We have a chance here to turn it on its head.
It’s taken only a fortnight for many of those who voted No in the referendum to recognise that the consequence of that decision are going to be monumental.
As time goes by, and we get closer to the general election, the full force and effect of those consequences will compel many people to offer us advice, for our own good.
That advice will be “come home to Labour.” I cannot think of anything I’d rather do less.
I read Kevin McKenna’s latest opinion piece in the Guardian/Observer at the weekend, and I saw in that the start of a trend I expect to continue all the way to polling day.
His article tried to be objective. It failed by the end. Not his fault. His view is tainted because, frankly, he’s got too many mates in the Labour ranks to be properly critical.
On balance the article was a good one, because it talked about Labour’s continuing slide into the abyss, but there’s a paragraph near the end about how his “chums in Labour” have been calling him to ask that he stop calling them careerists, and it ends with him extolling the virtues of some of them, and calling upon them to “rescue” the party.
One of those named was Anas Sarwar.
Does that give you a hint of how ridiculous I think his final argument was?
We are being told that the idea of independence was rejected. Was it really? How many of the 55% would change their votes today, only a fortnight on, in light of what they know?
These people won by fear, smear and lies. They won by fraud.
Oh, I’m not talking about the miscounting of votes or the losing of ballot papers, or any of that banana republic stuff. But their utilising the media machine, and their preying on ignorance and tapping into people’s uncertainties, their constant distorting of facts, denying of evidence and disregard for the truth makes it fraud just the same.
A handful of websites and blogs stood up against that. The next time there needs to be a whole lot more. Those voices need to be amplified a hundred times and they need others around them to be doing the same.
We must not let these people and their “narrative” defeat us. Our own version of what’s happened here must challenge theirs time and time again. This was not won by argument or by a desire amongst the majority of people in this country to stick to the status quo.
They carpet bombed the populace, and hammered many into submission. That, above all else, is a point that must be driven home again and again and again.
Furthermore, we can’t let those who did it get away with it by rewriting their own history, or by trying to convince us we should put that aside and just make nice.
Listen, I don’t know how you feel, but I am already fucking sick of being told that we and Labour have to come together “for the good of the country.”
We voted Yes for the good of the country.
I’m already sick and tired of being told we have to vote Labour to “keep out the Tories.”
I already voted Yes to do exactly that, and to do it once and for all.
As we approach the general election and the Tories grow stronger in the polls, the sound of this will reach crescendo, as we’re told we’re condemning the country to a Cameron majority government unless we get back on board with their program.
They may even invoke the spectre of a UKIP coalition.
This reeks. It reeks already and we’re still months away from it.
The manifesto the Tories are putting together is truly horrific, but it contains not one item we did not expect to see when we voted Yes a few short weeks ago.
Had we won that vote the week they’ve just spent battering the young and the sick and those in greatest need would have been of no consequence at all to the people of Scotland, who would already be safe from even the worst of those plans.
Now we are hostages to fortune, relying on Ed Miliband to somehow find what he hasn’t shown before … the ability to convince voters in England that he should be in Downing Street.
It won’t happen. It was never going to happen.
Most people know this, or deep down sense it. What grates on me most is that it’s a fact most commonly understood – and accepted – within the ranks of the Labour Party itself.
All this talk of Labour being on its way back to power fools no-one. Those who went out there and told people to vote No because “a Labour government is on its way” were amongst the biggest liars of them all.
Not one person who attended their party conference a few weeks back emerged from it believing they’d seen a party of government preparing to take office. Indeed, they slipped back in the opinion polls in the aftermath, especially in light of Miliband’s speech where he actually forgot to mention the single biggest issue facing most voters.
This man is not fit to be Prime Minister, and his party is not fit for government. Labour no longer stands for, or up for, anything. It moves with the prevailing wind, following trends and chasing poll numbers. It no longer cares.
Here in Scotland, there are no longer any real alibis for those who dream of social justice and a fairer country and remain in, or allied to, its ranks.
Let me repeat what I have said before; I will never vote for Labour again whilst the party is run from London, or filled to the rafters with people like Jim Murphy.
Kevin McKenna’s piece was heavily critical of those people, but his attempts to make excuses for the rest are puerile and will ultimately prove futile.
Scotland will not forget, and nor should we, because there is not one of them who emerges from this campaign with a shred of credit, and whatever they might tell him over the phone, or in the wine bars of Glasgow, whatever he might, himself, believe deep down, these people are all careerists, whether they are on the left or the right of the party, and no attempt to re-work the narrative will succeed as long as the rest of us tell that like it is.
Each and every elected official who stood alongside the Tories and worked in a campaign funded by big business, and utilised their threats against jobs and to raise prices, stands condemned for that decision, for not one of them was unaware that they were working hand in hand with the enemy.
Silence is no defence either, because that makes those people cowards as well.
Not many of them can hide behind that shield anyway. Whether we saw them on TV or in the papers, almost every single one of them was engaged in the ground war.
Any elected official of Labour who went out on the stump and told lies to the sick about the NHS, who told lies about pensions to the old and infirm, who told mothers afraid for their children’s futures lies about the oil running out stands condemned by that now and forever.
