Cameron has reneged on his promise to Scotland – why is Miliband getting the blame?

Effing who? It seems that, when Cameron talked about "giving the effing Tories a kicking", he was in fact hoping to kick Labour instead - and he has found plenty of FOOLs (see the article) to help him.

Effing who? It seems that, when Cameron talked about “giving the effing Tories a kicking”, he was in fact hoping to kick Labour instead – and he has found plenty of FOOLs (see the article) to help him.

It seems a lot of people have become terribly confused and are making a lot of rash assumptions.

The first is that promises by the political leaders in Westminster – to hand Scotland new powers over tax, spending and social security – persuaded voters in Scotland to reject the opportunity to split away from the United Kingdom and form their own country. We don’t know that this is the case. In the run-up to the vote, the result was too close to judge, depending on perhaps six or seven per cent of the total number of voters. If they were persuaded by the offer, does that invalidate the belief held by the other 48 per cent, who always thought Scotland was better off with the rest of us?

The second is that Labour has reneged on the promise to give more powers to Scotland. This claim is utterly inexplicable as Labour has not done any such thing. Only this morning (Sunday), on Andrew Marr’s TV show, Ed Miliband said: “Yes. Yes. Yes. We’re going to deliver. No ifs, no buts. We’re going to deliver on that promise.” That’s about as straightforward as it can get. Labour will keep its word.

Finally, that English devolution is tied up with the promise of more powers for Scotland. It isn’t. David Cameron never mentioned more powers for England until the morning of the referendum result and it was not part of the offer he made alongside Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in the run-up to the vote.

It seems that the problems have arisen from the last point. Cameron – ever the opportunist – saw a chance to gain something from the unexpected victory, and cobbled up a plan to resurrect the long-dead West Lothian question.

This asks why Scottish MPs can vote on English matters in Westminster, when English MPs cannot vote on matters that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Cameron wants to introduce a law to ban Scottish MPs from voting on England-only matters in Westminster, tied in with the new powers for Scotland.

It is, as with most Cameron Government ideas, monumentally stupid. The way to ensure Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs don’t vote on England-only matters is to devolve powers to deal with such matters to an English Assembly – or several regional assemblies. In fact, such bodies used to exist; what happened to them? With those powers safely devolved, Westminster could continue dealing with matters that concern the whole of the UK.

There’s only one problem with that: It runs entirely counter to the whole of Conservative policy during the last four-plus years.

The Tories have worked very hard on concentrating power centrally in Westminster, by constricting the flow of money to all other UK authorities and telling them what to do with what they’ve been given. Devolving power to regional English assemblies means a loss of influence that the toffs who pull Cameron’s strings simply won’t countenance. The BBC’s Mark D’Arcy put it very well: “Devolution to regions or city-regions would mean more Labour enclaves.”

Labour clearly wants English devolution to be handled separately from the referendum promises, and this is entirely reasonable; tying them together is something Cameron is trying to do unilaterally – it was never agreed by the unionist parties when they were putting together their offer to Scotland.

The Tories and their followers are trying to spin this, to make it seem that Labour is the renegade party – with some success among the weak-minded, it seems.

Most of all, though – certainly on the Vox Political Facebook page – we’re seeing wave after wave of claims that Labour and the Conservatives are the same because they campaigned side-by-side as unionists, even though this makes absolutely no sense at all in the context of either Scottish devolution or the West Lothian question.

It seems that the many Tory minions who see this muddling of the facts as the only way to win the next election have been released into the community again to do their worst. The mission is explained by Robert Livingstone on the ‘We hate Iain Duncan Smith – The Minister For Manslaughter FB page: “BBC Tory correspondent Nick Robinson has stated that David Cameron’s best chance of winning the next election is to convince the electorate that all parties are the same.”

So we see:

“Tory/Labour theres no real difference and anyone with any sense knows that.”

“Darling Milliband and Brown campaigning with the Tories was the final straw.”

“Labour and Tory are two sides of the same coin.” (This one was from a UKIP supporter, who then claimed “I might yet vote Green”. Whatever.)

