Don’t vote for the Tories or their enablers

The general election is a week away. You have a choice; vote Tory and get the party of the rape clause, child cap, xenophobia, Unionism, racism and a ‘plan’ that is as full of holes as Swiss Cheese. Vote for UKIP you get the same but with extra racism. Vote Labour or Lib Dem in Scotland and you vote for Tory enablers. That’s right, the Tories and Labour are working in unity in Scotland as this Tweet also shows.

Hence why to beat the Tories in Scotland there’s only the SNP/Greens stand as the opposition. In England things are different. Labour are the only option (unless you live in Bristol and Brighton where you should vote Green) and for all of Corbyn’s betrayal over Brexit and his astonishing crapness in regards the rest of the UK outwith England there’s no other option as otherwise we’ve got Theresa May as Prime Minister.

There will be things needing to be done assuming Corbyn becomes PM. Scotland and Northern Ireland can’t adhere to his vision of Brexit, and his failure to keep his branch parties in line in Wales or Scotland as they do (and I assume will continue to do) the exact opposite of what he intends to do in England means that there’s much to be done. There is however the thought of Theresa May in power for five more years doing what she wants and enacting policies that won’t just kill people, but hurt the economy and state in ways we’ve never seen outwith of wartime.

If I were to recommend what people do it would be to vote SNP/Green in Scotland. Labour/Green in England. Plaid in Wales and Alliance and SDLP in Northern Ireland. I’d give Sinn Fein a shout but they refuse to take their seats in Westminster so frankly, what’s the point unless they do that? So this is where we are. Nicola Sturgeon and many on the left are right; this election shapes the future of the UK and Corbyn isn’t a saviour, far bloody from it but he’s not a sociopath like May and we may just be able to see if he’s sensible and pragmatic enough to work with.

But you vote Tory next week you own what they do next. When that comes on your doorstep and hurts you remember that you were warned.

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Good Morning Britain

This morning the UK has a Tory government. Not a coalition, but a full on Conservative government. All the polls were wildly wrong (bar the odd Guardian one that put the Tories six or seven points ahead of Labour) but those astonishing exit polls were spot on. Of course the possibility is that people were ashamed to say they were voting Tory, and right now apart from the diehards social media is curiously absent of people proclaiming that they voted Tory, but still that’s oddly not the story of the night.

The story of the night is the SNP. They’re on 56 seats out of 59 in Scotland. I think even the most optimistic SNP supporter expected the map of Scotland to look like this compared to five years ago.

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One Tory, one Labour, one Lib Dem each left in Scotland. 56 anti-austerity MP’s united by a common message and all from a variety of backgrounds outside of the political bubble, and of course the welcome return to Westminster of Alex Salmond who should at the very least make the opposition to the Tories interesting. The SNP now have to live up to the massive mandate they now have at Westminster and will probably get next year at Holyrood.

Everyone else lost. Labour and the Lib Dems got hammered for failing to present an alternative vision and being attached to the Tories respectfully. Labour’s failure that started the moment Tony Blair got rid of Clause 4 is now complete and seeing MP’s like Douglas Alexander, Margaret Curran and Jim Murphy be kicked out isn’t just because they stood with the Tories at the referendum last year, but because they’ve failed Scotland and the UK to line their own pockets and put the party first. Labour have to realise they cannot ever come back from this by being a centre right party and this excellent blog by the journalist Paul Mason should be the first thing any new Labour leader reads. Labour now have to find out what they actually are as they’re not a party of the left, or the right, or the centre. Milliband could have headed up a united left but he failed. Fuck, he could have actually been of the left!

And then there’s the Lib Dems. They’re not even going to get double figures in terms of MP’s. They’ve failed on a massive scale and Nick Clegg only seems to have saved his arse thanks to Tory voters backing him. Liberal values are gone, lost because five years ago Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Danny Alexander and the rest fancied those big ministerial cars, the salaries, the expenses and the power. They enabled the Tories all the way and failed to pull them back so their destruction means little to me, but I do think there’s a need for a party of the centre.

