It’s quite interesting reading the reaction to my last post. Some, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, were very critical of it, calling it “poisonous bile,” “sanctimonious” and “aggressive.” One person even said “I think we’ve reached Peak Cybernat,” which I consider quite the compliment. It would’ve been nice of them to come along and actually engage with me, as H Bray, David M and others did, rather than just make their pronouncements on social media – so I’ll return the favour by not linking to their comments. As far as I can tell, it seems based on a very particular reading – that “challenging” No voters constitutes an act of aggression – or at least, has aggressive undertones. Given that I’d spent most of the article talking about challenge in the form of debate, I didn’t think it needed even pointing out that there was nothing violent about my intentions. Indeed, didn’t I say that Yes voters have been challenged – and that challenge is not only a good thing, but necessary?
I didn’t say anything in that post that hasn’t already been said to me many, many times – by No voters, Undecideds, even Yes voters alike. I’ve been accused of only listening to “SNP propaganda,” that I only talk with other Yes voters, that I’m just unwilling to hear out the other side – this, from people while I’m out canvassing. There are plenty of things that have been said to me that I’d never say to No voters – threats to my family, my wellbeing, my security. Plenty of things that have been done to me and those I love, too. That’s the key issue, here: sometimes I worry that No voters are genuinely afraid that Yes voters would do to them, what the bigots and thugs at George Square did to Yes voters.
Note that I did not say “No voters at George Square,” I said bigots and thugs. If I truly believed that the bandits who brought shame to all Scotland were in any way representative of the 2 million who voted No, then why would I even want to convince them to my side? The people who burned the saltire and roared “Rule Britannia” while throwing up the Hitlergruß before a war memorial don’t represent those 2 million Scots, any more than the monsters in Westminster represent the people of the UK in general. In the absence of No marches and rallies, they – not the 2 million No voters – filled the void with hate and fear.
In the aftermath of the referendum, we may wonder what the next challenge is. As far as I see it, the challenge is largely the same as it would have been in the event of a Yes vote: to build a better Scotland, and reach out beyond to build a better world. It’s my opinion, sadly, that the challenge is much more difficult given that 55% of those who voted in the referendum chose to relinquish their sovereignty to the UK Parliament and the wishes of the numerically greater South East of England rather than keep it in their own hands.
So we come to Jim Murphy.
There are generally two reactions to Jim Murphy’s election as leader of New Labour in Scotland. One is incredulity that New Labour in Scotland really are so stupid, to elect a leader who will not even be present at the Scottish Parliament for months if not years, let alone one who is perhaps the epitome of Blairite right-wing pro-military New Labour. The other is quiet caution over Mr Murphy’s connections and ruthless ambition, concerned that he could bring the fight to the SNP that the likes of previous NLiS leaders simply couldn’t.
I haven’t formed an opinion on Jim Murphy, save that of the three candidates, he’s the one that bothers me the most. Neil Findlay or Sarah Boyack would’ve been like Johann Lamont or Ian Gray: do as they’re told, give the illusion of rocking the boat without actually making any movement at all, attack the SNP at every turn even when it’s something Labour has done before. Mr Murphy may be too ambitious and arrogant to settle for that, even if he has rebelled only 25 times in in the 3302 votes he’s attended since 1997 (that’s 0.76% for those counting), making the idea that he wasn’t going to “take orders” from London somewhat redundant given he will just vote the way his party does literally 99.24% of the time. He’s also clearly a far smoother operator than the others, eager to self-promote, and much less likely to flub an interview than his predecessors.
Nonetheless, it isn’t Mr Murphy himself that’s the problem – he just makes things a lot easier for the real problem. As the old adage goes, you could stick a red rosette on a donkey and people would still vote Labour. Even with unbelievable gaffes and public relations disasters that make “Spitting Image” look like “House of Cards,” New Labour still has a quarter to a third of all votes in Scotland. I’m very suspicious of the wave of polls showing a massive SNP lead and New Labour collapse – we all know that polls can all too often be used to form public opinion as to reflect it. How in the name of sanity could such incompetents cling to such power despite all these obstacles?
Because they have the most powerful propaganda machine in these isles on their side.
Most independence supporters are well aware of the BBC’s bias in regards to the referendum. SNP voters and supporters also remember how the BBC managed to spin SNP gains into New Labour gains. Even people who have nothing to do with Scottish politics are all too familiar with the BBC’s stances on the NHS, climate change, and Israel. This is because the BBC have become – perhaps, to an extent, always were – state broadcasters. This is not unique to Scottish independence: BBC Scotland are wrapped all the way up in New Labour, after all. So we’re going to look forward to a pro-Labour anti-SNP assault the likes of which we’ve never seen, for not only are the SNP threatening New Labour in Scotland, they are actively threatening the main party. Everything New Labour have done which has benefited Scotland was done specifically to stop or quell the SNP – especially devolution. Given how “well” working with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats went with the referendum (they “won,” after all), I wouldn’t be surprised to see that unholy alliance continuing north of the border, even as south of the border the two establishment parties pretend to fight like mortal foes. We won’t hear a peep of it on our alleged “public” broadcaster.
Jim Murphy isn’t the problem. Not even New Labour are. The true enemy of Scottish interests are those who claim to be the people’s voice. Our challenge is far bigger than one political party against another – it’s a grassroots movement against the British Establishment. Where the SNP are the main political arm of the independence movement, New Labour are the main political arm of the British Establishment in Scotland. And this is how it’s always going to be – until we win.
The journey between Yes and No is a one-way journey. Are we up to the challenge?
Why did it take a bloody ARGENTINIAN band to bring bagpipes and metal together?