Labour in Scotland: Lying for votes

The Labour party’s Scottish accounting unit held its spring conference in Glasgow over the weekend, an event mainly focused on creating the fiction that the Labour party in Scotland is is distinct entity with a political identity and policies distinct from those of the UK Labour party in the iron grip of that right wing union flag shagger Keir Starmer. Labour in Scotland is of course permitted to have its own policies in arenas in which the wider UK party has no presence, such as the Scottish Parliament, and relating to devolved matters, but when it comes to Westminster general elections and representation in the House of Commons ‘Scottish’ Labour is merely a branding exercise for the UK Labour party in Scotland despite what Anas Sarwar would have us believe with the active collusion of BBC Scotland, another London controlled Scottish branding exercise.

Labour MPs who represent Scottish constituencies in the House of Commons absolutely do not constitute a distinct grouping – if you can have a group of two that is. Ian Murray and Michael Shanks, the world’s worst boy band, more Sham! than Wham!

The most notable thing to come out of the weekend was Anas Sarwar telling an interviewer, in essence, that the people of Scotland should vote Labour in order to protect Scotland from Keir Starmer, with Sarwar vowing that he’d stand up to Starmer on issues on which they disagreed, of which there seems to be a long and ever lengthening list, from the two child cap on benefits to a ceasefire in Gaza, where over 29,000 people have died since Israel launched its assault in October.

So how exactly is that ‘standing up’ working out for you Anas? Starmer shows no inclination to budge on any of the issues which the branch office purportedly disagrees with, and Scotland’s Labour MPs obediently do Starmer’s bidding, not Sarwar’s. There is no such thing as a “Scottish Labour” party with a different set of policies from UK Labour, certainly not when it comes to a Westminster general election. Labour MPs representing Scottish constituencies in the Commons take the Labour whip and do not vote distinctly from their colleagues representing seats in England or Wales. The anti-independence media in Scotland have not leapt upon how ludicrous it is that a party leader in Scotland has to promise that he’ll stand up against the unpopular policies of his UK party boss, even less that we all know the promise is hollow.

The Commons voting record of Michael Shanks is a case in point. He was elected by making all the same promises that Anas Sarwar is making right now. He was his own man, he told us, he was opposed to the vile two child benefit cap which Starmer has shamefully said he’s not going to abolish. Yet in his short time in Westminster he has proven that he’s obedient lobby fodder for Starmer, never raising his voice against those policies he supposedly disagrees with.

At their spring conference in Glasgow, the branch office delegates overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Keir Starmer will naturally pay close attention to this resolution passed by the McMinions before filing it under “Yeah, whatevs.”

Anas Sarwar has since taken to the airwaves trying to make out that this resolution is really not that different from Starmer’s position at all, oh no. This is despite the fact that Starmer repeatedly refuses to make a simple call for a ceasefire and even as the death toll of innocent civilians mounts and the evidence of war crimes being committed by the Israeli armed forces grows overwhelming, Starmer still will not unequivocally condemn the actions of the Israeli forces. Instead all we get are a series of mealy mouthed semantic games..

This week the SNP is putting pressure on Labour to support a Commons motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as the Israeli forces are poised to mount an all out ground assault on the Gazan city of Rafah, into which about 1.5 million desperate Palestinians are crammed, having fled there after Israel told them it was a safe haven. The death toll could be catastrophic, adding thousands more to the 29,000 who have already lost their lives. The need for a ceasefire has never been more urgent.

Following the news that the SNP were to table a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire, Anas Sarwar told the BBC that Labour whips had made contact with SNP whips ahead of the vote. This was immediately denied by the SNP, who insisted that the claim was “entirely unfounded.”

“I know our whips have already made contact with SNP whips to say, ultimately, we both want the same thing,” Sarwar told the BBC’s Martin Geissler. “We both want the violence to stop right now.” Sarwar had made a similar comment to the press at the Labour conference in Glasgow on Saturday.

Sarwar was simply up to the old Labour trick of telling the Scottish public what he thought it wanted to hear, while behaving very differently behind the scenes safe in the knowledge that BBC Scotland won’t call him out over the contradiction and that the uncomfortable truth would quickly be glossed over. Making stuff up is a hoary Labour tactic for getting through potentially awkward interviews.

SNP chief whip Owen Thompson said it was “entirely untrue” that contact had been made.

He wrote on Twitter: “[Martin Geissler,] just listening to your interview with Anas Sarwar on #SundayShow. He claims Labour whips are discussing ceasefire vote with SNP whips. As SNP chief whip I can say this is entirely untrue as there has been no contact with me.”

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn added: “I’m deeply confused that Anas Sarwar took it upon himself to go on national television and to effectively lie and mislead the people of Scotland regarding Labour whips speaking to SNP whips. That has not happened – that is categorically untrue.I think that does Anas Sarwar a deep dis-service – maybe he’s been spun a line by UK Labour and he’s fallen for it, but it hasn’t happened.”

But the Labour party in Scotland will continue to lie and to mislead. They know they won’t be held to account for it by the media in Scotland, anything to fend off their biggest fear, a self confident Scotland set on independence.


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