Tag Archives: Ed Milliband

Popular Misconceptions No2: Scots Knew There Would Be An EU Referendum

On Question Time last night a lady piped up with her opinion which received rapturous applause from the audience in Bognor Regis: Why are the Scots demanding a referendum now, because when they voted in 2014 they KNEW there was going to be a Brexit vote.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard this stated. It’s nonsense of course and anyone with decent powers of recall or even better, access to google should be able to establish a few basic facts. But let’s give the good lady from Bognor the benefit of the doubt and say she wasn’t following the situation in this country as closely as we were here and look at just why she’s mistaken.
Joanna Cherry MP had a decent stab at addressing all the points put to her and to be honest it could have been an hour long show with just Ms Cherry, David Dimbleby and the audience of Bognor Regis, but the question above was one she didn’t respond to and in my view should have.
In the lead up to the September 2014 referendum Scots were being told by the print, radio and television media and by Labour politicians that if they voted No a Labour government was just round the corner. That if they voted No, in less than a year they could sweep the coalition from power and that Ed Miliband would become a Prime Minister who would hold Scotland in high regard. Indeed Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson deliberately played down the Tories chances of returning to power to reassure Scots voters that they should vote for the union. I was one of many warning that this wasn’t the case; that Ed Miliband was unelectable and that the Tories would not only take power but seek to emasculate Scotland in the process. I was correct on every single point.
From The Guardian, September 2014
“Ruth Davidson, the Tory leader in Scotland, highlighted fears of a yes vote when she told a cross-party referendum debate on STV on Tuesday night that the Tories are on course to lose the UK election. This was seen as an attempt to reassure wavering voters who are more likely to vote for independence if they believe the Tories will win the UK election, according to the former Labour first minister Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale.”
“Citing unguarded remarks on Monday night by Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, that the Conservatives were unlikely to win the general election, Miliband will insist that Labour would win in 2015 – a year earlier than Scotland could become independent.”

But I digress. In the lead up to September 2014 the Tories were having internal rows and were under pressure from UKIP and David Cameron was floating the idea of an EU referendum to quiet the unruly within the party and to stop wavering voters from switching to UKIP. The EU referendum bill was actually introduced to the UK parliament in October 2014, just over a month after the Scottish referendum. It passed its first hurdle then floundered, before David Cameron included it as a manifesto pledge for the May 2015 election, and it was confirmed as going ahead later that month.
So in the pre-Indyref campaign the possibility of an EU referendum was certainly there, but it was being played down in Scotland by the Tories, Labour and the Lib-Dems, with all three campaigning on the same message: voting Yes was a sure fire way of taking Scotland OUT of Europe.

At the Labour Party (Scotland Branch) conference in March 2014, Margaret Curran made a conference speech in which she said:
“Because Alex Salmond knows Scots don’t really want independence.
What they want is a Labour Prime Minister and a Labour Government.
And rest assured, Conference, Alex Salmond know that his biggest threat is Ed Miliband is throwing David Cameron out of number 10.”

While the main thrust of the No campaign was squarely behind the Project Fear approach the one positive aspect that they did try to sell was a tenuous house of cards. If any one aspect was removed it all fell apart. Everything hinged on No winning, then hapless Ed Miliband winning the general election, so that there would be no EU referendum. Even the dog’s in the street could see that Ed was the weakest link in that chain, yet he was talked up by Labour as the best of both world’s. And still no one was willing to admit what anyone with any sense could see: that he was a short term solution to a long term problem, and that even had he by some miracle won that the Tories at some point would be back, vindictive as ever. The plan fell at the second hurdle and left Scotland facing another Tory government.
As we saw afterwards, once Scotland was secured within the union, focus returned to Europe. The Conservatives, ran their campaign with two major themes; that they would deliver a referendum on EU membership (which Cameron fully expected to win) and that Ed Miliband would be a puppet Prime Minister worked from the back by Alex Salmond. Having told Scotland it would be a valued and equal partner, within months Scotland was the enemy within, and while Labour tried to blame their loss of seats to the SNP for their defeat, simple mathematics showed that Labour had been roundly defeated by over a hundred seats and even had they retained their Scottish seats would still be languishing effectively a million miles behind the Tories.
Having brought in English Votes for English Laws which stripped Scottish MP’s of some voting rights the UK parliament has now moved to reduce Scottish MP’s by scrapping 6 seats. With a now tried and proven system in place for the election in the form of whipping up anti-Scottish sentiment and insinuating that Labour will (if they remain as one party) enter coalition with the SNP to deny the English electorate their rightful government, we have a recipe for Tory government in Scotland for years to come. So if there’s a way out of Brexit and from another lost generation of Tory rule, I’d grab it. Margaret Curran might think otherwise though…

 

Edited to add: Murdo Fraser caught red handed trying the same line with Andrew Neil today…

