For Labour to win it must ditch its Brexit renegotiation deal

Robert Hoskins says the complexion of Labour’s Brexit offer in its upcoming manifesto for December’s election is crucial, and urges the imminent Clause 5 meeting to drop the fence-sitting and go for clarity.

Cards on the table: I have had more positions on how to solve the current Brexit impasse than I have had hot dinners.

My present preference would have been a confirmatory vote based on the Prime Minister’s deal with Remain being on the ballot rather than a General Election. However, it would appear that ship has now sailed and there is going to be a General Election on Thursday 12th December instead. Albeit the timing of this election will be best suited to secure the apparent electoral advantage of the SNP, Lib Dems and Conservatives rather than Labour who are currently languishing in the mid 20s in the polls – on average, 12 points behind the Tories.

If Labour’s radical aspirational policies are to have any chance of resonating with the electorate and sweeping the party to power on a tidal wave of hope for a better future, it needs to control the election narrative right from the start of this 6-week campaign. That means neutralising the attack lines of the opposition parties who all expect to make gains at Labour’s expense.

The Tories, Lib Dems and the Nationalists all want to make this a Brexit election for their own selfish reasons. The Tories want to collapse the Brexit vote and gain a thumping majority to implement their Brexit deal without any interfering opposition amendments watering it down. The Lib Dems want an election now as they are beginning to see a down tick in their poll ratings and a Tory Brexit passed in this current parliamentary session would make their Brexit stance of Revoking article 50 – their flagship policy – moot. Meanwhile the Nationalists are cock-a-hoop at this early Christmas present as it saves them from the most challenging fate of all – fighting a January election coinciding with the expected toxic fallout from the Salmond trial.

The Nationalists of course will pitch their party very firmly as the natural party for Remain in Scotland. My hunch is that it will be their Scexit manifesto commitment, not their Remain position, which will determine the number of seats that the party gets. My hunch also is that their Scexit commitment will go down like a plate of cold haggis with the electorate and will backfire.

In marked contrast to the other parties, strategically, Labour will want to talk about anything but its Brexit policy. Its strategy must surely be to make this election about its manifesto and neutralise any criticism of its Brexit position as quickly as possible. Constructive ambiguity on Brexit might have got Labour much closer to power than many had originally thought possible in 2017, but a similar fence-sitting policy will not fly in this election.

In order to understand why that it is, it is useful to remind ourselves first of the current Brexit positions of all the main parties.

  • Brexit Party: A hard WTO Brexit.
  • Conservatives: Johnson’s Brexit deal.
  • Lib Dems: Revoke Article 50 and Remain.
  • SNP: Remain and Scexit
  • Labour: Reject Johnson’s deal and take No Deal off the table by negotiating our own Brexit deal instead. Six months after negotiations have been completed, put Labour’s deal back to the people in a referendum as the Leave option, with Remain on the ballot. Prime Minister Corbyn will hold a one day special conference to enable himself and the party to decide whether it will support Remain or its own freshly negotiated Brexit deal in the referendum.

Does anyone notice a problem with the above? If you are a Labour Party supporter having read the above 76 words that it took to explain Labour’s current Brexit position, and you do not have at the very least the beginnings of heart palpatations, I would suggest that you are in fact an SNP lurker relishing the schadenfreude of the bemused response to party activists trying to sell that on the doorstep. If Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s chief strategist, was to come up with a wrecking ball that would guarantee to keep Labour’s transformative agenda out of the electoral spotlight he would be hard pushed to better Labour’s Brexit policy. If alarm bells are not ringing in Jeremy’s team now they most certainly should be.

Every party will be praying Labour does not change its Brexit policy in its forthcoming Clause 5 meeting which determines what policies go into the party manifesto, as it provides Labour’s opposition with a massive stick with which to beat the party.

Firstly, and most damagingly of all for Labour’s chances of victory, is Corbyn’s determination to remain neutral over his personal Brexit preference. His prevarication will ensure that Labour’s Brexit position becomes the dominant electoral narrative of the campaign which keeps Labour’s radical portfolio of policies to improve the lives of the many well and truly off the electoral agenda.

Imagine the live leaders debate. ”What is your position on Brexit?” The other party leaders give their five word answers and it’s now Jeremy’s turn. After taking 3 minutes to explain the above, when repeatedly pressed to state his own position Jeremy eventually says he will decide this at a special conference after he has renegotiated his own Brexit deal. This obfuscation will not only ensure a derisory chorus of groans from the audience which will be echoed around the country by the watching electorate and dominate all the front pages of the main stream media, it will also reinforce the dominant public opinion of Jeremy that he is a ditherer and an ineffectual leader who doesn’t even have an opinion on how to vote on the biggest post war issue ever. Cummings’ dark ops will have a field day with his constructive neutrality by producing memes brutally exposing the leader’s lack of leadership and, dare I say it, unfitness for office.

