Saturday, 27 June 2015

Dugdale and Daily Mail hypocrisy over "traitor" slur

If you wish to determine whether a person or organisation has a legitimate complaint about an issue or is simply concern-trolling, then a good way to go about it is by examining how they dealt with it in the past. 

This week, the Scottish Labour party, aided an abetted by their useful idiots in the Scottish media, launched a witch-hunt of those who do not agree that Unionists ought to have unfettered control of the flow of information. The party, which still boasts Greville Janner, Mike Watson and Ian Smart amongst its members, compiled a sinister "dossier" on National party members guilty - in Blair McDougall's opinion - of "abuse". A criterion for inclusion on the "abusers'" list was to have at any time, in any context used the word "traitor", whether that be directed at an individual or simply in the course of a conversation about an individual. 

Such people were deemed to be one of the "infamous cybernats". The term "cybernat" was coined by former Scottish Labour MP, George Foulkes, a dipsomaniac the sum total of whose contribution to our political life was to get drunk and receive a criminal conviction for assaulting a police officer.

In 2006 Foulkes, who within a year would go on to appoint internet troll Fifi le Bon Bon, alias "Kez" Dugdale, as his Parliamentary assistant, branded anti-war MP Clare Short a "traitor". 

Last year, extremist Unionist MP George Galloway, a five-term Scottish Labour MP, former Scottish Labour councillor, former member of Scottish Labour's governing Scottish Executive Committee, and former chairman of Scottish Labour slurred MP Sadiq Kahn as "a rancid traitor". Even after this, the Unionists continued to celebrate the behatted Saddam fan, with Galloway selected by the Unionists to sit alongside Ruth Davidson on a televised debate during the course of which he revealed that he was speaking on behalf of the Scottish Labour Party. 

It's not only Scottish Labour who use the "t-word" to describe people with whom they disagree politically. Labour MP for Delyn, David Hanson, described former Scottish Labour MP and ex-Labour prime minister Ramsay MacDonald as a "traitor" in an interview with Total Politics. 

And Labour fan website Labour List - for which troll and incoming Scottish Labour leader "Kez" Dugdale has written in the past - also described the Social Democrats as "traitors" to Labour. 

The Sun is another paper which describes people they disagree with as "traitor". A couple of months ago, "Kez" wrote an article for The Sun in which she continue her incessant, relentless whining about "abuse". Clearly, irony is not "Kez"'s strong suit. 

There have been, as yet, no Stephen Daisley or Alan Roden articles screeching about "Kez"'s relationship with abuser George Foulkes.

Continuing the move away from "Kez"'s rank hypocrisy towards the media, the Hitler-supporting Daily Mail has been one of the loudest voices in the witch-hunt against the "cybernats", with Scottish political editor Alan Roden emitting particularly high-pitch squeals as he rails against the social evil of people calling other people "traitors". But Roden's paper previously published an article calling a mole in then-Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander's office a "traitor".

The Nazi-backing rag is actually a great fan of the epithet, using it to describe people as diverse as the great George Blake, princess Diana's brother Earl Spencer, American whistleblower Edward Snowden, and former Labour and Tory MP Shaun Woodward

It seems that hypocrisy is the order of the day for Scottish Labour and their media friends.

Friday, 26 June 2015

The collapse of European social democracy

For most people reading this, the most relevant example of the collapse of European social democracy came last month in Scotland, where the once-hegemonic Scottish Labour party died. 

It is part of a wider, pan-European collapse of social democracy in the midst of an economic depression from which there still appears to be little escape. 

In country after country, social democracy has been shown not to be up to the task of opposing austerity, and has been punished - either by the election of parties further to the left (such as in Greece) or by the return of conservative governments (such as in Denmark). 

It is a litany of failure for social democrats. 

This year alone, the social democrats were all but wiped out in Andorra and Scotland, swept from power in Denmark, and whilst the social democrats replaced the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union as the junior partner in the Estonian coalition last year after the resignation of Andrus Ansip as prime minister and remained a junior partner in the election this year, they lost a fifth of their seats. 

Similarly,in Finland the social democrats were a junior coalition partner until elections this year in which they were swept from power, losing a fifth of their seats in Eduskunta

Turkey slightly bucked the trend with the main opposition CHP increasing their number of seats by 7 in this month's election to the Meclis, but still they are on only half the seats of the conservative government and only a strong showing by the Kurdish HDP party prevented a government majority. 

I'd go over the United Kingdom result, where the social democrat opposition somehow managed to lose ground against a staggeringly unpopular incumbent, but we all probably know the score there. A perception on the Left that the social democrats were incapable of or unwilling to oppose austerity policies saw Left-wing voters look elsewhere (in Scotland, to the National party; in England to the Green party; in Wales, to Plaid Cymru) instead of uniting behind the only opposition party likely to defeat the incumbent conservative administration. 

It's not just this year - as the parliamentary terms of governments elected during the depths of the depression come to an end, voters are lashing out across Europe, from Galway to Kiev, and from Oslo to Sevilla, against social democratic parties which are perceived to have sold out to austerity policies. 

Belgium: the social democrats PS lost seats, and power, with the centre-Left - and the Walloons - excluded from power as Flemish right-wingers gained enough seats to take control of the country (albeit the new prime minister, Charles Michel, is a Francophone). 

March 2014 saw Serbs go to the polls to elect a new Skupshtina, and in that election they gave the social democrats - led by former president of Serbia, Boris Tadic, fourth place (out of four) with less than 6% of the vote and just 18 of the 250 seats. The conservative Progressive Party won, the Milosevicite socialists came second, and the liberal Democratic party came third. 

Hungary, after five years of neo-Nazi prime minister Viktor Orbán, took collective leave of their Magyar senses again last April and re-elected him. The social democrats united to form a unity coalition against him, but won only 38 seats of the 199-member Országgyulés where the main MSZP social democrats had scored 59 by themselves in 2010. The other parties were the tiny Together, the new Labour style Democratic Coalition, Dialogue for Hungary (Greens), and the Liberal party. 

In Bosnia in October, similarly, the Serbian social democrats lost ground and were reduced to just six seats, while the Bosnian and Croat social democrats aren't represented at federal level at all. 

There's very little point in discussing the election in the Ukraine, in which various fascist groups fought amongst themselves to govern a country which doesn't effectively exist in any tangible sense, and where no social democrats were elected to the Supreme Soviet in August.