“Labour has said its keeping most Tory policies.” (See this Vox Political article for the facts about that claim)

“In bed with the torys all the way.”

It occurs to Yr Obdt Srvt that, if Nick ‘Tory’ Robinson is right and Cameron’s best chance lies in convincing the electorate that all political parties are the same anyway and voting won’t make a difference, then he’ll have asked his campaign chief Lynton Crosby to make it happen.

Therefore it seems that we can safely consider anyone promoting such views to be allied to Mr Crosby – a Friend Of Ol’ Lynton (FOOL) if you like.

You can tell where this is going…

So the next time you hear anyone uttering such tosh, or read it in the social media comment columns, see if you can be the first to ask that person: “Are you a FOOL?”


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  1. robcrowley September 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    And you wholeheartedly believe Labour, despite the fact that they can’t be trusted either. I never trusted any of them, but to call someone a fool for not believing/trusting Milliband?
    Stones in glass houses, my friend.

    • Mike Sivier September 21, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      I’m saying they are allied to Lynton Crosby and his campaign of disinformation in order to undermine Labour. The fact that the acronym spells ‘FOOL’ is just a happy bonus.
      You fit the description, by the way.

    • RL September 21, 2014 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      Who says it’s a fact? You do, robcrowley.
      I say it’s a fact that you are talking bollocks.
      My fact wins.

      Well said, Mike,

  2. Stephen Kelly September 21, 2014 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Excellent article. You best yet.

  3. Niki September 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Hummmm. There are many differences between labour and the Tories, but they are not as big as I would like. The whole neoliberal premise is troubling me greatly and I can’t see much that would change massively with Labour in power. Does this make me a FOOL as well? Labour certainly are the BOABS here…..(best of a bad bunch)

    • Mike Sivier September 21, 2014 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      No, it doesn’t make you a Friend Of Ol’ Lynton because you’re not arguing against Labour or saying they’re exactly the same. Labour has a lot of changing to do after its disastrous dalliance with neoliberalism so you’re not alone in having doubts. However, the best way to reform Labour is to join it and push through change from the inside.

      • AJ September 21, 2014 at 10:35 pm - Reply

        It does not make you a fool not to trust a politician “they can’t be trusted either”, it rather points towards a wise man. My first ever vote was for Mr Kinnock, I joined the Labour party aged 18 while serving an apprenticeship at BAe. I don’t trust Balls or Milliband; but I do trust my MP Andy Burnham he is an honest man that as always helped my family. Ed Milliband sells out the poor on a daily basis, not opposing IDS on workfare and sanctions to appease the Daily Hate. Be honest Mike you know as well as I do some Labour MP’s should really be in the Tory party (Blairites). The now retired miners and my friends I stood on the picket lines with in the 80’s did not call him Tony the blue for nothing.

        • Mike Sivier September 21, 2014 at 11:38 pm - Reply

          Read this:
          The fifth claim and its answer should help you. As for not opposing IDS on workfare – that was a single instance, and he decided to call for party members to abstain on the grounds that he had won concessions. I disapproved vocally as I did not think those concessions were worth anything. It’s still one occasion when I think he made a mistake.
          Some Labour MPs don’t belong in the party but you won’t get them out by complaining from the outside.

      • bookmanwales September 21, 2014 at 11:36 pm - Reply

        We keep hearing that change is best achieved from inside the party but very little happens.
        The ruling executives, committees, established powerbases whatever you want to call them will oppose each and any attempt by members to facilitate change.

        The Labour Party’s desire to end the block vote of unions, to sever ties with the unions (at least financially) makes this pretty plain. In fact Labour under the current leadership seem to be pretty well ashamed of having any ties at all to the working class who made their existence possible.

        The Labour rhetoric does indeed at times closely mirror the Tory in both it’s manner and delivery. The only clear cut guarantee been given so far is to end the bedroom tax never mind the million sanctions, the leaching private companies, the lack of jobs, the sale of public assets, privatisation of the NHS etc., etc..

