16 May 2015
May 16, 2015

The fuckwits are coming


The people who are best at putting the self-indulgent, worker-shafting, job-destroying, moronic ideological argument from the far-left are always the ones being paid good money to do so. So it is with Unite officials. £130k for the UK’s Unite leader and £80k for the halfwit in Scotland with the haircut. Labour in Scotland (too dim to have trademarked ‘The Scottish Labour Party’), nearly destroyed by its failure to THINK for 7 years now, seems about to sign over the office keys to folk who represent virtually no-one.

This is how the politics stack up. Labour didn’t rate Holyrood, in spite of having created it. With one or two exceptions, serious players headed south. The SNP also sent good folk south, but to very few seats, so there were always plenty of capable SNP folk at Holyrood. After 2007, when the SNP won narrowly at Holyrood, it simply didn’t occur to Labour to change its game. Oops. Some more super new Labour folk eschewed Holyrood and were elected as MPs in 2010, and off they went to Westminster. Then in 2011, the SNP won a huge victory against a Scottish Labour Party with a comedy leader. Labour lost ‘safe’ constituency seats and  its ‘paper’ list candidates slipped into Holyrood by the back door. Time for a rethink? Nah.

Without any coherent thinking or leadership in the face of a smart, popular and well-organised SNP, Labour in Scotland has come close to becoming a cipher for its biggest paymaster – Unite officials (the union’s actual members, mainly aspirational middle-class folk who find Unite officials laughable, vote mainly SNP and Tory these days). Jim Murphy, one of Labour’s most impressive MPs, came in as leader just a few months ago – far too late to change Labour’s fate at the general election.

Now Jim is standing down. This will leave Unite officials to decide who will become the new leader. ‘List’ MSPs who thought their number was up will survive by backing whichever dimwit Unite officials put up. Said dimwit will try to outflank the SNP on the left – hilariously and catastrophically. And the Labour Party in Scotland will say cheerio to serious politics.

Meanwhile, the SNP leadership knows that its enormously successful move from centre-right to centre-left over the past couple of years comes with the trickiness of demanding tax-raising powers that it knows will lead to them pissing off Scotland’s supposedly left-leaning middle-classes. Alex Salmond always knew how important it was not to lose such folk, so that’s exactly where the SNP’s opposition needs to be now – at the centre, not at the mental, self-indulgent, incoherent left.

Remember Grangemouth? Where a thousand workers on a basic annual salary averaging £55k, led by Unite’s cretins, voted themselves out of a job – oh, and also voted out of their jobs 5000 much lower-paid folk in the supply chain – folk the Scottish commentariat forgot all about? Those Grangemouth workers were mainly SNP and Tory-voting people who thought Unite officials would get them even better wages. Instead, it hung them out to dry. The officials did well out of it all. Because that’s their middle-class, personal purpose, ironically.

And remember the stupid giant rat, when tame Unite MSP Neil Findlay thought it was a laugh to support Unite activists standing in front of people’s homes, ridiculing them to their kids and neighbours? Is that what Labour in Scotland is about to become?

Rhetorical question, sadly.




19 Responses to The fuckwits are coming
  1. That episode in Grangemouth demonstrated the huge weakness of Scotland as an independent state. A billionaire who could bring Scotland to its knees. There’d be much more than a 7 bn black hole in our finances if we went independent. And don’t forget what that yahoo Trump got away with, after Alex Salmon was well enough greased by his henchmen.

  2. And that Mr Joyce is exactly where the Scottish Conservative Party will be standing to offer ‘another way’. You all seem to have written the Tories off!

  3. The point about Grangemouth though is that skilled workers deserve to be paid as they would elsewhere in the oil sector. After the débâcle at Grangemouth, many workers left for better pay and conditions elsewhere. The result was that Ineos had to pay a bonus to remaining staff just to get them to stay on and so essentially they didn’t achieve anything apart from getting rid of experienced staff and replacing them with inexperienced ones. As a constituent of yours I had always thought you were reasonable – even after the convictions – until your stance on the Grangemouth issue. Do you really think MPs would accept a pay and pension cut to protect the jobs of lesser paid people in the HoC? I think not.

