Open letter to a socialist supporter of the SNP

April 7, 2015 at 5:21 pm (capitulation, class collaboration, elections, labour party, middle class, populism, posted by JD, reactionay "anti-imperialism", scotland)

By Ann Field (at the Workers Liberty website)

Dear Jimmy,

A few weeks ago we carried a series of articles arguing for a Labour vote rather than a Green vote in the general election.

The arguments in the articles were all very calm, cool and collected, a series of reflections on the fact that whatever the apparent attractiveness of – at least some – Green policies might be, this did not justify calling for a vote for the Greens.

But when it comes to arguing with people like yourself – socialists who are calling for a vote for the SNP in the general election – I don’t think that the same measured and moderate approach is justified.

That’s because I think you’ve simply lost the plot.

It’s true, I admit, that this isn’t a conclusion I’ve reached overnight. It’s a conclusion which I began to reach during last year’s referendum campaign, when your eyes started to glaze over at the prospect of Scottish independence.

From a socialist point of view, your arguments made no sense at all. You seemed to argue – in fact, you did argue – that the referendum was an opportunity to pass judgement on all the bad things British imperialism and the British state has done over the past 300 years.

(As part of the imperialist centre, Scotland had been just as “guilty” of all those bad things as Britain. But that basic historical fact, like so much else, simply passed you by.)

You also argued that the very existence of the British state was an obstacle to democratic and working-class advance in Scotland. (It was the only time that the working class got even a passing mention in your delirious pro-independence outpourings.)

I don’t know if you came up with that argument yourself, or whether it’s something you picked up from the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) website: “The single biggest obstacle to the Scottish people building a better society is the British state, the Westminster regime, the Crown powers.”

(If you did pick it up from the SSP website, I’m surprised that someone who prides himself on being a class-struggle socialist didn’t find anything odd about this statement. Such as the reference to “the Scottish people” rather than the Scottish (or British) working class. Or the vague reference to “a better society” rather than to workers power and socialism.)

Either way, your argument didn’t make sense.

The British state and the “Westminster regime” can hardly be said to be impervious to reform. In fact, they’ve been subject to quite a lot of reforms over the past 300 years.

How else, for example, could there be such a thing as the universal franchise? Something of a step forward, I’m sure you’d agree, compared with the franchise which existed in Scotland (and England) in 1707.

Sure, the British state is an obstacle to achieving workers power. And it certainly does contain feudal leftovers, such as the Crown powers, which are absent in other states.
But the reason why the British state is an obstacle is not because it’s British or because the Houses of Parliament are located in Westminster rather than Milton Keynes. It’s because it’s a capitalist state, and that’s why capitalist states exist.

It’s not really a difficult argument to get your head around.

Your argument – and that of the SSP – that Scottish independence was a necessity because of the nature of the British state struck me at the time as being about as logical as arguing for independence for Bavaria because Article 14 of the German constitution guarantees private property.

Or arguing for independence for Texas because: a) it has a lot of oil (cf. Scotland); b) it would be a blow against US imperialism (cf. blow against British imperialism). In fact, I do recall some members of the SSP advocating independence for Texas for precisely those reasons.

But there was one thing you were crystal-clear about during the referendum campaign.

You did NOT support the SNP. You had NOTHING IN COMMON with the SNP. You were a socialist, NOT a nationalist. It was a GROSS SLANDER to suggest that you were accommodating to the SNP and to nationalism in calling for a ‘Yes’ vote.

But now you’re calling a vote for the SNP.

I will say, however: credit where credit’s due. At least you’re open about calling for a vote for the SNP. Unlike all those people in and around the ‘Radical’ Independence Campaign who are backing the SNP but too shamefaced (and dishonest) to admit it.

Some people might regard it as an impolite way to put it, but I’ll say it anyway: your arguments for a vote for the SNP for garbled, incoherent and completely off-the-wall. (In that sense, I would concede, they are a ‘logical’ extension of your call for a ‘Yes’ vote.)

