Scottish Labour’s rout is part of a broader centre-left problem


10:58 am - May 6th 2011

by Adam Ramsay    


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In one sense, last night’s results in Scotland were as extraordinary as the SNP victory in 2007. Then, the vote was in Tony Blair’s last months as Prime Minister. Now it took place amidst a Labour resurgence not seen for years. And yet Labour in Scotland faced a rout.

So, what’s gone wrong? Well, first, credit where it’s due, the SNP have run an impressive campaign. They have focussed their air war on Labour’s key weakness – Iain Gray is a boring, uninspiring man; Alex Salmond a bombastic leader most couldn’t help but admire. But much more important surely was the complete lack of any Labour vision for Scotland.

The SNP and Greens both outlined ambitious plans for Scotland, a renewables capital of the world, at the cutting edge of new industries, outward looking and assertive of our belief in justice.

Labour attempted to scare people with their bogey-men. They told us that we must send everyone carrying a knife to jail. They told us that the SNP would separate the UK, making us carry a passport if we want to visit our English grannies.

But they didn’t shout about these things because they are what motivates their candidates to get up at 5am and campaign till midnight. I’m almost certain Labour emphasised these policies because that’s what their focus groups told them to do.

And the problem with campaign by focus group is that it doesn’t tell you how a policy contributes to the broader narrative of your election campaign. When you put these things together refuse to give any kind of vision at all, you fail to inspire anyone. And so, when faced with parties with some positive vision, you lose.

But this lack of vision isn’t just about rhetoric. It is, surely, a broader problem for the centre/centre left.

Labour politics, like the politics of many of the European social democratic parties (and of America’s Democrats), grew over the 90s and 2000s to accept the idea that it is the role of the state only to redistribute the wealth generated by the free markets of neo-liberalism. This model largely failed – wages didn’t rise, happiness went backwards. It was propped up by private debt and a housing bubble, while in truth wealth transferred from the majority to a mega-rich minority.

And we now find ourselves in the extraordinary position that, 3 years after the near collapse of Western capitalism, central and Western Europe is governed almost comprehensively by parties of the right.

But many of these counties have seen an equally marked rise of other left parties. Green Parties in particular have had particular successes in Germany and France as people stumble around for some sort of alternative. In Canada this week, the new left New Democrats finally overtook the centrist Liberal party and their Greens got their first MP.

As Scottish Labour have discovered – like the German SDP, the Canadian Liberals and the French Socialists, other parties will take your place. Whether SNP, NDP or Green, there are always people willing to claim the crown of these failed representatives of the left.

—-
A longer version is at Bright Green

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About the author
Adam is a regular contributor. He also writes more frequently at: Bright Green Scotland.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Economy ,Europe ,Foreign affairs

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Reader comments


A non-starter of an article given that a) as it stand the Scottish Labour vote hasn’t even declined by 1%, b) SNP are clearly a centre-left party.

2. Shatterface

In one sense, last night’s results in Scotland were as extraordinary as the SNP victory in 2007. Then, vote was in Tony Blair’s last months as Prime Minister. Now, it took place amidst a Labour resurgence not seen for years. And yet Labour in Scotland faced a rout.’

There’s no ‘Labour resurgence’ in England or Wales – people just hate the coalition even more, and there’s no real alternative *other* than Labour. Labour did well here by default: they have no more ‘vision’ for England or Wales than they have for Scotland and I doubt most people even know who the leader of the Labour Party is.

The Scots have a genuine, Left of centre, alternative to Blairite corporatism.

3. Alisdair Cameron

The Scots have a genuine, Left of centre, alternative to Blairite corporatism.</blockquote. Quite so.
Scottish labour's failings have bugger all to do with the general centre left (and it's highly debatable that they come anywhere near meriting that label).
Labour had their worst showing since 1931.Most of that can be attributed to incompetence, arrogance and a fucking shambles of a campaign.Lab’s poor,poor showing doesn’t bode at all well for the party’s hopes in Westminster, and shows how complacent cronyism in Scottish Labour, and an inability to connect (being still too neo-liberal,insufficiently left-of-centre, still too craven towards London) may well cost Miliband in Westminster terms, as many have predicted on here.
As a friend put it

What this means post election I think is unclear. Auld Bawheid Salmond ran a campaign purposefully keeping the independence question out of sight and focusing on the ‘safe pair of hands’ the SNP minority administration have proven to be.

