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Blog Wall Monday

Brian Taylor | 14:05 UK time, Monday, 9 May 2011

There are several fine poems and literary quotations inscribed on the Canongate Wall of the Scottish Parliament: droll, emotive, sensitive, serious.

Myself, I like the extract from Scott's Heart of Midlothian, I love the lines from the Jute Mill Song and I warm to the exhortation by Burns to see ourselves as ithers see us, is highly apposite.

But how about this one, from Hugh MacDiarmid. In customary contentious fashion, he demands of the world: "Scotland small? Our multiform, our infinite Scotland small?"

In that challenge, I think, lies at least part of the explanation for the SNP's success and Labour's failure.

The SNP contrived to sound aspirational throughout the campaign, whether it was Alex Salmond's eager passion for renewable energy or the stress upon the value of the arts and science in revitalising Scotland.

By contrast, Labour had something of a tendency to sound slightly thrawn. By no means all of the time. By no means every candidate.

But, on occasion, they could end up sounding a little like soor-faced Roundheads - while Scotland seemed to be yearning for cavalier enthusiasm to dispel the pervasive gloom.

Labour sounded sometimes as if they sought to contain and constrain, as if they sought, unwittingly, to return to centralised control, to council housing and the Co-op divvy.

A simplistic caricature, I know. But Labour simply did not sound uniformly aspirational. The SNP, predominantly, did.

Labour will dispute this, probably sharply. But look at their two key messages in the campaign: "now that the Tories are back" and anti-independence.

Aspirational approach

Both, Labour would argue, had positive aspects: Labour's offer to counter cuts, Labour's alternative to the SNP agenda. But both were founded, at core, upon engendering a sense of fear.

As I noted throughout the campaign, the opening shot re the Tories posited the existence of an external evil, with Labour offering themselves as the exorcist.

Even if voters bought that concept, they opted in huge numbers for the SNP as their defenders of choice.

Then the anti-independence campaign. Nationalists insist its potency has long since declined but, just to be sure, they neutralised it by stressing that the choice would be made at a subsequent referendum.

They now intend to keep to their campaign promise that this issue will not be addressed until the latter half of the Parliament. Again, that was part of the strategy - to focus primarily upon the voters' concerns, rather than those of the party.

There was, of course, much more to the SNP victory. A better campaign. Sophisticated canvassing, directed by the SNP's hugely esteemed Peter Murrell. Alex Salmond v Iain Gray. And, yes, the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote to the SNP.

No great surprise that the LibDem vote slipped in Scotland, post UK coalition.
But it did not have to go to the SNP. That took endeavour, calculation and strategy. Nationalists took care not to excoriate the LibDems over much - or, more precisely, their voters.

The SNP endorsed AV - partly because they calculated that would win LibDem favours. Still, though, I believe the difference in tone, the SNP emphasis upon aspirational Scotland had an impact.

And, be clear, that aspirational approach did not attach itself solely to independence although that is, of course, the mid term vision. It resonated through SNP policies from jobs to education.

Let me close with another poem. It was read magnificently by Liz Lochhead at the opening of the Holyrood building. But it is the work of the late, great Edwin Morgan.
Speculating on the wishes of the people of Scotland, he declared: "A nest of fearties is what they do not want." Astute, as ever, astute.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    As the late and much lamented Jimmy Reid said" I did not leave the Labour Party, they left me" and many others including myself.

    Roll on Independence and let us have the referendum when Alex chooses!

  • Comment number 2.

    "A nest of fearties is what they do not want."
    Absolutely.
    What hindsight you have Brian.
    What hindsight the rest of the BBC journos have.
    What hindsight the reporters of the Herald and Scotsman have.
    What hindsight the MSM have.
    Why is the BBC so feart of the best wee news website in Scotland?
    The one that has thousands of Scottish hits each day?
    As General Patton said -
    “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”
    Or perhaps George Bernard Shaw -
    “What is the use of straining after an amiable view of things, when a cynical view is most likely to be the true one?”

    Can't you see why the vast majority of thinking Scots are losing - or have lost - any confidence in the impartiality of your employer?
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    i see your use of contrived is being exercised again "The SNP contrived to sound aspirational" ? one day you may contrive to be unbiased, but your reduction of the snp as a list tricks and tactics. will not do your unionists friends no favors should they buy into your analyst.

  • Comment number 5.

    Unionist politicians are a slow to learn lot.There was McLetchie on Newsnicht the other day asserting that waiting 2 or 3 years for a referendum would drive foreign investors away because of the uncertainty.In other words more fearmongering right after having Salmond point out to them that the voters emphatically rejected fearmongering.

    Lorna Gordon reporting from the SNP photocall at Holyrood on BBC News 24 on Saturday kept on referring to "opinion polls consistently showing only 20% of Scots in favour of independence."Her post is billed as 'Scotland Correspondent' so she wasn't drafted in to report on something unfamiliar.In other words she ought to know that statement she kept making was very innaccurate.

  • Comment number 6.

    "A nest of fearties is what they do not want."

    Quite right. That is why the Scottish electorate has been turning away from the anglo-unionist parties.

    So "lessons will be learned" and "Scottish" Labour will come back as the Independent Scottish Labour Party dedicated to full fiscal autonomy and renegotiating the anglo-union from top to bottom? Pardon me if I fail to hold my breath.

  • Comment number 7.

    Brian there's another great Scottish writer been taking plaudits this past day or two. Can we assume you'll be passing your own tribute to your old pal Online Ed who's hanging up his keyboard, for the time being at least. I'm sure you'll agree that he had a part to play in setting the mood of the nation, and in the reporting of politics in this nation of ours. The latter is going to change isn't it?

  • Comment number 8.

    Do you not think there was also an element to the re-election that people thought they did a great job especially seeing as how they were in a minority government, and that the other three parties were obstructionist to the detrement of Scotland.

  • Comment number 9.

    Brian,

    You've posted about an election that only a Labourite supporter could imagine.

