Monday, June 13, 2011

Questions to which the answer is 'gosh, is that the time, catch you later'

If anything, Labour Hame is proving even more fun than I anticipated. The latest post contains the first in a planned series of 'questions to nationalists' that are presumably intended to be unanswerable. If the opener is anything to go by, though, not only will they be easily answerable, they'll unwittingly reveal far more about the person asking the questions than those being challenged. Here it is, in all its glory...

The SNP mantra is that Scotland should control all its domestic affairs. Given that the EU already makes up to 50 per cent of all member states’ law, why don’t the SNP support withdrawal from the EU as well as withdrawal from the UK?

Answer : Because the SNP believe that the EU's competences are (with a few important exceptions) restricted to those areas that are most appropriately dealt with at supra-national level. The party also naturally believes that all areas that are most appropriately dealt with at nation-state level should be the province of the Scottish parliament and government, rather than Westminster.

But the implicit assumptions that underpin this question throw up important questions that Labour must answer. Any logic that holds that if some powers are to be ceded to an external authority, more should be, applies just as neatly to the UK as to Scotland. Why, then, do Labour say to the EU - this far and no farther? Why, in a nutshell, are they British nationalists on precisely the same basis that the SNP are Scottish nationalists? Why don't they instead follow the logic of the "internationalism" they pay lip-service to by calling for the absorption of Britain into a single European state? And if the SNP are narrow-minded "separatists" for thinking that all the powers the EU recognise as being the proper province of nation-states should be exercised by Edinburgh (rather than split between Edinburgh and Westminster), does that mean Labour are "British separatists" for believing that national-level powers should be exclusively exercised by the UK, rather than partially ceded to an external capital such as Paris or Amsterdam? I can only assume they must be.

The 'unanswerable' Labour Hame question has already received umpteen compelling responses in the comments section. I await just one compelling response to my own questions - but I'm not hugely optimistic. Once again, Labour are risibly and transparently trying to conflate support for the status quo of a British nation state (ie. British nationalism) with a principled and idealistic opposition to nationalism and "separatism". Best of luck with that one.


  1. "Once again, Labour are risibly and transparently trying to conflate support for the status quo of a British nation state (ie. British nationalism) with a principled and idealistic opposition to nationalism and "separatism".

    "Because the SNP believe that the EU's competences are (with a few important exceptions) restricted to those areas that are most appropriately dealt with at supra-national level."

    What? The shape of a sausage, habeas corpus, or the penetration of national economies by transnational corporations?

    Hm - seems to be an argument for regionalism. Do the SNP support a Federal European State? Haven't we learned that when power (sovereignty) is transferred to the centre everyone on the periphery gets screwed? Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Greece - mince.

    Whatever happened to the argument that Scotland isn't "too wee", and "too stupid" to run their own country?

  2. That's pretty much the false choice that the Labour Hame questioner (who I suspect might just be a shy Tom Harris) is trying to present to us. The SNP support the participation of a Scottish nation-state in the same European Union that Labour support the participation of a British nation-state in. It is not a federal union, let alone a centralising state.

  3. Also such questions as the shape of bananas were lies by the publishing newspapers, or the European version of existing U.K. Legislation.

    Westminster has a habit of enacting legislation much more chilling than the E.U. Intends.

    E.g. E.U. Puts around a White paper with a number of options. Whitehall drafts legislation with all provisions intact. Final E.U. legislation is much reduced and more sensible option, U.K. Version is more stringent and complex.

    U.k. Enforcement is also tougher and more heavy handed than elsewhere in the E. u.

  4. I give up with Labour Hame (a patronising and idiotic name, unless it intends to write its posts in Scots, which it doesn’t). I wrote a long and detailed answer to the points made in one of their posts which was, as far as I can make out, ignored by the writer. I can only presume he had no answers to my points.

    I don’t expect every little post I make on a blog to be answered. Sometimes there is clearly no point. However, if I go to the trouble of writing a 3-page essay in response to a post, I think it’s not unreasonable to expect at least some acknowledgment from the post’s author.