    • James, my brothers spent 70 years as electricians and post-electricians (or whatever you’d call them…) between them progressing from Grangemouth to the North Sea (one is still there). I spent 15 years as MP for the constituency with the biggest share of Grangemouth workers. My whole time at Westminster was characterised by learning about how the extractive industries work. I have an MBA and I’ve given the business-side some thought. I still represent civil society on an international extractives initiative. I’ve thought a lot about a lot of things to the with your industry. If having convictions has anything to do with it then look around your neighbours (although as a Grangemouth worker you’ll live in a middle-class neighbourhood, benefit from all the usual middle-class stuff (do you have kids of university age? Are they are at university? Graduated? Yep?). Unite members at Grangemouth, like my brothers and lots like them, are classically aspirational and acquisitive with a bit of social conscience on the side. Regular folk, in other words. “The Workers” stuff is essentially bollocks because it’s outmoded nonsense. You’re paid as professionals (way more than, say, most teachers), you’re not fighting some fucking class war or you’d be giving half your salary away as a good ‘socialist’. During the dispute(s) I heard not a single Grangemouth worker refer to the cleaners they were voting out of a job. You put your faith in fuckwits and they made a terrible error by putting their pay as petty-ideologues before their pay as your representatives. I’m not here to be judged by you, by the way. But if you fancy it, send me your address and I’ll check out a few public sources and judge you and your extended family according to their convictions. If you don’t like my blog then don’t read it, mate. And if you don’t like earning good money working in the private sector then get a less-well paying job elsewhere and preserve your soul. That last bit is a joke, by the way.

    • http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/head-of-unite-union-embroiled-in-sexual-discrimination-and-bullying-claims-10193811.html I think Unite are no strangers to stupidity, they do deserve to be paid as elsewhere, but if the plant’s feedstock is running out then clearly change is needed, as no plant=no jobs. So Unite picked a stupid fight, with stupid management, both lost, but the employees/subcontractors lost more. I will not get into the class thing. I don’t know enough now, I earn a 6 figure salary (in extractive industry) but I am from working class background. I also went a year with no income (in 2014) so its a roller coaster life, employment patterns are changing. People should be aspirational, my issue with the Labour party in Scotland was that nothing ever changed. Health/Wealth declined, so did everything else, so it was always a wasted vote in my opinion. This seems to get worse, not better. So stooges like Jim Murphy will never be an answer, nor is Unites dead hand on the tiller.

  4. “the blame for 2015 in Scotland lies with Lamont in my opinion. She failed to learn the lessons of Gray’s shambolic stewardship. It was too late for Jim & Kezia to turn things round” it was late, a decade or so late, it’s now a party with decent members, but clowns in leadership roles. Jim Murphy…well bland implies a level of charisma that he fails to reach, who were they kidding? Kezia….well that’s a name to resonate around Possil Park ? It’s a joke, fame over unless a rebirth occurs, which it won’t.

  5. Thanks, Eric – interesting post, particularly on Unite’s membership.

    The main problem with Labour running against the SNP on a near-identical policy platform is that, inevitably, the choice must then be based on who the electorate thinks will make the better FM and who will provide the more competent administration. These are the things that lost Labour the GE in England and it’s not difficult to imagine voters next year looking at Nicola Sturgeon and her ministerial team, looking at whoever now becomes Scottish Labour leader and the rather limited pool of ‘talent’ at their disposal and coming to the conclusion that the SNP vote is the wiser one. This surely was pretty much played out in 2011 under Iain Gray?

    It’s a bloody tough one for Scottish Labour. I suppose it boils down to whether or not Scotland really needs its two main parties to inhabit identical ideological space.

    • Blimey, Danny, that’s such a solid analysis. The quality gap in Scotland is now so profound there isn’t really any choice. Some of the ex-MPs are super and that might start to change things a little bit for 2016, but I doubt anything will bite until the SNP have to start taxing folk. If I were them, I’d have sorted out the referendum date before then….

  6. Spot on Eric, have to say I agree with you on all points. McCluskey’s influence on the party is poisonous. The party must not move to the Left or Right….keep us firmly in the Centre.

    How many times has Sco Labour had a warning to sort itself out – 2011 was a thunderbolt! But even after that the party elected Lamont, whose leadership only continued the disastrous, dysfunctional and self-destructive path to electoral oblivion.

    The blame for 2015 in Scotland lies with Lamont in my opinion. She failed to learn the lessons of Gray’s shambolic stewardship. It was too late for Jim & Kezia to turn things round. The damage was done and the brand was toxic….believe me I saw that out canvassing over prior 10 weeks before the election. That said we were right to campaign for a No vote….the party paid the price for that, as Tom Harris in a recent article.

    • Thanks, Andrew. Johan Lamont was symptomatic of Labour in Scotland just retreating into it’s old assumptions and hoping all the bad stuff was going to go away. I watched her on telly once, during the referendum, and it was the worst thing ever. Pat Kane, who is admittedly clever accomplished at coming across attractively on tv, kept trying to catch her eye and she kept looking away from both him and the presenter – staring into the middle-distance as she produced stock replies in monotone. Folk said she didn’t really want to be leader – but only, you know, afterwards. Mind you, at least she didn’t actually whack anyone…

  7. Len McCluskey bears more responsibility for Labour’s Scotland loss than Jim Murphy. He picked Ed Miliband who ultimately was responsible.