    Describing the Labour campaign as thrawn is a massive understatement. Last Tuesday I received a mailing from the LP and I could only describe as total scaremongering, completely biased and full of vile assertions. It was so gross that it reminded me of the 1979 election and LP broadcasts featuring two weel-kent LP faces and jack-boots at the border. Thirty years later and the LP has seemingly not moved forward.

    Then this morning I watched the interview with Ken MacIntosh on the Politics Show from yesterday. Talk about being in denial. It was unbelievable stuff!!

    The LPoWiS as I call them are in dire need of being completely challenged by a brand new organisation, maybe called the Scottish Labour Party (!), as that organisation does not currently exist.

    When are Henry McLeish and Susan Deacon going to step forward?

    The LPoWiS needs shaking to its very foundations. That will not be achieved by the usual suspects indulging in facile political self-introspection. A brand new entity with new people is now mandatory if the Labour movement is to have a hope in Scotland in future.

  • Comment number 10.

    Wow, an hour after the first post and not one visible, some things don't change at the BBC, mods get your fingers out and start looking at posts, don't forget who ultimately pays your wages, we want a quick and fair service.

  • Comment number 11.

    My favourite quote that isn't on the parliament wall, though should be, is W.E.B du Bois' famous words about "double-consciousness" (or what we have often called "the Caledonian anti-syzygy"):

    It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity." W.E.B. du Bois.

    These are words I keep by me, when having to read negative comments about Scotland being a land of beggars who sponge off of "English taxes". We wish to define ourselves, not to be defined by others. At least so far as we are able. I say in so far as we are able because there are those who have long argued that nationalism is a nineteenth century idea that is no longer relevant in the multi-integrated cross-state places of the world. But people who say these things mostly live in states which have government organisations, set up by governments voted in on democratic mandates, to negotiate the level of integration with other bodies that may lie in other countries. Scottish devolution lets Westminster do that for us. It's time we accrued greater powers and started deciding upon our own way of being implaced in the world, rather than letting others tell us our place. So W.E.B. du Bois words resonate with me because they remind me not to allow myself to be measured by the tape of a world that looks on in contempt and pity, but to enter into our own negotiations with the wider world. We cannot do that until we first have the powers we need to do so. We should not let our aspirations be humbled.

  • Comment number 12.

    One thing for sure you can put money on the 'Part-time Patriots' Alexander and Murphy being dispatched from London to 'sort things out' - ie get people in Scotland back on message.

    Also hilarious that the irrelevant and pathetic Michael Forsyth wants to join the fray. Butt out Thatcher Boy !

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    "Labour's alternative to the SNP agenda"

    Really Brian, apart from a referendum had they not entriely adopted the SNP
    policy list ?

    And the SNP did not neutralise the anti-independence campaign, its obvious to
    anyone who can read a primary one starter that last weeks vote was not a
    referendum on independence. But maybe it was not so obvious to those who
    sit in Atlantic Quay who seem to have made the same mistake as the Labour
    party campaign, entirely coincidental I assume.

    One thinks you are contriving a new narative for Labour juxtaposed with
    aspiration and positive.



  • Comment number 15.

    Brian -
    "As I noted throughout the campaign, the opening shot re the Tories posited the existence of an external evil"

    I think you are correct that Labour certainly posited the Westminster-Tory bogeyman to the Scottish electorate, but the externalisation of it (that is external to Scotland) was done quite naturally by the electorate.

    That Labour in Scotland so grossly misunderstood the framing the electorate would put on Labour's chosen bogeymen is just another facet in the failure of Labour's aspirationally and intellectually vapid campaign.

    btw - O/T : for anyone who's interested, a new version the comment responder script which works with the current bbc blog pages is available here - http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/56550 (and if you've installed it in the past 24hrs I've made some more tweaks).
    Sorry for any inconvenience it caused anyone, I've not been on the bbc blogs for a wee while, and didn't know they'd changed the structure of the pages till I saw DisgustedinDERRY's request on an earlier thread.

  • Comment number 16.

    #4. At 15:28pm 9th May 2011, tamO wrote:

    "i see your use of contrived is being exercised again "The SNP contrived to sound aspirational" ? one day you may contrive to be unbiased..."

    Wait, Tam. The fact is that the campaign was "contrived" in that it was well-planned and extraordinarily well-run. I have seen one heck of a lot of political campaigns on both sides of the pond, and the SNP just ran one of the most intelligent and well-coordinated that I've ever seen.

    If I may bring up something that Unionists are always bringing up (as though it somehow was pro-Scottish which it wasn't) let me mention one of the things that has always infuriated me the most about the movie Braveheart. It is the vision that the Scots couldn't have PLANNED the Battle of Stirling Bridge and the Battle of Bannockburn but instead just went running, wild-eyed, at the English.

    Neither battle happened that way. They were intelligently planned. Calculated. Contrived, if one wills. So was the Scottish victory that occurred last week.

    And before someone mentions it, this time the victory was Scotland but those who were defeated were British, not English. The battle has long since gone from being against the English, but the principle is the same. The Scots are an intelligent people and the Scottish National Party is quite capable of planning and calculating to achieve its victories.

    Be glad and proud of that fact.

  • Comment number 17.

    The Labour party no longer represents the worker or the common people, it's ranks are , like almost all political parties , full of career politicians from the universities and from the psuedo intellectual classes . For too many years the top echelon of Labour has been the local government employed graduate , nurtured through the ranks of the unions and shoehorned into parliament as reward for blind adherence to Labour dogma. Thankfully the days of government from the bar of the local Labour club are now gone and hopefully in time the power of the unions will dissipate as the number of public sector employees is reduced . The days of the rich employer oppressing the workers are now also gone (except possibly for the migrants who don't interest the unions because they don't give any potential for income) , so the Labour party and it's questionable principles are becoming more and more irrelevant.

  • Comment number 18.

    Annabelle standing down in the Autumn at least Patrick and Alex are still.

