It was Bob Dylan who first wrote the words “the answer my friends is blowing in the wind.”
When the song came out, he was 21.
He talked about the inspirations behind it, saying “I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong. I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many . . .”
In another of his song he said “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
In yet another he ends a verse with the words “I used to care, but things have changed.”
In what might be his most bitter, and angry, song, he wrote “You’ve got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend. When I was down, you just stood there grinning. You’ve got a lot of nerve to say you’ve got a helping hand to lend. You just want to be on the side that’s winning.”
Isn’t it funny how, one month on from the independence vote that was supposed to “settle this matter for a generation” there’s been a sudden rash of Epiphany?
The worst of it, but by no means all, is in the Labour Party of course.
Johann Lamont has suddenly realised what we were saying for the whole campaign; Scottish Labour does not exist in any meaningful way. It is, to borrow her phrase, nothing more than a “branch office” to the London based leadership, who’s only concern is with Middle English votes.
Scotland will take care of us, they tell themselves at Westminster.
Note the wording. Scotland will take care of us.
The idea of them taking care of Scotland never even entered their heads.
Now, everything is broken. The movement they thought they’d put to the sword is thriving, and the evidence of a huge fraud against the Scottish people is piling up like snow drifts. Another referendum, or even a unilateral declaration of independence, is a virtual certainty as anger mounts.
The more one hears about the Lamont situation, the more angry it makes you.
Take the Bedroom Tax, an issue of huge importance for many people, one of the most retrograde pieces of public policy I have ever come across in years examining the political process.
Her silence on that has been explained. She was told to button her lip “whilst Ed Miliband made up his mind.”
Note that too. Labour wanted to see if it was popular first, and was willing to wait until the furore around it died down. They wanted to see if it raised money. They wanted to make a political calculation. Would fighting over this be more trouble than it was worth?
(They have different ideas about cost – consequences analysis than we “ordinary people” do.)
This is both shrieking cowardice and a rancid political calculation with the standard of living for thousands of our citizens nothing more than afterthought. That Lamont went along with it is damning, and shameful.
Those amongst the 55%, who voted No because they believe this party speaks for them, or can be redeemed, are desperately trying to defend a fraud, and what’s more … when Johann Lamont herself would rather resign and give her sworn nemesis Alex Salmond another scalp even as his own final days as leader are winding down, well even the blindest must see the writing on the wall.
Those who are left still clutching to their “party allegiance” like a comfort blanket, it’s clear they’ll swallow anything and they are utterly without hope, or so focussed on carving out their own careers that they can’t see anything else.
Either way, to Hell with the lot of them.
When the leadership vote comes, many of them will vote for whichever Westminster face is the biggest name. My last post, on Jim Murphy, makes it abundantly clear that I’d love to see him try for it because it will burst this bubble around him and his politics once and for all, and will end his career on the ignominy it deserves.
When they cast that vote, for him or whoever it is, they will have to be willfully ignorant of how it confirms what Lamont said and of how it will make Scotland’s secondary status 100 times worse, and more acute.
What’s more, the irony of all this is not lost on me at all, and it shouldn’t be lost on you; the big guns of Scottish Labour, demanding independence from London for their party … which they could, and would, have had if they’d put aside their irrational hatred of the SNP and campaigned for it on behalf of everyone else in this country.
The contempt I feel for them all has reached monumental proportions.
The anger is swelling like seas in a Force 12 storm.
Then there’s Henry McLeish, who rode the middle of the road so long in the referendum that it’s a wonder he wasn’t run over by the Yes or No campaign buses. At this point, I don’t want to hear a single word that comes out of his mouth.
He talked about his very real doubts about voting No, then did it anyway, and now slams the boot into the London political class who he voted with.
His realisation that those in London don’t understand the realities of politics here is a flash of insight which comes too late, but look deeper; even he’s coaching his objections simply based on what the shambles of Labour in Scotland means to Miliband’s chances of being PM.
Too many people like McLeish sided with No for no other reason than they thought No would win, right from the start.
Others, who could have committed real resources, power and influence to the Yes campaign, sat it out because they wanted to keep their options open … and some of them actually voted our way on the day.
They don’t get off because of it. They could have done a lot more.
I read, with disbelief, last week when one writer said it’s more or less an “open secret” that a lot of Scotland’s senior trade unionists voted Yes.
Oh yeah? Why in God’s name did they tell their organisations to sit on the fence? Why in God’s name did some of them actually urge their people to vote No? Some of them did that without even balloting their members, by Christ.
What were these people staying silent for?
Dylan had it right. Some just wanted to be on the side that was winning. Some kept their mouths shut because they wanted to see which way the wind was going to blow.
Watch them now, as the tide turns our way again, as the movement for a Yes vote has grown arms and legs and started to spread in a hundred directions … but with certain agreed upon goals.
One by one, they’re going to take the pledge.
We’ll take their support … but we’ll have to keep our eyes on them, because they can’t be trusted.
The proposals Labour intends to put forward for our Parliament will have a two-fold objective; they will be an effort to partially placate their own voters up here, and they will be designed to limit the objections of English voters, who otherwise might punish the party for not supporting EVEL.
I’ll be blunt; English Votes for English Laws is not only a certainty to happen, but it is right that it happens and not just because it is a step towards our independence. If Miliband and Labour stand against it then shame on them, because the Scottish parliament is now the place many of us look to for leadership.
We can’t be in favour of more autonomy for Scotland whilst letting our MP’s prop up a minority government down south. We cannot rage about the imposition of an English government on Scotland whilst being blasé about the notion of Scottish MP’s holding the balance of power on issues that have nothing to do with us.
Labour’s contempt for the electorate doesn’t just extend to Scotland.
The more one looks at the political situation down south, the more one sees an unfolding catastrophe for those who thought the No vote was “secured for a generation.”
Westminster is going to give the SNP leadership every reason it requires to put this issue back on the table.
So many things, like the discovery of new North Sea oil fields, like the rise of UKIP, like Cameron’s looming fight with the EU, like Labour’s internal combustion reveal the scope and depth of the consequences of the decision to vote No.
The effects will multiply exponentially as we go into an election year, and the London parties fight for the votes of Daily Mail readers.
It is tempting to be angry when you read Lamont and McLeish and others gush out their self-pity and their realisation that Westminster doesn’t care about us, but take a deep breath and remember they don’t know anything now that they didn’t know six weeks ago … and neither do we.
They could have fought Scotland’s corner then, but they looked after themselves first.
Well, we can do something about it next year. The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.
Things Have Changed.
Let’s go after every single one of them.
Let’s change the political map of this country forever.
(This site depends on your support to keep growing. If you want to help the site and our forthcoming magazine project you can make a donation using the PayPal button located at either the top or bottom of this piece, based on what device you are using. Finally, if you haven’t already, please Follow us by pressing on the floating icon at the bottom right of your screen.)