Argument number one: Labour are Red Tories. There’s no difference between Labour and the Tories.

Not much to say in response to this. Other than that it shows just how far removed you are from reality. To say that Labour’s policies are woefully inadequate is true, and I’d agree with you if that was your argument. But to argue that there’s simply no difference is really quite whacky.

In fact, given Labour policies such as increasing the higher rate of income tax, increasing corporation tax, introducing a mansion tax, taxing bankers’ bonuses, and limiting the use of zero hours contracts, the difference between Labour and Tory policies is probably greater than it has been at any point over the last twenty years.

(I agree to your inevitable objection: Given how far to the right Labour shifted under Blair, it’s not difficult to move to the left from that starting point. But that shift has taken place and needs to be registered.)

And even if there really was no difference between Labour and the Tories – as if trade unions have 50% of the vote at Tory Party conferences! – this would, at most, be a reason not to vote Labour. It would not be a reason to vote SNP instead.

Argument number two: Getting more SNP MPs to Westminster would keep a Labour government on the left and ensure it implemented what the SNP calls its progressive policies.

Logic never was your strong point, was it?

If Labour are Red Tories (argument number one), then there is no way the SNP could push them to the left (argument number two). And if Labour are Red Tories (argument number one), then how could they have progressive policies which could be implemented only thanks to a contingent of SNP MPs (argument number two)?

There’s also the obvious point that you don’t get a Labour government unless lots of people vote Labour (including voting for Labour candidates far removed from socialist politics). Voting SNP instead of Labour makes the chances of a Labour government (which the SNP would supposedly push to the left) less likely.

Yes, the Labour right wing in Scotland is making a big thing out of this argument. And yes, you and the SNP can accuse them of scaremongering (just as in the referendum anyone who pointed out that the SNP’s sums did not add up was accused of scaremongering).

But that does not alter the fact that more seats for the SNP mean less chance of a Labour government and more chance of a Tory government.

Your argument number two also has no more in common with reality than your argument number one.

Example one: Since last September Labour has had a policy of increasing corporation tax (unfortunately by just 1%). SNP policy throughout the referendum campaign was that an independent Scotland would cut corporation tax by 3%. This policy was abandoned by the SNP only last month.

A straightforward question: Has Labour adopted a policy of increasing corporation tax under pressure from the SNP? Or has the SNP dropped its policy of cutting corporation tax to con Labour voters into believing that a contingent of SNP MPS would ensure a Labour government implement its progressive policies?

(In this case: a progressive policy which the SNP still does not support, even if, for the last four weeks, it has abandoned support for a cut in corporation tax.)

Example two: In January 2014 Labour announced that it would restore the 50% rate of income tax for top earners. The SNP has consistently rejected that policy: there would be no tax rises in an independent Scotland. This policy of no 50% tax rate was dropped by the SNP just one week ago.

Another straightforward question: Did Labour decide to restore the 50% tax rate under pressure from the SNP? Or is the SNP’s one-week old support for the 50% tax rate another attempt to con Labour voters into switching to voting SNP?

And the SNP’s promises to work with Labour in Westminster but – heaven forbid! – NEVER with the Tories does not sit very well alongside their record in Holyrood.

Or did you miss that interview with Annabelle Goldie (former Tory leader in Holyrood) in the “Daily Record”, the one where she said:

“They (the SNP) were quite happy to work with us when they needed to. Alex Salmond knew he could not get agreement from Labour. When he had to get support for his budget, I don’t remember him jumping up and down and saying he cannot do business with the Tories.

Alex Salmond took those Tory votes and Alex Salmond was glad to get them. What suited him in 2007 and 2008 and in the ensuing years of minority government is the very thing now he says he’ll have no truck with.”

