To say it has been a bad few days for the no campaign would be a bit of an understatement.
Alastair Carmichael was schmoozing with journalists at his party conference in Perth when news broke of the Guardian article by Nicholas Watt reporting that a UK Government Minister had confirmed what the First Minister has said all along that the stated policy of the UK Government on a currency union was nothing more than a campaign tactic.
From the Guardian article:
“A currency union will eventually be agreed between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK to ensure fiscal and economic stability on both sides of the border, according to a government minister at the heart of the pro-union campaign.”
There then followed a series of articles about crisis talks at Better Together, including the following from the Daily Mail:
“Campaign to save the UK in crisis: Summit called by pro-Union chiefs after support for Scottish independence grows…”
Now this is played out in the press as a campaign or PR issue, something that Better Together may fix by a change in tactic or tweaking the campaign message. There was even a cry of unfair about spending capacity of the YES campaign, as if UK parties hadn’t benefitted from massive business donations and union contributions denied to the SNP and Green Party for years.
What hasn’t reached the mainstream media yet is that this is not a marketing failure – a failure to sell or failure of a campaign. It is that the goods on offer are just not wanted. There is no market for the principles of Project Fear and people won’t be fooled by Jam Tomorrow promises any more.
Nothing exemplifies this more than the despicable vote on a Welfare Cap in the Commons last week which saw Labour MPs vote hand in hand with the Tories to cap the benefits of the most vulnerable in society. Bevan’s principles of a needs-based welfare system were destroyed in a vote that will both anger and dismay true Labour voters and supporters across the UK. It is a pity that the Trades Description Act does not apply to MPs as I am sure Labour MPs would fail the scrutiny test.
In March 2012 I wrote a piece for the SI entitled “What are Labour for Anymore ” bemoaning the lack of and effective opposition to the Tories by Labour. Nothing has changed! (http://www.scotsindependent.org/2012/120330/index.htm)
I do regret the demise of a once- great principled Socialist party that was the architect of the NHS and the Welfare State. I thought they had lost their way.
I was wrong they were already on the path straight to Tory Austerity Britain, principles and ideology discarded on the way. A toxic brand if ever there was one!
Jimmy Halliday’s contributions to the Cause
Jimmy Halliday – lifetime Nationalist
To put matters into context, in 1955 the SNP contested only two Parliamentary seats in Scotland. Dr Robert McIntyre fought Perth and East Perthshire and Jimmy Halliday fought Stirling and Falkirk Burghs. Jimmy then became the youngest ever SNP Chairman and served 1956-70; in 1956 the entire SNP Conference delegates were photographed on the steps of the Allan Water Hotel, Bridge of Allan.
There will be a Referendum for Scottish Independence this year, which was unthinkable in the dark days of 1955. Jimmy died on 3rd January 2013 at the age of 85, and we will be publishing all his articles in the Scots Independent, all those we have electronic input for. It is anticipated we will publish a book with all his contributions over many years but this will have to wait until after the Referendum.
Labour’s great days are over – SI October 2008 – James Halliday
English voters will never again tolerate a Scottish Prime Minister.
It has been a wild month. Until the recent banking disasters it seemed that the most remarkable story would be the behaviour of Labour MPs and the prospects facing their party. MPs who set about discrediting their own Prime Minister while hope of victory in the next General Election is remote, must have long ago decided to save their own skins as best they can. They will work to keep their own seats while writing off the Party’s hopes of office.
They now try to rally the ranks by encouraging fear of a Tory victory, and fear is a very proper reaction to that prospect. They should, however, admit that Scotland’s best protection against Conservative rule is for Scottish voters to remove their country from Conservative jurisdiction. In four General Elections Labour urged Scots to rely upon a Labour victory in Britain. Even when reminded many times that Labour had a clear mandate to rule in Scotland, they refused to accept that responsibility. In their foolish obstinacy they let Scotland fall victim to Thatcherite policies. They let Scots suffer, clinging to the hope that Labour seats won in Scotland might just let them scrape a majority in the House of Commons.
They probably have not learned even now that their hope is forlorn. They have enough sense to be afraid but not enough to know that their great days are over. The total number of seats in Scotland has been reduced. The number of seats which Labour might win has fallen too. As to the future, Scottish MPs at Westminster will be restricted in their functions by an incoming Tory government. There is little chance for a Scottish Labour MP to reach Cabinet office in any future government and, thanks to recent experience, English voters will never again tolerate a Scottish Prime Minister. Personal ambition rather than principle kept Labour loyal to unionism until now. But now they can forget it.
In any case it is time that all of us in all parties should admit that when English voters show that they want to have a Tory government they should be allowed to have one.
We wait to see how Labour’s new leader in Holyrood–or Scotland?–or wherever?–can improve his Party’s prospects. His allies in the unionist camp have not cut much of a figure recently. From the Liberals comes the innocent notion that poverty can be ended by taking a couple of pence off the income tax. This “benefits the most needy” we are told. How revealing it is that they don’t bother to acknowledge that the most needy don’t pay income tax and so this generosity has no effect upon their condition. Scottish Liberals in any case must feel uneasy to find that their Westminster leader doesn’t know the current level of retirement pension.
As for the Tories, their anxiety to shed the “grouse moor” image prompted a brave and novel candidate selection in Glasgow East. But if TV coverage of Holyrood is anything to go by “grouse moor” voices remain, but their owners look more likely to be happy in the refreshment tent of any Highland Games.
Meanwhile in the wider world a plutocratic American administration has nationalised institutions prominent in investment, mortgaging and insurance. What next? A National Health Service? And while deep underneath the Alps European scientists are working to find the scientific explanation of the first moment of the Universe, in America voters are apparently tempted to hand power to a team which rejects geology, astronomy, archaeology, chemistry and no doubt any other science which challenges credulity.
If ever there was a time for Scots to assess their own interests, assert their own principles and devise their own policies, this is it.