Politics & Current Affairs

GE 2015: Two Jags and Sturgeon’s Insurgents

bloody nationalistsFollowing the appearance of Plan B on Labour’s campaign trail, last week, Labour’s heavyweights of yesteryear continue to give us their twa bob’s worth. When your narrator uses the term ‘heavyweight’ you’d be forgiven for assuming this is meant in the political sense; to imply authority, credibility, and gravitas. Sadly, in the case presented here, a more literal interpretation edges the reader closer to accuracy.

Yes, Sunday was the turn of John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott to dispense his accumulated wisdom and instruct the unsophisticated electorate in matters of great import. And who better? Few have a more incisive grasp of the unsophisticated than Two Jags.

Judging matters purely on his column in Sunday’s Mirror, respect for the truth concerning I’actualité politique is evidently something with which the former Deputy Prime Minister is unconcerned.

Rehashing the recent smear of the First Minister, Two Jags effectively accused the French diplomats involved in the incident of lying. Desperate stuff indeed. His use of the term “Frenchman” was also instructive; the condescension and dismissive inelegance of the phrase matched only by its inaccuracy. Indeed, by most commonly accepted definitions of the word, the diplomat to whom the crassly blundering Two Jags referred was, in fact, female.

Pushing bravely on he likened Nicola Sturgeon to Margaret Thatcher, a comparison which could only induce tears of laughter or gasps of incredulity. Perhaps both. Given that his former laird and master, Plan B, was described by Thatcher herself as her “greatest achievement” this was the sort of nonsense that went beyond hypocrisy and into terrain hitherto occupied by only the most hysterical.

It is, however, par for the course, as they say. While Scottish Labour has exerted solar-grade quantities of energy in a hopeless bid to convince Scotland’s voters that a vote for the SNP is a vote for the Tories, Her Majesty’s loyal opposition are now pleading with voters to vote ‘tactically’ for the actual Tories, in a hopeless bid to stem the SNP rise. Plots have been well and truly misplaced in that increasingly bizarre place that is Labour’s North British branch office.

Today’s Mirror followed Two Jags’ demented havers with a front-page photo of The Jellyfish striving for his most statesman-like presentation. Incredibly, the headline read ‘My Pledge.’ Viewers in Scotland might wish to file The Jellyfish’s ‘Pledge’ alongside ‘the cheque’s in the post’ ‘the dog ate my homework’ and, of course, ‘The Vow.’

By contrast, The Independent gave space to Mz. Sturgeon. Space used wisely to impress, yet again, just how far the distance in class between her and her rivals stretches. Your narrator happily confesses to a certain subjectivity where the SNP, in general, and Mz. Sturgeon, in particular, are concerned. Nevertheless her assertion that “Labour’s answer in Scotland is not to represent the social democratic values their former voters support, but to mimic the Tory austerity they wrongly believe voters in England back” is impossible to dispute.

The reality is that Sturgeon’s insurgents represent a clearly progressive anti-austerity alternative that not only appeals to the majority of the electorate in Scotland, but, increasingly, to English voters, too. Illusions in bourgeois politicians and parties are foolish things to entertain, of course. Yet the SNP offers an end to Trident, the break-up of the Brit state and the slim possibility of dragging Labour onto the sort of turf for which its left-wing would have us believe their party was historically intended.

While The Jellyfish has explicitly ruled out a coalition with the SNP, it’s interesting to note he has done no such thing where the Tories are concerned. Also, speculation at the weekend, prompted perhaps by little more than bored hacks at The Independent with only thumbs to twiddle, nevertheless concerned a possible favourable reaction from Labour’s high command to the possibility of a coalition with The Grubby Chancer’s Fib Dems.

So what’s the problem, we might well ask, for Labour’s English lefties? Could it be that the vicious and blinding tribalism infecting Murphy’s mob is not simply a Scottish phenomenon?

Meanwhile Common Space’s Michael Gray reports on Ed Balls’ commitment to cut public spending across all the UK, which entirely contradicts Jim Murphy’s protestations that “there don’t have to be any further cuts.”