The SNP is not a political force to push a Labour government to the left. In words of one syllable, John McDonnell (leader of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs) explained why not in an article in the “Daily Record” last week:

“Given their track record in Scotland of supporting cuts in public spending, their attempts to race to the bottom on tax and in privatising rail and now the ferries, there is a huge divide between what socialists in the Labour Party stand for and the nationalists of the SNP.

What we (the Labour Left) want are the exact opposite of the cuts and privatisation programmes inflicted on the Scottish people by the SNP. You can’t be an austerity party in Scotland and expect to be taken seriously as an anti-austerity party anywhere else.

A vote for the SNP is a vote for their version of austerity. Worse, voting for the SNP might help the Tories stay in power. That would be a massive blow for the working class in Scotland and England.”

In fact, it’s really quite sad – although I think a more aggressive expression would not be out of place – to see SSP members out on the streets campaigning to unseat Labour MPs who share John McDonnell’s politics.

Do you really think that unseating Katy Clark and replacing her by an SNP right-winger is going to: a) help bring about a Labour government; b) push that Labour government to the left?

Argument number three: Voting SNP and sending as many SNP MPs as possible to Westminster is a way to fight back against austerity.

That’s an odd argument.

Just seven months ago you were telling me that there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that you could fight austerity at Westminster, that austerity was INSEPARABLE FROM the very existence of the British state, and that’s why Scotland HAD TO ACHIEVE independence.

But now you’re telling me that you can fight austerity at Westminster after all! It all depends on who gets elected and on the basis of what politics! I suppose I should be flattered that you now agree with one of my anti-independence arguments, even if it’s taken you seven months to get round to parroting it.

But now you’ve come up against a new problem: the SNP’s own record of ‘fighting’ austerity. Because, for all their demagogy, soundbites and rhetoric, their ‘opposition’ to austerity consists of implementing it.

Since 2007 the SNP have cut 130,000 places in Further Education colleges, the main route for working-class youth into Higher Education. That’s why class inequalities in Scottish education have remained unchanged under the SNP.

More cuts have been imposed on the fire service under the SNP than under any other Holyrood government. The SNP member who was the FBU’s Scottish Regional Secretary got his just rewards for agreeing to those cuts by being booted out of office last year, losing the election by 20% to 80%.

There is a chronic shortage of nurses in the Scottish NHS. Accident and Emergency (A&E) services in the Scottish NHS are in a state of crisis, performing even worse than in England. More people are waiting longer for A&E treatment.

But the SNP government’s spending on the NHS remains proportionately lower than the Con-Dem coalition’s. What has increased under the SNP is spending on private healthcare – up by 47% since 2011, amounting to £100 millions.

Since 2007 Scottish government funding of local authorities has been cut by 24% in real terms, even though, using the SNP’s own figures, the cut in the Westminster grant to Scotland has been less than half that (10%). SNP-controlled councils have passed on those funding cuts by axing jobs and services.

SNP-controlled Dundee Council is currently implementing £8 millions worth of cuts. The SNP-Labour coalition in Edinburgh is now imposing £22 millions worth of cuts, axing 1,200 council jobs, and withdrawing £11 millions of funding for voluntary sector organisations.

When the Procurement Reform Bill was going through Holyrood the SNP voted down Labour amendments requiring that at least the Living Wage was paid by any employer awarded a public contract (although, to better masquerade as the workers’ friend, the SNP has now changed its policy on the Living Wage as well).

This is not the record of a party committed to fighting austerity. It’s the record of a party which implements austerity.

And the SNP’s demand for Full Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland (FFA, which is what the SNP really wants from the next Westminster government) would mean more austerity.

The last Institute for Fiscal Studies report and the last Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland report both confirm that replacing the Barnett Formula by FFA would result in an annual shortfall of around £6.5 billions. This could be plugged only by tax rises or spending cuts involving massive job losses.

In the referendum campaign the SNP’s answer to this shortfall was: oil. But since last September the price of oil has fallen from $110 a barrel to $50 a barrel.

The SNP’s figures never stack up. But they carry on regardless. And when anyone points this out, the response from people like you is: Scaremongering!

