While in Glasgow, ED MILIBAND MP, Leader of the Labour Party, argued that a ‘fairer, more equal and more just United Kingdom’ can best be created by retaining the union.


Let me start directly by talking about the developments on the issue of RBS bonuses. Stephen Hester has done the right thing. I welcome his decision not to take his bonus.

But I am sorry we have a Prime Minister so out of touch with the British people that he did not act to stop it earlier. He failed to be a responsible shareholder.

It took Labour’s threat of a parliamentary vote for the right thing to happen. Nobody will think the events of the last few days are a good way to set pay in our banks.

But we can only avoid this kind of story repeating itself if there is a decisive shift in rules and behaviour. We need a proper debate now about executive pay and responsible capitalism.

My challenge to the Government is to show they understand they got it wrong on RBS and can act differently in the future.

First, the bonus merry go round looks set to continue for a while. They cannot stop bonuses in the private sector banks but they can introduce a bank bonus tax. They should do so. This could raise £2 billion a year.

Second, they must now act to change the rules on executive pay so that an ordinary employee sits on every single remuneration committee of every public company. If the executives cannot look the ordinary worker in the eye and justify the salaries being paid, then they shouldn’t be paying them.

Third, we should change the rules on corporate governance so that bonuses are not for just doing your job but for exceptional performance. And introduce rules which say one salary, one bonus. These are three immediate steps the Government must take.

But there is a challenge that goes beyond this Government. What the RBS issue has shown is the gap between the lives and behaviour of a few at the top and the deep commitment to fairness and responsibility among Britain’s working families.

It is this gap which has led directly to today’s events. The gap between the squeezed middle and the very top. Successful economies depend on public consent. People are not against rewards for outstanding success or risk.

But they want to live in a country where there is fairness when it comes to the fruits of success and fairness when it comes to the need for sacrifice. This isn’t happening and hasn’t been happening for a long time.

So I’m not saying we got this right in Government. But if one good thing is to come out of the RBS fiasco, it must be this. We must relearn the lesson that we have forgotten: As a country, we succeed or fail together. We are not isolated individuals.

However affluent we are, whatever the world we inhabit, we owe responsibilities to each other. That is the country I stand for. That is the country I believe in. That is the country my Labour Party will fight for. But tackling this wider inequality, this injustice, this unfairness is the mission for politics. Today I want to make that case.

The case for a fair, just and equal United Kingdom, with Scotland part of it. Not a case based on fear of separatism. But a case based on hope. Hope for a more equal, more just, more progressive future for Scotland and the United Kingdom.

I come here with humility about the scale of challenge for Labour – nine months after we lost the Scottish elections. And I come here to stand shoulder to shoulder with you Johann, our new Leader of Scottish Labour.

You have already shown you understand the scale of the challenge for our party, and that you have the determination to make the positive case for the United Kingdom. I have no doubt, even as we speak, that the SNP are getting ready to say how dare I, as someone born and living in England, come here and join this argument. And when they ask, what has it got to do with me, let me address this head-on.

Not just as leader of the Labour Party, but on the basis of my personal history, as someone who has a deep reason to appreciate the strength of the United Kingdom.

My parents came to our island as refugees from Nazi terror. My father joined the British Navy. He did his training aboard HMS Valorous, on the Firth of Forth. A Belgian, he fought Fascism with people from every part of the United Kingdom.

As I was growing up, he didn’t talk to me about coming to England, then moving to Scotland. He talked about coming to Britain; the country that gave him and my mother shelter. He was proud of the country that had adopted him, proud of this country.

My story is repeated a million times across the United Kingdom. My story shows that this country has been a refuge to many and a cause to fight for. And therefore, if the people of Scotland decide to separate, as they can, it would not affect Scotland alone. It will affect all of us in the four nations of this country.

That is why I am here today. So as this campaign begins, we need to understand the stakes.

Some people, including the First Minister, will tell you it is a battle between him and the Prime Minister, between the Government of Scotland and the Government of the United Kingdom.

So let me say clearly: it is right that the people of Scotland decide the rules and timing of this referendum. But it must be the people of Scotland, not just Alex Salmond. It is right that the decision in this referendum is made in Scotland.

But as Johann has said, it is right that it is based on one fair question and one clear answer. Every time you hear a Nationalist politician talk about the process of the referendum, it is because they want to avoid talking about the substance of separation.

Today, I want to concentrate on the substance of the argument. About one part of the positive case for the United Kingdom.

In the past, Labour has warned about the dangers of separatism and we will continue to point to the evidence. There are vital questions around the possible costs and benefits of a separate Scotland that deserve to be explored. But I support Scotland as part of the United Kingdom, not because I think Scotland is too poor or too weak to break away.

But for a profoundly different reason: because I believe that Scotland as part of the United Kingdom is better for the working people of Scotland, and better for the working people of the United Kingdom as a whole.

Let’s start by asking the question that Labour at its best has always asked about this country: what are the injustices facing working people and how do we overcome them?

What is the most urgent priority for the people of Scotland?

We are living through some of the toughest times in recent history. Unemployment at its highest in 18 years; rising food and energy prices. And more than that: we know in our heads and in our hearts that there are deep problems about the way our economy has been run.

When I meet working families who have been struggling, year after year just to earn enough to get by and put food on the table, I know we need to change things.

When I meet people who have the will to work but who keep getting turned down because they are up against hundreds of others, I know we need to change things.

When I meet parents who worry profoundly about their sons or daughters’ prospects in this world, I know we need to change things.

So when I look around, I see a country crying out for change. Inequality. Injustice. And talent betrayed. These are the problems facing people in every part of the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

And so what is the most urgent task facing us today? Putting up a border across the A1 and M74? Or the task of creating a more equal, just and fair society?

I say let’s confront the real divide in Britain. Not between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. But between the haves and the have-nots. So, I am not here to tell Scots that Scotland cannot survive outside the United Kingdom. I am here with the same call of Labour leaders down the ages, to say that we need to make the United Kingdom a fairer, more just place to live. And we can do that best, together.

I believe it firstly because it is the lesson of history. Our story, as a party and as a country, is not what we achieved separately but what we achieved together. The story of the Scotsman, the Englishman, and the Welshman is not just the start of a good joke. It is the history of social justice in this country.

It was a Scotsman, Keir Hardie, who founded the Labour party a hundred and twelve years ago. An Englishman, Clement Attlee, who led the most successful Labour Government in history. And a Welshman, Nye Bevan, who pioneered that Government’s greatest legacy, our National Health Service.

These are the achievements of our nations working together. And that’s not all. Before we passed the Provision of School Meals Act together, children from Lands End to John O’ Groats would go hungry just because their family was poor. Before we built the NHS together, if you fell ill, you would only be treated if you could pay for it. Before we passed the Equal Pay Act together, a woman could do exactly the same job as the man sitting next to her and still only be paid half his salary. And before we established the minimum wage together, someone could work every day until their muscles ached and still be paid less than £1 an hour.

These progressive achievements do not belong to one nation of the United Kingdom. They are British achievements. Our history is that we have made this country fairer, together. And the challenges of today demand that we once again respond together.

We live in the shadow of the banking crisis. The young person joining a dole queue behind a million others. The small business which wants to grow but can’t get a loan. And the father who lies awake at night worrying about how to pay the bills.

That is the real priority for all of us who want to make this country fairer. That is what I mean when I say that we need to build a more responsible capitalism. That is the true project for social justice in our United Kingdom. It is a big challenge, and one I believe we can only overcome together.

Why? Not only because together we are stronger; sharing the risks and rewards in an uncertain world. But because we are not separate economies, Scotland and the United Kingdom.

We are one economy. The banks serving Glasgow are the same as the ones serving Gloucester. The shops on your high street are the same as the shops on my high street. And decisions made by British companies like BAE will affect their employees in Govan as much as their employees in Barrow.

We can make our economy work for the majority. We can make capitalism more responsible.

But I tell you this: we can only do it together. We must reform our financial services; its rules, its culture, its institutions. But if we change the rules separately, banks would move wherever the rules were weakest. We need stronger rules together, not weaker rules apart.

We can change our economy so that there are more and better jobs by encouraging businesses to think long-term, in years not quarters. But we can only do it together. Because our economies are as connected as they are: more people in Scotland are employed by large companies based in the rest of the UK than in Scotland. So, reform in one country and not in another would simply mean companies moving a few miles north or south to where rules are easiest for them.

Rather than advancing fairness together, the risk is a race to the bottom on bank regulation, on wages, and conditions at work. We can achieve more progress together.

Take another great progressive challenge of our time, climate change. Every nation is now making efforts to tackle this but separation creates the danger that we compete on where companies should go to be able to produce more carbon. We should tackle climate change together.

That’s why I say that the best way to make this country fairer is to do it together, as one country.

Mr Salmond, you can’t build fairness in Scotland by giving up on fairness in the United Kingdom. And I don’t believe either, that people in Scotland want to give up on fairness in the rest of the United Kingdom. For the basic reason that we care about each other.

Alex Salmond claims to want to set a progressive example. Let me tell him, there is nothing progressive about a brand of politics which is based on dividing people with the same needs, living on this same small island.

There is nothing progressive about a vision which says a pensioner in Liverpool is no concern of his, a child growing up in poverty in East London is no concern of his, a disabled person in the Midlands is no concern of his. That isn’t a progressive vision.That is shutting the door on the problems of your fellow citizens.

I believe he is wrong. Because Britain is united in its diversity. By shared values and common interests. Not an island divided by borders on the basis of nationalities or nationalisms. But one brought together with the strength drawn from multiple identities. Bound together by common ties. Nearly half of all Scots have English relatives.

When a Scotsman who works in the shipyards of Govan meets an Englishman who works on the docks in Merseyside, he doesn’t see a foreigner, he sees a fellow countryman. The pensioner from Aberdeen or Ayr has more in common with the pensioner in Bristol or Bolton than with a pensioner in France or Belgium.

When the Olympics are on next year, nobody in the pubs in Newcastle will cheer any less loudly for Chris Hoy, wearing the Union flag, just because he was born in Edinburgh. Because over hundreds of years, we have written a story of four nations forging a country together. Of defending that country against fascism. And of fighting to make it fairer for working people.

Today, that struggle for social justice. That spirit of solidarity. That fight, together, is what we need now more than ever.

So Alex Salmond wants to tell you a very particular story. In this story, England is conservative, while Scotland is a progressive beacon. Of course, the Scottish people have always stood out for their strongest ideals of social justice. Shown by the history of educational opportunity for all. Shown by the campaign down the years for the right to work. And the opposition to the poll tax.

But my case is that these ideals for Scotland can best be realised in the United Kingdom. And that the progressive ideals of the people of Scotland are more ambitious than Alex Salmond would claim.

He ran in 2011 on the slogan ‘be part of better.’ I passionately believe people do want to be part of better – a better United Kingdom.

