-independence site is some sort of affront to democracy. If you want to read criticism of the SNP, read ANY OTHER NEWSPAPER (except the National.) In fact, read EVERY other newspaper.

          • ‘News’papers are, or certainly will be, consigned to the dustbin of history, which is sad but inevitable.

          • No i am not. This site says it is exploring ideas of independence, self-determination and autonomy. Exploring sounds a welcome approach as long as there is a range of ideas offered to explore. Unfortunately this site seems to have become monochrome

            Are you saying that no other political views have anything to say on self-determination and autonomy. Conservatives could argue that they are all for both at an individual rather than state level. That is an interesting argument to explore, but what is the point as anyone who tries would be shouted down here

            As to other media there are many that report the views across the political spectrum with reasonable balance while making plain their own biases; try the FT. What i find disappointing is that other political views are rarely if ever offered here other than if they are being set up for the purpose of being knocked down

            If you really believe that all other media is involved in a biased conspiracy against nationalism, I’m afraid that if you look in the mirror this site has become no more than an example of the same thing. Which i think is a shame

        • You trawl various sites? Have you checked that spelling?

        • I’d have thought that if you were so disappointed in this site you wouldn’t keep coming back. But you do. Who knows, perhaps you like giving Scottish independence supporters a telling off.

          I have a suggestion for you. Jill Stephenson has just started a blog – no, I won’t link to it, you can easily find it – and is accepting comments. Perhaps you would feel more at home there.

          I wonder why Stephenson felt the need to start a blog. Could it be that The Scottish Review has decided not to publish any more of her writing?

          • Nope, I actually believe in what this site says it stand for which is exploring ideas of independence, self-determination and autonomy. Why should those with different ideas to the majority on here not have a voice and point out the limitations and risk of nationalism

        • So you don’t have the skill to write a piece analysing the SNP manifesto.
          But you trawl various sites looking for a balanced critique.
          And you did have high hopes of this site but now you don’t?

          You’d surely concede there are more than sufficient vehicles for right-wing / neo-liberal / unionist opinion and analysis elsewhere in the media, most with far higher profile and resources than Bella. So why do you begrudge its position? Is Bella not a small but important counterweight to the dominant position of our media? Is that not a positive contribution to diversity, democracy and overall balance?

          I get that you disagree with its political stance – which is fair enough – but I do get your constant angry objection to Bella per se. Perhaps you could explain.

          • See comments elsewhere. Bella needs contributors from across the political spectrum to remain true to its own vision – exploring ideas of independence, self-determination and autonomy. the site has stopped offering exploration and become dominated by one view.

        • ‘Trawl’ in this context is the only correct thing wee Barra has said. What we call troll today is a corruption of ‘trawl’, ie to cast your (inter)net wide and see who you can catch to provoke.

          Ironically, wee Barra IS a troll. He came here to wind up. Some fell for it, others ripped him a new one.

    • “I assume that in the interests of balance and fairness that the other parties will be subject to the same scrutiny.”
      In this particular case, a large part of the article’s argument is built on the contrast between Labour pledges and “Scottish Labour” pledges. No other party has such a disjoin between their UK and Scottish manifestos.

      Another argument in the article is about Labour’s long move rightwards, and that people still believe they are leftist. No other party has such a disjoin between their traditional voter base and their current target voter base.

      Furthermore, on the subject of “no other party”, there are only two major UK parties, and one of them has been established as an irrelevancy to the Scottish electorate. The LibDems were a reasonable third option, but a detailed takedown of their hypocrisies is pretty short: “abandon hope all ye election pledges who enter coalition”.

      Labour are the natural target of most column inches in Scotland, whether for or against.

      “How for example Scotland can grow(ish) Faster(ish) than any other economy in the West and pay for all the nice sounding things that we are promised. ”

      The UK is currently experiencing faster growth than most (if not all) countries in the West. How did this happen? Suppressed recovery. The Tory austerity programme, like in the 1980s, suppressed the economy and delayed recovery. This delayed recovery results in rapid growth.

      Scotland’s economy has been suppressed and depressed by UK economic policies all directed at the south-east of England. Ending that suppression will result in natural recovery (=growth). Furthermore, UK accounting practices track wealth generation by head office. The profits made by UK-wide chains are mostly logged in England. A lot of apparent “growth” would occur in Scotland as soon as these profits were registered as Scottish.

      • OK but you are assuming that head offices would stay even if the companies and their staff were paying higher taxes. I make the tax point since the SNP have nothing to say on cuts as part of the government budget, so borrowing and taxes is all that is left to them. I suspect many businesses that generate wealth plus some better off folk might leave scotland if it became independent

        You might say that is fanciful, but it is no more of that than the argument you offer

    • Interesting piece? I only made it a few paragraphs before I nodded off.

