Monday, August 15, 2011

Questions to which the answer is 'before I answer that question, can I just say how much I love what you've done with your hair'

The latest in Labour Hame's cutting-edge series of "questions for nationalists" is this :

Should the largest party at Holyrood/Westminster always have the right to form a government?

Answer : No. There is an arguable case that the largest party should always be permitted the first crack at forming a viable administration (and in practice that's how it invariably works anyway) but that's as far as it goes.

But what's interesting about this is that the question was, as ever, posed by Bomber Admin, aka Tom Harris MP. A man who we already know believes that the answer to his own question is "yes" - regardless of whether that largest party has 35% of the vote, 25% of the vote or even 10% of the vote. Regardless of whether that party is pushing a regressive right-wing agenda at a time when the public have just elected a parliament with a progressive majority. Regardless of whether his own party could lead that progressive majority, if only it proved itself mature enough to set aside its tribalism and work with other parties.

So my own question to Tom is this :

Is it really such a wizard idea to go out of your way to remind people that, because of your Neanderthal belief that a winner-takes-all result had to be artificially created from an election that had disobediently failed to produce a clear winner, and because of your pigheaded unwillingness to work with other parties under any circumstances at all, you spent several days last May actively campaigning for the current Tory-led government to take power, and therefore bear a share of the responsibility for the damage that government is causing?


  1. James, if you really think a rainbow alliance of Labour, the Lib Dems and the rag tag of SNP, Plaid and others could have held together a coalition for more than five minutes you're living in a dream world.

    There is one party directly responsible for empowering a Tory minority to act as a Tory majority and that is the Lib Dems. Blaming Labour is just ludicrous.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Duncan's last sentence betrays why the Labour Hame venture is doomed. Whatever the question, the answer is 'Blaming Labour is just ludicrous'. In LH land, the Labour movement is perfect. As it is perfect, it has nothing to learn, and can make no change that would improve it. The only problem in LH land is that we appear to have an incorrectly calibrated electorate that has failed to recognise The Truth.

    Working with other politicians is impossible, as their opinions on all matters are incorrect, and in any case, they are a 'rag tag'. Meanwhile, Duncan, 'Admin' and the rest of the cabal can do nowt but wait for the scales to fall from the electorate's eyes so that it can again see Labour in its glory and its perfection and sweep it back into power.

    A rainbow alliance could have held together. The LibDem harlots will do anything for a sniff of power, so a couple of cabinet seats and a sprinkling of knighthoods would have kept them onside. The 'ragtag' of parties that each represent the views of the a constituent country of the UK are principled, however, and they would have expected some constitutional changes as the price of their co-operation. I fail to see why this would have been impossible, except for Labour pig-headedness.

    However, from a Labour point of view, it doesn't really matter, as we now haw have the glorious Unionist coalition in command at Westminster, and the Union is the core issue after all. If the gravy train disappears, the gravy disappears with it.

  4. Good grief, Richard, what an unthinking response. I have made many public criticisms of past Labour decisions, policies and campaigns, as has almost every other contributor to LH. You are posting from irrational dislike, not from thoughtful analysis.

    A rainbow alliance could not have worked as it would have been led by a losing party and consist only of losing parties. It's time the SNP acknowledged this and moved on.

    As for your unionist gravy train dig, I can only assume you haven't read any of my articles at LH, because my very first knocks your criticism into a cocked hat. In case you care about fact rather than invective, it was called "Unionism is not a Labour value".

  5. Och, bit of hyberbole helps to get the debate going. 'Admin' likes his sweeping statements, you must expect some return fire. But your choice of terms like 'ragtag' to me betrayed a certain arrogane, Duncan. My remarks weren't aimed at you specifically, but at LH as a whole. I haven't seen any searching anaysis there of how you lost elections. The big issues - inequality, health, housing, education, Iraq, nuclear power, Lords reform, nuclear weapons, corruption, the honours system, don't really get a mention, except when used to criticize the SNP gov't. We never hear how it would be better with Labour, and we never why it wasn't better under the previous Lab/Lib gov'ts.

    Wheh I asked a genuine question on LH about the workings of bus regulation - i.e. 'how will it be paid for' - i received no answer, but a great deal of scorn. It was at that point I ceased to be simply interested in LH, and became actively hostile to it. If Admin is going to amuse himself with displays of smart-arsery, he must expect outcomes like this.

    I think LH did start as a genuine attempt to learn lessons. But I also think that it has morphed into a rather lee attractive and less succesful mode. Admin's ill-considered 'questions' are risible. Torcuil 'can we play you every week?' Crichton just seems confused.