If Labour’s current Brexit Policy is a damning metaphor which accurately reflects the electorate’s view of the Labour leader, it also fails spectacularly to meet its principal aim of ”uniting the country and healing the Brexit divide”. Pitching Remain against Labour’s own negotiated Brexit deal is fundamentally flawed as it excludes supporters of a WTO hard Brexit and supporters of Johnson’s deal.

This glaring weakness will not be missed by the Independent Commission on Referendums nor the Electoral Commission who are charged with the responsibility for scrutinising the fairness of referendum questions. Even if the Electoral Commission rubber stamped Labour’s deal being the only Leave option on the ballot, are we really expecting supporters of Johnson’s Deal or in particular supporters of a WTO hard Brexit to turn out and vote for Labour’s soft Brexit deal instead? As it is presently structured Labour’s Brexit negotiation is seen by the party to be the only leave deal which will be on the ballot paper therefore disenfranchising a large chunk of the Leave electorate who will possibly boycott the referendum rendering the result illegitimate.

All is not lost, however. By means of the forthcoming Clause 5 manifesto meeting there is still time for Labour to snatch electoral victory from the jaws of impending defeat by being the only party to offer the electorate a referendum which does what Labour’s current policy does not do and that is to reflect not only Remain voters preferences but also the broad church of Leave voters as well.

In a recent article on how to solve the perennial problem of what is going to be the Leave option in a Peoples Vote, Matthew Parris, the former Conservative MP, Spectator journalist and Remainer, suggested the following answer which I think offers a perfect solution to this conundrum.

The ballot paper would be in two parts; the electorate would be asked to complete both parts irrespective of Brexit preference.

(1) Should the United Kingdom (a) Remain in or (b) Leave the European Union?
(2) If the United Kingdom were to leave, would it be better to leave (a) with the Government’s proposed deal (b) or without a deal?

If Leave wins the first part of the ballot, a second count takes place which identifies which type of Brexit that the electorate has voted for.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that Labour adopted this new Brexit position. Let’s now revisit the live leaders debate and Jeremy’s response to the question “What is your position on Brexit?” ”We will let the people decide if they want the Prime Minister’s deal, no deal or to Remain in the EU. My party and myself will support Remain”.

Adopting this straightforward, uncomplicated referendum position turns the fundamental weaknesses contained within Labour’s current Brexit position into strengths. Firstly it finally gets Jeremy off the fence, firmly committed four square to backing Remain. Backing Remain destroys the most damaging narrative of all – of a leader who can’t lead and is unfit for office. It also gets those Remainers who have switched to the Lib Dems back into the fold with a unique once in a lifetime electoral offer which not only delivers a peoples vote but also offers a one off opportunity to vote for a party that will radically transform the economy and seriously address climate change.

This new offer could also appeal to a section of Brexiteers who reject Johnson’s deal and the Brexit Party’s hard WTO Brexit but who are excited by Labour’s transformative economic manifesto and are prepared to forego their Brexit preference in exchange for this. Most importantly of all, rejecting Labour’s current Brexit position in favour of a straight forward Peoples Vote as outlined above enables Labour to deal with its Brexit position swiftly by neutralising all the attack lines that the other parties are so looking forward to using, thus enabling the party to focus completely on its manifesto.

When the chosen few gather in the next few days to decide the content of Labour’s 2019 general election manifesto let them be reminded that a Peoples Vote pitching Remain v Leave on the ballot is already supported by millions of Remain voters throughout the length and breadth of the country. The very same Peoples Vote supporters who have had their hopes of a referendum shattered on the high alter of short term party political gain by both the Lib Dems and the Nationalists. These people need a party they can vote for which unequivocally supports Remain and which they can trust to deliver that referendum. Let that party be the Labour Party.

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69 thoughts on “For Labour to win it must ditch its Brexit renegotiation deal

  1. Labours problem is the fact that it has to walk an impossible line in the sand. They need both the Remain Lib Dem voters and the hard line Brexit party voters to win enough support to beat the Tories in England. They cant do that and beat the SNP in Scotland because they have to appeal to Neo Right wing Conservatism as well as Middle English self entitled Conservatism. No room for Socialism in England these days. This is reflected in their ludicrous attempts to appeal to everybody by jumping around from one extreme position to the exact opposite in the same week.
    Labour have shown themselves to be far too corrupt to appeal to anybody anywhere in the UK.

