Scottish Labour: Murphy’s squalid nationalist opportunism

March 14, 2015 at 11:33 am (AWL, class, labour party, plonker, populism, posted by JD, scotland)

By Anne Field (Workers Liberty)

On Saturday 6 March a special conference of the Scottish Labour Party voted by 69% to 31% for a constitutional amendment declaring it to be a party which “works for the patriotic interest of the people of Scotland.”

The bulk of the opposing votes came from Unite and Unison, plus a scattering of local parties. According to unconfirmed reports, the GMB voted for the amendment, and the CWU and ASLEF abstained.

Winning a third of the conference to a vote against the amendment was no small achievement.

Local parties and affiliated organisations had been subject to the emotional blackmail of the need to be seen backing the leadership in the run-up to the general election.

Eight of the nine speakers called from the floor to speak on the proposed amendment spoke in favour of it.

To create the right “atmosphere” at the conference, a thousand people were in attendance, but only a small minority were actually voting delegates.

The constitutional amendment also contained all manner of references to “the Scottish people” and things Scottish and had been presented by the leadership as the way to undercut support for the SNP.

Anyone on the left — apart from those who have pitched their tent in the pro-independence camp —will share that aim of defeating the SNP, but this will not help.

Modelled on Blair’s re-writing of the party’s Clause Four, which had committed the party to the “common ownership” of industry, the amendment was meant to be newly-elected leader Jim Murphy’s very own “Clause Four moment”.

As Murphy put it last December: “It’s the biggest change in Scottish Labour’s history… I want to rewrite Clause Four of Scottish Labour to bring us closer to the centre of Scottish life.”

Blair’s rewriting of the Clause Four was a genuine political statement — it was part of his mission to destroy the Labour Party as the political wing of the workers’ movement. His actions dominated news headlines for months.

Murphy was not even amending Clause Four! He was amending Clause Two of the Scottish Labour constitution, nothing more than a sentence stuck in between Clause One and Clause Three.

Murphy’s announcement created no more than a ripple of media coverage.

Most media coverage mentioned the constitutional amendment only as a footnote to its coverage of the conference. (That includes the party’s own website reports of the conference.) The remaining media coverage (including LabourList) did not mention it at all.

Murphy’s re-writing was a transparent exercise in squalid opportunism.

Despite losing the referendum, the SNP is on course to wipe out Labour in the general election. So, runs Murphy’s logic, the party needs to be more Scottish than the SNP. Yet only a few months earlier Murphy’s Chief of Staff John McTernan had warned that “you can’t out-nat the nats”.

(McTernan himself is hardly best placed to “out-nat the nats”. In 2002 he e-mailed a Labour MSP about to visit Sweden: “I think you’ll really like it. It’s the country Scotland would be if it wasn’t narrow, Presbyterian, racist, etc., etc.)

The new “Clause Four” is irrelevant to reversing Labour’s fortunes.

Insofar as anyone takes it seriously the commitment to “the patriotic interest of the people of Scotland” will be positively damaging.

The SNP lost last September’s referendum. But its great achievement in the referendum campaign, apart from thoroughly poisoning political debate in Scotland, was to push class and social issues to the sidelines of political argument, and replace them with “Scotland’s national interests”.

Instead of poverty and inequality being identified as a product of class and capitalist oppression, they were presented as the product of “Westminster rule” and a distant “Westminster establishment”.

Murphy seeks to challenge the SNP on its own territory: which party is best placed and most suited to representing Scotland’s national and patriotic interests. Given the nature of the SNP as a narrow Scottish-nationalist party, the answer to that question will always be: the SNP.

Apart from reinforcing the nationalist element in Scottish political discourse (and, consequently, the SNP’s electoral prospects), Murphy’s attempt to put patriotism centre-stage is also a challenge to the rationale for Scottish Labour’s existence.

As the one anti-amendment speaker called at last Saturday’s conference put it:

“Patriotism is an essential tool in presenting class interest — the ruling class interest — as the interest of all of us.

“The primary purpose of the Scottish Labour Party should be precisely the opposite of that. It should be exposing the class nature of Scottish society. It should be attacking austerity. It should be increasing redistribution of wealth. It should be promoting equality.