Davidson plays down Tory chances
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/03/calls-to-postpone-uk-general-election-scots-independence
Tories commit to EU Ref
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15390884

http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/blog/entry/speech-to-scottish-labour-conference-by-margaret-curran-mp#sthash.89QQqAx2.dpuf

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Tommy Morgan, Mears and North Lanarkshire Council (Advertiser: 22/01/15)

Published in the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser 

Dear Sir, 

I was shocked to hear of the dismissal of Councillor Tommy Morgan from his post on the Audit and Governance Committee within North Lanarkshire Council. It will come as no surprise to many that I am a strong supporter of independence and the SNP, but as someone living in Plains I have often chatted with Tommy and have sought his help on a number of occasions, and have always found him to be very helpful and honest. In my opinion he is a straight shooter and if he says there are irregularities then I would tend to believe him and these should be fully investigated by an outside agency. It’s very sad that his party have seen fit to create a situation where they have had to use what appears to be a trumped up charge to silence him on this subject. It appears that local politics can be a dirty business and I have no doubt that the Labour Party in North Lanarkshire will now be looking at getting rid of Tommy at the next council elections. The fact his opponents have allowed two complainants to vote in a kangaroo court on his future clearly demonstrates how desperate they must be to get him out of the picture, as in any other walk of life those with a personal interest would be barred from such a vote for the sake of fairness and transparency. This will be Airdrie’s loss, as we need councillors, in all parties, who work hard and are willing to stand up and point out wrongdoing or corruption in their own ranks, not ones who stand idly by and let it happen and put their party first. It is a sign of tremendous courage to stand up for what is right when your own party are trying to silence you, and I wish Tommy well in his struggle. The bad old days of the Monklands Mafia with its corruption, where councillors made sure posts went to their family and friends must not be allowed to return. At the time of the original Monklands Mafia scandal Labour MP John Smith refused to acknowledge the dirty goings on in Airdrie in case it affected his chances in national elections. I can only hope that Pamela Nash has the will to do what John Smith did not, and if Ed Miliband gives her permission she should clean up North Lanarkshire Labour. 

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy

 

Post Referendum Letters: 20/09/14

 

To: The Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir, 

So Scotland voted No. 55% of the electorate said they did not think we were good enough to run our own affairs. Or did they? There’s an element in there who would vote No regardless of any argument. There’s an element who voted No out of personal greed, the “I’m alright jack” brigade. There’s an element in there who voted No out of fear of losing their pensions, or out of fear of losing their jobs. I can at least say that the Yes campaign didn’t need to resort to the tactics of fear. We had no need to go to the streets of Airdrie and lie to people that their pensions were at risk if they voted Yes, or threaten activists that they would have their benefits stopped. Over the course of this campaign I have gone from a person who commented by letter or online to someone who started delivering leaflets round the doors, to someone who stood on the streets of Airdrie and told the truth about Labour’s lies, while our MP looked on in silence. Her silence spoke louder than I did, and it’s some consolation that the people of Airdrie and Coatbridge and the rest of North Lanarkshire said Yes. Along with Glasgow, Dundee and West Dunbartonshire, all suffering in part with great social deprivation, we at least can hold our heads up and say we were smart enough to see through the lies, and put working for the common good ahead of personal need or greed. We were smart enough not to believe the “jam tomorrow” promises of the Unionists. Already they have disappeared like a puff of smoke. The Three Stooges, Milliband, Cameron and Clegg vowed that if we voted No on 18th September that they would publish a motion that would go before the UK parliament on 19th September, and that all three parties would agree on that motion. I’m writing this on the 20th. No such motion was forthcoming. Ed Milliband has already backed out of any agreement. Our imperial masters have spoken, we are getting hee-haw.

The actions of 1979 have repeated themselves, and next year Scotland will again punish Labour. David Cameron will go to the polls as the man who saved the union, against an inept Labour leader exposed as a liar who reneges on a deal. More Tory rule and an in/out referendum on Europe await us. Will it take another round of Tory beatings before Scotland finally has the balls to say Yes, or will we instead send them a message in 2015 by winning a majority of Scottish seats and declaring our independence regardless? 

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy

 

 

The Referendum Letters: 01/07/14

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir,

On Sunday 29th June my daughter and I attend a peaceful protest outside the offices of the BBC in Glasgow. The protest was good natured and very well attended, a real family affair with all age groups in attendance. The reason for the protest was a simple one, to ask that the BBC act in accordance with their charter and report the referendum coverage fairly. It was addressed by Professor John Robertson, who has carried out a year long study of referendum coverage across the major channels, and found that the BBC was rather one sided in it’s reporting. I won’t bore Advertiser readers with the details, they are all available online, suffice to say that Professor Robertson’s research backed up what many people already suspected, that there was considerable bias in BBC reporting towards the unionist case. We attended this rally to ask for fairness and equality from the BBC, nothing more. Yet within hours Labour MP Jim Murphy was being quoted as saying that independence supporters were trying to “bully the BBC”. That is to be expected from him. What people didn’t expect was what happened next. Kathy Wiles was selected on Monday to be the Labour Party candidate for Angus at the 2015 general election. On Monday she posted a comment on twitter in response to comments from her Labour Party colleague Duncan Hothersall about a group of small children who attended the protest, in which she used a picture of Hitler Youth under a Nazi banner to describe them. Her attempts to cover up her actions were laughable, almost akin to Luis Suarez’s claims that the other player “fell onto his teeth”. Within 24 hours she had been forced to resign, and rightly so.

