Duncan Hothersall is wrong, Scottish Labour should never again work with the Tories

alasdair clarkAlasdair Clark, who joined Scottish Labour in 2015 after voting Yes in the independence referendum, says that choosing to work with the Tories again on the constitutional question would be a fatal error.


I voted Yes. At the time the idea of me becoming a member of Scottish Labour within a year was laughable. I only became interested in party politics in 2014 and my reasons for voting Yes were summed by the negative opinion I had of Scottish Labour during the referendum.

I was wrong; and after the referendum it became clear that Scottish Labour was the only party which presented the bold and radical vision Scotland needed to go forward. It became clear that only Scottish Labour would be using the powers of our parliament and challenging the failed economic agenda of our country that had let down my generation so devastatingly. It became clear that only Scottish Labour was going to bring Scotland back together again after we made the decision we did in the referendum.

I don’t understand how anyone could argue that the constitutional question is so simplistic as to be separate to the very fundamental issues facing Scots. It isn’t just a question about the currency we use or the stamp on our passports; it’s a question which goes deep into the roots of Scotland and a politicians answer to it must at its heart contain their vision for Scotland in a way that encompasses so much more than something about flags.

That’s why the 2014 referendum was always about more than a dogmatic debate about independence versus the union; it was instead a robust debate about the future vision for our country, from the NHS to the economy covering education in between. A conversation about currency just as much as it was about opportunities to achieve social justice.

So many people like me voted Yes even though we were natural Labour voters – the Yes campaign’s progressive and radical visions for a different country appealed strongly to us against the arguments heard from Better Together. These are the same Scots that we must win back to start a recovery for our party.

Scottish Labour’s views on what Scotland’s future should look like is very rightly diametrically opposed to the Tories. They have a vision for a Scotland which punishes the most vulnerable acting only in the interests of the few. That’s not a vision I have and neither should anyone in Scottish Labour.

In any future referendum Scottish Labour has a duty to present our own vision for Scotland’s future. We must be clear that the answer is neither unionism nor nationalism, but is instead socialism. We must present a vision which is true to our core beliefs as Labour members, with our policy of federalism at its heart.

Proudly arguing for the pooling and sharing of resources across the UK, from each according to their ability to each according to their need. Standing together whether a ship builder on the Clyde or a steel worker in Port Talbot. In favour of socialism and against any form of narrow-minded nationalism whether British or Scottish. Knowing that in Shetland and in London we have far more in common than that which divides us.

This is a vision which stands opposed to the independence-at-any-cost argument from the SNP as well as the right wing, inward looking future promised to us by the Tories and the mess they like to call Brexit.

And apart from any of this, our position in Scotland is devastating. Where we used to be the dominant political force we now have one sole Member of Parliament and we are the third party in the Scottish Parliament. Public trust in our party is at an all time low and only looks to fall further if that is possible. Our party stands teetering on the edge the abyss, in danger of falling into irrelevance, and we so desperately need to stop that.

None of this is of course entirely the fault of the Better Together project, but poll after poll and door knocking session after door knocking session tell us that the electorate are deeply critical of the decision Scottish Labour took to work hand in glove with the Tory party. Most felt it a betrayal to their loyalty to the Labour Party and the ideals we stood for. Many found it a gross insult after the damage the Tories have wreaked on our communities.

One older man told me in April 2016 that although he’d voted No and for the Labour Party all of his working life, he could never again support our party after Better Together. He’d fought as a striking Miner against Thatcher’s closures and seen communities decimated by Conservative government actions. He said that for him to watch Labour politicians work with the Tories so closely in 2014 quite simply broke his heart.

Our party must change. We must work night and day to regain the trust and again be the hope of the majority in Scotland. We’ll start that vital work by saying loudly and clearly that never again will Scottish Labour work with the Tory party. That we refuse the choice of nationalism versus unionism and instead once again stand for socialism, solidarity and equality.

If not then I fear we will suffer one last fatal defeat.