“On the basis of this kind of programme we should be fighting tooth and nail to halt the nationalist offensive.

“So let’s stop talking about about patriotic interest and start talking about the class interest instead.”


  1. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    The Trot group should be concentrating on their own policies and those Scottish lefties that have only one agenda which is to break from the Union.
    They all seem content to leave the Scottish people in the hands of the Tartan Tories.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      But the labour party is nationalistic, have these trots only just woken up to that fact? The labour does not now, nor has it ever represented the working class of the UK. As for breaking away from the union, well that is not going to solve the problems of capitalism in Scotland.

      • Aaron Aarons said,

        When you write that “the labour party is nationalistic”, are you referring to the imperialist patriotism of the broader U.K. Labour Party or to the (possible) Scottish nationalism of the Scottish party? The former is certainly a far greater menace to the working class of the world than is the latter. Also, are leftists supposed to be trying “to solve the problems of capitalism in Scotland” or to undermine global capitalism, one of whose main centers is the U.K., and particularly the City of London?

  2. februarycallendar said,

    I fear that McTernan may have been closer to the truth than the SNP would like to admit about the difficulties in creating “another Scandinavian country” – which was much of the rationale for Scottish independence – in practice.

    But Labour have brought their apparent Scottish collapse, which might well deny them a Commons majority, entirely on themselves; choosing a Blairite neoliberal confirms that they have learnt nothing. It pains me to admit it, but they would *deserve* such a fate.

  3. Aaron Aarons said,

    Until the Labour Party really breaks from U.K. imperialist super-nationalism, including U.K. participation in NATO, and the Scottish Labour Party, at least, rejects the presence of U.K. arms, particularly nuclear arms (Trident, etc.) in Scotland, there is no justification for any leftist to support, or even tolerate, the Scottish Labour Party, even if its actual stand on domestic, class-related, issues were better than that of the SNP, which I doubt that it is.

    The reason for internationalist leftists, wherever we are located, to have supported the Scottish independence referendum was not to support Scottish nationalism but to weaken the much more dangerous unity of imperial Britain.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Even simple logic seems beyond AA, let alone class politics:

      ” The reason …internationalist leftists … supported the Scottish independence referendum was not to support Scottish nationalism” …ehh!?!?

      • Aaron Aarons said,

        Independence is a question of institutional structure, while nationalism is ideology. The logic behind the distinction is, indeed, simple, but may be too complex for someone blinded by support for the national entity called the U.K..

        And maybe you would argue, JD, that supporting a demand for a wage increase is supporting the principle of wage labour. Or doesn’t your ‘simple logic’ apply in a situation where it would make you appear to be an ultra-leftist, or worse?

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      Aaron wishes to weaken Imperial Britain therefore weaken the trade and free movement of our merchant ships that feed us. The Kaiser and Adolf tried that and failed. Meanwhile China the would be Imperialist is building concrete islands on coral to control the sea. Poor Aaron.

      • Aaron Aarons said,

        I’m still waiting for Jim Denham or Rilke, or anybody else here associated with the AWL, to disassociate yourselves from this extreme British chauvinist, Loonie Glesga. Your silence is deafening.

  4. Rilke said,

    AA supports nationalism because he is against it…sweet, I like it. This is the same reason I spend ficticious money like a billionaire maniac on my credit cards – it is because I am really against advanced consumer capitalism and I want to bring it down via hyper inflation…sweeeet!

    • Aaron Aarons said,

      No, I don’t support Scottish nationalism. Nor do I oppose it, except in the sense that I oppose all nationalist ideology, even in cases where I support national independence movements, such as in Puerto Rico or, probably, Kurdistan. Rather, I support the breakup of the imperialist U.K..

      In the same way, if there were a referendum for Maine to secede from the U.S., I would support it, since it would probably weaken the position of the U.S. in the world.

      In both the actual case and the hypothetical one, I would make it clear that I was supporting secessionism, an anti-national action, not nationalism.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        Aaron you oppose all nationalist ideology but do not oppose Scottish Nationalist ideaology. Strange fellow.