It’s almost as if Labour has learned absolutely nothing from the backfiring disaster of Project Fear…

Politics & Current Affairs

GE 2015: A Very Caledonian Coup

surgFormer Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Roy Hattersley, a man not noted for his fevered commitment to the communist cause, once advised that we should “never underestimate the British establishment’s ruthless determination to destroy its enemies.”

Sage advice, to be sure, and one wonders if Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is familiar with the quote. If so, we can imagine her nodding in resigned agreement at the end of an extraordinary week.

She was branded by the Daily Mail as “The Most Dangerous Woman in Britain” – surely a badge of honour, awarded as it was by the notorious Hitler-worshipping rag? – and then wowed even English voters during the leaders’ debate on Thursday evening, topping the many resulting polls.

The events that followed, then, represented a certain inevitability. The SNP oppose austerity, oppose the scape-goating of immigrants and oppose the destruction of free education and the NHS. As someone remarked, in these reactionary times, that’s virtually the transitional programme.

Crucially, the SNP have tacked left under Sturgeon’s leadership and are now even more opposed to the establishment’s austerity consensus. Added, of course, to the party’s determination to see the end of the British state, as it is currently constituted, and their not insignificant commitment to ridding Scotland of Trident. Something it is inconceivable to imagine leaves the Brit state’s bosses on the other side of the Atlantic in a mood of unruffled equanimity.

Fitting, then, one supposes, that the Telegraph gives us a 2015 cover version of the Zinoviev affair. We can only imagine Dacre and the Daily Mail are kicking themselves for not thinking of it first.

The allegation that the First Minister told French diplomats she would prefer a Tory government to one headed by Ed Miliband has, by now, been so comprehensively debunked as to be worthy of little additional commentary.

What is worthy of further scrutiny, however, are the motives behind what is clearly a state-orchestrated fit-up and the reactions to it of, most especially, Scottish Labour.

It is mooted that the smear is plausible because, from a strategic point of view, a Tory government would actually suit the SNP. The thinking is that five more years of Cameron’s Eton Rifles hammering the poor and rolling out further punitive austerity measures would drive even more sickened and desperate Labour supporters into the arms of the SNP.

It’s nonsense on two counts. Firstly, the SNP’s primary objective is independence from the UK. That is far more likely to be achieved – or rather significant concessions towards it – with a battalion of SNP MPs twisting Miliband’s arm behind his back, in exchange for SNP support in a hung Westminster parliament, than it is by trying to get another Holyrood-organised referendum off the ground less than a year after the last one.

Secondly, given the polls unanimously predict an SNP wipe-out of Labour’s branch office in Scotland, who would really believe the SNP would counter such a bonkers strategy just for the sake of mopping up a few more disgruntled Labour voters?

The counter to this is: ah yes but the SNP threaten the Labour vote not the Tory vote! How does framing Nicola Sturgeon as a Tory stooge benefit the Tories and why on earth would they be unhappy with Labour losing votes to the SNP?

Such a question is beyond naïve. We’re talking far bigger stakes than mere party politics. We’re talking the break-up of the Brit state, the ejection of UK, ergo US, nuclear weapons from Scottish soil. And, of course, the shattering of the establishment’s austerity consensus of which Labour, in both its Anglo and Scottish expressions, is a crucial part. Labour is, not to overstate the case, an important plank of the Brit state’s self-defence mechanism and, in this sense, the Tories’ junior partner.

Finally, and feel free to fire accusations of naivety right back at this writer, Sturgeon and the bulk of the SNP are conviction politicians. No one is suggesting that they are the Bolsheviks reincarnated; indeed Richard Seymour makes the not unfair suggestion that the party shouldn’t even be labelled as ‘left’ but rather ‘progressive’. But for all that, on an essentially human level, Sturgeon represents a streak of decency and integrity almost extinct in British politics.

No, what we have here is a vengeful and frightened Brit state lashing out at its biggest threat. Project Fear: Part Two is well underway and there will be more to come. An uppity, lefty, female Jock having the cheek to take on the Brit state? We can be sure the Sir Humphreys are already massing.