Wednesday, 20 May 2009

British Jobs for British Workers

The No2EU press release reads:


No2EU-Yes to Democracy, the left coalition running candidates in the Euro elections on June 4th, today pledged full support for workers protesting across the country in the “race to the bottom” on wages and the exploitation of overseas workers as a tool to drive down pay and conditions.

No2EU has objected strongly to press reports that the protests, which have hit construction sites across the UK, are playing into the hands of the BNP.

Owen Morris, No2EU election candidate and a key figure in the rank and file construction workers movement, said:

“This is not a xenophobic issue. It is the employers who are at fault not the employees. This is all about the race to the bottom on wages. This is another form of social dumping on wages and the employers should be forced to be socially responsible to all employees.”

Bob Crow, No2EU Convenor and RMT general secretary, said:

“These workers have no option but to stand up to exploitation wherever it comes from. RMT and No2EU will always support workers who are prepared to fight for jobs, pay, working conditions and union rights.”

Leaders of the Lindsey oil refinery workers are the number one candidates on the No2EU lists both in the East Mindlands and in Yorkshire & The Humber.

It is notable that this latest round of protests began in Pembrokeshire before spreading to Lincolnshire as well as to the Vale of Glamorgan. British workers, indeed.

This on the same day that Charles Kennedy on The Daily Politics dampened the constitutional reforming zeal of Ben Bradshaw and Eric Pickles by becoming the latest Lib Dem MP from the North of Scotland to talk about “deep disillusionment” with devolution. Like Danny Alexander, and like others more privately (as yet), he is turning into a latter-day Brian Wilson.

At their best, the Lib Dems are local communitarian populists, and battlers for otherwise neglected causes. The party label is a sort of franchise, and of course source of funds, in order to get them elected, but not really anything more than that. The federalist and other theoretical side of Liberalism is of little or no interest to them. It is notable that this garners them so many votes in rural areas, where turnout is considerably higher than in urban areas. If each were offered his pet local project by either Labour or the Tories in a hung Parliament, then the Lib Dem MPs from the Highlands, Islands and Borders would come on board as surely as would those from anywhere else, including Mid-Wales.

And if the delivery of any such project required that Westminster enact legislation over a Scottish (or Welsh) domestic matter, overriding any enactment of a devolved body as the devolution legislation itself specifies would be the case, then that would be just fine and dandy from those MPs’ point of view, just so long as the thing itself got done. The SNP, Plaid Cymru or anyone else who didn’t like it would have to explain why they didn’t want it, since the devolved body would obviously be showing no inclination to make it happen.

Let no one forget that the No vote to devolution was high in the areas where the Lib Dems do well, at least relatively so in Scotland, and rather more so than that in Wales. Nor let anyone forget that the SDP (whence came Kennedy) carried over much of the Old Labour Right’s profound reservation about devolution, including the very person of George Cunningham, who is still alive.

Neither Kennedy, nor Andrew Neil, nor anyone else queried Nick Robinson’s suggestion that Michael Martin might sit as an Independent until the next General Election, the easier to hand over his seat to his son, who is the sitting MSP for the area. So, no doubt there which is the real Parliament and which isn’t. For that matter, how many SNP candidates next year will be sitting MSPs? Rather a lot, one suspects.


  1. The Aberdonian20 May 2009 at 17:14

    You are really obsessed with driving down devolution aren't you? I noticed you did not mark the 10th anniversary.

    Strangely Westminster has been in touch with Holyrood to see what they can borrow from Edinburgh in terms of regulating expenses. And of course Martin called for this in his speech yesterday.

    And of course Westminster is copying the Holyrood system of electing the chair------

    Concerning Westminster legislating for Scotland in devolved areas, there is already a system - it is called Sewell motions. Whitehall sits down with Calton Hill to agree what is acceptable in the Queens Speech and then if it is acceptable to Holyrood the Scottish Parliament gives consent.

    And Dave is offering to meet Salmond and whoever else in Bute House monthly which is good. He is offering to go in front of the Scottish Parliament yearly which I think is pointless. However his plan to allow some sort of formal dialogue between the two legislatures is in the right direction.

    I know you fantasies of tanks rolling down the Royal Mile and Salmond being arrested and flown by gunship to a secure cell in Belmarsh. But fortunately they are just fevered fantasies on your part.

  2. "I noticed you did not mark the 10th anniversary"

    What's to mark?

    "regulating expenses"

    Nothing to do with the principle.

    "And of course Westminster is copying the Holyrood system of electing the chair"

    I doubt they've ever heard of it. They just got it from the same think tank paper out of the Ark, that's all. And, again, nothing to do with the principle.

    "Sewell motions"

    No status whatever.