Now they have a majority, the independence question will be forced upon them which is only natural considering their raison d’etre is Scottish independence. That’s the great contradiction for the Nats from this election- they have won by keeping schtum about their central policy plank.

Whatever happens, at the moment I am absolutely delighted at the absolute tonking that shower of nepotisitc, fat, florid, ineffective, disgrace to their class arseholes otherwise known as Scottish Labour have taken. Wonderful stuff.

…3 years after the near collapse of Western capitalism…

Did I miss something?

At least Galloway lost.

SNP _are_ Center Left.

The basic difference between them and Labour were that Labour were campaigning on populism and fear, while the SNP were campaigning on positive changes.

I’m not surprised they’re doing well, I’m more surprised they aren’t doing better.

@Stephen – if you have a look at the original (which I wrote yesterday morning, before the results came out), I write about how parties who gain from the failure of social democratic parties don’t necessarily have to be as progressive/left as I’d like. But the do have to have the sheen of a party that believes in a better future – even if those policies are a con.

8. Margin4error

Labour have not been routed in Scotland – their vote is about the same as it was.

In England Labour have started a programme to become more liberal and develop a new policy platform designed to incorporate the views of the presently homeless Lib Dems.

In Scotland no such programme was attempted and Labour took relatively good poll figures even 6 months ago as a cause for utter complacency, allowing the SNP to play to a more liberal agenda and pick almost all of the low hanging fruit.

Not sure incompetence by Scottish Labour is much to judge Labour more widely by.

Also – I know from lots of Labour people in London that their view of Scottish Labour is that it is lamentable and stuck in the past. Ken’s defeat three years ago came when Brown sent all his mates from Scotland down to show london how to win an election.

The irony of a bunch of scots, who had just lost an election, telling people in places like East Ham how to win elections, was not lost on London Labour when the result went Boris’ way.

ukliberty,

Did I miss something?

Only the interpretation of the recent cylical economic crisis (accentuated by government policy and regulations which effectively oligopolise the market) favoured by those who want a non-capitalist state.

As with Shatterface and Alisdair, I can’t help but notice that Labour lost out not to the fairly radical Greens (despite Adam’s valiant attempts to associate the Greens with the SNP’s success) nor to a right-wing party (albeit they are nationalists) but rather to another centre-left party with a general acceptance of capitalism and the free market. Which might suggest that in Scotland at least there is still an appetite for a centre-left party of this type? Especially since the SNP is, if anything, a broader church party than Labour, and includes plenty of free marketeers.

10. Richard W

The SNP vote in Scotland varies in its meaning in different areas. I remember when they used to be called the Tartan Tories and in some middle class areas they still pick up anti-Labour votes. Yet, the same people who vote SNP do not support independence even though it is the raison d’être of the SNP. I dislike nationalism in any country, however, there is no doubt Salmond is a shrewd and capable politician. Salmond regularly rhetorically wipes the floor with his Labour counterparts.

Scottish Labour has always operated as a machine clique that produced clones who take their vote for granted. Some areas were poor a century ago and have voted for Labour politicians for a century and they are still a poor area. A succession of Labour representation has provided no obvious benefit. Centre-left centre-right are just meaningless labels when it is policies that matter. The SNP want to cut Scottish corporation tax down to around the same level as Ireland, and were seething when Mr Osborne raised taxes on North Sea operators. Hardly classic centre-left positions when one thinks in terms of a political spectrum. What seems clear is the Scottish LibDems are taking a kicking for getting into bed with the Conservatives. However, their vote is as much an anti-Labour vote as a pro-LibDem vote and the beneficiaries have been the SNP as that is where their vote has gone.

I asked about welfare reforms and out of all the parties the only one which said it was totally wrong was the dam BNP for god sake.

