Scotland’s Labour Pains


By Jason Michael

On the day that newly elected Labour councillors in Aberdeen and in other parts of the country jumped ship to support the Tories, I met Andrew Bustard online. He’s the future of the revolution, but he’s still on the wrong side.


Thanks to my recent trip into the online political forum of Tremr I had the dubious pleasure yesterday of an encounter with Coatbridge’s almost pubescent Citizen Smith; social media content creator-cum-propagandist for Scottish Labour and door-thumping campaigner for Scottish Young Labour – the Labour Party’s answer to East Germany’s Freie Deutsche Jugend – Andrew Bustard. Some UKIP supporter had posted a piece blaming the SNP for Britain’s woes on account of it not having “bothered to work with the Conservative Party to reassure [sic] a better deal…”

“Damn right,” was my response, this obnoxious position being like a red rag to a bull. “Damn right the Scottish National Party hasn’t collaborated with the British occupation.” In the rest of the response I spelt out the fact that the SNP represented 95 per cent of Scotland’s seats at Westminster, and that the SNP was elected for two reasons; to secure independence and to resist the outrageous excesses of Tory British rule until the first objective has been achieved. At this my new kipper friend retired from the field, but – as if on cue – Coatbridge’s one-man Bolshevik revolution rushed in to her aid.

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Who said Romanticism was dead?

“Terms like ‘occupation’ are really unhelpful,” he whines at a pitch that got the neighbour’s dog howling. I honestly don’t know any other word to describe the English army that helped convince the Edinburgh parliament to sign the Act of Union, the Wade roads and Hanoverian garrisons, the Highland genocides, and the imposition of nuclear weapons we don’t want. Sincerely, I don’t. It sounds like an occupation to me. Yet I was being schooled by a plooky-faced boy on how “Scotland wilfully participated in the occupation and oppression of countries like Ireland and India.”

It was only when he insisted “support for independence is collapsing” that I realised the pity. He was a product of a maths syllabus Labour introduced. But the pity was all the more because I realised he almost gets it. He clearly understood the criminality and injustice of British rule in Ireland and India, a policy very much continued by his beloved “vanguard of the working class [lol]” under Tony Blair – a man who lied in order to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity in a US-led illegal invasion of Iraq. He also gets that Labour has only itself to blame. In an article he posted to the site four months ago, titled “Scottish Labour’s Devolution Death,” he wrote:

Devolution has lead [sic] to the absolute collapse of the Labour Party in Scotland, yet it is not devolution that is responsible for the collapse. The Scottish Labour Party must acknowledge they have sown the seeds of their own destruction within that devolved assembly.

You don’t say Sherlock?! Labour has not collapsed. The World Trade Centre buildings in New York collapsed. Scottish Labour has evaporated, or – as Marx in his Communist Manifesto put it, a text I thought Bustard would appreciate – “all that is solid melts into air.” What working class support it had had in 2012 has shifted en masse to the pro-independence camp. Its boot licking New Labour Blairites – a synonym for neo-Thatcherites if ever there was one – have become more honest and found the Tories. There is no Labour Party in Scotland. Whatever did exist of this proletarian party for the dictatorship of the masses, this fabled socialism, has voted with its feet, and Andrew Bustard knows as well as anyone else that those socialists didn’t go over to the Tories.

Offline, the day got even worse for our wee Lanarkshire Lech Wałęsa. Labour-style Solidarity was shown for what it really is up in Aberdeen. An entire compliment of Labour councillors – recently elected by well-meaning Labour supporters – defected from the Party to support the Conservative and Unionist Party. It is clearer now than it has ever been that the Labour unionist priority is class war on the side of London’s unionist British establishment élite. What oor Andrew is defending is the last and ultimate betrayal of his Labour movement gods. Keir Hardie, John Smith, and his “other Scottish giants” are all dead, and – today – it is fortunate for them that they are.


When this lad, what with his fairly average set of Highers, tells me that my words are “unhelpful” and when she spits out “nationalist” at me like its phlegm in his mouth, I’d laugh, but it’s too damned dire a situation we’re in for that. My nationalism is the socialism he barely comprehends; the want to protect workers, families, and the vulnerable from a system of greed over which we have absolutely no control at Westminster. It is the sharp edge of the struggle to protect his mother, sister, daughter, wife, and comrade from the repugnance of having to declare their victimhood to rape and sexual assault. It is the fight for decency and respect, for the want to have it thus: To each according to his need, and from each according to his ability. Only an independent nation, governed by ourselves – as the Edinburgh man James Connolly would have had it – can achieve this.

What’s most saddening about this encounter is that young men and women like Andrew, all over Scotland, are intelligent enough to work this out. They can see it. But something stops them. They have developed a fetish for a Second International vision of Labourism that – quite frankly – no longer exists. I get it; the red flags on his Twitter banner, the black berets, the closed fist salutes, and the unbridled possibility of revolutionary sex appeal. Man, I was that trooper. It’s gone Andrew. They don’t even show the reruns anymore. Socialism has only one Great Leap Forward to make in Scotland; it’s called “Sexy Socialism.”

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Not Even Labour Supports Labour Anymore


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