mick watsonMick Watson responds to AR Brown’s contentious and blunt article from last week with an equally blunt riposte which challenges the bulk of Brown’s arguments but does agree that we in Scottish Labour need to sort ourselves out.


I have to tell you – I am really bloody annoyed.

My entire way of life, my entire political outlook and my principles are under concerted attack, seemingly all over the world. A rise in right-wing populism threatens a death of the left. Our reaction, to retreat into our comfort zone, threatens to make us irrelevant for generations. Even worse than that, attacks come not only from our enemies but also from our so-called friends.

We are not in a good place. Which brings me to the almost-completely-utter-tripe article posted on Labour Hame just before New Year, Sort yourselves out, please. I say “almost” because the article had some good points which I’ll come to later, but they were unfortunately masked by a load of over-privileged, logically inconsistent, hypocritical, poorly conceived garbage.

Where to begin?

AR Brown appears to think that because he is “trained in academic research” and “builds financial models” that his vote is somehow more important than everyone else’s. Here’s the thing AR – it isn’t. The Labour Party isn’t about you and never has been. The Labour Party is about protecting the worker and looking after the poorest in society. Your vote and your opinion is not worth more than the sick person on an NHS waiting list, the men in Glasgow with a life expectancy of 54, or any one of the thousands of people working in the defence and nuclear industries that would be devastated by independence. My message to you AR is this: recognise your privilege, and start voting for policies that benefit people less fortunate than yourself.

Where next? How about “progressives need to stand together”? It is a little odd to sit in your ivory tower and hurl bricks at someone below whilst shouting at them “I’m trying to help you”. But that’s what your article is, AR, and that’s what is happening throughout the UK. We see the SNP, the Lib Dems, the Greens and Plaid Cymru all shouting at Labour, telling us what to do – telling us to co-operate but then offering nothing in return. If this is a negotiation, telling the party you wish to negotiate with how crap they are isn’t really a good starting point.

We keep hearing about a “progressive alliance”. Well, bring it. Let’s see your offering. What are you bringing to the table other than attacks and bile? Oh, and by the way, the SNP are not progressive, so there’s that.

AR goes on to ask why no-one listens to him. He didn’t vote for Labour in 2015 and campaigned against us in 2014, but expects us to listen to him. Well, see above. We’ll listen to the people we were created to represent, thank you very much. The poor, the needy, the workers. Looking at this another way – imagine you have two friends. One deserts you at the first sign of trouble; the other sticks with you through thick and thin. Which one do you trust? Which one do you ask for advice?

Denmark is held up as an example. Cool. Denmark has one of the highest rates of VAT at 25%. There is local income tax somewhere between 22% and 27% (depending on municipality). That’s in addition to income tax itself (5-15%), a state tax (8-15%), health contribution tax (1%) and a land tax (1-3%). Are you going to the voters with that AR? Are you? Because good luck with that. I look forward to seeing it in the next independence white paper.

Next we are presented with the utterly-lunatic argument that Labour should have traded with the Tories in 2014 over support for Scotland staying in the UK – “we will give you Scotland if you give us x/y/z”. Laughable. There is no evidence this could have worked. Indeed the Tories have just committed the biggest act of self harm in history in order to protect their own stupid ideology – the idea they would have given up one iota of power in 2014 in exchange for Scotland is bizarre. And this also assumes Labour could have done this, even if something was on offer. Here’s the thing AR – it isn’t Labour that rejected independence, it’s Scotland. The Scottish people. Try not to forget that.

We are next asked to consider Ireland, the only country that has left the union, as an example. A country that nearly went bankrupt and needed a €64 billion EU bailout. A country with one of the lowest corporation taxes in the EU, and which broke EU rules to welcome Apple, an American company, to avoid tax. A country with an unemployment rate almost twice as high as the UK, and whose youth unemployment rate stands at 19%, a whole 6% higher than the UK. A country where 30% of the population live in “enforced deprivation”. Once again, if this is your model, go sell it. It might work. Ireland is a more realistic model for an indy Scotland than Denmark, but how about you at least be honest with voters about it?

Then we get “There will be no place for moderates”! Sure, write off hundreds of MPs and millions of voters. Again, check your goddamn privilege. I agree that the radical conservatives of the right need to be fought, but enemies of those conservatives include liberals, include the centre and the centre-left, and we will all need to work together, with the left, to defeat them. Call moderates enemies if you like, dismiss them if you like, but that’ll put you squarely in the losing camp. Well done you. Why not instead come with something to offer? A coalition? An alliance? On what terms? How can you bring Labour to the table if all you do is attack them? Think, FFS!

So where does AR get it right? Well he is right that Scottish Labour does need to sort itself out. Scottish voters have resoundingly rejected us and there is no sign that will change. 2014 was a massive mistake – we should have run our own, separate campaign. Campaigning with the Tories was a huge error and many voters feel betrayed. He is also right that we need to put clear water between Scottish Labour and the rest of the party. There are many ways to achieve this, but we need to choose one and go for it.

We have to admit that we are being ritually slaughtered by the SNP and that we simply do not, at present, have anyone of the quality and calibre of Sturgeon, Salmond and Black. Yes I am aware of their issues as people and as MPs/MSPs, but at present I would kill to have just one of them on our side. They are credible, they are charismatic, they are relentless, they are on-message, they are disciplined and (perhaps most importantly) they are on the TV.

The SNP drive home a message better than anyone I have ever seen. They “stand up for Scotland”, they “get the best deal for Scotland”, they “will not see Scotland dragged out of the EU against its will”. No-one is unsure about what they stand for. My friends in England are in awe of them. They are incredible politicians and we have no-one close to performing at that level. The SNP are The Terminator. “It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever.” We need our own Terminator. We need a response and currently we don’t have one.

The people of Scotland feel the establishment has ignored them for generations. Now all of a sudden Scottish politicians are going to 10 Downing Street, they are in Westminster, they are on the Andrew Marr show; they are demanding this and demanding that, they are shouting at the nasty Tories, they are “defending Scotland”, and people love it. Why would they not? Why weren’t Labour doing this? I’ve written before that it was Labour who delivered devolution but it was the SNP that delivered the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. Why wasn’t it us? We need to apologise for a massive missed opportunity, and then we need to tell Scotland how we will defend her interests as well as, or better than, the SNP.

Politics is not that hard. People want jobs. They want a good health service, and to know their kids will be educated well. They want good housing, good local services, and to know that they won’t be taxed too highly for the privilege. (The electorate hasn’t voted for tax increases for decades, and it isn’t about to start.) Most voters don’t recognise left or right; they vote for policies that will benefit them.

Will someone in Labour please talk about jobs? How will we bring jobs back to Scotland? Our core support, those communities would love to see factories re-opened, mines re-opened, manufacturing make a come-back. They will look at Trump promising to bring jobs back from Mexico and ask “why not here?”. SNP talk of “growing the economy”. What will we do? How do we invigorate the communities that used to vote for us?

With all that in mind, is our approach to fracking the right one? Fracking would create jobs and wealth. Isn’t that what Labour should be about? If not fracking, then what? How will we create jobs in Scotland? Who do we have working on economic policy? Do we even have a working group? SNP have the growth commission. What do we have?

