Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Questions to which the answer is 'this is a really bad line mate, we'll catch up another time, yeah?'

The latest in Labour Hame's thrilling series of "let's ask nationalists a question, delete most of the answers for no apparent reason but nevertheless leave a handful of highly compelling ones, and then pretend the question was UNANSWERED anyway" is this -

Why does Alex Salmond think he needs a referendum before he can negotiate more powers for Holyrood?

Answer : Because he has spent the last two months since the election doing his level best to negotiate more powers for the Scottish Parliament without a referendum, and the evidence of our own eyes confirms that it's like trying to get blood out of a stone. By contrast, a government that has a referendum mandate under its belt has tremendous moral authority in negotiations and is far more likely to succeed.

But as ever, what is more interesting about the question is what it unwittingly reveals about the inner contradictions in Labour's own thinking. Perhaps they can now answer the following -

If you think that an elected Scottish government has a mandate to negotiate more powers without a referendum and indeed should find it easy to succeed in doing so, why did the Labour government at Westminster refuse to enter into such direct negotiations with the SNP administration between 2007 and 2010?

I'm way ahead of you here, guys - the question will be UNANSWERED.


  1. Hi James, apologies if it's been posted before but this is by far my favourite ever exchange on Tom Harris does Glebe St.

    "ElaineSk says:
    June 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I totally agree with you Altany, they are fast becoming a virus across any forum and website that is for Labour folk. This is what they do though……….they are right and everyone who doesn’t agree with them is wrong. They have stalked the internet for months with their opinions and trying to ram it down our throats. In my opinion this website is for Labour only, so I can re-iterate what Altany says………..move along! I fleetingly considered Independence but in the last year the thought of being a separate country with a bunch of pushy bullies does not float my boat! I’ve endured appalling insults and bullying in the last year over the net by SNP supporters with run up to the election. This is just the last straw that I come on this website wanting to discuss my party, Scottish Labour and to be confronted by a hoard of SNP supporters! What they aim to do is ruin this page……they think they have claim to Scotland, we Scots that don’t vote SNP or Independence are harrassed by many of them."

    "admin says:
    June 13, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Elaine – thanks for persevering amidst the bonkers ranting of the cybernats. We’re taking a much stricter approach to moderation now, so that LabourHame becomes a nicer place for normal people who just want to debate the issues, not just sneer and bully their compatriots for daring to disagree with them."

    Fact is we've no right to even go there James, as Tom says it's for "normal people".

  2. There's nothing worse than an ambitious but mediocre politician who thought he might find himself in the Shadow Cabinet and indeed gave up his blog to achieve that end, only to be spurned by his fellows and by his leader.

    One who starts another blog, gives it a really tacky name and a sickeningly patronising banner and says that it's for "normal" people who agree with Labour.

    As you, James, never tire of pointing out, there's a certain irony in asking for explanations of SNP policy, barring SNP "cybernats" from commenting and then concluding that the point has gone unanswered.

    It seems that the "cyberreds" or to be more accurate the "cybermauves" haven't the stomach for robust interaction.

    Still, that's more or less the way that this politician's last blog was. Sneering and with an air of superiority so typical of a Westminster politician who thinks rather too highly of himself.

  3. PS: Love the illustration!

  4. I keep thinking LabourHame can't become any more weird or out of touch, and each successive post there proves me wrong. Your graphic sums it up precisely. They invite comment, but won't hear it. They want a debate, but but won't have one. They say they need new ideas and policies, but suggest none. The whole thing is the political equivalent of a dog chasing its own tail.

  5. I thought Labour Hame was potentially a very interesting and positive development when it started. There have been some quite reflective articles published, and the mixture of comments from Labour and non-Labour folk looked like the site might become a place where real debate could take place.

    Sadly, this aspect of the site is sinking fast. Articles like the above contribute nothing to debate, and continue the simple Nat-bashing that the site administrators really want to concentrate on. If you challenge their arguments you're a thuggish cyberbully, if you don't laugh at the puerile humour you're a humourless neo-fascist. New moderation rules should manage to stifle any meaningful discussion completely.

    Question to which the answer is "er..." Do Labour in Scotland actually want to talk to anybody but themselves? Are Labour in Scotland utterly incapable of taking a word of criticism? Do Labour in Scotland actually have the ability to regain the support of those who are doing the questioning and criticising - the people of Scotland?

    One last question regarding Inverclyde - do Scottish Labour activists (I believe there are still some) and MSPs really want to campaign to elect another Scottish Labour MP who will disappear off down to Westminster and spend the rest of his Labour Party career despising them and blocking any aspirations they may have for more autonomy over their own affairs?

  6. I agree, Eric - there have been a number of very good individual articles on Labour Hame (they even got Jeff Breslin to write one of the first ones), but the admin's attitude is destroying the site's credibility. Long may that continue, because it's a highly entertaining spectacle.

  7. Having had several posts deleted from LabourHame (even one or two for the crime of pointing out that the site's moderation policy makes Blether With Brian's look decadently liberal), I couldn't agree more.

    The level of navel gazing going on there, where dissent and opposing views are extinguished almost immediately give a strong indication that Scottish labour is completely unable (or simply unwilling) to learn any lessons from their consecutive election defeats. They still believe incessant nat bashing is the key to victory.