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66 thoughts on “Duncan Hothersall is wrong, Scottish Labour should never again work with the Tories

  1. So what is Labour in its “Natural” form Alistair? What is its ideology? What does it stand for?

    I don’t know what you see but what I see is a party that supports Trident renewal Tuition fees warmongering the patronage and privilege of the House of Lords the same targeted austerity program of the Blue Tories cash for honours cash for questions cash for access illegal arms deals welfare cuts benefit cuts prescription charges increased taxation wage freezes Devo nano. The party of abstention.

    That’s a list of Labours attributes ideals and policies both past and present so I don’t recognise your vision at all maybe you can explain it more clearly?

        1. You’re proud of the Labour record for empty rhetoric?
          Many mistakes? Leaving a pie to burn in the oven is a mistake.
          Going to war illegally isn’t a mistake its a deliberate act of treason.
          Selling arms to despots isn’t a mistake its a crime and when these arms are used against British soldiers it becomes treason again.
          Cash for honours isn’t a mistake its another crime.
          Cash for access isn’t a mistake its another crime.
          Cash for questions isn’t a mistake its another crime.
          WMD proliferation isn’t a mistake its a crime against humanity.
          Targeting austerity policy at welfare and benefits isn’t a mistake its a crime against the poorest and most vulnerable.
          Freezing wages while increasing taxation isn’t a mistake its a deliberate ideology.
          Ensuring a Minimum wage still leaves recipients below the poverty line wasn’t a mistake it was a deliberate ideology.
          Decreasing the influence and power of the House of Commons relative to the House of Lords isn’t a mistake its a deliberate ideology.
          Supporting tuition fees and prescription charges isn’t a mistake its deliberate ideology.

          You’re just another willfully ignorant drone willing to ignore the worst deliberate excesses of Labour who will see no wrong in anything Labour does. The path you’re talking about is a purge of all of the present Labour officials at all levels with very very few exceptions.
          Are you advocating that Alasdair?

      1. So the answer is lets ignore who we are and who we were and concentrate on the unrealistic self deceitful self denial because it seems to be working.
        Why aren’t you UKIP yet Scott? You’re running video feeds for them.

  2. Where does this “Labour Socialism” manifest itself Alistair? In renewing Trident? Imposing tuition fees? Warmongering? Making Life peers? Targeting austerity at the welfare system? Selling honours for cash? selling questions for cash? selling access for cash? selling weapons to despots? cutting welfare and benefits? imposing prescription charges? increasing taxation for everybody? Freezing public sector wages? Abstaining on Tory policy rather than opposing?

    Please do tell me where you see this Socialism because I’m fucked if I can see it.

    1. Yesterday in Perth we saw an alternative vision for Scotland. Kezia Dugdale outlined how she will ask Holyrood to increase Child Benefit by just £5 per week to move 18,000 children in Scotland out of poverty in just one year. This is the kind of policy that progressive governments enact.

      So rather than dividing families, why does the SNP not have a wee chat with Kezia and get their calculator out again to see what he can do to help the poorest households feed and clothe their children? It’s time for him to be “Stronger for Scotland”.

      1. Another example of spending without regard to ability to pay.
        Scottish Labour have now commited to a number of spending proposals—in education, health, local government, social security, transport—the list is long and expensive.

        Labour have identified raising income tax by 1% to pay for its promises, but that tax hike won’t pay for a fraction of its commitments.
        It’s time Labour stopped lying to the public.

        1. “that tax hike won’t pay for a fraction of its commitments”

          Says who?

          What SNP priority is greater than ending child poverty? Oh yes, independence.

          1. Labours only priority is Labour. Its never been anything else.

            Who can afford a tax increase Scott? Those of us who have been under a pay freeze for the last 10 years?

            Will that 1% make up for the loss of budget funding?
            Labour refuse to opposed cutting the Scottish budget and instead propose to force the people of Scotland to pay to make up for lost revenue is that the Labour way Scott?

            We’re already getting ready to have our local taxation increased by 3% and you want to put 1p on our income tax on top?

            I’m right about you. You’re not really a Labour man at all you’ve gone all right wing extremist. Like Andy UKIP is now more in line with your ideology.

