SNP’s independence rhetoric seeks to mask a litany of failures in government

kevin odonnellKevin O’Donnell analyses the shift in Scottish political culture since 2007, and says the SNP is hiding its woeful record behind its independence agenda.

 

In 2009, four political theorists released a pamphlet entitled Valence politics in Scotland: Towards an explanation of the 2007 election. In it, Johns, Mitchell, Denver and Pattie sought to analyse voting patterns in post devolution Scotland following the process of class de-alignment which had occurred in the latter half of the 20th century.

They argue that the 2007 Scottish Election Study showed that “modelling party choice at the individual level shows that key valence variables – performance evaluations, economic competence and party image – have strong and significant effects” on individuals as they decide how to cast their ballot. In other words, party image and perceived competence, not class, were now the important factors for Scottish voters.

Dr Peter Lynch of Stirling University would later adapt the valence theory to explain the SNP’s landslide win in 2011 arguing, again, that Salmond’s strong leadership and perceived competence (not to be mistaken for success) in government saw the SNP carried comfortably over the line and Salmond back into Bute House.

National identity, I would contend, also played a large part in the SNP’s two election victories. The 2009 pamphlet concluded that “the SNP’s strong showing amongst voters seeking further devolution but opposed to independence is due in large part to it’s credentials as a battler for Scottish interests”. This, too, applied to the 2011 election.

But the 2011-2016 parliament has been very different. The Scottish independence referendum has, I would argue, rendered the valence theory dead, or, at least, temporarily defunct. In post referendum Scotland, Yes voters vote SNP (in the main) and No voters (although not exclusively) tend to vote for one of the three main unionist parties. In an increasingly divided society one’s entrenched constitutional stance determines how one votes.

If competence in government explained the 2011 election, then it will fall far short of explaining the predictable result of the 2016 election. Instead, a yearning for Scottish independence amongst a substantial minority of the Scottish population will likely see another majority Nationalist government elected until 2021.

Nicola Sturgeon, ever the canny political operator, was able to ride a wave of popularity on the back of the referendum to 56 out of 59 seats at the General Election in 2015. The SNP’s vote share, amongst those who voted, was not 45% (what Yes Scotland achieved) but 50% of the ballots cast. This was achieved, largely, by Nicola Sturgeon promising to “stand up for Scotland” but re-assuring many No voters that “this election is not about independence”. The historical tranche of the Scottish electorate which is unionist but SNP voting duly obliged the First Minister in returning a wave of “tartan MPs”.

It is in this context that we arrive at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election. Nicola Sturgeon fired the starting gun on her campaign this week. She stated that education would be front and centre of her parties campaign alongside the living wage (which is curious as the SNP have repeatedly voted against a living wage for procurement contracts).

She also made a statement which may prove to be significant. A statement which was noticeably absent from her successful General Election campaign. Nicola Sturgeon said “I believe today as strongly as ever that independence is the best future for our country. That is why in the coming months we will also lead a renewed debate about the enduring principle of that case”.

Far from reaching out to pro devolutionists, this time the First Minister has put independence front and centre of the SNP’s 2016 campaign. Out with the valence and in with the constitutional politics. It is not unreasonable to ask why, at this stage, having secured a successful route to No voters’ trust in 2015, the First Minister would now turn to independence.

I would contend that it is a smokescreen. A smokescreen for the SNP’s increasing failure to run, competently, progressively or social democratically Scotland’s devolved institutions.

As we head towards the 2016 election, and since the SNP came to power, there has been a drop in the number of pupils from deprived backgrounds passing exams. Coupled with falling numeracy standards amongst this demographic, this is a damning verdict of 9 years of nationalist rule.

Between May and October 2015, nearly 4,000 patients waited more than four hours (the Scottish Government’s A&E target) at Scotland’s newest hospital. Even the Tories, yes, the Tories, in England have invested more in the NHS than the SNP have in Scotland.