  5. Rilke said,

    This logic means you would have supported the Confederacy or in the modern context, the INLA or in fact any revanchist movement in general, even a fascistic or racist one, as long as it appeared ‘opposed’ to larger regimes. This is the same far-left logic that claimed that the European fascist movements of the 30’s were merely a ‘side show’, as the real enemy was always French and British ‘imperialism’, even to the point of excusing the actions of Subhas Chandra Bose (the pal of Ribbentrop) and the Indien Legion that fought alongside the Waffen SS! Any of this sound familiar AA? Follows the same logic and trajectory as your justifications for ISIS and Boka Haram.

    • Aaron Aarons said,

      1) I challenge you to back up your slanderous assertion that I have provided “justifications for ISIS and Boka Haram”. Either you have a very fertile imagination or you cynically believe that others will assume that I made such justifications because you say I did.

      2) No, I would have opposed the Confederacy for the same reasons I would have opposed the slaveholders’ rebellion of 1775, Ian Smith’s UDI, or the Zionist ultra-revanchist struggle against Britain, but really against Palestine. in the 1940’s. I have made those arguments elsewhere on this blog.

      3) My understanding of the INLA is that, at one point, it was taken over by gangsters who used it for non-political purposes. But I did support the Irish struggle for reunification, and against the existence of the sectarian statelet/British colonial outpost in the North of Ireland. Of all the prominent Irish activists of the last half century with whom I am familiar, I am probably most sympathetic to the views of Bernadette Devlin (McAliskey).

      4) Because of the economic strength and imperialist nature of Germany, Italy, et al., fascism was certainly not a “side show” in the 1930’s. But it’s revealing that you wrote “French and British ‘imperialism’” with quotes around “imperialism”, as if French and British imperialism didn’t exist, while more people were suffering under those imperialisms before, during and after the war of 1939-45 than under German and Italian fascism at any time.

      5) If you’re going to condemn Subhas Chandra Bose for his collaboration with Nazi Germany, you should also condemn some of the founders and future leaders of Israel for their attempts to make an alliance with that same Nazi Germany, and for their prewar collaboration with Mussolini’s Italy, including receiving military training there. Bose’s primary activity, at least, was on behalf of Indian independence from Britain, and not on behalf of the dispossession of an indigenous population by settler colonists. Bose’s Indian National Army, BTW, which militarily collaborated with Japanese imperialism against British imperialism and was militarily defeated, is generally credited with having accelerated Britain’s postwar departure from India, partly by inspiring mutiny among Indian units of the British military, and he is regarded as a national hero.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        Since when was the piece of glaciation you call Ireland unified? Sounds rather Chauvanistic for you to say it should be reunified. What people want is far different from your ideology Herr Aaron.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Just noticed this: a vicious, filthy anti-Semitic slander: “you should also condemn some of the founders and future leaders of Israel for their attempts to make an alliance with that same Nazi Germany”.

        Sean Matgamna deals with this sort of filth here: with the contemptuous mockery such conspiracy theories deserve

        Stan Crook goes into forensic historical detail re the Stalinist origins of this vile filth, here:

  6. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    I agree with every word of AA.

    I suspect it may not be irrelevant that AA is American and so immune to the ‘her majesty’s loyal trotskyism’ epidemic that has soured so many ostensible revolutionary socialist in Britain with national chauvinism since the 70s/80s.

    Once the IRA was supported by many British lefts, now modern equivalents, such as some Middle Eastern Islamists, are condemned out of hand.

    The ignorance is outstanding. I’d suggest that the conditions for the average worker or peasant in 30s Algeria or India were equivalent different to that of the average person in France after occupation (with the important distinction that there was nothing similar to the annihilation of the Jews; and communists etc, whilst not killed out of hand were sent to oppressive penal islands.)

    So characters like Netaji (Bose) were quite correct to play off one imperialism against another and were far more rewarding than the bunk of Gandhi.

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      The British left have always denied supporting the IRA/PIRA and claimed they only supported a United Ireland. Some of the left idiots even claimed the Catholic facist terrorists were socialist. The left had an excuse for every working class person either shot bombed or tortured in Ireland. No wonder they are now a nonentity.

