Keir Starmer just wiped Scottish Labour off the map

A scene from Braveheart with Keir Starmer as Edward I
Steve Topple

As if the UK didn’t have enough to deal with at the end of 2020, enter Keir Starmer to make matters even worse. Or, if you live in Scotland and/or are a supporter of its independence – the Labour leader just did you a favour.

Pandemic? Brexit? No, let’s piss Scotland off, says Labour

On Monday 21 December, Starmer gave a speech on Scotland. It was setting out his plans for the future. The BBC reported that this was in advance of the 2021 Holyrood elections. Let’s ignore the fact that the Labour Party’s timing for this was dire; you’d think, given the country is gripped by a “Brexit Island” crisis, someone would have told Starmer to scrap his speech.

But no, his speech went ahead anyway. And it was devoid of any understanding of why 58% of people want to break from the UK.

How many ‘separatists’ does it take to make a Starmer speech?

BBC News wrote that Starmer:

said the pandemic had put “rocket boosters” under the case for decentralisation of power, saying his party must “grasp the nettle and offer real devolution of power and resources” if it is to have any hope of preserving the future of the union.

He said: “It is Labour’s duty to offer a positive alternative to the Scottish people. To show that you don’t have to choose between a broken status quo and the uncertainty and divisiveness of separatism… “

“Separatism”? No, he really did say that – repeatedly, in fact. In the text of his speech, Starmer said “separation”, “separatist” or “separatism” ten times. The phrase is insulting and condescending for many people – much like Boris Johnson intentionally calling the SNP the Scottish “Nationalist” Party. As The Canary‘s editor-at-large Kerry-Anne Mendoza said:

But it gets worse.

The Broon is back

BBC News noted that the Labour leader would preside over:

the setting up of a UK-wide constitutional commission, advised by former prime minister Gordon Brown, to deliver a “fresh and tangible offer” to the Scottish people.

Yes, ‘Gordon ‘the Vow’ Broon‘ is back. The former PM had a shambolic involvement in the first Scottish Independence Referendum and its aftermath. Yet Starmer thinks people will still listen to what Brown has to say. You couldn’t make this up – because the former PM is, for many people, as detached from a “positive alternative” for Scotland as you can get.

Moreover, the problem with Starmer’s vision is that he doesn’t really have one. Admittedly, there was no detail in his speech. That is presumably to follow. But after a year that’s seen Brexit, economic, and pandemic chaos – the idea that Scotland is “Better Together” when the Tories repeatedly get elected to the Westminster government will ring hollow with many. And Starmer’s plan will do little to change this.

But what his speech also shows is that Labour still has not got its head around the Scottish independence movement.

Not a clue

Westminster politicians can offer Scotland as much devolution as they like. But history and the present day both show that even with some level of devolution, Scotland is still under the English thumb. And recent public votes, be they elections or referendums, have also show that the will of the Scottish people is often irrelevant; the public ending up with the opposite of what they voted for.

Devolution that delivers full Scottish autonomy from Westminster is a circle that cannot be squared. As the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald said:

No amount of constitutional tinkering of the kind proposed by Labour will protect Scotland from Brexit or the Tory power grab being imposed upon us against our will

Moreover, banging the devolution drums ignores history.

Even Mel Gibson shows Starmer up

I watched Braveheart for the first time ever on Sunday 20 December. Historically laughable, dubious in its stereotyping with equally bizarre accents to boot, it fails to stand up to scrutiny over why it won so many awards nearly 25 years ago. But for me, it contextualised the current Scottish independence debate quite well. As King Edward Longshanks said in the film:

The trouble with Scotland is that it’s full of Scots.

The same English mindset that was shown in Braveheart still somewhat exists today. That is, many English politicians have an almost inherited, colonial (and in some cases possibly subconscious) mindset that they are born to rule over Scotland and can do as they please. The idea that Scottish people are somehow lesser humans may not be acutely present – but in the darkest depths of the English establishment class’s DNA, it’s there. Many Scottish people feel the English consider them inferior and something that needs controlling and ruling – and pillaging and exploiting, too.

They’d be right. No amount of sugar-coated, polished spin from Starmer about a new and shiny form of devolution will change this. And the sooner Scotland can evacuate itself from Westminster, the better for them.

Featured image via WALES in the MOVIES – YouTube and the Telegraph – YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. I am English. Starmer has pissed me off too. Like a growing number of English people, I envy the other nations their distance from Westminster and hopes of independence. I want an independent country for the north of England. Why not? There are already small political parties advocating Northern Independence. They have a leftwing agenda. I can see them offering hope to the northerners crucified by austerity, Corvid, recession and the failures of brexit. Brexit was a rightwing lie. But claiming sovereignty and ‘taking back control’ still has value. Its just that the control to be claimed has to be democratic control of your own country. ‘England’ has at least two economies, cultures, and is de facto two nations. There is the City of London economy and its Home Counties hinterland. And there is everywhere else which has been run like a colony by the London elite for centuries. I support Scottish independence because as an English Northerner I have suffered almost the exact same ways – perhaps even more, given that I have been denied even a clear identity and am forced to talk about myself as ‘English’ when that word has been defined and debased by the people who have exploited me and mine for generations. How to even fully articulate my pain, rage, sense of injustice when my very identity, my very sense of self has been twisted and turned into a kind of psychological abuse, a mind control ideology tying me to the hell of eternal powerlessness. I want the end of the Union and a new country I can call my own with a modern democracy and open society – exactly like Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Unless England splits so those not benefiting from the oligarchy can escape its control there can be nothing good for most English people in living in England.