Two weeks ago I wrote to the Advertiser regarding the drip, drip, drip of Nazi smears that have emanated from Better Together and the Labour Party. I pointed out that this was a policy emanating from the very top, and here we are today seeing resignations from the lower ranks, yet Alistair Darling, Johann Lamont and Coatbridge’s Elaine Smith have all used this type of language and are currently getting away with it. If it is not Nazi slurs, we have them resorting to good old fashioned thuggery, where Iain Davidson, when not threatening fellow MP’s with a “doing” talks of a post referendum “bayoneting of the wounded”. It is no surprise therefore that new candidates such as Kathy Wiles follow the examples of their masters. I wonder how comfortable Ed Milliband, the son of a refugee from the holocaust is with these people on his team? When his own father was horribly attacked after his death by the press he said that it was for the people to judge whether this reflects the values and decency we should all expect in our political debate. As to his party’s contribution to the independence debate, I could ask him the very same question.

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy

The Referendum Letters: 30/05/14

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir, 

The success of UKIP seems to have finally roused our local MP Pamela Nash into action. Having seen her party roundly spanked across England and Wales she is now drawn into a battle on two fronts, requiring her and her party to tell different stories to different groups of the electorate north and south of our border. In her column in this weeks Advertiser it didn’t take long before she once again tried to pass off the now well worn lie that patriotism is somehow different from nationalism. She claims she is a patriot, and infers that her brand of flag waving and protecting her nations interests is warm and fuzzy and cuddly, while people like me who wave Scotland’s flag and want to protect Scotland’s interests are nasty and narrow minded. She claims that nationalism is about a sense of superiority. It’s the UK who continually tell us we are too poor to succeed, that we are too stupid to manage our own resources and that we are too small to go it alone! If there is a sense of superiority from anyone it is from her and her ilk who think we are put here to do as they tell us, no questions asked. It’s equality we want! She tries to equate people who support independence with those who support UKIP. Yes Scotland is about giving control of decision making in Scotland to the people who live in Scotland, irrespective of where they were born. I can only assume that she is willfully trying to smear Yes voters, tarring them with the same brush as UKIP, who would close our borders, withdraw from Europe and whose leader has stated that he wouldn’t like Romanians living next door. This isn’t of course to be confused with the current UK government (who we are repeatedly told we are better together with) who instead had vans with billboards driven around London spreading the message that Johnny Foreigner should go pack up and go home.

UKIP’s massive success in England and Wales is a political earthquake, so much so that BBC observers have said that Essex is where Britain’s political future will be decided. If Essex man says we leave Europe, then as part of the UK we will leave, whether we want to or not. This comes in the week that a Westminster panel finally conceded that an independent Scotland will be allowed to remain in the EU, after all the bluff and bluster that came before. Labour and Conservative alike are now making plans for Nigel, and that involves pandering to a UKIP led agenda. There is now more chance of Ed Milliband delivering pizza than there is of him delivering the powers he promised Scottish voters a few weeks ago. There will be pigs with wings over Scotland before Mr Milliband gets a sniff of power, and we can be relatively certain that the UK political map will not be Labour red any time soon. The future is instead to be Tory blue, with a hint of UKIP purple, and that cannot be good news for any right minded people in Scotland. Vote No at your peril, and don’t say you weren’t warned.

Can I just say a final few words to my great fans, David Smeall and John Love. David, I’m not a member of the SNP, I never have been and don’t intend to join. I support Yes Scotland, which draws support from across the political spectrum, including Labour supporters. John, rather than take up another page of the Advertiser, prompting rage from Mr Smeall, who would rather people didn’t know and vote no, I have put links to Philip Hammonds “danger from space” quotes and George Robertson’s “forces of darkness” speech on the Advertiser’s Facebook page for everyone to see. Happy reading! 

Yours Sincerely, 

Jim Cassidy

The Referendum Letters

In the run up to the Scottish independence referendum I wrote a number of letters to mainly the local press, although there was also also some to the national press as well. I’ve decided to put these all in one place and will collate all of them on here. Some may refer to letters, responses or replies which were made in the press, so the full context will not be available. Had I been a compulsive hoarder I would have these tucked away. If there are any compulsive hoarders out there who have the originals…can I have a copy?

The letters which I will be adding will be the versions saved in my files. The vast majority were published, mostly with no or minor editing from the publishers.

During the referendum I also contributed to may online discussions and created a number of images which were shared on Facebook. I think it may be interesting to see this laid out in order. Hopefully I’ll get around to that. This is a work in progress…