IN the first of a two-part article, STUART TOOLEY encourages us to think about how we frame the independence debate.

George Lakoff, author of ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant”, has a theory on ‘framing’ which  is basically a way of shaping the debate in America. Essentially there are two main frames in American politics:

    1.  The Republican Frame – based on a strong paternal relationship; believes the world is a dangerous place; therefore aims to protect the family from a dangerous world, support the family in the dangerous world; teach children right from wrong; it is moral to pursue your own interests etc.
    2. The Democratic Frame – based on a nurturant parent family; gender neutral; based on empathy and responsibility; protection of children from bad things; a responsibility to make people happy etc

These two extended metaphors work very well as two frames for the main divisions in U.S. Politics. But the reason I have highlighted this is because I believe we now need to think about the main division in Scottish Politics – Scottish Independence – through frames. There are currently two frames for either side in the independence debate: the independence frame and the separation frame.

The independence frame is designed to make you think of a person in their late teens. Independence is a process that is inevitable. One day, when the time is right, everyone becomes independent of their parents, and begins to make their own way in the world. It is inherently positive. The opposite, dependence, stirs up negative connotations of reliance on others, a burden on the other person in the relationship. This is how the SNP would have us see Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK.

The separation frame is designed to make you think of a happily married couple. Separation is the result of the failure of the relationship. Relationships that work last a lifetime, are ‘until death do us part’.  Separation is inherently negative. The opposite, marriage, has positive connotations of a mutual loving relationships which benefits both parties. This is how Labour and the other unionist parties would have us see Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK.

So which is right? Well, neither of course – they are metaphors, haven’t you been listening?

Just to prove my point, how many times have Labour and the SNP used the words separation and independence on their websites?

Labour SNP
Independence 741 127
Separation 504 0

You will never find the SNP saying separation, when they could say independence. Labour are less disciplined, or don’t know that they are reinforcing the SNP’s frame every time they use the word independence. See for example this, on the edge of the Scottish Parliament election.

I’m not saying that this is a sure-fire science, but every time Labour use the word independence, they reinforce the inevitability of separation. Every time we use separation we reinforce a negative connotation, a process of failure, and a frame that increases the chance that Scotland and the rest of the UK remain married.

 Stuart Tooley is a member of the Labour Party in Edinburgh and works for a Labour MSP in the Scottish Parliament. 

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124 thoughts on “The dependence referendum?

  1. Well written article Stuart.
    Getting back to basics and away from some of the pathetic Seperatists comments that insults the Scottish people as much as the SNP.

  2. Why not just stop treating the Scottish people like fools and articulate a *positive* case for Scotland remaining in the Union?

  3. “Every time we use separation we reinforce a negative connotation, a process of failure”

    LOL. It worked a treat last May didn’t it. Keep that negativity coming !

  4. Ok Stuart I think I got that, so will the “separation” negative connotation’s increase or decrease under the “CON-LAB-LIBDEM coaliltion” referendum policy being promoted from Westminster, or is it to early to tell.

  5. So separation good, independence bad, or at least when used by a Labour person. At least I think that is what a read and I read it three times, but at the back of my mind I began to hear that old Danny Kaye song from the Court Jester, the one with the line “The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true” which you can watch here classic

  6. Nothing for a week on this site with all thats been happening and now this.
    Using seperation is negative and will rebound. The union was never a marriage, more of a corporate takeover.

  7. Once again we have the assumption that it is only the SNP who desire independence (yes I use the dreaded SNP word). I object to the continued official line that all Labour voters are in support of the Union – I am not and will vote for a Scottish nation.

  8. Wow how disappointing is this, all the raw politics and changing positions on the Scottish independence debate and this is the topic Labour hame choose to publish? You could have had Anas Sarwar explaining why in his view Labour are doing the right by backing the PM’s stance on the referendum conditions while at the same time publishing a piece by Henry McLeish (or members of the group forming to campaign for it) arguing in favour of Labour adopting a Devo max and how not only would it making defeating the forces of Independence or as you term it separation easier but also boost labour’s standing among both members of civic Scotland and the General voting public!

    Fair enough that would have been very brave and its understandable why you wouldn’t want to but failing that surely you should have written a piece about the issues of child poverty in Scotland and called on the SNP and Tories to tackle these and how a Labour Government in either Scotland or Edinburgh would tackle this issue, also try and make a point that this had been ignored because of the spat between the SNP and the Tories.

    Instead however we get this about the importance of people staying on message and calling it separation rather than independence, kind of seems a bit pathetic. For what it’s worth I think you’ve already lost this one as the term Scottish independence has been with us know for decades and is bedded in, hence why even Labour people use it more often than Separation. If you wanted to frame the between as Separation you should have started calling it that about 10 years ago as to try at the 11th hour like this just seems cumbersome and is way too obvious to a media savvy public. If I was in the Labour I would concentrate on trying to frame the term Independence/independent in the republic terms (highlight examples like Ireland and Greece etc) as the separation ship has well and truly sailed.

  9. “The opposite, dependence, stirs up negative connotations of reliance on others, a burden on the other person in the relationship. This is how the SNP would have us see Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK.”

    Until recently, a relationship of dependence and burden was exactly how the unionist parties and press chose to portray Scotland’s place in the UK, particularly in England, where this Big Lie was a soothing tonic to their own opressed people, and thus a vote-winner for them. Now they are scared by the success of their own long-running propaganda campaign. It was really the unionists who killed the union, just as it was neoliberal free-marketeers who discreditted deregulation and privatization.

    “Every time we use separation we reinforce a negative connotation, a process of failure”


  10. Let me get this straight; you are saying it is better to use negative language and focus on failure in the anti-independence campaign?

    Has this not been the general approach used in all previous cases where countries wished to divorce themselves from London rule? If so, what was the success rate for preventing the independence of these countries?

    Since the end of WWII alone, over 30 countries have ‘seperated’ from Britain. I think it’s only Scotland that’s left. If the negative ‘seperation’ strategy is similar to that used previously, maybe a different approach is required?

    1. The idea that Scotland is equivalent to a colony seems bizarre to me. Scots were empire builders alongside the English! It was us – the British – who built the empire, us who colonised a huge chunk of the world. Yet another way in which nationalist folk want to rewrite history to suit their agenda.

      1. Who attempted to colonize France? who raped,pillaged and destroyed Ireland? who attacked Scotland for hundreds of years? who colonized Wales? Who colonized much of he Caribbean? Actually who fought nearly everyone in Europe at one time or other for gain? all of this long before the union!

  11. I think what you’ve just done is convince yourself that calling supporters of independence “separatists” is not only justifiable but politically useful – I’m not quite convinced it’s all as simple as that. Let me re-frame. Leftist Politics has long been fed by the belief that people have a right to express their political and social aspirations: so women should have the vote, the franchise should be extended to 18year olds, and so on. Trusting in people to make their own decisions is a key element of participatory democracies. This perhaps fits the nurturent parent model rather better than the strict parent model, which no doubt would be the metaphor we’d choose for an authoritarian concept of democracy where the state knows best and makes decisions on our behalf. However, this latter concept isn’t far from the situation Scotland is in.