AR Brown is catastrophically wrong about most things in his article, but he’s right that we need to sort ourselves out. We need to start fighting. Because at the minute the folk we’re trying to oppose don’t even have to try. We’ve not landed a blow for years, and we need to start. Soon it will be too late.

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133 thoughts on “Sorting ourselves out

  1. “Politics is not that hard. People want jobs. They want a good health service, and to know their kids will be educated well. They want good housing, good local services”.

    If politics is that simple in Scotland – then why is the SNP still in power where on every metric things have worsened under their tenure? No – cash, sloganeering, propaganda and, here’s the catch, blaming the Westminster (euphemism for English) works.

    I agree there is no-one in Scottish Labour that has the same clout, TV time or message but you’ll never grab back the ‘progressive cloak’ stolen from you by the SNP even though they’ve hung it up in the cloakroom and don’t use it.

    The new politics is Unionism -v- Nationalist Separatism. And Labour (Kezia Dugdale) have seen to be very limp wristed on takling that head on.

    1. The SNP are in power, IMO, as a protest vote. Whilst Labour was in power we did nothing to reinvigorate the communities that have voted for us for generations. Now they are angry and have turned to SNP who say they will look after Scotland’s interests. We need to grab that mantle back off them.

      1. Some protest vote. Including local authority, European Parliament, Westminster Parliament and Parliamentary elections, the SNP has won – with a solitary exception – every single national election since 2005.

        Some protest vote.

    2. Every metric?

      NHS budget highest ever.
      NHS performances highest ever.
      Education outcomes highest ever, incl passes:Pupil
      Attainment gap reduced in 2009-2012 and steady at level since 2012
      Crime at lowest level for 40+ years…

      Not to mention free tuition
      Free prescriptions
      Free ASC
      And so much more

      Look, this is part of your problem. You aren’t honest enough to recognise improved conditions for Scots voters. If you stopped with the lies, you might find voters might be prepared to listen.

      As for the other reply….’protest vote’ doesn’t fly unless you live with your head in the sand.

      Stop lying to voters, stop lying to yourselves, get rid of the deadwood and self entitlement in your elected politicians.

  2. Well said Mick Watson. I particularly liked when AR Brown suggested promoting Scotland as a ‘Crown Dependency’ would have stopped the nationalists in their tracks. Hm. Rule from Westminster with little or no say. People forget that for me that was a big part of the argument: at the moment we have a say in Westminster. With independence we’d lose it and all the rest of the access to trade, possible free movement, academic free movement, and on and on. So suggesting Crown dependency would be a good status is plain laughable.

    1. We have a very under representative say in Westminster. 5% with a population ratio of 8.4%. With Independence we wouldn’t need or want a say in what happens in Westminster we would have our say within our own Parliament like normal countries do.
      How the fuck would Scotland lose access to trade if it isn’t ruled from Westminster? Are you people genuinely this stupid?
      Being part of the UK we’re going to lose our free movement across the whole of Europe.

      1. Independence takes Scotland out of EU too. It would have in 2014 and it would now. No guarantee we would get back in because (i) Spain and (ii) deficit.

        Please don’t be a dick. Don’t call people stupid.

        1. Says who? If a successful Indyref result comes in before the end of the Brexit negotiations then Scotland will still be in the EU as an Independent State.
          Once again you stick with deceit and dishonesty and shy away from all reality.
          That’s being a dick.

          1. There never was any proof that Scotland would have been kicked out of the EU. Pretty obviously because that would have meant england being kicked out too.

            The UK is Scotland & England. When we become independent then the UK no longer exists. At which joint all joint memberships of organisations either belong to both countries or neither.

            David Cameron could have asked for a ruling on the matter but chose not to. Have a think why. Perhaps because he knew the truth?

        2. “Please don’t be a dick. Don’t call people stupid.” writes the man who used the 6th paragraph to make a fairly unpleasant personal attack on AR Brown.

          1. “Scotland as an Independent state would need to apply for EU membership” ?

            Then why was East Germany allowed to become a member of the EU when it merged with West Germany to create Germany.

            Scotland’s citizens also have been EU citizens for forty years, so what would be so hard about Scotland taking the member status of the current UK.

        3. The speed with which (for example) the former East Germany was incorporated into the Federal Republic and thus into the EEC suggests that your certainty in this is assumes no political will to incorporate a seceding Scotland.

          I know we hear a lot about Spanish objections but Maggie didn’t want German reunification and look how much her view counted there.

          It’s also possible that Scotland might never actually leave the EU.

          I’m not saying any scenario is likely or even possible, merely that everything will depend on the political climate if and when the matter arises.

  3. A fair and reasonable response to criticism of Labour, which in many ways has been way over the top in recent years.

    But there is one line that sends a chill down my spine: ‘the thousands of people working in the defence and nuclear industries that would be devastated by independence.’

    Do you think the manufacture of conventional and nuclear weapons that can and do kill and ruin millions of lives across the globe is somehow justified on the basis they create jobs?

    Do you think the fact the UK is the second biggest exporter of weapons in the world, that are often sold to dispotic regimes around the world and used against innocent civilians, is justified to keep people here employed?

    Do you think the testing of highly toxic and potentially cancerous depleted uranium at MOD facilities in Dumfries & Galloway and Sutherland is good for the public health of local communities and the local environment?

    When the US base was closed at the Holy Loch in the 1990s, the MOD were responsbile for clearing up the mess left by their US colleagues and over 2,500 tonnes of debris and waste had to be cleared from the bottom of the loch. Some of it was considerd too dangerous to be disturbed. What impact does this have on the local marine wildlife?

    What impact would nuclear waste and toxic chemicals that can leak from the submarines have if it gets into the food chain in the hundreds of miles of coastline around the West of Scotland? What untold damage is the British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre facility to test torpedoes in the Inner Hebrides having on the local marine wildife and local fishing industry?

    From the MOD’s reluctance to clear the dangerous radiation at Dalgety Bay recently, from the complete ruin of Gruinard Island polluted by anthrax when the MOD were testing for biological warfare, for decades hundreds of square miles of MOD owned land in Scotland has been used as a testing and dumping ground for the military.

    I don’t know if you live in the 30 mile radius near Coulport and Faslane, or near one of the main routes where the nuclear warheads are regularly transported past nearly half of Scotland’s population, that live in the central Scotland and strathclyde area.

    One accident, leak or terrorist attack could have devasting consequences for tens of thousands of people living in the West of Scotland.

    Scottish unionism might be obsessed by the ability of the UK to project its military might around the world but life itself is more important than jobs. If the worst case scenario happens, we won’t be here to worry about pay packets.

    1. Whats the answer then? The UK voted overwhelmingly to renew Trident; and we are signed up, as are many other countries, to spend 2% of GDP on defence. That’s happening. Either we want those jobs in Scotland or we don’t. If we don’t (and I am fine if that’s what we democratically decide) then what do we replace them with?

      1. The STUC and CND compiled detailed reports in 2007 and 2015 regarding the alternatives for employment in Scotland if Trident was cancelled. They are well worth a read http://www.stuc.org.uk/news/1155/stuc-launch-new-joint-report-trident

        Renewable technology is an obvious choice for highly skilled engineering work currently being invested into nuclear and conventional weapons.