So let’s reform our banks together. Let’s create prosperity together. Let’s tackle inequality together. Let’s build a sustainable country together. Let’s pass on the right opportunities for the next generation together.

I stand here today as a challenger against a Government in Westminster which is wrong on the economy, and has no vision for the United Kingdom.

And as a challenger against a Government in Holyrood with a plan for separation which will not help the working people of Scotland.

A challenger, determined to fight to make this whole country fairer. Because I am proud of what our nations have achieved together. And because I know that our best, our fairest, our most just days lie ahead of us, together.

Ed Miliband is the Leader of the Labour Party. Follow him on twitter: @Ed_Miliband

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217 thoughts on “Ed Miliband’s Speech in Glasgow

  1. “Let me tell him, there is nothing progressive about a brand of politics which is based on dividing people with the same needs, living on this same small island.”


    1. Like Norway and Sweden or all the Balkan States to Russia (USSR) they should all rejoin and make one big happy family.

  2. I find it ironic Labour supports Irish self-determination [the SDLP], but not Scottish self-determination.

    Probably because there are no Westminster seats in Northern Ireland for Labour to consider it a loss.

      1. The logic lies in being able to recognise that Ireland and Scotland are countries, while Great Britain is a state made up of more than one country. The same logic of self-determination for those countries is at the heart of both of your examples.

      2. Because it sickens those who would wave a Union Jack – what’s not to like?

        1. What about the majority of Scots who don’t wave any flags and just want the best for Scotland?

          Why is your anti-Englishness greater than your pro-Scottishness?

          1. Its not anti-Englishness, its anti-British Empire. You really are desperate to try make this anti-English tag stick despite the only evidence for it being in your collective fevered imagination. We will be doing the people of England a favour by leaving. Hopefully the upheaval will open an opportunity for the left to achieve something. Note I said the “left”. The Labour Party is no agent for change. Not with a leadership that lives in £1.6m houses and are indistinguishable from the Tories.

          2. “What about the majority of Scots who don’t wave any flags and just want the best for Scotland?”

            They voted SNP.

      3. There is no logic it’s as simple as that.

        Any nat who tries to make comparisons between Ireland and Scotland in relation to their history and their positions on ‘independence’ is a fool.

        Also above we see the same argument regarding USSR. I think people forget that Estonia, Latvia, etc were oppressed by the communist regime in the USSR. Ireland was oppressed by Britain (that includes Scotland).

        The major difference is that Scotland is not an oppressed nation – Scotland played its part in that ugly aspect of Britain’s history it did not suffer it.

        I believe Ireland should be unified and I believe Britain should not be ripped apart. There is no contradiction there at all and anyone who tries to conclude that Scotland=Ireland is, well to put it bluntly, a moron.

        Oh wait here is a perfect example:


        1. But what would you say to the people in Ireland who consider themselves British? That is where it gets complicated isn’t it? And why identity politics is really not a good idea and Labour should steer clear of that kind of thing.

          The question of whether people are Irish or British or English or Scottish is really not the question. It’s up to individuals to define their own identity and if people decide they don’t even want to have one that is fine.

          The issues around independence for Scotland are not about identity. They are about where power should be concentrated and how it should be used. That is what determines the quality of our day to day lives after all. Are you really going to say to a disabled person having their benefits withdrawn the only chance to change your situation is for us to persuade people in England to change their voting habits rather than giving the parliament in Scotland the power to deal with benefits? Why? So that they can remain “British”? What good does that do them?

          1. You know Indy, when you make that sort of argument about disabled people you are pretty much saying an independent Scotland will sort out all their benefit needs etc because we have no chance of making disabled people’s lives easier in the UK. That is nonsense. If it is the case please tell us what changes the SNP want to make to benefits etc for diabled people that we cannot implement in the UK at present.

        2. And of course he was slapped down for his idiotic remarks at the time – by policiticans on all sides of Ireland, protestant and catholic, north and south.

          1. I can remember seeing Seamus Mallon saying Mr Salmond should brush on his history if he thought Scotland was being bullied by Westminster. Lord Trimble weighed in as well.

            You really should take more notice of these things!

        3. Oh really? Was Professor Tom Devine a fool when he set up the Centre for Irish and Scottish Comparative Studies at the University of Aberdeen? Is Professor Cairns Craig a fool for heading that very body right now?

          See here for further information: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/riiss/

          There is also a unit at Trinity College Dublin: http://www.tcd.ie/CISS/

          Evidently there are highly educated Irish fools investigating the same stuff too.

          There are vast differences in the economic histories of Scotland and Ireland but to pretend that the empire existed on a binary line of Britain – then everyone else, all oppressed in exactly the same way, is pretty unsophisticated to say the least. There are an awful lot of cultural and political similarities between Scotland and Ireland worth observing, even if the economic comparison doesn’t bear any serious analysis.

          The principle of self-determination is acknowledged by every international body worth its salt, even if the British Labour Party pretend it isn’t within their own beloved imaginary monocultural, corporatist state; and as a principle it is certainly not dependent on oppression.

          1. Oh dear god. Of course there are similarities between Ireland and Scotland (both celtic nations etc). I’m talking about the history of Scotland and Ireland as oppressed nations by the English and the fight for independence. I did actually say that you know. The point I’m making is that Scotland was the oppressor and Ireland wasn’t.

            The studies into links between the two countries is not looking to equate the history of each country as an oppressed people.

            So drop the fake outrage as though I’m calling Irish-Scottish historians morons when I am clearly not. What I’m saying is that anyone who draws a comparison between the two countries because of bullying tactics by the English is foolish.

            I suggest before you take offence in future you take the time to read the point that is being made.

        4. “Ripped apart” OOOOH ! How emotive (and illogical)

          A rather loaded way of saying what happens
          when Scotland becomes independent. We prefer
          to have free prescriptions, free education and a
          free NHS and that is why we don’t want to go down
          the same road that Westminister prescribes.

  3. Yes Ed! The people of Scotland want to pay for prescriptions, to pay for the care of the elderly and have their children pay for further education. That way they can just be like everyone else on this little island!

    1. People in Scotland do not pay for subscriptions, university or care for the elderly in the Union anyway (except indirectly through taxes). I would rather have these benefits and a British passport rather than without a British passport.

      1. Do you really think you’ll get to keep those benefits if Scotland votes ‘No’? A ‘No’ vote will just be a message to the UK parties that they can keep on taking us for granted.

        1. What you’re saying is that if we vote No, Westminster will take away Holyrood and impose changes on us?

          I think this is an example of some very strange bitter and twisted thinking.

          1. “What you’re saying is that if we vote No, Westminster will take away Holyrood and impose changes on us?”

            Where do you get a threat to dismantle the Scottish Parliament from anything Jiggsbro said?

          2. Cameron has said more than once that Barnett has to go and he’s not the only politician at Westminster thinking this way. Outside the bubble, if we can rely on recent polling, the majority of people in the UK seem to agree with Cameron. Ignoring these things won’t make them go away.

          3. No, that’s not what I’m saying. You can tell by the complete absence of anything like that in my post.

            But if you think a ‘No’ vote will encourage Westminster to increase devolution, rather than regaining more control, then I have very nice bridge you might like to buy.

          4. Sorry John but that “strange bitter and twisted” idea was brought up in the House of Lords last week.

          5. I’m sure John can explain his thinking on this to you but your comment does call into question devolution.

            The reason we have those things is because of devolution, therefore if you say we can’t keep them if we vote no then surely it is because you believe devolution will be rolled back and decisions on implementing policies such as those listed will be taken away.

          6. I took it by the fact that he said “Do you think we’ll get to keep those benefits if Scotland votes No”.

            The only way that could happen is if Westminster abolished Holyrood. As long as we have a parliament in Edinburgh, and Scottish politicians are elected to make those decisions, we shall keep those things – regardless of the vote. Why should a No vote mean that we’ll lose those things which are decided in Edinburgh? Only if you think a No vote means Holyrood is abolished.

            To say anything else is scaremongering.

      2. You do know that Labour don’t support free prescriptions and free tuition and I think they are pretty ropey on free personal care these days as well. The only reason those things are guaranteed is because the SNP is in government.

        1. Can I ask you where Labour have said they want to cut back free personal care for the elderly?

          Don’t even start with that argument about the SNP protecting free personal care. Just look at Fife council for example who are hammering the elderly and the disabled with extortionate rates for services they rely on.

          Indy, Labour have made mistakes and we all accept that but don’t dare try and pass the SNP off as some sort of party of progressive messiahs. The SNP are attacking the most vulnerable so they can keep up the pretence of implementing progressive policies that are anything but. You try to talk the language of social justice and progressive politics but actions speak louder than words and your track record as a party is nowhere near the level required to call yourselves a progressive party.

          This is a party that rather than protect those who need services most are cutting deeper than the Tories!

          Don’t let the facts hit you on the a**e on the way out – unbelievable!

          1. Many of them never supported universal access to free personal care for the elderly in the first place. If you have forgotten Sam Galbraith I haven’t.

            I am not saying that Labour don’t support free personal care but, as with prescription charges, I think they will move and are moving to a position of saying it should be means tested.

            Which makes all the faux fury about council charging policies a tad ironic since that charging system is means-tested.

            What Labour are essentially now arguing for is the extension of means-testing from services like home care, community alarms, meals on wheels etc to include the cost of prescriptions – and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same was extended to free personal care as people like Sam Galbraith argued for at the time.

            This is a genuine and real ideological divide between Labour and the SNP because the SNP supports a universal approach to policies like prescription charging, personal care, tuition fees for students whereas Labour appears to believe in a more targeted approach where entitlement is means tested. There could be an interesting debate to be had about that but I don’t know if it would tell you who is the most progressive.

          2. Indy that really is stretching things to a considerable degree.

            One Labour MSP you have referenced there, who no longer sits as an MSP, is the reason Labour will ditch support for free personal care?

            Sorry Indy but I’m sure you know what that is don’t you?

            C’mon you know?


      3. With Margaret Curran already arguing against each of those things, you’ll have a British passport and none of those benefits.

        After all, free education puts off the poorest amongst us and makes our universtities a rich child’s playground. Doesn’t the evidence from England back that up?

        1. Unlike some parties, in Labour, we can disagree about our policies. However, our policies on this are quite clear, I think you’ll find, no matter what some members might think.

          Or am I to think that because some SNP MSPs are against gay marriage, thats now YOUR policy?

          1. Eh – Margaret Curran is not a backbencher. She is Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. She would not be saying these things if it wasn’t the official line.

          2. “Unlike some parties, in Labour, we can disagree about our policies… Or am I to think that because some SNP MSPs are against gay marriage, thats now YOUR policy?”

            Good grief. Make your mind up – do SNP MSPs all speak with a single hive mind with no disagreement allowed, or do some openly disagree with the party line, eg on gay marriage? Which is it?

