I try to avoid dry statistics in my essays, mainly because they are bureaucratic tools easy to falsify, and difficult to refute unless one has all the facts researched immediately at one’s fingertips. Above all, in terms of Scotland’s future we are talking about the human spirit more often than numbers or digits or money. But here’s one statistic I can’t ignore.
The latest post-plebiscite poll shows 52% of people in Caledonia would vote for independence if another Referendum were held tomorrow.
I don’t know who to poke in the eye: those who voted No on the day out of blind loyalty to an abstract notion called ‘Britishness,’ or those No-Yes voters now demonstrating they are completely feckless when it matters.
To add confusion to despair, the statistic arrives on the back of another poll which shows over two-thirds of us are happy to see another Referendum on the subject within ten years – erm, not if you’re a bloody infirm pensioner, or a soldier sent out war on a whim, both keen to see justice done before you die. Over half-of-us are just as keen to return to the polling booth within five years.
A lot can happen in five years. English nationalists at Westminster can pass a Bill and gall stone or two in their hurry to block Scotland from taking any decision on its governance. Some threaten to do exactly that. English imperial domination lives on. It will take years to challenge a guillotine on our democratic rights in the European Court, and Cameron and the Conservative far-Right 1922 Committee might remove that remedy too by taking the UK out of Europe before we have an opportunity to rebel – a classic neo-con tactic; hit the population hard with unpalatable new policies before it has time to recover and protest.
Scotland has no right of veto over any of Westminster’s stupidities or injustices or warmongering – a calamitous omission from any Treaty – that glaring gap made clear by Prime Minister Cameron recently in answer to Bill Cash MP’s question, chairman of the 1922 Committee. Cash asked Cameron if he agreed Scotland had no Veto when it came to an in-out call on European membership. Cameron duly agreed and ridiculed Scotland’s audacity asking for one.
Like Daniel Defoe before him, Cash is a prolific pamphleteer, one anti-EU diatribe unsurprisingly entitled, “It’s the EU, Stupid.” (2011) An earlier rag engagingly seductive but just as vitriolic is, “Associated, not Absorbed, an Alternative to a Single European State.” (2000) There is no such thing as a single European state; it does not exist, except in the mind of Sir William Nigel Paul Cash.
Incidentally, Cash was cleared on a technicality over an expenses claim, money paid to his daughter for her flat, (apartment) an alleged £15,000. No ditherer he, Cash rejected calls for his resignation, a misstep overlooked by Cameron who sent him a fulsome letter of support. (I’ll come to the issue of Labour expenses shortly.)
Labour in Scotland is facing what the press dramatically call ‘a wipe-out’ – more accurately described as a backlash to the sight of supposed red dyed socialists uniting with hard-Right Conservatives, Unionist bigots and fascists, big business entities that avoid paying taxes, and the petty bourgeois, foreigner hating party called Ukip.
There was always going to be a reaction to Labour’s inability to gauge public opinion, particularly when Labour’s own heartlands voted overwhelmingly Yes to self-governance. The disenfranchised, the disillusioned, and the downright poor proved wiser than their representatives. The Labour group in Scotland has no idea what policies to adopt. It dithers over whether or not to hold tight to right-wing Blairite doctrine, or to resurrect old socialist shibboleths. But the latter is dead and buried when Blair rejected Clause Four and jettisoned the unions that Labour purported to represent. It has been a copy of the Tory party too long for voters to see it as an alternative. New Labour has become old.
How will Labour hacks present themselves to their loyal electorate now? Do we care?
Personally, my answer is, ‘tough.’
They dug their own bear trap and fell into it. Only a tiny percentage of Scots feel Labour in Scotland has any room to take different decisions from their masters in Westminster.
For a long time it’s been crystal clear to all but the Labour group in Scotland a completely independent Labour party is the only answer, possibly affiliated to the English party. That seems unlikely to happen any time soon for it weakens Labour’s power overall in the UK.
Labour is a British national party. That’s a truism. It entertains no factions. Unfortunately Labour has had cataracts over its eyes these last two decades. But it must change if it is to survive and prosper again. Authenticated reports of Labour politicians gaining tens of thousands of pounds from their opposition to Scotland’s hopes, and massive expenses to cover time telling Scots they are better dominated by another country, have come home to hit them in the solar plexus.
YouGov/Times poll, (Murdoch’s Times newspaper not exactly pink) states 43% of Labour voters support independence. How do you like them apples, Miliband? The new leader of the Scottish Labour group will need to assume the mantle of Genghis Khan if he or she is to make any headway against a London-centric, faux-socialist party.
The Referendum’s ditherers and switherers now seem certain of their next decision – a bit late to stop billions spent on renewing Trident, endless wars, costly security apparatus to negate terrorists, reduction of civil rights, spying on citizens, dismantling of the national health service, ad nauseam. Still, if there is a majority now for self-determination…
The people of Scotland have stolen the champagne cork from Labour’s lunch.
[Note: Switherers; to swither: Old Scots word – a person who knows the decision to take but doesn’t know when to take it, a procrastinator. To ‘dither‘ is English; someone who cannot make up their mind about what decision to take.]