That party could be the Greens but they too failed to get more than one MP. The same number as UKIP that couldn’t even get Nigel Farage elected, and frankly fuck UKIP. I don’t really want to think of the implications of today regarding UKIP.

But this morning we face five more years of the Tories, probably helped along with the bigots in the DUP, and thanks to the Fixed Terms Parliament Act, the only way of getting rid of them is a vote of no-confidence and I have no confidence that Labour will support one of those as right now the candidates for replacing Ed Milliband are equally uninspiring and reek of the same political class that so alienated voters from Milliband’s Labour. The Tories now stand to make £12 billion in cuts, spend £20 billion of tax cuts for the rich, privatise the NHS, demonise immigrants, the poor, the disabled or anyone that isn’t them.

On this morning the only hope is the SNP and their allies the Greens and Plaid Cymru. A larger anti-austerity voice poking and prodding the Tories (and there are some elected SNP MP’s outside of Salmond who are quickly going to become hate figures from the right wing press and the Tories) at every single opportunity. The one thing 56 SNP MP’s guarantee is that they’ll have a voice (and as the third largest party they get the right to be third in every single Prime Minister’s Questions) and it is going to be heard and it will change the UK as right now the Tories have no mandate to govern in Scotland, a point barely being mentioned right now because the implications of that are enormous.

But there is hope for the people of England and Wales. Plaid Cymru have seen their vote share rise, and local English parties like Yorkshire First have made their first baby steps at introducing a English regional form of the SNP’s social democracy and civic nationalism to counteract UKIP’s far right racism and the Tory/Labour Unionism. Leftish voters voting UKIP may be doing so because for all of UKIP’s obvious bigotry they provide an anti establishment voice, something Labour don’t do and don’t understand that a number of people have had their fill of the British establishment.

Labour can shed their skin too thanks to the electorate getting rid of some major figures. They can think about doing something new, not just aping Tory or UKIP ideas and that will mean a lot of pain but frankly even had Labour been put into power today, they’d still have to adapt but this gives them the jolt they needed because frankly, this is probably their worst defeat in a UK election in my lifetime. Perhaps if they’d supported electoral reform during the 13 years they had in government things could be different, but every single mistake Labour has made over the last 30 years has come back to punish them today. So those that still believe in the Labour idea need to stop throwing around blame, dry their eyes and sort it out because the people of England need them to.

See, five more years of the Tories mean lives being ruined and destroyed. It means the end of the welfare state. It means something terrible but it’s not all lost, but take today to drown your sorrows and start tomorrow to fight against the Tories and unite behind the progressive parties because right now they’re all we’ve got to fight the Tories on their own ground of Westminster.

Whatever you do today just vote!

Today is election day in the UK general election after what seems like a campaign that has went on for decades. There’s a brutal choice in front of people: do they vote for one of the Tory parties (Conservative, UKIP, Lib Dems) or do they vote Labour, or for one of the more progressive anti-austerity parties (SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens) that will support a minority Labour government to hopefully pull them from their current centre right pro-austerity position.

It’s a choice you have to make but what ever you decide just vote. Polling Places are open so go do the one thing the establishment is terrified (and David Cameron is clearly scared of the possible result) of which is the people using their democratic right. Even if you stand there in the polling booth and spoil your paper, just use your right that people fought so hard for.

Especially this year. There’s a real potential for change be you left or right so there’s hours left to vote. Don’t put it off and hopefully we get the right result in the morning…

One last word to the people of England from a Scot wanting a SNP sweep in the election…

It’s nearly the day of the general election and so much hinges on getting the Tories out as they with their Lib Dem or UKIP enablers will destroy lives over the next five years if they manage to form another government. In fact leaked coalition documents revealed in the Guardian today show that people, especially young people, the sick, the disabled and unemployed, are going to be hurt badly if Cameron gets back in. This isn’t to say I’ve had a Damascan conversion to Labour, I’ve not as a majority Labour government could be as terrible but in different ways as the Labour Party of today needs to be tempered hence my wish for the SNP (and their allies the Greens and Plaid Cymru) to get as many MP’s as possible.

