Monday, September 28, 2015

The Corbyn/McDonnell 'Big Lie' approach to taking on the SNP isn't just cynical - it's also bound to fail

I enjoyed listening to John McDonnell's speech at the Labour conference.  There's been a lot of talk about him and Corbyn hastily backtracking on their principles since they took over, but there wasn't much evidence of that today - it was full-fat left-wing fare.  He did try to tackle the charge of "deficit denial", but only by listing the cuts he would make at the expense of wealthy people.

It struck me once again that Labour have probably elected the wrong Campaign Group MP as leader - McDonnell is the articulate one, who exudes an air of competence and even has a touch of charisma about him.  But realistically the candidate had to be Corbyn, because by all accounts McDonnell is so loathed among the PLP that there's no way he'd have made it onto the ballot paper, not even to "widen the debate".

The one part of the speech that grated, of course, was the disingenuous, rabble-rousing attack on the SNP.  The Labour left, to their intense discredit, appear to have settled on the 'Big Lie' approach to taking on Nicola Sturgeon - they think they can somehow convince people that she opposes the living wage, is plotting the privatisation of CalMac, and was responsible for the privatisation of ScotRail (even though the latter took place in the 1990s under John Major, and before the Scottish Parliament even existed!).  Most voters don't pay attention to the detail, so it's not totally inconceivable that they might fall for some of this garbage.  But the snag is that they won't buy into the headline summary, namely that the SNP are pro-austerity or austerity-neutral (implied by McDonnell's assertion that Labour are now the only anti-austerity party in Scotland).  Who, seriously, is going to believe that claim after the events of the general election campaign?  If your main attack line doesn't ring true to people, it's simply not going to get you anywhere.

Still, I don't blame McDonnell for going through the motions.  Bashing the SNP is a rite of passage for new and slightly distrusted Shadow Cabinet members - a bit similar to posh-boy initiation ceremonies involving dead pigs.  He had to do it, and he got it out of the way in such a brief and tokenistic manner that the real impression I'm left with is that Labour's heart isn't in the coming Scottish battle.  They've already handed the SNP an enormous gift on Trident, which is going to make one particular part of next year's leaders' debates almost painfully easy for Sturgeon.  "Labour may have two opinions on Trident, but we have only one.  We've made up our minds.  We're against it.  Labour are so divided that they ran away from even discussing it at their conference.  Vote for a party that knows what it thinks and isn't afraid to say it."

51 comments:

  1. Indeed. Very much in line with Kez's "the SNP don't have a *single* progressive policy" - nicely capturing the "new politics" she's so keen on.
    What bugs me the most is the tacit implication that the Scottish voters are a bunch of braindead nutters, who have somehow been hoodwinked into voting SNP since 2007. Did they simply not notice that Alex, Nicola etc are a bunch of right wingers?
    On a related note, I notice that folk such as Owen Jones (a great progressive guy in many ways) often use a form of words like "the SNP *at least positioned* themselves to the left of Labour".
    But hang on. If you believe in ditching Trident, in free uni education, in an alternative to austerity and in an NHS safe from privatization, you should acknowledge that the SNP stands for all those things and - where possible - has done something about them in office. That's not a matter of "at least positioned", it's real-world manifesto implementation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They just keep failing and repeating. Attack the SNP and by default the Scottish people. And the people will drop you like a tonne of bricks.

    It has been said before. Sturgeon is like a sister, friend , auntie to a lot of people in Scotland. We see her as one of us. To try and attack her or insult her becomes personal to a lot of people. The SNP is seen as Scotland's party now and we will defend them. Labour and the other unionists will never learn. But lets enjoy their meltdown, they really haven't changed a bit. Complete self destruct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sounds dangerously like the guff SLab used to spout most of my adult life. Donald Dewar 'father of the nation', John Smith everybody's favourite uncle at ease with all Scotland, Scottish Labour, 'Scotland's party', 'the peoples party' etc. etc.

      Nicola Sturgeon is a very capable politician, she is not like my sister or my Auntie or my friend. The SNP have had my vote most of my adult life and won the recent Scottish elections. They are not 'Scotland's Party'. They are a Scottish political party. There are others.