    We voted for Labour in the Westminster elections but got a Tory/Lib Dem administration which makes policy for Scotland that Scotland clearly doesn’t want. Our right to make decisions for ourself are suspended while parties we didn’t vote for make decisions on our behalf. This is the nature of our representative democracy, of course – we are, after all, a minority in the UK. It could be argued that that’s just how things are and we have to wait until voters in England vote Labour again before we can return to an agenda that is more in line with Scottish voters wishes. But why should we suspend our social and political aspirations? Why shouldn’t we work towards having a system in the UK that benefits Scotland and gives us the right to take responsibility for our own decisions and shape our own future?

    Branding those who support self-determination as “separatists” doesn’t really cut it. The movement towards greater democratic representation and political participation is something that Labour once supported. It is clear that 68% of those polled, fairly consistently, support greater powers for the Scottish Parliament. Currently, Labour have refused to engage with this section of public opinion, preferring their own more limited story of Scotland’s democratic environment. The SNP stand for change. They may stand for change too far but should they lose a referendum on independence they will come back with Devo-Max. If Labour cannot match that message of change (that metaphor of change, if you like), then they will remain behind the curve – just as they are currently falling in behind David Cameron because they have no dynamic of their own, no new story to motivate the electorate. Labour are about to go into a referendum campaign attacking the SNP, will probably win, but lose in the sense that they will not turn this into seats.

    A Strict Parent frame restricts the child’s involvement – clearly here the child is the voter. And there’s the problem. The electorate in Scotland are often treated as naughty children who don’t know when to behave. We are the unruly teenagers of the UK who will not toe the line and not do as we are told. These views can be seen regularly in the comments boards of the Independent, the Telegraph, the Guardian, and so on. They even appear in what passes for “Comment” in these and other newspapers. Labour would do well not to emulate them and to return to its position of showing faith in the electorate’s right to decide. Perhaps the party will even embrace the right of 16-17 yeard olds to vote. One day.

  12. Alternatively,the rest of us have bigger things to worry about such as jobs ,health etc.
    However to carry on your theme,you may find that ‘seperate’ comes back to bite you as the Scottish public (and lets face it I am a member of ) may conclude that you are going down a completely seperate route and the whole seperate issue is not in relation to Independence but the realignment of the Labour Party with the Tories.
    What is going to happen to this Labour Party if Scotland does become Independent ? Where are Labour leaning people going to place their vote based on the debacle of the last few days ?

  13. So the term “separation” should be avoided, because it’s negative. Makes sense.

  14. Interesting statistic, Stuart, which seems to beg a couple of questions.

    Is it really true that the Labour site uses the “S” or “I” word 10 times as often as the SNP? Is the subject becoming an obsession?

    Your association of “separation” with a happy marriage appears contradictory.
    I would have thought it was more likely to be considered where the partners had grown apart, perhaps one had become abusive or infatuated with a third party.
    Should Labour be emphasising reconciliation, a fresh start, rather than separation? The positive case for the Union?

  15. Deliberately framing the party narrative through negative divorce terms continually, may seem like the individuals delivering the message has something to hide. Many people know in divorce cases both parties try to hid assests. In my opinion, it would be more normal to say independence. Plus you risk switching off women voters as for many divorce can be the result of abuse.

    In addition, this type advertising and marketing strategy can fail. Insurance companies for example used to use doom marketing as a strategy but they don’t these days because many are so media savvy due to the rise of the internet. Fears can be expelled very quickly thus affecting the credibility of the individual or medium delivering the message. Fear, uncertainty and doubt marketing can damage the party long term as language signals can then mean that every time they think of separation thus negativity transfers to the Labour brand. Not good for a long term campaign. However, it would be hard to stop its use because it’s use by the party is frequent and coherent campaigning as mentioned above is not happening yet. Hopefully it will because their is time.

    The positive campaigning of the SNP is without a doubt a major advantage over Labour however the party must join the conversation through participating with credible messages via facts, figures and persuasive messages from people who are not starting with negativity. Thus voter starts to listen and relate to the message and sender thus communication decoding turns from awareness to trust.

    “but every time Labour use the word independence, they reinforce the inevitability of separation”

    In my opinion, if people used independence they would start the conversation on the same level as the SNP ie wanting to do good. They need people to believe just as Labour does. Entering at the same postive level means more of a chance that Labour are listened to, people don’t like change.

    Personally, I would like to see the party join the conversation in a positive manner through use of positive language what the party has to say has a better chance of being listened to.

  16. I don’t really like labour talking in terms of ‘separation’.
    It is like the SNP using the term the ‘dependance parties’
    It comes across as a childish and patronising to most Scots.

    We need approach the referendum in a responsible grown-up fashion, and simply argue for the benefits of the Union, Independence or Devolution.

    As soon as someone starts talking with transparently perjorative language, it just paints them as a bit of an extremist, and diminishes any point that is trying to be made.

  17. … or could it be every time Labour speakers use the negative term of “separation”, the “negative” effect is to associate the Labour person or party as being negative!

    As Mr Tooley admits, this is not a sure-fire science.

  18. Perhaps there is another way of framing the debate: Scottish Nationalists who believe that Scotland is a nation and should be a sovereign state, and British Nationalists who believe that Britain is the nation and should remain the sovereign state.

    If Unionists (Labour/Tories/ Lib Dems) want to refer to supporters of independence as ‘separatists’, they better not be surprised if they are referred to as ‘British Nationalists’.

  19. Why don’t you simply quote easily verifiable figures to frame the benefits of Scotland remaining in the Union.

    For instance you could list the number of children lifted out of poverty in Scotland within the timeframe of the last Westminster Labour Government.

    Or the figure of the national debt owned by Scotland, approximately 8-9% of the UK total and how it has looked during the last 20 years, with emphasis on the last Westminster Labour Government’s term.

    I’m not close enough to the facts, being an average voter, but the Labour Party should surely be in possession of the numbers to tell a positive story on these examples that will persuade ordinary Scots to continue to embrace the positive benefits of the Union and reject Independence.

  20. Well I hope Part 2 of this article contains something a little more positive. If this is the best that can be done then you are as well giving up now. Try just once articulating a positive case for the union. Either that or leave the debate entirely and leave it to the Tories. Fight alongside them with these tactics and all you do is
    1) lose
    2) be forever associated with them
    3) scupper any chance of a Labour Party as we know it playing any part in a post-independence Scotland

  21. There’s a YouGov poll out today, fieldwork 9th&10th January (before PMQs) which shows only 1/3rd of Scots want independence; & only 1/3rd of Brits don’t mind us going.

    So, despite it being dubbed ‘independence’ in the poll, rather than ‘separation’, we don’t want it. It would be very interesting to have a polling firm use ‘separation’ instead of ‘independence’ to see whether or not it makes a difference.

  22. …they better not be surprised if they are referred to as ‘British Nationalists’.
    No problem, it would be great if the ‘independence’ issue allowed us to reclaim that term from the BNP.

    It’s actually possible that it has been the negative connotations promulgated by that reprehensible bunch of dimwits which has got in the way of politicians, media & businesses promoting Britishness.

    Apparently that wretched Party is about to fall apart & may soon be dissolved. Then we can be British Nationalists & 🙂 about it.

  23. “So the term “separation” should be avoided, because it’s negative. Makes sense.”

    No, Just too extreme.
    I just cringe when I hear our MPs talking about ‘separatism’.

    In the real world, no-one talks about Separatists apart from third world dictators.
    It’s not influencing anyone other than the thickest voter, and to the average person it just sounds pretty childish and manipulative.