  2. The Ashcroft poll from only a few months ago had 40% of 2017 Scottish Labour voters who would now vote for independence. Calling them “SNP lurkers” fur Gawds sakes!!!!!–its a REAL policy on Home Rule Labour needs, not some knee-jerk Rule Britannia posturing (but who would believe it).
    I am a Remainer, but if Scotland gains its independence, then I would prefer us to join EFTA and use the EEA for our trading position with the EU.

    I think this election will be based on a couple of things.
    A. Johnson has a big personality, but can he waffle and obfuscate for 5 weeks without tripping up on his own bluster, lies and general contempt for the public. Contrast him with Corbyn—– a year past his sell-by date and who now just sounds whiney and distant.
    B. How interested the public are normal politicking, and how much trust they have left for political parties, the media and all the hoop-la. I detect a huge disillusionment with it all: a plague on all your houses.

    Otherwise Boris is favourite in England (especially the south), the SNP in Scotland and the rest also rans. The Dumbs/Brexit parties might get a lot of votes, without many seats. Labour might lose votes but cling onto seats.
    And we have a BIG chance of a new hung parliament.
    What then?

    1. “…I would prefer us to join EFTA and use the EEA for our trading position with the EU.” Agree, but I will take almost anything now to get out of the mess that is the UK.

  3. All of that was a reason as labour wanted not to have a pre Christmas election it would have meant Boris would have had to face up to his do or die promise about October 31 thanks to the SNP Lib dem motion that has now gone .
    Then according to STV abstained Angus MacNeil said its crazy giving Boris what he wants a pre Christmas election he said SNP MPS only found out about the new position via social media on Saturday so I am asking who took the decision .
    The Chief Exec of Edinburgh said on STV the city is now trying to cancel or rearrange Christmas bookings local authorities all over the UK are doing the same.
    STV and BBC News SNP already pushing Indy Lib Dems want Boris to take part in a leaders tv debate .
    Be aware Boris is a very effective public performer he will not play by the rules .
    Jeremy yesterday looked rejuvenated Nicola is also a great campaigner .
    Robert you are right Labour will have to be clear on Brexit .
    People in my area are telling me they wont vote they are fed up with all of it Brexit 24 7 Boris Jeremy Nicola and Indy .
    But in my area we have a great candidate and we will be fighting on local issues NHS making sure all our people feel valued bus services have just been cut again .
    We need to explain to people this is a general election its about who runs the country its not about Holyrood Its not an Indy ref its not just about Brexit .
    This is about who gets to be PM and if its Boris unleashed then watch out in my area we have a great Labour candidate fighting on local issues who if elected will be a great part of Jeremys team and remember what ever you think of him Jeremy is on ordinary peoples side our side
    And we need to make sure people are registered to vote then persuade them to vote.

    1. David, Boris got his Withdrawl Agreement passed by 30votes —20 of them Labour. The Dumbs/SNP don’t want Brexit, hence the push for a “stopBoris” election—because with 20 Labour MPs in Johnsons pocket, Brexit is certain.

      And Labour leaders has been shouting the odds for an election for weeks—-pity the poor Labour troops on the ground. No policy to speak of, party split and in the doldrums and a leader whose bubble burst a while ago. The best we can hope for is a Boris meltdown, but the guy never answers a question, tells lies for fun and in the South—-well they love him!
      This election is at a bad time, but that would be the case whenever it was held. Labour has been drifting for years between left/centre left and hard left without proper direction from the top, but given most MPs want rid of Corbyn, it’s not a surprise.

      1. Gavin thankyou for your comment
        You are right about the withdrawal agreement going through with Labour MPS help .
        I can understand why if they represent leave areas .
        I thought the whole idea was to force him past October 31 .What do you say
        about Angus MacNeil saying crazy and SNP MPS only found out about the new plan on Saturday via social media .
        You are also correct about Boris not answering questions .
        All that after dinner and public speaking is coming into play .
        Watch him in the commons standing at an angle looking slightly behind him at his own side roaring him on in a way they never did for PM May.
        BBC News Trump told Nigel in a phone in on Nigels radio show .
        The Boris withdrawal bill will cause problems for a deal with the USA .
        He also said Boris and Nigel should team up and Corbyn would take Britaln to a bad place .
        So Gavin the Labour party is ready to go come and join us .Haha

  4. If the UK is really a ‘union of equals’, any future referendum will only result in a decision to leave the EU if all four countries of the UK vote for it. Otherwise we risk repeating an outcome where Scotland’s clear preference to remain is over-ruled by the votes of England.

        1. Under what other system could the constituent countries of the UK hold any sort of veto?

          1. Yep I can see England giving up its 4 & half times majority in the house of commons to create a Federal UK.

            England – 533 Westminster seats.