          2. Says me.
            Scottish Labour have advocated substantial EXTRA spending on HEALTH, EDUCATION, SOCIAL SECURITY, TRANSPORT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT, CHILD SUPPORT—-and on and on and on……………….perhaps YOU could itemise each new commitment you have made, and how much it will cost.
            But Scottish Labour have asserted they will pay for ALL their extra spending with a 1% increase in income tax (taxing people who have struggled for a decade with low income growth) and an increase in council tax( though we now see just how false faced THAT has turned out to be).
            The SNP, as a governing party in the real world, have to live with a balanced budget.

          3. “So its just your opinion”????—-we dont actually need analysis, those of us who can count, that is.
            On one hand we have endless spending pledges by Scottish Labour (go on, count them up) adding up to several billion pounds, and on the other we have a threat/promise to raise basic income tax by 1% to pay for it.
            The two dont equate, Dr. One is far larger than the other.
            Labour economics? But then thats how we got into this financial mess in the first place!

          4. Evidence DrScott ???
            Don’t you listen to the commitments made by your front bencher?
            Or are you taking Scottish Labour promises with the same pinch of salt as the rest of us?
            We all know Dugdale is the flip-flop relay champion when it comes to the constitution.
            Are her spending plans now in the same league of huckster snake-oil?

      2. How exactly is the SNP “dividing families”? I have a very large cast of relatives living in North America, Australia and New Zealand. I am divide from them by distance but not by politics or nationality. My son lives and works in England. If Scotland becomes independent I will be no more divided from him than I am now. In fact, my son, after witnessing the anti-Scottish Tory election campaign in 2015 and the utterly spineless Labour reaction to it, joined the SNP.

      3. We saw a car crash of empty rhetoric and unrealistic promises. Labour love asking the SNP Scottish Government to increase their spending commitments without explaining where the extra money is supposed to come from after refusing to oppose the cutting of the Scottish budget at Westminster.
        But lets face the truth for once Scott. Her worthless empty rhetoric concentrated almost exclusively on Indyref 2 with more baseless empty promises of “Federation”
        An undeliverable promises on 2 grounds. First you have to gain power at Westminster and second you have to get the whole of the UK on board.
        This after Labour supported ONLY an increase in devolved income taxation with caveats during the Smith commission meetings. They opposed devolving anything and everything else.

        So once again nothing but gibbering pish from Labour.

  3. Alistair time to wake up to the truth son. Labour aint just working with Tories LABOUR ARE TORIES.

  4. The final sentence “That we refuse the choice of nationalism versus unionism and instead once again stand for socialism, solidarity and equality” completely misses the point once again.

    The choice we have is very simple. Do we go along with the UK government’s proposals to:

    1. Exit the European single market in favour of a US trade agreement and drop Scotland’s labour and environmental standards to Donald Trump’s levels.

    2. Exit the European Convention of Human Rights which has guaranteed solidarity and equality for more than half a century.

    3. Switch from being a European style high tax, high spending economy to a “new economic model” of low tax and low spend which will be required as our trading partners change from France and Germany to the USA.

    It’s an incredibly simple choice. You can either be in favour of Unionism which means all three of these things will happen to Scotland. Or you might be in a favour of a different choice.

      1. You should debate with grangedigital, Doctor Scott. It might shed some light, no?

  5. I fully support Duncan and his cunning plan to work with the Tories.
    There can only be one outcome of all this.
    And we can all guess where it’s going.
    Btw, what colour will our new passports be?

  6. Alasdair, you should get together with the young Liam Gleeson and form the Socialist Party of Scotland. You are wasting your time with British Labour and it’s Branch Office and the creeping Fabian collusion with the Tories that Hothersall and others advocate.

    1. Both Liam and myself are committed members of the Labour Party for many different reasons. Where we disagree with other comrades in our party we will say so, as above.

      We already have a socialist party, it’s called the Labour Party.

      1. What form does this disagreement take Alasdair?
        Do you go door to door apologising for the deliberate mistakes of the past?
        Do you promise people you can make a difference and can ensure these deliberate mistakes will never happen again on your watch?