I asked about how would cuts be different under labour they said we cut slower, fast or slow it would be the same end story, £85 billion in cuts and massive cuts to councils.

Not sure I care much which party wins, they both basically are the same these days.

12. Cynical/Realist?

@9 – and all who do want a capitalist state are united in their view of what that capitalism should be and united in seeing the recent crash as nothing more than a cyclical process?

Or could it be that some people very firmly capitalist agree that Western Capitalism, as suggested in the post you are sneering at, did indeed very nearly collapse far beyond a cyclical re-set?

No? Us damn lefties eh and our simplistic interpretations!

13. Thatcherite Clegg

“They have focussed their air war on Labour’s key weakness – Iain Gray is a boring, uninspiring man;”

Horsesh*t.

He imploded without anyone’s help. The media mocked him from the start.
It’s Labour who want to pin all the blame on him.

@13

It isn’t horseshit, altho it mat be an overstatement; he is a deeply unimpressive leader. Salmond wiped the floor with him…. and he was toast as soon as the incident of him hiding from protesters in a coffee shop got publicity.

Labour didn’t deserve any better in Scotland; they’ve taken the people up there for grnated for decades, and are now seeing the result. If they can’t re-invent themselves PDQ and start appealing more to Scottish voters they’ll go the same way as the Liberals in Canada, not to mention being the biggest fillip for the SNP since Thatcher and the Poll Tax.

Speaking as an SNP voter and perhaps a pragmatic Nationalist. Let me make a few observations.

The SNP campaigned on a broadly Left of Centre social agenda. What have seen is not a huge transfer of votes from Labour to the SNP, whipped up via a Nationalist fervour thanks to a World Cup win or some kind of anti English tsunami.

We have seen the virtual collapse of the Lib Dem vote in reasonably affluent areas. I would suggest that Lib Dem voters in general are politically committed enough to get out and use their vote. Given that these people have a viable, Left of Centre Party patiently waiting in the wings is it any wonder that the seemed to migrate in huge herds, wildebeest like to the open arms of the SNP?

Secondly. The SNP did not sweep across the plains, ruthlessly smothering Labour with landslide votes, instead, this has been a glacier like transformation as the more ‘Progressive Left’ Parties simply moving into the power vacuum left by Labours retreat from mainstream politics. Much has been made of the fact that the SNP has won seats in Glasgow, but they haven’t won over (ex)-Labour Party strongholds with great campaigning, per se. They have simply won via default as the Labour core vote has disengaged from politics. The SNP scored ten thousand votes in Glasgow seats where turnout was around 35% of the vote. Nothing outrageous happened, just the second or third placed candidate (the LD) shut up shop and his vote transferred to the SNP

That is far more worrying for Labour and the Left. We could analysis this till the cows come home, but there are a lot of people in our inner cities who feel ignored. The fact that educated middle classes have shifted from one Party to another is not the real story here, it is the fact that the working classes in inner cities have ceased to vote is the pivotal factor here.

Labour have ignored these people (or have seen to) and that is he issue. Despite all the posturing and all the ‘pragmatic’ talk, Labour have attempted to re-align itself with the educated middleclass to make up for the loss of working class flight from politics.

16. Watchman

Cynical/realist,

Or could it be that some people very firmly capitalist agree that Western Capitalism, as suggested in the post you are sneering at, did indeed very nearly collapse far beyond a cyclical re-set?

No? Us damn lefties eh and our simplistic interpretations!

I doubt yours counts as simplistic myself. But as for me, not being an out and out capitalist (I’m a free marketeer, which in many ways requires an anti-capitalist stance), I have a simple stance – that the ‘end of boom and bust’, ‘homes for all’ and the like promoted by various governments basically exacerbated a cycle which exists, I suspect, because of imperfect information and restricted resources (both something I presume we all would like to overcome). I doubt that, despite the views of commentators who confuse capitalism with the continued existence of the extant corporations and banks, this would equate to a collapse – there is a pretty good argument it was the effect of an underlying market reacting against the constraints placed on it which caused the banking collapse – that is to say, the normal capitalist mechanism.