            Scotland/Wales/NI – 117 Westminster seats.

            English majority = 455 %


          2. Duncan. Could you name any federal country when one of the federal components has a veto?
            I can only think of one Union of countries where any single member has the power of veto over the rest—the EU.

          3. EU countries only have power of veto in certain specific circumstances. Most EU decisions are subject to qualified majority voting, which only requires support of 55% of countries and 65% by population.

            Similarly in certain circumstance the Bundesrat in Germany has the power of veto.

          4. But their is no proposed federal UK which would give Scotland a veto.
            Is that correct?

          5. I think a number of people and groups have proposed such a thing at different times. I don’t think the Labour Party has put together a coherent plan or argument though, no. Federalism has been Lib Dem policy for a long time though, but I’m unsure of their veto position.

          6. But you appear to link “Federalism” with a veto for constituent countries..
            That is simply not true.

          7. There’s no reason why a federal proposal for the UK couldn’t include a veto for constituent parts over specific constitutional changes.

          8. Duncan, there is no proposal for a federal UK, from any direction—even the Dumbs have stopped pretending. If there was, a veto would be vetoed by No 10.

  5. I support Scottish Independence but I am also a democrat and sorry to say it but Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are the only party who are standing in the general election who are willing to honour the referendum result which was a UK wide vote. I am in a pickle and cannot ever contemplate voting Tory so I have not got a clue as to who I should vote for in the general election. Any ideas are welcome for consideration thank you.

        1. “Ted”, if you support Scottish independence who else can you vote for apart from the SNP/Greens.
          You can’t vote for the unionist parties as they don’t support independence, in fact they don’t support anything about Scotland unless their London masters will it.

    1. The so called UK wide vote was undemocratic in that it was unconstitutional it failed to recognise and account for the Act of Union 1707 the good Friday agreement in NI and the fact that it was introduced by a party elected by a minority of support.across the UK. A Democrat would recognise that he is not speaking up for Democracy when he takes a UK wide vote to mean a Democratic choice while ignoring a UK wide vote which failed to deliver a Democratic choice. Not to mention the fact that ANY and ALL UK wide choices are subject to scrutiny and amendment by unelected appointed Peers.
      Brexit is a betrayal of Democracy a travesty brought about by corruption. The whole affair is motivated not for any benefit to the people of the UK but to avoid tax haven scrutiny obligation to Human rights obligations to workers rights and a need to employ the cheapest labour possible from around the globe.
      Scottish Independence removes us from the levels of corruption that bring about the farcical political games of Brexit and the reasons for them.

    2. Ted, while the EU referendum was a UK-wide vote, it was not one single count, which allowed us to see how the constituent member countries of the UK voted.
      It should be noted that people of the calibre of Major, Blair, Clegg and many others stated at the time, that any differential vote would/could lead to the break-up of the UK. That has been compounded by the actions of the May and Johnson governments in blanking the opinions of devolved governments.

      I agree with Davy (and Keir Hardie) that independence for Scotland is a way out of the madness. An independent Scotland would initially be out of the EU, and while I have no doubts about our welcome back into the fold, we would need to ponder on the terms and conditions of entry. My preference is to join EFTA and trade through the EEA.
      Nor would I object to joining the EURO. It is a stable, serious currency, used in our “Optimal Currency Area”, and most people in Scotland will have used it. I have yet to see any non-chauvinistic, actual economic reason for objecting to its adoption.

  6. “Under what other system could the constituent countries of the UK hold any sort of veto?”

    Had the UK Union been setup and operated as the EU does all 4 constituent members would be fully Independent of each other and would have been free in so many ways to make their own choices and develop uniquely. It would have avoided so much war and conflict throughout history. No British Empire no global expansionism no war in Ireland. Four Nations openly trading with free movement of goods and services but none of them sucking out the revenues and resources of the other 3 for their own ends. No getting dragged into illegal wars by a single dominating member state. No member state getting a Government it didn’t vote for. When the Union expands to bring in our neighbours in Europe we would all be individually represented within the Europe wide trading market. Being able to protect our resources and negotiate separately with our neighbour member states. Not having our resources used as bargaining chips for concessions to another member state.
    The UK tries to pretend its a smaller version of the EU when its more in tune as a smaller version of the USSR.
    How anybody from any of the non dominating members states would find excuses to pretend there is no domination unbalance and inequality is beyond belief.

  7. I watched some of FMQS today Jackson Carlaw went on Indy big mistake that is Nicolas belief .She should not be challenged on that .Nicola wiped the Floor with him .
    Richard did the right thing went with the NHS .Indy is not what we are voting about . How we run the NHS is .