Even where the Right didn't win elections, the social democrats couldn't make up ground. Thus, in November, Moldova's general election saw the Eurosceptic, ultra-Left PSRM come first in the election, the conservatives second, communists third, and the social democrats all the way down in fourth place with just 16% of the vote and 19 seats.  In Greece, the social democrats paid the price for being docile democrats, being humiliated, thrown out of government and came last, behind the fascists, the communists, the conservatives, the radical left, the nationalists and the centrists, and a government led by the radical Left was formed, with the social democrats being sidelined for at least a generation. 

The single ray of light in 2014 and 2015 for the social democrats was in Sweden in September, where the conservative Moderate Party prime minister Frederik Reinfeldt was replaced by a social democrat in Stefan Loefven. His government is a cobbled-together coalition of social democrats, Greens and Socialists, and doesn't have a majority in the Riksdag. It would be a major shock if the government survived the full term. 

And that's it. The total sum of social democratic advances in 2014 and 2015 is to be the lead partner in a shaky minority government in Sweden. 

The days where social democracy ruled swathes of Europe are gone. The social democrats have to adapt or die. In the face of a relentless wave of attacks by bankers and the elite on the working people of Europe, social democrats have to decide if they're anti-austerity, or anti-people. Because the experience of the last two years demonstrates that staying in the centre lane only means they're likely to be run over. 

Congratulations, Gordon Matheson

He had one job. 

One job.

All he had to do was to be a more stable and competent leader than a coke-snorting, chemically-dependent, gangster-linked, Tammany Hall-style machine politician. 

But he failed, miserably, and will go down in history as probably the worst person ever to guide the governance of Scotland's largest, greatest city.

His memory will be inextricably linked with criminality, corruption and incompetence. 

He pushed jailbird and rogue slum landlord Sohan Singh on to the Council, turning a blind eye to the Labour donor's criminality. He rewarded Singh by making him a Baillie - the highest civic honour the City can confer.

After wasting £100,000 of Glasgow ratepayers' cash on a competition to select a new design for George Square, Matheson spat the dummy after his favoured design was beaten, and refused to continue with the revamp. The Violet Elizabeth Bott of the City Chambers was subsequently accused by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland of breaking strict anti-corruption procurement regulations, and Police Scotland's Major Crimes and Public Protection Unit swiftly launched an investigation.

George Square has been a rumbling theme throughout Matheson's leadership of the Council. The Square holds a special place in the hearts of Glaswegians, including being the site of Bloody Friday, from which the Workers' Revolution was launched in 1919. It is a symbol of Glasgow's rebellion against the Unionists' hated Poll Tax, where tens of thousands gathered in the 1980s to demand the abolition of the charge. 

When the square was laid out in the time of George III - to give some idea of how long ago this was, he was on the throne during Britain's annexation of Ireland - it was on spare ground on the outskirts of the city. The Square was originally used as a parade ground, and for slaughtering horses. It was a very public space - in early C.XIX photographs, there are washing lines visible, with clothes drying on them. 

During that period, the Square evolved into a private garden, with houses being built along its sides, but by 1888, when Queen Victoria opened the City Chambers, it was indisputably a public space. 

It is one of the few green spaces in Glasgow City Centre, and was popular with office workers, who would sit on the grass under the shelter of one of the mature trees ringing the square. Naturally, Glasgow City Council decided to cut the trees down, and replace the grass with tarmac. 

Part of Matheson's treatment of George Square - once the space for Glaswegians to celebrate, to protest, to demand - is that he is intensely uncomfortably with the concept of dissent. He well remembers protests in George Square, and has spent his administration trying desperately to ensure it doesn't happen to him. The focal point of his administration has been removing public spaces from Glaswegians. Whether it's putting physical barriers round George Square or actually renting it out to commercial companies, anything he can do to stop people gathering there has been done.  

What used to be a public square is now Matheson's private fiefdom - fenced off from Glaswegians so it can be used for Orange Order events - paid for, against our will, by Glasgow's hard-pressed citizens. The words "Orange Order" run through Matheson's time in charge like a stick of rock. 

One of the worst things about living in Glasgow is the seemingly endless procession of Orange Order parades. It is a constant reminder that Catholics aren't welcome in the "friendly city". So when Matheson's administration brought in new rules for parades, decent citizens breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn't to be, though - Matheson had made a secret deal with the fascist organisation to allow them to increase the number of parades, in return for electoral support for Labour. The rules were only to be applied to anti-austerity and pro-independence demonstrations, as well as one infamous occasion where the local police baton-charged a group of anti-fascist teenagers walking to a soccer match in the East End.

This is reminiscent of his treatment of the iconic Buchanan Steps further up the city centre. During the independence referendum campaign, these became the focal point for the Yes campaign, with a series of colourful, noisy events flooding the area. Within five months of the referendum, Matheson carried out Labour's threat to punish Glaswegians if we voted yes, with a spiteful decision to demolish the steps to prevent any further display of dissent; the area to be handed over to - surprise! - a private company to make money. 

A particular humiliation for Matheson came during an incident when he was caught noshing off a gentleman who wasn't his partner in a public car park in Cathcart. In a surprise development, the Procurator Fiscal chose not to pursue a prosecution. Of the Council leader. Who has input into the Police budget. Matheson's close relationship with the Police was further demonstrated when he set no fewer than seventy of his police thugs onto a grandmother in Dalmarnock who didn't want her home bulldozed to become a car park. The dawn raid took two hours, and left the family homeless. This only applied, incidentally, to people who weren't rich and powerful. When Matheson needed land from Sir Willie Haughey, Member of the Order of the Officer of the British Empire and the 1st Baron Haughey of Hutchesontown in the City of Glasgow (and, I'm sure entirely coincidentally, a major financial donor to Matheson's struggling Labour party), his Council chose to pay Lord Sir Willie £17m for land which cost him £8m. If anyone thinks Sir Willie Lord is getting special treatment just because he's a millionaire, think again! It wasn't just him: the Council gave spiv failed businessman David Murray £5,1m for land valued at less than £400k. 

If only the Jaconellis of Ardenlea Street had been rich, famous, and Labour donors, perhaps Matheson wouldn't have been so keen to send his armoured, baton-wielding thugs in to batter a granny's door down at dawn to seize her land. 

