Just who the f**k does Alex Salmond think he is?

March 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm (Asshole, democracy, Jim D, labour party, populism, scotland, Tory scum)

Above: the Tories wasted no time in rushing out this bizarre video

One thing emerged very clearly from Alex Salmond’s appearance on the Andrew Marr Show: the Scottish Nationalists are bare-faced opportunists and liars. Nicola Sturgeon has already back-tracked on the SNP promise not to vote on issues that effect only England; on Sunday Salmond made it clear that his earlier promise that the referendum would settle the question of Scottish separation “for a generation” has also gone by the board. He hinted in unmistakable terms that a pledge to hold a new referendum is likely to be included in the SNP’s 2016 Holyrood manifesto.

But it was his arrogant boast that the SNP would, in effect, control the policies of a future Labour government that was most memorable: “If you hold the balance, you hold the power” he gloated. Socialists should not be taken in by Salmond’s claim that the SNP would use its power to insist on some policies of which we might approve (dumping Trident and moving away from austerity): Salmond’s vision of the SNP as the force that will make or break a Labour government is both profoundly anti-democratic and a calculated gift to the Tories. Say what you will about Salmond, he’s not an idiot, and knows full well that his arrogant boasts about holding Labour to ransom (the accurate description used by the Tory press) make it more likely that the Tories will win in May – something that it’s pretty obvious that the SNP leadership relishes.

And, of course, the SNP has form when it comes to de facto support for the Conservatives.

Despite the Scottish Labour Party’s disastrous choice of the wretched Blairite Murphy as its leader, serious people who want a Labour government know that a Labour vote is essential everywhere – including Scotland.

Miliband should make it clear that no deal of any kind (including so-called “confidence and supply”) is on offer to Salmond, Sturgeon and the Tartan Tories.

And a final point: Alex Salmond is not the leader of the SNP and even if he is elected to Westminster in May, he won’t lead the party there (that role will remain with Angus Robertson). So who the f**k does this potential back-bencher think he is, to be dictating terms to anyone?

24 Comments

  1. februarycallendar said,

    I fear this is all too true; it is in the SNP’s active electoral interests to portray and depict all English people, especially those outside the major cities, as kneejerk petty-nationalist Mail-reading bigots, and to cancel out and crush out of the equation the substantial numbers, even outside the major cities, who aren’t. Scaring middle Englanders off voting Labour is a huge help for them, especially if they try another referendum so soon.

    Hitchens Minor, interestingly, has similar suspicions to those expressed here.

  2. Mike Killingworth said,

    Salmond thinks he’s the guy that the media want to talk to. Which he is.

  3. damon said,

    The way I see it, it’s just politics and such intrigue and partisanship has always gone on. The SNP will have a block of votes in a parliament that may not have a clear majority. The same as lots of countries where coalitions are the norm.
    Potentially we could have all kinds of sectional interests represented in parliament. Like a Muslim party or some such.
    I think it makes things interesting myself.

  4. Rosie said,

    Salmond can’t lose. Either Labour depends on SNP votes or a Tory government gets in & the SNP can go on about this not being the government Scotland voted for. He’s ramping up nationalism both English and Scottish. Scottish politics is poisonous at the moment. Everyone, whatever party, is having to be more Scottish than that yin. Salmond really is hoping for a Tory win without the SNP joining with them on a vote by vote basis. Sturgeon said she would recommend the English voting for the Greens – anything rather than Labour & she knows that the Greens would hurt the Labour vote not the Tories. The SNP are dying for a Tory win so they can be the perpetual party in Opposition.

    The kind of low-level nationalism – the sort that meant ribbing, and a feeling of satisfaction if a Scots sports team beat an English one, or voting for the Scottish entry on X-factor– has now poured into politics. The idea that Westminster politicians should work represent “Scotland” instead of (a) working for their constituency; (b) working for the general good of the UK, however construed, has really planted itself.

  5. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Unfortunately Labour have to date been unable to portray the SNP as a right wing anti socialist party which they are. The SNP have the power to tax but will not. They just want to moan and attempt to extract more than their fair share of money from the treasury. I still think the English will eventually say fuck off and have your little parochial state.

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      Rosie when it comes to moaners the Scots are the creme de la creme. Some time back in the old days we were at the forefront of enterprise and invention. Sad to see we are reduced to a food bank welfare state with the SNP pariahs sponging from the poor vote while not prepared to raise taxes and giving public money to their pals in the former publicly owned railways and bus industry. Fucking Tartan Tories.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        Trouble is, when you go back to the dark days of nationalisation and council run services you create a sense of dependency in the population. Like if the train/bus is late it’s the cooncils fault, or is the toilet/lift doesn’t work you have to ring the “cooncil” to get it sorted. I don’t know why this is, perhaps some outside agency should look into this. I think probably the cooncil should dee it?