    1. Erm, the NHS is fully devolved and this is a UK election, so the NHS is categorically not what we are voting about!

      1. What’s the betting that the NHS/Education/Fishing is what Boris will run on when he comes to Scotland—even though we have better staffing level, better waiting times, better outcomes (from a much worse base), closing the attainment gap, than the Tory-run “devolved” powers.
        Nor will fishing come back to Scotland—Gove made it plain HE would be in charge(when he was Ag Minister for England).

        1. It will never stop astonishing me that so many Scots are happy with an NHS failing to meet its targets and failing patients – just look at the youth mental health stats and Tayside for a horrific example – as long as they can point to something worse in England. What a corrosive, self-defeating, and frankly stupid mindset. Public spending is hugely higher in Scotland than in most of England. Our public services *should* be better. But someone waiting 18 months for mental health support is not remotely helped by you pointing out they could have waited longer in some parts of England. It’s so vacuous.

          1. An old statistic—-it costs16% more to provide services in Scotland that the UK, because of geography and sparsity of population. Still applicable? I have no idea.
            You can only spend the money available as a devolved part of the U.K.
            By the way, Boris “threatened” to take the Scottish NHS under Westminster control just the other day. Labours response? Silence.

          2. Whats being pointed out is the fact that everything that can be down is being done because there is a party in power that is ideologically motivated to provide the best in public service relative to selling off public service and bringing in private provision based on profit margins.
            That used to be a labour party position until it decided it needed to chase English Tory votes more than it needed to keep its core socialist leaning support in the rest of the UK.
            Labours position is to deprive any future Scottish government access to its full fiscal potential and revenues in order to keep providing the UK state treasury with the lion share of Scottish public assets as our union benefit.
            Money we need to spend here is “Reserved” to Westminster. Revenues we raise here are “Reserved to Westminster”.
            That leaves any complaints you have over the service provision in Scotland useless.
            Our public services should be better nobody says they shouldn’t but we all know Labour wont improve anything you only have to look at Wales to see the proof of it.
            Your rhetoric and fake concerns don’t match up to how Labour walk the walk in Wales.
            Public spending is not higher in Scotland that is a lie and you know it. Spending by the UK Government on its growing debt crises its warmongering its WMD proliferation and its PFI PPP mismanagement is being attributed to Scottish public spending as our union benefit share.
            Its not money spent in Scotland for Scotland by Scotland its money taken from Scotland and spent on the ideological choices of Neo right wing Conservatism and the advancement of English exceptionalism.

          3. oh aye, is our targets in Scotland’s NHS not normally higher than the rest of the UK, but its a bit funny that when your party complains about failings in our NHS we never hear you applauding their success’s .

            And since your party is such an all for one approach to the UK, why don’t we hear from yersel and other Scottish labour members complaining about the state of the other UK NHS’s and using the Scottish NHS as a good example for them to follow.

            My own personal experience with our own NHS over the last five years has been outstanding, my personal medication would probably cost me around £40 -£50 quid every 4 – 6 weeks.

            due to our SNP government it costs me nought.

            At least you have admitted “public spending” is higher in Scotland under an SNP government than the rest of the UK.

          4. Hello Duncan – I cannot but agree with you that waiting time for mental health treatment is appalling in the UK but unfortunately it always has been. Mental health has always been at the bottom of the funding pile and will continue to be as it fails to make headway in public perceptions due to outmoded notions of shame, stigma and ignorance.

            With devolution it is always likely that people will compare provision of the same service in Scotland to that in Wales, England and Northern Ireland. This would be normal in any service in order to spread best practice around the country. However, that doesn’t seem to happen. The truth is that the NHS it is better up here than in England and you might say that funding in Scotland for public services is higher than in England but this fails to pinpoint the extent of the problem down south.

            The nut of the reason for NHSE’s problems are due to the constant changes to the structures of the NHS which have had negative effects on how money reaches delivery.

            The creation of NHS Foundation Trusts for example made them no longer accountable to the Secretary of State for Health but to a board of governors. They were able to set their own salaries which are often big and set their own terms and conditions which are often generous. They also work with the private sector for the benefit of private patients. It is a bad system imposed for ideological reasons not health.

            Then there was the controversial creation of Commissioning Support Units which have had their remit changed a couple of times since they were first set up. Presently, services have to be bought from a list of preferred providers that is dominated by private, multinational companies. This raises a number of issues including conflicts of interest as provider might also be in control of the budgets that pay for services. And the private companies as providers need to derive a profit for the benefit of their shareholders.