There has been corruption scandal after corruption scandal in Glasgow while Matheson has been in charge. One of the worst was when a crony of his, Ronny Saez, was made redundant from the Glasgow East Regeneration Agency. Two of his councillors not only gave him a standard redundancy payment of £42.000, but chose - at their discretion - to spend Glasgow taxpayers' money on increasing his total payoff to £500.000 - half a million pounds of money which had previously been earmarked to help children out of poverty. Because the charity was dissolved, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator had no powers to bring criminal charges - although they couldn't have been more scathing about the corrupt behaviour of Matheson's administration.

But possibly the very worst manifestation of Matheson's corruption, arrogance, and contempt for the people of Glasgow was his treatment of our most vulnerable citizens. The behaviour of Glasgow City Council in general, and Gordon Matheson in particular, towards our citizens with addition support needs has been an absolute disgrace. He ought to lie awake at night in bed unable to sleep, his conscience continually jerking at the curtains of sleep as they try to close.

Despite massive protests, Matheson's administration gleefully decimated care provision as part of an, ahem, "redesign" of disability services. He slashed funding for, and eventually closed down, three day care centres. Berryknowes, Hinshaw Street and Summerston were summarily closed by decree of El Gordo. 

That wasn't enough to satisfy his raging desire to steal as much money and as many services as possible from decent Glaswegians so he could funnel it to his friends and cronies. At Middlefield School in the west of the City, Matheson's administration removed the funding from its residential aspect, wrecking a facility parents described as "transformational". 

People who attended vital day care centres - often for decades - were heartbroken by Matheson's ideologically-driven crazed desire to wreck as much as possible in as little time as possible. Matheson's decisions regarding care facilities have destroyed lives. The knock-on effect for carers has been utterly catastrophic. Some have been forced to give up work to become full-time carers now the Council has abrogated its responsibilities. Others have had to consider putting the person they cared for into care - a heart-rending decision. 

At a meeting to discuss the closures, neither Matheson nor Matt Kerr, who he placed in charge of Social Care, bothered to turn up. And in a sign that these were his cuts, and that he took full responsibility for it, Matheson himself moved the motion at the Council to slash and burn our disability services. 

Not only could Matheson find a single family affected by his cuts to support him, a huge protest organised by Union and the families was held outside the City Chambers. Matheson's service cuts were said to have removed social interaction from the day care centres' users. 

Glaswegians - particularly those who care for the most vulnerable - will be delighted that this creature is standing down. 

Matheson has been a disaster for Glasgow. His entire career has been a nest-feathering ego trip. He has done untold damage to the City of Glasgow, which will take decades to unravel. The damage he has done to the people of Glasgow might never be mended. 

Good riddance, Gordon. Please don't come back. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

An oscillating chamber

Annabel Goldie's announcement today that she is retiring from the Scottish Parliament to spend more time in the Lords brings to more than one in ten the number of MSPs who will not seek to be returned to Holyrood at May's General Election. 

The number include several who have made genuine, lasting, measured contributions to Scotland's nascent democracy and our public life - Alex Salmond, Malcolm Chisholm, Alex Fergusson, Goldie, and Tricia Marwick. And, er, Duncan McNeill.

This number will only grow - the 2011 General Election returned 25 MSPs over the age of sixty - these deputies will be at least seventy years old at the end of the next Parliamentary session, and it would be expected that the majority would not seek re-election this time round. 

In the three re-elections of the Scottish Parliament, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Members not returned, for various reasons. 15 of the 129 deputies retired or lost their seat (including two - Iain Gray and Michael Russell - who came back in 2007) in the 2003 election; but in the 2007 election, this rose markédly to 40 (including a wipeout of both Socialist parties and a near-wipeout of the Greens). In 2011, it was up again, to 46 (this is the election which may have contributed to the collapse of the Scottish Labour party, being decapitated by the loss of heavy-hitters like Wendy Alexander, George Foulkes, Maggie Curran, Cathy Jamieson, Jack McConnell, Andy Kerr, Charlie Gordon, Frank McAveety and David Whitton and the re-election of James Kelly).

Should the trajectory continue at the same pace, this would mean that the 2024 election would see a churn of half of MSPs failing to make it back (and further extrapolation predicts, incorrectly, that not a single MSP elected in the 2048 election would make it back into parliament in 2052). 

Obviously, that's not the case, but with 16 MSPs already declared as not returning, and Scottish Labour almost certain to lose at least ten of their 15 constituencies, it makes for an interestingly undulating assembly. 

I wondered if this was peculiar to Scotland, because a third of deputies not being returned to a legislature seemed rather a lot (potentially, in a good way - for instance, it may prevent the development of "traditions").

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

"Abuse" and delegitimisation

First things first: it's unacceptable to send threats to people. It's unacceptable to intimidate people. Misogyny and sexism is wrong, and reflects badly on those who perpetrate it. If you do it, stop it.

Since time immemorial, the Unionists have had complete control over the dissemination of information in Scotland. Every single daily newspaper, every single Sunday newspaper, was written from a Unionist point of view, by Unionists. Sure, they've got the odd column by independence supporters (for instance, Joan McAlpine gets one page of the struggling Daily Record's more than 300 weekly pages) for "balance". Both Scottish broadcasters, STV and BBC Scotland, operate from the point of view that Unionism is the status quo est, erat, et erit, with Unionist viewpoints going unchallenged, and the ingrained, institutional view that it is the Yes side which must justify every mundane pronouncement and answer even the stupidest queries.

The rise, therefore, of direct dissemination, has caused consternation in the ranks of the Unionist media/political complex in Scotland. Unable to counter the flow of ideas and information directly to voters, instead they try to delegitimise its source. 

To pick one example at random, Margaret Curran said that if Alex Salmond was to be murdered, there should be no inquiry, and she - at the time a Labour MP and the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland - would not be interested in seeking the identity of the murderer. This was an example of top bantz, and not a matter for castigation. 

Imagine, just for one moment, the hysteria of the Daily Mail and Daily Record if this had been, say, Mhairi Black laughing about the murder of, say, Jim Murphy? Imagine the Scotland 2015 and Scotland Tonight specials? The grim, stern-faced interrogations of Nicola Sturgeon? The inevitable Alex Massie article in the Spectator. Imagine the planted question from a Labour supporter on Question Time, and the rush from Labour, Liberal and Tory politicians to condemn the vile remarks as a shocked David Dimbleby looks on, disgusted at the latest appalling outburst from the SNP.

