When Mr Corbyn came to Scotland to welcome yet another new incumbent to the leadership of the Scottish Branch of the British Labour Party, both of them talked, frankly, a load of guff about ‘a far away country full of people about whom they apparently knew nothing’ to paraphrase Mr Chamberlain.
The massive clanger, of course, was the demand from Mr Leonard that the Scottish government must take back Scottish Water into public ownership. To do that of course, the Scottish government would first have to sell it off to private enterprise, something that wasn’t done before.
A common theme from Labour is that the Scottish government has done nothing to alleviate the effects of austerity imposed on the poor (but not the rich), by the British Tories [a party of government (in the UK) and opposition (in Scotland) you’d have been excused for thinking that two supposedly left wingers would have been anxious to ridicule, particularly given that they ARE ridiculous].
I’ve always excused Corbyn’s ignorance of Scotland (he didn’t for example, know that there was such a thing as Scots Law), because he is a London MP who has always been just that: a back-bencher mainly concerned with his London constituents (and from what a hear, a damned good one too).
On the other hand, although Mr Leonard is an Englishman, he has been resident in Scotland for some time. He has been a member of the Scottish parliament for a couple of years now and he has just become the leader of Labour’s Scottish branch. It would be reasonable to expect him to know something of what’s going on here.
Perhaps Mr Corbyn and Mr Leonard might like to take a look at what Scotland has done with its limited powers and compare them with what the Welsh LABOUR government has done with their, albeit more limited, powers.
And remember that the government here had to fight for the power to use money to help the poor. It didn’t just happen.
Justified opposition to government policy is essential, wherever it is from: Labour, Tory or Greens. Carping for the sake of carping is no substitute for it. Corbyn, at least, we know, is better than that. And the public deserves better than the current state of affairs.
Democratic governance works when a government is held to account by oppositions attempting to get the best for the country, rather than trying to score cheap political points, especially with incorrect information and lies.
I’m sure they don’t lie on purpose. They just seem not to know.
A course of instruction from someone who does know how things work in this country and is aware of what has been done with the powers we have and what will be done with the powers we are yet to get, might be a good idea, because, at the moment, it looks like the blind are leading the blind and it’s more than a little laughable.
The SNP can’t go on in power forever. No party ever does. But the chronic lack of talent, ability and know how in the current Labour Party leaves us with the horrifying prospect that, when that time comes, it may be the Tories that replace the SNP. A fate to be avoided at any cost.
Lest you should be in any doubt about that, I leave you with this:
You may remember that we at Munguin’s Republic were pleased when Corbyn won the Labour leadership over the bunch of Blairite Tory-lite contenders.
We were happier still when the disloyal ex- front benchers tried to remove him and first one, and then another, no-hoper, third-rater stood against him, and he not only beat them, but beat them by an ever bigger margin than his first victory.
We laughed too, at Dugdale’s off on relationship with him. He was useless, then he was the leader and would lead them to victory, then he was useless again, and so on… Not quite sure where she is with him at the moment.
We don’t rate and indeed have never have rated Dugdale from way back when she was the Noble ffoulkes’ assistant and ran a blog. We’ve no idea what she is like as a person, but as a political leader, she is worse than useless and she’ll never be the first minister.
However, we did rate Corbyn. A proper Labour man, we thought. And we laughed like a drain (even if he did win some seats from the SNP) when he overturned Mayhem’s expectations of an overwhelming victory in her humiliating 2017 General Election. The one she couldn’t lose, but that put paid to “strong and stable”, and left her even more weak and wobbly than before.
OK, we didn’t like his attitude to Scotland, but reckoned that with a bit of time, and given the chance to develop from being simply a North London MP into a supranational leader, he would learn about us, learn what makes us tick… and conclude that we’re not Englishmen with Mc in front of our names. We thought too that he might come to respect the SNP for the left of centre party it was. OK, opposition party but with policies worthy of respect.
Wrong. He must get his information about the SNP from the Daily Mail.
He came to Scotland this summer to tour marginal seats that Labour might hope to take from the SNP. (Taking seats from the SNP will NOT reduce the number of seats the Conservatives hold… and at the next election they may have a proper leader, a real challenge and not the chaotic, stupid, weak, uninspired and uninspiring waste of space they have now.) But no, Jeremy only wanted to take seats from the SNP.
Unfortunately, he seems to have learned nothing about Scotland.
He seems to think that we are a nation of England.
He appears to be unaware that we have a separate legal system and totally separate laws. He is clearly also unaware that parts of the Kingdom of Denmark are members of the EU, and other parts are not.
He has criticised the SNP for failing to nationalise the railways. This despite Labour in England failing to nationalise the railways in 1997 when they fought an election campaign on the matter, and for the following 13 years in which they were in power and could have done so at a stroke.
He seems not to know that it was against UK law (including in Labour’s 13 year governance of the UK) for railways in Scotland to be privatised, until very recently (after the last franchise was awarded). Nor did he seem aware that since that law changed, the Minister for Transport has been working on a plan of how to do this. (NB, I’m not entirely sure why the Herald would call ScotRail troubled, given that it is the best performing rail service in the UK. Odd how the press just hates the Scottish government.)
He doesn’t know about Scottish Water still belonging to the people instead of being a money making concern as in England and Wales.
It would seem that no one told him about the Scottish government mitigating some of the worst of the Conservative’s harsh social security policies. More than £100 million of relief for young people who need housing benefit; for anyone forced to live in homes with a bedroom they do not want or need, due to a shortage of housing, for example.
He gives the impression of knowing nothing about the setting up of a social security ministry in Scotland that will not operate sanctions that apply in Tory England and Labour Wales.
And he is either ignorant of, or has chosen to ignore, the fact that from next year, carers in Scotland will be £600 a year better off than they are in the UK. And that there will be extra help for the poorest parents.
Free prescriptions, eye tests, bus passes, elderly care all seem to have passed him by.
In all that he has been saying, Mr Corbyn has failed to explain why the Welsh government, a Labour government, has seemingly failed to mitigate Tory cuts. I challenge Mr Corbyn to suggest these changes to Wales, and to pledge them for England should he be their prime minister.
And his volte face on the single market and customs union, is singularly unimpressive.
I had great hopes for Mr Corbyn. I feel a bit let down.
His motto does seem to be, Tories are a pain, but SNP, no matter what they do, are plain BAD and must be expunged, even if the method of achieving this is to lie through one’s teeth.
So now the Tories are falling out with each other and this is not just May versus Hammond. Each has his or her own camp followers.
I expect that that will get worse before it gets better. Will they fight for the next three years, or will Hammond get the push?
And Labour in Scotland is at odds again with its bosses in England. Corbyn, who has said in the past that Scotland cannot afford to become independent, has said that May should allow another referendum. Dugdale is fighting tooth and nail against it happening. Seriously you wonder if they are in the same party. They seem to agree about nothing.
Finally, the Liberal Democrats had their Scottish party conference this weekend and a young man named Chris Wilson delivered a speech against his party’s line on independence. He believes that Scotland should be independent in Europe. I hope you’ll find his piece on his twitter page here. The frosty faces in the largely elderly audience show how courageous he was to put over his point of view.
Even with the spelling mistake what it says is true. Jeremy Corbyn MUST know that.
Why did he lie?