Today one Ed Milliband came to give his lecture to Scotland on the benefits of Scotland remaining in the Union.
Following are excerpts of his little talk to us. I will include my comments in response as we look at some of what he said.
Over to you Ed!
“Let me start directly by talking about the developments on the issue of RBS bonuses.
Stephen Hester has done the right thing.
I welcome his decision not to take his bonus.
But I am sorry we have a Prime Minister so out of touch with the British people that he did not act to stop it earlier. He failed to be a responsible shareholder.
It took Labour’s threat of a parliamentary vote for the right thing to happen.”
Yes Ed, quite correct! Stephen Hester did the right thing in not taking that obscene bonus.
But let me wonder, which Government agreed to the rules on bonuses after we all had to bail them out? Oh..It was Labour wasn’t it!
Blame Cameron and the Tories if you will, it is what they do! But your lot were the ones who gave them the rules they are working with now. So lets not try to be too hypocritical shall we?
“My challenge to the Government is to show they understand they got it wrong on RBS and can act differently in the future.”
They got it wrong? They were the ones who bent the rules? They were the ones who let the banks do whatever they damn well pleased with light touch Financial Regulation? Yes, Ed…..tra la la la la
But it is mighty strange that Ed should bring up RBS just at this moment in time, when we Scots are considering leaving the Union.
RBS came about after the machinations of the English who cared so deeply for us that they spiked the Darien Scheme, and we have been told ever since that our Country was bankrupt and they kindly bailed us out!
The alternative history to theirs tells an entirely different story.
Here are passages from the Spencer Collection written in 1685
“Before the collapse of the colony was known, a second expedition of four ships had set sail from Rothsey Bay. Once again the number of colonists was 1,200 and by all accounts around one hundred and sixty members of this second party died on the voyage out. Despite the ships docking at Montserrat for supplies, they were refused both water and food by the Governor acting under instructions received from England to the effect that the Darien Colony was illegal. An account of the voyage by an ‘A. S.’ also in Ms Gen 1685 mentions this:-
‘The Governor by noe means would suffer them to bring one bottle of water telling them he was discharged to give any aid or assistance to the Scots Collony, But their being some particular Gentlemen upon that island which were intimatly aequant with some of oure officers which went ashore entertained them kyndly & complemented them with some oranges, rum and suggar & lykways told them the collony was deserted & dispersed themselves amonge the Dutch, France and English plantations which was not at all beleeved by us.’
And concludes with:
“While the loss of life caused by the Darien Scheme was great, it is not so certain that Scotland lost financially due to its failure. By the terms of the Act of Union, the Darien shareholders received out of the so-called Equivalent Money ( £398,000 ) as much as would repay every penny of their subscriptions, with 5 percent interest. Rather than accept payment in cash, the main shareholders formed themselves into a Company of Equivalent Proprietors, allowing their share of the fund to remain in the hands of the government in return for an annuity of £10,000. By 1727, these Equivalent Proprietors began to undertake banking and obtained a charter as ‘The Scottish Banking Company’, which later became ‘The Royal Bank of Scotland’.
The consequences of the failure of the Darien Scheme were wide ranging. From hastening the Act of Union to the formation of the Royal Bank of Scotland, there are few events in Scottish history whose impact can be so readily traced to the present. In all respects the Spencer Collection contributes to our intellectual understanding of a tumultuous period in Scots and indeed British history.”
Curious, how RBS played a factor in the beginning of the Union, and may possibly be a factor in it’s ending!
“I come here to stand shoulder to shoulder with you Johann, our new Leader of Scottish Labour.
You have already shown you understand the scale of the challenge for our party, and that you have the determination to make the positive case for the United Kingdom.”
Well get on with it then! We are all ears.
“And when they ask, what has it got to do with me, let me address this head-on.
Not just as leader of the Labour Party, but on the basis of my personal history, as someone who has a deep reason to appreciate the strength of the United Kingdom.
My parents came to our island as refugees from Nazi terror.
My father joined the British Navy.