    And even IF Labour had won Scotland, they STILL would have lost to the Tories.

    I bet the Tories are rubbing their hands together at the thought of Unite running the Labour Party…

    • Thanks for this, Gordon. I posted a few days ago (see Home page) on Labour’s failed ‘aristocracy’. It’s true that Labour would have lost anyway and the roots of that were in Labour’s leadership. The Tories correctly think Unite’s leadership is both symptomatic of the worst kind of political self-indulgence and a gift to their party. Amidst the justifiable praise for the smartness of the SNP ( and I appreciate the phenomenon in Scotland amounts to more than just clever campaigning) I sense that in Scotland it’s not flagged enough how brilliant the Tory campaign in England and Wales was. They deployed opposites (Tory-SNP, Tory-Unite leadership) to truly powerful effect in England’s marginals.

  8. Mr Joyce, the SNP haven’t been centre-right since the 1960s. They’ve been consistently to the left of Labour over the past couple of decades on most issues.

    • Thanks, Sam. I guess it’s a moot point now, but reducing corporation tax and a generally conservative take on social issues (banning alcohol from filling stations, type of thing) were the kinds of things designed to appeal to traditional SNP-Tory marginals like Perth, or safe former Tory seats further north. I’d argue that extending universal benefits to prescriptions and so forth is regressive, too, but obviously others take a different view. In general, the middle-classes everywhere wants goodies and in Scotland it’s no different – if giving stuff to the middle-classes can be badged ‘progressive’ then so much the better for them but naturally this means there’s less for the poorest. That all said, as I say in the piece that’s where the election-winning votes are. Plus, people aren’t all bampots – they just sometimes want their having already consumed it so in Scotland they act a bit right economically and talk a bit left socially. That’s why the tax-raising powers could change things somewhat.

      • Well, the corporation tax cut was part of the white paper on independence – a messy and incoherent capitulation to big business. They’ve since dropped that policy entirely. Also, as you will know much better than me Mr Joyce, Labour when in power cut corporation tax twice and promised to do so again. But in terms of how the SNP have governed Scotland over the past 8 years, they simply have been to the left of Labour. Not radically so, but in key areas.

        Remember all the fearmongering before the SNP got a whiff of power over their use of the so-called ‘tartan tax’ to fund increased public spending? They had it in their 2000 Holyrood manifesto, but then dropped it after losing badly.

        It’s simply not feasible to call them ‘centre-right’ – since the leadership of Billy Wolf, they’ve been social democratic, once a mere shadow of Labour in that department, but now easily surpassing it, what with their strong support for free prescription charges, free universal education and their strong opposition to austerity.

        I think Labour have to be honest about this.

        By the way, while I have the opportunity to say so, and though I disagree with your politics, I greatly admire your fantastically candid writing.

        • Thanks very much, Sam. These things are perspectival, I guess. Labour’s position on corporation tax was generally seen as it going right to keep the middle-classes happy, and the SNP’s ditching of it might fairly ben seen as it courting the further-left vote. Similarly with the SNP not using its tax-raising powers (although I understand about the asymetric tax argument and all that). My own strong view is that in return for solid employment and decent-cost housing and also Scotland being a very nice place for them to live, the middle-classes should accept that universal prescriptions and other goodies are not a sensible way to distribute cash. Again, though, it’s just my opinion. Of course there have to be some universal benefits so everyone has buy in, it’s a matter of which ones and to what extent.

      • Where do you propose Labour, in any form, lie on the spectrum? You can’t define the SNP as centre-right in isolation.

        • Well, John, I think that the natural instincts of Labour and the SNP lie pretty much in the same place on policy – of course both parties have folk spread out a fair way along the continuum. Right now, the SNP’s phenomenal success is rooted in a position to the left of Labour in Scotland – while giving the middle-classes something to feel proud of (Scotland’s ‘more progressive’ instincts). And yet, the reason the civil servants originally proposed Executive for Scotland’s government was that it is at present an executive of parliament – it’s a government in the local government sense rather than national. That’s not to deprecate it, it’s simply to say that it spends money other bodies raise. It’ll become a government proper when it raises its own taxes and spends them and that’s where it’ll be much trickier to appeal to everyone in the way it does now. The centre will prosper (somewhat, how much remains to be seen) when taxes on regular, middle-class folk go up.


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