Thursday, 21 March 2013

How to punish pro-criminalisation MSPs and change a government

Following an armed police attack on a non-aggressive protest on Saturday, Kenny MacAskill, the Secretary for "Justice", said he was pleased at the conduct of his thuggish force, and dismissed widespread calls for an inquiry into the largest-scale State attacks on protesters since the Poll Tax protests. 

It is clear, therefore, that MacAskill, who once described the large-scale singing of a racist song demanding that Irish Catholics be purged from Scotland as "contributing to a memorable occasion", fully supports the conduct of his police force. 

One wonders what is in store when the same people who protested against the same law on Saturday gather once more in George Square, Glasgow, on April 6th at noon to protest against a discriminatory, subjective law whose motives are increasingly under scrutiny amidst growing fears of increased discrimination in Scotland. It was, of course, Christine Grahame, the SNP convenor of Parliament's Justice Committee, and an MSP who stands accused of anti-Catholic hatred, who notoriously let slip that the purpose of the new law was to ensure that more Catholics were to be arrested to "even things up". 

Perhaps MacAskill's police, having failed to intimidate or defeat those who protest against discriminatory legislation by physically attacking them with metal poles, will crack out the rubber bullets against those they consider vermin for the occasion. Perhaps we might get off lightly, and MacAskill's thugs will be content with water cannon only. 

What is abundantly clear is that MacAskill has - whatever his motives may have been - promulgated a law which is blatantly discriminatory; and is being used by the police to violently attack people who hold political views with which they disagree. 

What was even more despicable was MacAskill's attempts to conflate a legal, anti-fascist group protesting against an unfair law and its implementation with the Scottish Defence League, a racist and fascist organisation whose stated aim is to sow discord amongst Glasgow's communities.

It is now clear that an extremely large, and growing, constituency in Glasgow and the West of Scotland feels that Kenny MacAskill is actively working to suppress their community, and that a growing proportion of people in Scotland feel that it is inappropriate that he remains as Justice Secretary.

MacAskill sits in the seat of Edinburgh Eastern in Parliament, where he enjoys a majority of 2233. This requires a swing of just over 1000 for him to lose his seat (although, due to the archaic and undemocratic regional system in Parliament, losing one's seat does not necessarily mean elimination from Parliament). Given that the Government by the time of the next election will have been in power for eight years, we can expect a certain swing against it at any rate. The standing of an anti-criminalisation candidate in this seat against MacAskill could have the effect of taking such votes away from MacAskill and making him more vulnerable to defeat. 

MacAskill is finished and needs to be removed from Parliament. But other MSPs need to be persuaded too.

There are many such constituencies in Glasgow and the West where this is the case. 

In Cathcart, the SNP majority is 1592 - fewer than 800 people (again, notwithstanding a natural wastage of votes for a two-term Government). Would the presence of an anti-criminalisation candidate threatening to take votes from, and campaigning only against the SNP candidate push the SNP incumbent into pledging to repeal the Act? I think it would.

In Kelvin, the majority is less than 900. 

There's a Labour majority of less than 1300 in Maryhill - that's overturnable. Not if there's an anti-criminalisation campaign against the SNP candidate! Same as in Rutherglen, where James Kelly's majority is 1700 or so for Labour.

John Mason's majority in Shettleston is less than 600. He'd be a loss to his constituency and to Parliament - but if he refuses to commit to repeal the Bill, he could be toast. Same for Anniesland, with an SNP majority of only seven votes.

The point is that a single issue campaign in an election can be intensely damaging to a candidate. 

Let's take Anniesland again, for example. Last time round, the SNP majority was 7 (ie, if four people had voted the other way, it wouldn't be an SNP seat). Could an anti-criminalisation campaign persuade four out of 24,000 people not to vote for a pro-criminalisation candidate?

In that seat, a Communist candidate stood last time, attracting 256 votes, coming last and losing his deposit. You'd think he'd be disappointed, but he would go home happy because he had no intention of winning. He punished the Labour Party alright though, for betraying its left-wing principles. The SNP eventually won the Government with a majority of four.

