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Martyrs One More Time

leadersLast night, hearing Ed Miliband say, in plain, unambiguous, straightforward language, that he would rather have the Tories in power than be in government supported by the SNP, I was about as angry as I’ve ever been in my life.

This afternoon I feel not one bit less so.

The backtracking has started, of course, with people in Labour clarifying the remarks, or trying to. Some of his own shadow cabinet are actually flatly contradicting him.

I expected that, and I know people within the party, greedy for office, will be furious.

He’s also peddling back on it himself.

Too late. Too late by a distance. Those words are now in the public record and I have little doubt he meant every word.

It was a slip, but one he won’t be feeling any regret about, as I strongly suspect he knows trying to run a minority government would be nine kinds of Hell with a howling right wing media that won’t let him sleep at night.

So he’s given us a glimpse of his thinking.

He’s not simply let the cat out of the bag. It’s running wild, and has got into the fridge and is now eating the party treats.

This does nothing to help them in Scotland. Indeed, it may well have hammered the final nail into the coffin lid.

I sincerely hope that it has.

I no longer care who’s in Downing Street. The focus of Scotland is now forward, to a day when we’re shot of these people once and for all.

There really ought to be no more debate about that.

You know, as I’ve said, this was a guy I wanted to feel good about.

Although not exactly the answer to all our prayers, I believed him when he said he was a progressive.

What we saw, and heard, last night was not progressive at all. It was contemptuous of this country and the electorate.

It told us all we need to know about how he will behave in government.

We have a Labour leader prepared to continue with austerity cuts when the IFS and noted economists like Paul Krugman are telling us that there is no need for them. This man, and his party, are quite willing to inflict misery on many thousands of people when there is simply no case for it.

There is not a shred of justification for that and anyone who pursues that route to power is an immoral bastard whatever flag they do it under.

Our friend Jim Murphy (and what better friend does the SNP have?) said something last night; that he joined the Labour Party because he hated the Tories economic policies. I found that curious, because I joined Labour because I hated their social policies.

Imagine my profound shock – and dismay – when Labour’s own turned out to be just as bad.

I fell out of love with Labour a long time ago now, but I never expected to feel the way I do at this moment, where I honestly do not care if they are still in opposition this time next week.

The anger that’s been swelling in me since the referendum, when I realised they had wilfully betrayed every principle they ever supposedly believed in, peaked watching Miliband try to slip into the back door of Downing Street last night.

The level of cynicism in his words literally took my breath away.

In a previous piece I talked about how it felt when I realised what Labour was, and I compared it to finding out someone you loved, and thought loved you, had been going behind your back.

I said I have moments when I mourn for what I lost, all the while realising that because it wasn’t real that I never really had it in the first place.

Today that feeling is gone, gone completely.

Now I feel all the rage of someone jilted at the altar.

That anger is oddly liberating, and that feeling is also unexpected.

You know, there have been a lot of articles in the last few weeks that have tried to win people like me back to the fold. Some of them have fairly tugged on the heartstrings, tapping into the natural desire we all feel to respect the things our grandparents believed in, the Labour Party they grew up with, the one that stood for, and meant, something.

Miliband is here today, playing the same tune.

If the objective of those pieces was to get me to vote for them, they failed, spectacularly.

I know when I’m being manipulated, and those were crude efforts to guilt me and you and thousands of others.

Yet in that, at least, they were partly successful because in spite of myself I did feel that guilt, like someone who had made a decision to cheat on their other half.

Not now.

Today Miliband is in Scotland where he intends to invoke those same “old ghosts”.

Thinking of that, I feel coldness creep over me, leaving me empty, like a dead battery.

I just want the day to come now. I want to speed up the clock, to fast forward it to next week.

I want to burn my X onto the ballot paper and slam it into the box like a guy giving the pub loud mouth a belt in the gob.

I want to see Labour erased from the political map north of the border, like the Tories were in 1997.

I don’t want them to learn lessons from the defeat … I want it to shatter the corrupt institution they’ve become.

I want them buried under the landslide.

Here, in the land of their founding father, I want them hammered into electoral oblivion.

For me, there’s no going back now, not ever. I care not what they were, only what they are.

Why would I ever return to voting for them now? To feel cheap, debased, used, done up like a kipper, to look in the mirror every day and know I’m a mug?

I cannot put it more bluntly than to say this; Labour is now the enemy of working class Scotland.

