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Written By The Winners?

jim murphy shadow defence secretary says labour needs new language“History is written by the winners” must be one of the most oft-quoted political aphorisms of the media age.

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.

(You can support this site by sharing this article on social media. Additionally, as stated in the piece, you can support our plans for the future by making a donation and urging as many people as possible to join our mailing list. This fight has only just started.)

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49 comments to “Written By The Winners?”
    • I agree with you heartfelt statements, however, I think you would have a far wider following if you refrained from the use of crude language, good luck.

  1. James I thought your article was fantastic. To be honest I am still deeply depressed and can’t find it in myself to forgive people who were friends and work coleagues but voted no, and have told some of them so. Others I just won’t contact again. I am a bit of an internet virgin, but feel an affinity with my fellow yes/45 comrades. So proud of my immediate family ie mum, brothers, sisters , nieces and nephews which amounts to 23. Who all voted yes. I and my family voted yes for the good of all of Scotland. The people who voted no. Voted no for selfish reasons and for that I can never forgive them.

    • I share your feeling re many others round me who voted no. From the “he never answered one question” people, “I just can’t bring myself to vote for HIM” people, ” I just want to jog along as I am” people, “I can’t be doing with all that tartan and shortbread tin nonsense” people. For me by far the lowest of the low people were the ones who tried to smear us as fascists and Nazis. Most disappointingly, a German friend of mine thought it appropriate to sling that muck at us. Someone who in my view, of all people, should have had more awareness than that. Ironically the no people who are banging on at us to shut up, thereby attempting to take our democratic right to stand up for what we believe in, are now behaving like fascists but they’re so far up themselves they can’t see it. I will continue to believe, and work towards, a better Scotland free from Westmonster in spite of these ‘friends’.

      • I really enjoyed reading your comment Louise and it described exactly the disappointment in not only the result but the way people decided. Has given me a bit more optimism that there is still all to play for and interesting times ahead …

    • Brendan,

      You are raw, but please stop to think. It is the very people that voted no that need to be embraced and convinced, not cast aside and excluded as friends. I would sincerely and respectful ask you to consider them as potential future yes voters.

      We are all selfish to an extent, yes sure some more than others, but selfishness as well as altruism is a part of the human condition. Some people, lots of people, are afraid of change or had genuine concerns, this may be because of their upbringing, outlook, life experience or, a host of other reasons that mean they genuinely and sincerely voted no.

      Each and every one of us is different, we should celebrate our individual personalities, but also acknowledge that it is our very differences that mean we arrive at different responses to political questions and events.

      So, please reflect, erase the hurt and channel it positively, hold your friends close no matter how they voted and when the time is right articulate your views to convince them of your view.

      All the best,

      Wandering Volunteer

    • Brendan how right you are have been saying this for the last two weeks we need to realise that we have to talk the NO voters round having said that the three major parties seem to be doing a good job on our behalf but you cannot keep blaming the NO voters they fell for the lies and a good % of them are regretting their vote so lets embrace them and get them over to the bright side of life it,s to short as it is

    • No. Not selfish necessarily Brendan but possibly – or more likely – misguided, apprehensive, over cautious, misinformed, change averse, lacking imagination and so on. There are probably as many reasons for those who voted NO as there are NO voters. We shouldn’t demonise them because we need them. We need them to be open to discussion, to be open to arguing their case and open to listening to ours. If we close them down we’ll make them entrenched in their opinion, harder to reach, harder to convince. We have to try and understand what they feel and why they think that what we propose is such a bad idea. We certainly have the information and the argument to change opinion, for some at least. If we can roll over a few then it’s likely they may become as energised as so many of us in the YES campaign so let’s forgive those NO voters. It was their right just as much as our was to vote for change. Let’s engage with them, quietly, respectfully, seriously. If the only tool we have is a hammer we’ll treat every problem like it’s a nail. That’s no way to win the argument.

  2. Its a relief to know that the anger, hurt, despair, disbelief, rage, hoplessness and all the rest are common, shared feelings. Like you, I need to channel all of this stuff into something positive, get back off the ropes and fight.

    Your article sums up what the game is now and where we are. The lies are piling up and the truth will conquer. But politics is complicated for most folk and a whole new thing for young and first time voters. Bombarded with the brainwashing mass media this is going to be an uphill slog.

    I want to be involved in the fight and the movement.. I’m told I have some artistic talent, done some desktop publishing, design and graphics, Have audit, database and spreadsheet basics and fair bit of knowledge of councils, NHS and private enterprise , also a few life skills from many jobs and just ‘getting on a bit’..