    There is a good argument for the union, without patronising voters.
    I don’t support full independence, but respect it is a reasonable viewpoint.

    Most Scots would be happy with a better version of devolution, within the UK, where we raise our own money.
    Labour should be campaigning for that in a positive way.

  24. Interesting that, according to your word usage stats, Labour discuss independence on their website (however it’s framed) TEN TIMES as often as the SNP.

    Perhaps you’re wee bit too obsessed with your opposition and need to get your own message in order.

    1. Stuart’s article discusses “framing” in a rather academic way and I suspect that his analysis of the two websites may miss some context. He may have counted the words “separation” and “independence” on the Labour and SNP websites, but were all instances related to the constitutional position of Scotland?

  25. So, still no positive words for retaining the union. So is the language of fear and smear to be retained?

    1. Given that the SNP are having internal discussions about language too – and have apparently banned the word “freedom” from referendum discussions – I think this sort of sniping is pretty hypocritical.

  26. The thing for me is this, there are many people in Scotland who want an independent Scotland – the exact numbers I don’t know: nobody does. I agree, however, that there is a substantial number of people whom support continuing with the Union. Neither view is reprehensible, neither are the domain of a lunatic fringe. One side aren’t anti-Scottish and the other side kilt wearing, porridge eating, bagpipe lament at night Bravehearts. They are the views of a group of people in Scotland.

    The “spectre” and “dream” of independence has been around since the Unions inception. It’s certainly been heightened and made more obvious since the advent of quick, communicative technology and the discovery of ‘that’ in the North Sea.

    The Scottish people are quite able to reject independence as they are to accept the continuation of the Union. Many Scots do not want independence; I accept that. Many will reject independence in the referendum. However, once the Labour party try to exchange the language of independence to “separatism” are they not just cheating themselves? They’re not trying to defeat independence any more; they’re trying to concoct another thing to defeat: separation (and then claim they’ve defeated independence). Separation and independence are not the same thing.

    I wouldn’t vote for separation from the rest of these Islands/Europe/World. But I will vote for being able to run our own affairs whilst participating with other nations. When your child leaves a family home they’re not separating from the rest of their family. Let’s debate whether that “child” can sustain itself or not.

    The Labour party should try to defeat the idea as it is seen in the public’s eyes otherwise they’re nullifying their ability to claim a victory.

    In response to one of the previous comments, I think talking about some of the language surrounding the independence debate is up for strategy. The language should be upto the society involved not spun for vested interests. I think society has accepted – for or against – that independence has and always will be the the terms of defeat and/or success.

  27. Duncan, “freedom” would be a perfectly acceptable word to use were it not for the Braveheart connotations – Shame that film was not a little more historically accurate but that’s Hollywood.
    “Separatists” is just wrong as has been well amplified in the posts above.

    This is what your researchers have come up with as a main thrust of your strategy? Is that it? Hopefully Part2 will reveal more of substance.

    We can and will win without “freedom” Do you really think you will win with “seperatists”? Nothing hypocritical at all, sorry.

    1. Yet again you seem to misunderstand what the articles on this site are – the views and ideas of individuals. This isn’t the result of party “research” and it certainly isn’t party “strategy”! It’s a good, worthwhile contribution to debate. Why do folk like yourself keep painting such articles as being policy, or official? There’s no justification for doing so.

      Discussions about language are not core, but they are useful and interesting, as the SNP’s discussions clearly have been for them, so criticising the focus on language does strike me as hypocritical.

      1. Why are so many comments removed if it is meant for such ?
        Let me point out in case anyone has missed it, Kenyon. Wright is about to steal the ground from beneath Labour.
        His claim that all parties signed the convention that Scotland has the sole right to define it’s constitutional direction and the third option will bbe proposed by a new civic group.
        Time to get involved or miss the bus again.

        1. I want Labour to champion further devolution. We are the party of devolution. But we do not need a referendum to do so, and we certainly do not need to hijack the referendum on independence for which the SNP has a clear electoral mandate. I agree with Nicola Sturgeon – it should be a yes/no question, the choice is independence or devolution.

  28. Am I really reading, not just a serious appraisal of the use of “separatist” language, but that it should be used more consistently?

    “Every time we use separation we reinforce a negative connotation, a process of failure, and a frame that increases the chance that Scotland and the rest of the UK remain married.”

    Reinforce a negative? Reinforce failure? To save the union? This is psychology from the Victorian era where punishment is seen as the cure to all ills. The direct physical manifestation of this lesson is that we should chastise married couples as failures in order to psychologically bully them into tolerating their miserable marriage? Or returning to the age of kids being told they are a failure in order to inspire and motivate them? Please tell me I have misunderstood the point!

    The most depressing thing about this article is what Labour seem to have done to what is quite clearly a passionate and intelligent individual. There is something clearly wrong when someone can be moulded to view the world through such a warped prism. That this article reflects a political tactic that courses through Labour like a vein, means I have nothing but sympathy for someone who has quite clearly been brainwashed by Labour to think in such terms.

    Im stunned.

    1. The idea that this has anything to do with Victorian values or miserable marriages is laughably wide of the mark. You are merely betraying the fact that you have bought so heavily into the “independence = good / dependence = bad” frame that the “mutual support = good / separation = bad” frame brings you out in virtual hives. They are both perfectly valid world views. The danger with nationalist rhetoric is that it instils in people like yourself the belief that only their world view is just, and all others are unjust.

      There is no more brainwashing or warping in the separation frame than there is in the dependence frame. Your hysteria really is your problem.

      1. Blimey. Fair enough Duncan.

        The Victorian values/marriage analogues were not meant literally, but rather examples of a long outdated mindset.

        Thanks for confirming the conclusion of the article were as I thought. I sincerely hope Stuart takes no personal offence at my comments.

      2. But hold on a minute – marriage was quite deliberately used as a metaphor

        Now hold n a minute – it’s perfecty valid

        “The separation frame is designed to make you think of a happily married couple. Separation is the result of the failure of the relationship. Relationships that work last a lifetime, are ‘until death do us part’. Separation is inherently negative. The opposite, marriage, has positive connotations of a mutual loving relationships which benefits both parties. This is how Labour and the other unionist parties would have us see Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK.”

        Fact is that happily married couples don’t separate. So if this is a frame to make us think of happily married couples separating then it doesn’t make any kind of sense. If it is designed to make us think that there are dangers and costs in separating – as I think it is becasue it ties in with lines like “Divorce is an expensive business” -and that the end of a marriage can only be seen as a failure then Baffiebox’s comments are perfectly valid.

  29. I don’t regard the discussions on this site as “official” but they do give a flavour of what Labour in Scotland are thinking.
    I merely pass the comment that I don’t think that Stuart Tooleys proposal is going to do you any good.
    It’s a long way from the core of my criticism, there is an awful lot more that I can say regarding Labour in Scotland’s record and announced intentions but 1) its probably been said better by others and 2) it is unlikely to pass moderation on here.

    Standing side by side with the Tories negates ANY criticism you have made re Tartan Tories over the years. Any moral high ground you may have tried to claim is immediately lost forever. I could say much more on this but it would descend into a rant. However Labour should be aware of just how badly they have shot themselves in the foot.