          3. Wasn’t Anas Sarwar MP (deputy leader) on Newsnight last night basically saying the same thing as Curran? Or does the deputy leader not form policy either?

          4. Andy,
            I know that SNP policy is not made up by the views and thoughts of SNP MSPs.

            I’d appreciate it if you could give Labour the same consideration – a speech by any single MP, no matter how illustrious – does not constitute policy.

            As I thought I had made clear, I was using the example of some MSPs having a disagreement about gay marriage to illustrate the point that I DONT do to the SNP what you are doing to Labour.

            Irony is obviously lost on you.

          5. “Andy,
            I know that SNP policy is not made up by the views and thoughts of SNP MSPs.

            I’d appreciate it if you could give Labour the same consideration – a speech by any single MP, no matter how illustrious – does not constitute policy.

            As I thought I had made clear, I was using the example of some MSPs having a disagreement about gay marriage to illustrate the point that I DONT do to the SNP what you are doing to Labour.”

            Hang on – when did I do that?

  4. Stephen Hester over the last 4 + years has pocketed about 25 million so you win some and lose a little now who was in power when he took up his job.

  5. I might be more willing to take lectures about “progressive” policies from someone who doesn’t live in a £1.6m house. Just another SE toff trying to tell us what to do.

  6. “Hope for a more equal, more just, more progressive future for Scotland and the United Kingdom”

    We tried that, Ed. We got New Labour and a less equal, less just, less progressive future for Scotland because you were more interested in chasing Daily Mail reading Little Englanders. Now we’re trying a more equal, more just, more progressive party…and you want us to sign up to your policy of supporting Tory cuts, increasing student fees and wasting billions on nuclear weapons. Labour are like an abusive spouse, always telling us we couldn’t manage on our own, always saying “I’m so sorry, but I can change” before reverting to type, always trying to undermine our confidence so we don’t dare to walk away. Too later, Ed; we already filed for divorce.

    1. Wrong, wrong and wrong again.

      Jiggsbro I suggest you read proper studies into the levels of inequalities in Britain while Labour were in power between 1997-2010.

      The inequality gap which widened massively under the Tories and was continuing to grow until 1997 was halted. Across the years of Tony Blair and the early years of Gordon Brown inequality gap remained where it was, but all deciles were better off than pre-1997. In the final years of Labour government the inequality gap was narrowed. FACT

      Between 1997-2010 the lowest 6 deciles all saw improvements in earnings while the top 4 deciles saw decreases. FACT

      You may wish to push the idea that Labour became a version of the Tories because it sounds good and you can make political hay from it but the facts don’t back your view up.

      The cold hard facts show that Labour managed the economy well. We payed down debts, we wrote off debts the poorest countries owed us, we improved pay and conditions, we improved democracy by establishing devolution, we improved health care, we brought down crime, we improved eductaional attainment, we created millions of jobs, we brought in free bus passes for the elderly, we brought in free personal care, we brought in winter fuel allowance, we helped out families with kids so they improve their life chances, we introduced the smoking ban etc etc etc

      What have the SNP done that comes anywhere near those achievements of progressive politics?

      No doubt I won’t get an answer but a list of what we did wrong. The problem is, our list of rights and wrongs is balanced heavily in favour of the rights. What can the SNP say?

      1. “The cold hard facts…”

        …have not been supplied in your post, due no doubt to a careless administrative oversight. Care to link us to them? (If your answer is “Google it for yourself”, we can safely assume you’re lying.)

      2. “You may wish to push the idea that Labour became a version of the Tories because it sounds good”

        Or because there appears to be no difference between Labour and Tory policies on the economy (at least to the extent that Ed has been prepared to actually state an unequivocal opinion on anything)

        “No doubt I won’t get an answer but a list of what we did wrong. The problem is, our list of rights and wrongs is balanced heavily in favour of the rights”



        1. Thanks for the link, very interesting. Although I would point you to the link I posted to the comment above.

          Do you have a link to answer my question though?

          What have the SNP done that comes anywhere near the progressive policies implemented by Labour?

        2. Also, we do not support the vast majority of economic policies of the Tories. If we agreed with them we wouldn’t have alternative policies would we, including the 5 point plan that the SNP seem keen to adopt since plan macB failed.

      3. “The cold hard facts show that Labour managed the economy well”

        Oh come on. You can’t be serious!

        You might – just might – get away with that in some, very few, parts of Scotland but you would NEVER get away with that down south – and that’s where you need to win.

        I’ve got friends down south. I’m sure you have too. Don’t you talk to them – or are they all Labour Party members? Don’t you realise how many English people voted Tory simply because they didn’t trust Labour any more on the economy? It’s not that they identified with Tory values, they just thought Labour were completely incompetent. Rightly or wrongly they blamed Labour for the economic collapse in 2008. You are going to have to work really really hard to change that perception of incompetence and Ed Milliband is not the boy to do it for you.

        If I still lived in London I would certainly prefer to see Labour in power than the Tories and that’s how I’d vote. But that’s only going to happen if you can radically change people’s perception. It’s a shame really because Gordon Brown as chancellor did quite a bit to build up a good reputation but he was such an awful prime minister he alienated many of the people Tony Blair had won over and then the events of 2008 and after just put the tin lid on it. You must realise the Tories were only able to capitalise on the idea that it was all Labour’s fault because people believed that to begin with.

        1. Indy that is precisely my point. The perception has been created that Labour can’t manage the economy. The Tories, LDs and SNP have all indulged in this (regardless of how hypocritical it is – Osborne and Salmond both claiming there was too much regulation and it should be rolled back to encourage greater growth but changing tune when the lack of regulation was highlighted as key to the GLOBAL financial crisis in 2008 – purely for political reasons don’t you agree?)

          As I said, we paid down the national debt and saw longest period of growth. We also reduced, yes reduced, the amount of public spending as a percentage of GDP.

          As you say Indy it’s all about perceptions when it comes to elections; it doesn’t change the facts of the past (remember history is written by the winners and the winners have been the Tories, LDs and SNP).

          1. “The perception has been created that Labour can’t manage the economy.”

            Yes, it has. It’s been created by the fact that Labour left power with the country a trillion pounds in debt and with the highest unemployment and most unequal wealth distribution in a generation.

      4. Geez! GMcM – what planet are you from ?
        Your fact-twisting comments are rubbish.
        Labour started privatising the NHL
        Labour reduced free care for the elderly
        Labour ran up the biggest deficit since WWII.
        Labour took us into an illegal war.
        …you been taking lessons in spin from Lord Haw Haw ?

  7. I’m beginning to feel sorry for Labour – honest! Their new friends Tories despise them, the Liberals have jilted them and the Scottish people have caught on!
    How dare this millionaire come up here and talk down to all of us including those who are still trying hard to believe that Labour is a people’s party.

    1. Actually, Ed isnt a millionaire. He might live in a house valued at over a million pounds, but thats not difficult seeing as he inherited it from his father, who bought it when it was a very modest house in a modest part of London.

      1. Lol. When was Primrose Hill ever modest? I’m not knocking Ed having a house worth over a million quid because that’s just the way house prices have gone in parts of London – but really Primrose Hill could never have been described as modest!

    2. Labour is a party for all people who want to implement progressive policies. Rich people can hold progressive values. It is the mission of Labour to achieve prosperity for the many and not the few and so we are a party open to all who share those ideals.

      How hard is that to understand?

      We accept all those who want a better future where people work together to improves the lives of the many. The SNP accept those who want to create a better future for the few (5m) rather than the many (60m).

      Such a small minded ideology it should be condemned to history.

      1. I suppose they will be turning down all the support from the millionaires THEY had? Give back the lottery money, because it was from a millionaire?

      2. There are parts of Glasgow where the live expectency for men is less than 50 years of age. Labour have effectively been in control of Glasgow for decades and have not managed to increase this.

        How much longer must we stick with a Union that is failing these men before we accept that perhaps, just perhaps, there is another option? Or are you happy to condemn these men to history along with the supposed small minded ideology you berate so much, an ideology that thinks “Yes, we can do better”?

        1. Our ideology is this: “Yes we can ALL do better”. Yours is ‘Yes, we (scots) can do better, sod the rest’.

          1. Not “sod the rest”. Simply that Scotland can do MUCH better as an independent country than being controlled by Westminster.
            We have different priorities and different aspirations.

          2. Your ideology, though, has failed these men. Are you going to continue failing these men for another 50, 60, 100 years before accepting it just isn’t working? These men are dying before they reach the age of 50, for god’s sake. Are you quite happy to condemn them to that for years to come?

            So yes, perhaps it’s time to look after our own for a change. Nowhere else in the UK has such a low life expectancy and I’m not willing to keep sacrificing these men for what is an obvious failure, regardless of your snide, oh so superior, comments. When you come up with a plan that’ll raise the life expectancy of all Scots, one that’s doesn’t involve jam tomorrow, then we’ll talk about looking after all of us. Until then, you’re comments are laughable because the exact opposite of your ideology is the reality in the UK, even when Labour have been in the driving seat.

      3. Why only 60m people? Do people in Marseille, Lyon, Naples, Berlin, Budapest, Vladivostok not get to play in this great progressive ideal that Labour has implemented for us all to bask in, in all its glory and equality for every man? Why does the Labour party stop when it gets to Dover? Why such if we must not devide people is Ed Miliband not trying to lead the world as its leader without borders? Why only talk of Britain? Does the worker of Dresden not feel the same pains as he wakes up in the cold morning to do a long slog at the factory/office as someone from Dundee, Doncaster or Donegal?

        What a great proposition it would be if we could bring the shining light of the Labour party to the whole world! Workers of the world unite!

        In truth the British Labour Party believe in holding sway over only one section of the world. Therefore, inherently it’s devisory. The world we live in has borders. There’s nothing to say the Social Demokrats from Sweden can’t work with the Scottish Labour Party. There’s nothing to stop that whatsoever. Scotland is a human created figmant of the imagination about the rock in which people live. So is Great Britain.

  8. The interests of the working people of Scotland – these are not best met by the Labour party who’ve had decades with a mandate to represent those interests and done very little with that mandate. What’s changed now ?? Oh yes – working people are being squeezed more and the ones down South are being sqeezed even harder with prescription charges, tuition fees etc- why would any sane Scot sign up for a slice of this UK misery ? I sympathise with the ‘have nots’ in England and many other places across the world but I can’t see how I can change their plight by joining with them under either a Coalition or Labour Govt.

    1. You can’t see how you can change it because you don’t want to.

      To effect change you must have a vision. If you don’t see how it can happen you think we should chuck in the towel? What siort of positive agenda is that? I thought the nationalists were the only positive people left? We have made progress and we can continue to make progress in future.

      The problem you seem to have is that you have probably detracted Labour’s achievements to such an extent that you now honestly believe that no progress has been made, and probably think that if you admit we can make a better future together you undermine your separatist agenda.