And imagine the blame game. A steaming Ian Smart would rant on Twitter that it was all the fault of Nicola Sturgeon, and that Murphy was picked for abuse solely because he's half-English (the fact he isn't being neither here nor there), and then the analysis would start. Former News of the World journalist Stephen Daisley on the STV website would be telling the nation that this is but a new manifestation of the "dark impulse..harboured in the hearts" of SNP members (that's actually a genuine quote). It would be a "cybernat problem". Why, oh why, they would wail, won't Sturgeon act?

The fauxrage would be magnificent, the anger palpable - and behind it all, the crushing terror that lies like a lead weight in their souls: that it's over for them. That regardless of how much they rail against the dying of the light, the days of Scots being told what to think and how to vote by the Daily Record, the Sunday Post, and some weirdo in a black suit behind a pulpit are well and truly over. Stories that are inconvenient to the Unionist cause will no longer be covered up. 

Scottish Labour can no longer pretend they voted against the Bedroom Tax at every opportunity - because if they do so in rags like the favoured Record, or the formerly Hitler-supporting, now Scottish Labour-sympathising Mail, the lie will immediately be shot down by Scotland's popular new media - sites like Newsnet, Wings over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, or Scott Goes Pop. On Twitter, and on Facebook, and on the other thing that children and soccer players post photographs on, direct empirical evidence will be posted to prove that it's an outright lie. 

Don't doubt this for a second: they hate it. They fear it. And they know that their loss of control of the dissemination of information is going to cost them the one thing they hold dear; the one thing they're in politics to defend and maintain: the Union. 

The control of the dissemination of information is everything. That's why in every military coup you see, the first thing the rebels do is take control of the television station. Why in every dictatorship, samizdat publications are banned. Why in totalitarian states, governments are so scared of information they don't control reaching the populace that typewriters are licensed and foreign radio signals artificially jammed.

So if you're wondering why the "cybernat" hysteria is happening, that's why. They are genuinely terrified.

And so, unable to control the source, or flow, of information, they seek to delegitimise it. Just as Stalin called reasonable criticism "American agents", or "sabotage"; "treason" or "counter-revolution", so the Unionists counter any criticism, of any Unionist public figure with "cybernat" or "abusive". 

So it comes to be that we're in a position where someone observing that Scottish Labour did not - as they insist - vote at every opportunity to remove the Bedroom Tax is transformed to "abuse". (Partly, also, it's because the professional classes are affronted that normal, everyday citizens have the temerity to question the order and worldview of things that they set out for us). 

It's why, if you observe that Margaret Curran and Jim Murphy gleefully voted to slaughter tens of thousands of people in Iraq, and thus deserve the loss of their seats and to play no further part in the discourse and governance of our nation, you're called a "cybernat". (If, on the other hand, your contribution to political discussion is to make jibes about Margaret Curran's looks, then you're an arsehole. No quotation marks necessary. I can assure you that Yes-supporting women receive daily, vile, misogynistic abuse from Unionists far in excess of anything the Unionists get - this is never reported in the media. Because it doesn't suit the "Unionists=victims/Yes supporters=abusive" narrative that the media has set itself, and is now set on proving).

Make no mistake about it - the chattering classes, the Unionist establishment, and the Unionists' media/political conjugate is running scared. They hate that they don't control what Scotland thinks any more. They are terrified. They know the only thing they won in September was time. They are railing, Luddite-like, against progress because they know that technological progress and the sea-change in how people exchange, solicit, transmit and receive information can only ever do them immense harm. 

And all they've got left is to conduct a "cybernats under the bed" witch-hunt to try and bully ordinary citizens into letting the clique control Scotland again. It's not happening. It doesn't matter how often the Daily Record prints photos of Kezia Dugdale wearing her Very Sad Face because someone called her an arse on Twitter, or how often Margaret Curran writes articles for Nazi-supporting papers demanding that Scottish politics goes back to 1997 again where everyone read the Daily Record, voted Labour, and lived in good old-fashioned poverty and didn't have any of those naughty old internets - those days are over. 

We are in control now. There's no need for a middle-man to filter information. The middle-men hate it. But the people who were doing the filtering hate it even more. 

As Voltaire used to say down the pub: "to determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not allowed to criticise?". And you don't even need to go to the effort of asking yourself. Just ask the Daily Mail. And while you're at it, ask Margaret Curran, MP demeritus.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

"But nobody *wants* a Left-wing Labour leader!"

It's a cry all of us on the Left have heard when we try to explain to Labour-supporting friends why the working class of Scotland isn't marching as one to the ballot stations behind banners emblazoned with "forward with Iain Gray", whilst chanting "what do we want?" "a democratic progressive socialist government led by Ken MacIntosh and supported as deputy by Gordon Matheson!" "when do we want it?" "In due course following a leadership election which excludes the trade unions!" - they'll tell us that "nobody wants a Left-wing Labour party". 

The following are statistics from the 1945 election, in which Scottish Labour ran a manifesto of "Nationalise all the things" under Clement Attlee, compared to the 2015 election, in which they ran an austerity manifesto under their most right-wing leader ever*, Jim Murphy.

The first thing to note is that despite an electorate almost a half million smaller than today's, the Slabbers got half a million more votes for Attlee than Murphy (1.144.310 to  707.147). The percentage of the vote they achieved was almost double when they had a socialist agenda to Murphyism, and the number of seats they achieved almost *forty* times higher. 

The percentage of seats they won was over 25 times higher under Attlee than Murphy, and the change in votes since the previous election speaks for itself. 

People might not want a Left-wing Labour leader in Scotland, but we sure as shit don't want a Right-wing one either. 

Scotland, regardless of what Unionists like to think, is more Corbyn than Kendall.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Hobson's choice

As Scottish Labour lurches from crisis to catastrophe to laughing-stock to - hopefully, soon - extinction, the hilarity just grows. 

Their last-ditch effort at survival, Jim Murphy, has been forced out of the door following a humiliating Pyrrhic victory in a vote of confidence half a year after taking charge of the dying Unionist party.

They're tried everything. In 8 years, they've had five "leaders": from both surviving wings of the party (the extreme right and the centre-right). They've tried Jack McConnell, Wendy Alexander, Iain Gray, Johann Lamont, and Jim Murphy - some of them making so little impact that one forgets they even really existed. For instance, Wendy Alexander is someone who briefly brought amusement through incompetence, but petered out quickly, a sort of Doink The Clown of Scottish politics. They've tried to be "led" from Holyrood (McConnell, Alexander), they've tried to be "led" from Westminster (Murphy), and they've tried not to be "led" at all but rather have the remaining MSPs mimble around doing their own thing while the MPs* pretend not to listen (Gray, Lamont). They've tried men, they've tried women. They've tried Cabinet experience (Murphy) and they've tried cleanskins (Gray). They've tried the globetrotting, "glamorous" famous choice, and they've tried the Ordinary Maw. And everything's failed, to the extent that this is now literally the last choice.