Colleges are on their knees with up to 140,000 places having been cut since 2007. Make no mistake, such cuts disproportionately impact the poorest, and women, who seek to re-enter the workforce. Despite their rhetoric of universities, under the SNP, the poorest fifth of the populace who go on to attend university lags stubbornly behind the poorest fifth of English youngsters.

And of course Ms Sturgeon persists with a regressive council tax freeze whilst local authorities are forced to make savage cuts to services.

The SNP go into the 2016 election against the backdrop of a litany of failures in government for which the poorest in Scotland have paid the price. Suddenly it’s not hard to see why ramping up the independence rhetoric becomes attractive for the First Minister.

It falls to Scottish Labour to offer a progressive alternative whilst holding the SNP to account. Scotland deserves, indeed, needs, a strong opposition in the face of nationalist political hegemony. Kezia Dugdale is setting about doing both of these.

If the 2016 election was to be fought against the backdrop of voting patterns explained by valence politics then the SNP would struggle. Their failures are mounting. But constitutional and identity politics continues to reign supreme in Scotland and the SNP are riding that wave. Yet Scottish Labour still owes it to the most vulnerable Scots to focus on the bread and butter issues. The SNP have made it clear they will focus on independence. We must continue to make the case for strong public services and progressive centre-left policies.

Valence politics, for the time being, may be dead in Scotland. But constitutional politics, as Canada shows, cannot reign forever. At some point the focus will be on changing lives in the here and now and, when that times comes, Scottish Labour must be ready to step up to the plate and deliver.

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41 thoughts on “SNP’s independence rhetoric seeks to mask a litany of failures in government

  1. “She stated that education would be front and centre of her parties campaign”…recent ONS report states that Scotland has the best educated population in Europe

    which is curious as the SNP have repeatedly voted against a living wage for procurement contracts which was an ad hoc ammendment by Labour that stood on very shaky legal foundations and opened up local authorities to ruinous court battles

    Far from reaching out to pro devolutionists, this time the First Minister has put independence front and centre of the SNP’s 2016 campaign.…the SNP believe in independence…..such a shock!

    nearly 4,000 patients waited more than four hours (the Scottish Government’s A&E target) NHS Scotland waiting times May to oct fluctuated between 93.5% – 96% meaning that 76,000 were seen within time….NHS wales 84% (under Labour)England (95%)

    Even the Tories, yes, the Tories, in England have invested more in the NHS than the SNP have in Scotland. …..Spending per head Scotland (NHS) £1924 England NHS £1830….the SNP spend more per head and spent more in previous budgets to the increased level….but don’t let the truth get in the way

    Colleges are on their knees with up to 140,000 places having been cut since 2007 yes part time and liesure courses to concentrate funds on courses that give qualifications for jobs.

    And of course Ms Sturgeon persists with a regressive council tax freeze whilst local authorities are forced to make savage cuts to services. What the same coucil tax freeze Labour have said they would maintain?

    So we have the best educated population, the best funded NHS, Waiting times on par with the best of the UK (up from 88% under Labour). and a rationalisation of college funding due to budget squeezes from the UK…..whilst funding a brand new bridge… predicted to beon time and on budget…that Labour were told since the early 90’s they would need and fought tooth and nail to refuse to build….

    odd way to describe a litiany of failure…..if Labour had been even halfway competent they would not be in this mess

    1. You’ve literally zero chance of the author of this article or any other labour acolyte addressing your post,at least not sensibly anyway.

      Game,set and match to you sir..