    1. Then why did you suggest this was “the main thrust of [Labour’s] strategy”? Unhelpful hyperbole.

      As for the idea that the unionist outlook of both Labour and the Tories, which has been established for decades, is suddenly a new and undermining issue for the Scottish Labour Party is frankly ridiculous, and you make yourself appear somewhat ludicrous by suggesting it. It seems that as the reality of the referendum gets nearer, the hysteria in the SNP becomes ever more hard to control. It will be their undoing, I think. The ultimate failure of the politics of nationalism.

  30. Duncan, your comments above to BaffieBox are themselves hysterical.

    “The danger with nationalist rhetoric is that it instils in people like yourself the belief that only their world view is just, and all others are unjust.”

    Swap “Labour” for “nationalist” in the sentence above and it illustrates perfectly your attitude and that of so many other Unionists. I had hoped that we could find common ground but the hysterical (there Ive used that owrd again) scurrying around trying to find a some nit to pick instead of looking at the big issues makes that very difficult indeed.

    1. I see no evidence for your suggested word swap. Nationalism instils zealotry far more than membership of a political party does.

      1. The fact that you see no evidence merely proves my point. Your second sentence is merely a statement which you no doubt sincerely believe but is highly contentious. Be a bit of a pointless debate, we all have better things to do and going by the type of responses Im seeing here is unlikely to change anyones point of view.
        The fact remains, on one hand the Labour Party will scream at the SNP for alleged failures in child poverty, youth unemployment etc etc and on the other hand you cosy up to those who are ultimately responsible for these evils. The people of Scotland will not forgive or forget this betrayal. Nor will it go unnoticed by the working class of the rest of the UK. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

        1. Again you’re trying to suggest we’re supporting every policy of the Tories, when we’re doing no such thing. Just like the Scottish people understood when SNP and Labour stood together on some issues but were diametrically opposed on others, the Scottish people are quite smart enough to see that Labour and the Tories might agree on the union but certainly disagree on many other issues. It is sad and a little desperate for you to try to paint the people of Scotland as being so easily misguided. They are far smarter than you suggest.

          1. …..and we are far smarter than you suggest Duncan! Can we have some more on your grasp of history?

      2. Joan McAlpine springs to mind….according to this charmer, and Nat MSP, if you’re not a Nat you’re “Anti-Scottish”. zealotry indeed…

        1. Lord Ffoulks Salmond as Il Duce
          Anne Moffat compared Salmond gaining power to the rise of the Nazis
          ian Davidson SNP are Neo-Facist

          Ms McAlpine was wrong to say that, but can we accept that far to many of our politicians fail to engage brain before opening their mouths

  31. An interesting article on linguistic manipulation after the fashion of Goebbels. I have edited some Wikipedia entries, which I am sure some readers will find as stupid as your crackpot ideas.
    1. Separation Day : a federal holiday in the United States
    2. Separatist Learning Plan: a pupil centred plan of study in Scotland
    3. Separatist Labour Party: a socialist political party in Britain established in 1893
    4. Scottish Wars of Separation: a series of military campaigns fought between the separatist Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

  32. For an article on marriage, couple, relationship, separation…

    Separation is still a married couple though! That is the what it means in such a context. You seem to suggest otherwise.

    Back to the drawing board.

  33. I don’t use the word. But if I do, I always put it in parentheses;


    to emphasise the weakness of the idea, the uncertainty of what is meant by it and the unlikelihood that it will ever happen.

  34. I’ll repudiate Joan McAlpines words when you will publicly disown Ian Davidson and all others who would equate the SNP with Nazis.

    After you Alex, I’m waiting.

    1. How bizarre. Surely you either disagree with her or you don’t? How can your opinion of her depend on what others think of someone else? Playground politics.

  35. Do you disagree with Ian Davidson?
    As it happens I regard those who are not in favour of independence as being anti-working class of Scotland. Those who support the Union may believe they are true Scots ans their opposition to independence is “saving Scots from themselves” but that is an arrogant attitude that is merely a smokescreen for protection of their own vested interests whether as a landowner or their own continued Parliamentary salaries and perks. Either way, in the final analysis they are no friends of the working-class of Scotland. I see little difference between Michael Forsyth, George Ffloulkes and Cameron’s father-in-law.

    1. Ian Davidson has been grotesquely smeared and misrepresented by the SNP since he won the support of electors in Govan and thereby overturned their totemic seat in ’92. His use of the phrase “neo-fascism” to describe some members of the SNP was misguided but he has been on the receiving end of far worse in less public situations so I understand why he said it. Nonetheless I disagree with his choice of words at that specific time.

      You are essentially saying that you agree with Joan McAlpine’s view that everyone who isn’t pro-independence is anti-Scottish. That is the very worst facet of nationalism, and your repetition of it genuinely disgusts me. Borders don’t protect the workers, they merely protect self-interest. Shame on you.

      1. Did I really, truly just hear someone in the modern-day Labour party refer, not ironically or anything, to “the workers”?

  36. If anyone is guilty of gross smears and misrepresentation it is Davidson himself. Nothing “totemic” about Govan, we have won and lost that seat several times. Given the boundary changes that have occurred it is a very different seat from that which was originally taken by Margo McDonald in the 70s. My disdain for Davidson stems from the fact that he epitomises the very worst aspects of the corrupt bullying cronyism endemic in Glasgow Labour. It has nothing to do with which particular seat he represents.

    A wee side bet Duncan. I have £20 that says Ian Davidson will not be the MP for Glasgow Govan following the next GE. Proceeds to the Govan playgroup or Pensioners club of the victors choice. You on?

  37. “Borders don’t protect the workers, they merely protect self-interest.

    Another comment of yours where I could substitute “Labour” for borders.

    And I stand by my assertion that anyone who does not support independence is perhaps unwittingly but effectively anti-working class of Scotland.
    Tell me, Duncan, should the referendum go the way of the Unionists and the Tories win the next GE in the UK – how do you see the prospects of the working-class of Scotland?

    1. The arrogance of your position is apparently not clear to you? Your choice alone is right for the working class. Everyone who disagrees is voting against the rights of the working class. Including the working class themselves. You are blinded by zealotry.

      1. OK Duncan, if you say so.

        Now, should the referendum go the way of the Unionists and the Tories win the next GE in the UK – how do you see the prospects of the working-class of Scotland?

        1. I’ll be fighting to ensure the Tories don’t win the next GE, because I care about people outside Scotland as well as inside. As I’ve said hundreds of times before, arguing for independence to keep the Tories out is short-sighted; it’s a political argument for a constitutional question. There would be all shades of political opinion in an independent Scotland too. You need a much better argument than that.

          1. Well I hope that works out better than last time the Scots were exhorted to vote Labour to keep the Tories out. You have a bit of a credibility gap there, Duncan. The last time Labour got in we had 13 wasted years of Tory-lite. How many anti-TU regulations were overturned? How many children were lifted out of poverty? How many Scots working class lads died in illegal foreign wars?
            “arguing for independence to keep the Tories out is short-sighted” How long-sighted do you want me to be? We have waited nearly 100 years for the working class of the rest of these islands to catch up with the aspirations of the Scots and where has it got us? Nowhere, still ruled by Tories in Westminster. But that’s all right according to you, merely a little short-term problem, the working class throughout the UK is shortly about to make its feelings known and all will be well. Well some of us are sick fed up waiting for your utopian ideals and we’ll make the best of whats possible in our lifetimes
            Of course there will be all shades of political opinion in an independent Scotland, but let’s deal with the realities, eh? The reality is we would be in an excellent position to enact proper change for the benefit of working-class Scots – the only people I really care about, the rest are quite capable of looking after themselves.
            We’d see action and real change. And that is what _really_ scares the Labour Party. They would be shown up for the self-serving failures they have been for the past 50 years.
            Your resolutions may be ideologically more pure than mine, Duncan, your grasp of Marxist theory may well be more secure than mine but I want results, not fancy resolutions at conference and I’m prepared to bet that more of the people of Scotland share my imperatives than yours.