And who have they got?

They have one MP, who doesn't want the job. 

Of their 38 MSPs, two have tried it before with varying degrees of catastrophic hilarity. 

Of the remaining 36, three have tried to become "leader" before and been laughed out of town. Others have tried to try to become "leader" and haven't made it onto the ballot paper. 

With so few people eligible to hold office in Scottish Labour - and those who are being drawn very much from the Fourth Division of Scottish political talent - there are barrels being scraped and gerries being mandered.

The announcement that they had overturned the results of their previous internal elections - to select the Regional rankings for an election now less than 11 months away - was met with guffaws. If it was intended to give the impression that Scottish Labour is now a top-down clique whose "stars" are to be protected at all costs, it was gloriously successful. While some expected that senior Scottish Labour leaders who were thrown out by the electorate last month would have to fight tricky constituency elections in order to rekindle their shattered careers, the Clique Coup in Bath Street over the last four weeks has ensured that they will be given coveted top spots on the List, where even the current state of Scottish Labour shouldn't preclude at least 20, and possibly 30 MSPs (assuming a complete collapse in the Constituency returns) returned from the second vote. 

Obviously, this will be shattering for the current crop of Labour MSPs off the list whose political careers are now over: the motley crew of former Tory candidates (Maggie McCulloch), offspring of Tory peers (Claudia Beamish), beneficiaries of local nepotism (Siobhan McMahon), and loyal party members put on the List as a nod to their hard work, but from whom the party would have recoiled in horror had they thought would become MSPs (pretty much the rest of them). But the Clique don't care. They are entitled to a life at the public expense, dammit, and they're not letting a wee setback like the(ir) destruction of their party stop them. 

So this is how their regional lists will look:

Western Scotland

So stand by to see Douglas Alexander, Gemma Doyle and Jim Sheridan occupying the top three spots here

Central Scotland

Michael Connarty, Gregg McClymont and Frank Roy are likely to be the Unionist triptych at the top of the Central Scotland list. McClymont is, and Christ alone knows why, somehow "highly regarded at HQ", whilst Frank Roy was a loyal Blairite MP whose son has huge influence down in the Slab dungeons.


It would be a shock of John Mason winning Glasgow East proportions if we don't have the pleasure of witnessing the Blairite ex-MP Anas Sarwar slithering in to join Margaret Curran and Tom Greatrex on the Glasgow list.

Despite what you might expect, do not expect to see Ian Davidson, unloved, and not at all part of the leadership clique, anywhere near a list. Davidson, for all his fanatical loyalism and loyalty, is far too outspoken and - ironically - independent for him to be rewarded in this entrenchment. 

But do expect to see an Ann McKechin and/or Willie Bain further down the list, hoping-not-hoping they lose every constituency).

Bonus ball: Labour's deputy "leader" is guaranteed top spot on their home list (which raises the question of some sort of infinite error loop if both the "leader" and her deputy are in the same province. Perhaps the world will end.), which means that if Gordon Matheson was to win the deputy leadership (I'm actually sitting chuckling even as I write that line), he'll jump straight to the top of the list, which will leave an absolutely hilarious bloodbath between some of their biggest hitters flapping desperately to try and get back. One big name, at least, is banjaxed. I canny wait. 


Assuming Kezia Dugdale wins the leadership - and the Blairite clique wishes it, and thus shall it be so -  a protected spot at the top of the Lothians list shall be the prize for the Daily Mail columnist and former internet troll. But who shall join the thin-skinned Unionist fanatic? Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay have both blotted their copybook by failing to express sufficient adoration for the Leader. Mark Lazarowicz hardly fits into New Labour either, so I'd expect to see Graeme Morrice - once Maggie Curran's familiar - and Fiona O'Donnell to complete the top three. 

Mid-Scotland and Fife

We can safely assume that Claire Baker is safe, and will probably be top of the list (the previous incumbent, John Park, quit midway through this parliament, and his replacement, Jayne Baxter, has made zero impact). I should imagine she will be joined by Thomas Docherty, who epitomises the modern Scottish Labour party with his twin obsessions of soldiers and Unionism, and Alex Rowley, the MSP for Cowdenbeath who is popular amongst the membershi...actually, Rowley's got zero chance. He criticised The Leader. He is now a non-person. They're actually ridiculously weak in this province with only one constituency MSP (Rowley) and no constituency MP (and only one even before the May Wipeout). I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Johanna Boyd, who is considered a "rising star", take a spot on the list. She is a very posh lawyer who liked nothing better than cutting the wages of low-paid employees when she led Stirling council, so she's basically Scottish Labour in microcosm.

North-East Scotland

There's a decent chance of Labour getting four MSPs from the List here. The SNP already hold every constituency in both Holyrood and Westminster, with Labour really only having any sort of activist presence in the two major population centres of Aberdeen and Dundee. Richard Baker has managed, somehow, to ingratiate himself with the "leadership", so will be safe in first place, while Jenny Marra has done the same. National Front fan Anne Begg might consider this her best chance of getting back to a life at our expense(s). 

South of Scotland

Labour struggle here, with only two list MSPs. Acting "Leader" Iain Gray might want a place on the list. Claudia Beamish, heir apparent and heir presumptive of The Honourable Tufton Victor Hamilton Beamish, First Baron Chelwood of Lewes in the County of Sussex and Conservative MP for three decades, hasn't done too much wrong and will probably hang on, as will the ultra-authoritarian polis, Graeme Pearson. Russell Brown, kicked out of his seat in Dumfries and Galloway, might fancy a shot. If Fiona O'Donnell doesn't make it onto the Lothians list, she might see this part of the world as a suitable fallback too. 

Highlands and Islands

Labour have not a single MP or MSP for any constituency in this province. Of the areas which make up the region, they have zero councillors in Shetland, zero councillors on Orkney, three councillors of the 31 in na h-Éileanan an Íar, and 8 of the 80 Highland councillors. 

it is not fertile ground for Labour. 