He did his training aboard HMS Valorous, on the Firth of Forth.
A Belgian, he fought Fascism with people from every part of the United Kingdom.
As I was growing up, he didn’t talk to me about coming to England, then moving to Scotland.
He talked about coming to Britain; the country that gave him and my mother shelter.
He was proud of the country that had adopted him, proud of this country.”
He was was he? Really? Are you positive he said all that to you Ed?
Are you Really Really Sure he said all this?
Let me quote you from your own fathers biography Ed.
He said this!
“”The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world…When you hear the English talk of this war you sometimes almost want them to lose it to show them how things are. They have the greatest contempt for the continent in general and for the French in particular…England first. This slogan is taken for granted by the English people as a whole. To lose their empire would be the worst possible humiliation”.
“My story is repeated a million times across the United Kingdom.
My story shows that this country has been a refuge to many and a cause to fight for.
And therefore, if the people of Scotland decide to separate, as they can, it would not affect Scotland alone.
It will affect all of us in the four nations of this country.
That is why I am here today.”
Yup, you are here today because you know full well that If we walk, you are stuffed! That we know Ed!
“So let me say clearly:
It is right that the people of Scotland decide the rules and timing of this referendum.
But it must be the people of Scotland, not just Alex Salmond.
It is right that the decision in this referendum is made in Scotland. ”
Wahay!! Top Marks, You got it Ed!, best just leave it at that eh?
“But as Johann has said, it is right that it is based on one fair question and one clear answer.
Every time you hear a Nationalist politician talk about the process of the referendum, it is because they want to avoid talking about the substance of separation.”
Aww Naww, you are not going to start pretending you listen to Johann now? But you managed to remember her name,well done for that.What’s her surname?
The Right is Based on no such assumption Ed. That is just Johann making things up. There is no exclusion to asking another question if so desired. As far as process is concerned, all the hogwash has been coming from you and your best buddy Cammy, trying to tell us what to do, and as for the substance of Independence, we are telling you! We still await the substance of the benefits of the Union which you keep promising and nobody delivers.
“Today, I want to concentrate on the substance of the argument.
About one part of the positive case for the United Kingdom.
In the past, Labour has warned about the dangers of separatism and we will continue to point to the evidence.
There are vital questions around the possible costs and benefits of a separate Scotland that deserve to be explored.”
We Are Waiting! Please, what are they??
“Let’s start by asking the question that Labour at its best has always asked about this country: what are the injustices facing working people and how do we overcome them?
What is the most urgent priority for the people of Scotland?
We are living through some of the toughest times in recent history.”
Yes, and why are we living through the toughest of times, exactly?
“Unemployment at its highest in 18 years.”
Who had a really good hand in causing it?
“Rising food and energy prices.”
“And more than that:
We know in our heads and in our hearts that there are deep problems about the way our economy has been run.”
Damn right we know, and who stuffed it? Who was the weakest link?
“When I meet working families who have been struggling, year after year just to earn enough to get by and put food on the table, I know we need to change things.”
You know that, but don’t know what its like! Neither you nor the Bullingdon Boys have ever experienced the result of either of your Tory policies! You have all had Decades and Centuries to change it.Under your mob, Scotland is suffering child poverty in Glasgow, and the worst of health records, in what should be a prosperous country! Your lot have just had 13 years to change it! what did you do? You increased the disparity been rich and poor! You Sold out!
“When I meet people who have the will to work but who keep getting turned down because they are up against hundreds of others, I know we need to change things.”
Yes, and who helped put them on the job heap?
“When I meet parents who worry profoundly about their sons or daughters’ prospects in this world, I know we need to change things.”
We know that too! Thus we are changing them, we are going to do it for ourselves! We have heard enough of your Unionist rhetoric, it means sod all!
“So when I look around, I see a country crying out for change.
And talent betrayed.”
Indeed, you are correct. Inequality of decision making in a bust Union of unequal partners.
inequality within your own country of England, which is frankly disgraceful. Inequality between you and the those you were talking to in Glasgow today.