  6. Rosie said,

    Ruth Davidson has her own Tory take on it. She’s a more attractive politician than Salmond & pretty good at forthright expression. I think she may be optimistic that Salmond’s antics are damaging the SNP in Scotland. They’re high in the opinion polls & sticking it to the English, especially the posh English, does stroke the Jock-cock – even those who ultimately think that Scotland is better off being part of the UK.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/ruth-davidson-even-scots-are-scared-of-salmond-holding-miliband-to-ransom-10130097.html

    “Their life mission may be to make London the capital of a foreign country but Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon seem to have set up shop here in recent weeks. Having failed to convince Scots of their plan for separation, they’re now trying to convince England that it’s inevitable and — despite the referendum result to the contrary — that Scotland now is a different country regardless. Go on chaps, they urge, Scotland has one foot out the door already, why not just sign the divorce papers and get it over with.

    It’s a clever trick but don’t be fooled. I’m also in London today to attend the last Cabinet meeting before the election. And I want to set out a simple truth: the SNP is not Scotland and Scotland is not the SNP.

    When Salmond talks of planning to hold a weak Miliband government to ransom, that doesn’t just scare people south of the border, it scares many, many Scots too.”

    • Shachtmanite (@Shachtmanite) said,

      That Scotland can produce a Tory leader who one doesn’t want to throttle the life out of every time she opens her mouth is in itself surely significant…

      And if the centre of political gravity in England was not so much farther to the right than it is in Scotland our Tories too might still Davidsons rather than Camerons and Osbornes.

      But it is not and that is the massive underlying problem that all our nostalgia for the days when class still trumped identity politics can not make go away.

  7. Steven Johnston said,

    Wot, does this mean that the bankers, financiers and capitalists no longer call the shots? Since when did they agree to let Salmond decide what a government can & can’t do?

  8. Shachtmanite (@Shachtmanite) said,

    I too am terrified that we will be stuck with a Tory govt after May 7th because Lab has lost 30 or more seats to the SNP – and that the Tories will then with or without the acquiescence of the Nationalists liquidate the UK to ensure their permanent dominance.

    But that is happening because a very large segment of the Scottish working class (and by some definitions a majority) has finally decided that they have had enough of a UK in which Tories have been in govt for two-thirds of the last 140 years.

    Rather than falling prey to the Salmond Derangement Syndrome exhibited by the Tory press we need to revisit what Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky etc actually said about the national question.

    While I am too busy to work my way through the dozens of references to Ireland at marxists.org, my own recollection is that Marx and Engels did not bitterly denounce the Fenians and Parnellites for daring to challenge the British state but were broadly supportive of Irish (and Polish, Italian etc) nationalism without any illusions whatsoever about its class nature.

    Like it or not Scotland has gone.

    The only question is whether some sort of loose federal relationship can be cobbled together to retain at least the shell of the UK or whether Scotland will become fully independent within surely not much more than the next decade.

    That this will be a disaster for the people left behind in the rump-UK is self-evident.

    That any hopes Scots have of seeing their lives radically improve just because the Union Jack is hauled down over Holyrood will be soon disappointed is equally self-evident.

    Nevertheless it is a disaster that the English (and not Scots or Welsh) electorate has brought on itself by for decade after decade after decade of voting for Tories – and by forcing Labour further and further to the right in order to have any hope of winning the bourgeois democratic game at all.

    And on May 7th we’ll almost certainly do it again.

    But for the first time since the 1950s there will no longer be that solid block of 40+ Scottish Labour MPs to partly redress that permanent electoral imbalance and perhaps save us once again from the terrible consequences of the irredeemable mass fuckwittery that becomes more and more pervasive the further south you get from Hadrian’s Wall.

    I am not setting myself up as the apologist for Scottish Nationalism down here – I too wish that it would just disappear and let us focus on the class war.

    But however much we bemoan their betrayal of proletarian internationalism the Scottish people are clearly no longer listening – just as the Irish electorate stopped listening first to the Liberals they had loyally elected en masse before 1874 and then eventually in 1918 to the Home Rulers they replaced them with.

    And did socialists after 1874 and 1918 join the Tory press in demonising Irish nationalism and its leaders?