        No Alastair the people who genuinely oppose the deliberate mistakes of the past have already left the Labour party and no longer support them because of the deliberate mistakes of the past because they aint corrupt enough to pretend things will get better change or improve without a total purge of existing member officials including the entire Labour shadow cabinets in Scotland England and leadership in Wales.
        So until you start to campaign for that level of change don’t even try pretending you actually give a shit about how bad Labour is and can be.

      2. Sorry Alasdair did you miss the bit where “Socialist” Labour support Trident renewal? tuition fees? the House of Lords? warmongering? cash for honours? prescription charges? targeted austerity at welfare and benefits? Illegal arms deals to right wing fascist regimes and despots?

        Do you actually equate these ideals to Socialism? Or are you seriously denying any of them equate to Labour?

  7. “Winning support in Scotland*
    Now here’s a clever wheeze; lets just call anyone who wants to live in a self governing country a “RACIST”!
    Well, not everyone , not UKIP or the Tories Brexiteers for example, or the people who fought for their national independence and against colonialism.
    Not the Canadians, or New Zealanders, or the Irish.

    No. This will only apply to SCOTLAND and the Scots who want to run their own affairs.
    They must accept to be governed from the capital city of another country, and an Independence referendum must NOT be allowed, no matter what!
    That should do it.

      1. No I really didn’t. But seeing as you asked for a quote here it is anyway.

        “There is no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background Race or Religion.”

        Sadiq Khan Labour Major of London. 12:45 AM – 25 Feb 2017

        And the context? The Scottish Independence movements desire for self determination and the end of Westminster rule by Government.

        This was a really despicable dishonest attempt by a Labour party official to equate the Scottish Independence movement as a drive to distinguish people between a Scottish and English identity in spite of the fact that both Scots and English are on both sides of the argument.

        A clear accusation and charge of racism.

        But you knew the reference and the context all to well.

        1. The point he was making is that nationalism, in all its forms, is fundamentally divisive. You are actually evidence of that Mike – you are here simply to shout people down, not listen or be constructive.

          1. Thats not the point he tried to make at all and you know it. He wasnt being generic he was very specific in his finger pointing. Accusing the Scottish Government SPECIFICALLY of creating a divide equivalent to that expressed as racism and sectarianism between the Scots and the English in spite of the fact Scots and English are on both sides of HIS so called divide.

            The UK is divisive. As Ive pointed out below the UK divided India from Pakistan the Rep of Ireland from Northern Ireland and Israel from Palestine and I think South Africa from Zimbabwe.

            The UK is responsible for creating more divisive borders tribal conflicts sectarian divides than any other criminally corrupt regime in History.
            This is yer basic Yoonery projecting the faults and crimes of the UK onto Scottish self determination.

            And further to the claim that all forms of Nationalism is divisive, The UN is Nationalist says so in its title as is the EU as was the Soviet Union. So it seems to me its the Nationalists who create the Unions in the world.

            You UKIP yet?

        2. He’s talking about division. The text you omitted from before that quote was:

          And the rise of populist and narrow nationalist parties around the world.

          Now’s not the time to fuel that division.

          Or to seek separation or isolation.

          Now’s not the time to play on people’s fears.

          Or to pit one part of our country – or one section of our society – against each other.

          1. He’s specifically accusing the Scottish Independence movement of creating divisions that already exist.
            Scotland is already a separate country from England and Wales and NI.
            What Khan is trying to create is a lie that a division will be created between the Scots and the English. A National division that already exists and has done for over 1000 years. He was very specific in pointing this out.
            He was also very specific in trying to link this non division with racism and sectarianism.
            The only separation that’s going to occur is the separation of a joint Parliamentary union with Scots and English on both sides of the constitutional argument.
            The Scottish Parliament is going to separate from the English Welsh Parliament.
            And we’re going to have to do it in order to avoid being divided from the Parliamentary union with the rest of Europe.
            Simply put the man deliberately lied. But that’s just standard fare from Labour and has been for my lifetime at least.
            You’re on here now lying yer arse off as usual in defence of the indefensible because your just as corrupt as he is. More so.