      By ‘other parties’, I assume you mean the SNP, cant imagine any need for scrutiny of the rest. Don’t really know why he bothered scrutinizing Labour, boredom I guess.

      “across the aboard fairness”, in the other media… lolwut?

      Hope beats the crap out of fear, and growth will come from people who have it. With just a wee toty glimmer of hope, Scotland has been transformed, its powerful shit, don’t knock it.

      It takes great courage to use your own name on the internet, the internet is serious business. Only the courageous shall get the respect of a fair hearing here. NicNames are bad, mkay…

  3. Don’t likeish

  4. Once again, you demand a superficial soundbite, out of context, and dismiss any potential answer out of hand. So you probably could try not to be so patronising, yes. Hope and growth would be no more stupid a plan than despair and growth has proved: if you can quote *any* realistic proposal for where growth will come from in the oecd this decade, fire away. Please don’t assume we’re all too daft to see through your so-called ‘demands’. (The key aspect of the tactical is co-ordination, as you know: while everyone can work out who *they’ll* vote tactically for, the tactic only works if more others choose x than y.)

    And because the simple answer is simple: by, for the first time, investing the revenues of what Scotland produces most effectively, into better performance in those sectors (as all other developed economies *already* do, more or less well, and therefore cannot receive an economic boost from). Put that in terms a UK exceptionalist can understand? Is a contradiction in terms.

    We get it. Your objection to this article, like your objections to all these articles, is that it’s not about you and your assumptions. Quit being surprised by the resounding chorus of so what.

    • The sad thing is I am not surprised, just disappointed as I like exploring ideas, which is meant to be what Bella was there to do

      • You couldn’t find a better place to ‘explore ideas” than Bella. Especially opposing ideas.

        Yet you are simply trying for a wind up. It’s crystal clear and you should do windups elsewhere. Don’t be ‘sad and disappointed’ – it’s that kind of language which gives you away among other stuff.

  5. Jim Murphy seems unable to make his mind up. SLAB want to remain part of UK labour and write their own manifesto. Not sure how that works.

    • Logically it makes as much sense in a UK Parliamentary as “vote against Labour MP’s in Scotland because they are awful liars, etc etc so we can support a Labour government in the UK” Who is it says that then

  6. More Murpish from from the mendacious one to-day,good grief he gets more like Nosfaratu by the day!

  7. I would prefix with a p.

  8. @Barraload
    ‘Such across the aboard fairness doesn’t seem to bother folk here. need to rely on other media to do this’

    So which media would that be, exactly? Where should I go for across the board fairness? .

    • I thought this site would be different. Instead it has tilted in favour of nationalism, which makes it no better than the others. 2 wrongs etc

      • BARRALOAD
        I have been reading this blog for 3 years and I have ALWAYS understood it to be an Independence supporting Blog. So I don’t know where you ever got the daft idea that it might not be in favour of Independence.

        • Because the site said it was exploring ideas of independence, self-determination and autonomy. Did I misunderstand exploring to mean “banging on about the same thing all the time and shouting down any alternative ideas?”

          • This assertion about exploring ideas of independence,self-determination and autonomy is in my opinion wholly inaccurate .

            I read Bella articles and absorb the information provided secure in the knowledge that prior to Bella for me no such source/forum existed . Bella exists not only to explore ideas it exists to inform readers prepared to carefully consider the analysis it’s many contributers provide .

            The narrative is welcomly pro-independence it’s not about exploring ideas on retaining the Union it’s about developing thinking to support the flourishing independence movement.

            I have been conned,lied to,fed inaccurate information by generations of narrow-minded people like yourself who have accepted the establishment line as gospel yet so readily dismiss all evidence to the contrary as clap-trap!

            Contrast the information sources you favour and so readily digest with Bella and others who offer an aspirationally refreshing approach to the topic of our time.

      • aw..crocodile tears..straight out the tony blair quivering lip manual.

      • Neutrality is impossible. Claiming to be neutral is often nothing more than dishonesty.

        • How about just giving each of the parties the same critical appraisal, you know the kind of role the media play in a democracy. Is this a media site or a supporters’ club

          • To believe that the role of the media in a democracy is to give fair critical appraisal is to long for a better, rosier world in which they are not driven by the financial/political imperatives of their owners or, in the case of the BBC, operating as an arm of the state. The UK media, with very, very few exceptions are dedicated to supporting the status quo and to maintain otherwise is at worst disingenuous and at best naïve.

      • ”I thought this site would be different. ”

        No you didn’t. You’ll need to lie better than that.