    Sure there is a big argument about whether C19 and early C20 Ireland and C21 Scotland are truly analogous – but that is all entirely academic now in that 45% of Scots (and progressively larger percentages of the younger Scots who will decide the next referendum) have however ahistorically decided that they are…

    • Steven Johnston said,

    • Jim Denham said,

      “And did socialists after 1874 and 1918 join the Tory press in demonising Irish nationalism and its leaders?”

      No, Maxie, but the Irish really *were* oppressed – the Scots aren’t.

      • Mike Killingworth said,

        I’m not sure that the Irish were oppressed after the collapse of coercion (was that the 1890s?). What fuelled Sinn Fein in 1918 was memory. And all Celts have very long memories. Irishmen living in London to-day still hate the English – it’s how they honour their peasant ancestors…

      • Steven Johnston said,

        Apart from the working class Scots that is. Capitalism oppresses them. Like it oppresses all members of the working class.

      • Shachtmanite (@Shachtmanite) said,

        I did specifically raise that question myself in my last para…

        However in what other senses than denial of their national rights were Irish voters at elections from 1874 to 1918 oppressed?

        They had same voting rights and same level of representation as mainland UK citizens.

        The peasantry was oppressed by rack-renting landlords but so were the agricultural population of Scotland, England and Wales – the difference being that as the Irish fought back they gained real and radical land reform and were in many respects better off by 1918 than their counterparts across the Irish Sea.

        Irish factory workers were no more or no less exploited than their counterparts in Glasgow or Manchester or Cardiff.

        Legal discrimination against Catholics (and nonconformists) had ended in 1829 and by 1874 the British state was actually subsidising the Catholic clergy.

        Sure they had Coercion Acts which suppressed civil rights – but those were a response to their effective use of direct action to oppose the state and ruling class and were themselves defeated by that same direct action and by the tactics of the Irish Nationalists in Parliament.

        Plus the various Coercion Acts were based on legislation that had been earlier used to suppress American and British radicals (and were to be dusted off and used again in time of war).

        And as I said at the end of my comment whether the situation is historically analogous or not (and obviously it is not on many, many levels) Scottish Nats (and British Unionists whenever they resort to terms like ‘Home Rule’ – to defuse their demands, or deploy as Tories increasingly are very similar language to that used by the great-great-grandparents to demonise them – look for instance at 1880s editions of Punch featuring giant vampire bats with Parnell’s face preparing to violate sleeping maidens…) are now acting and more importantly voting as if it is.

        Reading the recent Salmond interview with Fraser Nelson for instance it’s clear to me that Alex has indeed been looking at Parnell’s and his successor’s strategies.

        I don’t like it any more than you do but Scottish and UK politics has now changed, changed utterly (and it hasn’t even needed the Royal Artillery to shell Edinburgh Post Office or the tying of a crippled Alex Salmond to a chair so we can shoot him to bring this about) and we have to start coming to terms with it…

  9. Rosie said,

    Enjoyed this comment over at HP:-

    I am longing for the interview, or the public occasion, in which someone (preferably Scottish) turns round to Eck and says words akin to the following:

    ‘Excuse me, Mr Salmond, but who do you think you are?

    You are no longer the First Minister of the Scottish Government, and you are not even re-elected to Westminster yet, but you are acting as though you will have a mandate to fundamentally transform the domestic and foreign policies of the United Kingdom after May 2015.

    You lost the Independence Referendum last year, despite the fact that it was rigged to maximise your vote – with the voting age reduced to 16, Scots in the rest of the UK being denied a vote, questions on the ballot paper phrased in your favour, and a campaign prolonged to time with the Bannockburn anniversary – and to hear you crowing you’d think that 55% of Scots voted ‘Yes’.

    You lied to the Scottish people about the economic sustainability of an independent state, let your more thuggish supporters taint pro-Unionist voters as traitors, and you have broken your word to respect the outcome of the referendum as settling the matter of independence for at least a generation. Why are you therefore pretending that you represent some cleaner, and more honest form of politics? Why are you saying that you have united Scotland around a ‘dream’, when in fact you have done your utmost to divide them?

    You are a loser, Mr Salmond. You have no right to speculate about your party’s role in future UK politics, because you don’t even lead it any more. You have no right to shape decisions of crucial national importance (such as on defence and the deterrent) when you don’t even sit in Westminster. And you have no right to speak for Scotland when the majority of its citizens have freely and fairly voted to remain part of the UK, and to reject your separatism.