Argument number four: Voting SNP, sending SNP MPs to Westminster instead of Labour ones, and the resulting hung Parliament will create new openings for working-class and socialist politics.

This is no more than your referendum refrain of ‘an independent Scotland will create openings for the working class’ applied to the general election. Now we’re supposed to believe that replacing Labour MPs by SNP ones is going to boost working-class politics.

It was nonsense then. And it’s even more nonsensical now.

The SNP is not a working-class party. It has no links to the trade unions. It is not a vehicle for working-class political representation. It does not claim to be any of these things. And it does not want to be any of these things.

Sorry to state the obvious, but the SNP is a nationalist party. That’s why its election material talks about Scotland, not class, and why it appeals to voters’ national identities, not their class identities:

“The general election is Scotland’s opportunity to make our voice heard loudly and clearly. Whatever the outcome in May, only one party is stronger for Scotland: the SNP. More SNP seats – more power for Scotland.”

That’s the message from SNP politicians as well. According to Stewart Hosie: “The general election is Scotland’s opportunity to hold real power at Westminster.”

(Scotland to hold real power at Westminster? Something you and the SNP were telling me only a few months ago was absolutely impossible! And yet the SNP claims that they are the one party you can trust!)

And that’s the message that people are buying into on the doorstep.

That this is not an election in which the different competing parties represent different class interests (however inadequately in the case of Labour). It is not an election in which you vote to decide which party will form the next government. It is an election in which you vote for which party will best represent Scotland.

(If you haven’t noticed that, you should get out more.)

Politics ceases to be a matter of conflicting class interests. Instead, it becomes one of competing national interests. And that is truly fatal to any prospect of advancing a specifically working-class political agenda.

You probably still have enough leftovers from your socialist politics in you to recognise that the statement “You’re a traitor to your country” is an inherently right-wing statement.

But when the SNP denounces Labour Party members as “traitors to Scotland” for having voted ‘No’, you delude yourself into believing that’s the stuff of a working-class break from Labour to the left rather than a collapse into nationalism.

The SNP is not a vehicle for your avowed socialist politics. It’s the object of your fantasies. And your fantasies are a measure of your own collapse into nationalism and your readiness to be a self-deluding satrap for the SNP.

In fact, when I wrote above that you had lost the plot, I was really being too charitable. Politically, you’ve clearly lost the will to live.

Yours, most certainly not in solidarity:

Anne Field

18 Comments

  1. Juan P. Lewis said,

    I’ve sent this to some friends. I’m afraid it won’t do much good. Nationalism is impervious to argument, because it’s based on metaphysics more than anything. It will be very difficult to bring votes galvanised by the YES defeat, at least for the time being. The only possibility is that if the SNP gets a good number of MPs, they’ll have to make decisions, and possibly disappoint a lot of newcomers who spent the pre-referendum days claiming that it was not about the SNP, to jump to the SNP bandwagon on 19 Sept. They, however, might become abstainers.

    The interesting thing will be seeing all those lefty-posers trying to out-left Labour by voting for a party whose policies are to the right of Labour.

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      The SNP are not socialist and never will be. They have manged to con some ex leftie Labour into the fold with promises of socialist policies. Those ex leftie Labour members have been told to remain silent until the great nationalist quest is over. How thick are they. The SNP have powers to tax and do not use it. Wake up lefties the SNP are Nationalist Capitalists who are controlled by middle class lawyers who have no interest in trade union rights or the working class.

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Comrade Dave writes:

    Hi

    While I enjoyed Anne Fields polemic in the open letter to a socialist voting SNP. I cant help but feel its addressed to one tendency in the Scottish left while missing a much broader swathe of leftish opinion in Scotland and elsewhere.

    There is a loose grouping of Stalinists, ex Trotskyists and stalinoid Trotskyists whose long march away from class politics had led them into being be the left wing auxiliaries of the SNP. Tommy Sheridan is the most obvious example of this. On the way they have shed nearly all of what working class internationalism they ever had but retain the sectarianism and fondness for heresy hunting learnt from old organisations. This is the tendency Anne Field is addressing.

