Cameron is locked into body-swerve mode on Scottish independence

union flag melts away from scotland with David CameronBack in the noughties, there was a Stoke-on-Trent councillor who faced a very strong challenge from the BNP for his seat. The fascists threw the kitchen sink at it, and Labour countered by ensuring they went door-to-door. It was touch-and-go but in the end the BNP did not win and the incumbent clung on. The thing is, despite staring down the barrel, with the fash snapping at his heels our councillor refused to go out and canvass for support. I bring this up because Dave’s approach to the Scottish referendum is almost exactly the same. Sure the No Campaign – Better Together – have the poll lead but the momentum is increasingly with the Yes’ers. Where is our Prime Minister? Where is the elected political leader of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as centrifugal forces tear at the 1707 Act of Union? Nowhere near Scotland, of course. Continue reading

Grangemouth, class aggression and the ‘national interest’

Grangemouth posterizedIt is in ‘the national interest’ that Grangemouth remain open say the Scottish Government, refusing to countenance closure. They are however seemingly content with the idea that this be accomplished by the Ineos workforce sacrificing wages, pensions, redundancy terms and shift allowances. The national interest is being defined as the continuation of production at the plant and the refinery across the road, and only this. It’s an illustration of who counts as ‘the nation’ and gives us an idea of whose interests count as national priorities. Continue reading

Boundary changes for devo max: the Tory-SNP deal that may reshape the UK

For all of the miscalculations and cock-ups of the past two-and-a-half years, the Tory party, and David Cameron in particular, are as strategically focused as ever on winning power and holding on to it.

Few will be surprised to learn, then, that Cameron is still determined to force through parliamentary boundary changes next year that will reduce both the number of seats in parliament and in particular the number of Labour MPs, (by about 30) – and all in the face of opposition from Nick Clegg. And despite Clegg’s protestation, the Tories will probably be able to buy off some Liberal Democrat MPs threatened with extinction with a place in the Lords or on a quango. Continue reading

Scotland: at least Labour could oppose independence independently

In a part of Britain in which the population still gets overly excited about the ideological alignments of its football clubs, the British flag is not just a neutral patriotic symbol.

Thirteen-year-old Lee Heron was earlier this year sent home from his high school in Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, for wearing a Union Jack T-shirt his mum had bought him at Primark. This attire, his teacher deemed, was likely to inflame sectarian tension among the pupils. Continue reading