Hello once again, it’s been an interesting few days here indeed, my sister moves out in five days and I move out in a fortnight, as such preparations, packing, washing and sorting are starting to kick into overdrive. This time tomorrow we should have an all out panic beginning to emerge, which is always fun, keeps one on one’s toes. However, home is not the only place that has been interesting lately, the Labour Party has been displaying all the classic signs of political panic and meltdown too. In a month when Labour’s popularity is slipping, Ed Milliband’s personal popularity is lower than that of Nick Clegg, the population have more confidence in George Osborne to manage the economy than Ed Balls and with Johann Lamont nowhere to be seen, Labour really don’t need to be kneecapping themselves. That, however, is what they appear to be doing.
Earlier this week, Former Scottish Labour Leader and First Minister, The Rt. Hon. Henry McLeish wrote an article in the Scotsman newspaper criticising the Westminster Parties and the Better Together campaign for their use of negative tactics and the creeping of British politics ever further to the right. In his article he says that “the Tories and much of the unionist establishment seem to be indirectly hastening the break-up of Britain.”
He goes on to talk about the lack of diversity in British politics, comparing it with the large amount of political diversity in Scotland and criticises heavily the negative campaigning used by the Better Together campaign. In fact he refers to the scare tactics of BT risking “alienating many Scots who want to vote for the Union but feel increasingly insulted by endless threats of famine, pestilence, plague and aliens if they dared vote for independence.”
Mr. McLeish, a Unionist who has fought for the cause of the UK, has put many noses out of joint and said quite plainly that if BT and the Westminster Parties don’t change their tactics soon enough, they may win the referendum for the Yes Campaign. Quite unsurprisingly, this has angered many unionists and key Labour Figures. Surprisingly, the damage here has not been done by McLeish, but is in fact being done by members of the Labour party.
There have been calls for Mr. McLeish, once again, a Unionist, to join the Yes Campaign or even the SNP. It strikes me as a little childish that a campaign fighting for unity tells dissenters or those who simply have new ideas to up-ship and join the other side. Labour peer, Lord Foulkes even said that the “anger” in the Labour Party over Mr. McLeish’s remarks was leading to “resignation.” Foulkes also made a remark that Mr. McLeish was only in the Labour party because it suited Alex Salmond to have him there and that he should in fact simply join the SNP. Whilst Mr. McLeish did not comment on that remark, he defended his article.
Labour MSP Michael McMahon remarked; “Nobody in the Better Together campaign pays any attention. But if he wants to keep saying these sorts of things, I am sure Yes Scotland will be very happy with him.” Is the Better Together Campaign, then, so thoroughly broken that calls to fix it are being dismissed as ‘treasonous’? Is the idea of changing tack so alien to the BT campaign that they have to expel all those who mention it?
It strikes me as utterly bizarre that the United Kingdom Government and Better Together Campaign are being so utterly careless in their campaign to, essentially, save their country. If anything, they should be heeding Mr. McLeish’s words quite closely, he is a former First Minister of Scotland, he knows what the Scottish people want and need and he knows what it will take to preserve the United Kingdom.
Yet that seems not to be the case, he has questioned the tactics of the Better Together Campaign, warned that it may encourage more to vote yes, and what has happened? BT has treated him like a fool and a traitor. I know I have said this before, but it seems increasingly likely that if Yes Scotland stopped campaigning tomorrow, Better Together could still win the referendum for the Yes Campaign.
Whilst I am a Yes supporter, I find it quite sad that the Better Together Campaign is so poorly organised, and at the same time, infuriating that they seem to take Scotland so readily for granted.
As always, please do carry on the debate in the comments, I’m away to start sorting my books and taking down my posters to put them in boxes. Thanks for reading.