            Worst of all though was the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 where all contracts worth over £615,000 a year have to be put out to competitive tender. ASs recently as September NHSE has requested that Section 75 be removed and end compulsory competitive tendering. This is only a snapshot of the chaos that is NHSE but the cost of this is the loss of money as it cascades down the strata of bureaucracy into the pockets of management and bleeds out into profits of private providers and private financial advisors such PWC.

            It is a mess down there because they spend badly. If we do have more to spend up here then at least we spend it more wisely.

          5. Hi Duncan. Please don’t merely assume that higher public spending per head in Scotland should result in better outcomes than lower spending per head in England. Scotland is far less densely populated than England with large parts that have small populations quite distant from major population centres – it costs much more to provide the same level of service in these circumstances. However, considering that the relative extra spending in Scotland is being gradually eroded by the Barnett squeeze, the fact that in recent years the performance of the Scottish Health Service has been gradually moving ahead of south of the border suggests that this situation is down to better management/policies/priorities rather than just having more spending per head.

      2. And yet its funding is fully reliant on the limitations of our Barnett derived funding relative to our full fiscal potential. You would have Scotland entire public services funded via the limited rebate we receive from Westminster by denying us our full fiscal potential and have the gall to complain about a lack of spending.
        Just another example of why the corruption of Labour will keep failing to gather support.
        You cant hide behind the Daily Record or Mirror news group anymore. People see you for who you really are.

      3. Under the current constitutional settlement nothing is “fully devolved”. Westminster holds the power to take back any devolved powers whenever it wishes. As is demonstrated by the “power grab” associated with Brexit and PM Johnson’s recent threat to take back the NHS into Westminster’s control (thanks in no small part to unionists like yourself scaremongering on it for narrow party political interests).

        It is disingenuous to imply that the Westminster controlled NHS has no effect on NHSs. The Scottish NHS (NHSs) is labouring under the UK framework (again, thanks in no small part to unionists like yourself convincing enough people in Scotland to vote NO in 2014). The professional bodies and the basic terms and conditions staff work under are controlled at a UK level under the current constitutional arrangement. The Scottish Govt can “move the deckchairs”, resist privatisation and footer with targets and pay but, in the end, it is all still part of the overall UK public healthcare system. That, despite this, the NHSs still outperforms the rest of the UK by quite some margin should be a cause for celebration …. but not, it seems, in unionist circles.

        NHSs is not without its problems, as I have stated on this website before, but to claim it is “failing” because of the SNP is simply untrue. It is performing well above itself because of Scottish govt policy and despite the dead hand of Westminster policy and austerity weighing heavily on it.

        If you want that dead hand lifted, then only independence can achieve that. While we are in this hopelessly unequal union, Westminster will always be a limiting factor in all that Scotland can achieve, not just in health care.

  8. Watching Nicola in George Square live on BBC News cant complain about the coverage this time .Haha good speech .
    Debate Jeremy Boris any time anywhere but can I point out you don’t learn anything in these tv debates and the public are fed up with hours and hours of endless politics on TV.
    Better of out door knocking and doing head to head with an experienced no prisoners journalist
    BBC said counter demonstration idiots .
    She said Glasgow is her home now and it is bet that came as a shock to the folks down Ayrshire way haha.
    A lot of what she said is Labour policy
    On The day Labour launched its election manifesto the BBC Papers reviewers slammed us for a hard left manifesto .
    A lot of the policies they attacked are already in force in Scotland Wales Northern Ireland .
    Trump phoning Nigel coincidence right .
    Asda workers are being treated terribly by their employer can I say if Asda do this don’t shop there or online .
    Today I saw a revue of the final episode of Blackadder when they were all killed WW1 it was called the best ending ever to a British comedy it was shown just before Armistice day that year very moving I still remember it.

  9. BBC News usual useless row over numbers organizers say 20 thousand cops 10 thousand
    Nicola will ask for section 30 before Christmas ref next year

  10. Have seen some comments that BBC showed Nicolas George square speech but no crowd they did but then showed her being interviewed amongst the crowd I saw it again on the BBC Monday

  11. The BBC somehow manage to report on direct action in a whole host of countries–marches, crowds, street activism etc—-yet somehow Scotland eludes them–astonishing news management.

    There is also a big fuss about Russian interference in democracy.
    Again, Scottish experience ignored. In the 2014 referendum, David Cameron used the UK Embassy staff (as reported by the Scotsman/Gurdian at the time) to implore foreign leaders to big up the Union and bad mouth independence. Putin declined(Crimea on his mind?). Only Obama and Rajoy made negative speeches, and the media was informed Obama was not impressed with being press-ganged into undiplomatic territory.
    This should have been a huge story, and I have wondered if a D-notice was issued—-or perhaps Scottish journalism is actually dead. BBC Scotland certainly give that impression.