      This kind of talk November13 is a throwback to another Scotland of another time, not the politically aware and sussed post referendum Scotland we now live in.

      braco

      Delete
    2. I agree. I've voted SNP at every Scottish Election since 1970 and am a member, but I don't see Nicola Sturgeon as anything other than a consummate politician with a knack for connecting with the electorate. It was the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union who declared that 'the Party and the People are one'. An attack on the party was an attack on the people and hence treason, punishable by death. A very good way to suppress dissent - we don't want that in the new Scotland.

      Delete
    3. well, I know where you guys are coming from, crucial to keep our critical faculties at full blast, but if all that November actually means is that Nicola Sturgeon is someone people can relate to, partly because she seems nice and partly coz she's from a working class background (compare the Bullingdon horrors), I'm happy to agree.
      I doubt if the idea was to invoke a Soviet style dissent-free society...

      Delete
  3. This new old Labour is just another form of British nationalism. Red Tories are just as ignorant of Scotland as Blue Tories.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice to see the SNP taking Corbyn to task over his comments on Andrew Marr show. Gavin Newlands MP (SNP) has written to Corbyn requesting he retract the untruths on Calmac privatisation, and rail service. https://goo.gl/N4S8MR

    ReplyDelete
  5. Summed up with the SNP bad stuff is the thinly veiled attack on Scots collectively. As al skinner put it we are collectively being treated as brain-dead nutters.

    November 13 put it well as well. The mither a potential Labour voter is put right off by the personalised attacks on Sturgeon, Sturgeon she would look on as she would view grand daughters. Oh well let Labour get on with it. Their chief propagandists at the BBC Brit Nat Brainwashing Corp aren't getting it either.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Scottish Labour fighting over who paid what for the tickets, As the MV Scotland sails over the horizon !

    ReplyDelete
  7. They may have shifted some of the deck chairs to the port side of the SS British Labour but the ship's course doesn't appear to have changed.
    I suppose it is going to take them some time to jettison the Blair cargo and passengers.
    Nothing in it for Scoland,as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Problem is that these Porkies get repeated ad infinitum on the BBC---no questions, no quibbles.
    This is a pair who believe in a united independent Ireland, by ANY means, but who object to a self governing Scotland, via the ballot box.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Don't suppose there's any chance the current shadow cabinet would actually prefer to be supported by a group of SNP MPs rather than having to whip a SLab contingent of their own?

    As it stands, Corbyn has to negotiate with one person/team to enlist the support of a 56-strong voting bloc. Compare that with juggling the likes of Murphy, Alexander, Curran, etc., never mind that Dugdale publicly preferred a different candidate.

    If so, could the price of such support be hammering the nails in on Scottish Labour's coffin?

    This has parallels with the previous government - Cameron obtained virtually all of the LibDem votes and gained firmer support from them during the term than he had from the right wing of his own party.

    ReplyDelete
  10. See here ---> https://77a8.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/straight-talking-honest-politics

    ReplyDelete
  11. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 28, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    Labour have done what the Nat sis have done for years. Verbal diahorea and no firm policies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a Jewish independence supporter I find your own pet term for me offensive and disgusting.

      I've wiped better things off my shoe.



      Delete
  12. A few over the top responses to my suggestion that Scots have a personal respect for the SNP, and genuine affection for Nicola.

    How we got to condoning North Korean style politics from that is beyond my ken. The point was that Corbyn et al were not criticising a party. They were suggesting the electorate were fanatics,fundamentalists and misguided fools. You can disagree with a party without criticising the electorates right to vote for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 29, 2015 at 12:18 AM

      I have no respect for Nicola. SHE TALKS THE TALK but will not upset the rich by taxing them. She is a real Tartan Tory.

      Delete
    2. Eat your cereal.

      Delete
    3. Trolls such as the fool Glasgow Working Class don't eat cereal they only eat unionist lies then regurgitate them.

      Delete
    4. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 29, 2015 at 8:50 PM

      List the Lies Paul? Followed by evidence.

      Delete
  13. "Flags don't build houses"

    Yet...

    https://archive.is/orNxw

    Corbyn declares his love for Britain and promises a kinder politics

    JEREMY Corbyn will today seek to answer those who have questioned his patriotism by insisting “I love this country” as he pledges to deliver a kinder politics and a more caring society...