Imagine this had all happened in 2011, and in response, an anti-criminalisation campaign had stood in the following four seats, with the specific intention of targeting the SNP candidate:

Anniesland (majority 7)
Kirkcaldy (majority 182)
Paisley (majority 248)
Edinburgh Central (majority 237)

That is 674 votes to give the Government its four seat majority. If the anti-criminalisation campaign persuaded three hundred and thirty seven people to switch, the Government would have lost its majority. 

Scotland is a small country. Our Governments tend to have small majorities. The largest Parliamentary majority in the history of the Scottish democracy is 8, the average Parliamentary majority is -1.

Our constituencies tend to have small majorities. 

A concerted, single-issue campaign targeted well can eliminate not just MSPs who support criminalisation on the base of discriminatory legislation, but can actually change the Government. 

That is a helluva power to hold. 

I think it might be time for the SNP to talk. Quickly.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Johann's Genocide and the Collapse of Trust in Labour

Johann Lamont voted in favour of Labour's attack on Iraq which killed 120,000 people.

She supports the Bedroom Tax, whilst publicly opposing it.

This dishonesty and lack of judgement renders her unfit to lead Scotland, and brings her assurances on the consequences of independence into question.

I was once struck by a comment by a former official of the Staatssicherheit, the German Democratic Republic's internal security police. "Fascism", he mused, "was a terrible thing which happened to us [East Germans]". 

It was, of course, not his fault. It was a mindset carefully inculcated by a State which wished dearly to repress its people in the most horrible of ways. In order that the people of the GDR did not associate the internal repression with the internal repression of its predecessor state, the East German people had to persuade themselves that i) they were victims of the Third Reich, and ii) that mimicking its internal security structures was necessary to avoid its internal security structures being mimicked. 

It is a tortuous, convoluted piece of thinking, with no base in rationality or reality, and was so unsustainable that it led to what shouldn't have been - at its establishment - but became, the inevitable, slow collapse of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, and with it, the disappearance of the GDR.

And so we come to the Labour Party in Scotland.

If We Don't Like Their Principles, They Can Change Them

The professed values of the Labour Party in Scotland chime so closely with the communal values of the people of Scotland that it is impossible to conceive of a situation in which Scotland would turn against Labour. The Scottish people stand for socialism, for social justice, for helping the most vulnerable in society, for peace, and for internationalism. 

And Labour in Scotland never miss a chance to tell us that that is what they, too, are for. 

But, just as the people of the GDR ultimately realised that secret police, concentration camps and internal repression were not necessary to defeat secret police, concentration camps and internal repression, so have the Scottish people realised slowly (and how slowly), that despite the Labour Party in Scotland professing these values, they don't show them in their deeds.

Scots are not stupid. The great British caricature of the Scot is the "canny Scot", always with an eye out to make sure s/he isn't being conned.

And we know when we're being conned. 

If you write today to your local Labour MP or MSP on the subject, for instance of the vile, vindictive and hateful Bedroom Tax, which the British regime is imposing on Scotland - like the Poll Tax - despite the vast majority of our MPs voting against it (not, interestingly enough, one A. Darling, an expenses fraudster and backbench MP), he or she will tell you with no equivocation or hesitation that they are against it. 

It is, they will say, A Bad Thing.

What they won't tell you, of course, is that it was the Labour Party which invented the concept of the Bedroom Tax, introducing it for all private tenants (without the dual safeguard of rent controls) during the Chancellorship of one A. Darling.

And what they also won't tell you is that it is Labour Party policy not to repeal what the British regime is currently doing: not the introduction of the Bedroom Tax, but the extension of Labour's Bedroom Tax from private tenants to public tenants.

Labour's Bedroom Tax - with or without the extension - is an affront to Scottish values. Yet they support it. Do they believe in it? Who knows. There's so much they say and do that they don't - can't - believe that it's hard to say. 

