Monday 16 February 2015

Aidan Kerr has a problem. In an article on the STV news website (Analysis: Why would the SNP want to put the Red Tories in power?), he refers to something he hears his SNP friends exclaim apparently unaware that his SNP friends haven't exclaimed at all. The voices are entirely in his own head.

It is a common enough phenomenon. Media commentators purporting to discuss the SNP when, in fact, what they are talking about is the caricature of the party contrived by the British media.

In his opening paragraph he asserts that the SNP repeatedly tells us that they and the Labour Party "don't mix well". The reality, of course, is that what the SNP has actually been saying is that they and British Labour could quite conceivably work together if only the latter would put aside its irrational hatred of the former and remain true to at least some of its principles.

Aidan is clearly confused. Because he starts off by denying the whole premise of his article, which is little more than a long-winded whinge about the SNP suggesting the sort of deal with British Labour which he begins by claiming that the SNP has "repeatedly" dismissed as impossible.

No. I don't get it either.

Then there's the stuff about "Red Tories", which Aidan represents as an "SNP line". But is it? Certainly, the term is used a lot as a form of shorthand for those who are sickened by British Labour's hypocrisy in standing shoulder to shoulder with their Tory allies in the anti-independence campaign. It is similarly used by those referencing British Labour's support for the austerity agenda and other areas of policy where they are separated from their Project Fear partners by no more than the proverbial fag-paper.

But does this make it an "SNP line"? If it does, then it is most assuredly not a line which is exclusive to the SNP. You are at least as likely to hear it from the grumbling remnants of support that British Labour in Scotland still clings to.

The fact that some people who use the term "Red Tories" also happen to be pro-independence is not sufficient cause to label it as an "SNP line". Again. Aidan is analysing, not the reality of the SNP, but the party as it is portrayed in the British media. No wonder he gets things so tragically wrong.

He also misses the fact that epithets such as "Red Tory" are a quick and easy way of saying something more complex and nuanced than what is implied by a superficial; appreciation of the term. When people call British Labour "Red Tories" they may be alluding to the party's alliance with the Conservatives in Better Together and/or in Holyrood. Or they may be thinking of the party's undoubted drift to the right of British politics and the lack of anything to seriously distinguish them from their partners in the "Great British Duopoly".

They could also be referring to the fact that British Labour and the Tories are absolutely identical in one regard that looms very large in Scottish politics. Both explicitly put the priorities of the British state before the interests of the people of Scotland. They are the same in that a vote for either leads to very mucg the same outcome.

More likely, when people talk of "Red Tories" they have all of these things in mind.

Aidan attempts to dismiss the tag simply by tagging it an "SNP line". But he fails utterly to refute any of what the term means.

Yet another regard in which Aidan is tragically wrong is his assertion that, to SNP members, "Labour represents everything they are not". The problem is not that Labour represents something which is anathema to the social democratic SNP, but that British Labour has ceased to represent social democratic Labour values.

The SNP and what, for want of a better term, we might call "Labour-minded folk" are not the natural enemies that Aidan Kerr supposes. In fact, they are the most unnatural enemies. As the Yes campaign proved, there is a comfortable affinity between Labour-minded folk and the generality of SNP members. The animus is entirely associated with British Labour's party machine - not the people this machine has alienated.

Finally, Aidan exhibits a rather naive understanding of the way British politics works. The UK is, nominally at least, a two-party state. In reality, it functions more like a one-party state due to the way both the main British parties are in thrall to the same interests.

The British parties and the British establishment as a whole would be delighted if the SNP at Westminster were to be "motivated by principle" to stand aside from the procedures and process of government, contenting themselves with causing a "rammy" while leaving the British parties to pursue their agenda.

Aidan makes the mistake of attempting to simplistically translate the faux rivalries of the British political system to Scotland's distinct political culture by positing a similar SNP/Labour dichotomy. But the real divide in Scottish politics is not along such "traditional" lines as right and left. The real divide in Scotland's post-referendum politics is between British and Scottish parties.


  1. Dear Lord, lets remember that not so long ago the 'Tartan Tories' were only too happy to climb into bed with the real Tories...

    I know the SNP like re-writing history especially about airbrushing out their dodgy nazi sympathising and anti catholic past...

    Which has still not been renounced or apologised for to this day...

    But the idea that Labour are just misguided and waiting to climb into bed with the SNP is laughable...

    After all just look at all the right wing millionaires backing the SNP...

    We could start with Brian 'Soapy' Souter, a God fearing, homophobic religious, bigot, and one of the SNP's biggest financial backers, strangely enough and I'm sure purely by co-incidence (allegedly), Tom Harris's proposal never saw the light of day.