        Whilst one can understand Labour’s reluctance to show their hand before a general election they are cutting it pretty damn fine if they wish to convince the electorate at large, never mind dissaffected Labour supporters, that they are a viable alternative.

        I am not a fool and never tell people not to vote Labour but for every day of Labour’s silence it gets harder and harder to convince people that Labour will, or even want to, change anything the Tories have pushed through.

        • Mike Sivier September 21, 2014 at 11:44 pm - Reply

          Even though Labour has already made dozens of commitments to change things the Tories have pushed through?

  4. David September 21, 2014 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Anyone who believes ‘Labour will keep its word’ has no right to call anyone else a fool. We have seen who they align themselves with. We have seen their sneering condescension. Labour have embraced British Nationalism and it is ugly.

    • Mike Sivier September 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Anyone who says what you say is a Friend Of Ol’ Lynton (Crosby). If the Tories get back into office next May, congratulate yourself on a nasty job well done.

  5. David September 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Deleting comments only serves to maintain your own delusion. Labour are aligned with the tories and British Nationalism. Delete this too you hypocrites.

    • Mike Sivier September 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm - Reply

      You were in the spam folder. Some might say you belong there, considering the quality of your comments. “Labour are aligned with the Tories” indeed!
      Grow up.

  6. casalealex September 21, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    23rd October 2013 – 12.31pm PMQs –

    “Lynton Crosby’s responsibility is to destroy the Labour party.” Cameron thunders.

    Lynton Crosby, who has declared that his role is to destroy the Labour Party, rather than promote the Conservatives, based on any notion of merit, is all about such a targeted “divide and rule” strategy. This is a right wing tactic of cultivating and manipulating apostasy amongst support for the opposition. It’s a very evident ploy in the media, too, with articles about Labour screaming headlines that don’t match content, and the Sun and Telegraph blatantly lying about Labour’s policy intentions regularly. Propaganda isn’t obvious, and that’s how it works. We need to be mindful of this.

  7. he September 21, 2014 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    “its disastrous dalliance with neoliberalism”

    And there was me thinking it was full embrace of “neoliberalism”, as Thatcher said when asked what her greatest achievement had been, she replied “New Labour”.

  8. gavinpollock September 22, 2014 at 7:52 am - Reply

    It’s not true that English MPs can’t vote on Scottish matters. Sovereignty still resides with the Westminster parliament, so any law can be overturned by English MPs. Cameron’s offering a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

    • Mike Sivier September 22, 2014 at 8:57 am - Reply

      Interesting. Can you refer us to the relevant legislation?

      • gavinpollock September 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm - Reply

        The Devolution bill was quite clear that the Scottish parliament only has powers by the grace of Westminster. From Wiki (Yes, not always reliable, but in this case it’s right)

        “The Scottish Parliament was formed by statute, the Scotland Act 1998, and is thus a creation of Westminster. No sovereign status on the Scottish Parliament is conferred, and the act has not changed the status of the Westminster Parliament as the supreme legislature of Scotland, with Westminster retaining the ability to override, or veto, any decisions taken by the Scottish Parliament. The Westminster Parliament remains the sovereign body; power is devolved rather than transferred to the Scottish Parliament.

        As a consequence, the ability of all Westminster MPs to vote on Scottish legislation has not been legally diminished by devolution, as made clear by Section 28(7) of the Scotland Act 1998, which states that the legislative powers of the Scottish Parliament do “…not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Scotland””

        There’s a convention that Westminster won’t overturn Scots legislation, but that’s not the same as a law. And the convention was ignored when Thatcher used English MPs to vote in the Poll Tax in Scotland.

        • Mike Sivier September 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

          That’s very welcome information – thanks.

  9. Fiona Fletcher September 22, 2014 at 10:56 am - Reply

    While it remains theoretically possible to dissolve the Scottish Parliament or legislate without its consent in relation to Scotland, in practice such a move would be politically difficult. – source:

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