  • Comment number 19.

    Annabel Goldie to pass the torch; another one bites the dust.

  • Comment number 20.

    [9. At 15:49pm 9th May 2011, djmac7 wrote:

    The LPoWiS as I call them...]

    You may call them that - care to translate for those of us who haven't a clue what you're on about??

  • Comment number 21.

    Now Goldie's going.The grand slam for Eck!

    Elmer,Tavish and Bella all failed the Salmond masterclass in leadership.

    Who are going to be in the next intake?

    Murdo Fraser,Johanna Lamont and Willie Rennie?Dear oh dear.

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

    12. At 16:06pm 9th May 2011, Bornslippy wrote:
    'One thing for sure you can put money on the 'Part-time Patriots' Alexander and Murphy being dispatched from London to 'sort things out' - ie get people in Scotland back on message.

    Also hilarious that the irrelevant and pathetic Michael Forsyth wants to join the fray. Butt out Thatcher Boy !'

    One right there, one wrong, Mr Slippy.

    There is no way in this world that an Alexander or a Murphy will be parachuted in from London, If and IF again, Labour have any intention of being serious about Holyrood.

    Michael Forsyth was, is, and will forever remain, 'Edward Scissorhands'

    As I type I hear that Auntie Bella has resigned,

    What a complete wipe-out for the opposition parties in Scotland.

    And the opposition (who is that now?) want to talk about a referendum when there is no opposition leader to do that.

    Haud ma sides - this is just getting so hilarious!!

  • Comment number 24.

    I wonder if they had to drag good old Annabel out by the short and curlies?

  • Comment number 25.

    Farewell Bella
    Going around the doors last week, you were the only Unionist leader in North Britain that people had any respect for.
    Not my cuppa tea - by a Keltic mile - but more honest than most others in your Party - and MUCH more honest than those within the Liberal and Labour "BritNat" branches.
    Have a long and happy retirement.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 26.

    Brian, I shared your surprise at the result of the election. Perhaps you shared my delight, though you are too professional to show it. Keep looking back with hindsight, it's all we have when we can't explain what's going on currently, unless you have second sight as some of your other correspondents would appear to possess. When you feel you know what's happened then share it with us. As for now, I can at least hope that the future will hold deep and permanent change in the mire of Scottish politics. For me this would be the root and branch demise of the Labour Party in Scotland. I grew up in the Soviet Socialist State of North Ayrshire amid smoking chimney stacks, chemical factories sluicing their waste into old mine workings and slag mountains being excreted onto the ground. There was such political rottenness that Tammany Hall was a perfumed garden by comparison. I have since then lived abroad at various times and conducted business in 47 countries. In 30 years I have seen the likes of South Korea, China, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Chile, and most of Northern Europe prosper, by the dint of their efforts. Scotland, on the other hand, has comparatively stagnated. Held back by the weight of a political party in power for decades. It grubs up votes in mediocre environments and a population that needs them to dole out their buroo money or top up poor wages. My hope for a devolved parliament was always that we could keep an closer eye on those we elect and thus it has proved. I trust that the dam of discontent is beginning to crack. If the S.N.P. prove to a sceptical and frightened electorate that they can provide a better off, more efficient, fairer and happier society then independence will come, sooner rather than later. The old political status-quo in Scotland is coming to an end and we should welcome it.

  • Comment number 27.

    Tavish, Annabel, Iain...all fallen on their swords. Tavish, I suspect will be pressing on his boss in Westminster to do the same as well. I think the real reason the LibLabCons failed is because as parties they see the Scottish parliament as being a secondary posting to Westminster. All their big beasts focus their efforts on getting in down there. The SNP sees Westminster as the sideshow and the real talents, the gold and glamour of the electoral machine is focused firmly at home. It's like seeing a Premier League team in the local amateurs derby.

  • Comment number 28.

    Why are the losers so fixated on the referendum do they not realise this will distract from the business of getting the economy sorted out?

    Do they forget that the losers have no right to make demands nor set any timetable They have been told the timetable Alex rules OK

  • Comment number 29.

    A decisively positive vote by the Scottish people, delivering a stunning result to ensure that, whatever challenges our nation now faces, they should not be dictated by institutional scaremongering, the cowering 'culture' of dependency, or the corrosion of self-serving political interests.

    Congratulations to the SNP, and all who rally to the vision of a new and prosperous Scotland!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Oh, I should add, as an "undecided" on the Independence Issue, I fully support leaving it to later in the parliament. It is right we should give Alex and the other party leaders, whomsoever they turn out to be, a chance to fully set out their stall and their wares. I want to be able to make a truly informed decision.

    If the Unionists try to give me the bum's rush into a referendum then I'll be voting yes on it. If they are trying to hide information, then it'll be because it is something in independence's favour and against their interests. Otherwise, why not wait. So a warning, don't try and obfuscate the issue, don't try any tricks, keep it clean and above board, the electorate no longer has any tolerance with the usual political song and dance.

  • Comment number 31.

    Re No 20,

    It's the Labour Party of Westminster in Scotland, since there is NO Scottish Labour Party!!

  • Comment number 32.

    @26. Blastie
    " For me this would be the root and branch demise of the Labour Party in Scotland."

    When even Kilbirnie had to change the Labour Club into a Community Club, the writing was on the wall!

  • Comment number 33.

    Brian - I wrote in a previous post (which was blocked) that your witterings were pointless as you had been found out.


    I had no idea how much and by how many.

  • Comment number 34.

    As you are 'doing' quotes; how about this :


    "I hope you, like me, have enjoyed these past few days. But Thursday was not our winning post. Now is a time to pause and to celebrate and then, tomorrow, our journey continues.".


    I think history will remember this quote.

  • Comment number 35.

    Having expressed a view that his party could return 8 MSPs (which target was mised by a long chalk), will Patrick Harvie opt to defer to newbie Alison Johnstone as notional 'leader' at Holyrood (albeit remaining the male co-convenor of the party)?