        I personally believe the impact on local jobs and the economy in Scotland by defence expenditure is overplayed by the UK Government for political reasons.

        As the UK Government themselves argued during the independence referendum, the SNP’s defence plans for separate armed forces were difficult and expensive to achieve from scratch because the current UK military structure is so integrated across the UK. i.e careers in the military take people to Scotland from elsewhere in the UK and vice versa.

        The MOD constantly talk up the numbers of jobs their bases bring to Scotland but they never specify how many local people have actually been employed from those locations.

        It stands to reason that due to the highly technical and skilled jobs required to operate modern weapons systems, that the number of local people with the required skills will be limited and the MOD will have to transfer many of those personnel from other parts of the UK.

        So those jobs would not actually be lost in the first place, they would be transferred back again. If local people are employed directly from local labour markets it will mainly be in less skilled jobs like security, catering and domestic duties.

        The same goes for the argument about the impact on the local economy. Most bases of a reasonable size have subsidised ammenities on site for military personnel and their families like housing, supermarkets, bars, community centres (Faslane has its own state of the art gym and even a bowling alley) so the amount of money spent locally is less than other types of industries would bring.

        Many remote communities where the MOD operates in Scotland rely on tourism and leisure spending from visitors and having thousands of acres of restricted access rights actually harms not helps the local economy.

        According to the STUC report I referred to earlier 40,000 defence jobs have been lost in Scotland since 1990 and there has been very little in the way of UK Government assistance to mitigate the impact and our labour markets and economies across Scotland have been able to absorb this with an unemployment rate more or less in line with the UK average.

        The MOD claims around 20,000 jobs are directly employed in Scotland in both military and civilian jobs while another 40,000 jobs are defence related.

        60,000 jobs sounds like a lot but that is less than 2% of Scotland’s working age population.

        1. Except the MOD via a FOI request from CND told us there were only 512 jobs directly dependent on Trident in Scotland and more than half of these were contracting positions.
          UK Trident is doing more for Jobs in the USA than in Scotland.

          1. Ok. On the one hand we have a Scottish political party trying and concentrating specifically and “SUCCESSFULLY” to bring jobs directly into Scotland and only Scotland and on the other we have 3 English controlled London based political parties with branches in Scotland trying to bring jobs into the UK on a proportional basis.
            Which do you think will achieve more from a Scottish perspective? Answers with detailed explanations please because rhetorical bare faced lying is just getting old.

      2. We used to build passenger liners in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to smelt huge quantities of steel in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to deep mine coal in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to build cars in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to have a huge light casting industry in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to have a huge brickmaking industry in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to have a huge aluminium industry in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to build aircraft in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to build railway engines in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to build trucks in Scotland, we don’t any more.
        We used to make personal computers in Scotland, we don’t any more.


        If there is a reduction in the number of jobs at Faslane, we’ll deal with it.

        It’s sobering to realise that all these industries have gone in my lifetime, and I’m not *that* old.

        By the way, don’t confuse “large local employer” with “large employer of locals”. They aren’t always the same thing.

    2. I think quite interestingly this is what kills the left/labour. People consistently split over single issues

      – I can’t vote for Labour because of Iraq
      – I can’t vote for Labour after Brexit
      – I can’t vote for Labour because of support for Trident
      – I can’t vote for Labour because of independence
      – etc
      – etc

      Slowly but surely people drift away, split, join other parties over (admittedly large) single issues, which dilutes support and quite frankly hands power to the tories.

      Stay. Fight. Support. Change from within rather than leave, split and lose

      1. Change from within?

        How long have you being trying to change things from within Labour Mick? And from what to what?
        Would you change Labour based on what the people want from Labour or from what you want from Labour?

          1. Except you’ve shown in your article you don’t actually know what the people of Scotland want from Labour.
            AR tried to explain it to you and you trashed him for it.
            There is that wilful deceit and denial again.

          1. There’s at least part of the problem in a nutshell. The first kneejerk response to criticism is to say “the SNP’s worse.”
            And it’s a valid criticism. To much of the Scottish electorate we “are” too close to the Tories. That’s nothing to do with any other party, it’s our problem and we need to develop a narrative and actions to counter it.

            That narrative needs to be considerably better than just SNP bad, it needs to be a positive message about Labour.

          2. They are only on the opposite side of the political spectrum while Labour are sitting right next to them.

      2. The problem for Labour and I do sympathise with them, is that prior to devolution, Labour were the only political alternative in Scotland against the Tories in London. So they gained most of the anti-Tory votes here.

        However post-devolution has shifted the balance of power politically away from Westminster to Holyrood.

        Proportional representation has also damaged Labour because instead of being part of the broad spectrum of progressive views, alternative voices like the Greens and SSP (prior to imploding) get more of a chance from the voters.

        Short of abolishing Holyrood, I can’t see how Labour fix their predicament.

        Labour’s greatest achievement and arguably the greatest political achievement for ordinary people ever was the creation of the NHS and the welfare state.

        But they’ll need to come up with something pretty spectacular to top that.

        The main positive I guess you can take from my contribution is people like me, who are anti-Trident and opposed to British military power, is that we are in the minority.

          1. Labour hid the McCrone report and spent every single year afterwards claiming that North Sea oil was worthless and about to run out.

            Labour brought in the 40% rule which delivered unbridled Thatcherism on Scotland.

            Labour have nothing to be proud about in their entire history.

  4. How can you say defence jobs in nuclear can be good – or that fracking should commence for the sake of jobs – these are the most ridiculous things ever said – if faslane was turned into a place for conventional maritime say fishery protection boats etc that would make sense but jobs at any cost – horrendous. If this is the way you would like labour to go it is better for all that it dies off as it surely is doing.

    1. I don’t think I did say “jobs at any cost”. I am trying to get a conversation going about jobs. Scotland lost 100,000s of jobs in the 1980s. Many of those people are still alive and still vote. They wonder why Labour in the 90s, during 3 terms in power, didn’t bring jobs back to Scotland.

      If those above are not the answer, then what? We are the labour party – how can we not talk about jobs?

      1. Theres a simple reason that Labour were unable to bring jobs back to Scotland in the 90’s, and that is the infrastructure that should have been built during the oil boom years of the 70s and 80s wasn’t.

        This left the majority of Scotland structurally unable to support the increase in jobs and productivity that were required for Scotland to be sustainable beyond “oil”.

        The UK saw a post WW2 investment into infrastructure of a size never seen before in the UK, but for some reason it stopped at Edinburgh. The motorway network, stops at Edinburgh, rail electrification stops at Edinburgh. More investment happened during the 80s, financed by oil income – the Channel Tunnel, M20, M25, Docklands regeneration – but still three of the five main Scottish cities remained disconnected from the motorway network. When Peterhead and Fraserburgh could have been in positions to become important harbours serving the oil industry and beyond they were simply unable to grow properly. Road traffic having to come through Dundee, then over a 200 year old bridge and through the centre of Aberdeen. Rail, no better served – Beeching closed the lines serving these communities, and Aberdeen still has to struggle with a single track bottleneck at Montrose (which for some reason Willie Young seems to think is Dundees problem, even though the important traffic is coming north, not going south). Even now, Dundee sees the loss of a popular air service to Amsterdam after only a few months due to concerns abour Radar coverage of the local airspace, whilst milions is spent ensuring Southend airport can handle traffic for London.

