Saturday, 19 January 2013

Labour's attack on Scots

Have you heard of a man called Anas Sarwar?

The family name might be familiar. Mohammad Sarwar became the first Moslem to be elected to the UK Parliament when he won Glasgow Govan for the Labour Party in 1997. At the 2005 UK General Election, boundary changes resulted in the constituency being renamed Glasgow Central.

Mohammad Sarwar stood down at the 2010 General Election and his son, Anas, was selected to fight the Glasgow Central seat for Labour. Who knows, perhaps he was the best candidate and the nomination passing from father to son was not some sort of undemocratic dynastic succession.

Whatever was the case, Sarwar Junior was elected to represent Glasgow Central and now sits in the House of Commons, and it was there last week that, without a hint of irony, he branded the Scottish Parliament as “not a democratic place”.

According to the relative newcomer to elected politics, our national parliament in Edinburgh is “a dictatorship of one man”. Apparently, that one man – Alex Salmond – will “do not what is in Scotland’s interests, but what is in his own party’s interests”.

The Scottish Parliament has a chamber of 129 MSPs, partly elected using Proportional Representation, which delivers a result much closer to the actual votes cast by the electorate than the First Past The Post system that produces ‘voting fodder’ UK MPs like Anas Sarwar. The fact the Scottish National Party currently has a majority in the Scottish Parliament is because that is what the people of Scotland decided they wanted. Contrary to the opinion of Mr Sarwar, that is democracy in action.

As for the SNP or Salmond not doing “what is in Scotland’s interests”: which country’s interests would Anas Sarwar suggest the SCOTTISH National Party promotes? Perhaps what Mr Sarwar meant was that independence is not in Scotland’s interests. That would be the normal position for the British Unionist coalition of Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat – the one that argues of all the peoples in the world, only the Scots are incapable of running their own country.

So, according to Anas Sarwar – a Member of the UK Parliament for all of two-and-a-bit years – our Scottish Parliament is undemocratic (despite us electing it through the ballot box) and the people of Scotland are too stupid and too poor to govern their own nation (which is too wee, in any case, to be a real country).

Given his anti-independence position, it is surely safe to assume that Mr Sarwar and his British Labour Party have an alternative vision for Scotland – and they do. It’s called more of the same. Anas Sarwar and his Labour colleagues want Scotland to remain nothing more than a devolved region of the United Kingdom, governed by out of touch, multi-millionaire, posh-boy Tories such as David Cameron and George Osborne. The so-called ‘Scottish’ Labour Party want Scotland to remain in the UK and be hammered by the savage cuts currently being imposed by the Westminster Coalition Government, comprised of two parties that were soundly rejected at the ballot box by the people of Scotland.

Incredibly, by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tories and Liberal Democrats in the pro-British Union ‘Better Together’ campaign, the so-called ‘Scottish’ Labour Party is making clear that it would rather the Thatcherite Tories continued to govern Scotland from London, than for there to be a Labour Government and a Labour First Minister in an independent Scotland.

Still, Anas Sarwar is just a relatively new MP: why should we pay any attention to what he says? Maybe he was speaking out of turn and his party bosses will point out how offensive were his comments regarding Scotland’s democratically-elected parliament, and the right of the Scottish people to determine their own future in a democratic referendum.

Well, actually, Mr Sarwar might not be a household name, but he is the Deputy Leader of the ‘Scottish’ Labour Party, second only to Johann Lamont MSP (yet another politician who couldn’t lace Alex Salmond’s boots). His disparaging of Scotland’s parliament, and by extension the people who elected it, come from the top of the ‘Scottish’ Labour Party.

By contrast, pro-independence political parties – SNP, Scottish Socialist Party, Green Party – all have faith in the people of Scotland. Pro-independence parties believe Scots deserve more than the same old cuts delivered by alternating Tory and Labour governments in London. Pro-independence parties believe in democracy and the right of the Scottish people to self-determination.

At next year’s Independence Referendum, if we vote ‘No’, if we turn down the chance to govern our own independent country, we would actually be passing a vote of no confidence in ourselves. If we did that, we would remain stuck with politicians like Anas Sarwar, politicians who think devastating Westminster cuts are as good as it gets for Scotland.

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