          2. The last possibly only time the Labour parties Scottish MPs influenced the make up of the UK government was 1974 making them irrelevant in the overall mix.

          3. In UK elections like everyone in the Labour Party I’ll be fighting for Labour across the UK, not counting which parts of the country voted in which way. Why do nationalists always want to divide us? Why do they not understand that most folk don’t want to be divided?

  38. Referring back to the original proposition, that ‘seperation’ is used rather than ‘independence’, so as to load the concept with negative connatations, might I make a modest proposal to balance things up, and to give the Labour position a name. I suggest the Unionist position should be called ‘codependence’ (definition = Gives you guys a snappy name to work with, as well as an accurate descriptor.

  39. Spaeking about Scotland gaining independence ‘from’ the UK is, IMO, technically inaccurate. I believe it is, technically speaking, more accurate to say separation or division.

    Therefore, this need not be a conversation about the emotions created by using different terms. If Labour (or anybody else) wants to use separation or division, then perhaps they should check whether I am correct & then justifiably make use of the correct terms.

    If using the correct words also gives Team Britain an emotional advantage, that will be welcomed by me.

  40. I have made it clear that I object to the classification that all Labour voters are against independence or seperation (whichever makes you happy).
    I also object to history being neglected – The clearances were still taking place towards the end of the 19th. Century. The socialist routes of our party have been compromised by the move to the centre.
    I object to Trident and any WMD
    I detest the “hands off” approach by ALL parties to the City of London gamblers.
    I regret the loss of the 10% tax band.
    I am ashamed that the personal tax threshhold was not raised while we were in power.
    Iraq was wrong and in my view Lybia was no different.

    If we have to surrender these standards to win middle England I would rather retain the core values in the nation of Scotland.

    If we pursue traditional socialist values across the UK then count me back in.

    I will not sell my principals for a diluted policy.

  41. “In UK elections like everyone in the Labour Party I’ll be fighting for Labour across the UK, not counting which parts of the country voted in which way. Why do nationalists always want to divide us? Why do they not understand that most folk don’t want to be divided?”

    Duncan, you seem content to leave Scotland in a position where, despite the fact it has overwhelmingly voted for your preferred party, it is governed according to votes delivered by Tory voters in England. Your internationalism is wonderful in theory but in practice it means that Scottish voters have to set aside their political and social aspirations and accept the authority of the current democratic structure in the UK. You seem incredibly conservative for a radical internationalist. You seem to be saying that we cannot seek new forms of government, that pluralism in not an option, that if voters in England vote Tory then voters in Scotland who voted Labour must wait until such a time that voters in England are convinced by your superior argument and vote Labour again. Is that about right?

    If you supported devolution, why can’t you support further devolution? Are you content with the current political situation? How did devolution fit into your theory of class struggle? In my view, there are two main options available for the left in the UK – independence for Scotland (and perhaps federalism for what’s left of the UK, should they fight for it), or federalism for the UK as it stands. 68% of voters in Scotland want more powers for the Scottish Parliament. Labour are ignoring that sizeable section of public opinion. Go and tell them that they must endure Cameron’s government because you believe that we should all rise or fall together. Go and tell Scottish voters that they suffered the years of Thatcher and Major so that we could all be united in socialism. Yes, Labour denied us a parliament in the 70s, we all came through Thatcherism together, and now we have David Cameron. Hoorah! We won! Well…em….

    You said most folk don’t want to be divided. Well, maybe if we can’t achieve your nirvana of an absolute social brotherhood, some of us are pragmatic enough to realise that we can win bit by bit and progress our democratic rights that way. I am not prepared to accept that voters in Scotland should put their social values and aspirations on hold. You seem to be the kind of socialist who says, our brothers and sisters in England weren’t persuaded by our vision so let’s accept Tory rule until they become enlightened like us. As I said, devolution was meant to help redress that very problem – what do voters in Scotland do when England votes Tory – so why aren’t you doing the right socialist thing and agitating either for federalism or more powers for the Scottish parliament? Maybe you’re more of a conservative than you realise.

    1. Two fundamental problems with your argument.

      The first is that the political differences you ascribe to Scotland and England are not, and never have been, bound by the border between us. Urban areas of the central belt have far more in common with urban areas across the north of England then they do with the rural highlands, which in turn share a common outlook with areas of rural northern England more than they do with the central belt. If there is a political dividing line in the UK, it is far further south than Berwick. So you simply cannot lump together “England” as voting one way and “Scotland” as voting another. It’s a nonsense.

      The second is that I do support further devolution. It doesn’t need a referendum, as has been shown in the many instance in which devolution has been extended since 1999, but I believe we should be devolving more powers to the Scottish Parliament, and I’m optimistic that Labour will advocate that position when we fight the next UK election, after the Scottish people reject separation.

      1. Duncan I’d have more respect for your views if Labour was a federalist party and worked to bring people in other parts of England out of absolute Tory rule. If parts of England are keen to always vote Tory,then let them – but I’m sure you’d agree that the impact on everyone else is damaging. So why aren’t Labour pushing federalism for England? Until they do, Scotland has a recognised border and a parliament that has control of certain policies within that recognised border – so why not increase the powers of that parliament so that the damaging effect of Toryism is limited still further in Scotland?

  42. I think there’s a case for removing this article. Basically it’s promoting spin. I don’t see any other political party trying to compel and discipline members into ‘framing” ideas in a certain way. It’s borderline 1984 Newspeak — double-plus bad, if you ask me. It strikes me as childish and desperate.

    And to favour the framing of the debate as a separation conjures up notions of a battered wife (Scotland) being bullied and prevented from leaving by her domineering husband (England), and we can’t have that, can we?

    Instead, why don’t we focus on positive benefits of staying together? On how, as much as we haven’t always seen eye to eye, we have endured and done not too badly together. We are still here after all, in the first world.

    As in a mutually beneficial marriage, we could assess our relationship with a view to improving things. Talk about exciting plans and policies that we might introduce in future to make it even better.

    Scottish Labour has a lot to offer, if only we had a leadership that wasn’t afraid to offer it. We should never forget that being conscientious, considerate of those who are less well off, and generally trying to make society fairer and more just are the key components of our DNA.

    This stuff should be easy for us to sell. But the best way to sell it is to stop trying to sell it like pushy salesmen; just focus on doing good. It’s as simple as that. Ever gone into an electrical shop for something you need and had a pushy salesmen pester you? You get the idea.

    We definitely don’t need in and new sales-pitches or being lectured on how to characterise ideas by sales managers. If we offer good stuff in our shop people will come and buy it, we don’t need spin. And even if they didn’t, at least we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing we maintained our integrity, done our well-meaning best, and had good stuff to offer.