          2. So, Dr Scott, do you think now’s the time to seek separation from Europe or for us to isolate ourselves from the EU?

            I’m also struggling with the grammar of your final comment; did you read it back to check for sense or were you concentrating too much on your style?

      1. I think we all saw the original quotation from the Mayor of old London town. You know, where he somehow equates self government for Scotland with racism, sectarianism, splitting families etc. Of course he backtracked, but it is just another nasty example of Britnat smearing—-“Scotland like Zimbabwe, one party state, fascist, control the BBC, supported Hitler”—-all the poisonous lies and memes that are endlessly repeated by Labour cyBritnattery.
        British Nationalism at its most putrid.

        1. The context is important. Context being a “thing” seldom seen in our colonial media.
          But the context here, is get out a smear, knowing it will be repeated endlessly by BBC Scotland, the Express, Herald, Scotsman, Telegraph, Mail, Times, etc etc.
          Then you backtrack, aware the “new” statement will be lost and drowned out be the SMEAR.
          It’s an old propaganda trick, nearly a century since Adolf explained it first.
          But it depends on a compliant and gullible media. In Scotland we can add on corrupt to that list.

          1. OK. Ignore the references to the colonial media ( though what YOU think the “MEDIA” that operates in Scotland represent would be of interest to know) and Hitler ( the repeated BIG LIE, don’t you know? Nowadays a fairly common propaganda tool, not least with Labour )
            But I am not wrong about Khan—his opinion is there in quotes to be read.
            They directly equate the desire for Scots to live in a self governing country( where everyone living there would be an equal, regardless of national or ethnic origin) with racism. No equivocation–and no denial when questioned.
            What is it I have missed?

      2. I suggest you watch Andrew Neil’s destruction of Dugdale this morning to see exactly what Khan called the SNP (And presumably its members and voters). You’ll also see and hear exactly what the delightful Anas Sarwar tweeted in support. It’s easy enough to find ‘Sunday Politics’ on iPlayer.

        Incidentally, Dugdale’s defence of the interventions by Khan and Sarwar presumably means she thinks that members of the SNP are divisive, xenophobic, possibly racist. Doesn’t that membership include her father?

      3. You’re being disingenuous, and you know it. Khsn’s remarks were dog whistle politics of the worst kind. He should be thouroughly ashamed of himself, and you should be ashamed of defending him.

          1. Presumably that includes British Nationalism, which at present, wants the UK to separate from its EU partners and isolate itself in the mid-atlantic as Trumps aircraft carrier.
            The Tory Party driven by UKIP and now joined by the Labour Party—all divisive narrow-nationalist separatists.
            The SNP wants Scotland to STAY united in the EU. The Scottish electorate voted by 2-1 to do so.

          2. “Presumably that includes British Nationalism”

            Yep, all nationalism is divisive. That’s the point.

            “The SNP wants Scotland to STAY united in the EU. The Scottish electorate voted by 2-1 to do so.”

            Scots actually voted for the UK to stay in the EU, not #indyref2 or the euro.

          3. While that may be undoubtedly true in many cases, without nationalism the British, Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese among others would still rule most of the globe through empires and colonialism, often maintained by force.

            I’m not sure that would be a recipe for the more just world that you and Sadiq are in politics for.

            Arguably conflict and the poverty for millions of people in China, Cuba, the USSR and South America in the name of socialism has caused as much trouble as nationalism.

          4. Please don’t compare Scotland with the colonial possessions it helped exploit. Please also don’t compare democratic socialism with Marxism.

          5. The EU referendum was NOT counted as a single constituency , and during the referendum Cameron, Blair, Major, Osborne, Dugdale at all; all claimed a differentiated result between Scotland/England would lead to indyref2/independence.
            Brexit against Scotland’s wishes was in the elected government manifesto. Now we know Labour is tardy when it comes to promises, but a mandate is a mandate.

          6. He came out of the M25 bublble, all the way to Scotland to make a general point about nationalism? Not only that he didn’t differentiate between the different types of nationalism ( see Benedict Anderson? Don’t insult our intelligence.

  8. “That we refuse the choice of nationalism versus unionism ..”