      • Aaron Aarons said,

        You can call the Stalinist IRA or the bourgeois-nationalist Provisional IRA ‘fascist’, but they weren’t. On the other hand, that label applies well to the sectarian defenders of Protestant supremacy. It also applies at least as accurately to the armed Zionists in Palestine who were fighting both the British state and the native population to establish Jewish supremacy in Palestine. The latter supremacy, though, required massive ‘ethnic cleansing’, since, unlike in Northern Ireland, there was no viable area in which the would-be dominant population was the majority.

        BTW, don’t you have an excuse for every German or Japanese working class person who was killed (mostly bombed or incinerated) by the armed struggle of U.S. and U.K. imperialism against German and Japanese imperialism? And their number was probably over a thousand times greater than the number of workers killed by all the Irish nationalist armed actions combined.

      • Jim Denham said,

    • Jim Denham said,

      Apologising for and/or justifying the actions and pronouncements of Bose is to side with a pro-Nazi. Inexcusable.

      Would you “anti-imperialist” pro-Nazi apologists say the same about the Irish republican Nazi collaborator Frank Ryan or, indeed, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al-Husseini who not only sided with the Nazis, but eventually formed a Waffen SS Unit (in Bosnia)for them?



      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        The same mufti was unhappy with Adolf and Mussolini for not killing enough Jews quickly enough. Strange how the Palestinian supporters have a mind block when the mufti is mentioned.

      • Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

        If I was a WW2 Irish republican, I’d certainly ask Nazis for weapons to fight the occupiers of the six counties. You appear to suggest such is pro-Nazism – I don’t know that much about Ryan other than he took part in a Nazi attempt to smuggle the Chief of Staff of the IRA into Ireland and then conduct sabotage against the occupiers of the North (the scheme failed) – all good stuff.

        Your arguments are facile. Was Lenin pro-German imperialism in accepting the ride in the their sealed train?

      • Jim Denham said,

        Germany in WW1 and at the time of Versailles was not Nazi. Lenin never lived to see the rise out Nazism. What you are justifying and excusing is pro-Nazi collaboration, plain and simple. That’s the depth or moral and political degeneracy you are your anti-Semitic co-thinker Aaron inhabit.

      • Aaron Aarons said,

        Do I have to remind you that Hajj Amin al-Husseini was chosen to be the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem not by Palestinians, but by Herbert Samuel, the Jewish, British-appointed High Commissioner of Palestine?

        And I’m sure I wouldn’t approve of the concessions Bose apparently made to the Nazis while in Europe, but I think he was right, in principle if not in detail, to ally with Japan against the British in India and Burma. At least as right, in any case, as Ho Chi Minh was to ally with French imperialism against Japan. (In fact, I think Ho, under Stalinist direction, leaned much too far in that direction and should have tried to bring the Japanese troops in Vietnam over to his side against the French once it became obvious that Japan was losing the war. Instead, he treacherously suppressed Trotskyist and nationalist opposition in order to let British troops into Saigon to, supposedly, accept the surrender of those Japanese troops, but actually to use those troops and their own to reestablish French rule.)

    • John R said,

      I look forward to reading contributions here from Mssrs Southpaw and Aarons about the punitive obligations of the Versailles Treaty. How this turned post WW1 Germany into an oppressed nation and, therefore, the struggle by Herr Hitler against its “imperialist” nature was a struggle all true socialists could support.

      Without, of course, necessarily agreeing with all of Hitler’s political programme.

      No doubt, if they have the time, they would be able to elaborate on how the “Zionists” stabbed Germany in the back leading to the Fatherland’s defeat.

      And, of course, they could both expose the reality that the Zionist Elders have all along been manipulating major historical events, control the press (even today!) and have all the money.

      All the while denouncing anti-semitism.

      • Aaron Aarons said,

        OOPS! I didn’t mean to be posting an Amazon ad. In the future, I’ll try to use non-commercial links to books I want to promote.

    • Aaron Aarons said,

      “Once the IRA was supported by many British lefts, now modern equivalents, such as some Middle Eastern Islamists, are condemned out of hand.”