  9. Yes. We seem to be very good at progressive politics. Over the past 20 years the difference between rich and poor in the UK has grown progressively wider.

    Is that what he meant?

    1. I refer you to my comment earlier.

      The gap didn’t grow during our time in government it stayed steady and then decreased.

      If you are going to say things like you have above I suggest you provide evidence to back up those statements.

      1. “If you are going to say things like you have above I suggest you provide evidence to back up those statements.”

        That’s a little rich, since you didn’t bother to supply any evidence to back yours up either.

      2. If you’re going to advise others to provide evidence to support their assertions, perhaps you should do the same.

        If you’re using the National Equality Panel’s report of January 2010 to support your own assertions, remember they only claimed “Over the most recent decade according to some measures, earnings inequality has narrowed a little and income inequality has stabilised, but the large inequality growth between the late 1970s and early 1990s has not been reversed.”, the key phrase there being “according to some measures”.

        What is interesting is that merely one year later, a OECD inequality report claimed that earnings inequality was “particularly bad in the UK where the average income of the richest 10% of earners in the UK was almost twelve times that of the bottom 10% of the population by 2008, up from eight times in 1985 and above the European ratio of nine to one. ”

        Now, okay, we could be looking at the residual effects of large increases in the nineties still throwing out the figures but I’d be interested in seeing your own figures to support your assertions.

        1. http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/05/income-inequality-fell-in-labours-final-year/


          The second link shows that when Labour came to power the gini coefficient sat at 0.35. It then fell slightly followed by increasing slightly to 0.36. In the final years of the Labour goverment the gini co-efficient fell to 0.33.

          Now we can all agree, I’m sure that we would prefer a greater decrease, however the point remains that Labour steadied the ship after 18 yrs of Tory government and then saw a fall in the gap. Just what I said.

  10. So the ‘haves’ and ‘have-lots’ have come up to tell us to get in line again and come back to out ‘natural’ new labour home because WE didn’t listen to THEM at the last election!

    Did you see Milliband on tv being asked a question about ‘the question’ and immediately pass it over to lamont who looked a bit surprised. He ended up blustering out some answer about the electoral commission setting the question…its set – get over it and get on with the real debate!

    1. The question is not set, that is the question the SNP want and have in their consultation document. The Electoral Commission should have the final say so the SNP can try and sneak independence through the back door (lets face it the SNP knwo they need a leading question or else they won’t win the referendum).

      1. GMcm…..Do you not understand the question? Will you somehow accidently say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’ (I’m assuming here that your not a nationalist).? If you believe you are intelligent enough to answer this simple question can I ask why you do not think your fellows Scots are?

        I hardly think the SNP can be accused of sneaking independence in through the back door…it is, as you unionists keep telling u the reason they exist!

        1. Come on NayLabour. We all know how the question can affect the outcome. Look at Quebec for a clear example of this.

          I think there should be one question with two options and you vote in the affirmative for the one you prefer rather than either ‘for’ or ‘against’.

          1. Well G…there you have said it…Scots are so thick they may somehow accidently put it the wrong answer…unbelievable. Your unionist buddies were having kittens BEFORE the question was set, and now the problem is its so simple you really dont have an argument against it. I dont see a surge of Scottish public outcry over the quesion do you…only amoung some unionists of course. But, hey if your going on about this it avoids you answering the one question you are all silent one – what are the benefit of the union (no stronger together speech now). Its quite patheric to take the view that people cannot understand this or, as suggested in some of MSM, that its a ‘fix’!

            Maybe you would prefer the Lamont version and stick ‘or not’ on the end of this? Now that would be nice and clear wouldnt it?

  11. Let me sum up Ed’s speech:

    “Working people of Scotland. You are better off governed by a Tory government in London than by a government of your own choosing in Edinburgh.”

    That argument is going to take some selling!!!

    1. Is that the positive argument you have for separation? Wow how poor.

      That argument is going to take some selling 😀

      1. Actually, voting to keep the Tories out of Scotland is usually a very popular pastime with the electorate. Good luck with trying the opposite.

        (Also, isn’t it telling how no Labour supporter EVER has an answer to the question of why it’s good for Scotland to have regular Tory governments it didn’t vote for?)

        1. Why is it good for me to have an SNP government I didnt vote for. They are freezing my salary, threatening my pension, forcing my council to cut my services, threatening my rail service and doing nothing about the things which matter to me.

          Oh yes, its that democracy thing, isnt it.

          You’d have an argument if there were no Scottish MPs in Westminster.

          1. “Why is it good for me to have an SNP government I didnt vote for.”

            It is. You just refuse to acknowledge it because you’re blinded by Labour’s inbuilt visceral hatred of the SNP.

            I suppose you hate knowing you’d get free prescriptions if you got a long-term illness. I imagine you’d love to be paying big Council Tax increases. I’m sure you’re dying to have billions of pounds spent on a new Trident. I’m sure that given the choice you’d rather not have free personal care for your parents, or yourself when you get old. It seems you’d rather we had 1000 fewer police officers protecting us from criminals.

            But why can’t you answer the simple question? Why do you always dodge and swerve and sidestep it? You’d rather the Tories controlled Scotland than the SNP – that’s not a crime, you’re allowed to have an opinion. So why are you so ashamed to just come out and say it?

            (“I’d rather neither” isn’t an answer, because it isn’t an option. You lost both elections. It’s now well past time any adult should have gotten over it.)

      2. Positive argument: Independence for Scotland will allow the people of Scotland to get a government of their choosing with the powers to make a real difference in the lives of ordinary people.

        Negative argument: Independence is really just ‘separation’ and that’s a word that has negative associations so if we use it enough we might persuade people to vote against Independence!

        1. I’d beleive that if the Scottish Government had even fully used its existing powers!

          It can make a difference to the lives of ordinary people across Scotland. It currently chooses not to. It seems to prefer doing other things.

  12. “Some people, including the First Minister, will tell you it is a battle between him and the Prime Minister, between the government of Scotland and the government of the United Kingdom.” – A quote today from Ed Miliband. When did the Alex Salmond say that? I can find no record.

    Is this another smear? It would seem that way as I can find no evidence of the First Minister saying this. More Politics of Fear from the Unionists – have you presented a positive case for the union yet?

    1. have you presented a positive case for separation? And not one made up by a five year old who still believes in unicorns.

      1. So your answer is “No, there is no evidence for Alex Salmond saying that”?

      2. Well, that was constructive and raising the level of debate! So, was there any evidence to suggest the First Minister said that?

        As to the how would be better off? Tell me how we’d better staying – I haven’t heard anything apart from “stronger together, weaker apart” type cliches and the politics of fear.

        The case for independence has been made – it’s not going to be a land of milk and honey, but there is enough evidence for me to believe that financial control held here would be positive. i would also like Scotland to be removed from UK foreign policy to avoid more vile wars like we have saw recently. I also would like an independent Scotland to be a mature, progressive country that had a positive relationship of equals with the rest of the UK. No more chip on shoulder nationalism and arguments from both sides of the border as to who is subsidising who. A country with a heart to protect the weakest in society and a brain to reward those who work hard. A place that welcomes others, encourages and rewards work and is business friendly.

        Scotland is capable of that, not the Politics of Fear so utilised by the Unionist argument. Smear and Sneer Labour politics don’t work anymore – just look around the Scottish Parliament to see how that worked out for you.

    1. And I’m still waiting to hear a positive one for independence.

      All I hear is how similar things will be. How we’ll still be part of the UK. How we will still have all the benefits and nice things about the UK.

      Is it really about changing Alex Salmond’s job title?

      1. You know the case for independence. With independence Scottish people will elect a government which will have access to the full range of powers available to every other government. We will only ever be governed by the party that wins the election. The Scottish Government will continue to cooperate with governments in the rest of the UK and the wider EU but we will do so as equal partners. We think that will provide better outcomes not only for Scotland but for the rest of the UK. It will allow us all to move on from a political union which may have had its advantages in the 18th century but is not appropriate for the 21st century and is holding Scotland back.

        1. And I would believe there was a case as you describe it, if we had fully utilised the powers we already do have.

          Since we have patently not done so (under all administrations), then I think the case for independance has not been made.

          1. But that’s a nonsensical argument John. The corollary would be that you believe the case foe the Union rests on the fact that Westminster has always fully utilised the powers it has to Scotland’s benefit.

            Is that what you actually believe?

        2. ‘Will do so as equal partners’ Reads – ‘currently we are not equal partners’.

          This is not true Indy. For it to be true we would be treated poorly by the rest of the UK and we are not, we are not oppressed in any way by the other countries of the UK.

          Why do you feel the need to talk down Scotland to further your own argument? Whisper it now – it’s almost anti-scottish 😉

          1. We are self-evidently not equal partners. Let’s take just one example – the welfare bill, Your own party moved a resolution that the Scottish Parliament should not agree to it. There is almost total unanimity that there are some awful measures in that bill which will cause real hardship for individuals and will create serious difficulties foe devolved services. I can’t remember an issue in recent years that has united such a wide spectrum of opinion in Scotland – basically, everybody apart from the LibDems and the Tories. Yet even though the Scottish Parliament will vote against it there is nothing they can actually do to stop it. It can be and will be imposed. That is not the position of an equal partner. Let me tell you how an equal partnership works. If both partners agree to do something together that is an equal partnership. If one partner says I don’t want to do this and the other partner says I don’t care, you are going to do it anyway because I am going to make you – that is not an equal partnership.

      2. “And I’m still waiting to hear a positive one for independence. ”

        No Tory governments unless we vote for them. Next?

        1. I didnt vote for the SNP. I got an SNP Government. Do I throw a strop about it? No. I work to change that government through the ballot box.

          1. You’re not a country. The only logical extrapolation of your statement is that you don’t consider Scotland to be one either, because countries choose their own governments. If your country is the UK and you consider Scotland just to be an administrative region of it, that’s fine. But once again – why so ashamed to just say so?

            “Scotland isn’t a proper country, and the English know what’s best for us.” Come on, John, you can do it. You’ll feel better.

      3. “And I’m still waiting to hear a positive one for independence.”

        Self. Determination.

        Are you for it or agin it?

        1. I’m in favour of the use of powers at the right level. Thats why I am in favour of the EU (I assume you are too – seems some political unions are ok), but also in favour of much more power being given to local authorities – unlike the SNP who are very much in favour of centralisation.

      4. TWO Arguments.
        1. Firstly, Scotland is governed from Westminster by alternating Tory and Labour administrations. Both of these governments have made policies that have been rejected in Scotland, and some unacceptable decisions (Iraq, Trident) that Scotland has no say in. Labour has never explained (as frequently expressed here) why they consider that Labour/Tory alternating administrations are better for Scotland than a government of our own choosing. A democratic deficit remains after devolution.
        2. Secondly, I run a small business and all my corporation tax, VAT, income tax, NI, fuel tax etc flows to the Westminster Treasury. There are very significant transaction costs extracted, big decisions made(eg £35 billion black hole in Defence spending) , and monies granted back to Scotland. This makes no economic sense to many Scots. We can raise our own revenues and make our own decisions on how that revenue is to be spent.