    Hi Alasdair. Does that mean you plan to abstain in the next independence referendum? If not, you are not refusing that choice.

  9. So Khan thinks that british nationalism is good, but Scottish nationalism is bad, I wonder if he thought this up himself or if some genius in the party fed him this line?

    The empty seats at the Scottish labour conference today during corbyn’s adress spoke volumes today. One of those empty seats was mine!

    I will never be back, I am so utterly disgusted with labour. I had thought of staying and fighting my corner, but three key issues have finally killed labour for me.

    – branding opponents racist because you have nothing to say to the electorate

    – Corbyn and Dugdale are both out of their depth and completely lacking in leadership or substance

    – but most of all, preserving the union even if it means 100 years of tory rule

    This week has been a sad week for labour in Scotland, it will however be a turning point for Scotland.

    1. The empty verbiage spouted from the stage directly reflected the empty seats in the auditorium.
      We are witnessing history in the making here. A once dominant political party on the verge of extinction, in a handful of years.

    2. Indeed the same British Nationalism that divided Pakistan from India and the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland not to mention Israel and Palestine.

      Now that’s what you call Divisive Nationalism.

    3. I’ve voted Labour all my life and voted No in the last indyref. But it’s now pretty clear the Tories are so out of control that even people like John Major are saying that they’re going too far.

      Meanwhile the Scottish Labour Party seem convinced that the enemy is the SNP and that we’ve got to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tories against them.

      I came to this site in case anyone would make me think again. I got a bit of abuse but no argument. The site also seems full of comments from other people equally disappointed in Labour.

      It has helped to convince me to switch my vote to the SNP and I will certainly vote Yes at the next referendum.

      1. I don’t believe you. Not least because you’re commenting on an article that explicitly says we shouldn’t stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tories, and claiming that nobody is making that argument.

        I don’t think you were a Labour or a No voter, and I don’t think your decision to vote Yes or SNP is recent. I think you’re astroturfing.

        1. If there was a referendum today I would vote Yes. But I wouldn’t entirely rule out changing my mind again.

          Let’s say for example that Theresa May changed tack and said she was going to stay in the Single Market and decided against leaving the European Court of Human Rights.

          As someone who is very strongly against nationalism I do struggle hard with a decision to vote for the SNP. I don’t like the idea of Scotland leaving the UK. I do however think that Scotland leaving the UK is a less bad alternative to what the Conservatives are currently proposing.

          1. How can you be against Nationalism when you have your very own National identity?
            Anybody who acknowledges their own National identity is a Nationalist by default.
            The SNP believe in ending a Union of Parliaments. Most of England and Wales voted to do exactly the same thing.
            Most of the Conservatives all of UKIP and at least half the Labour party campaigned to end a Union of Parliaments so in what universe is that any different? In what universe is one campaign Nationalist and the other not?

          2. Hi Mike

            I have multiple national identities. I’m European, I’m British and I’m Scottish.

            I was quite happy having all three identities. Unfortunately the Brexiteers have forced me to start choosing between identities.

            You are right that the Conservatives and UKIP and nationalists which is one of the reasons I disagree with them.

            So I guess what I’m saying is I completely disagree with you but will be voting in the same way you are!

  10. Watching that car crash of an interview by Kezia Dugdale on the politics show must have convinced many labour supporters enough is enough. She descended into jabbering complete and utter nonsense with no attempt to answer any of Andrew Neil’s questions.

    Who in Scotland wants her to lead our country, and that was followed by Gordon Brewer trying to get an answer to his questions from Iain Gray with the same level of success as Andrew Neil.

    Anyone who was thinking of voting labour before that conference must be saying to themselves no direction, no ideas, no future and certainly no vote.

  11. Duncan is right we all need to man the barricades against another referendum I am happy as a labour supporter stand on a platform with anybody of any party to defend the Union including the Tories we have strength in unity united we stand both labour and Tories together to save the Union well done to Duncan for making stand.

    1. And yet you’ll still be unable to articulate a single positive point in favour of the disunion without having to resort to deceit delusion fantasy fables or bare faced lying.

      Give it a go and prove me right.

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