I’ve had Labour supporters tell me ‘but you really want a Labour government so just vote Labour’, but as said, I don’t want a Labour government and I’ve outlined before why I’ll never vote Labour again a few months back. Ultimately because of the system we have either the Tories or Labour are going to form the main core of the government, and seeing as I think the Tories are scum. it makes sense to offer support to Labour in the hope that they listen, and possibly make things better for the UK.

Yet there’s been reluctance from many Labour supporters to even consider SNP support and rumours still persist that some close to Milliband would prefer to let the Tories back in than be put into government by the SNP. I’ve had friends on social media and in the real world voice their concern about the SNP, and yes, the word ‘nationalist’ is used purely as a pejorative with no understanding of Scotland’s old tradition of civic nationalism and how vastly different it is to cultural nationalism, which is what British Unionists pretend to be, but the problem is there is no shared British culture or identity. I can go from my home here in Bristol to Cardiff and experience a vastly different culture, heritage and idea of ‘Britishness’ there and the truth is that a form of conservative nationalism has been spawned that sadly the Labour Party buy right into as much as the right wing parties do.

Now there may be a confusion here as some readers will think there’s only one type of nationalism and that’s that nasty UKIP/BNP type, but here’s the thing: there isn’t and unless one believes in a One World government there will always be borders, and if there’s borders then one defines themselves in the nationalism they wrap around themselves. So you can be inclusive and welcome anyone to your country and they are effectively Scottish, or you can demonise immigrants/asylum seekers and Other them as the Tories, UKIP and Labour have over the last 15 years.

Then there’s the socialist argument that Scotland should still vote Labour in solidarity with their comrades in England, but that is easily shot down as Scotland has voted dutifully for Labour for generations. They acted according to old British Labour and socialist principles and barely got support from many on the left south of the border.  When Scotland made it clear they were rejecting Labour in massive numbers many on the left didn’t, and don’t bother to understand the changes in the political landscape or the fact that people may have socialist principles or ideas, but things have developed, and anyhow, a country like Scotland is never going to effect serious change waiting for the disparate left in England to pull the finger out of their collective arses to enact serious change. I’ve said before that many are locked into a binary battle to the death with the Tories that they miss the potential path Scotland offers.

England can find and develop its own socially democratic inclusive path just as Wales is starting too and they’ll find their closest allies in that will be the people of Scotland as although I feel the Union is dead, that doesn’t mean the three largest parts (I’m not even going to suggest a solution to the problems of Northern Ireland as that’s beyond my feeble mind) of the Union cannot form common bonds and create something new, positive and wonderful from the bloody mess of the Union. A close relationship of equals rather than an unequal partnership where England dominates due to it’s massive size in comparison to the other countries is more civilised, more befitting 21st century societies than one constantly looking to the past dreaming Imperial dreams of Great Wars that were never great, or continuing a bloodline that sees one family stand over the people unelected and unaccountable. The Union is a comfort blanket and it’s flag is a bloody shroud and for good reason the Union Flag is called the ‘Butcher’s Apron’.

Now for many people I’ve just written some pretty extreme things, and I imagine even Labour supporters may bristle at what they’ve read, but when you see Ed Milliband rebrand Labour as ‘One Nation Labour’ I only see Labour express their own nationalism and it’s that of everything that’s bad about the Union. This isn’t to say I’ve always felt like this. I’ve not, but on Sunday I was in London for a comic mart and while cutting through Victoria Station the Union Flag was hanging everywhere.

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I felt revulsion not because of the flag itself but of what it represents. It represents a nation that’d rather cling onto ‘heritage’ than feed it’s people. That would rather it celebrate the deaths of millions of young men in pointless wars than house people, including the young returning from today’s pointless wars. A nation that has the disabled demonised and spat on in the street. A nation that is not colourblind but sees people that look nothing like them as a threat. A nation clinging onto the very idea of itself and that puts a small elite at the top of the pile and keeps them there.