The collapse of capitalism will only come when capital becomes impractical (that is when things are structured in such a way that merging the resources of more than one person for anything more than a single project becomes pointless as the costs of so doing outweigh the benefits) – which will ideally lead to a form of communism (the other alternative, an all-encompassing state which makes all decisions for you is hardly desirable). The collapse of aspects of a manifestation of capitalism may happen – but if western capitalism went, that would involve say losing the supermarkets (a major chunk of western capitalism); did anyone notice there being any danger of that in the banking crisis?

So if you want to say the near collapse of the banking sector, which was emblematic of western capitalism, I’d probably let that pass. But pretending that is the entire system (and that the collapse was therefore an aspect of the system) is a pipe dream. Capitalism is far from perfect, and hopefully contains the seeds of its own destruction (mobile phones and the internet are nice examples), but it is a system that can cope with (and indeed profit from) the collapse of edifices and sectors within it.

“@Stephen – if you have a look at the original (which I wrote yesterday morning, before the results came out), I write about how parties who gain from the failure of social democratic parties don’t necessarily have to be as progressive/left as I’d like. But the do have to have the sheen of a party that believes in a better future – even if those policies are a con.”

Have you actually looked at the SNP in Scotland’s policies? They very much dragged Labour to the left there. It’s not as if Labour is some powerhouse of social democracy in Scotland and the SNP are more conservative.

Forget about Labour’s vision for Scotland, what is Labour’s vision for England?

“They told us that the SNP would separate the UK”

Well they would. The problem with Labour’s position is it treats Scots as incompetent children who aren’t up to governing themselves. Of course we are.

If Scotland has independence, I can’t see why London shouldn’t have its independence too with a much larger population and a regional economy greater than that of some European countries.

As for Scotland being able to govern itself:

“A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America. England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1786945,00.html

Police in Aberdeen are investigating a racially motivated assault on a man wearing an England shirt.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/5139054.stm

Prosecutors are investigating a BBC Newsnight programme in which Scottish youths smashed up a car decorated with England flags, police said.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/6161100.stm

This news report was six years ago – nothing has changed since:

“Sectarianism and religious bigotry have long been accepted as part of a way of life in Scotland. The divide between Protestant and Catholic, the Orange and the Green, is most visibly reflected in the support for Rangers and Celtic which begins early and spreads from parent to child, from one generation to the next.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/4284023.stm

The mortality rate from alcohol related causes in Scotland is twice the rate for the UK as a whole.

21. Richard W

Bob, you have an utterly amazing capacity to attempt to divert every thread on here with completely irrelevant trivia. Just once try and stay on the subject without the bombarding with tenuous drivel.

@21: “Bob, you have an utterly amazing capacity to attempt to divert every thread on here with completely irrelevant trivia”

You may think it “irrelevant trivia” but I regard it as valid evidence relating to the capacity of the Scots to govern themselves. Predictably, those who don’t like the documented evidence will want to dismiss it as irrelevant etc.

Why have the Scots been completely unable to contain the endemic violence, the sectarianism and the alcohol abuse – none of which are exactly new features of life in Scotland and none of which can be blamed on English malevolence. That is a thoroughly pertinent question – but one the Scots don’t wish to answer for very understandable reasons.

23. Richard W

Someone once attacked someone for wearing an England top is evidence of nothing but your capacity to generate random stories completely unrelated to the thread.

Some white Londoners once murdered a black person. Ergo, all white Londoners must be racists likely to stab black people. Bob B lives in the London suburbs so he must be a racist likely to stab black people. You see Bob, I have evidence.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Stephen_Lawrence

Why are all Metropolitan police officers institutionally racist, Bob? I have evidence to that effect and extrapolating is your thing.

@23: “Some white Londoners once murdered a black person. Ergo, all white Londoners must be racists likely to stab black people. ”

There was a spate of reports around the time of the world cup of vicious assaults in Scotland of anyone displaying a St George flag – I’ve a modest collection of relating links to such news and Blair made public comments about it at the time. English folk living and working in Scotland – and I’ve lived and worked in Scotland, admittedly a long time ago – can often relate personal experiences of abuse from Scots. I didn’t imagine that United Nations survey@20

But in addition to that, the continuing saga of sectarianism is endemic to Scotland as is evidence of pervasive alcohol abuse – with double the UK mortality rate attributable to alcohol.