        Why is this relevant to Labour? Well, until early 2014 i was a unionist Lib-Dem voter living in London. I’d moved there in 2006, fed up of an Aberdeen and Scotland that had been largely the same since i was born 30 years earlier.

        That started to change when i started to visit after the SNP came to power in 2007. I would drive home, and fields i’d driven by for years all of a sudden had warehouses on them, or housing developments. I’d drive into Aberdeen and notice that the old wasteland on the edge of the estate that i’d played on as a child finally had houses on it. The bypass was finally coming. When i’d arrive by plane, i noticed the new offices and hotels beside the airport, the expansion of the airport itself, and the new bus routes into and out of town. Coming by train or bus the old, decrepit railway and bus stations were finally going. These were signs of growth, and a sense of ambition that i hadn’t ever experienced before in Scotland. Was the growth all down the SNP? No, it wasn’t, but the change in mood was. It was quite intoxicating. So i moved home, and voted for independence.

        We need a proper, long term plan. We’ve suffered enough from Unionist short-termism. Its not good enough to say the UK single market benefits us for the next 5-10 years without looking at the opportunities the EU market of 400 million give us over the next 50-100 years. Its not good enough to simply accept decisions from Westminster which cripple our ability to grow, such as the recent attacks on renewables. You are in opposition to two governments, the SNP in Holyrood, and the Tories in Westminster. You are often fixated on the former as the latter gets a free pass. Frankly, Its not good enough to have a future vision for Scotland which has us as a mendicant nation of 5 million, relying on handouts from Westminster in exchange for providing somewhere for their rich to come and play Daniel Boone in our vastly under-utlilised open space.

        So – there it is – ambition. Thats what Labour needs to show to win back voters.

        Finally, fairly unique in the Western world, and exclusively amongst oil producing nations, Scotland saw a drop in population during the 70s/80s/90s which was only reversed by the wonderful gift that is European freedom of movement, and especially the expansion into Eastern Europe. Its this more than the SNP, or any policy that allowed the growth i’ve described earlier. Here was a way for Scotland to grow that couldn’t be stifled by the immigration policies of an English focused Westminster. Now it looks like we’re going to lose that, and Labour is aquiescent. Labour need to back the Scottish government plan for Europe, or at least push very hard for immigration policy to be devolved.

        To allow us to return to a situation which saw us lose 1% of our population every 10 years would be a criminal act, for which Labour could never be forgiven.

        TL;DR – the Union has left large parts of Scotland woefully equipped for the 21st century, and you need to give us a plan for how to change that.

  5. Thanks for your response Mick. For me the key quote is;

    “So where does AR get it right? Well he is right that Scottish Labour does need to sort itself out.”

    That’s pretty much all I was trying to say. Everything else was just teeing that message up and trying to convince readers that I’m neither utterly naive nor a complete idiot.

    As regards your other points – I’m a private citizen, so I have nothing to offer beyond my own opinions and one vote. Scottish Labour is entirely at liberty to reject the first and not seek the second.

    1. That’s a very generous response to an article that has nothing but self delusion pig ignorance and absolute deception holding it together.

  6. “My entire way of life, my entire political outlook and my principles are under concerted attack, seemingly all over the world. A rise in right-wing populism threatens a death of the left.”

    What left are you referring to? Labour are only slightly left of UKIP on par with the lesser Neo Conservatives so I suppose its all relative.

    “Our reaction, to retreat into our comfort zone”

    Your “Comfort zone” includes supporting warmongering, Trident renewal, Targeted Austerity, welfare cuts, benefit cuts, Tuition fees, prescription charges, tax increase, wage freezes, House of Lords expansion, House of Commons reduction. A far cry from the comfort zones of the vast majority of voters don’t you think?

    “The Labour Party is about protecting the worker and looking after the poorest in society.”

    I refer you to my list above.

     “or any one of the thousands of people working in the defence and nuclear industries that would be devastated by independence”

    Independence doesn’t seem to have any effect at all on these industries anywhere else in the world.

    “We see the SNP, the Lib Dems, the Greens and Plaid Cymru all shouting at Labour, telling us what to do”

    No you don’t. Why would they take the time to help you see where your going wrong when its to their advantage? Its the people across the whole of the UK who are shouting at you because you’re still not fucking inclined to listen. This article is a prime example of that willful ignorance.

    “by the way, the SNP are not progressive”

    The party that freezes taxes promotes the living wage free prescriptions free bridge tolls universal benefits abolishing the house of Lords is anti targeted austerity anti warmongering anti trident renewal anti Tory supports free tuition etc etc will never be progressive to those who oppose their ideals. So again its all relative eh?

    “We’ll listen to the people we were created to represent, thank you very much. The poor, the needy, the workers.”

    I refer you once again to my lists above. The willful delusion is strong in this one.

    “Denmark is held up as an example.”

    That will be because the vast majority of people in Denmark can actually afford the tax burden imposed on them due to their far superior standard of living unlike here in bankrupt 8 trillion in debt poverty stricken austerity driven UK of GB.

    ” it isn’t Labour that rejected independence, it’s Scotland. The Scottish people. Try not to forget that.”

    Is this the same Scottish people who are continually rejecting Labour in Scotland? Does this mean you have faith in their judgement after all?

    ” A country that nearly went bankrupt and needed a €64 billion EU bailout.”

    Wow I bet they wish they only had an 8 trillion growing national debt to deal with instead.

    “A country with an unemployment rate almost twice as high as the UK,”

    That’s only because the UK measures those who claim unemployment benefits as unemployed and not the actual real number which is over double the official figure. Deceit is also strong in this one.

    “They are credible, they are charismatic, they are relentless, they are on-message, they are disciplined and (perhaps most importantly) they are on the TV.”

    You forget the most important traits of all. They have real conviction purpose reason ambition credibility and trust. In other words they are very “PROGRESSIVE”.

    “The people of Scotland feel the establishment has ignored them for generations”

    No we are actually fully aware that the UK establishment has ignored us for generations there are no doubts or confusion about the issue.

    “they are demanding this and demanding that, they are shouting at the nasty Tories, they are “defending Scotland”, and people love it”

    Indeed everything that Labour has failed to do in the past and is continuing to fail to do today.

    ” but it was the SNP that delivered the most powerful devolved parliament in the world.”

    Except Hollyrood is nowhere near the most powerful devolved Parliament in the world.

    “With all that in mind, is our approach to fracking the right one? Fracking would create jobs and wealth”

    You’re having a fucking laugh? You still don’t get it do you? You’re still not listening! Fracking is more unpopular than fucking Trident!!

    Jesus H Christ and I thought Jimbob was the delusional Dwarf.

      1. You wont need a tinfoil hat when your ignorance is willful and deliberate. Every word in my above reply is Factual and you know it.

          1. If this is the case Mick, maybe you’d be kind enough to go through his response point by point, DEMONSTRATING how his comments are false. Should be easy enough eh?

          2. None of it is false. Labour are a party of liars who happily keep an entire country in slavery as long as they can line their own pockets.

            Facts are facts. Labour marched hand in hand with racists to keep Scotland under tory rule.