I've often asked Labour supporters that if their leadership performed tomorrow a U-turn and supported independence, would they support or oppose it? They never answer, strangely.

Blood On Labour's Hands

We are approaching the decade anniversary of the Labour Party's genocidal, criminal attacks on the people of Iraq.

In 2003, a million marched on the streets of London and Glasgow calling for the British regime to refrain from a military assault on Iraq.

As it emerged later, the Labour Party told calculated and deliberate lies to the Scottish public and to the world about the danger posed by Iraq. However, in thrall to their election-winning machine, Tony Blair, and no doubt enthused by the "war bounce" enjoyed by Thatcher after her adventure in the South Atlantic, the Labour Party went along with it. 

In Iraq, they gorged themselves on the blood of at least one hundred and twenty thousand men, women and children. 

For terms of reference, this is equivalent to the Labour Party slaughtering the entire populations of Derry (not that they haven't tried that one) and Greenock combined. The whole of Falkirk and Livingston's men, women and children buried. East Kilbride and Ayr emptied of human beings. 

This was genocide on a large scale, it was a war crime, and it was committed by the Labour Party.

"The Iraq War Was A Terrible Thing To Happen To Us"

But in Scotland, the Labour Party abrogated their share of responsibility. 

With almost an entire term until the next General Election to Holyrood, they calculated that "events" would happen and we'd all forget, weigh the Labour vote up, stick Union Jack McConnell back in Bute House, and all would be well in the world. 

Instead, Iraq exploded into hell. A bloody civil war, and foreign troops in their hundreds, and civilians in their tens of thousands, died as Iraq spiralled into death and chaos. 

Labour were punished at the polls for their crime against humanity, their dishonesty, and their genocide. The SNP won a handsome victory, forming a Government. It was the first time since the 1960s that Scotland refused to vote Labour in a nationwide election.

And still, Labour refused to accept their guilt. Many of them couldn't even see it. 

"We lost because Tony Blair invaded Iraq", became the plaintive cry, just as fascism was a terrible thing to happen to the East Germans in 1936. 

They didn't see it either. 

Scottish Labour's Inherited Guilt

Alistair Darling - expenses fraudster, architect of the Bedroom Tax, and the man who thought Scotland's pensioners were worth 25p a year - voted for it. 

In Holyrood, there was a debate on the issue. As is their wont, the then Labour "executive" tried to stop it. When it went ahead, they joined forces with the Tories in order to block a motion opposing the war. 

The pro-genocide parties managed to win the day, although causing a rupture in Scottish society which exists today. The Socialist Party, the SNP, the Greens, and even Labour's coalition partner, the Liberals, voted against it. And that is the dividing line even now in Scottish politics: Labour and the Tories on the hard-right, League of Empire Loyalists side, the SNP, SSP and Greens on the progressive side. 

Labour and the Tories in coalition - just as they did to commit their genocide in Iraq - to terrorise Scots out of voting for independence; the progressive parties, warning as they did in 2003, that Labour and the Tories would take this country down. 

It's interesting to look at the Official Report of that debate in Holyrood.

Rhona Brankin's "contribution" to the debate was:

If John Swinney thinks that it is the Scottish Parliament's duty to discuss Iraq, does he think that it is the right and the duty of the Westminster Parliament to discuss Scottish education and health services and the Scottish legal system? If not, what are his party's Westminster members for?

whilst Tom McCabe managed to turn Labour's proposed invasion of Iraq into an attack on the opposition parties for debating it!

Mr Swinney and the Scottish National Party are fundamentally at fault for lodging the motion in this Parliament at this time.

It's this sort of nasty, spiteful behaviour - utterly characteristic of Labour in Scotland - which is why the party is collapsing. McCabe, notably, was thrown out of Parliament by a disgusted electorate.

Phil Gallie, one of Labour's Tory supporters in the vote, similarly chose to deflect the situation from the impending genocide to an ad-hominem attack.