      Starmer simply doesnot get this. Nor does Labour. They have the mindset of willing slaves. That means it is up to everyone who wants a better England to make it happen. Ending the toxic Union and its baked-in oppressive inequalities is the kick start we need. Farage and the AltRight scum showed how easy it is to create a party from scratch that claims to solve the hunger for sovereignty, and getting real political power into the hands of ‘ordinary’ people. UKIP lied, was racist, attacked the wrong target. New parties offering an English version of SNP or PC, with leftwing values, aiming towards creating new modern states, could be the solution. We wont know unless we try. One thing for certain, Farage and FarRight will not ignore the opportunity even if Left hesitates.

      Bottom line: I am sure Labour is no longer the party that represents the best interests of working class English. FarRight is disgusting. So, we need a leftwing English new nation party (parties) to offer radical constitutional change. Or maybe Greens could mutate into such a party? Starmer? He might please Tory voters and Unionists but he repels me.

      1. Compliments of the Season to you and yours. A very well written piece if I may say so. Could only wish to be so eloquent, but I am not. However I agree that independence for the North would be a great idea if the eternal rivalry between the east and west could be resolved. Neither side can help which side of the Pennines they were born. What a powerhouse that would be.

        1. Remember. The rivalry between York and Lancaster stems from two royal houses bickering over the crown, and has little if nowt to do with the two great counties themselves. (Even if Yorkshire is better).
          All us Northerners need to come together and embrace our Celtic/Norse roots and tell them Southern Saxons to bugger off.
          I for one would rather be ruled by someone like Jimmy Crankie then by Bungle and Zippy.

    2. I normally agree with the Canary but this article is so enthusiastic in its Starmer bashing that it’s lost sight of reality. Somebody who backs secession is called either ‘a secessionist’ or ‘a separatist.’ Separatist isn’t an insulating term, it’s a neutral description of somebody’s political aim.

      1. David, semantics aside, almost every action Sir Starmer has taken since assuming leadership of the Labour Party has been a betrayal of the Party’s principles and a kick in the teeth for those who have worked so hard to win a fairer and more just society.

        1. The biggest betrayal was Corbyn being a dream come true leader of the opposition fir the lying incompetent extreme right wing Johnson.

          Starmer took over a party that had completely lost sight of anything other than preaching to its small band of political activists such as the Canary. We now live and breath the consequences.

          And Starmer was elected by the same mass national movement that gave us Corbyn. Why is it no longer regaled by the Canary as the greatest membership base in Europe?

    3. Kier Stalin will ruin everything he touches. He was in close proximity to the best leader Labour has had for years, Jeremy Corbyn, but worked & succeeded to get him. Now he’s made Blue Labour unelectable…….the end.

    4. Right. I don’t have any respect for Johnson, only he is what I expected, no more, and the end is in sight. I despise Keir Starmer with every ounce, atom, sinew of my being. He has wrecked the Labour Party, snake in the grass. He was in the Shadow Cabinet and as far as I can see (been digging around) not vocal on many of the issues he now cares so deeply about. I have resigned from the Labour Party, I can still support Momentum. It wasn’t Jeremy Corbyn’s fault the GE was lost, it was a shambolic wobbly policy on Brexit, people really have had enough. Plus, the next person that tells me Starmer makes mincemeat of BJ at PMQs, well that’s not difficult is it, look who you are dealing with!! Long Bailey and Rayner – dream ticket. Hope Lisa Nandy can stay the course. Happy Christmas all.

      1. How nice to hear someone express exactly what I also feel about Starmer! My belief is that he has ALWAYS been a “cuckoo”, a plant, who`s only agenda HAS EVER BEEN to corrupt the Labour Party and turn it into a container for right wing ideology. His “concern” for antisemitism is a facade for an obsession with Israel, but only the Israel that serves as a conduit for the need for western powers to have a power base in the Middle East! If I were a Jew I would despise him even more for he pretends to care for the spiritual aspect of Judaism while manipulating this religion for his own squalid political ends!

    5. What really confuses me is, if Scotland is so dependent on England for its resources, WhyTF are the Southern English so determined to keep us under their control? Surely, if both the “Scotland haters” and the frustrated Northern English could vote on independence for Scotland, it would be a done deal.

      1. Ah, believe me, we ‘Southern English’ are assuredly NOT desperate to keep Scotland in the Union. For historic, geographical, social and (yes) economic reasons we’d prefer to. But if you have to go then, in the words of the great Kid Jensen, goodbye and good love.
        Just don’t expect us to continue to apply the Barnett Formula.
        Oh, and do you still want to retain the pound sterling?

    6. This is the first time I’ve seen an article from a non-Scottish source that actually understands Scottish politics. There’s fair few in Scotland either though. The press being owned by the same few billionaires means that the majority view is only promoted by the minority of newspapers.

      No Scot will trust Brown again, nor Labour. Labour didn’t suddenly become unpopular after the referendum though, that was merely the final nail in the coffin.

      The reason for Labour’s falling popularity prior to that was when SNP managed to form a minority government then Labour, whose policies should be considered fairly similar, refused to form a coalition. NB Holyrood was set up EXPRESSLY to ensure that coalition government would have to be implemented, hence the convoluted voting system. Not only did they refuse to do this but instead of using the opportunity to get agreements on policies both parties could agree on they simply voted against every single thing put forward, this was known as ‘The Bain Principle’ This was supposed to make the SNP look like they couldn’t govern, what actually happened is that against what was supposed to be possible, they managed an outright majority in the next term. This was the beginning of Labour’s end..

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