General Election 2010

2007 - 2021

Dawn of the Replicants

If you are a Liberal voter in Scotland you should feel angry (and stupid). Whatever happened to opposition on Trident? A principled stand on immigration away from the baying hordes of tabloid hatred? A new politics?

Yesterday there unfolded a lesson in statecraft, professional politicians doing that they do best: seeking power for powers sake and spinning and re-spinning to try and present their obsession as the ‘national interest’. What nation? Whose interest? The upper class chumminess of Clegg and Cameron easily transcended the lightweight aspirations to progressive vision born by the Liberal Democrats.

What a spectacle of semi-feudal power mongering. The media frenzy (including Adam Boltons hilarious loss of composure with Alasdair Campbell – go here if you’ve missed it) centered around the arcane vagueries of Britain’s non-constitution, the predominant characteristics of which are: nobody knows what’s going on (not even the participants), we make it up as we go along, it all happens behind closed doors, extreme deference is assumed.

As one online commenter put it “Politics in England is a now a gridlock of mediocrity. The SNP need to be very clear and purposeful now – for all three of the metropolitan parties, Scotland is a side issue . . . We can do so much better.” No doubt. One of the key challenges for the SNP and for people outside the SNP is to build a strong and wide independence movement against the Shock Doctrine austerity cuts about to be enforced by the Tories and their Liberal apologists.

As Iain MacWhirter wrote in the Herald: “The truth is that there has never been a situation quite like this in recent British political history, when one of the nations of the Union has so decisively and deliberately rejected the chosen party of government in the other nation. Not even under Margaret Thatcher. In 1983, after the great Tory recession that destroyed industrial communities in Scotland, Mrs Thatcher still won 21 Scottish Tory seats in the General Election. Today under David Cameron, almost a social democrat compared to her, the Conservatives are left with one solitary seat in the whole of Scotland.”

A little more naively MacWhirter continued: “If we end up with a weak Conservative-led administration in Westminster, with virtually no representation in Scotland, it might seem inconceivable that Cameron will persevere with dismantling the Scottish public sector job by job. But here’s the catch: if he doesn’t, and if England is forced to take on the burden of spending cuts, then there could be an outpouring of resentment south of the Border that could drive Scotland out of the Union altogether. Think Germany and Greece.”

The widely held vision of Scotland from south of the border is one of subsidy-junkie. This deeply held myth is prevalent across liberal media and right wing rags alike. Austerity cuts will happen and they will happen here first, spurred on by this vision. It is highly likely that Cameron will persevere with dismantling the Scottish public sector job by job, as Darling said, ‘expect cuts deeper and harsher than under Thatcher.’

This was the dawn of the replicants, we will now have three Blair carbon copies leading three parties with marginal variant outlooks. Clegg, fresh faced and duplicitous, Cameron, lightweight and cloaking ideology behind inconsequence, and Miliband young and politically adrift in a sea of opportunism.

There is no mandate in Scotland for Tory Rule.Let’s get organised.

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  1. Andrew says:

    I have been trying to ‘get organised’ since Monday. Those who wish can try and organise me better at or email me at

  2. Hythlodaeus says:

    Cracking article.

    Now we just have to band together made sure we keep up the pressure on all three parties. The SNP can easily take several of the Lib Dem seats in Scotland, the biggest problem being West Aberdeenshire which is between the Lib Dems and the Tories.

  3. Tocasaid says:

    Does anyone remember Clegg’s criticism of Cameron’s EU allies as “nutters and fascists”? Guess who’ in bed with them now…

    I may be bitter, but i can’t wait for the Lib Dem meltdown in Scotland.

  4. DougtheDug says:


    The Lib-Dems never opposed Trident, they were just unhappy about the costs of the replacement. They wanted nuclear weapons but cheaper. However this may have not been clear even to their own supporters but it is now.

    We’ve also got to be careful about the Conservatives, “mandate”, in Scotland. It’s a coalition government so they’ve actually got twelve MP’s in Scotland. Then again it’s not going to be a line that Labour will use in Scotland as it strengthens the idea that Scotland is not a full part of the UK. As a unionist party they’ve got to accept a UK government whether or not their region voted for it.

    The message that must be brought to Labour supporters in Scotland is that it makes no difference how Scotland votes, it will get the Government that England chooses but I don’t hold out much hope for that message being taken on board.

    Lib-Dem support might switch to the SNP at the next Scottish Parliamentary elections or the next General Election but as the Lib-Dems are as unionist as the Labour Party and the Tories the Labour party might benefit instead.

    It’s quite sobering that all the Labour Party had to do was shout, “Tories, Tories”, in Scotland and the electorate turned out en masse for them. Margaret Thatcher left the Conservatives in 1990 and last stood for election in 1987. Nobody under 41 has ever voted in an election in which she stood. It’s like blinkers, nobody can see that there is an alternative to Westminster or that the Tories are no worse a bogeyman than Labour for Scotland.

    No mandate for Conservative rule is still playing the Westminster game. It recognises that Westminster has primacy just not the party in power. It’s got to be no mandate for Westminster rule.

    PS. I’m just watching Jackie Bird giving Danny Alexander a hard time on Reporting Scotland. I forgot that as Labour supporters the BBC will have a go at the Lib-Dems for not being Labour and for being in coalition with the Tories.

  5. bellacaledonia says:

    Doug, I know well the Liberals were bluffing about Trident, but they won a lot of votes on that bluff. The quietism of the Scottish Liberals is as sobering as the push-button Labour vote.

  6. Neil L says:

    There are rallies planned in Edinburgh (Saturday), Glasgow (Sunday) and Paisley (next weekend) as part of the Take Back Parliament campaign

  7. bellacaledonia says:

    Neil, I’m not sure if that’s what we mean.

    Note that the Liberal-Tories are now backing new nuclear:

  8. Minerva's perch says:


    I’m positive that’s not what we mean!

    Neil L, I respect what you and others who share your cause are doing, in this sense, you’re getting off your arses, making your presence felt and you have a cause. Good luck to you.

    But your cause is not our cause. We are not interested in seeing a few more Lib Dem MPs at Westminster, or a few more Green MPs or even a few more SNP MPs. What we want is to have no Scottish MPs at Westminster and to transfer all reserved powers to the Scottish Parliament in an independent Scotland.

    It makes no difference to us what electoral system Westminster introduces. It’s the British state that we want to disengage from, so that we can transform Scotland. This is about us reclaiming Scotland. As for Westminster? We’re happy to leave that to you.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      What about a wee bitty improvement in the House of Lords? Interested in that? How about we juggle about WHEN we have elections? Does that interest you? Different coloured ballot boxes?

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