  2. If I was to assess the SNP’s record over 8 years it would be fair to middling, maybe a 5 out of 10 at best.
    Education, standing still in terms of progress regarding young people from poorer backgrounds attainment.
    Health, no major disasters and really like the commitment to address long standing health problems smoking and alcohol, with tobacco promotion ban in retailers and minimum alcohol pricing
    Policing. Despite criticism of the new force, crime rates are still relatively low compared to historically.
    Where the SNP have come a cropper is their failure to face up to Scotland’s public finances in terms of Scotland’s deficit both as a whole and council funding (as seen by the loss of the referendum over economics).
    I’d love to see Labour really show guts and confront the issue at the Scottish elections in 3 areas:
    1) Commit to abolishing the Council Tax Freeze
    2) Commit to raising income tax when the new powers kick in
    3) Pledging the same commitment to tackling Scotland’s deficit in the public finances as the UK Labour party has

    This last point is where I think Labour is missing a real trick in Scotland. Being able to rely on higher public spending through Barnett is an easy get out and doesn’t do anything to make sure Scotland’s spending is under control and is playing its role in reducing the overall UK deficit. Raising taxes here and making sure spending is under control would show ambition and leadership that Labour can be a credible party in office once more. It’s no coincidence Labour’s popularity, credibility and stability peaked in the early years of the 2000s when the Blair and Brown achieved a number of budget surpluses.

    1. Drew

      “If I was to assess the SNP’s record over 8 years it would be fair to middling, maybe a 5 out of 10 at best.”

      Not if you compare it in relative terms to the Labour record in Government between 1999 and 2007. Then its off the charts. 10 out of 10 across the board.

      The only standard the SNP has to improve on is their own. They have already surpassed everybody elses.

      1. I think in fairness the previous Labour-Lib Dem administration at Holyrood was not too bad considering they had to set up a fledgling parliament. Off the top of my head the smoking ban in public places, anti-sectarian legislation, free personal care for the elderly and the first Land Reform Act were all pretty positive policies that are still benefiting people.

        The problem for both the SNP and Labour is they are both trapped in the referendum paradox. The SNP are too afraid to do anything radical in Scotland for fear of upsetting the middle classes. So they will play down the problems facing Scotland and try and ignore them. Labour are too afraid to make too many improvements in Scotland in case it strengthens the case for independence.

  3. “Kevin O’Donnell analyses the shift in Scottish political culture since 2007, and says the SNP is hiding its woeful record behind its independence agenda.”

    The NHS is better funded and working far more efficiently.
    Crime statistics are better than they have ever been.
    Our budget is always balanced.
    No public services privatised.
    No PFI burden increases.
    No Wars started with anybody.
    No tax increases.
    Tuition fees abolished.
    Bridge tolls abolished.
    Council tax frozen.
    Bedroom tax mitigated.
    Universal benefits reintroduced.
    Free prescriptions.
    More public housing available.
    More Scottish MPs who opposes Neo Conservatism than ever before.
    More Scottish MPS who serve Scotland and not an English run political party than ever before.
    More MPs run and controlled from Edinburgh not London than ever before.

    Not seeing the woeful from any perspective other than the Neo Conservative variety.

    Cue the need to bare face lie in answer.

    1. “No tax increases.
      Bridge tolls abolished.
      Council tax frozen.”

      Spoken like a true Conservative.

      Also this:
      “More Scottish MPS who serve Scotland and not an English run political party than ever before.”

      This means nothing, other than flag waving Nationalism.

      1. Since any tax and toll levied lies heaviest on the lower earners as a percentage of total income…..not very Tory at all

      2. Conservative is the ideology of high tax burden coupled with low wage income.

        More accurately targeted tax burden coupled with targeted low wage income.

        So your claim as usual is bullshit but standard for the Labour self deluded on this site.

        “More Scottish MPS who serve Scotland and not an English run political party than ever before.”

        This means nothing, other than flag waving Nationalism.”

        No it just means you’re another self deceitful person unable to put reality in front of agenda driven need.

    2. ‘More Scottish MPS who serve Scotland and not an English run political party than ever before.’

