Thursday, 5 September 2013

"BetterTogether" Silence on Violence to Blame for Attack on Pensioner

On Tuesday, a BetterTogether-supporting extremist attacked an octogenarian pro-Independence campaigner with such violence and ferocity that an ambulance was called to take him to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he received medical treatment for cuts, bruises and broken bones sustained in the assault. 

I'll say that again, just in case you didn't get it: in 2013, in Scotland's second-largest city, in broad daylight, an old age pensioner was beaten up by a Unionist because he dared to campaign for Scotland to become an independent state again. 

This assault is sickening and utterly unsurprising. 

Since even before George Osborne's campaign officially launched, the Unionists have whipped up what can only be described as a hate campaign against anyone who campaigns  for - or is even believed secretly to be a supporter of - independence. The main "beneficiary" of this hate campaign is Alex Salmond, the SNP convenor and First Minister. 

Both the First Minister and Deputy First Minister regularly receive death threats. Having myself been the recipient of death threats and threats of violence, veiled and open, from Unionist extremists, I can testify that it is not the most pleasant of experiences. 

The No campaign has stood by whilst their supporters spread their messages of hate, sent their threats of violence and did nothing. As Australian army chief, General David Morrison, said: "the standard we walk past is the standard we accept".

But the No campaign isn't merely walking past these extremists. It actively uses them. One of its favourite sons, trotted out with depressing and monotonous regularity to fight the No corner, is a man convicted of a violent assault - but still sits in Parliament - the racist, sectarian thug, George Foulkes.

The extremist Unionist group, the Orange Order, which could be reasonably described as the paramilitary wing of the "Scottish" Labour Party, bans Roman Catholics from joining - and even expels its own members who attend, for instance, the funeral or wedding Mass of a Catholic neighbour or workmate. It is on record as saying that when Scotland achieves independence, it will become a paramilitary organisation fighting to "Keep Scotland British".

The fascist Orange Order is an integral part of the No campaign, and will actively campaign alongside its Labour Party colleagues for Scotland to remain a nation subsumed by the Union Flag, and with a constitution which bans Roman Catholics from attaining certain State offices. 

And the official No campaign ran an advertisement last year which admitted that it would pay the travel expenses of Orange Order and BNP members to come to Scotland and campaign in the referendum campaign. 

Even outside the institutional violence of the No campaign, it walked past on the other side of the road when one of its activists, someone called Louise Morton, boasted of her son - a Unionist councillor on the local authority - and other drunken louts, threatening violence against pro-independence supporters at the Maggie Fair in Garmouth, Moray and intimidating them into leaving. Blair McDougall walked past. 

This seems to be a regular tactic from the No campaign: in a campaign suffering from a demographic crisis (it is believed that have fewer than 100 volunteer activists nationwide) which requires Payroll Unionists to staff it, it is unable to participate in most local fairs. Its tactic, therefore, is to demand to the organisers that as there is no No presence, the Yes campaign - which is a genuine grassroots, community-led movement - should be banned. 

When this happens, and No gets the debate shut down, they are content. When the organisers resist, the sinister threats of violence such as in Moray, come out from the louts and thugs who support the campaign, funded by Arkan's sponsor Ian Taylor. 

After pressure was put on the organisers of the Dunfermline South Gala by local Unionists, they canceled a Yes Scotland stall there. Undeterred, the intrepid volunteers set up a table soon after outside the Bruce Festival in Dunfermline, and again the Unionists tried to have them removed. Blair McDougall walked past.

In Cowal, Argyll, the local Yes shop was attacked by Unionist extremists. Blair McDougall walked past. When the Courier reported on the attack, the Orange Order arm of the No campaign called for nail bomb attacks against the newspaper in reprisal. Blair McDougall walked past. 

Blair McDougall has walked past threats of violence and actual intimidation. That's the standard the No campaign accepts. 

And now, to reverse what the Cranberries said, his silence has caused violence. 

Blair McDougall must come out - unreservedly - and condemn this violent assault by one of his supporters on an elderly Yes campaigner.

He must tell the violent thugs who support his campaign - the BNP, the Orange Order and the SDL - that they are not welcome.

And he must make it clear that closing down debate and intimidating Yes campaigners is not an acceptable tactic. 

Blair McDougall shouldn't accept this standard any more. He should act, and act now.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Gordon Brown's Speech is an Embarrassment to Tory-led Campaign

I often find it difficult to distinguish between Howard Hughes and the sociopath Gordon Brown. 