    Until you get yourself re-elected, you are nothing. You are just a better groomed and slightly more coherent version of Russell Brand. Unless you can find yourself a job on ‘Russia Today’ as a pundit (which is well within your capability) why do you think you have the right to any air-time whatsoever.

    Your opinion on the future direction of Scotland and the UK as a whole is as relevant as Jimmy Krankie’s. If we want an SNP take on the election and the next step for Scotland and the UK, there’s someone called Nicola Sturgeon we can talk to.

    So in the meantime, and unless you can come up with a convincing reason why you should matter, would you kindly bugger off into obscurity and cease with the shit-stirring?’

    • Shachtmanite (@Shachtmanite) said,

      Yep Alex is a man who these days resembles nothing so much as a whipped dog…

      This is all just wishful thinking by people who cannot accept that the Nats have already won this war and all that is left is a long-drawn out negotiation over the exact terms of the UK’s surrender.

      Indeed ‘losing’ the referendum so those negotiations do get paced out over a decade or so was extraordinarily fortuitous given that most forecasters estimate world oil prices are only likely to hit pre-referendum highs again in the early 2020s.

      Plus it really would be extremely helpful if the Catalans now get to pioneer the complex process for leaving an EU state without losing EU membership.

      Of course there are many slips between cups and lip but they are all now down to how long the UK ruling class (and an English electorate which they may very soon wish they hadn’t reduced to quite such a level of erratic and xenophobic imbecility) takes to reconcile themselves to what they surely know is inevitable.

      If the Tories do hang on to power this time and if in a worst case scenario they contrive to get ourselves kicked out of the EU on English votes alone it may all end very messily indeed.

      Should Labour somehow fall across the line and promise devolution for all then some sort of bodged up quasi-federal solution may preserve Scotland in an increasingly unsustainable UK for a few more years.

      Either way the UK as we knew it is dead and at some point it will need to be properly buried.

  10. John R said,

    I’m Scottish (living in Wales) and my immediate family in Glasgow (ex-SSP voters) voted “No” in the Referendum. I was glad the way the vote went as well.

    However, Alex Salmond cannot be underestimated. He would not be getting the column inches if the SNP were not doing so well.

    Are the present SNP leadership jealous of him? Maybe yes, maybe no. But they can’t be unhappy as to how he’s winding up English nationalism to his party’s benefit.

    It’s a bizarre election we’ve got coming up. Today we received a Ukip leaflet attacking Labour from the Left (against Labour’s NHS privatisation, opposing illegal wars, for colour-blind immigration policies…). Of course, it’s all bullshit but it’s the same populist bullshit the SNP have been peddling for years.

    If Scotland splits away, the consequence will be (Ireland analogy) will be a “carnival of reaction” as there will be a battle on both sides of the border towards a low-tax “enterprise” economy with all that means for living standards.

    The people who really piss me off though are those lefties who dress this up as a socialist Scottish national liberation struggle. If (when?) the split comes, the hangover will be immense and they will have been the ones dancing to Salmond’s tune, not Ed Miliband.

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      John R. If Scotland goes independent and wishes to compete economically with England then by what means will Scotland move its exports and what guarantee will it be via English roads? And moreso if England leaves the EU. We in Scotland cannot expect to encroach in English sovereignty.

  11. Adam said,

    It’s “anti-democratic” for a party elected in a majority of seats of a constituent nation in the UK to have any influence on who forms the government of the UK? What a pathetic victim fantasy that is, especially considering English constituencies make up well over 80% of seats in the House of Commons. If neither of the Big Two can convince voters in England (*over 80%* of seats!) to give them a majority, that is entirely their fault, not ours and not that of anyone else.

    Labour are polling so terribly in Scotland right now because they’ve spent far too long treating the whole country like one big safe seat, where they are not required to justify their own existence in any way or do anything but hate the SNP. The terrifyingly deranged anger from south of the border about MPs acting in Scotland’s interests holding the balance of power completely undermines everything that was said in the referendum campaign about Scots having “the best of both worlds”, and will contribute far more to the end of the United Kingdom than anything Salmond himself could do.

  12. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Steven Johnston. I do not see anything dark about people who pay their tax expecting services. That is the point of paying tax, surely! And those services in the receipt of our tax are answerable for the services they provide, surely!

  13. Rilke said,

    Rosa was correct on the Polish and ‘national’ question, Vladimir was in error in that instance.

    • Shachtmanite (@Shachtmanite) said,

      Because all those dead Poles (and all the live ones to who just can’t wait to be welcomed back into the warm embrace of Putins reborn Russian empire). count for nothing…

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