The current two list MSPs are Rhoda Grant and David Stewart. They'll probably keep two MSPs on the list. I can't see them getting up to three. Depending on the timing of the internal election (and sure, if the "leadership" doesn't like other results, they can just overturn and reopen it anyway), you might see a bit of carpetbagging from a couple of desperate ex-MPs who haven't been able to get a place elsewhere: but in a region where the voting membership is in the tens rather than the hundreds, it's unlikely to work.

So, imagine the scenario. You're a loyal, possibly long-serving "senior leadership" ex-MP that a grateful party has gerrymandered back into the politics, earning you the undying enmity of the poor soul you've trodden all over in the process. You've got your second change (not you, Maggie), and you're not going to waste it. You're going to seize the day - Salmond Delenda Est! - and you're going to show all those bastards who wrote you off just because you got thrown out of parliament. 

What's your logical next step: it must be the "leadership". 

Now, the new "leader" will tell the whole country that Scottish Labour has changed. It's a straight choice between Ken MacIntosh, who like a drunk trying to get into the same nightclub he's already been knocked back from, has already been told too fuck off but just doesn't understand the rejection. And Kezia Dugdale. Sorry, "Kez". 

"Kez" is Scottish Labour's answer to Nicola Sturgeon, we're told, more in a desperate hope that if you wish hard enough something was true then true it shall be than in any sort of dispassionate analysis grounded in anything approaching reality. 

"Kez" is going to fix it (I saw one Unionist journalist recently actually writing, as though he believed it for a moment that "just as when you said 'Margo', everyone knew you were talking about Margo MacDonald, so it is with Kez"). The ancient triumph of hope over reality. Dugdale said herself six months ago that she "doesn't have what it takes" to be "leader" of Scottish Labour. 

Yet she's favourite. And she's favourite for one reason. She knows - and so does every other senior Scottish Labour leadership figure, that she doesn't have what it takes. She wasn't being overly-humble, nor was she misquoted - she was telling the unvarnished truth (for a nice change) in an unguarded moment.

Kezia, sorry, "Kez" Dugdale, sorry, "Kez", will "lead" Scottish Labour into May's general election. And it'll be a disaster. They'll lose between seven and ten seats. If she has the courage to fight a constituency - and based on her character, I don't think she will - and loses, as she inevitably will, she'll instantly be a laughing-stock, lame duck leader. 

So with your leader discredited and your deputy leader a bit of a joke figure known more for organising Orange marches and getting caught by the police giving blowies in the back of cars parked on busy roads, there's not really much option, is there? 

Wonder what the odds are on the main evening news headline on Monday, 9th May, being that familiar but forgotten voice rasping out "we've suffered a bad defeat. But we're ready to listen, and ready to change, and ready to serve Scotland", as Margaret Curran rises from the political grave like some sort of mad zombie?

* For younger readers, there was a time in Scottish politics, mainly in the last century, in which Scottish Labour not only had more than one MP, but often had a majority of them!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A palpable hit

Today's TNS poll has figures so ridiculous - yet in keeping with trends - that they're barely believable. 

The constituency poll gives the National party 60% of the vote, with Scottish Labour on a shattering 19%, their Tory friends on 15% and the Liberals, moribund, on 3%. 

This reflects what I predicted before the Westminster election last month: the Conservatives have already bottomed out in Scotland, and thus we know that it can rely on a minimum of 15% of the vote. They got 15,3% in 1999, 15,5% in 2003, 16,6% in 2007 and 13,9% in 2011 for an average of 15,3%. They can go up to 17% or down to 14% but Scottish Conservatives will remain with the party through thin, and they will always be within that margin of error of the 15% base.

For the Liberals, things are a bit disastrous. They scored 7,9% on the constituency vote last time out, but a mere 5,2% on the list. And it's likely that the list will be more reflective of the national vote given that their only two constituency deputies - and fully 5% of their national vote in the constituencies - came from Orkney and Shetland. With only ten full campaigning months to go until the election, the Northern Islands Liberals are square in the spotlight with the revelation that the MP for the overlapping Westminster constituency, Alistair Carmichael, lied and cheated his way into Westminster (to be their sole surviving MP), and is the subject of an Election Petition in the High Court. The Carmichael Scandal may be enough for the Liberals to hold onto their only MP, but he's guaranteed that the cost of that will be the loss of their only two constituencies in Holyrood, and possibly a full-scale wipeout of the party. 

Orkney and Shetland has returned nothing but Liberals since 1837. It used to be said "in the event of a nuclear war, only two things are guaranteed: the survival of the cockroach, and the election of a Liberal MP in the Northern Islands". Alistair Carmichael, single-handedly, has removed one of the two remaining citadels of Liberalism in the United Kingdom. Good work, arse-features.

The interesting part of this poll is Labour, however. Scottish Labour no longer has ambitions to govern. Their single abiding, guiding principle is the maintenance of the Union. But because of the madness and hate which has afflicted the party in the last ten years, and their refusal to learn from the continued rejection of the electorate, they are shrinking into themselves. Their attempts to broaden their appeal amongst Yes voters lasted roughly four hours and was an unmitigated failure, so their only scope for broadened appeal is to the extreme fringes of loyalism and unionism - that's why Glaswegians were subjected to Saturday's farcical events. 

But the danger in presenting yourself as the party of Unionism couldn't be clearer: this will only work as long as you are the largest Unionist party. With the Tories scoring 15% and the SNP likely to score at least 55% in the constituency vote, there are now only 30% of the entire electorate that Scottish Labour can attract; viz. the most Scottish Labour can ever hope to achieve is a third of the vote: and even that low target can be achievable only inasmuch as loyalists and unionists are confident that Scottish Labour will emerge as the largest Unionist party. 

Many of them, therefore, with no particular ideological connection to Scottish Labour other than the Union, will lend their second votes to the Conservatives in order to hedge their bets, but if they feel Scottish Labour is at risk of not being the largest Unionist party, the constituency votes might start to dribble away to their erstwhile Better Together partners as well. 

It might very well be that 19% in this poll represents a high-water mark for Scottish Labour in Holyrood in the future. I suspect that with carefully-chosen Green and Socialist constituency candidates bleeding further constituency votes away from Scottish Labour, their final score will be closer to 17%, leaving them with nary a constituency MSP again, and damn few on the list. And if that happens, the loyalist and unionist vote will go directly to the party which is in the stronger position to #Pout - and that will be the Tories.