The Scots have produced a disproportionate number of very talented people – Napier (logarithms), Adam Smith (economics), Hume (philosophy), Watt (steam engine), Kelvin (physics), Maxwell (equations of electro-magnetic force), Andrew Carnegie (entrepreneur), Logie Baird (TV), Fleming (Penicillin), Watson-Watt (radar) etc. But almost all moved away when they could.

The failure of the Darien project, which prompted the union with England in 1707, invites comparison with the failure of the RBS and HBOS banks in 2008.

@20 Bob B

By god I’ve read some nonsense arguments in my time, I can only think you’ve put this here to wind people up. But just in case you are actually serious..

By your logic, almost no country has the abillity to run itself. How about America? Endemic gun crime and violence, one of the world’s largest prison populations. widespread racism, millions without any healthcare insurance. Politics corrupted by corporate interests.

Well obviously the Americans are completely incapable of running their own afffairs. I know what the answer is! Let’s subject them to a bit of rule from England. That’ll solve all their problems!!

I thought this was supposed to be an intelligent website.

26. Mr S. Pill

I don’t know why this is a “centre-left” problem? the SNP are to the left of Labour on many many many issues & if I lived in Scotland I’d probably vote for them – would that the Labour party were as elft-wing on some issues! Congrats to the SNP and shame on Labour for not recognising a party that holds plenty of views it should be in agreement with.
(see also: Plaid Cymru)

“The Scots have a genuine, Left of centre, alternative to Blairite corporatism.” Yes. And as long as Milliband appeases the nulabour apostles of Bliarite corporatism still dominating the party, that will not change.

28. Chaise Guevara

I see Bob’s back in “borderline racist” mode again. Bad things happen in Scotland! Therefore Scotland needs the firm and genteel hand of England to guide it! Also, those fuzzy-wuzzies make damn good soldiers when led by white officers!

I’m not surprised you tried Conservative Home before coming here, Bob. Your bigotry would probably have been a lot more popular there.

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 26 Mr S. Pill

“I don’t know why this is a “centre-left” problem?”

From what I can tell, the people saying this is a centre-left problem are using the fact that the SNP are pro-independence to make them out to be a right-wing party. In other words, the Scottish elections are a right-wing victory as long as we can define “right-wing” to include every successful political party. It’s crap. The left did well in Scotland on Thursday.

Labour have not been routed in Scotland – their vote is about the same as it was.

Slightly lower than it was at the last election. You know, the one they lost? The fact of the matter is that the Lib Dem vote collapsed and Labour failed utterly to capitalise on it. This has resulted in an SNP government with a working majority in a proportional system. Can’t help feeling making this part of some wider centre-left problem gets them off the hook: Labour’s campaign was a fucking disgrace; I was slightly embarrassed to have voted for them, to be honest.

@21 & 28

Hear, hear!!

It’s high time the moderators on here got a grip and deleted some of the drivel he comes out with; apart from anything else it’s boring as hell.

@ 24 Bob

As noted by others above, your posting totally exasperates me, and is in its way just as offensive as some of the outright tin-hat wearing fruit loops who are also becoming more common on this site.

Your fatuous, anecdotal, decades old experience of working in Scotland signifies nothing much. I’m a Scot who has lived in England… you think your countrymen are incapable of anti-scottish sentiment? Perhaps that means you shouldn’t be allowed an English parliament? Please do us all a favour and think before you render one of your mind farts into writing.

Nobody is denying the problems there are in Scotland with poor public health, higher than average drinking problems, violence etc… least of all the Scots themselves. Drawing spurious conclusions from that, or indeed from sectarian issues, about whether it makes Scots incapable of governing themselves is frankly ridiculous.

You are a bigot, who attempts by splattering extraneous crap from google to hide your poisonous attitudes under a veneer of respectability.

@25: “By your logic, almost no country has the abillity to run itself.

@28: “Bob. Your bigotry would probably have been a lot more popular there.”