      I’m not sure which Middle Eastern Islamists you’re comparing with the IRA, but the latter, even at the moments of its worst allegedly sectarian actions, never tried to impose Catholicism on Ireland, nor to drive out the Protestant population. In fact, the various nationalist factions, while perhaps occasionally referring to their base as ‘the Catholic community’, generally describe themselves as ‘nationalists’, or ‘Irish nationalists’, rather than as Catholics. And they included as part of their tradition the Irish Rebellion of 1798, led by the United Irishmen, a Protestant-majority movement. (Over the course of militarily crushing the rebellion, the Brits were able to create long-lasting division between the Presbyterians and the Catholics in the movement, partly by incorporating many of the former into what had been the Anglican Ascendancy.)

      I have no trouble celebrating actions even by Qaeda that are directed specifically against imperialism, such as the bombing of the USS Cole. But it’s hard to find anything that the IS does that is supportable.

      • Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

        How about IS deleting the Syrian / Iraqi border?

        Imposed by imperialism (although it doesn’t really matters who implemented it) and like all borders, fake?

        (Incidentally that was seen as a great positive and one of the causes for joining IS by an Iraqi {if that’s still the right term] interviewed in the British paper, the Independent, this week. He left when asked to execute people he knew and because he was offered Yazidi slave women, he says.)

        I won’t bother with further comments here. When baseless and just stupid accusations of anti-Semitism (or similar) are levelled, with no justification at all, you know there is no point in debating with those who show themselves to be stupid.

  7. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Aaron wishes to be a censor, not unexpected. Something the SWP and WRP loonies would be proud of. So what are you about Aaron or whatever your name is. What party? What trade union? Tell us Aaron what have you ever done for the working class?

    • Aaron Aarons said,

      Censor? Of what?

      And I’ve posted a lot more of my political Curriculum Vitae than you have of yours, so you go first.

  8. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Southpawpunch. The British handed over the protection of NI to the USA during the War. Over 300,000 US troops were in NI training for D Day. The IRA would not have attacked the six counties during this time although it would have been helpful if they did. The Yank Irish scumbag lobby and the Kennedy’s would have been silenced for ever.

  9. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    The Socialist! PR of China is now the 3rd largest arms exporter in the World ahead of the Iperialist UK.

    • Aaron Aarons said,

      Not sure if the PRC can still be called ‘socialist’, but, socialist or not, it is over 20 times the size of the U.K. in population, so it is likely to be ahead of the U.K. in almost every total quantitative measurement, for better or worse. It’s GDP is over 3 times that of the U.K., as measured by several major institutions, so its arms exports as a portion of GDP are still way less than those of the U.K..

  10. Rilke said,

    My point is a clear one. Imperialism, espcially when it dresses in the guise of a belated modernity arriving in a pre-industrial population produces multiple rather than single oppositions and collaborations within the oppressed peoples. Some react by wanting to remain in the blood and soil of their ancestors, some wish to retain the older state pact between crown and alter but adapt the incoming economy and technology for class advantages, some see the imposed colonial version of modernity as ‘progress’ and a chance to break the hold of crown and alter, some see it as a political opening for a different political order altogether and so on. There are of course, a whole range of differing political reactions. But my point remains the same. As Marx made clear, it is the duty of socialists and communists to clearly and ‘specifically’ differentiate among these various reactions and resistances and support those forces that are not historically and politically backward ‘in general’. To simply agglomerate these different forces into one ‘anti-imperialist’ lump is to fall into worshiping the political equivalent of ‘isolationist rural idiocy’. AA and Southpaw have made it clear that what some here regard as necessary acts of critical differentiation (about which many may disagree), they regard as merely ‘supporting Western imperialism’, or more or less a sort of racist heresy against ‘ethnic’ peoples or some such. We see an example in the way Southpaw refuses to differentiate among the IRA, PIRA, INLA and the lunatics in the IPLO (who spent most of their time murdering members of the IRSP). As Hegel stated and Marx reiterated, the slave-as-master may be social revolt, but it is not political revolution.

    • Aaron Aarons said,

      Yes, we should differentiate between different groups that come into conflict with imperialism, which is why I have politically supported, if critically, the PFLP, while not politically supporting Hamas or Fatah, though I support any of them when they come into material conflict with the Israeli state. I reject, however, the use of the idea of ‘backwardness’ as a differentiation. I would use the concept of ‘liberatory’, and related concepts, instead.