    Then, it really would be a clean sweep of non-SNP leaders (always excluding Margo's 'party of one').

    ---

    Why would anyone want to be leader with a full five years to go?

    A leader elected so early in the term cannot achieve anything and is prone to banana-skins aplenty and might never get to lead their party into an election (cf. IDS of the Westminster Tories, Wendy Alexander of Labour at Holyrood); better to keep one's powder dry and move for power with about 18 months to go (the autumn of 2014).... and then they could lead their party in the first election to the first Parliament of an independent Scotland!

  • Comment number 36.

    Wrong Mr Taylor.
    The SNP and the people of Scotland won because they had the nous to see through the peddled drivel in the Scottish media.
    They could see the lack of policy or rational thought from the Labour benches.
    They could see the "respect " coming their way from the Prime Minister and his cohorts.
    The Lib Dems climbed the slippery slope on Labour in Scotland and the Tories in England - what does that make them?
    I would say unelectable anywhere others might think that a tad harsh.
    Anyway,it's farewell to him,him and her ,sadly missed they will be!
    Ho! Ho!
    And the media of Scotland? Maybe it has " lessons to learn" eh?
    Certain newspapers will have to learn quickly if they are to survive - and Pacific Quay?
    What lessons could the BBBC possibly learn?

  • Comment number 37.

    27. R

    I agree with your post but would have to say that the worth of the SNP group at Westminster ought to be acknowledged too.After all,Angus Robertson MP played a big part in bringing about last week's spectacular result.

  • Comment number 38.

    ±36 Do you mean the Northern arm of the EBC ?

  • Comment number 39.

    On Brians previous blog entry, I mentioned that the SNP would have some bones-of-contention with the shower at Westminster.

    One has arisen already - control of Corporation Tax receipts.

    The Treasury at Westminster says its too difficult (to separate out CT receipts for Scotland).

    Now, I have a business relationship with somebody who moved from England to Scotland a few years ago and he rapidly found that his English Ltd. company was nae gud in Scotland and he had to register/create a new Scottish Ltd. Co.

    Given that, I cannot see why companies that need tae be registered in Scotland should not return taxes to Holyrood.

    Seems to me that Wetsminster is going to be obstructionist and difficult, and not just in this matter - which is exactly what the SNP want.

  • Comment number 40.

    More good news for Scotland http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2255779

    Heard parts of call Kaye this morning, what a feast of negativity led in large parts by the presenter and featuring the terribly unbiased Lorraine Davidson. Yea right, once a Labour spin doctor always a Labour spin doctor. The BBC have spent more time going over Labour losing than they have reflecting the positive mood sweeping the country.
    Give me the positivity any day over the BBC/Labour negativity any day.

  • Comment number 41.

    Just a thought, but I wonder if there are any potential SNP voters in Glasgow and Lanarkshire who would have gone out and voted, but thought that it would be a waste of time as the Red Rosette always gets elected no matter who was wearing it.

    What implications could this have in the Council elections next year, when the SNP will have "an every vote counts" story to tell.

    We live in interesting times, maybe someone could write a poem about it.

  • Comment number 42.

    Good to see you back Brian
    I was concerned to see you go missing in action and was hoping that you would return sooner rather than later.
    In tune with most of the other comments on here, I am delighted that the SNP have been returned with such a resounding endorsement.
    It would have been an absolute travesty if the voters had heeded the 'in the know' media and voted for a discredited, dysfunctional and dishonest Labour Party.
    Are you able to shine a light on why the media, and specifically the BBC, are so out of tune with what is happening?
    You would almost think that they want Scotland to fail.

  • Comment number 43.

    @22. cheesed_off
    "Cheers;)"

    Pleasure!

    re: Annabelle, who next?

  • Comment number 44.

    41. dubbieside

    I'd say there's a fair chance the SNP could become the biggest group on South Lanarkshire Council next year.If that happens then it's nae more broon envelopes for the lads.

  • Comment number 45.

    The pantomine is coming to a place near you.

  • Comment number 46.

    the first thing the scotish parliament must do is get a fair and ballanced media in scotland. the old scots saying "a man with one blind eye, and the other stuffed with rags could see it" totally describes the failure of the media to report the true feelings of the scottish electorate be it through bias or lack of foresight.

    after the hat trick. of the three unionist parties falling on their swords, what are we ment to think? are their masters taking revenge for them cosying up to the nats
    or to make them sacrificial lambs, for the devistaitonal results, brought on by the
    performance of the super league in westminster!

  • Comment number 47.

    I think you missed the central part of the SNPs winning formula, Brian.

    It's hard to argue against someone who is, frankly, right. It's hard to discredit a politician who is honest in his dealings. And it's hard to sway the electorate from a leader who is passionate in his pursuit of a better Scotland.

    If there is a true leader among the Scottish Labour ranks, he will recognise that Scottish Labour would have a far greater role to play in an independent Scotland than they do in a devolved Scotland.

    If I were Salmond, I would start building bridges to Scottish Labour, convince them of their place as potential leaders of an independent Scotland, and give one almighty push for independence.

  • Comment number 48.

    Independence will be a self fulfilling prophesy.

    The alternative, staying in the union, would be to leave ourselves at the mercy of the Tory party.
    The two countries are moving apart anyway.

    England wants Private Healthcare, Private Water and Private Education.
    Scotland wants an NHS, Public Water and Free Education.

    So Alex Salmond has come along at the right time, especially since the NHS will be completely destroyed by the Tory party over the next few decades.

    Same language. Different cultures.

    In essence. The Union of 1707 eventually became a burden as two different people went in different directions and declared a no-contest divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

  • Comment number 49.

    "Then the anti-independence campaign."

    Yes; it is strange how since the election, BBC Scotland in each news report or political show seems to manage to present me with a person who happened to vote SNP but would vote against Scottish Independence in a referendum.
    Why is that?

    I voted SNP and would vote for Scottish Independence in a referendum and so would everyone else I know.