        1. As for a democratic deficit, that would only stand up to argument if Scotland didnt send MPs to Westminster. All Governments, of whatever persuaion do things that some people who voted didnt vote for – the SNP Government is no different. Its called democracy, get over it. Sometimes you get outvoted. Sometimes you dont.

          Your second point is an argument for increased powers for the Scottish Parliament as well.

  13. Alex Gallagher says:
    January 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm
    “Let me tell him, there is nothing progressive about a brand of politics which is based on dividing people with the same needs, living on this same small island.”


    First let me say I think Ed Miliband is an honourable man, but I don’t come here to praise him. Mr. Miliband is buried by the evil that lives after Blair and Brown.
    One in five children in Scotland living in poverty, in the most energy rich country in Europe.
    No more.

    Treble twenty.

    1. So, the SNP argument is Child poverty is always the respoinsibility of Westminster, even when its not?

      Tell me – just what is it reposnsible for?

    2. Again I must point you in the direction of fact. If you need to find ‘fact’ I suggest you ask Brian Soutar to drive you there cos its quite a walk from where you are.

      Lets look at the FACTS in relation to the argument you have just made.

      Child poverty in Scotland when Labour came to power stood at:

      23% relative poverty and 23% absolute poverty.

      Child poverty when we left power in 2007:

      19% relative poverty and 13% absolute poverty.

      Lets contrast that with the record since the SNP came to power.

      Child poverty at NO TIME has decreased and has in fact INCREASED.

      The best the SNP have achieved is one year where absolute poverty stayed steady.

      The 20% that Salmond referred to the other day is not a good statistic for him. Let me explain –

      As children move out of absolute poverty you would expect them to move into relative poverty and therefore see and increase in relative poverty. Labour not only managed to move people out of absolute poverty but remove them from relative poverty also (hence the two figures decreasing).

      Salmond seems happy that relative poverty has stayed steady. The problem here is that absolute poverty is increasing – this means that as more people fall from relative poverty into absolute poverty (the increased figure here) there is no fall in relative poverty which means that more people who were not considered poor are now in that position.

      That is the legacy of the SNP.

      Again – please look at facts before you start arbitrarily throwing mud.

      1. “That is the legacy of the SNP.”

        Sigh. It’s only the legacy of the SNP if (a) the powers to bring about significant change were theirs to wield, and (b) the SNP are no longer in government. You have a legacy when you’re gone.

        1. So what you’re saying is that because the Scottish Government doesnt have ALL the powers it wants, it shouldnt use ANY of them?

          So its allright for some children to be in poverty now, because if and when independence is achieved, you’ll be able to get all of them out of it?

          1. “So what you’re saying is that because the Scottish Government doesnt have ALL the powers it wants, it shouldnt use ANY of them?”

            No, clearly that isn’t what I’m saying. It’s a ludicrous straw man peddled in lieu of an actual answer. I notice you never specify which powers the SNP should be utilising to reduce child poverty, just complain about what they SHOULDN’T be doing, namely pursuing their lifelong goal having been elected to power in a landslide on a manifesto promising to do that very thing.

          2. Its not a straw man – its the reality of your answer. You have basically been saying “We cant do anything until we’re indepednent”. Well, ok, but what that means is that you wont do anything UNTIl we’re independent.

            Its up to the Governing party to come up with answers on the problems facing the Scottish people. However, it doesnt seem to want to.

          1. For that graph to have any meaning in the context of what you’re alleging, we’re going to need to see the same tables for the UK as a whole. Child poverty is obviously going to be likely to increase everywhere during a catastrophic recession, which was not caused by the SNP and which the SNP has very few powers to ameliorate.

      2. Labour like to point to the state of the world economy at the time they left power, denying that the UK’s economic downturn is their legacy.

        Do you deny that the state of the world economy has an adverse effect on child poverty in Scotland?

        If not, do you accept that the SNP have less control, due to the state of the world economy, over the UK’s economic problems than Labour did before they left office?

        If yo do, perhaps you should look at facts before you start arbitarily throwing mud about legacies, etc.

  14. Ed,Ed,Ed,Ed! What are you playing at?

    This speech was earlier slated to be a major contribution to the big debate. I have extolled, on this site, for my Labour friends to BE BOLD! On this basis the speech failed miserably. Where were the big ideas, the considered response to the clearly flagged moves by the people of Scotland?

    Ed, you have just repeated the failure of your predecessors, JAM TOMORROW! always tomorrow. The people of Scotland are now no longer persuaded by this mantra.
    You, and the Scottish Labour movement are failing to read the signs on the wall, Scotland is minded to serve the divorce papers!

  15. Einstein claimed the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

    Well, for decades, Scotland has voted Labour hoping for a fairer, more progressive UK. We still have the lowest life expectency in Western Europe. In parts of Glasgow it’s 48. Labour have had plenty of opportunity to deal with this put it’s not a highest enough priority.

    Perhaps Ed could address why things will be different if we stick with the UK.

  16. I see Ed echos wee Dougie talking about foreigners. I take it Ed thinks of the Irish as foreigners too then.

    Now that’s narrow nationalism.

  17. Some pretty poor spin going on in that speech. “Some people, including the First Minister, will tell you it is a battle between him and the Prime Minister, between the Government of Scotland and the Government of the United Kingdom.”

    That is patently nonsense and won’t be recognised by voters here. Alex Salmond has never said anything remotely like that. This is not a battle between Scotland and England– it’s a referendum of the Scottish people. The Prime Minister won’t have a vote. Ed Millibad won’t have a vote. They are of course perfectly entitled to have an opinion but they won’t have any say in the final decision.

    I particularly like the line “Every time you hear a Nationalist politician talk about the process of the referendum, it is because they want to avoid talking about the substance of separation.” It’s not the SNP constantly banging on about the referendum process! It’s the unionist parties with their varying conspiracy theories about Devo Max and whatnot.

    I can’t be bothered going through the rest of it but the much vaunted positive case for the Union appears to be that Scottish people have to work together with the English and the Welsh to deliver a Labour Government. That’s the only way that progress can be delivered.

    Same old same old.

    A positive case for the Union addressed to Scottish voters must set out clearly what is positive about the Union for SCOTLAND. And not based on historical achievements like the NHS – which is being systematically unpicked down south and is only protected in Scotland because it is run as a separate entity here.

    One day perhaps we may hear a coherent argument for why it is in the best interests of the Scottish people to remain governed by Westminster but we did not hear that yesterday.

  18. I think this is a “clutching at straws” speech, filled with remember what we did 40, 50, 60 years ago, but please just forget the last 13 years we were in government they did’nt happen, honest.

  19. Ed the Shred, lacks a single shred of credibility after that speech. How can he even think the Scots are so stupid that we believe that the Labour party will give us the all to often promised ‘Jam Tomorrow’ THAT NEVER EVER COMES !!!
    As for his classic labour party move of claiming that the first minister want’s (insert lie here) but I want (insert what he thinks the Haggis chasing dafties want to hear here) It doesn’t work any more Labour…it doesn’t work !!! All it does is shows how dishonest you are and that you have no real argument to put to the voters.

    1. Yes because fighting for a better future is so dishonest – now fighting for separation and advocating scandinavian levels of public spending with irish levels of tax. I think that is dishonest – don’t you?

      What am I saying – free jam for all!!!!

      1. “Yes because fighting for a better future is so dishonest”

        As is pretending that the SNP are fighting for a worse one. But unlike Labour, the SNP have no other agenda than the welfare of Scotland. Labour have a Westminster power base to try to preserve too.

      2. so GMCM are you claiming hat it’s not the SNP’s policy to desire a better future for Scotland ? of course it is ! The diffirence between Alex and Ed is that when the SNP got some power in 2007 they began to make things better for Scotland…That’s why they won the landslide in May. what happened to Labour (at the national level as well as in Scotland ) ? they lost.
        So it seems you are one of the people who still believe that the labour party will look after the working class and look after the people of Glasgow, the poor the needy the elderly yadayada do…

        Even after all the times they have left us worse off from when they were voted in, you still believe it ? You need to waken up and smell the coffee bud, cos they have controlled Glasgow for years and years including a number of years when Labour held the financial purse at Westminster and they did diddly squat for Glasgow apart that is from making a number of well known Labour party figures very wealthy as well as making a number of Labour supporting businessmen very wealthy. I can name names but you already know who I mean and if you don’t then their is no point in mentioning the gangsters who have managed somehow to create some very close friendships with well known labour figures in Glasgow.
        But hey !!! you keep voting for them guys and gals and you keep wondering why Glasgow is still full of the same deprivation as it’s always had and you keep accusing the SNP of being facist, evil decietful etc etc for wanting to change all this.

        1. I believe the SNP do want a better future for Scotland. I’m saying they are being dishonest in saying that you can have high spending and low taxes.

          Where did I say the SNP don’t want the best for Scotland?

  20. “I believe it firstly because it is the lesson of history. Our story, as a party and as a country, is not what we achieved separately but what we achieved together. The story of the Scotsman, the Englishman, and the Welshman is not just the start of a good joke. It is the history of social justice in this country.

    It was a Scotsman, Keir Hardie, who founded the Labour party a hundred and twelve years ago. An Englishman, Clement Attlee, who led the most successful Labour Government in history. And a Welshman, Nye Bevan, who pioneered that Government’s greatest legacy, our National Health Service.”

    I agree completely.

    So why are Labour today betraying everything that their pioneers stood for? Everything that we thought we were voting for in 1997? Why have Labour become just another tory party?

    1. Again you must get out that roadmap and locate the town of Facts.

      Its a friendly place and the locals will welcome you with some helpful statistics. The town slogan is thus:

      Facts – helping you see through the bulls**t

  21. Please, Labour friends. Please, stop this “barbed wire at the border”, “foreigners south of Gretna” strawman argument. No person that I have ever known, or met or read about has ever suggested anything that could lead Ed Milliband (or his speechwriters) to base a serious argument on the following statement:

    “And so what is the most urgent task facing us today? Putting up a border across the A1 and M74? Or the task of creating a more equal, just and fair society?”

    1. Whatever happens, there will be a border where once there wasnt. Thats the whole point of being indepedent. It may not be the same sort of border as the one which seperate the USA from Mexico, but it will be a new border which will seperate people.

      I really wonder for the sanity of some nationalists who so desperately want to seperate from England and the UK, who so despise the policies of what they see as the London elite, and yet are also so desperate to say that there will no changes, no borders and no difference.