      We Scots sent 56 MPs to a parliament representing the interests of all the people of the UK with a mandate from their party to put the welfare and interests of a millionaire from Edinburgh or Glasgow before the welfare and interests of a poor child living in poverty in Newcastle or Cardiff. The child of a single parent in a council house in Liverpool doesn’t even merit equality of compassion from your celebrated SNP MPs because that child happens to have the ‘wrong’ national or sub-national status within the polity to warrant it. That’s what ‘Stronger for Scotland’ means in the context of a supra-national established democracy – i,e narrow sectionalism.

      Nationalism in the context of liberal democracy stands in direct opposition to social democracy. I want my MPs to be ‘Stronger for the poor’, ‘Stronger for the needy’ etc. Being stronger for a single group beyond the immediate constituents who have elected you on the basis of a classification system linked to anything but socio-economic need (be it race, religion, nationality or sub-nationality) lacks righteousness.

      1. Wow! The SNP must be really bad! Then again, none of your rant really stands up to much scrutiny. So maybe they’re not so bad after all.

      2. No Constituent democracy means exactly that. Constituent representation.

        Each MP represents a constituency or at least they should be. That’s there one and only priority unless they are also nominated for cabinet office then they have the added responsibility of Government.

        Its a real eye opener when you hear Labour MPs openly talking on TV about serving the party. They clearly see public service as nothing but well paid day job and the labour party as their employers.

        Kind of puts you off wanting to vote for them even before they open their mouths and behave as they do.

  4. “Dr Peter Lynch of Stirling University would later adapt the valence theory to explain the SNP’s landslide win in 2011 arguing, again, that Salmond’s strong leadership and perceived competence (not to be mistaken for success) in government saw the SNP carried comfortably over the line and Salmond back into Bute House.”

    That’s because he feels politically agenda driven not to admit the blatant in your face truth.

    Labour left the socialist socially democratic electorate of Scotland in favour of the Neo Conservative electorate of the SE of England leaving the SNP to pick up the pieces of Social Democracy Social compassion Social welfare and social conscience.

    Its not rocket science it isn’t even a mystery its a cold hard truth too many in labour cannot face or admit even to themselves.

  5. “The SNP go into the 2016 election against the backdrop of a litany of failures in government for which the poorest in Scotland have paid the price. Suddenly it’s not hard to see why ramping up the independence rhetoric becomes attractive for the First Minister.”

    For litany of failures read litany of opposition manufactured claims of irrelevance obscurity fables fantasies Fairy tales and fucking bullshit.

    We’re told the NHS is failing even though its record breaking in serving every department.

    We’re told our Police service is failing even when our crime statistics are better than they ever have been.

    We’re told our education system is failing even though our education system is still regarded as amongst the best in the world at every level.

    We’re told our Oil and gas industry has failed even though its not actually ours but Englands at present and there is no petrol rationing or shortage.

    We’re told our economy is failing even though we don’t actually have one in the normal sense of National economies.

    The only real failure we have experienced since 2007 is the failure to be served by decent opposition. An opposition so dire pathetic helpless and moronic it cant even make progress when allied with the entire UK media corps fighting its corner.

  6. Kevin if the SNP is as you state hiding behind a mask of rhetoric how come the majority of the folks of Scotland are predicted to vote at the next Scottish elections for another SNP majority government and furthermore it is predicted that the other parties are facing a wipeout at the hands of the SNP and with the Scottish Labour section would you believe it expected to be beaten into 3rd place by the Tories, so you see the mask has slipped from the Scottish Labour section careerists who have been sauced out by the canny folks of Scotland who will vote no more for them as a result the Scottish Labour section are finished and heading for extinction.

    1. You clearly either missed or didn’t understand this:

      “If the 2016 election was to be fought against the backdrop of voting patterns explained by valence politics then the SNP would struggle. Their failures are mounting. But constitutional and identity politics continues to reign supreme in Scotland and the SNP are riding that wave.”

      That’s why the SNP are predicted to win another majority in May.

      Your comment suggests you either didn’t read, or didn’t understand, anything this article says.

      1. “If the 2016 election was to be fought against the backdrop of voting patterns explained by valence politics then the SNP would struggle.