The Scots and their comforters are in denial again. This is precisely why the DOCUMENTED extent of violence, the alcohol abuse and sectarianism in Scotland continue unabated.

I didn’t imagine that UN international survey on violence linked @20.

Or this: “In Scotland, the alcohol-related death rates for males and females were around double the rates for the UK as a whole in 2002-2004, according to new analysis published today by the Office forNational Statistics in Health Statistics Quarterly 33 (Spring 2007).”
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/alrate0207.pdf

Or this: “New research shows alcohol-related illnesses could be killing one in 20 Scots – twice as many as previously thought.”
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2009/06/30102232

Or this: “Neil Lennon, a Northern Irish Catholic, has been the victim of a sustained campaign of sectarian abuse and threats during his time with Celtic as both a player and manager.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/8462657/Neil-Lennon-a-long-term-victim-of-sectarian-abuse.html

Or this: “THE GOVERNMENT is to examine allegations of discrimination and political wrong-doing at the Labour-controlled Monklands District Council, it was announced yesterday during the Monklands East by-election campaign.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ministers-to-look-into-monklands-scandal-allegations-dominate-byelection-1424575.html

The fiascos of the Darien venture, which led to the Act of Union in 1707, and the Caledonian Canal, in the early 19th century, are part of Scottish history and most of the banking collapses in the recent financial crisis were due to failures of Scottish banks: RBS and HBOS.

I don’t need to invent anything. All I need to do is to read the regular history books and follow the news reports. But never mind, I’ll be voting for independence for Scotland – and signing up to join LIP.

33. Chaise Guevara

@ 32 Bob B

“The Scots and their comforters are in denial again.”

Actually, no. You’re not listening – a common habit with bigots! Nobody’s saying that Scotland hasn’t got problems, so your incessant spamming of links is (as usual) a complete waste of time. What we’re saying is that it’s bigoted to claim that they’re unable to govern themselves. Incidentally “scot-comforter” really isn’t that much of an insult.

So: Scottish people and Muslims. Who else do you hate, Bob?

@33: “So: Scottish people and Muslims. Who else do you hate, Bob?”

My dear chap, I don’t go around “hating” people. I just follow the news and check out the mianstream history books. The Americans shot Osama Bib Laden on Monday, you may recall. The Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan were predictably outraged at this infringement of his civil rights:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8491011/Rally-in-Pakistan-for-Osama-bin-Laden.html

The security services in India believe that Lashkar-e-Taiba were implicated in organising the attack on Mumbai in 2008.

As for Scotland, it’s not as though I’ve offered any novel, original insights into their foibles. The Roman emperor Hadrian reached similar conclusions in the 2nd century CE and Hadrian’s wall was the outcome of his profound concerns. This 70 mile wall, a substantial infrastructure project for its time, was, to quote: “the most heavily fortified border in the Empire.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadrian's_Wall

Why do you suppose the Romans felt it necessary to take such impressive precautions? Had anything much changed by the time of the Jacobite Rising of 1745 which reached Derby before retreating and which led on to the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the last pitched battle on British soil – so far?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Culloden

In the course of my researches, I was amazed to read news that a SNP Parliamentary candidate now runs the South East England Development Association. In case you imagine that I’m suffering more paranoid delusions, try this:

“Former Scottish Enterprise chief Robert Crawford is to lead the economic development of the south-east of England. Former Scottish Enterprise chief Robert Crawford is to lead the economic development of the south-east of England. Dr Crawford, a prospective SNP candidate for Westminster, has quit his senior post at Glasgow Caledonian University to take up the new challenge, the university said yesterday. The 57-year-old has been appointed chief operating officer of Seeda, the South East of England Development Agency.”
http://www.heraldscotland.com/snp-candidate-crawford-to-take-up-post-at-seeda-1.883272

35. Richard W

32. Bob B

” I didn’t imagine that UN international survey on violence linked @20. ”

Except, it proved you did not have a clue what you were speaking about. If you did know you would be aware the UN report you refer to was a discredited telephone survey not actual crime statistics. The police etc rubbished the report because the figures were 10x their statistics. However, Bob B and his random trawling of google would not be aware of that so he posts it anyway.