    I think Anonymous makes a good point there. The UK seems incapable of taking a sensible stance on anything to do with EU laws, and quite frequently the government allows it to be known that “it’s the EU’s fault” when in fact it is not.

    I wonder if that is why governments of all shades firmly refuse any kind of referendum on coming out of the EU. There’d be no one to blame if we did.

    I think too, that it is reasonable to say that the figure of 50% of legislation coming from Brussels, is open to interpretation. I’ve heard 75% bandied about by Nigel Farage (doesn’t he work hard then), Daniel Hannan said it was 84%, which even Eurosceptics consider to be utterly ridiculous.

    David Cameron said about 50% of regulations affecting business come from the EU, so we know it can’t be that! Why would he suddenly start telling the truth about anything? In any case the British Chambers of Commerce says 20% and declining.

    The House of Commons most recently says 15%.

  5. PS: Stuck on that anagram: Any chance of a clue?

  6. Not published in response to Tom Harris.
    cynicalHighlander says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    June 13, 2011 at 10:23 am

    That is rubbish I have had numerous posts moderated out spelling the truth about the past actions of the Labour party undermining democracy in Scotland by burying material for 30yrs. As the Labour party is unwilling/unable to change then it will go the way of the dinosaurs of the past into terminal extinction.

    They just want to talk to themselves and ignore there past actions as being irrelevant to peoples perception of them today.

  7. After putting up several comments on LabourHame I'm not sure now if there is any real point to posting on it. Nobody Labour on there is going to change the way they think and I've no real interest in helping Labour find a new direction in Scotland.

    It is worth reading the posts and comments though because what LabourHame has shown so far is that May 5th changed nothing in Labour's outlook, either on the constitutional future of Scotland or on the SNP.

    On LabourHame the SNP is still picking fights with Westminster, there is a Scottish Labour Party, minimum pricing is aimed at the poor, cybernats abound at every turn and the Union is of paramount importance.

  8. James

    I have been sent to the naughty step twice now I think because I do not agree that Labour is wonderful and May 5th was a big mistake which all Scots will soon realise and demand Labour are restored to their rightful place.

    This was my post,

    Tom Harris June 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    “You do realise, I assume, that while there are probably a few Labour voters who want independence, they will be outweighed many times by the number of SNP voters who don’t? You did realise that? Well, okay, just checking”

    Probably a few Tom, are you sure?

    Lets remember some of the things that Labour were sure about,
    Devolution will kill nationalism stone dead.
    There will never be a SNP government.
    There will never be a majority SNP government.

    We will see though come the referendum. I look forward during the referendum to Ed sharing a platform with the torys and saying how much he agrees with Dave, George and Nick. Just think Tom we can then claim with justification that Labour would rather have tory rule at Westminster than Scots running their own affairs. Remember what siding with the torys did to the Lib Dems on 5th May.

    P.S. I think there have been more answers to “Er” than there have been to “why should Scotland stay in this union”

  9. I must admit I haven't tried posting on Labour Hame, so I didn't realise they were deleting dissenting comments left, right and centre. It is going to rather detract from their claims that "SNP supporters don't have any answers" if they openly admit - as Tom Harris does in a reply to Munguin - that they're deleting half the answers!

    Tris : a clue to the anagram. Take the feminine part of me, Woganise it, and then plonk it in Paisley.

  10. Although I have had a number of posts that have gone through, I have had 3 deleted.The majority of posts published though still seem to be anti-Labour and (mainly) pro-SNP.

    Given the similar experiences of others above, I think all SNP supporters can take heart from the many, many posts that must have been rejected because it must mean that SNP supporters are more "interested" in the future of "Scottish" Labour than their own activists.

    I can only conclude that the "Scottish" Labour Party are imploding.

  11. I think that nationalist posters shouldn't bother posting on LabourHame because they just give it life.

    Without the nationalist comments and the replies it would have an empty echo. The only reason this Labour site looks busy is because of the nationalist posts on it.

  12. The correct response to Tom Harris's question, if anyone cares, was "Do you often make statistics up?". The proportion of legislation which comes from the EU is 14.1% as can be seen at