Springingtiger's Blog


Red and Yellow and Orange and Green.

wpid-mtptemp_1.jpgAs we move into another election for the Scottish Parliament so we move into yet another round of mutual vituperation between the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Labour Party also known to each other as Tartan Tories and Red Tories although whether it is appropriate to call Labour ‘red’ may be questionable. Whatever all this trivial name calling serves no none well least of all the people of Scotland. If we look at the political parties in Scotland we find between the Greens, SNP, and Labour many principles upon which they can agree, however we also find a determination not only to not cooperate with each other, but to actively undermine each other’s attempts to improve conditions for the people.

I suppose to some extent Independence has become the shibboleth by which Scots judge each other, so much so that it is a means to ensure that Scotland remains weak. We do not have independence, we have a paltry increase in the powers of the devolved government. Now should be the time to pull together to maximise whatever benefit can be drawn from those powers and to wrest further powers from England, instead our politicians are engaged in fighting each other. Who is to blame? The Westminster political establishment. The Labour, Liberal/Democrat and Tory parties consistently use their their Scottish subsidiaries to attack and undermine the SNP instead of trying to work cooperatively while holding them to reasonable account.

There is nothing new in this. When King James VI was faced with a rebellious Irish Catholic population in Ireland he populated Ulster with Scottish Protestants and gave them more rights than the native population to ensure that they would provide a loyal tool for the English rulers. These protestants of all classes were taught to hate and fear their Catholic neighbours, but the leaders they looked to for protection and governance were not Presbyterians like themselves, they were the Anglican Anglo Irish elite who then as in the succeeding centuries saw the Scots as good enough to work and die for the English Empire, but not to govern. True Scots have ever held a minority of senior government positions, but until the last century those Scots were always of the Anglo Scots elite and never, until the advent of Labour, common people.

Had not the Liberals acceded to offer the Irish Home Rule there would not have been men under arms to rise in 1916. However the Unionist establishment in order to ensure Ireland remained nothing more than a colony armed the Orangeman of Ulster and threatened war should Home Rule be given. In response some Home Rulers set up the Irish Volunteers to counter the Orange threat. When the Great War broke out many of both factions left to fight for the English against Germany. Unfortunately Home Rule was postponed and the more militant of the those seeking freedom for Ireland rose in revolt. When eventually England was forced to the negotiating table the sectarian divide was used to justify the division the territory of the country and its people and sadly the Free State negotiators conceded Separation and hence perpetuated the divisions.

It is the great success of the English Parliament that just as they manipulated sectarianism to keep the Irish people divided they use Unionism and Nationalism to divide the Scots. The unionist leadership of the Labour Party very successfully managed to bury that its Scottish Founders men like Keir Hardie, RB Cunninghame Graham and James Connolly as well as other early heroes like James Maxton and John Maclean supported the right of Scotland to govern her own affairs. Instead Labour has artificially opposed nationalism to socialism, hence the childish game of ‘I’m more socialist than you are!’ played by both SNP and Labour. In reality much of the Scottish Nationalist Left consists of disaffected Labour supporters, but neither party is a socialist party. I have said before and I say it again, that republicanism is integral to socialism, no one who is prepared to countenance a monarchy has any right to cry themselves a socialist regardless of their party. The sooner the left starts working together instead of being manipulated by the commercial interests of London the sooner Scotland can fulfil the vision of greatness that has inspired so many over the last few years.

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