        So valence politics applied to Labour in 2003 with a reduced number of MPs, and applied in 2007 when they lost control to the SNP minority government, and again in 2011 when the SNP won an “impossible” majority.

        Now Valence politics is called the competence model..

        Since Labour have had a reduced share of the vore in every single Scottish Parliament election since its inception…what does that say to the perceived
        competence of labour?

        Since the SNP…who are far from perfect…. have managed to spend more per head on the NHS, have presided over record low crime statistics, and an education system that has flaws but is still reckoned to make Scots the best educated in Europe by the ONS…what does that say about their competence?

        Since Labour have announced poorly researched statistics, flawed arithmetic with APD, NHS stats etc. contradictions such as Glasgow City Council campaigning on maintaining the council tax freeze for 5 years as their no1 commitment in 2012, Jackie Bailie being non – committal and othe MSP condemning it…..What does that say to Labour’s competence?

        when a voter compares the two…. how does it look?

        Thats why the polls look rock solid and set against Labour…..we are not fools

      2. “If the 2016 election was to be fought against the backdrop of voting patterns explained by valence politics then the SNP would struggle. Their failures are mounting. But constitutional and identity politics continues to reign supreme in Scotland and the SNP are riding that wave.”

        “That’s why the SNP are predicted to win another majority in May.”

        That’s not a prediction nor a credible source of anything that’s a pathetic rant in full denial of the reality I explained earlier.

        “New” Labour is a failure. Always has been always will be.
        Under Blair during his term as leader it lost over 4 million voters.

        Its done nothing but hemorrhage voters since because it follows the ideology of Neo Conservatism which the majority of the Scottish electorate rejects.

        New Labour privatise, increase taxation, cut welfare, cut benefits, supports targeted austerity, PFI PPP, Warmonger, Waste money on WMDs, Betray, commit treason, Commit crimes, etc etc And we’re supposed to swallow “Valance politics”?

        Like I said there is no mystery no secret not even any confusion just bare faced lying self deceit self delusion coupled with open denial.

        labour are Tories the electorate in Scotland knows it and refuses to vote for it and it will continue to be that way until you are Tories no longer or you cease to exist as a political branch office of London Tory Labour in Scotland.

      3. Duncan if you are correct then put it this way the SNP have a position they want Independence the Tories have position to stay in the union the Scottish Labour section have no position if there is a Brexit and the majority of Scotlands folks voted to stay in EU what would Scottish Labour sections position be post Brexit on a IndyRef2?

  7. When Labour campaign on the promise to fund new policies on money that doesn’t exist because they refuse to endorse the policy that will deliver it you kind of get the impression that they are only going through the motions of campaigning and have already resigned themselves to the sewer via the toilet bowl.

  8. There is absolutely nothing in this article that says what Labour would do if they formed the govt at Holyrood. Absolutely nothing. It is all SNPbad drivel filled out with the kind of political wonkery you would expect to find in a student pamphlet but is meaningless to the general public (they seem to believe the SNP won because more people voted for them … they might be annoyed if they discover it was all a high falutin’ theory).

    So, despite all the patronising venom and ranting, we are still no closer to knowing what Labour would do in govt. All we know is that they strongly believe the SNP are poopy-pants and that nobody should vote for them … no doubt in the hope they will vote Labour instead … despite the lack of any clue as to what they would do.

    1. Good afternoon Mr Pony. Not sure if you noticed, but this article didn’t set out to say what Labour would do if they formed the government at Holyrood. So the fact that it didn’t say what Labour would do if they formed the government at Holyrood is not really something that can be validly criticised. If you want to know what Labour would do if they formed the government at Holyrood, you need to wait for the publication of the Scottish Labour manifesto. This site hosts articles by individuals expressing opinions. It does not host the Scottish Labour manifesto.

      Hope that clears things up!