  12. Gavin I think a part of the problem is 24 hr news and saying some politician tweeted instead of interviewing
    Its not just the BBC Sky and ITN get away with it .
    BBC Scotland cover FMQS live no other station does it .
    And next year BBC are closing Red Button News and sport in order to upgrade web and web services .

    1. Context, David. It’s part of basic journalism–what we pay for with our BBC licence fee.
      How can someone like David Brewer, on a BBC program, discuss street protests, crowds marching, direct action in a dozen countries, but not mention Scotland where tens of thousands of people have been parading through our streets for years now? How does that omission reflect any normal journalistic ethic?

      Cameron asks foreign leaders to interfere with a referendum in Scotland ( on his side, obviously). How is that different from Russia interfering in Trumps election, or in the report Boris has sat on about Russian intervening in the Brexit referendum?
      Why aren’t Scottish journalists jumping all over this?
      A “D” notice?

  13. Thank you for your comment Gavin
    Is it not Gordon Brewer haha but I get the point
    The Obama intervention in 14 was just daft on Camerons part I was suspicious of it right from the start .
    Correct again on no different on interference in the USA election .
    Except we know Obama was put up to it .
    On the day of the Ayr march Richard Leonard and Rebecca Long Bailey were at a major Labour event in Motherwell .No press coverage on tv news .
    National mentioned it on the Monday
    I phoned STV was told Saturday news bulletins short staff weekend leave .
    Its politics and Saturdays is sport .
    The suppressed report Times say they have spoken to sources who have read it and it concerns Russian Billionaires with connections to Labour and Tory figures .
    And correct Journalists should be on this .
    When Farage Boris and any other Leader makes statements why not check it out and if not true call them out .
    BBC Now are saying Tories Starmer video was a windup but no one would have known if it had not been spotted .
    Social media BBC say Lib Dems have over 400 targeted very expensive adverts running .
    Other parties about 20 each .
    BBC say Labour way in front on Twitter use .
    Some day we will need to investigate social media .

  14. All those Brexit promises after the election why not a special election show was it true

    1. And Boris comes to Scotland on a flying visit, but he is kept apart from the public—us. Why is that?

      It was the same with Theresa May—-don’t Tory leaders like us Scots?

      But the media give him big licks and top billing. If he cannot be bothered with real Scots, then the media should blank his visit.

  15. Boris says we should be “humbly thanking the super-rich”.

    He can do that himself, during his Cabinet meetings.

  16. Thankyou for your comments Gavin
    Correct flying visit to us photy with Tory MP then away to Northern Ireland for 10 mins .
    Boris and his Humble Rich Cabinet pals no idea how we live .
    Maggie never understood us either its all just photo opportunities I wish the media would not cooperate .in those stunts .
    BBC Friday Afternoon live interviewer had a car crash interview with Steven Gethings in Dundee got location wrong slip of the tongue then she challenged him on SNP plans she got it wrong as he pointed out .
    The perils of live telly .

    1. David, have a scan at Craig Murrays blog. Latest is about the air-time given to ex-Labour MP (now a Tory envoy to Israel) Ian Austen by the BEEB to bad mouth Corbyn during an election( and the lack of airtime given to others to refute him).
      I have thought the BBC has veered heavily to the Tories, after David Cameron threatened to shut it down as a public service broadcaster during the 2015 election. Cameron having surprisingly won, subsequently had a long meeting with the BEEB chairman. The BBC is still with us, but is now more Telegraph/Mail than Independent/Guardian. And very Anglo-centric.

      1. Gavin,
        The BBC has evolved into an out of control monster. It dictates our politics, and our culture, from childhood to my age, at a local, national and international level.
        Licence fees alone raise £4.5 billion per year.
        There is a tribunal on going, hearing a case where one presenter (Jeremy Vine) is paid 10 times more than a female colleague for doing the same job. And, (this is the point), the BBC are contesting the claim. They are fighting in the courts with millions of licence fee money to continue the practice where by they pay favoured male presenters gross amounts of money more then woman. Inequality within the BBC is institutionalised.
        I hate the BBC (and I dont use that verb often). It is a pervasive, dangerous undemoctratic, self appointed controller of our thoughts.
        I will give one example. There are many more. Antisemitism and the Labour Party. If the GE campaign continues as it is the accusations against Corbyn (and the LP) will be ramped up by the BBC to ensure he and Labour cannot win.
        What I dont understand is why Corbyn and McDonnell dont put ‘Privitisation of the BBC’ on the LP manifesto. The SNP should have done the same after the 2014 referendum. The only explanation I can think of is, fear of the monster’s backlash.
        The BBC is not a ‘public service’ broadcaster, that is BBC Speak. It is a State Broadcaster and the very idea of a ‘state owned broadcaster’ in a western democracy in the 21st century, where places on ‘The Board of Governers’ are government patronage appointments is an Orwellian obscenity.
        If any one has John McDonnells moby number I will be happy to call him myself and give him this election winner.