Then yesterday I saw this picture over at Wings Over Scotland.

waitingfornicola

This was taken as people waited for the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Greenock yesterday. You’ve got the Rangers supporting Unionists (one of which allegedly has some serious form) representing the past both supporting a dead club and a dying concept and a wee girl holding a saltire proudly aloft representing the future. She probably gets it, so I ask my friends and those that don’t know me to get it too.

The SNP are not perfect, but they’re a tool to allow a large part of Scotland to effect change. Yes of course they’ll act for Scotland but because of the Westminster system their actions will aid the poorest,the weakest, the less able in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If they vote down tuition fees, help repeal the bedroom tax and force Labour not to just drop austerity, but roll back Cameron’s cuts then imagine a better country?

There is nothing to fear from civic nationalists like the SNP. There is nothing to fear about questioning the entire purpose and history of the Union. There should only be good people uniting to rid the UK of the Tories and making a progressive alliance of parties (the SDLP will also support Labour) representing all four countries in the UK work. This isn’t to say that Scottish independence isn’t going to happen as I think it will and within my lifetime, but for now there’s a chance for genuine reform and change but I implore people to drop their old preconceptions, open their minds and think. There might never be another chance like this in my lifetime so lets work together but in new ways to improve things once and for all.

So don’t vote Tory. Don’t vote UKIP. Don’t vote Lib Dem as they’re now Tories in all but name. Do vote SNP. Do vote Plaid Cymru. Vote Green in areas where they stand a bloody good chance. Vote Labour through gritted teeth if need be and hope they stay true even to the basic changes they’ve pledged themselves to. Hope Ed Milliband is smart enough to realise Nicola Sturgeon’s offer of a progressive alliance and if he is, then on Friday it could be a bright spring day for all of us, not just the few.

Ed Milliband would rather the Tories get back in than take support from the SNP

picardfacepalmTonight is the last big televised event before next week’s general election. David Cameron avoided answering any questions, and yet again used the memory of his dead child as a shield and for political gain. He spoke, failed to answer any questions and wandered off stage a bit shaken by some of the questioning from the audience.

Then came Ed Milliband. He did OK initially til he was asked about Labour potentially taking support from the SNP. He ruled out not only a coalition (which Nicola Sturgeon ruled out back at the end of last year when Labour thought Scotland would get back in it’s box), not just a confidence and supply deal but any sort of support to the extent he’d rather lose and install the Tories in government than take SNP support.

Now any leader can rule out dealing with another party but this isn’t what’s at play here. The implication is that unless the people of Scotland decide to vote Labour they’ll get a Tory government and Milliband would rather that than work with the SNP. That not only smacks of blackmail, but it reeks of Milliband disenfranchising SNP voters by saying that by voting SNP he’ll let the Tories in rather than work with the SNP (and I assume the Greens and Plaid Cymru), a centre left party with the sort of social democrat principles Labour should have.

The implications are enormous. By just saying he’d prefer a Tory government than take SNP support that damns many a Labour candidate in Scotland to losing their seats as this is Milliband’s EVEl moment. Remember on the morning of the 19th of September last year in the hours after the referendum result when David Cameron instead of firming up the result made the Scottish referendum all about English votes for English laws and that angered people? Well, this is Milliband’s time.

It’s an amazingly stupid thing to do. Ever since Milliband adopted this ‘tough’ act he’s come over as someone that tries to be decisive but slips up, and by telling undecided voters in England that he’s not dealing with the SNP he might win votes, but he dooms Labour in Scotland not only next Thursday but for the Holyrood elections next year.  Also if he does stand aside and let the Tories in by refusing SNP support (and I assume he’ll refuse to take office if the SNP call Milliband’s bluff and vote for their Queen’s Speech because that’s the logical end of his comments) along with their allies (and I wonder if Milliband will refuse SDLP support) then Labour are over in Scotland, along with large parts of the North of England and Wales.