  • Comment number 50.

  • Comment number 51.

    Robbie Burns in Dark Knight adventures south of the boarded up windows.

  • Comment number 52.

    @47. Paul McDonald
    "I think you missed the central part of the SNPs winning formula, Brian."

    And our publicly funded media didn't deliberately try and hide the truth with there profanity filter.

  • Comment number 53.

    Anyone wishing to see what I wrote @ 33 will find it at "the blog that must not be named".

    I will put it in the top story tomorrow.




    Sadly, for all you hoping for something salacious, my comment was innocous but true. Simply put; it is the truth that the BBC fear the most. Obviously.

  • Comment number 54.

    26. At 17:49pm 9th May 2011, Blastie wrote

    Well said Blastie!

    Welcome!

  • Comment number 55.

    #52 cheesed_off, from your link yesterday;
    Could Brown save Scotland for the UK?: Miliband urges Gordon to stop his old enemy Salmond breaking the Union

    I just thought that;

    "‘Everyone accepts that the campaign to stop Scotland leaving the Union must be led by Labour because of the deep-seated hostility to the Tories and David Cameron,’ said a leading ally of Labour leader Mr Miliband."

    might have been more accurate if it had read;

    "‘Everyone accepts that the campaign to stop Scotland leaving the Union must be led by Labour because of the deep-seated hostility to the Tories and David Cameron, a leading ally of Labour leader Mr Miliband’"


  • Comment number 56.

    Brian,

    I've noticed your tendancy to turn to poetry when you find events troubling or challenging. Isn't it great that we in Scotland have some of the best poets ever to draw upon. "Tae see oursels as ithers see us".

    Aye, too wee, too poor, too stupid. That's how some may see us.

    But not how we see ourelves. Not any more.

    This, our infinite wee Scotland, this wealthy wee Scotland, this well educated wee Scotland has had enough. Enough spin, lies and obfuscation by an establishemnt who've embraced the rule of Scotland by another country for their own gain. No more.

    Another Burns favorite of mine, I'm sure I've probably told you before, is "A Man's A Man for A' That". Wasn't that some rendition Sheena Wellington sang at the opening of the Scottish Parliament? Brought a tear to my eye. It's a pity more of the MSP's hadn't listened more carefully. "His ribband, star, an a' that, The man o independent mind, he looks an laughs at a' that." But one party was listening. One party was trying to live up to that sentiment so beautifully crafted by Burns. One party not chasing the ermine and baubles handed out to those who sell Scotland short. One Scottish party.

    Who would you pick to defend Scotland from the capitalist excess of westminster? A london based party which would collude with any other london based party to keep Scotland in its subserviant place? Or a party whose allegience is to no-one but the people and country of Scotland? I know which one I voted for. It seems the people of Scotland wanted the same. It's a no-brainer really.

    I would agree that not everyone who voted for the SNP voted for independence. What I do disagree with is being told by almost every unionist mouthpiece that the majority of Scotland doesn't want independence. I suspect this is what they would like to believe rather than the truth. The truth is no-one actually knows any more. But we will find out when our parliament gives us our say.

    "A nest of fearties is what they do not want." Aye, it would seem so. A nest of fearties cowtowing to westminster and london. "O wad some pow'r the gift tae gie us! Tae see oursels as ithers see us." I think pacific quay should consider this very carefully. I'm sure you know the title.

  • Comment number 57.

    @55. StationX

    I can't stop smiling at the way the unionists are running around in panic as there cash cow is fed up of being milked dry on a daily basis and going to greener pastures not be manhandled anymore.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm glad Bella's going. The matronly nonsense and the "I'm sensible Annabel, I'll sort these boys out" shtick was getting really tiresome. An absolute one-trick pony and her politics are awful.

  • Comment number 59.

    49. StationX
    "it is strange how since the election,BBC Scotland in each news report or political show seems to manage to present me with a person who happened to vote SNP but
    would vote against Scottish Independence in a referendum."

    Yes.Why don't they interview Labour voters who would vote in favour of Independence in the referendum?There are plenty of them.

  • Comment number 60.

    I have just had a horrid thought.
    Now that Mr Grey ,Ms Goldie and Mr Scott have/are leaving the political scene will BBBC Scotland treat us to the " leaders election"parts one, two and three as they did with the Milliband election ?
    Ad nauseum coverage with no coverage of the actual Scottish Government?

  • Comment number 61.

    Thrawn... while Lesley Riddoch debunked the belief that we are still door and cleaving to feartieness in her Guardian and Post articles - thrawn remains the key characteristic to bear in mind.
    We are thrawn and remain thrawn and in our growing up to political adulthood we do not want to be told any more what to do by outsiders. That it has taken three hundred years is not - actually - the case. The ability for this change to take place only dates back to post-war prosperity period (we needed universal suffrage and an atmosphere unsullied by the crises of War, Depression) or Post Cold War even along with the optimism of oil: a generation where fear was not the opium of the Scot.
    It is also generational - not my generation - but GenX whose view is not that of Empire that even as a child in the seventies, and despite the Bannockburn propaganda informed our schooling.
    Since Sheena Wellington first sang the opening chords of "A man's a man" we have stretched and grown throw political childhood, adolescence and bloomed into confident adulthood with which we can assert the "man's the gowd" in the modern paradigm of "because you're worth it". It is about self-belief and - to holding on to the "gowd", having the maturity to see reality, believe our world view and have the confidence to change being sold - for [English if you will] gold - votes or even American Oil.
    For me the seminal moment was the determination of American Statesmen that they had the ability - the right to interfere and overtake the decisions of our sovereign legal system, remaining remnant of the previous Scottish nation.

    To hark back again to La Riddoch's article: Wha daur meddle wi' us? We are the lion awake and rampant again.

  • Comment number 62.