    ...“It’s because I am driven by these British majority values, because I love this country, that I want to rid it of injustice, to make it fairer, more decent, more equal. And I want all our citizens to benefit from prosperity and success," he will say.


    #nationalism

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It never ceases to amaze me how attached these socialist, "citizens of the world " are to the union flag. The flag that represents everything that is aggressively, diametrically opposed to their socialist vision, seems to have a powerful, supernatural hold over them. Uncanny.

      Delete
    2. It never ceases to amaze me how attached many supporters of Scottish independence are to the European Union. An institution that represents everything that is aggressively, diamertrically opposed to their vision of self-determination and autonomy, seems to have a powerful, supernatural hold over them. Uncanny.

      Delete
    3. @Anonymous
      Scotland's history is one of treating with Continental powers to help us hold off England's depredations. This was both military and diplomatic aid, usually with the Pope. Everyone knows about the Auld Alliance with France but there were deals with the Hapsburgs too and Scotland had strong trading links with the Hanseatic League in the Baltic and dynastic links with Norway/Denmark.

      Whereas England's history is one of conflict with the Continent and constant fear of invasion. Ignore the English historians after 1066 they got invaded by the Dutch in what got spun as the Glorious Revolution but there were Dutch troops occupying London for at least a year afterwards. All those wars against the French, the Spanish Armada, Holland etc. etc.

      That and the legacies of Empire when we didn't need Europe underlie English Euroscepticism. They resent having to need Europe. While Scotland sees Auld Alliances to be rekindled, not necessarily this time to oppose England. But if they continue their neocon ways after Scottish Independence that may have to be the case.

      So don't take it too hard when the French compete to be the first to recognise an Independent Scotland. The French remember too.

      Delete
    4. Must admit 'I love the European Union' or 'It’s because I am driven by these European majority values, because I love this European Union...' are not things I've ever heard a supporter of Scottish independence say.

      Delete
    5. "That and the legacies of Empire when we didn't need Europe underlie English Euroscepticism. They resent having to need Europe."

      What do we 'need' from Europe? The Euro? The Schengen Area?

      Delete
  14. "It struck me once again that Labour have probably elected the wrong Campaign Group MP as leader...."

    McDonnell vs Corbyn is indeed a tough choice for 'progressives'

    Do you support the one who calls Hamas and Hezbollah 'friends' and associates with anti-semites or the one who calls on us 'honour' the IRA and who, when speaking of a female Government Minister, asked the question "Why aren't we lynching the bitch"?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yep keep the Red, White and Blue fleg flying, should be Corbyns anthem.

    British values the most overused , confused and dangerous phrase of the unionists.

    British values brought us the Iraq War, Foodbanks, poverty, Cameron and the Etonians, deception in the 79 referendum by Labour, outright lies about the oil in the North sea in the 70's, the failed empire that caused mayhem around the world, the class system, Margaret Thatcher, UKIP, Slavery, divide and rule in Eire and now Scotland....Stuff them where the sun don't shine. The poor protect the wealthy that's British values in a nutshell!

    ReplyDelete
  16. We've been here before. This is exactly the bullshit Scottish labour were shovelling in the lead up to the General Election. It is exactly what cost all but one of the MPs.
    I get a sense that McTernan & Co are involved in this. Scottish labour has all but destroyed itself and now they are using the UK party to continue the fight. These "Spin Wizards" are going to do to the UK party, what they did to the Scottish branch.
    McTernan was chased out of Australia after his expertise destroyed the Julia Gillard campaign for election. That this man has not been kicked out by Scottish labour and is being sought for his opinion, is a constant source of amazement.

    It's going to an uncomfortable 5 years watching these morons defecate all over their precious union in a bid to "Do in" the SNP.

    ReplyDelete
  17. If anyone watched Dugdale frantically talking to Corbyn before her speech. It looked like he hadn't a clue what he was doing, or what he was agreeing to. He looks nervous, sweaty and shaky. The guy is a car crash leader. Ill informed outside his cosy, pseudo leftie, London bubble!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Carmichael on borrowed time it would seem. Case proceeding. Can't see them finding in his favour. I think he tried to get it dropped on the technicality that Sturgeon wasn't a candidate for WM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aye, but he was!

      He will probably get let off, but it's good to see him sweat a bit more. You never know!.