    However there is a much wider, larger group of politically healthier people attracted to support for the SNP, or people in England and Wales hoping they do well. This was who Nicola Sturgeon was addressing in the leaders debate. Often they will be desperate for an end to austerity and ukip driven anti migrant racism. Whilst the SNPs nationalism or Cyber Nat jingoism doesn’t convince them SNPs current rhetoric of an anti austerity government does. As does the talk of scrapping trident and Nicola Sturgeon not joining in the anti immigrant bidding war. I don’t think Anne Fields letter would convince these people who are considering a SNP vote from anti austerity desperation rather then separatism.

    The point of SCLV and working class socialists in general should be to win people to independent working class politics, the idea of the working class majority the world over striking politically and economically in their own class interest but also fighting for the emancipation of humanity.

    A start is to get the organs of working class resistance such as they exist; The unions and in this country the party they linked with, Labour, to begin to act decisively as a tool of working class power.

    That is a tall order, and can seem utopian. However if a divided battered socialist movement staggering under the weight of defeats and the legacy stalinism, has managed to win arguments on social control of the banks, transport, energy and for heavily progressive taxes on the rich, we can make a start on winning people to the arguments for a workers government.

    But to do that need to point out that the anti austerity government proffered by Sturgeon is a mirage. Not only as Anne Field pointed out the SNP are imposing austerity and privatisation now in Scotland, but because the SNPs separatism and its nationalism undermines the unity and solidarity of a working class that alone had the power to end austerity.

    The SNP will always be a party that thinks the interests of a multi millionaire anti union boss like Brian Souter who happens to be Scottish is more important then the struggles of student’s or workers who happen to be English. The labour party by contrast is still linked to a united labour movement of millions across Britain. They unions provide most of the money, many of the activists and many of the voters Labour relies on. It can be transformed into a true mass workers party. The SNP may sway left or right depending on the political mood but it will never be a working class party. We need to persuade people made desperate by austerity to spurn the dust to win the prize.

    Dave

    • redkorat☭ (@red_korat) said,

      Me and other comrades have been saying this for years and have had derision heaped upon our heads for our trouble. It’s impossible to talk to nats about any of this as they become extremely emotional about it very quickly.

  3. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    The SNP helped bring Labour down 1979 knowing the Tories would run amock with the working class. The Tories privatised the buses 1986 knowing their pals would maks vast ammounts of dosh. Mr Souter donates to the SNP. Just how thick are the lefties that support or associate themselves with the SNP!

