2017 – the carousel begins again

jimtoggleJim O’Neill returns to the fray with a look back on the lows of 2016 and a look forward to what we can expect from 2017.


2016 in political terms was a bit of a disaster for those of us with a left leaning disposition. First, we had Brexit, the fallout of which was the replacement of Cameron with the even more right win Theresa May, with a Cabinet which includes Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson, who continues to go off message and insult our allies.

Then we had the shock of Donald Trump winning the US Presidency despite Hillary Clinton getting more that 2 million more votes, thus confirming how broken American democracy is. His cabinet is filled with oligarchs, somewhat resembling Yeltsin’s Russian government, and we now know how that turned out, with the systematic privatisation of state assets.

In our own party, we had a wholly unnecessary leadership battle brought on by crazy behaviour by Labour backbenchers. What happened to our old habit of washing dirty linen indoors? And in Scotland, we had the loss of more Holyrood seats, which has not stopped Labour being the real opposition in the Scottish Parliament.

So, how have governments responded to this? In Israel, the right-wing Netanyahu government has decided to go ahead with settlements on occupied Palestinian land. This has brought a reaction even from the outgoing Obama administration who refused to block a critical UN resolution, and Secretary of State, John Kerry, calling the Netanyahu government the most right-wing Israeli government ever.

This itself brought a reaction predictably from the Israeli government, and somewhat less predictably from a spokesperson from No.10. This is a clear attempt by Theresa May to align herself with the incoming Trump administration, but throws aside the long-standing British stance on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. It endangers the two state solution and will undermine any Palestinian trust in the UK as an independent broker in the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, Putin has played a very effective hand in, first, brokering a ceasefire in Syria, and then refusing to respond to the expulsion of 35 diplomats from the US and even inviting the children of the US diplomats to a New Year party in the Kremlin. This is a blatant grab for the moral high ground, knowing that in three weeks he will have a much more Kremlin friendly president in the White House. Watch out for the early reinstatement of the 35 diplomats.

Two polls in Scotland have shown the difference in the quality of polling methodology. An internet poll carried out over the holidays purports to show Labour’s vote falling to just 15%. However, we all know who are most active on the internet, while most normal people are actually enjoying the holidays. This has clearly influenced the numbers which make them very suspect.

Meanwhile more traditional methods have been used to produce a poll which shows that 61% of Scots oppose a second independence referendum in 2017, and that the figures in support of and against independence have changed very little since the referendum. Maybe these new figures will convince Nicola to refocus her work on running our country rather than making every speech about independence. There is clearly a lot of work to be done in sorting out the problems in our health service, our education system, our rail service and our housing. Somehow, I hae ma doots.

I will return to these subjects as a proper opposition commentator should but meanwhile, a guid New Year tae yin and all.

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14 thoughts on “2017 – the carousel begins again

  1. Oh dear God. Labour down poll worthless Indyref 2 oppose poll gospel.

    But the real humdinger is still the “those of us with a left leaning disposition”

    No resolution to face reality yet Jim bob?

  2. Isn’t it a little unfair to demand Nicola Sturgeon must ‘stick to her day job’ and stop making every speech about independence, when virtually everything we hear from Kezia (and Ruth) makes everything about independence, or at least stopping it? I see Ms. Dugdale now thinks her previously espoused love for being in the European single market should be amended to ‘the UK is more important than the EU’, since Scottish self-determination looks like the only way to achieve single market membership. What next, Jim, immigration as a red line for Scottish Labour, so as not to rock the post-Brexit Westminster Labour boat? At least you might, at last, get rid of all those Immigration Controls mugs from the 2015 election campaign.

  3. And I had thought every speech by Nicola, had focused on getting a deal for Scotland while remaining within the UK.
    As for the Indyref poll, I know no one who expects or wants a referendum in 2017. The years after that are different. 2018? 2020? 2022?
    Why rush, things will start to unravel very quickly soon. Its already started with our EU Ambassador letting us in on Treeza’s dirty little secret—no plan, just bluster.
    What is Labour’s Brexit plan? Anyone know? —–Just do what we are told by London? Same old, same old!

  4. Wasn’t it Labour’s own internal polling that had them at 15%? I could be wrong

    Why is it that when it’s stated that a high percentage are against a referendum in 2017, it’s taken to mean that the same percentage are against independence. There are many pro-independence voters who would prefer the vote in 2018 for example who would be against a vote in 2017, believing that there is an optimum date. You may instead question why polling companies and their Clients continually ask narrow questions leading to an answer they can best spin. Why not just ask people if they would vote yes or no?

    Like the comments above, it appears it’s the LibLabCon parties that continually talk about Indy2. Perhaps if Labour had some radical policies, they could interest the electorate in that