  17. Richard and Gavin thankyou for your comments I agree with both of you I would also add most of the press Sunday papers carrying unchallenged conservative costings of Labour plans .
    Sunday times has this nine Russian business people who gave money to the Tories are named in the intelligence report suppressed last week .
    Some are close to the Russian PM
    Alexander Temerko who has spoken about his friend Boris Johnson has also donated 1pt2 million to the Tories over the last 7 years
    There is also stuff about fake twitter accounts being used by Russian sources on the official accounts of Scottish politicians
    I notice not a lot of attention has been given to Britains credit rating being downgraded
    And the flooding disaster in Yorkshire they need help not politicians on election PR visits .
    Can I also say if we do go for Indy 2 just watch what happens most of the press is owned by companies and owners only interested in a right wing agenda and profit

  18. Labour, especially Scottish Labour, must look to a progressive alliance in order to defeat the Tories.
    The majority of SNP voters once voted Labour. Their values have not changed. However the Labour approach of anger and refusal to work with the SNP is childish.
    The “Bain principle” of never supporting a SNP vote is baffling. Telling voters that they are wrong does not win them back.
    The two party system is gone. Labour is fast approaching single figures in the Scottish polls and yet they stick with their old Tory BT buddies in councils up and down the country.

    The very fact that the Tories even THINK they can gain votes from Labour in Scotland should set alarms ringing.

    1. Hi Julia.

      The “Bain principle” doesn’t exist. We can demonstrate that by simply looking at all the SNP votes which Labour has supported in the last few years. It’s time to stop telling this fib.

      Speaking of fibs, where are these “councils up and down the country” in which Labour is in coalition with the Tories? Here’s a helpful list from COSLA:

      In reality, Labour currently works with the SNP in local government in Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Fife, South Ayrshire and Stirling.

      Instead of repeating old lies about parties not working together, why not acknowledge the reality of it actually happening, today, in “councils up and down the country”?

      I look forward to your reply.

      1. Probably too late to play the innocent, Dunc.
        Labour has painted itself into the Tory, Britnat, Rule Britania corner in the minds of most “casual, but interested” onlookers.
        Keir Hardie was big on Home Rule, then Labour lost interest for 90years, then Devolution ( though it looked more a ploy to diffuse the Indy vote), which split the party.
        Now? Who knows what Labour believes? Indy, Home Rule, devolution, direct Rule—-it depends what Labourite you talk to.
        All are reputable stances, but not as party policy.
        Same with Brexit—Labout at sixes and sevens.

        1. Irrelevant to the point being made, full of trite dismissal of other views, classic gavin.

          1. “O wid some power the giftie gie us,
            tae see ourselves as ithers see us”.

            It may be irrelevant or trite, or even classic gavin, but only trying to help.
            Labour didn’t get to where it is now by chance, or ill fortune. It took decades for Scottish Labour to destroy the faith their predecessors had built up.
            Denial wont get you back on the rails, but you HAVE the power to lead the way, Duncan—-if you want to!

          2. The “point at hand” being the Bain principle—which DID exist, and people heard about it, and perhaps they consider it Still exists.

            The “relevance” is the collapse of the Scottish Labour party, Duncan.
            Or maybe you think its thriving?
            When I was a member, it seemed invincible, now it struggles to find traction on any front. In my view it is a prisoner of its past. It fails to convince with a left (of centre)argument, because of Blair/Brown. It cannot articulate a centrist argument because of Benn/Corbyn. It fails because many of its members in and out of parliament are similarly conflicted as to its core ideology.
            Now the labour party having “wings”is no different from any other party, but few can identify with the modern Labour party, Duncan, because they don’t know what or who it is anymore, and it has members who are willing to articulate their opposition to the leadership, on many fronts, to a gleeful media. Sorry to be trite.

  19. Brexit are not standing in any Conservative held seats at the General election .
    So no need for them to be on all those election debates or on tv news except for Nigel to explain why the deal Boris struck was worse than PM Mays deal on Sunday is suddenly ok today Monday a week may be a long time in politics a day is even longer it seems.

    1. David. Boris is an old Bullingdon Boy. Farage never had a hope of bullying a bully.
      He was out of the Boris tent, pishing in. Now he is in the Boris tent, pishing out on the rest of us—-apologies to L.B.J.

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