One is a wealthy man, noted for his bizarre behaviour and reclusiveness, whilst the other is a Texan. 

Mr Brown, who is the part-time MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (although his salary certainly isn't a part-time one), is a notorious thuggish bully. 

His thuggery and inappropriate behaviour as prime minister led to several people in his office contacting anti-bullying charities for help, while the long-serving head of the British civil service, Gus O'Donnell, was so concerned by the Labour MP's behaviour that he confronted Brown over his treatment of staff. One member of his staff was bullied so remorselessly by the then prime minister that he was forced to take time off work. 

Brown is consistently polled as among the worst prime ministers ever, his three year term lurching from disaster to disaster, the worst of which was the financial collapse of the London banking system, which happened on his watch as a direct result of looser regulation introduced by Brown as finance minister.

He's not, in short, the sort of person one wants to front a campaign. 

But, in the time-honoured tradition of Labour getting it spectacularly wrong (they continue, for instance, to send violent criminal George Foulkes on television to sell their message that Scotland is far too small, and the Scots far too poor and far too stupid to govern ourselves), the opposition party saw fit to make Brown the leader of their breakaway movement from the main, Tory-led, war-criminal-associated, anti-Scotland camapaign. 

Today, Brown emerged, blinking, into the sunlight, and made a rare unpaid trip to address a meeting of "United With Labour", a Better Together front organisation which seems to consist of a shell of a website, and the hysterical cackling of Mad Margaret Curran in the background. 

He came to this very ward to address a secret "rally" of the above organisation. And very welcome he is too. He can see now, with his own eyes, the shipyards which have rotted and closed under the more than three hundred years of the Union. 

He can see with his own eyes the poverty of this district, caused directly by the Union, and exacerbated by his abolition of the £0,10 tax rate in order to give tax cuts to the millionaires whose arses jostled for position with Brown's on the Labour front bench, and which millionaires were able to buy not just seats in Parliament, but actual ministerial positions *waves to Lord Sainsbury*.

But this didn't seem to affect him, and on he went, with his speech, at the Pearce Institute on Govan Road. 

Shamelessly, Mr Brown, alongside the usual "positive case for the Union" about how we're too wee, too poor, too stupid, yadda yadda yadda, had the breathtaking hypocrisy to use the line "We allocate resources not on the basis of nationality but on the basis of need" as some sort of argument against independence.

This is an argument which is trotted out by Labour types quite often: that Scotland must not have independence because it would abandon working people in Newcastle, and Manchester, and Leeds, and Southampton to the Conservative Party.

It is a nonsense argument. If the people of England do not wish to have a Conservative government, they have a simple option: don't vote for them.

It is a nonsensical argument for another reason: at no time, ever, has Scottish votes ever changed an English Conservative (or Conservative-Liberal) majority or plurality into a British Labour government.

It is an argument based on deliberate and malicious deceit.

But it is also an argument based on another type of deceit. Mr Brown argues that we don't allocate resources on the basis of nationality. Well, frankly, I have as much in common with a worker from Cairo or Bucharest as one from Coventry or Bradford. I have more in common with a worker from Johannesburg or Sofia than a millionaire from York or Salisbury.

But Mr Brown, in 2007, decided that it was necessary to allocate resources on the basis of nationality rather than need.

That is why he decided, against the pattern of other EU states, that he would effectively ban working people from Romania and Bulgaria - EU citizens all - from sharing in our wealth.
This was exacerbated by his notorious "White Britain" policy, where in a despicable speech to Labour - LABOUR! - supporters, he told "the foreigners" that they ought to "go home", declaring that the United Kingdom should be a land of "British Jobs for British Workers".

That's the true nationalism of Gordon Brown.

It's fine to be a British nationalist, campaigning to keep the foreigners out, spreading a hate and fear of "other", and demanding that not a penny of the wealth generated in the City doesn't go to help alleviate the suffering and discrimination of the Roma people. If you believe that, campaign for it.

But don't try and suggest that your motivation is some sort of noble international socialism when it's nothing more than a combination of narrow British nationalism, spiced up by a bit of dog-whistle racism.

And incidentally, Mr Gordon Brown, who claims to want to allocate resources on the basis of need, claimed more than the average annual salary - on top of his lavish wages - in "expenses" for turning up to work three times in the first six months of the year. He didn't turn up to vote against the Bedroom Tax. He didn't turn up to vote against Britain attacking Syria.

As a prime minister, he was a disaster, but as an MP he is a disgrace. The people of Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath deserve better. Even if they are Fifers.