    1. Well said Mike.
      I read the “article” and thought my head would fall off with all the shaking it did. Any other time, or any other party, I would say “unbelievable” but sadly, this is the range of thinking that (Scottish Branch) Labour has to offer. Distorted facts on: Hollyrood, Ireland, Nuclear, Fracking and my favourite Denmark. Normally I would think it is a lot of distortion to get one persons head around, but you seem to have cut through the bull quite adequately.

  7. I have rarely read such a misguided load of rubbish. It encapsulates exactly why Labour is dead in Scotland. If anybody believes any of the stuff in Mick Watson’s political parody they need to see a doctor. By every reliable and measurable judgement in every area of public life in Scotland the SNP government has done better than previous Labour executives in Scotland and that is a fact . The fact that the Scottish press is trying daily to imply otherwise in a desperate last bid to save the union doesn’t change this fact. And the fact any person supporting Labour is blind to this rather explains Labour’s present plight. Entirely inconsistent positioning by the sorry Kezia Dugdale is not helpful when the only obvious alternative is on our screens yesterday apparently suggesting that our hospitals are killing infirm elderly people. On you go, Anas. Keep digging.

    1. Also, it’s worth pointing out that not only has the SNP government performed better than Labour administrations, it has done so almost entirely within a time of economic crisis and real term block grant cuts and 6 years of Tory government

      Labour on the other hand had year on year block grant increases (so flush were they that they could hand some back) and their own UK Labour government the entire time!

        1. I thought that we were discussing why people aren’t voting Labour, I’m pointing out why. When Labour had the opportunity, over generations of absolute power and far more prosperous times, they done nothing

          Your own comment above makes this very point “Whilst Labour was in power we did nothing to reinvigorate the communities that have voted for us for generations”

          It kind of begs the question, why do you support and promote them?

          1. Because they are the party whose policies and principles most align with my own. They stand for progressive politics, the transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor. Believe me, I personally benefit hugely from right and centre-right policies as implemented by the tories and the SNP (my council tax just went down, cheers SNP!). But I don’t want that. I want the poorest in society to be looked after, to have access to work and services.

  8. Those “men in Glasgow with a life expectancy of 54” have been represented by Labour politicians for their entire lives save for the last 18 months or so. What does this tell you about how well Labour have managed to improve their health, their wealth, their well-being? How effectively did Labour stand up for them? Were Labour elected by them to preserve the Union above all else, thereby ensuring lengthy periods of Conservative rule?

    This comprehensive 50-year long record of failing Scotland’s people is at the root of Labour’s recent electoral evisceration. It’s going to be a long way back, and the path should be constructive, pragmatic and distinctive policy-making designed for the betterment of Scotland, rather than the usual knee-jerk opposition to absolutely everything the SNP says or does.

    1. 10 years John. You mean 10 years. SNP in power for 10 years.

      However, even given your mistake, did you read my article? Because I kind of say this. Labour let Scotland down. That’s kind of my point. Did you not get that from the article?

      1. The SNP have never been in power in glasgow and only won glasgow in a general election 18 months ago. Just the facts.

  9. Mick Watson’s Rant. Pull the string and the automaton will spiel the irrational drosstalk of yet another parlous and quixotic labour branch office knight errant.
    ps. Faslane could be better used as a productive non military marine industrial area with no job losses. Look across the Clyde to Ferguson’s wee shipyard and it’s success.

  10. “The Labour Party is about protecting the worker and looking after the poorest in society”
    Stopped reading there, I couldn’t go on any more. Labour voted with the Tories to cut welfare and renew WMDs and they take positions in the House of Lords. At Westminster and Holyrood they consistently abstain or vote with the Tories to the detriment of the poorest in society.

    Like you, I used to believe Labour stood for the workers and the poor but the actions of Labour politicians from the last couple of decades speak very loudly otherwise. I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me.

      1. I dislike the fact that its a sham.
        For example when Labour brought in A minimum wage they ensured that the emphasis was on the minimum and ensured it didn’t come up to any standard that could be measured in terms of “Living” wage.
        I could take apart the entire 100 bullshit claims but frankly its too much of an effort.

        Rhetorical pish false claims and bare faced lying is why Labour is exactly where it deserves to be.

          1. I also have Labour corrupt Labour incompetent Labour dishonest Labour worthless Labour self serving Labour self absorbed Labour criminal Labour Tory Labour hypocritical Labour unaware Labour in denial and now Labour in Purgatory.
            What do you have except an open admission you’re supporting a party that’s fails your own expectations?

        1. Lets never leave out rendition for torture or establishment cover up of State sanctioned paedophilia cash for honours cash for questions cash for access and illegal arms deals.

      2. So does that mean I should ignore all the bad stuff now? I’m not denying they did some good, however the bad now outweighs the good.

        Also, points 1 and 6 were introduced Europe wide, not a Labour initiative.
        Point 11 – PFI bankrupting councils.
        Points 13 and 17 largely due to investment and campaigning by Scottish Greens and SNP.
        Point 18 – and ignored it. UK made cluster munitions being used in Yemen for example.
        Point 25 – won’t happen, too many labour lords on the gravy train.
        Point 28 – European legislation again.

        I’m bored now, just pick out the Labour exclusive ones and stop taking credit for others hard work.

  11. Mick Watson

    We are to believe that you are so upset at the rise of the right wing yet you believe it’s better to be ruled at least 50% of the time by right wing Tories with absolutely no interest in Scotland rather than Scotland becoming independent. Should an abused wife stay with her partner because she’d be financially worse off? A right wing government is being forced upon Scotland as we certainly didn’t vote for one

    I can not take anybody seriously who claims to be Labour through and through yet their argument for keeping Trident, a weapon of mass destruction, is to maintain the jobs of a few hundred or even thousand people. I’ve worked at both Faslane and Coulport where a relatively small percentage of people are directly involved in the nuclear weapons side of things. It’s mainly the facilities management of a naval base and armaments depot and the associated naval personel, both of which could have been maintained as conventional facilities in an independent Scotland

    To argue for Trident retention based upon maintaining jobs is one of those ludicrous statements Labour and the Unions keep making that cause the continual haemorrhaging of traditional Labour voters. Can you seriously not think of other ways, even in defence, that the Trident costs couldn’t create more jobs? Again your worry is based upon Tory/UK rule, if they close these bases they won’t give a damn about replacing the jobs

    Maybe you could also spell out to traditional Labour voters why, after the vow of almost Home Rule, practically a Federal UK touted by Brown and others in Labour, did they knock back every proposal to give Scotland more powers during the Smith Commission?

    Now I know you’re going to come back with the ‘we have to stick together, we have more in common with the man Blackburn etc, etc’. Well here’s news for you, England voted Tory and UKIP. Rather than trying to stick together and try and change there views, perhaps an independent Scotland could have shown them over time that a more equal, just, left of centre society was possible

    Labour’s own internal polling is at 15% in Scotland, maybe you could tell us why with such magnificent policies, this is the case?