This is what happened in the north of Ireland. Unionists weren't drawn to the OUP because of the wit and charm of Jim Molyneaux and David Trimble: they voted for them because they were the best electoral bulwark for the Union. Once doubts began to be implanted about that, Unionists completely abandoned the OUP for the DUP. The fact that the party were committed, fanatical unionists didn't matter a jot - once its position as the largest Unionist party came under threat, it became pointless. Scottish Labour should look at the current state of the once-impregnable OUP and shudder. Not too long ago, the OUP controlled every council in the north of Ireland, had an unassailable hand on the tiller of the north's government, and had almost every sitting MP. No more - they're now a rump, saved only by history, not usefulness.

The only way the Scottish Labour party can guarantee its continued existence is to remain the largest Unionist party. It's almost within a margin of error of being overtaken by the Conservatives as it is - and it's just about to elect a divisive, talentless, unpopular troll as branch manager. 

I see no reason to change my prediction from April that Scottish Labour won't be the official opposition in Holyrood come May, nor my prediction that in the longer-term, the only way they can survive is to fold lock, stock, and barrel into the Conservative party to become the Unionist Party. 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Turkish general election: initial thoughts

Turks went to the polls today in the country's general election and proved that just as turkeys don't vote for Christmas, neither does Turkey vote for president Reccep Tayyip Erdogan to have unrestricted rule. 

The background to the election is fascinating. Erdogan gave up the premiership in favour of his deputy Ahmet Davutoglu in August and took up the presidency. It was supposed to be a Russian-style transfer of powers, creating an executive presidency, for which this election was in effect a referendum. Erdogan was barred from standing for a fourth term as an MP by AK's internal regulations.

Erdogan's AK Parti (Justice and Development) needed a two-thirds majority in the 550-strong Meclis to unilaterally change the constitution and transfer executive power from the Meclis to the presidency. Shatteringly for the Islamist party, Turks have punished the president for a perceived arrogant boorishness by not even giving AK a majority.

In Turkey, it matters not how many seats a party wins: if it doesn't reach a (remarkably high) 10% threshold, it is not allowed to enter the Meclis, and its seats are distributed directly to the winning party (AK) which effectively means a huge winner's bonus for the first party - as many as 9,99% of the seats in parliament. The performance of the predominantly Kurdish HD Partisi (People's Democratic party) seems to - ironically; happily - have deprived AK of that majority. They will now have to seek a coalition partner or govern as a minority. 

The election comes against a background of huge industrial unrest in the republic, which has increased support for the CHP, the Republican People's party, with metalworkers at Renault, Fiat, MMM, Ototrim, Turk Traktor, Ford and Valeo all on strike to the tune of twenty thousand workers, many of whom are actively occupying the plants.

This, in a country where Erdogan has severely curtailed trade union rights and further restricted the already slim right to strike. 

Metal is the most lucrative export for Turkey, totally US$160 billion annually, and the strike action is deeply displeasing to Erdogan's thoroughly authoritarian conservative regime, leaving the metalworkers in a massively important position within the Turkish working class. Scarily for the government, radical unions are in contact with comrades in neighbouring - and enemy - Greece, forming a Red Med alliance - anathema to a state in which successive governments have used Turkish nationalism and fear of Athens to cow the working class.

Another factor in the election is the aforementioned Kurdish issue. This is the first time the HDP has stood as a party list for the Meclis - a gamble which, if it had failed, would have left Turkish Kurds without any parliamentary representation and totally at the mercy of the AK party. It is a gamble which, unlike Erdogan's, seems to have succeeded, and put Kurds at the heart of Turkish democracy for the first time. Because the HDP polls very close to the threshold, a failure to enter would see close to 10% (55 seats) transferred directly to AK. Thus, HDP's entry into parliament is the direct substantive cost of the loss of AK's majority.

The parties which seem to have passed the threshold for Meclis representation are AK, CHP, Milliyetci Hareket (the far-right), and the HDP, with the Anatolian party (a breakaway from CHP) just falling short. 

Potential coalitions are CHP-MHP-HDP as an anti-AK government (although it is extremely difficult to imagine the far-right Turkish nationalists and the Left-wing Kurdish nationalists governing together. Indeed, MHP leader Devlet Bahceli has formally ruled the idea out), with CHP-MHP and CHP-HDP governments also under discussion pending the full results. 

The HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas has ruled out an AK-HDP coalition under all circumstances, although AK is reported to seek discussions with the HDP to bring their constitutional reforms (although they have failed to get the 2/3 majority necessary to bring them about unilaterally, 330 votes in the Meclis would be enough to bring the issue to referendum). Would the HDP agree to a referendum in return for massive devolution to Kurdistan and the release of imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan? I would. In the long-term, further Kurdish autonomy could lead to a division of Turkey - a Nato member. 

If no coalition if formed, president Erdogan can dissolve the Meclis and go back to the country in 45 days. This may be the most likely outcome. 

There has also been some speculation in the Turkish media about a potential CHP-AK grand coalition, but under former president Abdullah Gul, who is regarded as more collegiate and temperate than Erdogan.

The results remain as yet unclear, but what is clear is that Erdogan is now a lame duck president, his dream of creating a US-style executive presidency over. 

It is a significant victory for liberals, secularists, workers and Kurds. 

Davotoglu will come under massive pressure to resign as prime minister, and is due to give a speech later this evening at Ankara. 

I apologise for being unable to render the proper diacritical marks in the names of several of the politicians and parties in this piece. Where possible, I've used the closest English glyph to represent them.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

A day of hate

Thankfully, the appalling weather as well as the massive negative publicity surrounding today's Festival of Hate seem to have (at the time of writing) conspired to ensure that the event passed off without any significant degree of violence or unrest. 

However, it mustn't end there.

People at Glasgow City Council took the view that a thuggish sectarian organisation which very raison d'etre is to be discriminatory and to spread hate should be accommodated as we would a legitimate organisation. 

Someone at the City Chambers decided that not only would a gang of fascist religious supremacists be allowed the use of the heart of Glasgow, but that they would be welcomed with open arms by being allowed to erect temporary stands in George Square and have marquees. 

Someone within the Council decided that Unionism was more important to them than human decency. That the smug satisfaction of the marching wing of the Labour party meant more than community cohesion. That someone not only allowed this rabble to block the city centre off to the people who live in this wonderful city, but actually gave them a Civic reception in the City Chambers!