    #49 station x
    " then the anti - independance campaign "

    yes you got it in one. like the spider in bruce,s cave the media must "try" "try "try"
    again. having lost the battle, they will go on to lose the war.

    their is nothing more the unionist parties fear than scottish independance. no more
    begging bowl or dog to kick, so watch out for the dirty tricks brigade they will use
    your fellow lord haw haw,s against us. but like the result of mays election keep up
    the momentum!

  • Comment number 63.

    The interesting thing, reading a lot of the news, is that Salmond seems to be giving the pro-Unionist Westminster government every chance to make their case about why Scotland needs England; only for them to throw it away in a fit of post-colonial pique. No, Scotland cannot have more control over businesses, no Scotland cannot keep the RAF, no Scotland cannot have more investment, no Scotland cannot get more help with renewables, no Scotland cannot have a say in EU fisheries arrangements, no Scotland cannot have more of its oil and gas revenues... The question has to be asked, if we cannot have this within the union, what is the actual benefit of the Union to Scotland?

  • Comment number 64.

    It seems from their headless-chicken behaviour that the principal supporters of the Union are far from confidant of their ability to carry a referendum held after the proponents of independence have had time to present their case.

    Fancy that!

  • Comment number 65.

    The Unionists are scrabbling about looking for an 'out'.
    We've had the line about Holyrood having no power to call a referendum.
    We've been told Cameron can call one now.
    We hear some self appointed 'Constitutional Experts' tell us that Westminster has the final say on any vote and that we 'need' a 2nd vote later on.
    However, the more they resist us, the easier progress becomes.

  • Comment number 66.

    Newsnight Scotland will discuss the crisis in Unionism - "Does anyone even know now what Unionism means in Scotland?"

    Every day, this just gets better and better.

  • Comment number 67.

    One final thought for the day. Of course the BBC is against Scottish Independence. It is the British Broadcasting Corporation after all, think of the loss of Licence Fee it will incur. Hardly an impartial position for it to be in.

  • Comment number 68.

    Isn't newsnichts crisis in unionism just more "us'n'them? No SNP representation again. No-one speaking for the voting majority of the Scottish people. Tsk.

  • Comment number 69.

    whats happend to colin? has he retired along with his first minister!

  • Comment number 70.

    The Labour party is a deeply centralised beast. It knows it will have a much harder time getting elected in England without any seats in Scotland. It only considers Scotland as a means to advance its interests in Westminster, as the Labour Scottish election campaign amply demonstrated (vote Labour to help us get back on our feet in England was the message that was rejected). So it will order its Scottish minions to oppose independence with every fibre they have.

    Labour politicians with Scottish roots are at the forefront of this campaign, for one simple reason. A herd of rhinoceroses wouldn't persuade them to abandon their Westminster careers for Scottish politics - we've been told that. But hey, they'd have little option after independence!

    It's pure self-interest. Never mind the possibility that Scottish Labour politicians might be able to do a lot more for ordinary Scots working in an independent Scotland without the Tory beast opposing them. That doesn't matter, Labour's cannon-fodder voters have been living loyally in poverty and continuing to vote for the people who keep them there fore generations, so that's OK. The cover story is that the Scottish working class must continue to suffer so that Labour doesn't lose possible influence to help the (sun-reading, Tory-voting) English working class. The truth is that the Labour big beasts all like inhabiting the large and lucrative Westminster arena, and have such contempt for Scotland that they see being "exiled" back home as a fate worse than death.

    It's pure self-interest, dressed up as some sort of inverted patriotism.

    The Tories are more complicated, because they'd have a much easier electoral ride in an independent England. But their colonial pride sees the loss of a lucrative colony as loss of face. And their books wouldn't balance without being able to pocket Scotland's resources and only give back pocket-money in exchange (for which we are expected to be humbly grateful, and take dogs' abuse about being subsidy junkies).

    It's still self-interest.

    And the BBC is just as bad. The corporation as a whole is imperialist, and BBC Scotland in particular is terrified of losing its ties to Auntie. You can't get a job with BBC Scotland if you're known to be an SNP supporter. (I suppose I better copy this post to re-post it without that line if it doesn't get through moderation, but I know it's true. And just look at all the sad faces of the BBC team as they threw themselves into commiserating with the unjustly rejected Labour MSPs on Friday morning. I thought Sally was going to cry at one point. Does Kirsty still go on holiday with the Labour leaders?)

    It's pure self-interest.

    It's pure self-interest on the part of the SNP too of course. Self-interest in achieving a more prosperous, confident Scotland that can take its place in the world and administer its own affairs.

    You just have to want the right things,

  • Comment number 71.

    X_Sticks, the entire BBC narrative since Thursday and before has been about how to stop independence, and how to get Labour (and the other unionist parties) back on their feet after the massacre. The idea of taking a positive attitude to the ambitions of the party that won an overwhelming majority in the election isn't one that has or will occur to any of them.

  • Comment number 72.

    #68

    its parr for the course. expect a long haul !

  • Comment number 73.

    It's time to get the heck out of the UK anyway.
    Tory and Labour policies have decimated British Industry over the last 30 years.
    This country don't make nuthin' no more.

    Germany on the other hand decided to invest in its production base instead of relying on the City of London Supercasino.....

    German exports surged in March to their highest level since records began, as the growing global economy lifted demand for its products and services.

    The country's exports for the month totalled 98.3bn euros ($142bn; £87bn), 7.3% higher than February.

    Its imports also reached an all-time high, up 3.1% to 79.4bn euros. Both imports and exports are the most since data started to be collected in 1950.

    Germany is the world's second-largest exporter.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13330882

  • Comment number 74.

    The Labour party is a deeply centralised beast. It knows it will have a much harder time getting elected in England without any seats in Scotland. It only considers Scotland as a means to advance its interests in Westminster, as the Labour Scottish election campaign amply demonstrated (vote Labour to help us get back on our feet in England was the message that was rejected). So it will order its Scottish minions to oppose independence with every fibre they have.

    Labour politicians with Scottish roots are at the forefront of this campaign, for one simple reason. A herd of rhinoceroses wouldn't persuade them to abandon their Westminster careers for Scottish politics - we've been told that. But hey, they'd have little option after independence!