  4. Rilke said,

    There are a number of other points that need to be added to the original post. First, the great political enemy of the SNP in Scotland is not the British Conservative Party or the much vaunted but rarely defined ‘Westmisnter elite’. In order for the SNP to gain power and votes they must attack and destroy the Labour Party. This is in effect, what they have been consistently doing. The SNP strategic aim is secession from the UK, that is obvious enough. They want independence and so the strategic aim is to break with the ‘Westminster elite’ and the Union etc etc. But tactically they must smash the Labour Party in Scotland as the Labour Party is the biggest political obstacle to them. They must and have been, playing this double game for the last ten years.
    This kind of double game is a win/win in political terms as it allows you to attack the ‘establishment’ as corrupt and contrary to ‘Scottish values’ and other vague and dangerous guff. But it also allows you to attack Labour’s opposition as weak and culpable.
    Second, Sturgeon and Salmond have done a very good job of keeping their core crazies out of the limelight and away from full political gaze. Ask even SNP voters if they know who their regional secretaries, local SMPs and treasurers are and so on, and you get blank looks. All they know is Salmond and Sturgeon. I do know these lieutenant figures and I have listened to the SNP conference speeches on the radio and so on, it makes your hair stand on end, they are genuine anti-English flag-waving nutcases, ranting about ‘taking back Berwick’ and so on. No joke! They have also managed to cover up their political roots in social fascism and ethnic nationalism assocaited with the likes of Siol Nan Gaidheal (who are still around) and figures such as Arthur Donaldson. You will find no mention of these Scottish ‘nationalists’ on any SNP information or on their Wikipedia info.
    Third, it is also true that good and effective Labout Party people of any stature and finesse have habitually left Scotland as a ‘sure bet’ and moved south to make their political careers and only return when they are more or less ‘retired’.
    The SSP got a couple of SMPs once before that subsequently made fools of themselves with their Neanderthal and infantile antics and getting another ‘seat’ is all they are interested in. Again, the biggest obstacle to this in working class areas is the Labout Party not the Conservatives who are nowhere any way. So the SSP is quite happy to attack Labout at every turn.
    Couple all this with the general attack on Labour from the sitting government parties and it does not look good.
    As far as the ‘nationalist notions of Scottish ‘character’ and idiotic ideas about ‘Gaelic’ community values’ go, they are simply laughable. Ask them about the continuing history of sectarianism in Scotland and religious bigory and they simply pretend it does not exist. Salmond said as much about Scottish football the other year even after the Celtic manager guy got death threats and letter bombs. He simply said it was not an issue, he has to say this to keep up the pretence of ‘decent’ Scottish versus ‘odious’ English binary they work with.

    • redkorat☭ (@red_korat) said,

      Rilke is correct about the nutcases. My former landlord was a member of the SNP and Liga Nord.

      The black kilts (Siol Nan Gaidheal) marched past that flat regularly on indy marches, happily chatting to members of the SSP. Degenerate politics breeds strange bedfellows.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        A good SNP socialist Landlord and the SSP. Two cheeks same arse.

  5. Dale Street said,

    More on the SNP’s politics, and why no-one on the left should support the SNP, at:

    http://leftfootforward.org/2015/04/nationalism-is-sweeping-scotland-and-progressives-should-be-concerned/

  6. John Palmer said,

    You have not leveled an even more serious charge against the SNP – and the malign influence they may cast over Labour – undermining public support for Britain’s “national” nuclear deterrent. Surely the £10 billions required for new nuclear submarines is well worth it – given that the government spending on health, social security, education etc is so satisfactory. It would be terrible if the SNP persuaded some in Labour to revive support for CND type policies.
    After all Ernie Bevin expressed very well Labour’s patriotic attitude to Britain having its own nuclear bomb in the 1940s when he said: “I don’t care a damn about what it does as long as it has a great big, bloody Union Jack on it.” Perhaps this is a cause for the AWL to undertake as its contribution to the struggle to keep Labour safe from any kind of leftist infection.

  7. Rilke said,

    Bevin wanted an independent nuclear deterrent not one controlled and directed by the Pentagon. In this sense it was much in line with de Gaul’s attitude to US nuclear installations on home territory which he regarded as an affront to national political sovereignty. Strange how national conservatives like to rant on about British sovereignty, but are quite happy to let the US run bases across the country because it means they can get nuclear weapons ‘on the cheap’.
    The SNP are not a ‘leftist’ party and never will be, they are simply dressing in an old Labour coat to get what they want. Check their history, they have veered from hard right to democratic left over the decades depending on how the opportunities fall. Even now there is a more militant ‘let’s declare UDI and fuck the English’ group, but they just keep them out of sight. A quick Panorama-style exposure would show them up. I know a couple of these closet ethnic racist Gaelophiles who toddle off to ‘Tartan Day’ in the US, dance about in kilts, and hob knob about with Mr Connery and assorted red-neck racists and backwoods ‘community socialists’. If you think this is false you can quickly check the veracity. It is also hilarious to see apparently ‘sane’ people (they are both SNP councillors and drive about with saltires in the back-windows of their cars) showing their true irrational and primitive nature. Salmond tried to push the same cultural politics line in Scotland with the senile blood and soil ‘Homecoming 2009, Clan Gathering’ event. But it let too many of the core nutters become too visible. Very amusing to observe!

