Tuesday, November 3, 2015

If Scottish Labour is to be "autonomous", the memo will eventually have to reach Maria Eagle

Would it be terribly insensitive of me to point out that Labour have got to get their story straight on whether the Scottish Labour party is actually autonomous or not, and just how far any autonomy extends?  The Shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle said this yesterday -

"I welcome the input of Scottish Labour and its conference into our internal debate, they’re one of many important voices that there are across the Labour movement about this issue. But let’s be very clear about what this does and does not mean. This does not change our policy. Defence isn’t a devolved matter, so Labour party policy has to be set at a national party level, at a UK level."

That flatly contradicts what we've been hearing recently, not only from Kezia Dugdale, but also from Eagle's own Shadow Cabinet colleague Ian Murray. According to them, the vote on Trident at the weekend was not a relatively minor "input" into a UK-wide "internal debate", but the binding decision of an autonomous party which is entirely free to develop policy on both devolved and non-devolved matters alike. Dugdale has even strongly implied that it will not be possible to whip Scottish Labour parliamentarians to vote in favour of Trident until some sort of formal negotiation has occurred between the UK and Scottish parties to thrash out an agreed platform for fighting an election, presumably along the lines of policy negotiations between the CDU and CSU in Germany.

Eagle's gaffe reminds me very much of Chuka Umunna's extraordinarily blunt slapdown of Jim Murphy during the general election campaign. London Labour figures always seem to let their guard slip when they're not talking primarily about Scotland, but instead about a subject of UK-wide interest that happens to have a Scottish dimension. Their true contempt for their Scottish branch office suddenly comes shining through : "This has got nothing to do with haggis or tartan. We deal with the grown-up stuff."


  1. On Trident, specifically,

    What? Whip one MP?

    And I don't know about you but should she ever have the power, I have no idea what Kezia Dugdale would do. I suspect she doesn't either.

    This is not a comfortable state for a Labour voter.

    When your leadership is that messed up, well it's the end of the road .

    Best get back to hobbies, eh? GWC.

    1. This IS a hobby for GWC. Don't give him the materials

  2. I think things have actually moved on a little.Kezia has responded to Eagles slap down by hiding behind Eagles skirts and mumbling something about Eagles position being her position all along.It would be farcical were it not so pathetic.I wish someone,somewhere,would hook her off the stage and send on the next one.Im getting embarrassed for her.Its getting too painful to watch.

  3. And of course the right of a country where these abominations are based to object to that basing is ignored by Eagle.

    Is it really sensible to base your country's prime Capital weapons system in an almost rebel region where over 70% of people are opposed to it?

    Doing that is surely a ridiculous hostage to fortune. If they think the only cost of that is occasional protests that shut access to the site then they are dreaming. One of my prime motivations for Yes was and is the possibility of getting rid of Trident. Remove that and I'm in danger of slipping back into some sort of Devo Maxer. I cannot be alone.

    There is only one thing for it, Independence as soon as it can be arranged. It is now a moral imperative and I welcome our new allies in SLAB. All they have to do is follow the logic and Maria Eagle must be forcing some who voted against Trident renewal to wonder, surely.

  4. Our local SNP branch could have say,a debate and a policy of allowing people to park on double yellow lines,but they would have to get that agreed by the party at large before it became party policy and therefor something which had a possibility of being enacted in law.
    How does Dugdale propose to have this Scottish policy enacted in law in Scotland?
    That is the core of the issue.
    Unless of course she is saying that Trident is not an issue for Scotland to decide,in which case,what was the point of having the debate in the first place and indeed what is the point of "Scottish" Labour?
    We Scots are not just there to make up the numbers at Westminster.

  5. I agree with anonymous about the embarrassment I feel for Kezia Dugdale. I have never voted Labour and can't see why I ever would, but at a human level it is excruciating to see someone make such a public fool of him/herself. It would be like watching Little Mix explaining musical theory to Johann Sebastian Bach.

  6. Labour’s friends in the MSM do Labour absolutely no favours at all with their unthinking support and praise, for it is a lot to do with the MSM being uncritical that has encouraged Labour to dig even deeper within the hole they are already in.

  7. UK Labour in Scotland - the fading whiff of a sulphurous expulsion of intestinal wind wet and under-clothing smearing.

    Talking of which, is GWC eating his cereal elsewhere in pursuit of a balanced diet?

    Perhaps a wee houghmagandie and stravaig on WoS to regulate "his" bowels?

  8. And of course there's Maria Eagle's reference to the big decisions being taken at "a national level". Which nation? Funny how the "family of nations" we heard about during the referendum seems to vanished into thin air. Labour's First Minister in Wales actually invited Trident to relocate to Milford Haven in the event of a Yes vote, but has gone very quiet on the issue since then.

  9. I still think that those weapons that are here or there to protect all the important people in London should have them beside the people that they are meant to protect.There is also not enough people in Scotland who will or is it can,think for themselves,that the only reason the bombs are here is because they care not a penny for us,we are the disposable part of "This Nation" if enough people here in Scotland realise that that we are not thought of as being a nation we are "just a tribe" with tribal thoughts and concerns.I think I am a Scotsman and Scotland is a nation that needs to wake up and become all we can be because we are getting written out of history slowly but surely.

  10. Allow me to play devil's advocate for a moment. Short of independence, isn't Maria Eagle's position the only coherent one? Surely if any matter must be reserved to federal/Westminster level, it's defence: one can hardly allow the devolved parliaments and assemblies to have their own armies. But if defence is reserved to Westminster, Trident renewal must be a decision taken by all MPs. Scottish Labour may be able to instruct their member(s) to vote in a certain way, but it can hardly pledge to refuse planning position to Trident if the majority of UK MPs vote to renew. So Scottish Labour's only choice in that situation would be a) to lump it or b) to refuse to support a future UK Labour government unless it dropped its commitment to renew Trident.

  11. Eagle didn't make a gaffe, she was telling the SLAB peasants to know their place. Oh and that the BBC Disreporting Jackie will have to get with the programme of being pro Trident if it knows what is good for it.