Labour would never be forgiven. Ever. You’d think a man as obviously intelligent as Milliband would realise this, as would all those Labour supporters carping on about how this is going to make Milliband look strong. But it seems like the Bain Principle is going to be played out at a UK wide level. If after the election Milliband concedes to Cameron and lets the Tories in then not only do I fear for the most vulnerable, the poor, immigrants, the unemployed, or anyone that isn’t doing well and not a Tory, but the UK is over. The final last insult will be played out by a Labour leader acting out of some misguided sense of British Imperialism of course, the need by Labour politicians to put the party before country.

So as angry as I am, I hope Milliband isn’t that stupid, and I hope Sturgeon plays his bluff, gets her MP’s to vote for the Queens Speech and see if Milliband has the balls to live up to his promise that he’ll refuse SNP support to let in the Tories in a probable second election (the incumbent PM gets first chance in a hung parliament to form a government, then the opposition gets their chance if there’s not a vote of confidence. Failing that it’s a second election) later this summer.

Or there’s one more thing that could happen. Labour and the Tories could form a Grand Coalition where the two biggest parties join together, something that’s only happened during the Second World War in this country but with the rhetoric against the SNP ramping up and neither main party looking like they’ve got a sniff of a majority then that’s becoming less ridiculous as time goes on.

Either way as bad as Cameron was; as pointless as Clegg was, Milliband has just fucked himself, and his party. He’s put himself now into a position where Labour’s only hope is a massive majority or to hope the Lib Dems support him, and neither currently look likely. So well done Ed. If we get a Tory government again I hope you’re prepared to go down in history as the Labour leader that turned down the chance to keep the Tories out potentially for a generation.

Is Mahairi Black of the SNP more evil than Douglas Alexander of Labour?

Mahairi Black of the SNP and Douglas Alexander of Labour are their party’s respective candidates for the Paisley & Renfrewshire South constituency in next week’s general election. Black is 20 making her not only the youngest candidate in the election but if she wins the youngest MP since the the 19th century and the youngest ever woman elected to parliament. She also did some things as a teenager that teenagers do as the Daily Record lovingly laid out for its readers to stare at. The shocking revelations are:

STUDENT Mhairi Black – who will fight high profile seat at general election – used Twitter to boast of her boozy antics and to spout abuse about Celtic fans.

SNP hustings candidate Mhairi Black

NICOLA Sturgeon was facing mounting pressure last night to sack firebrand studentMhairi Black as an SNP election candidate – after a string of her foul-mouthed internet rants became public. Politics student Mhairi Black – who will fight one of Scotland’s highest profile seats at the general election – used Twitter to boast of her boozy antics and to spout abuse about Celtic fans.

The revelations come after the Record revealed yesterday how Black, 20, who is bidding to be Britain’s youngest MP, fantasised about “putting the nut” on Labour councillors. Black – who polls say could unseat shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South – bragged on Twitter: “Smirnoff Ice is the drink of the gods – I cannae handle this c*** man.” Partick Thistle fan Black also blasts Celtic fans during a match in October 2013 saying: “I’ve only just realised – I really f***** hate Celtic” and “Celtic, yer a joke!#scum”.

Putting aside my obvious bias that Black has the good taste to support the Greatest Football Team in the Universe, it’s hard to deny the Record’s accusations that this sort of evil means Black cannot realistically represent the ordinary people, as after all voters don’t get drunk, hate Celtic or use hard language. No, voters are like angels unblemished by the realities of life, especially in Paisley. After all we want our MP’s to look and sound more like us so someone that likes a drink, speaks like a lot of people and slags off an opposing football team is hardly right when she stands against the giant of a man that is Douglas Alexander. How can Black compete against this titan, this colossus of modern politics. After all there’s nothing in the history of Douglas Alexander to compare with Black’s heinous crimes? douglasalexander Oh..

