Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser
Whenever I read Coatbridge MSP Elaine Smith’s contribution to the Advertiser I find myself double checking that it is not Elaine C Smith who has written it. It’s always full of unintentional (I hope) comedy. Last week Elaine (not C) Smith called on all the parties in Scotland to put the referendum behind them and work together for the good of the country. I’d love to say that would be fantastic, but actions speak louder than words. Only a few days previously the manager of the Scottish Labour branch Jim Murphy declined to join with all the other Scottish party leaders in signing a letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron protesting at the closure of the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre in Kinloss. Even Ruth Davidson of the Tories joined in to protest against Tory cuts, yet Jim Murphy cannot bring himself to unite for the common good and to save jobs and services in Scotland. Two years ago the Tories put Search and Rescue services into private hands and now the asset stripping and rationalisation that was warned of has arrived. Privatisation of anything which will raise a few bob was begun under Thatcher and has carried on under Labour. Labour have not reversed one privatisation initiative, and have even introduced a few themselves, so you would think it odd that Elaine Smith would hark back to the tale she told some time back that the SNP had privatised the railways. This tall tale was put to bed both in this paper and in the Rail Maritime and Transport Union news where Jeff Kirk of Edinburgh No1 Branch stated that he was “astonished” at Mrs Smith’s claims and pointed out that Labours pre-referendum proposals were “exactly what the Scottish Government had done”. He further pointed out that public ownership was outlawed by a 1993 act which Labour had never repealed during all their time in power. This is not likely to change either if a Labour does by some freak chance gain power at Westminster in May 2015 as they fully support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which as it stands will allow multinational companies to sue governments who block their bids to run almost any public service they choose to. At present the Scottish Government who have no power in this carve up are asking for guarantees to exempt the NHS, but what chance is there against the power of the UK Government, whether controlled by Red Tory or Blue? The fact is that Labour will say one thing in opposition, but do the opposite when in power. The late, great Groucho Marx once said “Those are my principles, if you don’t like them I have others.” Jim Murphy looks to me like a true Marxist in that respect, but while Groucho was funny, Mr Murphy is anything but.