It’s that simple, and I experienced no feelings of remorse, regret or guilt writing those words.

Last night, I watched the leader of that party tell me, and my country, that he would rather see David Cameron stay in Downing Street than deal with us in good faith, and why not? They agree on so much, from hammering the poor and trimming back the state to the need for this country to retain weapons that can only be used to commit mass murder.

That’s not a man I even remotely want to see become Prime Minister.

This is a choice between two types of drowning, not an election to see who governs this nation.

If I lived in England, watching Cameron and Miliband, these two slippery bastards, knowing I had no option but to be ruled over by one of them, I would honestly be weeping right now.

That we do have an alternative future fills me with immense relief.

Of course, if Miliband loses next week he’s gone.

I don’t care who replaces him any more than I care who replaces Murphy when he finally sees the writing on the wall.

Scotland may well have to endure a Tory government when this is all over, but you know what? We’ve endured that before and we’re still here. We’re enduring one now, and everywhere I look I see the passion and hope of people determined to make this country better.

I see the astounding generosity and optimism of the people of this wonderful land, and I know we’ll survive.

Not comfortably, but we’ll still be standing.

Last night, on Facebook, a friend of mine said “we might as well be martyrs one more time.”

This has a peculiar resonance for me. I know exactly what he means. Miliband’s attitude towards us is pure Westminster. Scotland never quite gets what it votes for. Why should this time be any different?

It no longer matters whether it’s Labour or the Tories who are in office because we will get nothing from either.

Miliband’s comments last night came about, in no small part, as a consequence of the fear coursing through the party at the moment at being seen in any way to be giving this country more than England gets.

If you think they will risk the same electoral oblivion down south that is coming here, think again.

We’re pretty much on our own from this point forward, and the consolation in that comes from no longer being terribly concerned with Miliband’s political survival.

So we’ll weather what’s coming, whatever that is, in the way we always have, getting what England’s voters inflict on us as we have always done.

So martyrs it is then. One last time.

Because the momentum is now unstoppable.

I now firmly believe that this country will be an independent nation within ten years.

Last night, in his breath-taking show of contempt for every single one of us, Ed Miliband virtually guaranteed it, but I won’t thank him for it.

Frankly, he can go to Hell. The clock is ticking down on him too.

There are six days left to go.

People of Scotland, bring on your wrecking ball.

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11 comments to “Martyrs One More Time”
  1. Welcome to fury lane. Your article sums up the feeling for them I have had for a long time now. I want them destroyed in Scotland. We created them, its time to make them extinct. If we need it, we will build from their ashes a new party of the working people, but Labour are dead to me already.

    It’s a sad day when during FMQ’s I (repeatedly) look forward to hearing the Tory leader speak, rather than the Labour leader. That alone shows me the contempt I have now reached with Labour, when a Tory’s viewpoint is more valid than theirs. When a Tory represents decent(ish) cross questioning of the govt, rather than just a comedy show.

  2. it was like watching a guy holding a gun to his head and saying do as i say or i will blow my brains out OH OK Pal your move

  3. Well done on a truly excellent article. I truly hope your rightful anger is shared by Scottish voters on May 7th, and preferably too for some time afterwards.

    I’m not convinced that this was a “slip” by Miliband. Whatever he might have said publicly he knew his party was on course to miss out on a majority and that there was a good chance that it would actually end up with fewer seats than the Tories. This was his attempt to break the deadlock.

    The logic behind it, I assume, is that Scottish voters who despise the Tories but who might have been motivated to vote SNP in the belief that there would be an agreement with Labour could have second thoughts if they believe their votes really were going to help Cameron back into office. In other words Miliband is attempting to blackmail the entire Scottish nation by saying “Vote for us, or else!”. Whilst this is unlikely to reverse the swing to the SNP, he probably figures it might at least save him some seats, which could make the difference in the race to being the largest party.

    I would imagine there is also a nod involved to the English. Much scaremongering has been taking place, primarily from the Tories, and there is an element amongst English voters who have been persuaded that the SNP, and even Scots in general, are the enemy. Miliband would have been concerned that he might lose floating voters who are concerned about the prospect of an SNP influence at Westminster to the Tories.

    It would be easy though to overstate anti-SNP feeling on the part of most English voters. Nicola Sturgeon has impressed an awful lot of people south of the wall with her performances in the televised debates and I can tell you that even if the SNP had decided to field candidates in England they would not have been disgraced, such is the feeling of warmth that many have towards them. Many of us understand that you and us are fighting the same battle, and if anything we are envious that you seem so much further down the road towards winning yours.