    So, as I trudge on to an ever elusive retirement date, I’d like to help, but I’m a total novice at internet stuff except e-mail. Consequently, this speel probably won’t go anywhere but if it does can someone please explain how to do the rest of social media just for me and all the cavemen and women out here.. Me (and probably lots of other ‘greys’ are going to need some help to contribute and share fully !! Cheers

    • Very much enjoyed this, I will donate and forward. Although I totally understand your feelings I have come to the conclusion that this was the best result. I am not erudite enough to explain succinctly but this whole Campaign has awakened a lot of people to the utter disgusting mess that is Westminster and the Main Stream Media. If we had won can you imagine the onslaught from the BBC etc? Every possible argument and obstacle would have been put in our way. The No voters, friends and family, would be angry and unforgiving. Tensions would be mounting everyday. We of course would have been euphoric, initially, but reality would have crept in when we came to realise how vindictive Westminster could be. Look at what is happening at the present moment, THEY WON, yet they cannot even be magnanimous in victory.
      We on the Yes side have become so well educated and engaged that we are planning the next steps, we are the defeated but we have the positive energy. The peers that be do not like an educated, engaged electorate.
      So when we recover we start with 45%, one point six million people on our side, fantastic. We know now what to expect from the MSM. We know the lies the opposition will spout BUT they cannot now continue the lies about the NHS or the oil running out. Independence is not Alex Salmond’ s vanity project the SNP are no longer a “fringe” party. We have so many wonderful, talented people, like yourself Jack who will be better prepared for next time. We will be better prepared.
      Maggie, as an OAP myself, if I can help in anyway please get in touch. My email address wwilmawatts@gmail.com I am not super computer literate but could help you get in touch with various groups.

      • Little edit– “peers that be” should of course be” powers that be”, sorry. Predictive text!!! AND JAMES NOT JACK.

      • Great response… When you think about it like that it may just be that it was the right result.. IF…we can keep the momentum going and not be bullied, I am sure that the level of bullying we saw before is nowhere near what WM, the selfish politicians, MSM and big companies can throw at us.

  3. loved your article it describes the frustration for me on how do we reach people with the truth. Facts that have been checked, reaching out to elderly who I found didn’t even watch a debate on TV and don’t use social media. They are a large part of the community they just don’t know what’s going on. My husband and I joined Twitter for the referendum and I love the interaction and information but so many people like myself did not have this input although we watched everything we could on TV it has become clear that that’s not always “truthful” Anyway great job and keep up the Yes passion for Scotland.

  4. All power to you elbow, Sir. I am a severely disabled war pensioner and I live in constant dread but no way will I give an inch to those who would prey on the likes of me, the weak, the children, the poor etc., we must fight fire with fire. They tell lies about us, we tell the truth about them.

  5. What a Scotland needs right now is a positive progressive attitude to democracy and future government. The descent back into the tired old left and right politics as illustrated here is old school and quite frankly what many Yessers were voting against. Already different factions and in fighting are appearing in the Yes camp which is pathetic. Why not brush aside differences and work together towards independence? Too much testosterone in the debate – which sadly has always been Scotland’s downfall. The regular use of the eff word in your article lowers it’s credibility considerably and doesn’t reflect well on the author.

  6. Really liked your article. However would the article not hold more credibility if the profanities, and use of F word were not included? I do not wish to tell you how to write, It is a honest question. I understand this piece is representative of your feelings, I assure you I feel the same. Keep up the good work Labour are spineless, and their positioning on the referendum is shameful to say the least, they are a party both north and south of the border that are directionless, caught in a political ‘no mans land’ they are dying animal, a derelict and decaying concrete monolith and have two leaders that are as inspiring as a piece of toast . I still cannot fathom why so many supposedly intelligent people chose to vote ‘No’. As a Yes voter I find heart and encouragement in the passion and desire that so many of the 45 displayed and continue to display. It is imperative that the discussion on Scotland’s Independence is at the forefront of not only peoples minds but also their lives, the dream of a better and fairer society must not fade like the light of a burning candle, we need to relight the candle, replace the candle, buy a bigger candle, buy more and keep these burning until such a time comes again when this light shines brighter than the darkness of lies and treachery that is Westminster.

  7. If Anas Sarwar ever becomes more prominent in the Labour party, I may go public with what he got up to on the email servers whilst at Strathclyde uni, and end his career.

  8. Great article.

    The thing about the Tories is we know they’re our enemies, and in fairness to them, they’re doing exactly what we’d expect of them: looking after their friends, the comfortable and well off, at the expense of the poor. They’re not interested in a fair or just society for all. While they might say they are, their policies speak for themselves.

    The Labour party are an altogether different beast. This is supposed to be a party of workers, for the workers. It’s supposed to be conscious and in favour of social justice, and claims to be. It’s supposed to put the rights and aspirations of workers, the poor, and the disenfranchised at the top of its agenda. It’s supposed to be a progressive, left leaning organisation, but since its highjack by Tony Blair, has tacked so far to the right as to be almost indistinguishable from the Tories, looking to help the same people as the Tories do – many of whom are friends of both the Labour party and/or the Tories depending on how the wind blows.