        Disagreement is welcome here but you hatch up wee needly phrases to give your self a much needed pleasure.

        • For the umpteenth time this site says it is exploring ideas of independence, self-determination and autonomy. Should it have said it is supporting one view only and that is the SNP. If it had I wouldn’t be here but it had loftier ambitions that have been subverted

          • If Bella supported one view it wouldn’t put up with your daft windups. Pack it in – we’ve seen through you long ago. Go to the Daily Mail blog or go back to solitary pursuits for gentlemen.

  9. the real problem for Scottish Labour is they could do all you recommend and more and all with sincerity and good heart and they know or must be increasingly aware it would make no difference they will still be hammered. People know that the SNP case is full of holes, that many of the candidates ten or twenty years ago would have been standing for labour or even the Tories, some did or were key activists in those parties. Despite all this and despite the mixed and long record of the current Scottish Government what people want to hear and vote for is “I believe in Scotland” and a positive message of change and anti austerity, something new and for the moment that is enough to ensure SNP victory next month

    • I expect they will get hammered as you say in the heartlands where the SNP majorities could be large. but i wonder if elsewhere the anti-nationalist vote will coalesce and the poll lad will not apply to every part of the country. Scotland could become divided between Lanarkshire, Glasgow and Dundee and other parts of the central belt, on the one hand, and then the rest of the country

      • Inverness and Paisley as well if your talking about yes majorities at the referendum,You could have upwards of over 45 SNP seats dotted all over the country. September the 18th was a snapshot of people’s opinion on the issue of Independence at that date. There was a recent poll that suggested pro independence candidates would poll 55% of the popular vote. Change happens. If the SNP and other pro independence candidates, the socialists and the green’s etc poll over 50% of the votes then it could be an example of that change in opinions happening quickly across the country, Tactical voting would might just might save a few MP’s though, So don’t despair.

  10. Baraload we found hundreds of billions of pounds to bail out the fraudulent financial/banking sectors and you are wondering! how we are going to find 2/3 billion,there were no problems pumping that kind of cash into a failed continuing to fail financial system.Can you or anyone else tell me where all this money went,was it into the infrastructure of the country was it into production creation of jobs was it invested in the welfare education and care of the peoples of these islands,no way so who benefited?.

    • you won’t find me arguing in favour of what the banks did. it is a scandal that the state and lender of last resort had to keep the financial system working. Had they not we’d all have been in the soup. There are many things to learn about the mess and scandal but these include the importance of being in a country with means and the importance of having your own currency. We should remember that

      • Barra load o’ keich – how dare you speak of ‘we’ ?

        You pretend to attack the banks and also defend them. You are indeed a most incompetent, meat beating troll.

        ”the importance of being in a country with means and the importance of having your own currency”. Does that mean you voted Yes or are you a Tory liar? Do tell.

        Got your number, Barra load o’…..

        Get a life.

        • I am not defending banks. I am merely pointing out that the UK and Bank of England as lender of last resort were in a position to take extraordinary action without which none of us would have got money out of a cash machine

          I voted No and I am not a Conservative supporter, since you asked

          Thanks for the other compliments, which I am getting used to and seem a glimpse of a new Scotland – which is far more narrow minded than it would like to claim for itself

          • People still believe the bank of England bailed out our banks?! Well, I suppose they bailed out a bit of them.

          • And yet weirdly, Panama – without it’s own currency and without a central bank and running a deficit for several years, despite that all being totally impossible and awful – managed to survive the banking crisis and has its economy chugging along quite nicely now with the 6th or 7th most stable banking system in the world. So actually, being part of a big country and having your own currency doesn’t matter a damn. The USA had that and it crashed. We had it and we crashed. So maybe the real question about economic stability and resilience is not about size, but about governance. And maybe the UK, with its repeated crashes, its constant criminal activity by several banks and its lax attitude to tax collection, financial transparency and so on is actually one of the WORST places in the world to be when it comes to shaky banks?

          • “…were in a position to take extraordinary action without which none of us would have got money out of a cash machine”

            There were alternatives — the government could have wound up the banks and taken over the accounts. The bail-out was against the principles of market economics, as it removed the penalty from irresponsible management, and the smaller banks who had refused to take irresponsible risks were the ones who suffered, as they had previously lost business on the grounds of having uncompetitive rates, and were not rewarded with a stronger position when they were proven right.

          • Kevi,n you seriously want us to have a banking system like Panama? You want Scotland to become an off shore haven for dodgy money. Is this the way we float the Scottish economy

  11. Great article but there 3 “ishes” which you didn’t address Scott ISH.(not a chance) Labour ISH (ever since Blair) and P ISH (mostly everything they stand for nowadays),

  12. @ Monty

    You are ignoring a number of other factors that people may be taking into consideration.