      1. “and yet are also so desperate to say that there will no changes, no borders and no difference”

        Ladies and gentlemen, a big welcome for Mr Ruddy’s oldest and best friend, the Straw Man!

        Nobody is saying any of those things. The point of independence is to create difference. There will be many changes and there will, in a technical sense, be a border. There will not, however, be one that will affect people’s day-to-day lives in any tangible way – not even the ones who live directly adjacent to it, far less the vast majority who don’t.

        1. So all those times Mr Salmond was tellign people that we’ll have the same Queen, we’ll keep the BBC and the NHS, the welfare state and all those other things – even including staying in the UK! he was lying?

          Or are you saying that Alex Salmond is a nobody and doesnt represent the SNP?

          1. Wow – two straw men for the price of one!

            “Some things won’t change” != “nothing will change”.

            “even including staying in the UK! he was lying?”

            No, but you are with that assertion about what Salmond said. He did not say “THE United Kingdom”. He referred to “a united kingdom” – no capital letters – in the context of retaining the union of crowns. It’s not a difficult distinction to grasp, but unfortunately it’s a very easy one for the unscrupulous to misrepresent dishonestly, and hey presto, here you are.

      2. But there is a border John. When you cross from England to Scotland you are crossing from one legal jurisdiction to another. You are crossing from one country to another. You are also crossing from one political system to another in many respects.

        If I were in the habit of questioning people’s sanity I would question why you are so determined to deny the degree of separation which already exists between Scotland and our southern neighbour. But I am pretty sure you are sane and know exactly what you are doing.

        1. Unlike many nationalists I come across, actually have some experience of living in England AND Scotland 🙂

          I am fully aware of the differences. I am also aware that they are dwarfed by the similarities – and also that there are also differences across England (and Wales and Northern Ireland!).

          I have also been abroad – to France and the Irish Republic. You know you are in a different country. It feels different – and thats not about the currency or the passports.

          When my wife moved to Devon, she did so knowing she wasnt going abroad. It wasnt a big step. When I moved to Scotland after we were married, I likewise didnt think I was moving to a different country – Scotland was obviously part of Britain, in the way it acted and felt, and like I said, in a way a foreign country – even the Irish Republic – was not.

          Lets be perfectly honest here, and independant Scotland will be different. What would be the point otherwise? It will feel to be a foreign country.

          1. I don’t know how many nationalists you actually know but I have also lived in England. Well I say England, it was London which is not really England. Anyone who thinks that London is not a very different place to almost anywhere in Scotland has never lived there! But that’s not really the point.

            Certainly when I am in France, where I go quite a lot on holiday, I know I am in a different country because for a start they are speaking French. The Republic of Ireland? Not really. Same language, many of the same shops, same kind of food, same drinks in the pubs, same or very similar music, same films in the cinemas, same programmes on the telly, motorists drive on the same side of the road, very similar scenery, more incohately just a general similarity in outlook and banter – same sense of humour certainly.

            But then if you can find a French sense of humour you will be doing better than me.

            The Irish have better crisps though. Though I believe Tayto crisps are actually made in N Ireland.

          2. “I have also been abroad – to France and the Irish Republic. You know you are in a different country. It feels different – and thats not about the currency or the passports. ”

            John, I don’t know what to make of that. I hope you’re referring to the weather because otherwise it comes close to a bit “oh, johnny foreigner all around”.

            Perhaps some of us nationalists are just more open minded when we’re outwith Scotland, being perfectly comfortable regardless of where we are in the world.

      3. Dear John,
        “it will be a new border which will seperate people”
        If you believe the above is a true statement then I am utterly astonished, you surely had some border stories in your Scottish history at school. To understand the location, history and geography of this most ancient border, I refer you to the book “The Border Line, Solway Firth to the North Sea” by James Logan Mack, 1924. The border was established commencing 1018 and was finalised around 1838, when the remaining “disputed land” appears to be resolved.
        As to separating people, of course the English and Scots are separated by differences in certain matters, but no more than those that separate other friendly nations.

        1. It will be a border that didnt exist. Forget about legalities and history and passports- it will exist where it didnt before (or at least where it hasnt since 1707). Scotland will become a foreign country as far as the rest of the UK is concerned. Its not something that will happen overnight. But it will happen.

          1. John, “The Articles of Union” made no change to the border between Scotland and England, but continues to refer to the two countries, for instance in terms of imports and exports, and trading relationships. The year 1707 has no significance for the line of the current border. Your term “a border that didn’t exist” is not correct.

            Your personal experiences of how you felt when moving to different countries is interesting, but of no relevance to this discussion. Others may feel completely different to you. Many of us in Scotland have lived and worked in many different countries, particularly those of us in the international oil world.

          2. “Scotland will become a foreign country”. You know that the English Courts have always treated Scotland as a foreign country. Read for instance “Recognition of Foreign Marriages and Divorces” where “special provisions” are made for “Scotland, Ireland, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, India and Pakistan…”.
            Really when it comes to it, “Facts are chiels that winna ding, an dawna be disputed”.

          3. Farrochie,
            You obviously didnt read what I said. “Forget about legalities and history and passports”.

            Presumably being able to ignore what the other side says is a prerequisite for being a nationalist?

            My feelings are shared by a large number of people, and when I speak to many people who have experience, whether through travel or work, of the rest of the UK, they are overwhelimingly in favour of remaining part of the UK. Many of those who are in favour of independence have never left Scotland – again in my experience.

          4. John, how can you speak about such matters and require an answer that ignores “legalities and history”; and why should any honest debater on these pages have to acquiese to your demand in any case, as if only your view matters? Would you ignore the legalities in a discussion about the border between UK and Ireland, Belgium and NL, France and Germany, Portugal and Spain. All of these countries have land borders that can be crossed without hindrance. The Scotland/England land border will remain as it has these past centuries.

          5. If you want to talk about legalities – how can you be so sure that the border will remain as it is now?

            There have already been moves to end the Common Travel area.

          6. According to the Home Office:

            “20 December 2011

            The UK and Ireland have signed an important agreement reinforcing their commitment to preserving the Common Travel Area (CTA) while further cracking down on illegal immigration and spurious asylum claims.

            The CTA is the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. People travelling within the CTA do not generally need to carry a passport or national identity document for immigration purposes.”

  22. John Ruddy says:
    January 31, 2012 at 9:14 am
    So, the SNP argument is Child poverty is always the respoinsibility of Westminster, even when its not?
    Tell me – just what is it reposnsible for?

    Yes that is one of the arguments; Nationalists believe Westminster whether run by a Tory or Labour government is responsible for child poverty in Scotland. Because successive Westminster governments have prioritised The Poll Tax experiment, possession of weapons of mass destruction and participation in illegal wars ahead of the welfare of the Scottish people.
    Its that simple. Nationalists have different priorities.

    1. But that’s simply a lie. The UK Labour government between 1997 and 2007 started to measure poverty more fairly and then slashed child poverty in one of the biggest redistributions of wealth the UK has ever seen. Child poverty has not been eradicated, and the global downturn has reversed some of the great changes made, but you simply cannot deny that that genuine improvement didn’t happen.

      1. “But that’s simply a lie. ”

        Sorry, what is? I didn’t see anywhere that Richard said “Labour didn’t reduce child poverty at all”. What ACTUAL thing did he ACTUALLY say that was a lie?

      2. Well well Duncan! Am I reading correctly. Are you now prepared to take the past behaviour of Labour into account in your thinking something which you have hotly been denying to people not that very long ago? That would open up a real can of worms!

      3. ‘OH yes they can!’

        Duncan, this is pretty much pantomime politics. We see it every week at FMQs – Big Eck says something wonderful and the SNP MSPs go into a frenzy as though fuelled by mulled wine and minced pies.

        Seriosuly though, the SNP tactic is pretty simple – anything that doesn’t fit their agenda either didn’t happen or they say the opposite thing. As I have pointed out many times today – facts seem to be absent from their side of the debate.

        Now if they come forward with facts that go against what we are saying then fine. We can debate the finer points of the statistics, however they don’t need facts; they’re right! So there!!

        1. Anybody can go and look up the most recent strategy paper published in March 2011. It sets out quite clearly what the reserved functions are and what the devolved functions are and what the SG is doing with them. Maybe if you want to have a read at it and suggest measures that the SG is not taking that it should be taking then you might have a point but saying the SNP is doing nothing is patently false.

      4. And if the countless millions spent on dubious legality wars had been directed, instead, towards child poverty, how much more could have been done?

        As Richard points out, it’s about priorities.

          1. Alex Gallagher says that the SNP are doing nothing about it. He should keep quiet about it. we made a real hash of it when we were in power.

          1. Well, you can only claim that if you believe the state of the UK’s economy has no link to child poverty. If you accept there is a link…

      5. Oops you slipped up there Duncan. I think you will find that it is not the global downturn that accounts for anything in Scotland – it’s all the fault of the SNP!

        1. That’s not the point Indy.

          The point is that the SNP has been in Government for 5 years and it seems they want to take the responsibility for nothing…

          …It’s all Westmonster/Labour/Tories/younameit’s fault.

          So I ask once again: what is the SNP doing about child poverty?

          That’s the SNP, y’know the SNP Government, not anyone else…

    2. The Scottish Government could do lots to resolve child poverty – using its existing powers.

      Your argument is simply “Nothing to do with us, guv”, and illustrates the fundamental difference between Labour and the SNP. We want to make peoples lives better, and we realise we might not always get our way – but thats democracy.

      The SNP seem, on the basis of your answer anway, to prefer to let people live in poverty, if it helps them win the argument for independence.

      That is appaling.

      1. Westminster parties would rather put a billion pounds towards WMDs than towards fighting child poverty (an luxury not available to the SNP).

        Now, THAT is appalling.

        1. Ahh, now I see, its OK for Child poverty to continue, as long as we’re not spending money on nuclear weapons.

          How about answer a question for once?

          1. Now, that’s the exact opposite of what I said, but I suppose Unionists are experts at deliberating misinterpreting someone’s comments in a vain attempt to make cheap political points (it fools no one, btw).

            The Scottish government have a limited pool of money, a pool that’s been allocated in ways it seems best. They do not have access to the money earmarked for WMDs.

            The thing is, that money earmarked for WMDs, even a portion of it, would make a big difference to the money available to the Scottish government.

            See how that works? Perhaps if we’re not spending money on nuclear weapons, we could go a long way towards eradicating child poverty. If we chose to prioritise WMDs over child poverty, as Labour did, it makes tackling child poverty much more difficult.

          2. Which, of course is not the point I made.

            The point I made was the SNP Government could do things NOW to help alleviate child poverty. They could do things which would reduce it.

            If it was such a priority, why dont they do that?

          3. “The point I made was the SNP Government could do things NOW to help alleviate child poverty. They could do things which would reduce it. ”

            Let’s hear them, then.

