Johann Lamont, at her Labour party conference speech last week (in which she described her opponents’ entire Weltanschauung or point of being in existence as a virus, out of which no good could ever come), did some serious shite-spreading:
For the Nationalists the misery of the people isn’t a wrong to be corrected – it is a chance to be exploited. For them, grievance is not to be addressed – it is to be nurtured. And that cynicism, that calculation which leaves families suffering now is a price worth paying if it translates into votes next September. It’s a cynicism which corrodes our politics. It should create in us a revulsion.
I remember the anger,the feeling of betrayal, and yes revulsion that I felt when the McCrone Report became public in 2005.
The report was a secret document from the mid 70s which told the government (Labour, by the time it came out) just how well-off the people of Scotland would be as an independent country, in the light of the upcoming oil-boom. It would be fanciful to say it described a land of people lighting fags with fivers, but you get the idea.
The country would tend to be in chronic surplus to a quite embarrassing degree and its currency would become the hardest in Europe, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian kroner.
Former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey has sensationally admitted that his party hid the true worth of Scotland’s oil in the seventies in order to persuade Scots against voting for home rule.
Scotland at the time was total Labour Heartland. To the Labour Party we were their mainstay, their own people, who they cynically and dismissively lied to about the extent of the potential societal wealth they were sitting on top of. It is this that is perhaps the greatest manifestation of the paternalism that the Labour Party in post war Scotland indulged in, from councils to cabinet.
It is a bit rich, with this history, that Scottish Labour should be trying to tar a party with putting its own interests against the people it is supposed to represent.