    What ever way you cut it, the main argument against Scottish independence from both Con and Labour was that we were just too poor. If this was the main scare tactic used, in what way will there ever be an incentive from Westminster for Scotland’s situation to improve (if you believe their position on Scotland’s viability)? Most people are just sick of the celebrations and glee from Labour if a Scottish company fails, oil prices go down, or some government statistic is slightly worse than the week before, be it NHS, Police, Education or Transport. If you really want to divert the rest of the UK from it’s right wing thinking, how about pointing out to the rest of the UK, how a left of centre government in Scotland, with limited control of finances, is in most cases performing better than the rest of the UK in relation to the NHS, Policing, Education AND transport etc. With free elderly care, bus passes, prescriptions, no university fees, no bridge tolls, no bedroom tax. Need I go on

    At some point (you would think) Labour will realise that running down Scotland is running down Scotland’s people, some of whom would have been Labour voters

    1. I didn’t argue for Trident retention. I said it’s happening (it is – or do you deny it?). We need a response to it. If we want it fine, if not, we need to replace those jobs.

      There is no glee from Labour when Scotland companies fail. Not sure where you get this from.

      Do you want to try engaging with my points in Denmark and Ireland? What would you do about the deficit?

      1. I notice that you don’t answer my points

        Trident, we don’t want it in Scotland. Scotland voted for a significant majority of MPs and MSPs that are against renewing Trident. Surely you are aware of that

        What would YOU do about the deficit? How much difference do you believe the Scottish government can make to the UK deficit apportioned to Scotland?

        No glee from Labour, really?

        Why engage with you on the economic prosperity of Denmark or Ireland? Both Denmark and Ireland rank higher than the UK on just about every social indicator you care to mention. Again, is this why people are not voting Labour, they are too interested in Denmark and Ireland?

        1. The deficit currently is handled very nicely by the union – Scotland is able to spend more than it earns.

          What the union does not currently do is allow Scotland to grow its economy. That’s very bad and needs to change.

          Denmark – yes. But as I pointed out above this is paid for by large taxation. Fine. But that’s not the model of independence currently being sold. Why not have the courage to sell that model if you believe in it?

          Ireland – again, yes. Now. But only after huge amounts of pain, and still unemployment is high, debt is high, poverty is high. Again, if that’s the model, then go and sell that model of independence to the electorate.

          1. ‘The Union runs the deficit very nicely….Scotland is allowed to spend more than it earns.’….Oh look..another Labour person who doesn’t seem to realise the GERS figures are ..at best..purely an estimate of how Westminster (the raw data sets are supplied by UK Treasury) imagines an INDEPENDENT Scotland would fare.A totally pointless exercise .

      2. How will you achieve it ? You’re not in power, not likely to be in power anytime soon and your own MPs support Trident retention !!! It’s just all a load of rubbish !!

      3. What deficit? You surely cant be referring to the UK reserved deficit? Because the easy answer to getting rid of it is to end the UK and the actual cause of all the deficits within.

        Lets never forget that since 1999 the Scottish Governments have all balanced their budgets to the extent of underspending. In the case of Labour they simply handed back the underspend to their HQ in London to the tune in excess of 2 billion I believe while the present Scottish Government carries it over to allow further spending in Scotlands following budgets.

        So the way to get rid of Westminster imposed deficits and spending is to ditch Westminster.

        It aint rocket science or even clever economics. Its just a case of dealing with reality which in your case I suppose is rocket science.

          1. Scotland doesn’t get to spend what it earns it only gets to spend its budget so once again you deliberately chose to lie yer worthless wee arse off.
            Deliberately ignored the FACT that Scottish Governments balance their budgets every single year with underspends carried over.
            Any deficit is therefore Westminsters reserved spending and cannot be attributed or taken into consideration with regards to an Independent Scottish spending plan.
            Facts you and your cabal of unelectable uncle Tam lickspittles are all too familiar with.

      4. Iain MacWhirter reporting on labour delegates punching the air with delight as news of the collapse of HBoS reached their conference.

        Labour and their endless sneering about the Forth Road Bridge closure.

        Labour and their endless TWTPTS gloating as oil prices dropped.

        I realise that you, hothersall, scott arthur and the rest having hitched your star to a corpse have no other option but don’t tell the rest of us that we are wrong.

  12. “the men in Glasgow with a life expectancy of 54,”

    That would be the same Glasgow that was under Labour domination for decades.

    These 54 year olds would have been born, raised, educated, housed, and found work in a Labour dominated Glasgow, so all this talk of 10 years of SNP rule is neither here nor there.

    The Labour party failed these men…

  13. I didn’t argue for Trident retention. I said it’s happening (it is – or do you deny it?) and there’s the problem in a nutshell ! It’s basically just “shut up and eat your cereal.”

    1. No, I am establishing that fighting against Trident at UK level is pointless.

      If we (labour) want it out of Scotland then it needs to be democratically decided and then a plan implemented.

      1. I thought it already had been? Is Scottish Labour not officially against Trident? So where’s your plan?

      2. And “No, I am establishing that fighting against Trident at UK level is pointless.”

        Why is it pointless? Is it because as part of this unequal union, it doesn’t matter what Scotland thinks, stuff just happens to us because we only have 56MPs in a parliament of 650.

        Again “shut up and eat your cereal” !!!!

        Well we’re no gonnae shut up anymore !!!

      3. But don’t you understand that this is exactly Labour’s problem in Scotland? Scotland *has* expressed its democratic view but you’re basically saying to the very voters that we need to win back “tough, live with it”.

        Same with Brexit where once again Scotland has expressed its democratic view quite clearly. In 6 months we’ve gone from KD telling us that Labour in Scotland were committed to retaining Scotland’s place in the EU and the single market. Then, via a motion before the Scottish Parliament that called for “Scotland’s place in the single market to be fully protected”, and Lab abstaining we get to: “In truth, membership of the single market requires membership of the European Union. Scotland would need to be an independent country” according to Jackie Baillie,

        How much more democratic does it need to get to satisfy you?

        What’s basically happening is that we’re telling *the very voters we need to come back to us* that their votes are irrelevant.

        Is it any wonder that they don’t bother with us any more?

      4. I’ll try again, Last comment disappeared?

        It already has been decided. I thought Labour in Scotland voted against Trident ?

        So Where’s your plan ?

  14. This article has no chance or reinvigorating Scottish Labour, halting its decline or interesting the young.
    Its a farrago of “magic thinking” while slyly trying to pass the buck for decades of indolence, greed(not to mention actual corruption), indifference, right and left wing bullshitting, lying to the public and lobby fodder mentality among those who were elected( to Westminster, councils, Holyrood) under a Labour flag.
    The wee man who died at 54 in a city run by Labour for 60 years, in a country, dominated at every level, by Labour for 60 years is a testament to what Scottish Labour stands for.

    Trident—-all the design jobs, manufacturing jobs, all the refitting jobs and most of the techy maintainance—-all based in England. Excellent for them.
    Scotland got a Naval Base with some serving personnel, alongside cooks, cleaners and security guards. Pathetic for us.

  15. “Meanwhile the ‘non-progressive’ SNP gives out baby boxes, takes more in tax from higher earners, keeps further education free along with prescriptions, has a Welfare Fund for poorer families buying essentials, refuses to privatise water, extends childcare, gets 80 per cent of Scots on the living wage, ameliorates the Bedroom Tax, stands against nuclear weapons and nuclear power, reforms land ownership, works with the STUC against the Trades Union Bill, tackles climate change and takes on big business to curtail alcoholism. Why would a progressive party want to endorse that?”