  23. It all seemed a bit patronising to me, pie in the sky stuff, but BBC Scotland liked it as well as the Herold. Mr Miliband mentioned Keir Hardie. If he offered Scotland the same Home Rule that Hardie advocated, I doubt if many would turn it down. Any chance?

    1. Gavin,

      James Keir Hardie wanted to make alcohol illegal – should we be proposing that now?

      Keir Hardie had some key aims for Labour, again with the facts, Labour under Tony Blair delivered most of these key pledges. Ths mission now is to take these chnanges further. Let me explain:

      1. Devolution – we have introduced devolution to the UK and now the challenge is to make it work most effectively to serve the people of the UK.

      2. We delivered the Trade Union Rights and Freedom Bill and the mission now is to strengthen further the rights of the Trades Union.

      3. We reformed the House of Lords – the mission now is to go further and make it stronger through greater accountability.

      4. We delivered a National Minimum Wage – the mission now is to deliver a National Living Wage (The only two fully Labour led councils in Scotland have delivered this NLC and GCC)

      5. Prohibition – ehh, I can’t see this happening.

      So when Tony Blair had the chance to deliver on some of the key aims of Keir Hardie he did so (now Labours responsibility is to take these further). What si the only aim of the SNP and when presented with the chance to deliver on this aim, why have they been so slow to provide details and bring forward their referendum on the issue?

      Don’t try and tell Labour people what Keir Hardie wanted – we know and we’ve delivered. Why not focus your attention on making your party fit for purpose in relation to fighting for what it believes in instead of lecturing a party that knows how to deliver?

      1. Being as proud of devolution as you appear to be, I assume you support devolution for England, i.e. the creation of an English parliament to compliment those of the other 3 home nations?

        It was only a matter of time that people in England would start to feel that they were getting a bad deal, what with devolved parliament policies diverging from those of Westminster (e.g. tuition fees) but with the West Lothian Question still rearing its ugly head.


        I personally don’t want to Scotland/Wales/N Ireland’s situation annoying the neighbours, as it seems is becoming the case. However, with only ~5% of Scots wishing an end to devolution, there is no going back.

        1. I do support the idea of greater devolution across the UK but the thing is, the people of those parts of the UK have to want it. Just as we had to say it was what we wanted the English will have to do the same.

          John Prescott, I’m sure, tried to pilot devolution in the North-East of England but there was no appetite for it. The referendum may shine a light on this subject and there may well be a rise in demand for some form of regional assemblies in England or an English Parliament.

          It’s not for us to say what the English want but when they want devolution we should give them all the support we can since we have been through the process.

          You know, work together rather than leave them to their own devices?

          I think devolution across the UK could strengthen the union, as it would be a modern union for the 21st century.

          BUT it’s up to the people of England to decide if they want devolution or not.

    2. How many children have been killed in the illegal war in Iraq Duncan ? or does your world without borders stop at the Moslem borders ?

      I don’t think for one minute it does but unless you just don’t care about children from Iraq, how can you truthfully say that the labour party did anything for children except murder them ?
      We know that the war was illegal and we know that about 1 million people have died, so please stop thinking that child poverty is more important than child death.

  24. John Ruddy

    OK. I give up, there is no positive case for independence, sorry for wasting your time.


    the ability to set our own taxes in order to achieve the maximum benefit for Scotland, and to do this in line with the priorities of our own people rather than those of South East England.
    Having a direct voice in European decision making rather than having our aspiration and priorities distorted by the dark lens of the Westminster machine.
    The ability to set social policies based on the progressive and compassionate views of Scottish electorate.
    The ability to rid our shores of the weapons of mass destruction.
    The choice not to send our sons and daughters to die in illegal foreign wars.
    The return of our self respect when we finally take our place amongst the 200 other independent nations of the world.

    I could go on.

    and on and on ….

    But you are probably right there is no positive case for independence.

    Perhaps it would be better to simply wait out this period of Tory government in the hope of another 13 years of Labour rule then, everything will change for the better just like the last time!

    1. “Having a direct voice in European decision making rather than having our aspiration and priorities distorted by the dark lens of the Westminster machine.”

      If the current Eurozone crisis shows us anything, it’s that the EU as an institution only cares about the “European project”, national interests be damned. What makes you think an independent Scotland would have any significant “voice” in the EU?

      1. Scotland doesn’t have any voice at all now.

        But it’s an interesting question because clearly Cameron’s decision to use the veto will have consequences in terms of the UK’s influence in Europe. I suspect Labour doesn’t know quite where it stands on that. But I doubt anyone will be able to use the line about Scotland – as part of the UK – being at the heart of Europe any more. Because that is now history isn’t it?

        1. Scotland does have a voice, as part of the United Kingdom.

          Also, the treaty requires states to submit their budgets for approval before their own national legislatures vote on them. It strikes me as rather odd for a party supposedly in favour of Scottish independence to support a treaty which would seriously limit Scotland’s financial autonomy.

          1. Yes, but Scotland’s voice is constantly drowned out by our bigger partner, even when our partner doesn’t have a particular interest in the discussion.

            That’s the problem.

    2. But the thing about “a direct voice in European decision making” is that a lot of the time you are out voted – and you dont always get what you want. Sometimes your voice can be one to moderate a policy, but not change it. Thats democracy (or what passes for it in the EU).

      How is that different to Westminster where we have MPs who call for things to change, but dont always get their way?

      Answer: It isnt.

      1. That is true. But so what?

        Your comparison with Westminster doesn’t really make sense because Westminster and the EU control different things.

        Not even the most rabid of Europhiles suggests that the EU should control economic policies, tax and benefits, defence, foreign policy, pensions etc for every single member state.

        1. Its about controlling things at the level thats appropriate. Thats why I beleive local councils should control council tax (or its replacement, if any).

          Your argument is that Westminster doesnt deliver the things you want, because Scotland gets outvoted, so whats different about the EU? And bear in mind that the EU is going down the route of monetary and fiscal union…

          1. I’m not saying it is different in the EU – although there are options like derogations and so on that exist when countries have a particular issue in the EU while there is nothing similar in the context of the UK.

            But you can’t really compare the powers that reside at EU level and the powers that reside with national governments.

            Do you really think that the UK Parliament would agree that the EU should set iUK income tax levels, should decide on penmsions, should control immigration and asylum, should decide UK defence policy or foreign policy, should decide UK economic policy etc?

            Is it Labour Party policy that the EU should take control of all these policy areas? Or does it believe that these should be the prerogatives of democratically elected national parliaments.

            If, as I suspect, Labour believes the latter then I suggest you actually understand the point I am making perfectly well.

        2. “Not even the most rabid of Europhiles suggests that the EU should control economic policies, tax and benefits, defence, foreign policy, pensions etc for every single member state.”

          Well, there have been suggestions that greater economic harmonisation will be necessary to save the Euro. As for foreign policy, there have already been steps in that direction, hence the creation of an EU representative for foreign affairs.

  25. Ok, usual stuff about ‘Britishness’.

    I have some memories of ‘British’ things in Scotland when I was very young (e.g. British rail, British steel, British Gas etc) but these are all gone now; closed down or privatised. The other morning, on the way to work, I was discussing this with my French wife. To make the point, I asked her to try and count all the symbols we passed that told us which country we were in. We counted 10’s of individual symbols that told us we were in Scotland (saltires, thistle symbols, words ‘Scotland/Scottish’ etc) but only managed to spot one union jack at the last minute on a lorry whose livery stated it was from England. Basically, Scotland is Scotland to me – very little indication that it is British these days. That is what I have come to know as I grew up.

    Half my family is Scottish and the other half French. Forgive me, but I’m Scottish. I’m not sure how I can feel otherwise; it is not a concious choice I have made, but just what ‘is’, just like my French wife feels French. We do not choose our nationality/national identity; circumstance creates it naturally for us. I’m frankly quite offended when people tell me I should feel British and that it’s somehow wrong to feel Scottish alone.

    If someone could explain what ‘Britishness’ exactly is today it might help. All it conjures up for me is wars and empire building; both of which are long gone now thankfully.

  26. From the diary of Miliband snr

    “However, what Ed didn’t reveal was what his father, a refugee from Nazism in
    Europe, really thought of the England. An excerpt from his diary dated 1940 states, “The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world …. England first.

    This slogan is taken for granted by the English people as a whole. To lose their empire would be the worst possible humiliation.”

  27. What a lot of people forget with junk like this is that Labour politicians in Scotland (and all those other soothsayers in the media up here) have careers on the line. No wonder they want to preserve the most beautiful Union since Adam and Eve…

    The annoying thing is they will all come running to the trough again if we vote independence, trying to convince us all they believed all along.

    I think any politician who stands against independence should be automatically barred from taking part in Scottish politics after independence is achieved.

    And when are Labour going to address the real issues of why we hate them so much? I mean seriously… (some clues: Iraq, expenses scandal, hammering students, abandonment of the Unions and workers’ rights, etc, etc)

    Until you do, you’re finished.

    1. Ahh, I’m glad you brought up the expenses scandal. I’m sure you think it appaling that an MP should have been able to just ask for £400 a month for food (because if he wasnt an MP, he wouldnt have eaten anything – right?) without receipts? Or that an MP would just carrying claiming that – even when he wasnt sitting in parliament? Perhaps you would liek to condemn the MP who had the taxpayer buy his Home Cinema system? Or that £2,374 is a suitable amount for a bed?

      I really dont know why you hate Labour for Iraq – after all, more of our MPs voted against it than for it. i can understand a hatred of Tony Blair – but then there are plenty of Labour members who would agree with you on that!

      1. John, you state: “hate Labour for Iraq – after all, more of our MPs voted against it than for it.”

        Labour: Votes cast were YES 244 NO 69 TOTAL 313
        Conser: Votes cast were YES 139 NO 15 TOTAL 154
        Libdem: Votes cast were YES 000 NO 63 TOTAL 63
        ScoNat: Votes cast were YES 000 NO 05 TOTAL 5

        78% of Labour members voted YES to the war on Iraq. These facts are available to all who care to look.


      2. John Ruddy – More Labour MPs voted against Iraq war than for? Really?

        More Labour Lies, we’ve had years of it. Just like in the build up to that vile war. Just like the smear and sneer government it ran.

        Still no positive case for the Union.

  28. does this mean both johan lamont and ed milliband are in favour of keeping the 4 nuke subs awaiting an expensive upgrade?
    also, what are they planning on doing about the 7 leaking nuke subs awaiting decommissioning

    i live on the fife coast, i want to know when it will be safe to go back in the water?

  29. G said: “You know Indy, when you make that sort of argument about disabled people you are pretty much saying an independent Scotland will sort out all their benefit needs etc because we have no chance of making disabled people’s lives easier in the UK. That is nonsense. If it is the case please tell us what changes the SNP want to make to benefits etc for diabled people that we cannot implement in the UK at present.”

    I honestly don’t know what to say to that.