I don’t give a fuck if it was Iain Davidson or Katy Clark out there shovelling that bullshit. I actually have even less respect for those on the left than I do for those on the right, because they are the last people in the world who should have been involved in practices like that.
Every vote they ever cast in their political careers, every cause they ever strove for, every positive difference they tell themselves they made … all of it was for nought.
That is the truth, whether history records it or not.
Every bit of good they ever did was erased, utterly, when they took part in a campaign where they preyed on weakness and ignorance and fear, and all of it to save their own skins.
Not a one of them deserves our sympathy or our respect, far less our vote and do not let a single person in the media or otherwise kid you on about it.
Not a one of them will ever be trusted again. The Labour Party sold us out at the moment when the people of this country needed them most. They put themselves and their future advancement first. I cannot accentuate that point enough. Remember it.
There were a few, a courageous few, who stepped up and spoke out. They, and they alone, deserve credit, but most of them, if not all of them, have already gone even further and walked away from the party entirely. I was surprised, and disappointed, to hear that Allan Grogan had left, but in retrospect he deserves enormous praise for doing so.
Labour for Independence was the vehicle every parliamentary member had at their disposal if they wanted to fight on the side of the Scottish people.
For those who chose to stand on a platform of deceit and scare-mongering, there ought to be nothing but a long, steady silence punctuated only by the ticking of the clock.
They decided their careers were worth more than the well-being of their country, and the price they pay for that ought to be the annihilation of their ambitions and that which they placed above all. The election ought to see this shower obliterated.
That is a task we have to organise for, and I am thrilled to see plans being formulated and ideas canvassed from those of us who want to play a part in that, and in what comes next. Independence is still our goal, but we have to change the tactics we use in trying to accomplish it.
One of those tactics is to utilise new media, and to increase its presence, not only to make sure that the history of this campaign is not written by the charlatans who’re revelling in the victory, but to prepare us better so that next time we are the side which wins.
I am in digital publishing, and I think I can play a role in doing that. To that end, I’m talking to some folks about putting together a digital magazine on the issues facing the 45%, but with a wider focus, one that concentrates on better informing those who were not on our side.
The difference between this project and others like it is that it will focus on the views and aspirations of the ordinary grass roots supporters and not tailor itself towards coffee house discussions about “the future of the left” or “will there be opportunities for the new right” or other such issues which most voters really don’t care that much about.
If I can get it up and running I want it to be filled not only with the voices of the 45%, but I want it to focus on the consequences of No at the ground level. I want it to tell the stories of those most affected.
Yes, I hope we’ll publish “big think” pieces, and hopefully play a role in defining the strategy, but more than anything else I just want to get out there into the world and continue to talk to those who matter most … the people worried for their jobs, for their healthcare, for their children, for the future.
If you think this is a good idea you can help us set it up by making a donation to the site, or you can click our Follow button and get on the mailing list. The bigger that list is, the better chance we’ll have of getting this project funded in the medium term.
My team and I would also welcome contributions, not only for the magazine but for this site. I feel asking that is long overdue.
I named it Comment Isn’t Free after the section in The Guardian with a similar name, which more and more comes to resemble a wee coffee house environment absolutely detached from the real world. This website and others like it should reflect a far truer picture of what life is actually like, and I want those stories and I want more people to read them than ever before.
It’s needed. The 45%, all 1.6 million of us, should be doing the same. We need every person who can to have a weapon in this fight, whether that’s starting a blog or setting up a radio show or a podcast. We need every person we can get creating some outlet where people can read the truth, or get involved in a debate, or anything really that keeps this flame burning.
More, we need as many people countering the lies as we can get to hold a pen.
It’s been two weeks, and I’m fucking sick of it already. Are you?
I’ve already had enough of the nauseating spectacle of The Daily Record trying to erase the memory of printing a front page lie to sway votes. I already have a pounding head reading self-serving shit from Labour Party officials trying to latch on to this wave of anger and political awakening that for the last couple of years they’ve been telling us was nationalist in tone, completely lacking in substance and with no grounding in reality.
Remember that. Remember that first they accused us of racism, then of having nothing to offer and then finally they said we’d been duped if we weren’t dreaming of pie in the sky. They accused of us being part of something that was little more than Alex Salmond’s campaign, and even his party. They branded us thugs. Some even went as far as to call us Nazi’s.
In light of that, how fucking dare they attempt now to hijack what we’ve built?
They will try, though, and some are already “reaching out to us” with their filth-smeared hands.
Yeah, it’s two weeks on and I’m still pissed off. Are you? And if you are then I’m glad, because it’s better than feeling the way we all did a fortnight ago, when we could barely stand to look outside. That sense of sick, emptiness was not good for any of us.
I hope it’s gone. Because the time has come to get up off the floor. We had the courage to want change, and that prize is still waiting for us to grab it.
The first task is simple. To keep people focussed on who stands in our way.
At the top of the list is the Labour Party Kevin McKenna and others still seem determined to defend, the one that sold the jerseys, the one that told us lies, the one that resorted to blackmail and threats and will do the same come May next year.
To succeed, they have to re-write history. It will be to our eternal shame if we allow that.
By the time the next election comes around, we need to be ready.
That’s what I’m dedicating myself to from here on in, and the best way I can do that is to utilise those skills I possess to their greatest effect.
You are hereby invited to help me, and I hope that you do.
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