    I found the piece about Palestine today intersting, though any SNP supporter would tell you that it begs an awful lot of questions.....

  6. It's interesting how the debate about LH seems to be moving here. 'Admin's' less than impartial modding policy probably has a lot to do with it
    I am sure that the arrival here of LH stalwarts such as Duncan will not provoke a similar response here.

    BTW, on the coalition point, how were the Tories not losers at the last Westminster election? They certainly weren't the winners. The Tories certainly are well aware that they couldn't beat an utterly spent Labour Gov't. It's only Clegg's easy virtue that got Cameron into No 10.

  7. It was an extraordinary discussion. You came away feeling that somehow the SNP was being blamed for the fact that Labour made an attempt to patch together some kind of deal with the Lib Dems because the SNP said we will back you if you do. Just bizarre.

  8. Incidentally I love the comment "It's time the SNP acknowledged this and moved on."

    As if the SNP got stuck in a rut re-fighting the Westminster election.

    Ahem ......

  9. In my view the main reason LabourHame is has morphed into attack mode, I think, is that a site which was set up for Scottish Labour to debate its future has been hijacked by the Cybernat hordes who want to turn it into another place to have fights.

    I think Tom's moderation policy has been more than reasonable given the site's raison d'etre. And the "Questions to which the answer is..." series was, if I recall correctly, explicitly added as a result of the Cybernat invasion of the site.

  10. I thought that thread would be closed quickly. Still, nobody can say that Labour Hame isn't "thinking outside the box". A Grand Unionist coalition including the Tories? I can't see Jim and Sarah putting that one in the good ideas pile.

  11. This is an interesting philosophical question about parliamentary democracy, but why is it supposed to be particularly difficult for, or relevant to, Nats? Other people on this thread seem to have understood why they've asked this, so can you explain it to me?

  12. I didn't understand it myself. I think the point was that Alex Salmond had offered SNP and Plaid Cymru support for a "Progressive Alliance". But surely SNP/Plaid Cymru did that in response to reports that Labour and the Lib Dems were having talks? So if the SNP was out of order suggesting that a Progressive ALliance was possible, surely Labour were even more out of order by speaking to the Lib Dems about that possibility? It doesn't make a lot of sense - or wouldn't make sense if it wasn't Tom Harris behind it. He spends as much time fighting with people in the Labour Party as he does fighting with the SNP.

    I do wonder at the real purpose of the Labour Hame site. It would surely be easy enough to require people to register before commenting. That would make it easy to screen out the cyber-nats. But would anyone read it if they didn't go on it, that's the question.

  13. I get the feeling that the reason unionists talk about 'cybernats' in such a derogatory manner has much to do with the jealousy they feel that their own side doesn't attract such enthusiasm.

    Sure, some nats can get over-excited and perhaps downright aggressive in their arguments sometimes, but I suspect the unionists would behave the same if there were more than three of them on the internet.

    Anyway, seeing the way the Scotsman and the Daily Record write their editorials, I have no doubt that unionists would behave the same way were there enough of them. A lot of the unionists act in the same way as the 'cybernats' - they just don't get the same attention for the reasons above.

  14. I've laearntg more about Labour from Labour Hame than Labour has learnt about itself. If you ask questions there you are dismissed. Everything about the site is smug, over-bearing and self absorbed. The whole site gives the impression of a swamp full of dinosaurs watching the approaching meteor, unable to comprehend what it is they are seeing. I shall watch with interest, but I shall find something more productive to do than comment there. I could, for instance, sit on a beach and tell the tide to retreat, or just stay at home and bang my head against a wall.

  15. # Duncan

    I think Tom's moderation policy has been more than reasonable given the site's raison d'etre.

    This sums up Labour's mindset airbrush the truth so that the facts are hidden.

    e.g. Labour is a left wing party.
    e.g. Poverty went down under Labour.
    e.g. Labour didn't hide the McCrone report for 30 yrs.

    Any rebuttal of these total lies have been modded out as the hierarchy likes to keep the voter uninformed.

    Every time I have tried to show links to back up the facts they get wiped. If you think that hiding the facts by not accepting the parties failings then the dustbin is what Labour deserve allowing a proper party of grownups can be formed which has Scotland at its heart not Westminster.