    "What is it about the anti-regulation arguments of multi-million pounds SNP donor Brian Souter that Scottish Ministers find so persuasive?"

    'Soapy' of course is not the only right wing millionaire to support the SNP...

    Even the Scottish Socialist Party recognise the 'Tartan Tories' for what they really are...

    The SNP are in no sense a left party. Incredibly, despite colossal levels of inequality, they still support tax cuts for big business, the oil companies and the billionaire elite.

    In government the SNP have implemented every penny of Tory austerity leading to wage cuts and the slashing of jobs and public services across Scotland. In what way is this in the “best interests” of working class people in Scotland?


    Why would Labour supporters like me want to settle for second best by voting for the SNP?

    They are simply the same old 'Tartan Tories', as for the 'voices being in his own head' Aidan Kerr hits the nail on the head...

    However Pete Wishart does it much better....

    Thanks to Pete Wishart for setting out in clear graphical form why Labour doesn't need to do a deal with the SNP.

    As Pete Wishart says, SNP will never vote with Tories.

    So if Labour fails to gain a majority, we can safely govern as minority.

    Cheers Pete!

    1. A wee walk down memory lane there with some classic oldies from the British nationalists' Big Book of Anti-SNP Lies and Smears. Yet more evidence that, for all Mendacious Murphy's talk of "change" in his pretendy wee party, the die-hard loyalists of British Labour in Scotland have learned nothing from the events of the last few years.

      Apparently, some of them have learned nothing new since the 70s. I can't help but picture Anonymous in brown flares and a kipper tie.

    2. Peter, as an exercise in evasion and wriggling about on the hook your 'reply' is a classic...

      Lets take Ian Smarts article;

      Well why does the SNP still have an annual memorial lecture named after Donaldson a Nazi sympathiser at its party conference?

      The 'Green Terror' the SNP launched against Irish Catholics, is that a lie and smear as well?

      The trouble for you Peter, is much as you would like to 'uninvent' the SNP's past it is there for all to see...

      Even South Africa had a truth and reconciliation conference, but sadly the SNP have no Mandela to deal with the mistakes of the past...

      However the SNP's closet (and not so closet) racism and bigotry has also been carried forward into modern times;

      Yesterday, McLaren apologised for any offence caused, saying that her comments were "open to misinterpretation."

      Some misinterpretation!

      I won't even mention Wings over Scotlands' ranting tirades....

      Oh go on then, I will.....

      I mean what can I say about this?





      You really expect Labour supporters to look at 'Scotland's Ambassador' and not think that he is a racist, misogynist bigot?

      I'm sorry but there is no way on earth I would want to get involved with a party like the SNP, when so many of its MSP's endorse 'the Rev'...,

      But no doubt such things are just 'smears, lies, and 'Anti-Scottish' to your mind.

      Oh and for the record I've never worn brown flares and a kipper tie, but as your reply proved Peter.

      When you have no answer to the points made, just insult your opponent, its a tactic you have learned from 'The Rev', and which is used by pretty much standard for every cybernat....

      So much for being a 'Thinker, Talker, Reader, Listener, and Writer' then Peter!

      Which is why 'Red Tories' like me would never want to get into bed with the SNP, I did not take part in anti racism campaigns against South Africa, to climb into bed with a party of bigots at home...

    3. Just when you thought it couldn't get any more hilarious, this clown starts quoting Ian Smart. The well-known racist who famously announced his preference for "100 years of Tory rule" rather than an independent Scottish social democracy.

      I am not going to be distracted from more important tasks by your deranged rehashing of smears which have already been comprehensively and repeatedly debunked. The fact that you cling to such drivel despite the debunking exposes you as a bigoted troll who is best ignored.

      I will not delete your posts or block you as is the standard practice on sites run by your fellow British nationalist fanatics where challenges to unionist lies and smears are routinely censored. On the contrary, I would encourage you to continue exposing the bitter vileness at the core of British labour in Scotland. Although I should advise that few will have the patience to wade through the garbage you post.

      You will now be ignored.

  2. Game, set, and match to me then Peter!


  3. The vast majority of political activists in Scotland now support the SNP with it's circa 100,000 members.
    Where did these members come from?
    Not from the Tory party,for sure,but mostly disillusioned social democrats who see the British Labour party as being indistinguishable from the British Tory party and the SNP being their best bet to return policies to Scotland that reflect our culture and needs.
    Every political party has skeletons in it's cupboard but as they say,it's not where we came from but where we are going that counts and 100K activists are not going to allow the SNP to drift off into Thatcherland along with the other London based parties.