    For Labour leader in Scotland, they chose Jim Murphy, right-wing Blairite, war-monger and Zionist.

    Jim and other Scottish Labour politicians have made a number of errors in terms of fact, such as Jim’s insistence that the biggest party will form the government, and style, e.g. his treatment of Nicola Sturgeon on Sunday Politics Scotland – there was nothing, NOTHING, in his performance that suggested that he actually wanted to win votes.

    Nicola Sturgeon is the only politician in the whole of the UK with a positive approval rating. Why is that?

  13. Barra load o’ what?

    You’re nothing but a troll with an empty life.

    You bleat about ‘no balance ‘ yet we have you. You sad, bleak, malformed person you. (Oh! the bells, the bells!).

    The future of Scotland is at stake as never in 300 years and yet you get a cheap onanistic thrill from empty windups.

    Barra, I suggest you return to solitary pursuits for gentlemen.

  14. When I read these words’ I believe Ed Miliband to be a principled and honest man’ I stopped reading.
    How can any serious political observer see Ed as any more than an anodyne watered down version of the aristocratic Neo-Liberal elite running the UK?

    In the pockets of rotten international capitalists, robber barons, and Eastern European oligarchs. A political class of corrupt self seeking sociopaths paying lip service to ideologies that have no meaning other than manipulation of power.

    People in Scotland have finally woken up to the reality of ‘Great Britain’ and the ‘Scottish’ branch parties: bourgeois fronts representing the hegemony running Westminster. Their leaders are uneducated dupes and shills, happy to mouth any lies to beguile the naïve and frightened. The yellow press and even more jaundiced media, staffed by paid pimps who just recycle spin doctor lies.

    Why wouldn’t ordinary Scots reject this scurvy crew of parasites? The Banks and the City of London ruined the economy, not the working people. So why should anybody buy into a bankrupt system of boom for the big boys and bust for rest?

    The trolls on here that sneer at the Scottish people’s yearning for democracy…yes real democracy….are self loathing jeremiahs who have no vision and even less empathy. We seek to rid ourselves of the whole putrid edifice of privilege and pomp and circumstance that have enmeshed us for three centuries . All the ordinary people of Scotland have to show for it is emigration by our youth, destruction of our indigenous businesses and an iron fist in an iron gauntlet waved in our faces by the British State every time we deign to attempt to grasp our freedom.

    So forget about Labour and the crumbling hollowed out corpse of British ‘Democracy’, seize the moment and put as many SNP MPs in Westminster and start bringing it to the very brink required to destabilise the Union once and for all.

  15. Barraload merely continues the error of using the irrelevant figures and prospects for a Scottish economy trapped in a bankrupt UK state as if this situation will continue.
    Why would we want to be independent if we were intending to continue the same economic mismanagement.
    Repeat – all projected figures for Scottish economy which are based on the situation of Scotland trapped in a bankrupt UK economy are irrelevant and we shouldn’t even give them credence by arguing about them

    • Oh well, they are all wrong and the SNP gurus have the monopoly on all wisdom. That seems delusional to me. The negative view on the Scottish economy surely has some credence

      In bond markets (where Scotland would need to borrow money to fund the state) the strength of an economy is reflected in the rates that would be charged. I think it is clear that the bond markets would charge more to Scotland than the UK.

  16. This piece is ameteurish pish of the highest order!

    ed milliband principled? Iraq! His stance during the referendum! Voting with tories on austerity!

    There is nothing else in this piece that is worth commenting upon, agreeing with or challenging other than to say this is the worst article I have seen published in Bella.

  17. Thank you Lochside. Worth repeating.

    “We seek to rid ourselves of the whole putrid edifice of privilege and pomp and circumstance that have enmeshed us for three centuries . All the ordinary people of Scotland have to show for it is emigration by our youth, destruction of our indigenous businesses and an iron fist in an iron gauntlet waved in our faces by the British State every time we deign to attempt to grasp our freedom.

    So forget about Labour and the crumbling hollowed out corpse of British ‘Democracy’, seize the moment and put as many SNP MPs in Westminster and start bringing it to the very brink required to destabilise the Union once and for all.”