    I also find myself wondering whether some kind of understanding has not already been reached between Labour and the Lib Dems. Whatever they may say otherwise there will have been pre-poll discussions between the Lib Dems and both major parties, and who knows whether some kind of deal may have been agreed there? Especially given the not unlikely scenario that Nick Clegg could lose his seat.

    This was a gamble by Miliband but one he felt he had to make. If nothing else it certainly undermined the Labour narrative with which we are all drearily familiar, viz. that there is an urgency to getting rid of Cameron which precedes all other considerations as the poorest in our society are at the point of death. Miliband can hardly use this line now that he has told us he would rather have the Tories back than do anything to help empower the Scottish people.

    We should all do our best to promote this article and indeed the debate itself between now and next Thursday. Used properly this can be turned on Miliband, he certainly deserves nothing less.

  4. Milliband certainly seems to be acting not only directly against Scots, but also against the interests of the Labour Party.

    However, might it not be that Labour really, really, don’t want to form the government at this time?

  5. I don’t actually think the Union will survive the following 5 years, if this is really the direction Westminister is going.

    Saor Alba.

  6. Is it not the case that, the nearer the day gets, he realises his own uselessness, and this is an easy way out?

  7. I am a nationalist and a member of the SNP,on and off for over 30 years.My first vote was for the SNP,and so has every other vote that I have cast.I have been anti Labour since the 1960,s you could say I saw through them back then.My grandfather was a hard left man,almost Marxist,but he was a fervent Labour supporter.I have always said that on the day one of the Labour party went to the house of lords was the day they deserted the working man,they became part of the Westminster Establishment or took the ermine pension as I often say.They were meant to abolish that house privilege! My father was a small business man,and a Tory he employed five men he needed 4 but could afford to have a spare man,Wilson introduced Selective Employment Tax,which was about 25% of a mans wage so he had to lose the spare man,I could go on about other things like that,enough said though.The lies that Labour have told over the years has angered me,from the early 70,s when we were going to get the MOD in Glasgow,but we had 11 SNP MP,s and on the next election,we dropped to 4 and the MOD plan was also dropped,time after time these things have happened,and I never understood why Scotland continued to vote Labour.My Father-in-law worked in the shipyards and like most (all bar a couple) was red hot Labour man,he has been dead over 20 years now but for several years before he died he said to me that he was switching to SNP as he now saw through Labour,saying that he now thought I was right.This is becoming a long moan,not meant really I am happy that more and more people are seeing Westminster for what it is and by that I mean the Westminster Establishment Party,incorporating Conservative,Labour and Lib-dems.Its a rotten cess pit of greed and corruption,we need to send members who want to come home to Scotland not decide to stay in London and the home counties!

  8. James, I think even you underestimate the cynicism of these politicians. Nothing they say now will they feel bound by on the 8th May – see Clegg and tuition fees, Cameron and his immigration promise etc etc
    Miliband is terrified on the right wing press and establishment for sure. There is some rationality to this fear but confronting it would be right thing to do rather than capitulating.
    He is chasing votes on the right, but probably realizes he is losing some of his core vote, especially here in Scotland.
    I think Labour calculate that they can form a minority Govt for a couple of years, maybe with or without overt SNP support no matter what they say now. Then they go back to the country.
    They probably believe that this is the high water mark of the SNP surge and in a couple of years, without Murphy, Labour could recover 20 to 30 seats in Scotland. They would also try to make the SNP hang itself in Scotland by manipulating some sort of fiscal autonomy but only enough, they hope, for the SNP to be forced to make unpopular choices.
    This, I think, is a profound mis-calculation by Labour and like you I have little sympathy for a party that cannot stand up for what it believes but operates in a sleazy and disreputable fashion and making a cynical grab at power. Which even if it works would only deliver Blairite policy with less media savvy flair.

  9. I’m genuinely sorry that you feel betrayed. You’re right to of course. Just like I’m genuinely sorry for those Scots who bought the Better Together bullshit, hook, line and sinker. We could be so much better. We could live in a Britain that is genuinely federal, and democratic. A Britain not ruled by Krypto-Fascists who’ll glady throw your three-year old under the bus to protect their banker pals. Unfortunately it seems that the electorate in England are asleep. Who knows – maybe when we leave the family, they’ll finally wake up and become citizens, rather than sheeple.

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