Labour’s mixed messages over Scotland will not win them any new friends – was that the point?


Scottish Labour has developed a well-deserved reputation for shooting itself in the foot, occasionally missing and hitting something more vital, so its 2017 conference in Perth, prior to the 2017 Scottish Council elections, was another opportunity to peek over the parapet and see how the latest firearms drills were going.

It seems that this year, the drill instructors from UK Labour are showing them how to do it.

First of all, Mayor Khan managed to shoot himself in the head, removing part of his brain, but not enough of his mouth, when he stated;

There’s no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish and those who try to divide us on the base of our background, race or religion.

That is clear. He is equating voting for Scottish independence with racism and bigotry.

Subsequent statements to the effect that he ‘didn’t mean’ that nationalists were racists are meaningless. He is trying to get away with inferring that voting for Scottish independence is an act of racism or bigotry. What then does that make the person who commits that act?

Some people, including some journalists, made it clear that they were not being fooled by Khan.

I would also like to highlight the point that Khan is not just talking about SNP voters, although I’m sure the London centric media will concentrate on that and make it look that way. The Scottish Greens also support Scottish independence (as do some smaller socialist parties). So Scottish Green voters are also bigots or racists – according to Khan.

The Scottish Greens have not said much about this, but that has a lot to do with their being busy. Some of their number, including Co-convenor and their most prominent politician in Scotland, Patrick Harvie MSP, happened to be in Belfast assisting The Greens in Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, the matter did not go entirely without comment from The Scottish Greens. As well as some of the Greens retweeting some of the aforementioned tweets, here’s a couple from Scottish Greens MSP, Ross Greer, to Scottish Labour politicians, supporting the Khan rhetoric.

All this has come in the wake of two by-elections where Labour were the incumbent party. They retained one seat but lost the other.

In commenting upon that during his visit to Scotland for the Scottish Labour conference, Deputy Labour Leader, Tom Watson, said the following:

“But we are seeking to govern the whole country, this still-United Kingdom, and the majority of voters in this country voted to leave,” he said.

“The EU result has catapulted us into a hugely complex situation in which we have to fight the least rational elements of the Tory right to make sure we protect British interests and British workers. Where we have to make sure we get the best deal for Scotland and the other devolved nations,” he added.

We must “make it clear to Theresa May that they are her equal partners in this, not her vassals”

(Excerpt from Labour List)

How does a “devolved nation” not being a “vassel” equate with a narrow majority across the UK voting ‘Leave’, when a large majority in Scotland, and in Northern Ireland, voted ‘Remain’?

Where is the “Equal Partnership” that is supposed to exist?

Following on from this, and keeping on-message, (more-or-less, I’ll come back to that), Jeremy Corbyn takes his turn to address Scottish Labour.

As well as some SNP bashing, Corbyn made a number of assertions that were presented as facts, when either they are not, or at best, were arguable.

This is situation normal in the UK, but especially Scotland after being picked bare and after the UK took the North Sea oil and gas and doled out little portions. Remaining in the UK, with its massive debt and deficit is not an argument against independence, but an argument for it.

So leave it to the multi-nationals? The professionals? The not too poor or too wee?

And about those corporations…

Well, the trouble with that is that England voted in The Conservatives whilst Scotland voted in the SNP. The difference is that only the UK Government can really pass legislation that could do this. The Scottish Government, whatever its persuasion, is effectively stymied. This is a situation that, for Scotland, can only be affected by Independence, as England is showing no signs of changing its views on who should govern, and how.


As to the hard border, there is one word for that: Ireland.

Here’s another three: Common Travel Area.

This is a horrible, scaremongering claim, made as if it were fact, when it simply isn’t and, more to the point, no one knows yet, as it could be negotiated.

As for the Euro, this claim is wilfully false and he should know it.

First of all, any kind of cumpulsion could only come from the EU – which therefore concedes that Scotland could join the EU.

Secondly, Sweden is in the EU and joined it after the 1992 Maastrict Treaty which determined so much about the EU and the Euro. But Sweden does not use the Euro, but its own krona. Here’s why: Excerpt from Wikipedia.

According to the 1995 accession treaty, Sweden is required to join the eurozone and therefore must convert to the euro once the convergence criteria are met. Notwithstanding this, on 14 September 2003, a consultative Swedish referendum was held on the euro, in which 56% of voters were opposed to the adoption of the currency, out of an overall turnout of 82.6%.[31] The Swedish government has argued such a course of action is possible since one of the requirements for eurozone membership is a prior two-year membership of the ERM II. By simply not joining the exchange rate mechanism, the Swedish government is provided a formal loophole avoiding the theoretical requirement of adopting the euro.

This may not be common knowledge in the UK, but it is known, and should certainly be known by top level politicians and their advisors.

So, essentially, Labour are sticking to the same old tired arguments from 2014. And Corbyn is aligned with that.

Whilst I expected a partisan speech and attacks on the SNP, I really expected better from Corbyn in terms of fact and argument making.

Notice however that he did not follow the same lines of rhetoric that came from Sadiq Khan and other Scottish Labour politicians the day beforehand at the conference. There was no equatable mention of nationalism, even though he did attack the SNP.

Was this because he had the same thing lined-up, but thought better of it following the outcry of the day before? Or was something more subtle at play?

It is no secret that Sadiq Khan and Scottish Labour are not exactly eye-to-eye with Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he is trying to bring to the Labour party. The depths already plunged to try and get rid of the democratically elected Corbyn have been shocking to behold in a supposedly democratically run political party. Machiavelli would have looked on with approval.

So is it that much of a stretch to consider that this might not have been a cock-up by Khan?

The response to his inference that voting for Scottish independence was equatable to racism or bigotry was entirely predictable.

This of course would not be helpful to Scottish Labour councillors in the forthcoming 2017 Scottish Council elections, and possibly have knock-on effects across the UK as a whole.

Poor results in elections this year for Labour could help see off Corbyn as leader.

Khan, as London Mayor, essentially has a job – until 2020; 7 May 2020, to be exact. The same date as the next General Election.

…and thanks to @DaftLimmy for digging out this one:

So, Independence is OK for Pakistan and India but not Scotland. It wasn’t racist or bigoted in Pakistan or India, bit it is in Scotland.

Aye, right.

That tweet right there not only shows Khan’s hypocrasy, but also begs the question, what are his real views? Where does he really stand?

And, was he playing the race card, but playing it badly, and was it for his own political ends?

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