  16. “Labour are only slightly left of UKIP”
    Come on. Nonsense. How can I argue with someone like this?”

    You clearly cant without bare face lying. Like I said every word a fact.

  17. “Mike this is simply not true. Scotland as an independent state would need to apply for EU membership.”

    And the indisputable evidence of this statement is where?

    Fact 1 Scotland as a Nation State is already in the EU.
    Fact 2 The UK is not a Nation State it is a Joint Parliamentary representation between Nation States just like the EU itself.
    Fact 3 The actual Nation States of the UK that are within the EU are Scotland England and Wales. NI is not actually within the UK itself it has a separate and unique treaty of Union with the UK Parliament.
    Fact 4 Scotland will be the exact same Nation and Territory in or out of the Parliamentary union with the Parliament of England Wales. All that changes is the Parliamentary authority for Scotland presently residing within Westminster will transfer to Hollyrood.
    Fact 5 There is no actual legislation within the EU to remove a Nation State member from the EU. At present the Nation State has to remove itself.

    Deliberate and wilful bare faced lying coupled with serious wilful self delusion has become the hallmark of every Labour apparatchik in Scotland because you have no convictions no legitimate purpose no legitimate intentions to serve Scotland or the people of Scotland in any way shape or form.
    At least Jim Bob is more honest when he stated Labour members should be doing more to serve Labour because really that’s all you worthless dross actually care about.
    Shouting your loyalty to the party to anybody who will listen and heed in the vain hope of gaining position and status within an ever decreasing sphere of opportunity and placement.

    Really sickening and utterly pathetic. All the more for its in your face transparency.

  18. Lots of what AR said didn’t make any sense. Sorry!

    Except it all made sense to everybody who isn’t deliberately being dishonest about the subject. Mick.

  19. oh dear and there was me thinking it was only Jim 0Neils blog that can get a good barney going. Trident try selling that argument to the GMB. if we ever got hit with any of those things it would be the end. then what would happen in the event of a chemical attack. when was the last time we had a civil defence exercise. in an emergency do we know what to do. Orkney Council has commissioned a report to examine in what circumstances they can say cheerio to London and Edinburgh. they want more power to be devolved to the island from Edinburgh. we will see what our political masters make of it if the report recommends it in mid Jan. the local elections are in May everyone involved are going to get told by the public stick to local issues. I see in the news if we get a soft Brexit indy 2 might be of the table. what will all you all make of that if true. will you go after the FM ask are we being conned was it only to shut us up at the conference. keep the new upstarts from the Labour Party quiet . stop Tommy Shepard . you can ask but there again if a nat member you cant do it in public. it might come as a shock to you all but to most people politics is not everything. in my local library in Irvine the unsung heroes of the world the library assistants help organize a number of activities. there are 20 computers they do the booking system. if you need to learn basic skills there is a buddy system. unpaid tutor volunteers. the job club helping people find people find work. knitting club for the elderly. the bus stop potholes etc. what you gonnae do son. its local issues that we will in the labour party will you guys

  20. The only way Labour in Scotland can survive is within an independent Scotland. Help Scotland regain its independence and Labour will once again be a powerful poiltical force in Scotland.

  21. “He didn’t vote for Labour in 2015 and campaigned against us in 2014”

    This is a revealing point – your sentence is the wrong way round. Labour took a position in 2014 that meant pro-independence members and supporters were now regarded by the Labour Party as ‘against us.’ Hardly a surprise that many of these pro-independence labour voters moved to the SNP in 2015.

    For as long as Labour prefers Scotland to be governed by the Tories on a UK basis than by a non-Tory alternative (possibly Labour) in an independent Scotland, it is difficult to see why these former supports will be attracted back.

  22. What an ungracious and petulant reply to an entirely reasonable article from A.R. Brown Mick! Didn’t you try and read that back to yourself before posting and realise how bad it makes you and the party you support look? Do you honestly think “othering” someone like A.R. Brown and the tens of thousands of ex Labour voters ands supporters he speak for will be convinced by your atavistic, tendentious, SNP=BAAAAD rant?

    I won’t bother deconstructing the minutiae of what passes for your argument, as many others above have already blown it out of the water. I will however take on one item you talk about; defence. (In the interests of full disclosure I have a PhD in International Relations specialising in Defence Procurement and European collaboration Mick…perhaps that allows you to write off my opinions as airily as you dismiss those of A.R.Brown from his ivory tower…?). You couldn’t be more misguided in your analysis relating to defence. Only the UK and Greece (for very different reasons) achieve the 2% NATO target, and the UK only does it by fudging the figures and including lots of expenditure which isn’t truly core defence expenditure, like armed forces pensions etc.

    An independent Scotland could make immediate savings (at a conservative estimate) of £1.5 billion in defence relative to our % share of the bloated UK defence budget, and STILL be more secure, have more defence jobs and more investment in shipbuilding and military related research and development than it does now. Just look at the defence expenditure, shipbuilding capabilities and jobs in countries like Denmark and Norway. Additionally, independence would almost certainly scupper Trident; the UK would no longer be able to afford it, justify it strategically or indeed afford it.

    If your approach to the defence and security aspects of the debate is symptomatic of Labour’s other policy alternatives Mick, it’s hardly surprising latest polls put you at 12%!

    You talk a good game about having a debate and talking to Scots whose support you have lost Mick, but your particularly ill-judged response, and your obvious lack of any real alternative speaks volumes. What’s the point in talking to people and a movement who are so deaf to reason.

  23. Thank goodness for the commenters.

    I wanted to say much but you guys nailed it for me . Labour Hame . i come hear to see if ANY labour member will heed what the people of Scotland are saying day in day out . You have blown it . Scots will never trust Labour again.

    Your party is a corpse rotting away and the council elections should go a long way to finally laying you to rest. I know many hard core labour supporters who now vote SNP and believe they , the members, can keep the party to the left of center which most Scots want .

    There is no chance of Labour changing and even if they did most of us will never give u a vote regardless. The Referendum showed your true colours and now. you are a tamer version of pink Tory’ .

    Along with the MSM and a labour run BBBC you should have had something to offer but in truth its always crumbs or rediculous suggestions like a federal UK .. hilarious . Like WM would give up its power to keep us Scots happy .

    Your not quite Tory but chase the Tory vote acting as defenders of the Union .. see where thats got you .. laughable third and more to follow

    I see Labour dead and buried as a force and never recovering . They lost the trust of its core voters and have ended up as a side show spouting SNP BAD non stop like a stuck record .

    I for 1 will never vote for them . Kezia, Anus and all the rejects keep popping up like a bad cold and still think they matter .. TRY LISTENING .. WE DONT WANT OR NEED YOU

  24. No where in Scotland has a life expectancy of 54 blindly linking to the wiki of the WHO for credence is intellectually dishonest. Yes there was an estimate made in 2004 that the life expectancy of men living in Calton (G40 2,) was 54. However this estimate was fundamentally flawed as it used a flawed model.
    I hope you update your article to reflect this and if you include reference links in future make sure they are connected to what you are talking about.

  25. I note remarks about the “deficit”. This of course is a deficit of a Scotland trapped in a virtually bust UK economy with a UK debt of £1.7 trillion (That is £1,700,000,000,000) and suggests to me that a 309 year union is pretty bad for Scotland if it has reduced a clever country, with huge natural resources to an economic basket case.