  18. I have never yet been disappointed by Robin McAlpine’s articles. Thought-provoking and analytical while underneath is the passion for justice in an unfair society. There’s a large section of the population looking for solutions to the problems of inequlity. They know that if you batter the poor sooner or later we all pay – whether through low productivity and poor health or rising crime or civil unrest. I don’t want to live in a country where people have lost hope.
    It’s obvious that neoliberalism isn’t working for the majority (I’ve only discovered the name-tag for the ideology recently but I’m not the only one waking up politically in this country. You don’t need the name-tag to recognise the growth in food banks.)
    The common weal has exciting ideas – it’s fun to talk about doing things differently. It’s also a lot of work to make them happen. Work that is done for the common good.
    Meanwhile (some) politicians, civil servants, the press and security service have a vested interest in keeping things as they are. Change is always a challenge. What if we don’t manage? That’s why it’s usually pretty bad before things do change. Can it get any worse than this?
    Bella is part of the change and people are allowed to have their say. People will disagree. They may even try to provoke. We all like to cling to our world view.

    • “Meanwhile (some) politicians, civil servants, the press and security service have a vested interest in keeping things as they are.”

      Little doubt about that, but don’t forget the many hundreds of public and semi-public quangos, institutions and ‘Trusts’ etc – aka ‘Establishment Scotland’ – i.e. the folk who really run Scotland. Stereotypes here include: privately schooled; ‘elite’ universities; rugby; and most dominantly, unionism. Most of these folks, which number in the thousands, likewise would prefer things as they are. And they will still be ‘running’ (or more like ruining) Scotland even if FFA or independence is achieved, which is a real worry. Would they put a spanner in the works? You bet they would! They have been doing so for decades. The ‘Scottish establishment’ are the centurions of Neoliberalism and ‘Britishness’. They are the very people who are holding Scotland back. Unionist politicians are merely their public mouthpiece.

  19. Barraload where and who did the money go to,where does it ever go to? certainly not to the well being of the populace,the head of the Fed Reserve puts out a terse statement about lending rates and trillions change hands,yet we have austerity?.

    • We’re probably in agreement here, but the point is that in the imperfect mad, and often corrupt world that we actually live in the fact that the UK could take this action meant you and I could get money out of cash machines and society kept going.

  20. Don’t underestimate the Scots’ capacity for falling for the lies and heeding the scares. I’d like to think they’d have learnt their lesson by now, but I’ve been in politics too long to really trust Scotland to get it right for once. Still, I live in hope.

  21. Very good article. What struck me most was this: “You are doing well and surely you want to look after your interests? The Conservatives will do that best.” Disarming honesty here, being absolutely open about the fact that they are a party for the privileged. And yet even some of the privileged don’t like it. Which leaves me to wonder, how do they still get so many votes?

  22. Barraload, why don’t you put all these questions and worries to the well known former minister Brian Wilson; he’s very close to Barra and somehow he could be very, very close to your good-self. He’s bound to have answers that will suit you.

  23. The last sentence is the crux of this. Scottish Labour can only be credible if they match their rhetoric to the party leadership of break away.

    I just don’t think they have the guts to do either, so they will remain with no credibility and have no chance of political recovery.

  24. Spot on Frank Lynch our penchant for c——ng it when it gets down to the “nitty gritty” is our real “claim to fame”,the establishment did a grand job when they “parcelled” us up,nowhere else in the world would they baulk at governance of their own country,they well knew what they were doing,they tried and failed in Ireland hence the hatred shown to them in Scotland.We now have a huge base from which to fight on but you just won,t move the entrenched Unionists and I would say that has to be around 35/40% of the population a very narrow band for us to work on.

  25. Barraload says that he has been called “Mendacious
    Cynical
    Corrupt
    Not redeemable
    Bellicose
    Neo liberal
    A dullard
    A gangster
    Untrustworthy
    Insincere
    A rotten carcass
    Metrocentric
    Haughty
    Foot dragger
    Belligerent”.

    I’m troubled that we resort to name calling in order to bully and humiliate our opposition. Please let’s address the arguments, and not attack, bully, and humiliate those who disagree with us. We really don’t know them and ought not to make judgements about their persons and characters.

    • I saw a comment in another blog about BC being invaded by trolls, concern trolls, so visited to take a look. What I see is barraload being told he hasn’t got the guts to use his own name, go elsewhere, and he can’t spell “troll” when referring to himself. Well, my name is yesindyref2 which I think is a statement of the bl***ing obvious where my bias lies.
      The referendum got 45% YES, but 55% NO. Yet NO voters have been called “cowards, thick or liars”. Not very conducive to making that 48%, 50%, 52% … 60% or more for the future YES vote in 3-5 years.
      The SNP have 52% according to the TNS Poll. Well, firstly I’d like to see that be the result of the General Election, but I’d be even happier to see it as 55%, 58%, 60%. Telling people who don’t agree with a point of view to b***er off isn’t likely to convince them, but as much to the point, it’s not likely to impress lurkers who might be passing by, into thinking the YES / SNP / Devo-Max supporters are reasonable, cogent people, who can argue a point withut name-calling or dismissal.
      In other words, I agree. And no, I’m not posting my real name. I might get abused for my point of view, and some people take these things OFF the forums and invade people’s personal lives – and work.
      Oh, and yes, for daring to express a view that isn’t the “meme”, I’ve been called a troll, a flag troll, a concern troll – and told to eff off. Nice. Water, duck’s, back, off.