In speaking in this debate, we might be tempted to lambast the SNP for deviating from the Scottish Parliament's area of responsibility

while Tavish Scott quite rightly pointed out that the Anglo/Ami doctrine of pre-emptive war

strikes me as profoundly dangerous, and threatens to undermine the role of international law. 

It is sad that Mr Scott has forgotten that in a Scotland bound to the twitching corpse of the United Kingdom, such a doctrine remains in place. 

Now we come to Johann Lamont. She refuses to say whether Scotland should continue to suffer from the imposition of British WMD based near our greatest city. She wants to rip the bus pass from grandmothers, triple Council Tax bills for pensioners, and ban working-class kids from going to university. 

She refuses, ever, to address the situation in Palestine in a public forum, but she didn't refuse to address that of Iraq:

we must act against Saddam Hussein now

Even then, she was a party apparatchik. 

Blinded by a frenzied ambition, she was prepared to wade through the blood of one hundred and twenty thousand Iraqi men, women and children, to advance the interests of the Labour Party in Scotland, and then, obsessed as always with the Constitution, she went on not to defend the people of Iraq, but to say

The SNP may wish to retreat from Westminster, but we do not. I have to say frankly to John McAllion that his argument is an argument for independence and not for a devolved settlement. It is in the interests of nationalists to argue that this Parliament is the only place where Scotland's voice is heard
Oozing, as ever, the class for which she has become renowned, attacking a fellow Labour MP for opposing the genocide in Iraq.

It's funny to reflect on the situation then and now. Labour telling Scots that we can't possibly be concerned about international affairs, and Westminster would sort it out. 

In the debate, Labour mentioned Alex Salmond - not, then, an MSP, or SNP leader - five times. They mentioned Saddam Hussein - neither an MSP nor SNP leader, but president of the country they proposed to invade - eleven times. 

So in the debate on Iraq, Labour saw it half as much on Alex Salmond as Saddam. Plus ca change.

It is interesting in the extreme, coming to Decision Time, to look at the litany of those villains who thought that their preferred constitutional settlement - for even the most cursory read of the debate will show that this is what the Unionists used this debate for - was worth the deaths of tens of thousands of human beings.

Jackie Baillie voted for the Iraq War
Margaret Curran voted for the Iraq War
Iain Gray voted for the Iraq War
Cathy Jamieson voted for the Iraq War
Andy Kerr voted for the Iraq War
Lewis MacDonald voted for the Iraq War

Indeed, between Holyrood and Westminster, almost all of what is now the Labour Party in Scotland's leadership voted in favour of the Labour Party's bloody genocide in Iraq.

We know they will lie and dissemble to allow Tony Blair to kill, kill and kill again. 

We on earth would we trust them with our constitution?

Labour's Impetus Issue

The results of their Iraq adventure were, as mentioned above, devastating. Thrown out of office in Holyrood, which wasn't on the script. It got worse in 2011, when another Iraq cheerleader, Iain Gray, led the party to a spectacular defeat. 

But Labour in Scotland have had a losing problem for longer. 

They have never, for instance, increased their number of seats at a General Election to Holyrood. On three occasions, the party which believes itself to be the guardian of Scotland has tried, and on three occasions, it has gone backwards in terms of votes and seats.

Indeed, in large swathes of Scotland, the Labour Party has been eradicated, possible forever.

Indeed, in what Genocide Johann claimed as an "historic victory" last year, the Labour Party was reduced to a Central Belt rump. If the image below is "victory", I'd hate to see defeat.

People in Scotland just don't believe them any more. When they "oppose" their own Bedroom Tax, another couple of dozen potential voters slide away from Lamont's bloodstained grip. 

Their credibility is gone. 

There comes a point where even if we wanted to believe that the Labour Party in Scotland had Scotland's interests at heart, all of the evidence of our own experience belies it.

John Swinney  probably put it better than many of us could, early on in the debate. 
If Mr Sheridan is looking for consistency in the actions of the British and United States Governments as to the regimes that they support and arm, he will not find it in the practice of numerous former British Governments or the current one.
Better Together right enough, eh?