      BTW, I may have been remembering incorrectly — age and time will do that to you — when I wrote:
      “My understanding of the INLA is that, at one point, it was taken over by gangsters who used it for non-political purposes.”
      That may have been true, or just a slander, and I’m not about to research it now. (I was an active sympathizer of the IRSP’s support group in San Francisco around 1990 or so, before the controversy about the INLA erupted. Unfortunately, I remember very little of that period.)

  11. Rilke said,

    Ha ha ha, Southpaw thinks Frank Ryan made political sense using the Nazis against the British and calls it ‘good stuff’ while oblivious to the fact that the Nazi were supporting Eoin O’Duffy and the Irish Brigade who fought alongside Franco and against Ryan in the Spanish Civul War, ha ha ha, what an idiot.
    By the way, my grandfather knew Frank Ryan in Spain and according to my father, he said he was a brave and good man and that he always opposed acts of ‘terror’ against working people but that the Nazi spy masters completely ‘used’ and ‘turned’ him towards anti-English social ‘nationalism’. By all account, Ryan was deluded that he was actually ‘using’ the Nazis for the sake of ‘Ireland’, a typical ‘turned’ frame of mind. The idea that this ‘turn’ is in any way politically consistent rather than a sad and grotesque historical aberation of noble intentions, is laughable.

    • Jim Denham said,

      So your grandfather knew Frank Ryan! The assessment of him (Ryan) as “a brave and good man” , but “deluded” strikes me as almost certainly accurate. I find it easier to forgive him (and, indeed, Bose) than those who now attempt to justify what he did. Would you care to write some more about this, Rilke?

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        Jim my comment at No 8 is historically correct and the Republicans did allegedly help the Nazis by assisting the Luftwaffe pathfinders to bomb Belfast. When the USA joined in in the War the IRA activity ceased.

  12. Rilke said,

    I come from a mining village in Scotland, one of the ‘little Moscows’. My family are, or were, fourth generation coal miners, on both sides. I worked the pits for nine years. On both maternal and parternal sides, my family were wroking class fighters and autodidacts. My paternal grandfather was CP, a lifelong NUM militant and a young associate of Arthur Macmanus, and went to Moscow in 1919 as a youth delegate and was later involved in the fight in Spain. Any information I ever got about Ryan and others, was second-hand from my father that he got from my grandfather’s time in Spain,usually when my granfather had a good drink. He was always deeply moved at these moments by the fight at Jarama alongside Jock Cunningham and the heavy losses taken by the 15th and Abe Lincoln brigades in their counter attack. His time as a prisoner was always passed over in silence or with curses.
    Much of what I came to hear about the Connolly platoon was certainly anecdotal, but I have little reason to doubt it. Even the exagerations, I am sure, hold some truth of sentiment. My father told me that his father had told him that Ryan was being ‘looked after’ via Nazi contacts even while he was a ‘prisoner’ and that even though most ‘communist’ or anti-fascist prisoners were to be exchanged or executed, this would ‘never happen to Ryan’. How true this is, I do not know. It may be that this was even occuring outside Ryan’s knowledge at the time.
    Certainly, the idea that Ryan’s subsequent politics were the result of a coherent progression of his anti-imperialist ideals is nonesense, rather they are a garbled compromise resulting from traumatic defeats and historical disasters.

  13. Rilke said,

    Apologies. My father tells me it was 1927 not 1919, that my gradfather went to Moscow. Macmanus’ funeral.

  14. Jim Denham said,

    Back to Labour and Scotland: Alex Massie has some very shrewd observations to make about Miliband’s recent statement, ruling out a coalition with the SNP:

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      The article is stating nothing new. The SNP only have to wait for what they want. If they do well in this election they are bound to keep power in the next Scottish elections and they will call another referendum. The mistake they made the last time was that they should have called the referendum much sooner.

    • Joe Baxter said,

      Massie is shilling for the Tories – it is in his interest to portray Miliband as weak against the SNP and to support the idea that a vote for Labour will be a vote to install the SNP in Government in the UK Parliament. Massie pretends that Milliband is answering a question no-one is asking when ruling out a coalition with the SNP yet he must know that that question has been routinely asked of Labour politicians in the last few weeks. For example in an interview on Sunday Politics Scotland last week a Labour Shadow Minister was repeatedly asked to rule out a coalition with the SNP to the extent that the interview barely had any other content.

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