    I think we all know that withing Scottish Labour there’s a crying need for us to grasp the nettle and support increases devolution. That’s the next big leap for us. With increased powers in the Scottish parliament we are going to have so much to offer the Scottish people and, importantly, create more of a much need distinction between our people up here and our people down there. We’ve been punished in elections for being too cosy with London Labour and we all know it.

    1. I agree with much of this, but I have to point out that every political party talks about these sorts of spin issues, and indeed the SNP only last week was issuing orders to its supporters to stop using the word “freedom” in the referendum debate. The difference here is that we are talking about it in an open manner, whereas they did it behind closed doors. It’s an unfortunate fact that what we deride as “spin” is necessary if we are to get our core message across effectively. We need to choose how to frame our position, and I welcome the fact that we’re openly debating it now.

      That said, nothing in the suggested framing prevents us from making a positive case for the union as well, and I absolutely agree that is necessary. I also agree that we need to embrace further devolution, but we don’t need a referendum on that – just good policy for the benefit of Scots.

  43. Hi Duncan.

    Could you point out the areas in northern England which voted English National Party? No? Doesn’t exist right?
    And what about all those natural rural Tory areas in Scotland? Ah yes, ummm that one.
    And those Inner city areas that should have remained Labour at the Scottish elections?
    Bit of a fright that, eh?

    You do realise that the map of Scotland is not going to revert to the blues and red of yester-year don’t you? That whatever you might like to think, the SNP is not going to go away, even if the Referendum is lost? Perhaps you might be missing something? Perhaps an entire dimension exists that is uncomfortable for you to accept? Truth is, there are many people in Scotland who actually perceive it as an actual Nation, and not merely a region.
    Many of these people politically sit in fact to the left of you, and can do so happily with their perception of Scottish nationhood unaffected.

    You on the other hand appear to be unable to accept that Scotland is a Nation and should be governed as such, for you think this infringes on a collective cause with the working classes in England.

    The consequence of this is that you now oppose the wishes of a large constituency of the working classes of Scotland, and that map is not going to revert to the old British pattern which is in your head, however much you might wish it.

    There are new realities- Time to catch up!

    1. There are indeed natural Tory areas in Scotland, and nowhere did I suggest that post referendum politics would revert to blues and reds. My point, which you’ve apparently ignored, is that the political argument for separation – “get rid of Tory rule” – is a poor basis for constitutional change, because the political dividing lines are not the proposed constitutional ones.

      1. A federal structure would help bring a lot of people out of direct Tory rule but Labour have all too often chosen an all or nothing, us or them approach to governing the UK. A federal structure would allow local solutions to the social ills we all face, rather than leaving us all following the same Tory policy. Getting rid of Tory rule is your raison d’etre, is it not? So explain why you prefer one nation Labourism?

  44. Interesting points,
    It’s true there are no clear boundaries, but ‘Realpolitik’ would dictate that in a federal UK, the divisions would likely be the historical nation states, and possibly the North of England if they desire it.
    I suppose the argument is that Scotland has a ‘realistic’ opportunity to devolve more powers compared to the North of England, and we should take the opportunity to do that.
    The vast majority of Scots won’t be voting Tory anytime soon, so although a few farmers in Perth might not be happy, the vast majority of Scots would gladly see a socialist government in Edinburgh, with as much power as possible to protect our interests.
    International solidarity can only go so far, or we would all be campaigning for a united Europe and so on.

  45. That’s such a daft argument – people in Glasgow do not have more in common than people in English cities than they do with people in the Highlands.

    If you are saying that people who live in an urban working class environment have more in common with other people who live in an urban working class environment than they do with people who live in rural areas then logically people in Glasgow must have more in common with people in Detroit or Marseilles or Moscow than they do with folk who live twenty miles away.

    That is just nonsesne and you must know t.

    1. The people of Glasgow have FAR more in common with the people of Liverpool, for example, than they do with the people of the Highlands – politically, culturally, industrially and socially. Why should they be separated because of an ancient boundary line set by feuding kings and feudal nobles centuries ago?

      1. And Scotland has more in common with the Nordic countries than with vast regions of England so you are saying that everyone with common views should be joined by the hip.

      2. Your sweeping generalisation is completely unsupportable; would you also propose that the people of Amsterdam have more in common with the people of Brussels, than with the Frieslanders?

        “Why should they be separated?” As Stuart Tooley is pointing out, Labour have a bit of a fixation on “separation”. What form of separation are you referring to? What exactly does it comprise?

        There is a Scotland – England border; it is not much different than the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, but it is a real legal international boundary. You give the impression (at least to me) that you hardly recognise the existence of Scotland as a country.

      3. Duncan,
        Try telling that to the many Highlanders and Islanders in Partick which used to house as many Gaelic speakers as in the Western Isles.

      4. There’s a bit more to imagined Scottish identity than “an ancient boundary line”.

        Liverpool and Glasgow don’t share an education system. Both cities are served by an NHS, but not by the same one and the two services get more different as time passes. The law is different and even the police look – and perhaps act – differently. The political environment differs, from the constellation of parties to the way elections are run. And is River City popular on Merseyside and does the Record sell well there? Of course there are similarities too but some of those resemblances are artefacts of “post-industrial city”-ness rather than signs of Britishness.

        1. The entirety of the list of differences there, apart from River City and the Record, is merely that Scotland has a devolved parliament. That doesn’t mean the people are different, and I stand by my assertion that culturally and socially Glasgow and Liverpool share far more in common than do Glasgow and the rural highlands.

          1. I like your use of the language, saying:
            “MERELY” that Scotland has a devolved parliament ?
            Mrs. Freud, your slip is showing !

          2. Perhaps English isn’t your first language; in case it isn’t, let me explain that the “merely” was highlighting that there was actually only one difference being noted in different ways in the previous post. The position of the word in the sentence means it was not applied to [having a devolved Parliament] but to [entirety of the list of differences]. So there was nothing Freudian there at all, despite the clearly ENORMOUS chip on your shoulder which causes you to seek out offence wherever you can. Now off you go and learn some grammar.

      5. Thats absolute nonsense and you must know it. For heaven’s sake where do you think many people in Glasgow COME from? There are more people in the Park Park of a Saturday night sometimes than in the whole of the Western Isles. Or it feels thatway anyhow.

        1. Many people in Glasgow come from the same place that many people in Liverpool come from.

          1. A point which has no bearing on your argument. You were claiming that I was wrong to assert that Glasgow and Liverpool had a lot in common. I’m glad you now agree with me.

        2. Duncan – the “is English your first language” put down is older than you. Also, since my degrees are in English lit and my years of reading, writing and publishing far exceed your time on this earth – I would suggest that you try answering peoples questions properly instead of just throwing out glib answers and personal insults.

          1. I absolutely deny having used any such put down or indeed any personal insult. You accused me of a Freudian slip after, either deliberately or by accident, misinterpreting the meaning of my sentence. I prefaced my response with “Perhaps English isn’t your first language; in case it isn’t, let me explain” in order to excuse your mistake, not put you down. Nonetheless the mistake was yours, and instead of berating me for pointing it out, you might have the good grace to acknowledge that your accusation against me was false.

            I don’t know or care how long you have been practising the art of English, the fact remains that you either deliberately or mistakenly misinterpreted what I said.