    My point is that there is fairly unprecedented degree of unanimity in Scotland against some of the changes in the welfare bill – but the Scottish Parliament cannot act on that because the legislation is reserved – and you say “please tell us what changes the SNP want to make to benefits etc for diabled people that we cannot implement in the UK at present.”

    I just have told you that. “We” cannot implement ANY changes at present nor can we prevent changes being made, even when there is almost universal recognition that their effects will be profoundly damaging. It is not just the SNP saying this. There is almost universal agreement that the UK Government’s punitive approach is totally at odds with the approach taken by SUCCESSIVE Scottish administrations – Labour as well as SNP – and that it will cause very serious problems for devolved agencies as well as for individuals. It is just not good enough for you to say that this does not matter when your own party was very clear in the Scottish Parliament that it does matter.

    1. The Scottish parliament cannot change the benefit system (although thats something I’d like to see changed – as an increase in the devolved powers), but it can do things to make things easier for disabled people in Scotland.

      It could do something to help carers (especailly those who are unpaid).

      It could do something about the increases in care charges thats some local authorities are imposing on disabled people.

      It could do something to help disabled people become more economically active (eg by supporting Remploy).

      It has decided to do none of these things.


      1. It is doing more to help carers.

        Currently charges are for local authorities to set not national government (other than free personal care which is determined centrally). But everyone knows that community care is a bit of a mess which is why the NHS and local authority sides are being integrated and there should be some greater consistency in charging coming out of that – this is something Labour and SNP agreed on so should not be contentious. But it’s not going to happen overnight either.

        There is a new(ish) Supported Employment Framework for disabled people in place (including for military veterans, a previously neglected group) but equally everyone knows that there are many disabled people who just can’t work. It’s as simple as that but these are the people who are going to be hammered.

  30. It saddens me that the best we can come up with to defend the union is
    a) A sound bite…….Stonger together etc
    b) An obvious negative campaign to make nationalists anti-english.

    Not all Labour voters are pro-union.

    I can address world hunger. I cannot make the UK government follow ny socialist values. However I can vote for independence and argue the values of Labour within my nation. I have the power to influence my immediate world and hopefully one day the rest of the world. I do not want to start that journey with Ed Millibands form of middle England values.

    1. Geo – i agree but i feel there is an awful lot of new labour folk toeing the party line right now. Its saddens me when i see attacks on Scottish nationalists saying they are insular while on this site (and duncan is one of the most guilty) theres lots of fine talk about being socialist and caring for all people accross the UK – I noticed Curran picking up on that one as well. Well thats fine and dandy but while there is this wonderful caring labour party apparently looking out for the whole of the UK, here in Scotland we have setious problems with health, child poverty etc. And theres no point in saying the SNP have been in power long enough to have ‘sorted it’ any more than me balaming labour for all the years before that when we really were the sick man of Eurpoe.
      My point is maybe labour party members in Scotland need to do what they can for thier own people and then, maybe by example other parts of the Uk would follow our lead. SO for me that means taking control of your own destiny and not working with want you get from London.
      Ive said on here before, but no-one has picked me up on it – i would be really intersted in any Scots labour party supporers view If (and on IF mind, so keep calm) Scotland did vote for independance. How do you see the future of a true Scottish labour party. My view is that it would very quickly look rather different from the model south of the border, because i beleie the laboutn party in Sctland is more left leaning, but you are part of the new labour projects and, lets face it, thats never sat well in Scotland. Maybe true Scottish labout party would find its identity again, and do some good for Scotland in and independent country.

      1. I’ll as you the question I asked Indy above and got no answer to:

        The SNP has been in government for 5 years: what is the SNP doing about child poverty?

        1. And in response to you, what did new labour do for, how many years before that…?
          This is exactly what brings the debate to nowhere, which is why I suggested we don’t go there. Your Scottish branch leader seems more keen for cross part talks on ‘the question’ but I don’t hear much about dealing with our social issues including child poverty.

          So I ask you again – do you want the powers to do something about child poverty in Scotland or not? And if the answer is yes, why dont you support Scotland having full control of its resources so we can spend our money on what really matters to Scots – i think we are both agreed that child poverty is pretty much at the top of that list!

          Not spending money on trident would free some cash I guess, but no-one knows where your leader stands on this – her socialist principles don’t appear to stretch as far as standing up to the UK government OR the UK opposition on this.

        2. What is it that you would have them do? You’re oddly reluctant to offer advice.

          1. Good grief – round and round we go! The ba’ is in your court as they say. Why would any Glasgow new labourite need ‘advice’. Why don’t you tell the listening public what YOU would do? It’s very easy to say ‘tackle childe poverty’ and leave it at that? Give us a coherent plan – and if it’s a good ’un I’m sure you will get lots of support!

            I still hear nothing but spin.

  31. I’m sick of our Labour leaders missing the point on independence. Ed Miliband and his cabinet don’t have a clue about the problem we face. Coming to Glasgow with motherhood statements does nothing to help. We need positive policies, not the negative trype.

  32. I think every MP and MSP in the labour party should be made to read this thread. I think they will be concerned to see a couple of labour people saying they are sick of labours negative smears and their lack of any real case ‘For the union’
    I also feel the labour people might be shocked if they read John Ruddy’s posts, as they will see how they come accross when they just dogmaticly hang on to the point of view that states ‘labour/unionism good – SNP /independence bad.

    1. Since I never said anything like that, I’m not sure what they would get out of reading this. Other than an impression that nationalists always seem to mis-interpret anything which is total agreement.

      I have often said, here and elsewhere, that Labour got things wrong. It could have done things differently, and that some of the tactics and policies adopted by the leadership are wrong.

      I would like to agree with things the SNP does right. The problem is it doesnt do much that is right. Unlike me, who admits mistakes, SNP supporters seem to think that everything they do is perfect.

  33. I encourage everyone to read ‘burdseyeveiw’ , but here’s a wee snippet that I think we can all agree is relevant to this thread:

    “Worse, much worse, is the demonisation of some of the most vulnerable in our society. Labour started this. When it was attempting to start reform of the benefits system – for which read cut the budget – it embarked on a cynical exercise of getting public opinion on side through the worst media mouthpieces. The numbers on incapacity benefit were inflated by talking only of the number of claimants rather than recipients (which is much lower); the fact that incapacity benefit was a contribution-led payment ie you had to have earned at some point in your life and made national insurance payments to qualify for it was ignored; recipients were depicted as scroungers and workshy, folk with sore backs and weak heads rather than individuals with complex conditions, some of which were not very visible.

    It worked, and allowed the Labour UK Government to set the train in motion which reached its final destination last night. The demonisation of disabled people, lone parents, large families, poor older people and the long term unemployed is complete. Everywhere you go, every red top rag you read has another tale of the excess of the vulnerable poor, those of us who give a damn are met with uncomprehending stares and titters. Establishing the narrative of the feckless, undeserving poor allowed the Tories – helped by their little Lib Dem partners of course – to push through vicious cuts to the safety net that keeps many afloat. It has done me at various points in my life – and many more besides”

    labour and tories working together to attack the poor and disabled, who would have believed it ?

    1. This is probably the biggest thing that Labour got wrong. IN fact it did more than just “get it wrong”, it started the process of demonisation. The likes of James Purnell should never have been a Labour MP – let alone a minister. Liam Byrne seem to think his job is to follow in Purnell’s footsteps.

      But you didnt want to hear me say that, did you?

      1. Actually John, yes. It’s good to hear that you don’t agree with the likes of Purnell. The question, though, is, taking into account that the Labour shadow cabinet don’t hold view much different from the likes of Purnell, will it influence how you vote in the next set of elections?

        1. So you’re saying that just because I disagree with Labour I should just flounce off?

          I think I will have a better chance of changing things by arguing for a better policy from within the party, than by whining from the outside.

      2. “But you didnt want to hear me say that, did you?”

        On the contrary, we all want to hear you say it. All we want after that is for it to finally dawn on you what it means about what Labour’s become.

        I don’t hate Labour because they’re against independence. I hate Labour because I’m a socialist.

  34. John Ruddy’s lies on Iraq above just show how out of touch Labour are – they still don’t get it. Smear and sneer government, now a Politics of Fear campaign for unionism.

    Where is that positive case for the union John? Somewhere filed beside your assertion that more Labour MPs voted against the war in Iraq than for?

    1. There are lots of positive cases for the union. If you’d bother to read my blog you’ll find some.

      So much easier to bully someone when you dont use your real name, isnt it?

      1. “There are lots of positive cases for the union. If you’d bother to read my blog you’ll find some. ”

        Okay then. I found a piece on your blog from last November called “The Union IS Positive”. Let’s have a look at what you offered up, shall we?

        1. “Scotland and England don’t invade each other any more.”

        True enough, but the likelihood of invasions if Scotland becomes independent seems rather remote. Fear of war would, in any event, be a rather poor and not especially positive reason to stay in the Union.

        2. “In the fields of science, industry, engineering, and medicine, Scots have worked alongside colleagues from elsewhere on these islands to improve the life and welfare of everyone. This collaboration, unthinkable between any two countries anywhere else in the world-”

        Just a minute. Really? No scientists, engineers etc from other countries have ever collaborated with each other? Seriously? And in an independent Scotland, it would become “unthinkable” for Scottish and English scientists to ever work together? And again, this is a “positive” argument, is it? That our scientists and engineers will be somehow quarantined from the rest of the world?

        Nobody is disputing that good things were achieved within the Union. But was the Union *necessary* for them to happen? Was it an integral part of the process, or was it just the system we happened to live under at the time? Would an independent Scotland simply not have bothered inventing any kind of a health service, say? And anyway, shouldn’t we be more interested in what we can achieve in the future, rather than the past? Aren’t you the one always telling us we need to look forward, not back? This is weak, weak stuff.

        3. Oh, that was all of them.

  35. Alex Gallagher like many other Labour members are burying their heads in the sand and forget that our performance on poverty is dreadful. In the time we were in government we allowed child and OAP to grow at an alarming rate. We have to face the facts that we have failed the working class badly, our bread and butter vote. With due respect to Ed, he lacks the ability to understand the plight of those in housing estates. We are not just in danger of losing the indy vote but our position within Scottish politics. The Nationalists are taking our vote, we are giving it away. We need to start afresh and listen before it is too late. Our 13 years in power has created ghosts which will haunt us for decades to come. A better question Alex, what problems did we create for the poor? Far more than Salmond. I hate to admit this but there is no where to hide in the long run.

  36. Does Ed’s intervention help really? If the Gnats are to be defeated they need to be attacked where they are weak – personal civil liberties – and not where they are strong – the economy.
    Problem is that Labour and the tories (and probably he Glib-Dumbs…but who knows…in fact, who really cares?) are just as statist as the Gnats and just as determined to ensure the power of the government over the private life of the individual and the power of the government over the people , not for the people.

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