      Delete
  19. Labour conference votes for trident renewal.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2015/09/how-labour-conference-voted-favour-trident-renewal

    Next they'll be putting ermined Lords in their shadow cabinet and backing the Tory austerity charter. Wait. Oh.

    Corbyn will be belting out 'Rule Britannia' with the best of them soon the way this UK socialist republican revolution is going.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yep Corbyn exposed as a Brit Nat. Remember he is voting to put nuclear weapons in our country, not his. Is that what the mean by come home to Labour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His too, unless they're relocating Aldermaston north of the border.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 29, 2015 at 8:47 PM

      All of Britain is our country until you Nat sis change the arrrangement and crawl into pre 1707 and invite the decendents of the idiot Charlie back to our great country.

      Delete
    3. If we change the constitutional settlement as far as Royalty is concerned, I doubt very much it will be towards finding some descendent of Charlie to take the throne.

      Hopefully we will become a Republic.

      Delete
  21. I think it will be when Corbyn goes not if now. I wanted him to win the Labour leadership contest, the other three candidates were awful. I started to get a bad feeling about Corbyn when I watched his acceptance speech a few weeks ago. It was a rambling mess of a speech, and he went out of his way to have a go at the MSM. I honestly thought he or his campaign team would have prepared a much better speech, it was shocking bad. I don't see how Corbyn can possibly stay as leader of the British Labour Party for even close to five years, in which he would have to keep on saying he is against Trident, while his party, the unions, and PLP insist they want to renew it. That would surely be an unsustainable position to be in.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Survation UK poll Scottish subsample. Normal caveats apply.

    Fairly run of the mill.

    55% SNP
    16% Con
    11% Lab
    9% Lib
    4% Green
    4% UKIP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To further pass the time:

      Which of the following is closest to your view?
      13% I will be personally affected a lot when the Governments cuts to working tax credits kick in at the end of the year
      8% I will be personally affected a little when the Governments cuts to working tax credits kick in at the end of the year


      That's a lot of votes.

      Delete
  23. James or Scottish Skier, can you comment on the following?

    Quick fact check on state of independence vote in Catalonia: Explicitly pro-independence parties: 39.5 + 8.2 = 47.7%

    But

    You also need to factor in the 8.9% vote for the Catalonia Yes We Can group of parties (CSQEP) - "Although independence isn’t directly supported, the group is in favour of a consultation on the relationship between Spain and Catalonia and its leaders are sympathetic to Catalans’ right to decide on self-determination." http://www.theguardian.com/world/datablog/2015/sep/24/guide-catalonia-most-important-election-ever

    In other words in a straight Yes/ No referendum a good proportion (whether a third, a half or two thirds) of those 8.9% are likely to vote Yes to independence. Certainly enough to suggest that Yes won this surrogate referendum, and would win a real one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the answer was: http://serosedseriocat.blogspot.com.es/2015/09/carry-on-catalonia.html?m=1

      Delete
  24. Corbyn is a decent enough Unionist, as Unionists go.

    But London Labour have already hamstrung him on Trident by confirming, behind closed doors at their conference, that the Party still supports that morally repugnant, useless heap of shit - without daring to let their huge amount of new members actually debate it in public.

    Trident is, and always will be, one of THE most important issues for Scots and London Labour has, yet again, stuck two digits up to the Scottish People, by not even talking about it.

    Unionists are Unionists, plain and simple - no matter how "kindly" some might appear.

    The Union First - Scotland a very poor second.


    Not good enough up here, any more, for most Scots.


    Corbyn-Hype is proving to be far greater than the man himself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. Whilst it will be more of a 'When the Wind Blows' for the rest of the UK Aircraft Carrier, it will be immediately fatal for the majority of Scots.

      I find it completely strange that people that worry about their pensions, don't worry about being a target for a nuclear missile. Though, sometimes, getting to the end of the month is hard....

      Equal issues in the eyes of some.

      Delete
    2. Whilst it will be more of a 'When the Wind Blows' for the rest of the UK Aircraft Carrier, it will be immediately fatal for the majority of Scots.

      Horseshit.

      While I have no doubt the first missile will fall on our strike facilities at Faslane, the second missile (no doubt already in flight right behind it) will fall smack bang on our nuclear stockpile.