      6. Why should Britain be separated from France or Germany or the Republic of Ireland because of feuding kings and feudal nobles centuries ago? But they are… And why? Well, in the case of the Republic of Ireland, they didn’t want to live under the rule of a state set up by feuding kings and feudal nobles centuries ago. Internationalism, or co-operation internationally, are fine but you haven’t answered how it would work, how such an international democracy (if that’s what you truly envisage) would work, even just in theory.

  46. In an age of independent sovereign states your views perfectly capture the dilemma of Labour in Scotland. You would see Scotland wait indefinitely until the UK return a Labour government. Last time it took 18 years for the UK to finally rid Scotland of a hated Tory government with little or no mandate. How long would you have us wait this time? How much damage would you have them wreak? We cannot protect ourselves from the worst excesses of this unwanted government under devolution – which denies us access to many economic levers which could be used to make a real difference – the kind of powers every ‘normal’ sovereign European nation enjoys. Scots will no longer put up with this. That’s why the outlook for Labour in Scotland is bleak.

    1. I would do no such thing. I would fight for a Labour government. That, it seems, is the point you refuse to listen to. I would fight for a Labour government and so should you if you want further devolution of fiscal powers. Throwing away the union because you don’t like the Tories is the worst kind of folly.

      1. Important as this point is, let me assure you that my reasons for being a supporter of Scottish independence are about *much* more than just my objections to Scotland being governed by a regime we overwhelmingly rejected.

        But thanks for confirming my point. Of course you would work to achieve your Labour government – I am not disputing this – but the fact remains that if the majority in the UK, with an increasingly divergent political philosophy, were to continue to favour the Tories, as in 1979-1997, then you would fight vainly, perhaps indefinitely. In the meantime Scotland would suffer.

        Now, you may not care about this – but if Labour refuse to acknowledge that for an increasing number of people in Scotland this is *not acceptable* then I’m afraid you are in trouble. Platitudes about solidarity with our comrades in England and other parts of the UK – and indeed the world – may make you feel better but they won’t help the very people you have the ability to help – the poor and vulnerable of Scotland.

        Think about it. What other nation in the world would allow this? It’s not ‘normal’ behaviour for any self-respecting nation worthy of the name.

        1. Nor does it help the poor and vulnerable of England. The all or nothing approach often ends up getting nothing. We should push for greater powers for the parliament (or independence) and Labour should at least be pushing for greater powers for the regions in England and Wales to make a start towards rectifying the economic imbalances that exist there. It’s time Labour took over the federalist mantle that the Lib Dems have abandoned.

      2. Duncan, rejecting the union is not simply an issue of not liking the Tories. The election of successive Tory Governments with little or no mandate in Scotland has, however, brought the constitutional issue into sharper focus. It is a matter of wanting to select governments of our choosing. The Labour Party in Scotland would do well to pause and reflect on its current position and strategy. Forming a coalition with the Tories against independence is already being seen as a breach of trust. An independent Scotland will need good government and good opposition. If Scots do choose independence, Labour appears to be positioning itself already as an unwilling player in Scotland’s future.

  47. Duncan, you are a waste of space, an unwitting tool of the Tories. That is your problem. My only regret is that I have wasted so much time trying to find common ground with such a blinkered idiot. The Scottish people left you behind a long time ago. Your party will be celebrated for the work it did up until around 1955 and vilified for its actions (or lack of them) thereafter. History is written by the victors. Get used to it. You have a lot of growing up to do.

    Bye now.

    1. And that. ladies and gentlemen, is the sort of personal abuse for which SNP supporters are rightly known. Several such messages are deleted here each day. For the avoidance of doubt, if you post abuse like this you will be deleted. I’m leaving this one as an example.

      1. Whilst I agree that the majority of his arguments don’t really stand up to any scrutiny, and I largely agree with most of the points you made, I do take issue with the summary of SNP supporters just there. (After all, reading through the thread it was quite a heated argument and you did make one or two confrontational comments yourself – I mean, you did call him a zealot twice, amongst other things…)

        I’m not standing up for him or saying you’re wrong, and I do think the his above comment is really childish and effectively running away in a huff because you don’t agree with him, but to say “personal abuse (is the sort of thing) for which SNP supporters are rightly known” is quite an awful thing to still continue having as a preconception, given that it’s not, by any definition of the word, difficult to find a lot of insulting/offensive posts by Labour/Unionist supporters. Throwing out Cybernats as a generalisation is as cringe-worthy, as Independence supporters throwing out Anti-Scottish/”talking Scotland down” comments about any Unionist.

        1. Fair comment. However, I have friends in different parties including the SNP, the Greens, the Tories and Labour (oh, and even a few who are still Lib Dems) and they all, privately including the SNP ones, accept that online SNP supporters are far and away more abusive, more angry and more strident than supporters of other parties. I expect to see more SNP abuse on a day to day basis because of who I am and what I say, but there is general consensus among those I know well in other parties that the SNP has a huge problem with online abuse.

          Incidentally, I don’t think calling someone a zealot is abusive – do you?

  48. Duncan Hothersall, you say you agree with increased devolution but that we don’t need a referendum for that. Well, we needed one before to bring about the small measure of devolution we have now so I wonder where you think further devolution would spring from.

    Perhaps you think that David Cameron and his allies in government are truly well-meaning and have Scotland’s interests as a priority rather than the narrow class interests they purport to serve?

    Maybe you think they have a magic wand and trust them to use it to conjure up the investment and economic levers we in Scotland so desperately need?

    I’ll stop being sarcastic for a moment and say this. Your whole tone, Duncan, as well as the substance of what you say in relation to these critical issues, represents the biggest threat to the existence of a viable and competitive labour party in Scotland going forward. You clearly assume people up here are thick and will be won over by that sort of response, and, if you don’t understand that we’ve been punished already for that insulting and condescending attitude, it’s probably going to be too late for us all by the time the penny drops.

    No. We need a new approach that starts with respect for Scottish people and addresses they’re hopes, needs, and aspirations directly. We don’t need spin. We don’t want to rely on well meaning Tories delivering the policies or devolution we need. The labour party in Scotland, of which I am a member, is failing the people of Scotland right now.

    I had hoped that Tom Harris would win the leadership campaign because he was the only one who seemed to acknowledge the labour party’s future in Scotland was in jeopardy unless we changed. But, then, even he struggle to break through with any inspiring suggestions as to what form that change might take and he suffered as a result.

    People in Scotland want further devolution, a lot of it. That much is clear. A strong majority favour this over the status quo and outright independence. We should champion that cause. If we did the snp would be in trouble. We all know this. The only thing stopping Scottish labour doing that is head office — let’s insist on it. If necessary, we should force the issue and if that means Scottish labour effectively rejecting the whip, so be it. Maybe we need devolution or independence in the labour party before we can sing from the heart again like we used to before the spin and the Tories took over our party.

    1. It seems like you aren’t paying much attention to what is going on. The Scottish Labour Party just has been devolved! Johann Lamont has become the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party. We have devolved policy control in key areas.

      I don’t see why my tone, which you clearly dislike, has any bearing on the viability of the Scottish Labour Party. I’m just one member expressing a view. I don’t represent anyone else. If you have an alternative view, write an article for LabourHame and we’ll publish it. Details are in the Contribute section. Go for it.

      1. You say decision-making in key areas has been devolved within Scottish labour. Is it coincidence that the party line on this is the same as the line the leaders of the Scottish party have taken? When it is known, I repeat known, that a majority of Labour MSPs are in favour of what is being called devolution max? They’ve been muzzled. I know that. You know it. Labour MSPs know it.