    It's pure self-interest. Never mind the possibility that Scottish Labour politicians might be able to do a lot more for ordinary Scots working in an independent Scotland without the Tory beast opposing them. That doesn't matter, Labour's cannon-fodder voters have been living loyally in poverty and continuing to vote for the people who keep them there fore generations, so that's OK. The cover story is that the Scottish working class must continue to suffer so that Labour doesn't lose possible influence to help the (sun-reading, Tory-voting) English working class. The truth is that the Labour big beasts all like inhabiting the large and lucrative Westminster arena, and have such contempt for Scotland that they see being "exiled" back home as a fate worse than death.

    It's pure self-interest, dressed up as some sort of inverted patriotism.

    The Tories are more complicated, because they'd have a much easier electoral ride in an independent England. But their colonial pride sees the loss of a lucrative colony as loss of face. And their books wouldn't balance without being able to pocket Scotland's resources and only give back pocket-money in exchange (for which we are expected to be humbly grateful, and take dogs' abuse about being subsidy junkies).

    It's still self-interest.

    And the BBC is just as bad. The corporation as a whole is imperialist, and BBC Scotland in particular is terrified of losing its ties to Auntie. [Redacted passage because I'll just bet that was why the comment was "referred for further moderation...."]

    It's pure self-interest.

    It's pure self-interest on the part of the SNP too of course. Self-interest in achieving a more prosperous, confident Scotland that can take its place in the world and administer its own affairs.

    You just have to want the right things.

  • Comment number 75.

    #65
    I am NOT a unionist. But I'm sensible enough to want to know what something is going to cost before I buy it.
    We need to know, how much of a share of U.K.'s debt would we have to shoulder? Do you really think that what is left the U.K.'s Government would just let us walk away leaving them to pay the debt? If the 'offer' were to be too costly would we just declare UDI?
    Would there be a second chamber to the parliament?
    What about our defence forces? I know that the SNP published figures for this a few years ago, but can anyone remember what they are? Are they still relevent today?
    Unless these questions are clearly addressed before the referendum surely there has to be second referendum after the negotiations have taken place. (This is written by someone who voted 'Yes' in the 1970's - 77 was it?- and 'Yes, Yes' in 1998)
    In a similar vein, after Independence (and not a reason to vote against Independence), would we want to join the EU?
    What would our nett contribution be?
    Would we need to join the Euro?

    These aren't reasons to not join the E.U. but I feel they valid questions to which we need to know the answers before making an informed decision.

  • Comment number 76.

    when passing through heathrow on sunday i bought two bottles of spring water
    the chap giving back my change said you dont mind if i give you back a scottish fiver. i said no problem, in fact you might get more when we get independance.
    he laughed, so i said to him i quite like the english but i dont like their government.
    he laughed even louder!

  • Comment number 77.

    These aren't reasons to not join the E.U. but I feel they valid questions to which we need to know the answers before making an informed decision.
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    All the doubts and insecurities of Independence vanish in the face of what the Tories will do to us if they get the chance.
    Now that this Scottish rebellion has been flagged up at Westminster the Tories will tear us apart at the first opportunity in the UK "national interest", thereby ensuring that Scotland is never ever a threat to the Union again.

    In the next 5 years we have to choose between the Tory devil or the Deep Blue Sea of Independence.

    Personally speaking.
    If it doesn't work out I'll cash in my chips up here and move to the North of England which is only 2 hours drive away.

  • Comment number 78.

    As children of Thatcher, we're all well used to massive change and upheaval up here.
    Maggie made a special interest group of the Scots, her little Tory toy.

    At least this time around we get to choose.

  • Comment number 79.

    What was it I blogged yesterday, can't recall the page but basically just wait for a huge un-holy westminster alliance in response to our recent glorified regional council elections to de-rail anything not of their liking! I'm sure some tactical voters like to think that the GRC is a joker in the pack that can be played when the westminster version of the GRC tighten the purse $trings. Just when you want a scandal story you follow the money, well the latter is going to be in quite short supply and any attempts to wring it out domestically via our own GRC will enevitably see a mass of change in tactical voting! Those with the means will be wary and probably already have mechanisims in place to put their loot out of harms way, and it will be the voters that put the current administration in place for >4yrs that will pick up this TAB! That's the reality of the mini-beast......Anyways in light of our new GRC will BBC Scotland finally re-brand itself to a more fitting name?

  • Comment number 80.

    The turnout for the referendum will be high, perhaps very high indeed because this will directly affect absolutely everyone and their future lives.

    The May 5 turnout was 50% so if we get say 75-80% at the referendum there's a heck of a lot to play for and it could go either way.

    Most of the other 25-30% don't give a damn about politics, hate all politicians, watch Britains got talent, watch Football matches, just want to party, youngsters with better things on their minds, don't understand politics, non-political pensioners, people who never watch the news etc etc etc so there's a whole new huge demographic grouping the politicians have to tap for support on referendum day if they want to swing the result their way.

    It's going to be a complicated campaign which could go right to the wire.

  • Comment number 81.

    Cam: Help me put HM indy picture

    "The MP blasted his party's support for the Calman Commission's call for more tax powers at Holyrood."

  • Comment number 82.

    Labour wanting to return to the days of "centralised control,council housing and the Co-Op divvy sure enough Brian.

    As a foolish young man in the 80's,I was a member of the Labour Party.I remember a well kent Labour personality who still stalks the Earth,enquiring of a voter on the doorstep,"who are you going to vote for if you don't vote Labour ? ".It seems that this attitude is still very much in evidence.

  • Comment number 83.

    So MilliBrother has appointed 3 Uber-Unionist Brit-Nats to lead his Party's review of the New Labour disaster (for them) in Scotland.
    He doesn't really get it.
    They don't really get it.
    Do you get it Brian?
    I note that Pauline the Ex-MSP appears to get it.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 84.