    • Well thank-you for that. I think we might be up against it on here in trying to debate ideas without resorting to personal comments, whether targeted at posters or political candidates, but it’s worth trying

      • Go for it Barraload. The Indy campaign also had a lot of left-leanng bias. Well, the reason for that was clear, Indy was opposed by Labour who used to have 42% of the vote in the GE and 41 MPs, so Labour voters had to be the big target. Unfortunately no other way, to overcome decades of voting the same way through generations.

        The problem is that to do that it had an anti-Tory rhetoric, and yet Independence could be just as attractive to Tory voters who represent up to 20% of the voters in Scotland, with Conservatives in a new Scotland having the potential to reach 30% in a few years (in my opinion). I hope next Ref, having achieved 45% this time, will be much more inclusive, and able to talk about Scotland under any political dogma, not just a centre-left one.

        But both need to have posters like you (presuming you’re not a troll!!!) making their point of view – against all the odds 🙂

        • Definitely not a troll. Not a conservative either but will defend their right to be treated respectfully and not constantly denigrated and name-called on here or anywhere else. I am perhaps a bit sensitive to the dark side of nationalism (always have an internal enemy to attack), burt only because it has a history of doing this. For Farage it is immigrants. For SNP it is Tories.

    • Don’t you get it, Steel? Barra is a windup merchant otherwise known as a troll.

    • Interesting that Barra shares all the insults he’s had on other sites. So I wouldn’t indulge in any handwringing over the criticism he’s had. He enjoys it so don’t be fooled! He’s a windup merchant.

      ”Rotten carcass” has a Red Chinese ring to it…just musing.

  26. I dunno how I feel about the blog piece. It’s all true, and all good, but meh, so bloody what? Labour are bad, really bad (though Ed seems a decent sort). The SNP are decent enough and seem to be serious about being decent enough. So? Meh.

    We need to apply the “ish” to ourselves in the independence movement and be far sharper, better at politics and more radical. Our whole movement still drips with “ish” and if all our eggs are in the SNP basket then I feel the “ish” sorely when we bandy about terms like “anti-austerity” and all that term has come to mean. It’s like being anti-bad when I hear it come out of John Swinney’s mouth amid the usual babble of finance minister neo-liberal muck.

    Labour we know about. It’s our own faults and needs we have to be looking at. £8.70 an hour minimum wage in 2020? Radical? Anti-austerity? Get tae…

    • Stevie, please don’t form your views on what you are told or think is a ‘decent person’. I want to howl. I cringe to read this level of naiveity. It makes me want to sell you credit at 1346% interest – as seen on TV!

      For the love of Scotland get up to speed.

      • I’ve no idea what you’re on about. You’re howling why? What naiveity?

        What am I catching up with? I’m sure it’s something really important.

        Meanwhile I’ll maintain my view that we’re a bit “ish” and wishy washy and we need to continue to get better at politics. None of that means I like Labour or Ed, though it also doesn’t preclude Miliband being on okay person – I don’t know, I wasn’t commenting on his personality.

  27. Can anybody maybe barraload explain to me the unionist mindset as I cannot fathom it at all,no matter how much they openly show/have shown their contempt/disdain for us we in large nos still whine about us wanting to be in “the union” do some of the better minds on here think that the psychology of the “battered wives syndrome”is in force,how degrading/humiliating,thank God we are showing some spine.

    • I don’t claim to speak for the whole 55%, but I think that I’ve got a reasonable feel for why middle class Edinburgh voted No in such large numbers.

      As MBC said in a post a couple of days ago, they do very well out of the union. The union has allowed businesses (principally financial services, but all the supporting businesses as well) and well paid jobs to be commensurate with a population of 65m, rather than 5m. What’s more, those voters believe that leaving the union would inevitably mean that business activity and jobs would move south.

      The No voters might be motivated by personal self interest, or they might think that this economic shock would be bad for Scotland, probably a mixture of the two. In my opinion independence would mean better politics but worse economics, and as politics is largely about spending the economics independence would be bad for Scotland – at least for a generation or so.