    Ask a Labour politician who they hate more, Alex Salmond and his policies, or David Cameron and his, and their all consuming hatred for the “nationalism” they can’t understand and that has made them electorally insignificant in the Scottish parliament, will lead them to say Salmond every time. Ask Johann Lamont who she has less in common with: Nicola Sturgeon, or Ruth Davidson. No contest.

    Labour are duplicitous, they ARE careerists, they have nothing to offer except fear, and they must be eradicated from Scotland at the earliest possible opportunity.

  9. “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 a YES voter I’d love to think that is true…but where is the solid evidence?
    Can you direct me to it?

  10. Pingback: Written By The Winners? – Comment Isn’t Free – Awakened State

  11. I voted No. I was undecided for about 18 months, finally read the SNP’s White Paper and the Financial Commission Working Group report, did some thinking, came down on the side of No (around April this year).

    I plan to vote Scottish Green in 2015, and probably in 2016 as well.

    I see the main problem the Yes movement has: you failed to make the case for independence, and you are not interested in listening to No voters about why we voted No.

    • Jane,
      I would love to know why you voted No, I have No voting friends and family and they will not explain to me their reasoning, so maybe a stranger will. I genuinely want to know. I have a friend who claimed to be an anarchist, she has never voted in GEs for years. Next thing she has a No Thanks badge on her Facebook page, what is that all about? She will not discuss this with me. I have a very good friend in our village and we share lots of silly humorous emails. I started to send him silly things about the referendum. He wrote one day ” Stop! No more. JUST VOTE NO.”
      I was canvassing once and a lady would not speak to me at all except to say” We are too wee!” A man saw my yes badge when I was in a local shop, started to say that he wanted the SAFETY of nuclear weapons and he was seriously worried about the loss of jobs. I said I was very interested to hear his concerns …. he then just shouted at me and called me an arsehole.
      So my attempts at understanding my No friends and family have failed. I would be very interested to hear your reasoning.

    • Can I ask you now then, why did you vote No? Do you think if you had got more information you might have voted differently?Could I also ask you if are you satisfied with what has been offered by Westminster, since the referendum

    • I would also love to hear your what swayed you to a NO vote Jane. The problem is that I have heard a few people making similar comments to yours but when asked to elucidate they clam up. The Yes campaign are very interested in hearing the NO voter’s side of the story.

    • Good point Jane.
      Looking at the case for independence there was a difficulty in getting the message through. That’s hard when media can’t represent the voices and arguments of the many, many smaller groups such as went to make up YES That was a real problem. There are great voices and arguments to be heard from people like Leslie Riddoch or Derek Bateman amongst others but when these voices have no real representation in the media and we are continually subjected to the opposition message leading and closing articles then the YES voice was often left to a centre piece that was always defensive in nature. That’s not conducive to a balanced view.
      The media for the majority of the time repeatedly fed the establishment view more forcefully. Their stance was almost exclusively that YES should prove their case and that psychologically put NO at the advantage almost all the time. But in reality did NO prove why we should stay in the union? I don’t feel they did at the time and since then I feel they’re openly proving why we shouldn’t.
      I’d love to understand why people voted know. I do find it hard to get my head around it – and some of my family are NO’s. But just as important is that you should understand why we voted YES.
      Pop on over to my blog Crivens Jings And Help Ma Blog. leave me a note or link to FB and message me. I’d like to have a chat and would be happy to offer you a guest slot to put the case. {It’s not a predominately political blog and it’s not a place you would be subject to any abuse}


  12. Where do you get that we’re “not interested in why” you voted no ?

    You read the White Paper, yes? And you said you did some thinking.

    Tell me this, tell us all this; when you did your “thinking” what was your conclusion? How did you frame it? In other words, what were your reasons for coming down on No? What “case” were you looking for?

    The financial “case” was spelled out clearly. If you didn’t believe what was in the White Paper and chose to believe the press instead … then I think you were duped.

    The political “case” was spelled out clearly. If you don’t think Scotland should have the power to make it’s own decisions, then I don’t understand that at all.

    In short … we’re listening. Give it to us. Which “case” wasn’t made? Tell us WHY you voted No, in simple, easy to understand language.

    We’ll be waiting.

  13. I notice that I am not alone in mentioning the use of crude language, those of us, brought up to never utter such, still find it offensive even though it is now widely used, we need to get EVERY vote possible, including people like me who get turned off by this. We also need to convert those, or enough of them, that voted no, we need to cultivate them, show them where they were misled, as indeed they were. again I do wish you well and good luck.

    • I completely agree. Personally, swearing doesn’t bother me in the least, but I just don’t see the point in it when you are trying to reach as many people as possible.

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