      1. Nothing needed to be cleared up Mr Hothersall. I also have an opinion which is that Labour are long on moans and whinges concerning the SNP, but short on answers themselves.

        Fair, enough, none of the authors of these articles is duty bound to give them. However, it is also fair enough for posters to highlight the fact they have failed to do so. It doesn’t even have to be Labour Party policy; just what they themselves, as individuals, would like to see happen. But we are given no clue as to their preferences never mind the Labour Party’s.

        What you are effectively saying, in my opinion, is that nothing we read here from Labour politicians, candidates and activists can be held against them should Labour find themselves in office come May. That, should the reality of a Labour govt at Holyrood not live up to the “rhetoric” of Labour Hame, its all okay and not at all hypocritical or deceitful … and we should all just forget about it … please. How can we believe anything we read then?

        1. This is surreal.

          Labour Hame publishes opinion pieces. Last year we published three articles on the Named Persons scheme which all took different views. How on earth could they all be held up against an incoming Labour government? This week we’ve published pieces which flatly disagree on the subject of George Galloway.

          Once more for the hard of thinking: this site is not a repository for Labour policy, it is a platform for opinion and debate.

          1. What do you find so hard to understand Mr Hothersall?

            I haven’t questioned the different opinions of those Labour folk who contribute articles to this site. I fully respect that you publish differing views on the same subject.

            However,people will come to a site called “Labour Hame” and expect to get some kind of inkling as to what those in Scottish Labour think, believe and would like to see happen. Your authors only seem capable of slating the SNP and pointing to problems they perceive (or, more often, they would like others to believe exist). None offer any solutions.

            I’m not saying each author’s answers should be viewed as Labour policy. But surely it’s not to much to ask for viewers to expect some idea of how the author’s would address the problems they highlight.

            Opinion is not just about slagging off your opponents. It’s also about how you think the problems can be fixed. I, for one, would like to see some opinions on that. It would make a welcome change.

          2. I think you either haven’t read many of the articles published this week, or you aren’t being fair about them.

            Johann Lamont set out specific actions she would support to tackle older people’s isolation. Sean Morton set out four significant policy proposals to help reduce the harm caused by drugs. Simon Macfarlane called for apprenticeships to be extended to the arts, and Joanne McFadden argued for a Scandinavian tax model.

            And those are just from this week!

            You are guilty of precisely what you falsely accuse this site of doing – blindly slagging off your opponents.

          3. Mea culpa … Though not completely 🙂

            I grant you Sean Morton DID put forward specific things he would like to see done regarding drugs.

            However, Johanne Lamont would lead us to the edge of describing an action … but would then leave us hanging (bar one or two minor tweaks).

            Simon McFarlane’s article was little more than wooly, well meaning rhetoric … in my opinion.

            Joanne McFadden on the other hand (I hadn’t read her article) did give us a fine vision of a future tax system for Scotland … if only we had the powers and freedom to enact it … such as with independence 🙂

            So yes, you are right. I have been a little unfair. However, the anti-SNP rhetoric still dominates most articles overwhelmingly with any LabourGood stuff taking a distant back seat. Which is a good thing for folk like me who want to see the SNP do well in May … but bad for Labour with the SNP looking like victims of negative politiking at the hands of a party with no credible alternatives.

            All in my opinion of course 🙂

  9. The Brit Nat politicians and partisan media commentators have focused on three areas to criticize the Holyrood government.

    Police—yet in England the police have a dreadful record of shooting innocent people, some to death. Selling stories to the press. Curbing inquiries into the activities of the powerful. Being in cahoots with gangsters. “Fitting up” suspects. Just this week we heard how they conducted an inquiry into a missing person and her children—only to find their bodies in the garden of the house. Etc Etc.

    The NHS. Yet the NHS in England is up to its eyeballs in debt. Its junior doctors threatening strikes. Its moneys diverted to private profit, started by Labour. Endless reorganisations. The NHS in Wales is even worse, under Labour control.