  16. Duncan, Tom's moderation policy (so Admin is, indeed, Tom then?) makes BWB moderation look positively liberal. On the question of UK riots, both you and Tom claimed it was wrong for Salmond to try to protect Scottish businesses whilst English businesses suffered. You went as far as to claim it was obscene and outrageous, parochial and inward looking to try to do so.

    I have asked the question several times re compensation that is being made available to English businesses but exclude Scottish businesses. Each time the question has been deleted because it shows Labour's irrational position on the question. Yes, it's UK riots and we're all in this together showing solidarity until Westminster decide otherwise, then it was compensation for English businesses because they were "English riots".

    Many Scottish businesses will go to the wall this year because of these riots and without any compensation. Will Labour tell these ex-B&B/shop owners that their loss was a price worth paying to show solidarity with England and the fact that compensation wasn't available is just yet another Union dividend?

  17. Duncan : Thankyou for attempting to answer the latest Question To Which The Answer Is "La, La, La, La, I'm Not Listening". Regrettably, your answer was incorrect.

  18. Leaving aside my Tom Harris impersonation, I'm not in fact "blaming Labour" for the Tories getting into power. It's much more specific than that - I'm blaming Tom Harris. And John Reid. And David Blunkett. And a number of others.

    The SNP did their bit to keep the Tories out. Some senior figures in Labour and the Lib Dems also did their bit. If, as you say, a rainbow coalition could not have "held together", there are a number of reasons for that - and one of those reasons is currently running a website called Labour Hame.

  19. Duncan:

    If the raison d’être of Labour Hame blog is to provide Labour party members a forum to discuss Labour's future, why are there posts in the last week entitled:

    Whaur's yer solidarity noo, Eck? (Eck? Isn’t your man’s name Ed?)


    What could possibly explain the SNP's objection to Bus regulation? (Do you want Labour people to answer that, or are you inviting the SNP to enlighten you? Would not that question been better phrased: What could explain the reluctance of Labour in 13 years in London and 8 years in Edinburgh to deregulate the buses?)

    If it were me who was running it, and the raison d’être was as you suggest, I would be having deep discussions about why labour failed so dismally in May. Why seat after seat was lost to the SNP. Why the few that were left reacted in such a churlish and childish way on the night (and it was those who were beaten that showed some sort of dignity in defeat).

    And surely, if this site is for labour party members only, to discuss their future, should it not be a closed site, with entry by pass word. If I were discussing the future of the SNP I wouldn’t want to invite a ‘rag bag’ of other parties’ members in to view my deliberations.

    Surely an open blog which invites comments at all, does so from all users of the net. As it is the moderation policy makes the admin, a member of parliament, look small minded and unable to cope with criticism.

  20. Latest modded comment.

    Quote from 2007.
    'I am rather bemused by the coverage in The Scotsman and other newspapers describing Professor Arthur Midwinter as an "economist" and leading "expert", who has debunked the economic case for an independent Scotland. My understanding is that Prof Midwinter has a background in political science, indeed is a former professor of politics and a specialist in local government finance.

    Surly Labour Hame can do do better than get a professor of politics to write a creditable article on economics whose past attempts have already been rebutted.

  21. Google reveals Prof Midwinter to be a long-standing Labour pro-unionist. His message is really little more than the old 'too poor, too wee, too stupid' line, although he introduces the tather confusing side topic of potentilal harm to the rest of UK in the case of FFA.

    It's just another Labour Hame message preached at the choir. Meanwhile, this is interesting:

  22. While I respect Duncan for taking the time to comment here he is flat wrong

    LH didn't become full of attacks on the SNP because of comments from SNP voters, it started out that way

    SNP voters commented on articles to point out what they perceived as flawed arguments, selective quotes and things that were flat wrong.

    I mean the tartan ribbon is pure shortbreadery. It comes from a mindset that sees Scotland only as a secondary consideration to Westminster.

    With each passing Week LH gets more ridiculous. I think because the one thing LH can't delve into too deeply, even though you yourself, Duncan, have brought it up as a subject, is that Labour in Scotland suffers from its position under London control

    Just as the Co-op movement survives with local Co-ops that, err, cooperate, for a national organisation, Labour should think seriously about having a more federal organisation if it is to become relevant to the devolved assemblies as well as the UK

    It needs a way to develop actual talent to Holyrood and Cardiff, instead of seeing that as a regional council for second-raters.

    If you want to be taken seriously by SNP voters, many of whom used to vote Labour, many of whom used to be members of your party, then engage with them as adults, putting forward serious, cogent arguments and not the cheap nastiness we have seen on LH

    I think that's it for now