HBOS was a nationwide UK bank not a specifically Scottish bank. Just because they had their HQ in Edinburgh means absolutely nothing for banking nowadays. RBS is an international universal bank. Ditto for HQ. Both institutions did far more business outside Scotland than in their nominally home turf. Furthermore, they employ more people outside than inside Scotland. Incidentally, who was regulating them? The FSA in London I believe. By your warped logic when BP had their Gulf of Mexico oil spill that is London to blame because that is where they have their HQ. See how dumb your reasoning is?

Scotland is a small country and people often have to move away to fulfill their potential. I did it myself including a stint in your fair city. However, that is just a normal small country phenomenon. For example, if someone is a actor they are always going to have to move from the small country for opportunities in the wider world. The time to start worrying is when they stop producing people who are capable of rising to the top and the country punching above its weight in every field of human endeavour. Considering the academic research produced by the Scottish universities is third in the world by research per head of population there does not appear to be any let up in outperformance in the sciences. 0.01% of the world’s population produces 1% of the world’s academic research. An outperformance of 100x.

None of this has anything remotely to do with the subject of the thread. However, your ignorant and ill-informed trolling demands a response. So well done on diverting yet another Liberal Conspiracy thread. Sorry to hear people abused you. Did you open your mouth perchance?

36. Chaise Guevara

@ 34 Bob B

“My dear chap, I don’t go around “hating” people. I just follow the news and check out the mianstream history books”

…and cherry-pick stuff to justify your prejudices, as in the post above. Well done.

@34 Bob

For the love of common sense, please listen to people wiser and less weird than yourself, including the estimable richard and Chaise above.

You are one of the chief reasons LC is going down in my estimation, because they won’t mod crap like yours out; it adds nothing, it is generally off topic, and even when it IS vaguely on topic, it’s poorly researched bigoted bilge.

Your point about Hadrian above is a case in point…. HADRIAN.. really? Scotland didn’t even exist at the time of Hadrian. You might as well attribute the English penchant for violence against foreigners and football hooliganism to Boudicca and her followers. do you actually believe any of this clap trap, or just come on here to annoy everyone.

Please do us all a favour, and post somewhere more appreciative of bigoted stereotyping.

Shall we all just ignore him?

He can continue posting his bizzarre drivel, and the rest of us can ignore him and get on with the real debate.

“You are one of the chief reasons LC is going down in my estimation, because they won’t mod crap like yours out; it adds nothing,”

ROFL ! I’m just finding those really fascinating news reports about Scotland and the Scots which some folks like yourself don’t want those of us in England to know about. Shall we look some more into the affairs of Scottish Enterprise and Robert Crawford who was the highest paid public servant in Britain – note that?

“It takes a lot for anyone to look on the bright side after the year Crawford has faced; a year during which he resigned as Scottish Enterprise’s chief executive, following a media circus he said had turned the agency into a ‘political football’. And anyway, it doesn’t ring true that this edgy, 52-year-old workaholic stopped moving and talking long enough to browse the kind of trash magazine where such quizzes are to be found.

“Others point out that this past year, Crawford’s glass was not only half-full, but overflowing, since his name was rarely mentioned without it being pointed out that he was Britain’s highest-paid public servant, earning more than the Prime Minister.”
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20040215/ai_n12586946/

Now why would he want to leave such a well-paid job? Could the answer to that question have anthing to do with news reports like this?

THE chief executive of Scottish Enterprise yesterday admitted to key failings at the heart of the troubled quango.

Robert Crawford, the UK’s highest paid public sector employee, told the Scottish Parliament that there had been “unacceptable” failures surrounding contracts awarded to consultants by the development agency. . .
http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Scottish-Enterprise-executive-admits-to.2496490.jp

But not to worry, he is now a SNP prospective candidate for the Westminster Parliament and running the South East England Development Association !

D’ya think it would confuse Bob B too much if we pointed out that it is quite common to see Rangers fans in Glasgow wearing England football shirts?