    "And Dave is offering to meet Salmond and whoever else in Bute House monthly which is good"

    Believe in it when you see it.

    "He is offering to go in front of the Scottish Parliament yearly which I think is pointless"

    He'll never do it, anyway.

    "fevered fantasies on your part"

    And on the parts of the Lib Dems in the North of Scotland, and on the parts of the Labour Party in Glasgow, and...

    Who needs to do anything? Mostly because of the changed economic circumstances, the thing can and will just die. Slowly. But surely.

    I ask again, if it is so wonderful, or even terribly important, then why are so many of its members, of all parties, putting up for Westminster? Why is a seat in it just somewhere to park an MP's son before he inherits?

  3. The Aberdonian21 May 2009 at 15:02

    Er, what do you mean about MSPs running for the Commons. The only person known to be doing so is Margaret Curran - and that is only probably to save face over her defeat in the by-election and get revenge. One out of 129?

    Paul Martin announced last night he was not running for Glasgow North-East. He said he was committed to Holyrood.

    Sewell motions are enshrined by law. Live with it.

    It was recently the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament being elected by the way.

    Why do you keep harking on about Highland Lib Dems. The Lib Dems are a federalist party. Next thing you will claiming is that Charlie Kennedy is a hardline line ultra unionist.

    I am well aware of Scottish Labour backbench MPs - particularly Davidson and co. But the Scottish media tends to treat them as a laughing stock and questions whether they are worth the £64,000 per annum plus expenses. And today's papers are splashed about Mr Davidson and his decorating arrangements.

    You are just annoyed that Martin praised the Scottish Parliament from his chair during the statement.

    When you write such repostes I can imagine your face twisted with rage. You want those tanks and Salmond arrest scenarios don't you?

  4. "One out of 129?"

    We'll see.

    "Paul Martin announced last night he was not running for Glasgow North-East. He said he was committed to Holyrood"

    In other words, it would just be embarassing, what with everything that has happened. Funny how it was a done deal up until this week.

    "Sewell motions are enshrined by law"

    Not such as can override an Act of the Westminster Parliament. If taht Parliament just legislated for the Orkney and Shetland This or the Inverness and Lochaber That, then that would be that.

    And you and yours would be left trying to explain why you didn't want it to happen, and/or why Holyrood had not already done it. Would Alex Salmond go to court to stop it? That would go down well...

    "It was recently the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament being elected by the way"

    Who cares? There'll not be a twentieth. There is simply no longer the money for such luxury items.

    "Why do you keep harking on about Highland Lib Dems?"

    They do it themselves.

    "The Lib Dems are a federalist party"

    Not really. They are really as I described.

    "the Scottish media"

    Who cares? Scottish Labour MPs certainly don't.

    "You want those tanks and Salmond arrest scenarios don't you?"

    He doesn't warrant that level of attention. And anyway, he's really the biggest Unionist of the lot. Any sign of that referendum? Well, there you are, then.

  5. The Aberdonian21 May 2009 at 16:31

    David you know perfectly well that an act of parliament cannot be challenged in a court of law. So Salmond and co cannot do so.

    If you want Westminster to lose face by looking like a crack-pot post-imperialist Leviathan then fair enough. It merely strengthens the SNP's argument.

    Of course there are lands where London was once sovereign. But when the "Mother of Parliament" roars these days New Delhi yawns.

    I love this parody by the way by Ian Hamilton:

  6. "If you want Westminster to lose face by looking like a crack-pot post-imperialist Leviathan then fair enough"

    Not at all. I want to it do that which everyone who voted Yes to devolution voted for it to do - continue to enact supreme legislation in all policy areas for all parts of the United Kingdom. If you didn't want that, then you should have voted no.

    In fact, any really principled Nationalist should have abstained, as advocated by Jim Sillars. But I bet you didn't.

    And good luck with explaining to the people of whatever area of Scotland that they cannot have the project in question, campaigned for by their MP, because it is an act of "a crack-pot post-imperialist Leviathan".

    What SNP argument? There no longer is one. Money talks.

    Oh, and you are wrong about relations with India. It is a very close alliance indeed.

  7. The Aberdonian21 May 2009 at 17:01

    Dehli might be mates, but it does not do what is told. Has not since the horn was blasted "at the stoke of midnight" within the Union Parliament chamber in 1947.

    She merely yawns along with those thirteen renegade colonies to the west of these isles.

    We used to rule them. Now we work for them.

    What you have written confirms that Westminster is a "crack-pot" etc.

  8. No, you are confirming how tragically insular once-outgoing Scotland in general, and her admittedly always rather peculiar Nationalist subculture in particular, has become since devolution.