Injustice where your Supreme Court tries to overule our own Scottish Law.
and talent betrayed in England and Wales because kids can’t get an eduction unless they are wealthy!
we want none of it!
“And so what is the most urgent task facing us today?
Putting up a border across the A1 and M74?”
Actually there already is a Border there, and if you had opened your eyes, you would have seen a Welcome to Scotland sign as you crossed it!
“Or the task of creating a more equal, just and fair society?”
Go do it then, we are fed up with your parties promises while lining their own pockets! We can do that much better for ourselves.
“I say let’s confront the real divide in Britain.
Not between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
But between the haves and the have-nots.”
Yes the divide that exists between the South of England and everything to the north of the Watford Gap.
“So I am not here to tell Scots that Scotland cannot survive outside the United Kingdom.”
Good, because you know damn fine well we can!
“I am here with the same call of Labour leaders down the ages, to say that we need to make the United Kingdom a fairer, more just place to live.”
“Our story, as a party and as a country, is not what we achieved separately but what we achieved together.”
What we helped you achieve you mean?
“The story of the Scotsman, the Englishman, and the Welshman is not just the start of a good joke.”
Good, because it aint!
“It is the history of social justice in this country.”
No it is not! We had social Justice in Scotland long before the Labour party existed!
Who introduced education for all? The Churches. Who created Social Work, The Churches. Who fed the poor in the parish? The Churches.
Much maligned as they are themselves now, and of limited voice in a secular society, but it was them, not the Labour Party.
“It was a Scotsman, Keir Hardie, who founded the Labour party a hundred and twelve years ago,”
Also with Cunningham Graham the founder of what was to become the SNP. Hardie supported Home Rule for Scotland, you don’t!
“An Englishman, Clement Attlee, who led the most successful Labour Government in history.
And a Welshman, Nye Bevan, who pioneered that Government’s greatest legacy, our National Health Service.”
And what would any of these three gentlemen make of the Labour Party now? Would they be proud of what you have become? Where are their equivalent in your party today? Nowhere!
“These are the achievements of our nations working together.”
The NHS I’ll give you, although you and the Tories have been privatising it for years . The scandal of PFI hospitals which we will be paying for forever! The Closures your lot were hell bent on making in Scotland until the SNP stopped you in 2007! Don’t give us your Bull!
“And that’s not all.
Before we passed the Provision of School Meals Act together, children from Lands End to John O’ Groats would go hungry just because their family was poor.”
1906, and they had been receiving them in Scotland since the 19th Century as part of the Churches charitable acts.
“Before we built the NHS together, if you fell ill, you would only be treated if you could pay for it.”
1948 Just as well you had the Welsh on board eh? And they too should consider their position in the Union!
“Before we passed the Equal Pay Act together, a woman could do exactly the same job as the man sitting next to her and still only be paid half his salary.”
1970…And long overdue by then!
“And before we established the minimum wage together, someone could work every day until their muscles ached and still be paid less than £1 an hour.”
1998, One piece of worthwhile legislation in over a decade! 14 years ago!So much for your Social Justice credentials!
“These progressive achievements do not belong to one nation of the United Kingdom. They are British achievements.”
We would never claim that nothing was achieved, only that we can do a hell of a damn site better for ourselves than any British Government. Plenty of argument of what we help you to achieve, no argument for what it does for ourselves and our children.
It is a sad state of affairs when you have to dig back to 1906 to try and find something good to say!
I am not even half way through Eds speech, and I have nearly lost the will to live.
He went on and on and on, with nothing of any real substance.
Saying things like “The pensioner from Aberdeen or Ayr has more in common with the pensioner in Bristol or Bolton than with a pensioner in France or Belgium.”
Forgetting entirely that Britain has one of worst records in Europe for looking after our pensioners, and we in Scotland would surely do much better!
Comparing Dockers in Glasgow to Liverpool, but neither would be at home in London Docklands!
He went on about fighting Fascism, but damned if I know why?
It was all as Willie Rennie the Lib Dem leader might say, on a Burns Night. Much Ado about nothing!