The parties that support Scotland’s independence have recruited well over 20,000 new members since the polls closed last Thursday. Labour, I’m told, have recruited a mere 17. I expect the net loss is massive, but the figures are not as yet available, and would be classified as top secret if the party hierarchy had access to them: party cards are being torn up even as I tap these keys, and a good thing too. Labour Party members in Scotland defected en masse at the polls last week, and this is a sign of things to come. A total wipe-out of the Labour Party’s MP group is very much on the cards at next year’s general election. Well played, Comrade Miliband.
Am I jumping the gun when I predict a wipeout of Labour MPs? Perhaps. I don’t rule out infighting, counterproductive sectarianism, self-important egos getting in the way of what democrats in Scotland demand: unity. Nor do I rule out the possibility (inevitability?) of Theresa May’s Home Office deploying Bob Lambert-type agent provocateurs fomenting division, all the better to help the parties of the British Establishment.
Nevertheless, there is a palpable and unquenchable thirst for unity within the section of the Scottish people who feel they were robbed. Yes, we were robbed. ‘Project Fear’ is no mere figment of an overactive imagination: it was, and remains, a state-sponsored tool of the British Establishment. Even the decent broadcasters were forced to turn a blind eye (thanks to their editors and proprietors) to BBC Scotland being the propaganda machine of Better Together. BBC Scotland point-blank refused to so much as resign from John Cridland’s Confederation of British Industry after they tried (unsuccessfully, due to their inability to organize a piss-up in a brewery) to register as on the side of Better Together. BBC Scotland bosses were allowed to get away with intimidating their own NUJ members for exposing the fact these Tories even refused to allow their own broadcasters to realize there had been a longstanding conflict of interest when it came to reporting. And this conflict of interest did not just affect Scotland’s independence referendum, but to all industrial action, to the state of the economy, nationally and internationally, and to politics in general!
On more than one occasion, BBC Scotland faced mass protests. This happened because it was caught syphoning public funds from the license fee payer into an organization that is little more than the economic wing of the Conservative Party in particular, and of Better Together more generally. Bosses at BBC Scotland totally abused the democratic process, and are still doing this. If they think they won’t pay a heavy price for this mangling of democracy, they’re sadly mistaken.
While BBC Scotland proved to be by far the most toxic part of Britain’s broadcast media, other networks are unbiased only in relative terms. Even on the day of the referendum itself, in defiance of the law (or ‘regulations’: not entirely sure what the difference is), the BBC’s depute political editor – Norman Smith – exposed how wretched a Tory he is. His biased reporting to defeat supporters of Scottish independence did not even take a break on the day of the referendum itself. He insisted, without the slightest justification, and knowing that what he was saying was contested by Alex Salmond, and by the rest of YES Scotland, that ‘the vow’ of David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg will be honored. Norman Smith may have gone beneath and beyond the call of degradation. He may turn out to be the only broadcaster who sank so low as to breach the regulations on the day of the referendum. Nevertheless, even if that turns out to be the case, the drip-drip of all the other broadcast networks reduced the entire campaign to a thoroughly rigged referendum, which is not to deny that certain broadcasters did behave impeccably throughout the entire period. The extent of this poison was one reason why I was never as confident as pretty much every other supporter of Scotland’s YES Campaign
Every instance of a broadcaster who parroted the lie that David Cameron’s vow cannot be questioned, has to be placed into a Party Election Broadcast for an electoral pact of pro-independence parties next year to expose how Scotland’s referendum lacked legitimacy. It lacked legitimacy given that lies were pumped out 24-7 by the British Establishment. That, at any rate, is what I think. This is a personal view, not one shared by the majority of YES Scotland supporters. At least, not yet. But while the role of the media is far more important for me than it is for the typical supporter of Scottish independence, the nature of the David Cameron’s broken vow takes on the kind of significance that can reignite our independence movement immediately.
Why did these broadcasters get it so wrong? Are we expected to believe this was mere cock-up, rather than any kind of conspiracy? If that is their excuse, then they should resign for being utterly incompetent commentators. But I don’t buy this ‘cock-up theory’. No one can be that stupid if you are a political anorak. And isn’t that what being a political commentator is supposed to be about?
David Cameron rushed out a statement connecting his devolution promises inexorably to solving the West Lothian Question. However, his own Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Danny Alexander – had denounced such a linkage in the closing days of the referendum. David Cameron’s senior Ministers are queuing up to insist that Danny Alexander, Paddy Ashdown, and all Lib Dem members, in and out of the Cabinet, are totally out of touch. David Cameron’s government has, in other words, descended into civil war, with the Prime Minister’s supporters laughing in the face of Scotland’s voters for being so naive as to fall for his referendum lies.