    Education. Yet education in England suffers from a North/South divide on results. Its schools have largely left the control of elected councils( started on this route by Labour). Some schools are even outside the remit of ANY control.

    Holyrood government is not perfect by any manner of means, but it is substantially better than any other electoral jurisdiction in these Islands, if measured on the same parameters—-which is noticeable missing from all media coverage in Scotland.

  10. Having read that article I thought I was back in 2014 during the referendum, and getting the same old unionist cack being spouted out.

    That was supposed to be an “analyses” ??? it was just another repeat of SNPBAAAAD, nae wonder you the red tories heve nothing to offer Scotland. The quicker you disappear the better.

    1. You’re in the wrong place if you think the snpbaad meme holds any water here. It is the job of the opposition to hold the government to account. The fact that you take offence at that tells us about your own politics and credibility than those you seek to deride.

      1. Its not the job of the opposition to fail to hold the Government to account though which is exactly what they are doing by running with SNP BAD over everything they say and do.

      2. Well “Jim” lets start with the title of this article:

        “SNP’s independence retoric seeks to mask a litany of failures in government” mmm SNPBAD do you think ?

        And then its:

        Eduction – SNPBAD

        NHS – SNPBAD

        Collages – SNPBAD

        council tax freeze – SNPBAD

        Do I think “the snpbaad meme holds any water here”, I think the question should be “how could you not think this article is not SNPBAAD”. It screams SNPBAD.

        1. Davy the major flaw with the Scotttish Labour sections is their deep hatred and loathing of the SNP which is ingrained into their psych until they get over it and think straight they will continue to spout fourth a torrent of never ending SNP Bad Bad Bad.

  11. Scottish Labour appear to have made a bet that they can win votes back from the SNP by ignoring the constitutional question and focusing on what they call ‘bread and butter’ policies. Evidence suggests this is not going to be successful. For my entire adult life, British progressives have been overwhelmingly concerned with the constitution (I’m old enough to remember Charter 88). New Labour’s huge popularity in the late 90s was to a large extent a result of their commitment to things like devolution, independence of the Bank of England, the Human Rights Act. And even, (here’s a laugh), the idea that they would introduce PR for the House of Commons. Unfortunately, for them and us, New Labour ran out of constitutional steam by 2001, and it was downhill from there.

    All Labour have to offer nowadays is political tinkering. Trying to tweak the accepted rules of neo-conservative politics to slow down the growth of inequality slightly without annoying the establishment too much. Hence the criticism from more radical political figures of a lack of backbone. Indyref radicalised a large chunk of the Scottish electorate to the extent that tinkering is no longer a vote winner. If you don’t propose a radical constitutional reconfiguration to decentralise power within the UK, then there is little point in turning up for election. Pretty much every remotely creative Scottish adult, almost without exception (James MacMillan?) understands this, so it’s hard to see why the message isn’t getting through to Labour. Unless you really are not very clever.

    So here are the important questions. What constitutional settlement does Labour really believe in? Federalism? Unionism? Confederalsm? Have you really thought through the implications of mass higher education, where ordinary voters are at least as well educated as Labour candidates, and expect to be treated as such? And where they have access to the Internet thus allowing them to ignore the traditional MSM gatekeepers.

    1. Mark regarding constitutional matters Scottish Labour section does not know what it believes in the candidates for the Scottish elections are too busy backstabbing each other to get on the lists and are running about like headless chickens, a fellow I know in Fife asked a candidate if was he in support of Independence the candidate said yes the same candidate asked the same question two doors down by a friend of the first fellow the candidate said he was not in favour of Independence so what is going on here is that the candidate is sounding out the electorate and telling them porkie pies just to try and get elected that’s the level that the Scottish Labour section candidates are willing to stoup to get elected very sad indeed but I suppose when the polls predict the Tories beating the Scottish Labour Section into 3rd place then desperate times call for desperate measures hence the porkie pies.

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