    • redkorat☭ (@red_korat) said,

      Had a front row seat for Salmond’s blut und boden fest. Curiously the SNP seemed to have forgotten to advertise the ingathering in the West Indies.

  8. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    If Adolf had had the Bomb first would anyone dispute that he would not have used it then made his surrender terms followed by wiping out further millions of the human race.
    The fact is is that no one can dis – invent a weapon of any kind. The detternt is having the capability to use it and hope no one will. Wishy washy lefties and those goody christian types are idiots and live in a parallel world.

  9. John Palmer said,

    Rilke – I do not know what your definition of an “independent” deterrent is but it certainly cannot apply to Trident. Its long term operational viability is dependent on the US (in terms of targeting technology etc). The idea that the British government would seriously put at risk that relationship by using in a situation where it did not have US approval for its use is laughable. It is £10 billion for the paint for a Union Jack.

  10. Dale Street said,

    Is John Palmer a real person or a readily transparent spoof?

    He writes (7.43am): “It would be terrible if the SNP persuaded some in Labour to revive support for CND-type policies.”

    In the same post he writes “Perhaps this (i.e. support for British nuclear weapons) is a cause for the AWL to undertake as its contribution to the struggle to keep Labour safe from any kind of leftist infection.”

    In the leader and deputy leader contests at the close of last year Neil Findlay and Katy Clark stood on an anti-Trident platform. They did so not because they had been “persuaded” to do so by the SNP. They did so because they were socialists.

    The AWL backed them. This makes John Palmer’s suggestion that we might consider taking up the cause of British nuclear weapons more than a bit silly. And the claim that the AWL is struggling to “keep Labour safe from any kind of very leftist infection” is very silly.

    But – assuming that John Palmer is indeed a spoof – he certainly has got the art of caricaturing the political methodology of the SNP and their leftist fellow travellers down to a fine art:

    Rule one: Do not engage with the political arguments advanced by anyone who disagrees with the SNP.

    Rule two: Sidestep any questions you are asked (e.g. would it be a good thing for the SNP-SSP-‘Radical’-Independence-Campaign alliance to unseat Katy Clark?).

    Rule three: Pretend that there is no such thing as a Labour Left.

    Rule four: Raise the most absurd accusations you can think of (e.g. the AWL is struggling to “keep Labour safe from any kind of leftist infection”).

    Rule five: Pretend that the pro-monarchy, pro-NATO and pro-Scottish-big-business nationalists of the SNP are not just left-wing but are in fact the only repository of left-wing thought in Scotland – and that if anyone else voices left-wing politics, then it must be because they have been “infected” of “persuaded” to do so by the SNP.

  11. Rilke said,

    My point was about what Bevin originally wanted not what Trident is. Of course Trident is NATO and US co-directed and deployed. This was the source of Salmond’s quandry about getting rid of it while also remaining within NATO. He forgot to ask NATO about this and simply made bold assertions that were in the end low minded and undignified. He wanted the ‘other’ main military partner countries in NATO to remain nuclear while Scotland got rid of nuclear weapons but remained in NATO. These ‘other’ countries would then take the ‘primary risk’ of being strategic nuclear targets while the ‘Scottish people’ got the NATO ‘guaranteed security’ but ‘not the risk’ (and he got some more confused left votes). For shame! I am against citizens freely carrying firearms and so I would not ask and would not expect that one who did, would shoot an assailant for me. This in effect though, is the SNP position.

  12. Steven Johnston said,

    As Marx said all those years ago, you can’t reform capitalism to work in the interests of the majority. It would be bizarre to think that the SNP of all people could!

  13. Steven Johnston said,

    In fairness to the SNP, no party can fight austerity. You just have to live with it until the economy picks up and no party has the policy to create a booming economy.

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