      Which is in Aldermaston, Berkshire. And just in case you've blanked out everything on your map south of Carlisle, The Aldermaston base is 50 miles from London.

      And the third missile will probably hit our other stockpile, which is in Cardiff. You may have heard of it, it's a major city in Wales, also famous for not being in Scotland.

      CND don't just protest outside Aldermaston because it's convenient for the buses, that's where the vast majority of our nukes are stored and assembled.

      Glasgow, London, Cardiff. If the missiles fly, Britain will burn. Top to bottom.

      Delete
  25. Anon you are missing one very important point.

    The majority of Scottish MP'S and MSP's are against nuclear weapons in Scotland. The majority in England and Wales are pro nuclear weapons. Corbyn like the rest of the unionists want to tie Scotland to WM , despite an independent Scotland being in a positon to rid Scotland of these monstrosities.

    Finally Faslane is the launch pad for any strikes. Without Faslane the UK cannot conduct any strikes. They can have 100 missiles, in England but without the launch vessell they are as useless as chocolate tea pots. The enemy will not send missiles to stockpiles as this achieves nothing. They wipe out the strike capability first at faslane and then move to the next country.

    Finally nuclear weapons in storage are not live, as they lack the warheads. Striking them does not make them explode. Pointless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't support nuclear weapons (I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who does) but I do find this kind of narrative on Trident pretty muddled. It's never entirely clear on what it is people are supporting.

      Do we oppose nuclear weapons because of the devastation they cause if they're used? Who doesn't?

      Do we oppose them because they'll never be used and are therefore a waste of money? If so, we need to stop making the first point above because it simply muddles the narrative. Moreover it becomes a somewhat mundane argument about spending priorities and doesn't explain why people are so obsessed with the issue in the first place. Salmond's calculation on the cost of Trident to Scotland is about £200 million a year, which is hardly going to revolutionise society when the cost of independence currently stands at about £7 billion per year going by GERS. Let's pay £7 billion to save £200 million isn't much of an argument.

      Are we opposed to them simply being on Scottish soil on the basis that they pose some kind of safety threat? This is hysterical nonsense for the most part.

      The truth is that even though I would scrap Trident it's become an emotive issue that's used as a stick to beat Westminster with more than anything else. It's one of a number of issues (TTIP, fracking, GMOs are other examples) where merely citing someone's support for it is taken as a proxy for them being a heartless scumbag, rather than simply a person that disagrees about a limited issue. Part of the "shout the other side down and grandstand rather than talk about it like a rational adult" approach to politics that seems to be so popular these days.

      Delete
  26. "But the snag is that they won't buy into the headline summary, namely that the SNP are pro-austerity or austerity-neutral (implied by McDonnell's assertion that Labour are now the only anti-austerity party in Scotland). Who, seriously, is going to believe that claim after the events of the general election campaign? If your main attack line doesn't ring true to people, it's simply not going to get you anywhere."

    The general election campaign was a case of the SNP talking big on austerity while promising to do very little that was different from Labour when it came to spending (as the IFS spending calculations demonstrated). There's more than ample room for Corbyn to attack the SNP on this point and try and leverage them toward taking a genuinely radical left-wing stance (rather than just posing as a radical left-wing party while pursuing a fairly mundane centre-left platform in office, which is what they've been doing for 8 years).

    And for those of us on the left why shouldn't we welcome that? The SNP being challenged on the left (rather than from the right, as New Labour did) will encourage them to move left to counter the threat. Even if you want an SNP government that should be viewed as a positive development.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anon Nuclear weapons are immoral , there are no grey areas.

    As for Corbyn getting slated for backing them. If you are a known pacifist and anti nuclear all your life. Why would you allow Trident to be even considered on moral grounds. He has been called out for his weakness and I see no reason why we should be lenient with him.

    In life belive it or not some things are just wrong. the grey areas are only in peoples imaginations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 30, 2015 at 11:49 PM

      What do you mean by moral?

      Delete
  28. Look it up in the dictionary ya puddin!


    unethical, bad, morally wrong, wrongful, wicked, evil, unprincipled, unscrupulous, dishonourable, dishonest, unconscionable, iniquitous, disreputable, fraudulent, corrupt, depraved, vile, villainous, nefarious, base, unfair, underhand, devious;












    ReplyDelete