    Deficits of course are not debts and are notional and represent spending plans against estimated available funds. A change of plans or a change of funds changes the deficits which are voluntary (and are run by all countries except Norway – I wonder why).
    Our present publicised “deficit” which contains a number of guesses and unsupported assumptions can be very readily dismantled . It includes over £4.5 billion annually we pay towards interest on UK’s rising national debt, £3.5 billion on defence which is over twice the defence expenditure of Norway or Denmark and three times that of Ireland which has a fully integrated if small defence force of 12,000 while we have virtually no soldiers, no air force and no armed ships in our waters (the only maritime nation in this state – while wee Norway has 42 Norwegian built armed ships in its waters), our share of the House of Lords, and the House of Windsor and a multitude of other items of “national expenditure” such as London’s underground system and London’s sewerage system and of course the proposed High Speed rail link to the “north” (ha ha)., It bears no relationship whatsoever to any deficit an Independent Scotland may choose to have.

    Our “deficit” is a Tory invention and it is very dispiriting seeing folk who purport to be Labour trotting it out rather than attacking the Tories who fabricate it against Scotland. But then Labour.,the main movers for three quarters of a century in the SHRA, lost the plot when they abandoned that commitment in favour of helping Labour in England into government and have been on the slide in Scotland since Winnie Ewing took Hamilton off them in their Lanarkshire heartland in 1967. If it was not for the media they would be long dead in Scotland. In fact they may well be long dead in reality. I see LFI are revived. Such good news.

  26. Look at the glee with which you just cast aside the idea we could work towards a Danish model. Either with indy or not. Total depth of ambition.

    Get angry for jobs. Great. Can you get positive as well? Cheers.

    Don’t believe in independence. I’m not asking that of Labour. I would vote labour if they didn’t rub their hands at the prospect of telling us how poor we’d all be if Scotland decided like most countries to run our own affairs.

  27. I thought I should leave a comment on this article despite the large number already left. I often feel it’s pointless joining a thread so late on, but in this case I just had to say something.

    The first half of this article is effectively a case study in where Labour have gone so catastrophically wrong. It is full of arrogant assumptions (eg where is the evidence AR is “privileged”), shallow arguments (eg Denmark has chosen a ” high tax, high public service” model but the overall burden on the average citizen is about 48% compared to about 41% in the UK – Danes definitely get more bang for their buck) and willful deception if only by ommitting context (eg NHS Scotland may be missing some highly ambitious targets but it is still performing far better than the rest of the UK, especially Labour controlled Wales, and far better then when Labour controlled Holyrood).

    Add in the the dismissal of AR’s right to criticise a Labour party he supported for decades (including claiming he campaigned against Labour on 2014 when he actually campaigned for YES, not “against” a party), and you have many of the reasons for Labours meltdown in Scotland laid bare.

    The second half of the article is a more laudable analysis of Labour’s “challenges”. However, it only highlights the nigh impossible situation they are in. The ” Scottish card”, “YES card” and (despite Labour’s frankly risible claims) “left-wing card” are now firmly in the SNP’s hand. Labour’s recent rather pathetic move to try and wrest the “Union or death card” from the Tories is doomed to failure and will only alienate more potential voters while, ironically, bolstering the Tories.

    Ultimately, this article is effectively little more than a whiney suicide note for Scottish Labour. Sorry, but it is.

  28. You’ll have noticed none of the usual ‘labour hame’ devotees have shown up on this article or the A R Brown article.
    I suspect the truth hurts.

    1. Hello Davy,

      I think it’s a bit rich for you to accuse anyone of being a “labour hame devotee”. Pot, kettle black, springs to mind.

      Nevertheless, who can blame SNP followers for choosing Labour Hame over “dull as paint drying” nationalist Indy sites?

      Still, it was nice to be missed, heart warming even, however, please be rest assured Davy, there’s no need to worry, the Christmas holiday is over and we’re all now making our way back to our “labour hame”.

      Duncan has put away the decorations, Dr Scott has polished off the last of the mince pies and Jim O’Neill has packed away his Santa suit.

      It has to be said though…………..

      Why are you SNP followers so obsessed with a Scottish Labour Party forum?

      Is life in Nat Land so very dull that you all have to come on here for your kicks? I think that must be the case, as more and more of you are showing up on Labour Hame. You must find all this free thought and discussion very exciting, intoxicating and addictive.

      Labour Hame seems to be like crack cocaine for SNP followers, you just can’t get enough of it; can you?

        1. I will always have time for them and try to explain why I am still there. but I have to look at the language people like Mike use without naming anyone I phoned my local Irvine Beat FM Talkin radio show on Sunday and mentioned this amongst other things

  29. I see Mick has gone very quiet ! Lmao ! Typical Labour rubbish. Every argument they put up, easily and comprehensively debunked within no time at all.
    They know, as we know, the truth is they are British Nationalists and have no idea what it means to feel Scots.

    1. Mungo if you want British Nationalists go see UKIP. or the Brexiteers who call people like me remoaner . what party are you in and why if any. the local elections are coming up .the people are going to tell us all to concentrate on local issues. no matter how they vote they will tell us what they think of our leaders and pet policies. you wont like it if like me you are out trying to get people elected. me I love it

      1. I’m SNP David. Can you explain why Scottish Labour are not British Nationalists? Duncan’s reply to my question below is a perfect example of Scottish labours priorities. Britain first at all costs.
        I’m a little confused with the second part of your question, not sure what point you’re trying to make? But if you think the figtht for Scotland’s democracy is a “pet project” try telling that to every other Nation on earth!

  30. What a terrific article, the SNP followers really hate it. I have never seen them so wound up.

    Well done Mick. You’re a credit to the Scottish Labour Party.

    1. You’re both a credit to Labour in Scotland that’s whats wrong with Labour in Scotland.

  31. “Why are you SNP followers so obsessed with a Scottish Labour Party forum?”

    What is the point of preaching to the converted? Indy sites are full of people who already believe Scotland’s best interests lie in being independent. On Labour Hame, we can discuss things with those who have yet to be convinced.

    Its surely not that hard to understand.

    1. The answer is obvious: independence as a response to Brexit is like paraffin as a response to a house fire.

      1. Why do you have so little faith in your country’s ability to govern itself at least as successfully as Denmark, Austria, Finland, Iceland, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, etc, etc? Has the Union been so bad for Scotland that we have been effectively neutered? Are we just uniquely incapable of self government?

  32. The whole point of the question is that as of now we don’t know what the outcome of Brexit will be! The negotiations haven’t even begun! How can you say that Scotland leaving the U.K. and joining Europe would be out of the frying pan into the fire if you don’t know the terms of the UK withdrawal yet!
    So just to make clear, what I’d like you to answer is…. if the outcome of those Brexit negotiations make it clear that exit for Scotland would be catastrophic, clearly worse than if we remained in Europe, would you then back us leaving the UK and remaining in Europe?

    1. We know the terms of leaving the UK. The idea that the catastrophe of Brexit would be made better by adding the catastrophe of exiting the UK to it is utterly deluded.

  33. You’re not adding anything, it’s an either or? Anyway it’s clear you are unwilling to answer the question. I’ll not waste anymore time on it.

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