      To my mind the disconnect between Yes and No is that Yes spent the majority of the time talking about how the grass would be greener on the other side of the fence. Many No voters accept that it could be – but they were much more concerned about how to get over the fence and what damage would be done in the process. I still don’t understand if the Yes leadership really believed that it was simple to get from A to B, or if they realised that it was very difficult, and didn’t talk about the elephant in the room to avoid scaring people away. Interesting that the SNP now say that FFA will take years, whereas the timetable to achieve independence was only 20 months.

      Out of my social circle the Yes voters were overwhelmingly public sector workers and the No voters private sector.

      • Points well made. It is the private sector that mainly generates the wealth that is needed , but since changing they reduction to corporation tax to try to bribe a few HQ’s to locate here, I’m not sure what the SNP has to say to the private sector, beyond the abuse heaped on parts of it

        • Quite wrong, totally wrong. ALL wealth comes from labour.

        • Jeez! Not again. “…the private sector mainly generates the wealth..” This is a complete fallacy. The truth is that private & public sectors are entirely inter-dependant.
          For a business to operate it needs healthy, educated, staff. It also needs customers who are: healthy, able to move freely, protected by the rule of law, well enough educated to hold down a job, living in a reasonably well-maintained civil society, able to walk safely down the street, protected by emergency services. etc etc etc.
          If I work for a local council and spend my wages in Sainsbury’s, does that not count as economic activity? If a company director’s kid is disabled, does he not expect support from the state?
          We depend on each other to make a society work. The idea that one group of people are “wealth creators” and the other (public sector workers) are a “drain on the economy” is an oft repeated trope designed to turn one part of society against another. Have a proper think about it before repeating this nonsense! It’s called “Divide & Rule”. It’s time we moved on.

      • What I heard from NO voters at the time, and since in postings elsewhere, is that they didn’t like being treated like vegetables, i.e. YES and the SNP just glossed over risk and uncertainties.

        Well, I think they had little choice but to make it seem easy peasy, as it was getting support for YES up from 25%. In the event it got to 45%, could have been just over the 50% but wasn’t. If they had highlighted risks, it could have been as low as 30% YES, and that would have been that for many years.

        Next Ref I hope they’ll attack the risks, listing them and putting out the pros and cons. To get from 45% (or the current polls 48-49%) YES, they are going to need to be totally open, and then let people make up their own minds.

        • @yesindyref2

          My advice is, look over barraload’s posts and reconsider

          • Barbara, it would be great if you’d write clearly. What you’ve said here means nothing, nothing at all.

          • Well, I think this is the first time I’ve posted on this forum, though I’ve read a few of the articles. Only so much one person can do!

            In general what I dislike is the very large tendency of people to call someone a “troll” just because they express a different – contrary – point of view. There are trolls whose purpose is to disrupt, or wind up, or elicit damaging responses. I doubt from what I’ve seen in this thread if barraload is one, seems more like just has a different belief and viewpoint.

        • I voted Yes in the referendum and I realised at the time it was a leap of faith. I think if we had got independence, we would have had some very tough years. There would be a power vacuum to fill and the usual types would try to fill it. The UK establishment would have been mighty ticked off and may have stuck spanners in our works. I’m old enough to know you don’t get a new beginning without a hard slog. My thinking was that it would (could?) have been worth, it in the long term. The difficulties were underplayed by the YES camp. What else could they do? As a people we have become infantilised and scared of bogey men. The media doesn’t help: “Indy will cost you £850/yr shock!” Any hint of hard times ahead would have been presented as an “admission” that independence was “bad for the economy”. We need to use a different yardstick, other than cash in our pockets, to measure what a successful society looks like. I am appalled that hard cash is such a powerful factor in so many people’s measuring of weather a risk is worth taking or not.

          • I sometime wonder what would have happened if Yes had been led by a Churchillian type, urging people to accept that some years of struggle & hardship were worthwhile in order to reach the sunlit uplands.

        • If there is a next time then I share your hope. It was frustrating that the nationalists decide not to expand their arguments on fiscal and economic policy and I suspect you’re right it was a calculation that it was going to frighten people, so they put their money on the “hope” argument and lost.

          • I don’t think that the Yes argument was really aimed at people who were interested in economics or what a fiscal policy might entail. From what I saw it was aimed at people who were interested in an almost permanently left-wing society, and people who were nationalists.

            I think the Yes side made a gamble from the outset that the above would appeal to more Scots than economics or fiscal policy or Unionism or British nationalism. In the end it didn’t, with studies showing that the principle driver behind the No vote was economics (No voters did not feel that questions were answered, or felt that we’d be worse off after independence), and a believe in the Union.

            If there is another referendum, it’s going to have to focus a lot more on the economy in order to try and win over more No voters.