There must be a full and comprehensive Board of Inquiry into the decision-making within Glasgow City Council relating to this event. If there was intervention from elected Members to ensure that this remarkable level of co-operation was given to the Scottish version of the Ku Klux Klan, then those members must be named publicly. 

The report from the Police Service of Scotland to the Council, which is being suppressed by the Council at this time, must be made available to the Board of Inquiry, and made available.

At the moment, the first priority is to ensure that a display like this which traduces the name of Glasgow in the eyes of the world never happens again. The second priority is to root out of the Council those who bent over backwards for fascists. And the third priority is to see any elected member who intervened to force this event upon the people of Glasgow is exposed as the bigot they are in order to face the judgement of their constituents.

I will be writing to my Councillors and MSP on this matter. If you, too, were horrified by what went on today in Glasgow, I suggest you do also.

Friday, 5 June 2015

They just haven't learned

"The definition of insanity", observed Albert Einstein, "is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". 

Just last month, the Scottish Labour party was transformed from a Scotland-wide political party to one which was reduced to Morningside. The main reason for their obliteration was the widely-held perception that the party cared more about a slavering, tribal hatred of the National party than fighting their erstwhile Better Together allies, the Conservatives. Even their leader lost his seat, the first time a London party had lost their leader or Scottish leader since Archibald Sinclair's defenestration by the good people of Caithness and Sutherland in 1945.

With the utter humiliation of Jim Murphy at the hands of his own party and the Trade Unions following, and what was left of the branch office plunging into civil war, the post-election period was a chance to show that the solemn-faced, trembling-lipped assurances after each successive defeat that "we've listened. And we've changed. And we've listened. And we're ready to rule serve. Because we've listened" are actually true, and that Scottish Labour is willing to fight the Tories on behalf of the common weal of Scotland.

Fat chance. 

There's a great old terracing chant in England, to the same tune of Tom Hark which is sung generally when a striker misses an open goal and is subsequently substituted with his team losing by a goal. The words are "You had your chance, but you fucked it up". 

That's what Scottish Labour has done this week. 

When George Osborne, the man who puts the "n" into "budget cut", unilaterally - and without notice to the Scottish Finance Ministry - decided to cut Scotland's budget by £177.000.000 (a capital budget cut of 25% for Scotland since the Tories came to power in 2010) despite his government being resoundingly rejected by Scots in last month's election and having no mandate to govern, Scottish Labour had an open goal.

We all know that austerity is not a necessity. It is, as the Finance Secretary John Swinney said yesterday, an ideological obsession. It is über-Thatcherism in action, likely to delay rather than augment any national economic recovery. 

So Scottish Labour were pushing at an open door. All they had to do was to join the National party, the Socialist party, the Green party, Plaid Cymru and their own, dwindling, progressive wing, and oppose Osborne's unilateral cut. 

Instead, they celebrated. They celebrated with wild abandon, almost akin to the unimaginable scenario of their winning two seats in an election. Social media exploded with jubilation, delight and glee. We were treated to the grotesque sight of the Labour party - the Labour party! - gloating over the cuts. 

Not because they particularly agreed with them - although, God knows, there are plenty in the Scottish Labour party - Tory entryists, really - who share the ideological obsession with austerity - but because it presented the Scottish Government with a problem of how to deal with the cuts. 

This is why Scottish Labour is dying. 

Their gut instinct wasn't to oppose cuts which have a direct and wounding impact on the people in Scotland they seek to represent, but to celebrate them. To celebrate damage to Scotland, no matter the depth of the harm it causes, on the grounds that it might allow them to indulge in the virulent, pathological, pointless hatred of the National party. Scottish Labour's sole MP drips with such hate of the National party that he couldn't even bring himself to oppose the Tory budget, abstaining - abstaining! - on a Nationalist anti-austerity amendment.

Their jubilation is based on their theory that Edinburgh will either have to raise taxes or cut services to pay for the Tory regime's cut to our budget. This is, for them, A Good Thing. They know it will harm Scotland, but they hope it will also harm the National party, and that is why they celebrate. 

It's also, partly, one of the tines of the Unionist trident for the independence debate. Too wee, too poor, too stupid. "Oh, we gave you us the responsibility to raise taxes and you we got poorer! Imagine how shit you'd we'd be if you we were independent!" 

They're happy to sabotage the Scottish economy within the Union in order to raise doubts about our ability to run 100% of our economy. They don't care that it's a scorched-earth tactic - because Scottish Labour have long since given up any hope of governing Scotland, or making us a fairer or more equitable society. 

Their only reason for existing now is their fanatical, unyielding, Unionism. It is literally all the modern Scottish Labour party stands for. They will trade anything and everything to maintain their Union. They are the Scottish equivalent of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging storming the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park in a last-ditch, desperate attempt to maintain the status quo.

And does this dispel or cement the hypothesis nagging away at so many voters that Scottish Labour is much less concerned about fighting the Tories than it is about the National party - even if that latter crusade harms Scotland just as much? 

I think many people who didn't vote Labour last month will look at the exultation from Scottish Labour supporters, the sheer, unadulterated joy they took in the misery of those working-class Scots whose lives are now going to be made immeasurably worse as a direct result of the cuts in which Scottish Labour found so much cause for saturnalia, and they'll rule out a Scottish Labour vote in May's general election in favour of genuine anti-austerity parties (of which, incidentally, the National party isn't quite one: but it at least pretends to be one).

And as they have done at every Scottish General Election since the very first, their support will fall that little bit further and they'll lose just a few more seats. And as Tory rule bites harder and deeper, and as the pain and hunger of the poorest and most vulnerable who once looked to Scottish Labour to defend us from the Tories grows, Scots will remember this day for many, many years to come.

The day Scottish Labour celebrated their Tory friends cutting the equivalent of the entire annual education budget for 45.000 Scottish school students.

The day Scottish Labour rejoiced at George Osborne taking the equivalent of 1,5p out of every £1 of the Scottish Health Service budget. 

The day Scottish Labour took pleasure in an austerity-obsessed Chancellor stripping the equivalent of 16% from the budget of the Police Service of Scotland. 

Oh, we'll remember it alright. We'll remember it the way we remembered the Scottish Tories rejoicing at Thatcher's cuts, and we punished them for it - you'd have to be over 30 years old to really remember the last time Scotland elected more than a breeding pair of Scottish Tory MPs. 

This was the week where Scottish Labour's irrational, tribalistic and venomous hatred of the National party turned into something more sinister than that: a hatred of Scotland.