Do you think Shuggy would get too confused over this news on the BBC website about the Orange March in Glasgow last year?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10493551

Bigoted behaviour and drunkenness at Scotland’s largest Orange Parade will not be tolerated, Strathclyde Police has warned.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10487837

I see from the web that the Police in Scotland have set up a special unit to contain violence: Scottish Violence Reduction Unit
http://www.esriuk.com/literature/documents/Scottish%20Violence%20Case%20Study%20SP.pdf

Why would the Police in Scotland need to do that? This is perhaps one reason in public comments by the Scottish government:

Scotland’s drink problem is significantly worse than the rest of the UK. Figures suggest that as many as half of men and a third of women in Scotland regularly drink above sensible drinking guidelines.
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/health/Alcohol

I think we really need a new criminal offence on the statute book: Banking under the influence of alcohol.

By way of a helpful aide-mémoire for those who need one, the Orange Order continues to flourish to celebrate annually the victorious outcome for Protestants of the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in July 1690 between troops loyal to the ousted king James II, the catholic monarch of England and Scotland who had fled London in 1688, and the army of William III and Mary, who had been installed as joint sovereigns at the invitation of Parliament:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Boyne

The circumstances of that invitation are described here:
http://www.churchinhistory.org/pages/booklets/king-james(n)-4.htm

Popular support for William at the time was far from univeral. Evidently, many regarded him as a “foreign” intruder or usurper, which motivated Daniel Defoe to write that satirical poem: The True-born Englishman:

A true-born Englishman’s a contradiction,
In speech an irony, in fact a fiction

Dutch, Walloons, Flemings, Irishmen, and Scots,
Vaudois and Valtelins, and Hugonots,
In good Queen Bess’s charitable reign,
Supplied us with three hundred thousand men.
Religion—God, we thank Thee!—sent them hither,
Priests, Protestants, the Devil and all together:
Of all professions and of every trade,
All that were persecuted or afraid
http://www.luminarium.org/editions/trueborn.htm

I fail to see how anyone can describe the SNP as a centre-left party. Yes, they have some centre-left policies, but they also have a penchant for business that outstrips anything that New Labour did.

They cosy up to big business, such as Donald Trump, and receive donations from businessmen across Scotland. One such regular donor is Brian Soutar, founder 7 CEO of Stagecoach.

The SNP used to have a policy of regulating bus transport in Scotland.
Since they started receiving money from Soutar, it has been absent from their manifesto.
Stagecoach made £126.1m profit last year on its UK bus division.

44. shaun the brummie

will you scots please grow some balls and vote for independence,we can’t afford to keep you(the welsh can piss off aswell).


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Scottish Labour's collapse is part of a broader problem for the centre-left http://bit.ly/l3gM6z

  2. Sean Gittins

    Good piece by @AdamRamsay in @libcon about just some of the questions Labour's losses in Soctland pose: http://bit.ly/l3gM6z

  3. Deokhee

    RT @libcon: Scottish Labour's collapse is part of a broader problem for the centre-left http://bit.ly/l3gM6z

  4. David McMillan

    Scottish Labour’s collapse is part of a broader problem for the centre-left http://bit.ly/mxsCZq

  5. Noxi

    Scottish Labour’s rout is part of a broader centre-left problem | Liberal Conspiracy – http://ow.ly/4Oy5r

  6. MUSHKUSH

    RT: @libcon: Scottish Labour's collapse is part of a broader problem for the centre-left http://bit.ly/l3gM6z

  7. John Carmine

    Scottish Labour's rout is part of a broader centre-left problem …: It was propped up by private debt and a hou… http://bit.ly/ioptGb

  8. punkscience

    RT @libcon: Scottish Labour's collapse is part of a broader problem for the centre-left http://bit.ly/l3gM6z

  9. Daniel Pitt

    Scottish Labour's collapse is part of a broader problem for the centre-left http://bit.ly/l3gM6z

  10. AdamRamsay

    @thomasgraham yes – from the Russian border to the French Atlantic: http://bit.ly/jVYVcF

  11. Scottish Elections: Results and Fallout « Pie Man's World of Stuff

    […] most of the other blogs have correctly started looking inward for the reasons of Labours […]





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