  28. What puts me off Labour isn’t the weak leadership or even their policies (or even the lack of them) but their frustrated sense of entitlement and irrational hatred of the SNP.

  29. ” Mr T
    April 16, 2015 • 20:42

    I sometime wonder what would have happened if Yes had been led by a Churchillian type, urging people to accept that some years of struggle & hardship were worthwhile in order to reach the sunlit uplands.”

    You make the rightwing mistake of putting your faith in individuals.

    Not only that, Churchill was rejected overwhelmingly by the electorate. He was a right wing imperialist who fought tooth and nail to stop India becoming independent. He ordered tanks against Scots workers – among other workers. He was a racist as his correspondence shows. He dismissed the British caused famine in Calcutta as of no importance saying they were disloyal. All 3 million dead that is. India was our ally in WW1 and II and this is how he thought of them. In an election in Dundee he was tipped out of his car – the workers’ opinion of him.

    The YES campaign was led by one of the most able politicians in Europe never mind Scotland. He was capable in the job and dignified and principled in stepping aside. If you’re into individuals that is.

    • Why is it right wing to put your faith in individuals?

      Individuals matter. A history which negates the role of individuals is absurd.

      Just look at Nicola Sturgeon for example? The SNP’s success is partly down to that one individual. Do you really think it wouldn’t matter if the SNP were led by the likes of Shona Robinson, or John Swinney, or Stuart Hosie? I’m struggling to name any of the others. To ask the question is to answer it, I suppose.

  30. I guess this is an unmonitored site, so no once cares about the stream of bilge . Wonder what Stu would do …

    • What does that mean?

      • Firstly, I apologise for my own lack of continence – I am sure there was a better way of addressing this issue,

        Secondly, having said I would follow this post, I got 15 emails in a row from a person that most people consider a troll, who as someone has already pointed out is only trying to get needle us into a reaction. I notice s/he does not reply to questions s/he doesn’t like, such as mine regarding media that s/he would recommend, as opposed to this blog which s/he criticizes (slags off?) strongly and repeatedly, without producing evidence.

        S/he should be encouraged to get a life – perhaps you’ll say that applies to me.

        Thirdly, and slightly off-topic, supporters of independence should be wary of bowing to media pressure to be perfect, or over-reacting when a fellow supporter is less than perfect, because you won’t win – the more you try, the more they will make of any shortcomings, or they will invent them. They certainly won’t acknowledge the hate campaigns from those opposed. Alex Salmond has got the right approach, emphasising the positive.

    • Well Babs – what bilge? Do you mean Barra? Who’s Stu? What are you saying?

      Don’t be a tease! Shoot or get off the chanty.

  31. Thanks Babs!

    I only want to ask you how is it that you can get ”15 emails in a row from a person that most people consider a troll,”

    How is this possible? How can you be accessed from Bella?

    • Hi Plater, I wasn’t going to comment again, however as you ask …

      I just meant that having subscribed to the original post, I received 15 email notifications in a row, all relating to the same person, who needed 15 different posts to say what he had to say, on top of all his other postings. He may of course not have intended maximum irritation 😉 but that was the effect.

      Cheers

  32. ”yesindyref2
    April 17, 2015 • 15:24

    Well, I think this is the first time I’ve posted on this forum, though I’ve read a few of the articles. Only so much one person can do!

    In general what I dislike is the very large tendency of people to call someone a “troll” just because they express a different – contrary – point of view. There are trolls whose purpose is to disrupt, or wind up, or elicit damaging responses. I doubt from what I’ve seen in this thread if barraload is one, seems more like just has a different belief and viewpoint.”

    You say you ”think this is the first time you have posted on this forum”. Why the uncertainty? I DO hope you’re not related to the wee Barra, Crivvens! – perish the thought. ”Barra load” ? you know this thread SO well.

    Barra is a determined troll of ugly views which you are not. Only my opinion of course. Please oppose it here on Bella which is a model for debate.You WILL agree.

    Or, I’m sorry that you are unable to distinguish between differing views and windup merchants. Some would like to sell you double glazing if you are so gullible. 1300 % interest – a bargain!. But you’re not gullible are you? Far from it.

    You know that Bella always includes opposing views, if you’re honest, which I’m sure you are. Oh yes. Honest.

    If you have any nous at all, you’ll look at the language of Barra and decide that he is a windup merchant so don’t irritate others by your naivity. Or kindness, yes? Or sanguinity? Help ma boab!

  33. Quite right – have you any idea of the devastating effect of a bottle of Nuits St. George on communications? Next day we can see things more clearly and can demand that this issue is discussed widely and solutions sought. Perhaps a switch to St Joseph of good vintage? A Cotes du Rhone? Rioja?

    I think we should be told.

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