        Regarding your tone. Again, is it coincidence that it’s in line with the party policy, dictated by the labour leadership?

        Maybe you can tell me what role labour MSPs are expected to play in this referendum when the very thing they want, devolution max, is prohibited by London? Maybe applauding Osborne and Cameron is a task worthy of them in your opinion? Your views reduce them to that, leaving them completely irrelevant in the debate.

        I want to also ask how you think Scottish Labour sharing a platform with the Cameron and his lackey Michael Moore is going to go down up here? As a party cadre, I expect you have an answer ready for that along the lines of the union is so beautiful and important that we must be prepared to defend it even standing alongside the Tories.

        If I was a labour MSP or MP in Scotland, I’d be working on my CV between now and 2014. They’re going to need good CVs and based on the stance taken so far they’re going to have plenty of spare time for that.

        And this idea that spin is necessary makes me vomit. You should be ashamed of that.

        1. I don’t know that a majority of Labour MSPs are in favour of devo max. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot were, but I don’t know it. How do you know it?

          You clearly think I’m a puppet of the leadership – all I can tell you is that you clearly haven’t read some of the stuff I say! 🙂

          Genuinely, if you want to write a piece for LabourHame setting out your views on this you should go for it.

      2. “Johann Lamont has become the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party.”

        Really? From watching TV and listening to the radio for the past week I was pretty sure it was Anas Sarwar. Where IS your leader? Trapped down an old mineshaft waiting for Skippy to show up?

        1. Anas is a major part of the leadership team. Unlike the SNP, we’re not a cult of a single personality. And there’s a lot more to the leader’s job than appearing on TV and radio.

  49. This is a self-defeating argument in a way.
    People within every city, street and country have different political viewpoints, so we have to deal with what is practically possible.

    If Scotland has a chance to give the vast majority of its citizens the type of Government they want, we should take it.
    In arguing against independence, we have to be careful not to oppose valid points for fiscal automony or a federal UK.

    If that means Scotland has the chance to have more economic powers than the North of England, then so be it.
    It’s not a problem for US states. Companies in Arizona have lower tax than California, because that’s a more desirable place to be. They are still all proud Americans.

    And SNP members should be pretty worried about that.
    It’s not devolution that will kill them stone dead, it is Devo-Max within the UK.
    Lets be honest, that’s what most people want, and it is only labour that can deliver that.

  50. I am especially looking forward to seeing the Labour and LibDem MPs/MSPs working side by side with Mr Michael Forsyth in the continuing campaign.

  51. Well 800 new members have joined the SNP since David Cameron made his ‘must have referendum within 18 months’ statement and the Ultra Unionist Mail reporting that the latest Mori poll shows support for independence (or seperatism) at %40, while support for Unionism (or dependency) at %43 with %17 dont knows.
    So Duncans noble idea about the working class British, isn’t shared by many in Scotland and if you read the comments pages from English based blogs or media outlets you will see that the comments reflect that this shared ‘working class togetherness’ is also not shared by the English.
    If you give it some thought Duncan, you might consider that your beliefs will never come to fruition, by following your current path, but if Scotland was to become independent, then the working class from England, especially the North, would be watching us closely and as Scotland’s working classes began to see tangible benefits from the Socialist politics in Scotland, they would see that the Thatchers claims about socialism were lies and the belief that the rich need to get richer to make a country prosperous, is a fraud that betrays the working classes for the benefit of the wealthy. give it some though.

    As for the term separatist rather than nationalist, I agree that words are important, but labours problem is that people doubt the words that they use.
    What labour need to get is credibility and that will not happen standing shoulder to shoulder with the tories.

  52. Some interesting polling in the Sunday Times today by ICM.

    26% would vote for independence
    26% for a 3rd option, were there to be such a thing
    37% for ‘the status quo’

    Keep in mind, this is a snapshot poll, without regular polling we can’t determine a trend. Nevertheless, it has some interesting findings.

    ICM asked: Do you support/ oppose an independent Scotland? Result is 43% against & 40% for. And the nationalists are very excited about this… but the same question was asked ~5 years ago, at which time 52% supported & 28% opposed so, on a ‘snapshot’ basis, support has fallen by 12% over the years during which the SNP have been governing.

  53. Was told this by an English friend the other day.
    If the uk government would tax the financial transactions in the city of London by just one percent of one percent, our national debt would be cleared within two years !!!
    After this we could then invest these billions of pounds into Schools Hospitals Infrastructure etc creating thousands and thousands of jobs.
    Think about that the next time you hear some Labour Party spokeman claiming they want a ‘fairer and more just society’ or ‘want to concentrate on improving schools hospitals’ bla bla bla.
    Where have the Labour party been when they were holding the purse strings as working class communities have lived in abject poverty ?
    Where were the Scottish Labour party MP’s as child poverty in Glasgow was the worse in the Uk as the fat cats in the city rakes in there billions, tax free ?
    This is why David Cameron used his ‘Veto’ recently, because the Europeans wanted a regulation that would have threatened this cosy little deal with successive Westminster governments and the city of London.

    You have been conned Duncan, they have the money to do all the things you want, they just don’t want to.

    1. I support the Robin Hood Tax (Tobin Tax, FTT – the tax you allude to here). As things stand my support for it as a UK voter makes it more likely that it will happen, and if we can all persuade enough others to support it we could make it a reality. You want to stop me being a UK voter and thereby take away my opportunity to campaign for such a tax in the city of London.

  54. oh dear,moderated out again, But never mind Duncan cos my post has been ‘paste n copied’, over on NNS.

    1. That comment included:

      “Alll your crap about a world without borders is another ‘never never land’ dream that gives you the Psychological ‘get out of jail card’ that allows you to sit around on your lying arse watching your people being deceived, while you pretend to watch the sky looking for the return of the ‘true labour movement’”

      If you can’t post without writing personal abuse don’t be surprised if you don’t get through. Of course NNS will publish that sort of personal abuse without question.

      1. I cannot find personal abuse on NNS, can you give us a link to it please?

        The personal abuse you chose to post, is very mild compared to the stuff I read daily on the MSM forums aimed at Scotland, Alex Salmond, And the SNP. Had you listened to Call Kaye this morning you would have heard a vile piece of abuse allowed by the BBC against Alex Salmond. He has recently been compared to Mugabe (by Paxman) and many members of the animal kingdom so please stop this pious bleating. Personal abuse is par for the course.

        How about some positive reasons for staying in the union?

        Johan Lamont tried the personal stuff with Alex Salmond today with a jibe about him as an ex economist with the BOS, writing to Fred the Shed to congratulate him on the Dutch bank takeover. She was left very red about the gills when Alex returned her serve perfectly by explaining to her that it was her party that knighted him. Touche.

        Then she tried another negative attack on the BOE setting interest rates, and the serve was returned with interest when it was pointed out that Labour had made the BOE independent, and therefore the UK Parliament had given up it’s influence on interest rates. However her script was written for her and she continued digging deeper and deeper. She cannot think on her feet, it has to be written down. Last night on the big BBC Scotland debate she died a thousand deaths. I really do feel sorry for her.

        I say this in all sincerity, unless someone climbs out of the trenches, and finds a way to express some positive message for the union and a positive message for Scotland and starts to propose policies that can work, it really is all over for the unionist parties.

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