Ed Miliband is angry. Alistair Darling is too. And Gordon Brown. The list goes on and on. But what do they intend to do about this betrayal? Nothing. They are joining hands with David Cameron, Adam Boulton, Krishan Guru Murthy, Gordon Brewer, Martin Geisler etc to stab Scotland in the back. These people are utterly wretched. They will never be forgiven. The Labour Party expects Scotland’s voters to give them a free pass for what they have done. Not gonna hapen. The Labour Party will suffer more than any other party. And all the NO voters who were tricked by Ed Miliband are going to take a lot of pleasure in wiping the smile off the smug faces of every Better Together politician.
David Cameron’s bona fides were vouched for by Ed Miliband, by Alistair Darling, by Johann Lamont, Gordon Brown, Jim Murphy etc. And now we are asked to forget their role in selling this notorious Tory liar to the people of Scotland? What a joke.
All the broadcasters that repeatedly told Scotland’s voters to trust David Cameron knew exactly what they were doing. They knew the Tory Party was never in a million years going to deliver the kind of devolution implied by the so-called ‘vow’. By the way, never forget that nothing was spelt out. Voters were told to stop asking questions as to what specifically was being offered as their alternative to an independent nation state. Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, Johann Lamont etc repeatedly insisted that differences between the three parties proposals were on rather minor details. Really? The difference between 100% of income tax power and 15% is one of detail? No wonder Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown screwed up the economy if that’s what they think.
Since voters were told to make up their own idea of what they might be voting for, then it makes a lot more sense to assume that this was not some ‘lowest common denominator’, but a highest common denominator manifesto. Scotland’s NO voters couldn’t possibly have been expected to be fobbed off with the crap Labour was tossing at them. Clearly, what they voted for must have been the best of what was contained in all three sets of proposals. Give us that as a bare minimum, and Scotland will gorge ourselves on that for a few years, and see if it satisfied us. My guess is it won’t.
But will we get anything like that much? Hardy. Will we get anything at all? I doubt it. Scotland is being betrayed before our very eyes. And this is why the Labour Party faces oblivion within months. And it is why the parties that wipe out Ed Miliband’s party will be coming back for more, for full powers as soon as possible. By a second referendum, if we can. By mass civil disobedience and a Scottish government with a mandate for UDI, if that is all that is available to us.
Ed Miliband is an idiot. Everybody knows that. No one cares that he never has a clue what is going on. However, many in his party are not totally clueless. And even though the average IQ of Labour politicians these days is embarrassingly low, broadcasters and journalists are not all totally stupid. They knew the West Lothian Question was ‘the elephant in the room’. They knew David Cameron never had the slightest intention of further exacerbating the lopsidedness of the British constitution. Even if the Prime Minister wanted to do that, as was implied in the Three Stooges ‘vow’, his backbench MPs wouldn’t let him get away with it. No amount of arm-twisting by William Hague, Michael Gove nor anyone else could convince Tory MPs to allow Scotland’s MPs to vote on income tax for English voters while there was no reciprocity. Nor is that something any genuine democrat would dream of proposing.
Nigel Farage would have Tory MPs for breakfast if they said Ed Miliband can have 40 votes on English income tax with no reciprocity. The so-called West Lothian Question has only two solutions: Scottish independence – which has for the time being been placed on the backburner – or, alternatively, some form of federalism. The latter is what the Labour Party is now, uniquely of the Better Together parties, dead set against. Labour’s rejection of both solutions is going to prove toxic for them, north and south of the border. Tory MPs know that Labour will pay a terrible price at the ballot box for effectively saying Ed Miliband’s Front Bench is stuffed full of greedy, opportunistic idiots motivated by hatred of democracy for English voters.
Ed Miliband’s strategy of winning votes in Scotland isn’t going to prove any more popular. If Ed Miliband expects Scotland to ignore his personal role in conning them into believing David Cameron’s vow, then he doesn’t know us very well. David Cameron never had the slightest intention of honoring his ‘vow’. He knew he couldn’t deliver his MPs, which is why they were told to STFU in the closing days of the referendum, which many, but not all, agreed to do specifically to help the Prime Minister mangle Scottish democracy. While David Cameron’s calculation is cynical in the extreme, it is almost certainly going to work.
Any anger in Scotland at Better Together’s betrayal will be shared evenly between all three parties.. There is no doubt about that. However, even if Tories are wiped out, they’ve only got one MP to lose. By contrast, if Labour suffers a similar fate, that turns out to be a net gain of 40 seats for the Tories. What’s not to love? What’s not to love if you are the kind of sociopath who drags Andy Coulson and Patrick Rock into Downing Street?
Even though David Cameron would not expect those MPs who will replace Labour to be any less oppositional, indeed inevitably much more so, they can be expected to behave as the SNP has: sit on their hands on the kinds of legislation that Ed Miliband refuses to. David Cameron wins, wins, wins. However, while this is a genius strategy for David Cameron personally, and terminal for Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, he is playing with fire when it comes to the United Kingdom. Scotland is being pushed out of the UK at an accelerated pace. The genie is now out of the bottle. And there is absolutely no going back.