News you may have missed on BBC Scotland

While we’ve been preoccupied with the drama of Humza Yousaf’s resignation, the votes of no confidence in Holyrood and an SNP leadership contest which turned out not to be that dramatic after all, elsewhere politics was continuing as usual, the Tories were torying in their normal chaotic and nasty way while Keir Starmer’s Labour party was being its usual duplicitous U turning self. None of this made much of an impact on BBC Scotland, concerned as it was to assure us that the Scottish Government was collapsing. [news flash: It didn’t]

Over the past months Labour’s Scottish branch office has made much of its support for Waspi women, the women who lost out due to changes to the retirement age for women for the state pension, with both Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie being photographed with campaigners and making a big play of the branch office’s support for their campaign for pension justice.

But as with so much else that the North British accounting unit claims that it stands for – such as calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, a halt to British arms sales to Israel, or the abolition of the abhorrent two child cap on benefits – what the Labour party in Scotland says it wants is not what the UK Labour party of which it is a wholly owned and controlled subsidiary has any intention of delivering.

Labour in Scotland constantly plays the trick of pretending it has distinctive policies at a Westminster level from UK Labour, and is allowed to get away with it by Scotland’s ferry obsessed anti-independence media and above all by BBC Scotland, the branch office gains significant publicity in the Scottish press for making grandiose left wing sounding promises which it hopes will appeal to a predominantly left of centre Scottish electorate, but these promises are way above the pay grade of branch manager Anas Sarwar. What Labour actually delivers are the centre-right policies of Keir Starmer aimed at appealing to Brexit supporting former Conservative voters in England.

Labour MPs returned to the House of Commons to represent Scottish constituencies do not form a coherent voting bloc in Westminster agitating for distinctively Scottish policies, they take the UK Labour whip and obediently do Keir Starmer’s bidding, as we have seen with Labour’s most recent North British lackey, Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Michael Shanks, a man whose few short months in office already prove that he’s a Labour placeman with his eye on a peerage, just like so many dinosaurs before him.

But Starmer’s reach extends beyond Westminster, Labour’s MSPs in Holyrood are also obliged to do his mendacious right wing bidding. Thus it has transpired with the branch office’s much touted support for Waspi women. Labour MSPs believe they were ordered by London to abstain on a motion calling for compensation for Waspi women. On Wednesday the Labour cohort in Holyrood refused to vote on an SNP motion put before the Scottish Parliament which called on the UK Government to “pay compensation in full [to Waspi women] without delay”.

Labour insiders told The National they believe Labour MSPs were ordered by UK Labour not to vote with the SNP. The source added that MSPs including Sarwar and his deputy Jackie Baillie had photographs of them with Waspi women “plastered all over social media” making their abstention “just criminal, really”.

Perhaps it’s not criminal in the strict sense of the term, but it is absolutely deceitful and hypocritical, we’ve come to expect that from the branch office, and that is why if Keir Starmer does succeed in becoming the next Prime Minister, which is looking increasingly likely, he and his party will rapidly become very unpopular indeed.

The Labour party in Scotland still insists that it supports compensation for Waspi women but have issues with the amount they should receive. So that makes it all OK then. Yes Waspi women, you can have compensation for government maladministration but we’re going to hum and haw and put roadblocks in your way because we’re concerned you might get too much. But we totally support you – by the way – can Anas have a photie for his Insta page? He’ll even try not to look sneery.

Of course this shameful Labour U turn was all over BBC Scotland news. Naa, April fool’s day was last month. None of it rated a mention. Don’t expect BBC Scotland to burst Labour’s bubble of deceit and to highlight that the Labour party in Scotland does not and cannot have policies related to non-devolved matters which are different from those of Keir Starmer. Anas Sarwar is bound by every one of Starmer’s right wing U turns, no matter how much he tries to pretend otherwise.

While we are on the topic of shameful Labour U turns that BBC Scotland equally shamefully refuses to pay much attention to, Keir Starmer’s plans to water down his promised package of workers’ rights have not gone down well with the branch office. It came to light on Wednesday that following interventions from business leaders Starmer intends to scale back plans he had previously hailed as the “biggest levelling up of worker rights this country has seen for a generation”. Note even there his use of the Conservatives’ ‘levelling up’ terminology.

The “new deal for working people” had originally included pledges on increasing sick pay, ending “fire and rehire” and reversing anti-trade union legislation. But the Financial Times reported that many measures were being toned down as Labour attempted to woo big business. To add insult to injury the story came out on the first of May, International Workers’ Day. A party source said: “There’s not a better time to do it if you want to say ‘fuck you’ to the unions than on May Day.” Labour is the party which says it’s the voice of the workers but Starmer only pays heed to the voice of the bosses. That “toned down” new deal for working people will be watered down even further should Starmer get into Downing Street just like other grand promises from the Labour party get watered down until they are unrecognisable. The Vow, anyone?  How many more times do we need to go down this tiresome road?

But like everything else Starmer does as he moves Labour even further to the right and trashes all the promises and commitments that the Labour party in Scotland makes, Sarwar and the rest of Starmer’s obedient little Scottish Yes men and women will swallow it and vote as their flag waving boss tells them to.

On Thursday England went to the polls for local and mayoral elections, as expected the Tories got a well deserved drubbing, but an analysis of the results found that Keir Starmer cannot count on winning an absolute majority in the House of Commons. This makes it absolutely imperative that Scotland recognises the right wing double dealing of Keir Starmer and the duplicity of Labour in Scotland for what it is and returns a strong contingent of SNP MPs at the next Westminster general election, the SNP is the only pro independence party with realistic prospects of getting MPs elected to Westminster and a good showing by the SNP in a hung parliament could provide exactly the leverage which is needed to extract some respect for democracy in Scotland from the parties that wrap themselves in British flags.

Meanwhile, in a delicious example of just desserts being served, Boris Johnson, who three years ago dismissed as “total nonsense” claims that his Voter ID law would stop people from being able to vote was turned away from a polling station for “failing to bring acceptable voter ID”. Yet again Johnson was caught out acting as though every law has a special clause exempting him from it.


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