But we’ve moved on. Surely a monumental talent like Alexander has made amends? douglasalexander1

Err, ok. He may have voted for Iraq and helped unleash a wave of violence, extremism, terrorism and death that’s affected millions, and afterwards voted against a democratic investigation of that war, but at least he’s looking after the safety of the people of Scotland!! douglasalexander2 Ah, right. So he’s voted to keep his constituents as targets in a nuclear war, but he believes in strong socially democratic principles like the redistribution of wealth from the very rich and to clamp down on tax avoiders? douglasalexander3 Ah fuck. He’s just a typical careerist Labour politician that’s voted for illegal wars, voted against investigations for that war and doesn’t really give a toss about the people that pay his wages? He’s just got his mates in the media to slur Black for acting like a typical teenager and supporter of the best football club in Glasgow isn’t he? At the end of the day, Black may have said some silly things but we all do regardless of whether we’re young, middle aged or old. It takes thought to vote for an Iraq invasion. It takes a deliberate choice to vote for Trident. It takes a brass neck to vote against tax avoidance and call yourself ‘left wing’.

So no, Mahairi Black isn’t the devil herself. She’s a breath of fresh air in a campaign of staid, staged press conferences from dull middle aged men in suits talking to the party faithful and media. Alexander voted for Iraq. I hope the people in Paisley do the right thing and send Alexander off into the night so he can reflect on all the deaths he’s indirectly caused.

Anti-SNP hysteria hits new heights

Wings Over Scotland handily gathers together some of the worst examples of the insane rhetoric being thrown against Nicola Sturgeon (a special word has to got to Dollgate), The SNP and also the people of Scotland in the press this weekend. The most insane and shocking is the Daily Mail’s cover this morning.

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Once you get past the fact the Mail is giving away a whole roast chicken, the headline is probably (even for the Mail) the most hysterical undemocratic thing I’ve seen on the front page of a British newspaper in my life, and that is saying something.

The problem is that if you want the Union to continue as the Mail and all those frantic politicians, celebrities and others wanted last year, and if you are any sort of democrat then the SNP (a party that have had MP’s in Westminster for decades) MP’s are just as legitimate as any other. Otherwise it really does smack as if the Tories and their mates in the media are trying to delegitimise SNP MP’s in the eyes of the public and effectively pull of a political coup in front of everyone. This is already something people have discussed.

Now the thing is the SNP are asking for much. An end to austerity and Trident are the main two things, and you’d think Labour would support an end to austerity but as Ed Balls has admitted, after 2016 Labour will continue cutting, and they’re also committed to the pointless waste of money that is Trident to keep the UK’s place at the international Big Boys Table. The SNP are hardly left wing compared to the Labour Party before the 1980’s, but they’re far more left than the Labour Party of today, yet even these modest ideas of ending austerity and spending the billions spent on Trident spent on actually building a proper navy and on people suffering in the UK is seen as a ‘threat’.

The fact is there’s been a coup of the UK by right wing extremists that’s not happened overnight, but its happened over a few decades. It’s dragged the South of England to the right and dumped the North of England, Scotland, Wales and NI as it’s all about maintaining the power and influence of the City of London. This is just another manifestation of the lack of democracy inherent in a system where newspaper owners wield too much power over political parties and treats even the SNP presentation of an anti-austerity message as a ‘threat’ worse than WW2, Suez, the Gulf War 1 and 2, international terrorism and nuclear war.

But then the idea that the SNP is the biggest threat since the abdication is about appealing to a certain type of Tory, The type of Tory that looks at people in Scotland expressing the desire for self-determination as ‘petty nationalists’ while draped in the Union Flag, getting teary eyes at the Last Night of the Proms and getting choked up when another royal baby is born.

It’s now ten days til the election. In those ten days I fully expect things to get much, much worse, and I’d not be surprised one bit if the establishment don’t label the SNP as terrorists or worse. Whatever happens I can say that after the dust settles things are not going to be the same in the UK ever again.