  5. welcome back and a happy new year. I agree with your blog . in my opinion sadly the world is moving to the right. Trump elected with his right wing loony tune crew. he has even given a job to a former apprentice show contestant that he fired. the loony right extre emist s look as if they could get power in Germany France etc. a lot of it to do with the same reasons we got brexit. as I write this Obama and John MacCain are calling the hacking of the Democrats an act of war.this will rumble on .Israel and Netanyahu are riding roughshod over the West bank. mutch as was done to the Indians in 1800s in the USA. I say this not as someone who is anti USA or anti Israel but as someone who is worried about the way the world is heading. we need to work out what is happening and why .in Scotland the local election campaign is about to start. yes I will be trying to secure a Labour vote. I will also be listening to what people have to say. we are all about to find out big time. the voters quite rightly will not hold back and I don’t want them to. no matter what the parties have to say on our pet projects like indy or brexit. the people who tmatter the voters are going to tell where Nicola Ruth Kezia Jeremy and Theresa can all go not forgetting Nigel. the voters in the main will not want to talk about your parties favourite subject like indy. you will have to listen to voters views on the Council tax the bins traffic jams potholes and what are you going to do about it. if your party is used to cutting local budgets this will come as a shock to you. me I love it in the past doing phone polling I have been blamed for a lady burning her pies. I started laughing when a woman was telling me about a water filled pothole she had complained about. a bus drove past and soaked her daughter who with an open window was reversing into the drive. absolutely the wrong time to laugh. so remember what are you going to do about it eh son. finally official papers just published . Maggies senior policy advisor Carolyn Sinclair put in a report that Cannabis was so prevalent in the black community they were giving it to babies.2 invest coca crops in Latin American countries with plant eating insects. to stop the drug epidemic.3 letters between Maggie and Princess Margaret in witch Margaret calls stricking steele workers Trotskyites. she also called Mohammed Ali that silly boxer. the letters were released because Margaret is dead. 4 Tom King Northern Ireland Secretary in 1986 in an of the record briefing given to Michael Lillis of the Irish Dept of Foreign Affairs. he told him it was obvious that RUC Officers would face serious charges if the Stalker inquiry was ever made public. the inquiry was into shooting suspects rather than arrest them . the report was not made public. no 5 six years after the Falklands war Maggie tried to block British Envoys having any contact with Argentinian Ministers. it was over a suggestion that the British make a courtesy call on the Argentine Foreign Minister. Dante Caputo was about to become President of the UN General Assembly. our PM said she would utterly recoil from this. US Secretary of State George Shultz insisted .Sir Crispin Tickle our UN Ambassador made the visit. the file says to avoid needlessly antagonising the US. no 7 in 1989 PM stopped Ken Clark from saving 4 million by stopping free welfare milk for children in daycare. the PM did not want Thatcher the milk snatcher name to come back.no 8 PM stopped Sir Malcolm Rifkind from providing state funds for Gaelic TV. it was because very few people speak it. 9 the Faslane 5 there were 10 secret courts martials. 10 Margaret and Dennis Thatcher failed to register for the Poll Tax. they registered after a reminder letter from Westminster Council arrived threatening them with a fine

  6. has anyone noticed just a little bit of disarray creeping in at the SNP. shock horror. in South Ayrshire former SNP MSP Chic Brodie has left to become an Independent candidate at the local elections in May. Chic said he does not need party political baggage . then we have our FM and her thoughts on Indy ref 2. soft Brexit maybe no ref. that has met with a mixed reaction amongst her members. Alec Neil has again gone public to say a ref should not be held for some years and until we see the terms of a Brexit deal. the fact that he has not been shut down makes me think this serves the FMS view. a SNP MP who would not be named said the troops will not be happy. having marched them up to the top of the hill she is signalling a possible retreat. the green leader Patrick Harvie has called this a change of tactic s. he does not favour any compromise. my view is Nicola is a clever lady she has campaigned for independence all her life. even when it was not fashionable. I think that to keep all those Labour upstarts who joined the party happy and of her back she has boxed herself in. the new kids on the block wont allow any leeway on this. if Nicola thought she could win a ref she would do it tonight. I wonder if that unnamed MP is Tommy Shepard. as I write this BBC News said the PM has said to control the borders we might leave the single market. has anyone actually explained what the single market is. the local elections are in May . the public will be concentrating on local issues and we will all be getting told what they think of us

    1. Just you keep thinking along those lines David. Whatever helps get you through the day.

      Over the last 10 years we’ve been treated to numerous predictions of the SNPs demise and Labour’s subsequent resurrection, all of which proved to be delusional. I see no reason to believe your hopes are any less delusional.

      Labour’s own Polling suggests they are delusional and Labour look set for heavy losses. Perhaps you should just accept that to avoid looming disappointment.

  7. first time anyone has answered any of my comments at least you have stuck to the point. well done. I am like my other comrades an ordinary unpaid volunteer . we have principles that we believe in . we did not cause the problems that we undoubtedly have that have been caused by others in senior positions. there is no animosity towards labour in my area. there is towards the SNP. we recently took control of North Ayrshire Council . rather than wait for Labour to force them out after winning a by election. but the thing is the local party leadership took the decision to resign control of the council. the leader was on holiday another refused to go. we were told the party had to be reset. labour had a field day. local elections are due in May we will all be told what the people think of us. I think we will be told to concentrate on local issues not Indy or Brexit. as I write this the FM has ruled out another Indy Ref this year. she boxed herself in on this. I think she is now out of that box. she has in my opinion done the right thing. maybe she understands she wont win. an unnamed SNP MP said yesterday the FM has marched you up to the top of the hill. the troops wont like a retreat being signalled . Ruth Davidson has now said Scotland must stay in the single market. an SNP TORY alliance perhaps.

    1. As I said, delusional. Not the first North Ayrshire Labour politico I’ve conversed with who had such delusions. He insisted we had reached “peak nat” in 2007 and that Labour would walk back into power in 2011. He insisted that right up until the SNP eclipsed them at the polls.

      Anyway, its good that you’re committed to something. Good luck in your endeavours though, obviously from my perspective, not too lucky.

      1. Not sure that eclipsed is the right word since only one seat changed hands. This was repeated last year when Labour took an SNP seat, prompting the SNP Administration to abandon and take to the lifeboats

        1. Not sure what you’re referring to here.

          If its the 2011 Holyrood elections that I was referring to then I think you’re deluding yourself again. Your N.Ayrshire compatriot predicted a Labour landslide but we ended up with a SNP majority govt with Labour a distant second (now an even more distant third).

          Any attempt to paint a rosier picture for Labour here is, predictably, delusional. A word I seem to have to use more and more where Labour are concerned.

  8. it was me you called delusional but I did not have a laptop until last summer so I did not predict anything.

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