    I just want to point out that there is no evidence that the Lib-Dem vote went completely to the SNP! Yeah, most of it probably did... just as most votes around the entire country did from all opposition party's. However, someone somewhere said; "you couldn't through a stick into a Glasgow street without hitting a previously Labour voter who had switched to the SNP."

    Just because the Lib-Dems share of the vote went down in many cases by a similar margin to that of the SNP increases, it does not follow that you can form a simplistic conclusion that Lib-Dems switched en-masse to the SNP.

  • Comment number 85.

    72. At 23:50pm 9th May 2011, rouser wrote:
    "its parr for the course. expect a long haul !"

    I know rouser! Just got to keep reminding them we are watching.

    It will only get worse I suspect now that us uppity Scots don't seem to be following orders any more. Once the westminster black ops start we will have to be on our guard. We can expect the northern outpost of the beeb to be fully on board when the union begins its campaign.

  • Comment number 86.

    @32 reincarnation
    "When even Kilbirnie had to change the Labour Club into a Community Club, the writing was on the wall!"

    Aye, I could see it from the window of my Granny's kitchen, Aunty's living-room, and my Cousin's back window. It had all the charm of a garden hut in a weedy allotment.

    @54 X-Sticks
    Thanks.

  • Comment number 87.

    83. At 10:22am 10th May 2011, spagan wrote:
    "I note that Pauline the Ex-MSP appears to get it."

    Can you elaborate spagan? I must have missed this.

  • Comment number 88.

    #87 You can listen to what Pauline McNeill had to say on BBC Good Morning Scotland this morning: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010y6s7/Good_Morning_Scotland_10_05_2011/ It's about 1hr34m in...

  • Comment number 89.

    While all the usual caveats about tiny polling samples, not adjusted for Scottish demographics apply, the massive shift in Westminster VI must be terrifying Labour

    Populus - SNP 49% : Lab 26% : Con 15% : LD 2%

  • Comment number 90.

    #77 ady

    very poignant.

    with the unionist parties of scotland in disarray, and a true scottish government
    in charge, watch the sparks fly down south. the real masters will rear their ugly heads, with spite and vitriol , as they have done to their lesser minions in hollirood

    the scottish people are entering a new erra. they will see a westminster goverment
    the likes of which they have only seen in the thatcher years. but dont you worry
    the brave harts will win in the end the same a they always do!

  • Comment number 91.

    Always sad when a youngish man dies, but David Cairns has died, and that means a by election in Inverclyde. I wonder how long Labour will try to delay it.

  • Comment number 92.

    88. raisethegame
    Thanks rairethegame, I'll have a listen later after work!

  • Comment number 93.

    Inverclyde % share voting 2010

    56.0% Lab
    17.5% SNP
    13.3% LD
    12.9% Con
    1.2% UKIP

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm afraid I'm English - so I'm not likely to use dialect phonetics, sorry - but I think I have the hang of the rest of this from the above.

    Scotland is infinite in size and has the best poets in the World. I knew it had good musicians because ‘The Transatlantic Sessions’ is a particular favourite of mine.

    It also, I have learned from previous readings of comments here, has enough oil to keep Scotland in comfort for decades - if not centuries - to come.

    Someone asked, why does Scotland need the Union ? Good question but you might note that last time I looked, a majority of the English (me included) do not think Scotland needs the Union.

    I think you should stop arguing about whether the numbers constitute an English subsidy and actually try it out...

  • Comment number 95.

    ...To another poster - I believe the EU would be overjoyed at the UK breaking up. It would cripple a major obstacle to EU progress in 'ever closer union'. Scotland would probably not be a net contributor at first either, owing to this EU bureaucratic joy - but I believe EU bureaucratic emotion is such that Scotland probably would have to join the Euro. It’s a pet project of the Commission, not to be skipped...

  • Comment number 96.

    ...That would make Scotland one of Germany's import/export partners. To every surplus, there is a deficit - and the Hartz IV model will probably outclass Scottish social provision in fostering manufacturing industry. Recent Scottish politics being the way it is, that issue of social provision will probably play out the way it has with Germany’s other competitors in the eurozone.

    I can certainly see some similarities with Germany in the comments above - but perhaps an earlier Germany that took pride in its perceived superior qualities. They also found hate figures to unify them - not the Tories, strangely.

    So, a bright future for an independent Scotland.

    Good luck

  • Comment number 97.

    #77

    Why is there this obsession/paranoia about the Tory party in Scotland? Whilst they are not perfect (no-one is, not even the almighty SNP....) they are having to clear up the mess left from Labour and for the most part aren't taht different from any of the parties in the UK and don't target any part of the country differently (bar the london bias)

    While the SNP won convincingly with the support of ~25% of the electorate this could be due to being the "least of 4 evils" so I'd be careful before being painting oneself blue and screaming freedom...

  • Comment number 98.

    DrK:

    #97.

    The Conservatives have never re-gained the trust of the Scottish public. I also feel the Conservatives do not tackle the negative campaigning as effetcively as they perhaps should. David Camerons talks about respect for Scotland but rarely, if ever, talks about standing up for Scotland.

    The SNP may have won due to being the 'least of the four evils' but more likely won because the party was most positive and also set out an ambitious vison which Scots want and are willing to work for.

  • Comment number 99.

    @96. OldPerson
    "I can certainly see some similarities with Germany in the comments above - but perhaps an earlier Germany that took pride in its perceived superior qualities. They also found hate figures to unify them - not the Tories, strangely."

    lol!
    Congratulations, that's the most quietly spoken, longest setup, Godwinesque contribution i've seen in ages.
    [applause]

  • Comment number 100.

    #94, 95 & 96; Oldperson, the priority of the SNP is independence. The Euro debate would be an argument post independence.

    It should be understood that the SNP is a diverse school of ideas and opinions. I am currently of the opinion that I am against the Euro and Europe... but I still want Independence from the UK and am an SNP member.

 

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