Liam Muir: Why it was a mistake voting Conservative to stop the SNP

Writer Liam Muir urges Labour in Scotland to realise its enemy is the Conservative party, not the SNP

TO VOTE Conservative in Scotland in 2017 after everything that party has done to this country is utterly illogical. 

The mass unemployment and the Poll Tax of the 1980s, the unravelling of social services today as well as involvement in international conflict are the reasons why.

I understand that people have busy lives and do not always have the time to do the research into their political parties and their history, but there comes a point in time where neglect of those at the bottom of society cannot be excused.

Read more – Robin McAlpine: What the indy movement needs to do next

There are obvious problems with the political system in Britain but the election is one of the few places where democracy still exists in the modern age. The neoliberal elites have done their best to remove any semblance of democracy from the average workplace but at the ballot box we still have the collective ability to influence society.

If you voted Conservative because you think they are doing a good job of governing then you have seriously fallen for the propaganda hook, line and sinker. You owe it to those having their benefits cut for being deemed fit for work despite illness, using foodbanks, begging on the street or even just struggling to make ends meet due to a lack of job prospects, to look beyond the mainstream media’s narrative. 

Learn about what the Conservative party is and what its objectives are in reality. Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and any other Conservative politician represent merely the tip of the iceberg. 

The real power, the real influence comes from their donors; the shareholders of multibillion pound financial conglomerates, arms dealers and fossil fuel companies. The super-rich.

This is why living standards are falling and why social services are being sold off to the highest bidder. First the railways, then the Post Office, next the NHS. This is how the Tories look out for their donors' interests. They give them as much investment opportunity as possible to ensure they get the biggest capital return from their investment. 

Read more – John Curtice: Corbyn surge and tactical unionism key factors behind loss of SNP MPs

What this means in Brexit terms is a low wage economy with low corporation tax – unless, of course, the Conservative party has an attack of conscience and decides to evenly distribute investment to tackle poverty and inequality while investing in industry and education, but that is not very likely.

If you voted Conservative in Scotland to stop independence you have become an advocate of what you profess to have such deep routed scepticism of Nationalism. British Nationalism to be more specific. 

To vote Conservative for the sole purpose of keeping Britain together, even if that Britain is the neoliberal conservative Britain, is to put nationality front and centre of your entire ethos. If the only way of saving Britain is voting Tory, is it really worth saving?

For many people in 2017 Britain, poverty is the daily grind of life. Recently it came to light that Britain is the only country in the developed world with economic growth and falling wages. 

It would be convenient to blame this on the EU but it would not be accurate. The EU Commission officially complained to Westminster that its tax policy was too regressive. The bottom 10 per cent of earners in Britain pay a higher percentage of tax, relative to income, than the top 10 per cent earners. 

Read more – Scottish Greens reassert independence referendum support in wake of General Election

Even Labour’s corporation tax proposals were still among the lowest in Europe. Here, again, we see the actions of a party representing super-rich shareholders. Voting Conservative will be taken as an assumption that you support their foreign policy. 

In a campaign where Corbyn was heavily criticised for talking to the IRA decades ago while the Tories are selling arms to Saudi Arabia as we speak, one only has to consider what these weapons are being used for and how Yemen has been turned into a humanitarian disaster to allow for serious reconsideration of a Tory vote.

I consider this activity to be much naughtier than ruining a farmer’s wheat crop. Incidentally, that is not the most infuriating thing May has done to Farmers. Brexit means Brexit after all...

Despite any attempt at spinning the election result into a disaster for the SNP, the 2017 UK General Election will go down in history as Scotland voting in the majority against the Tories yet again and getting the Tories yet again. 

This happens to be another reason why voting Conservative was a mistake. The only way they can now accuse the SNP of not having a mandate for an independence referendum despite the vote for a referendum in the Scottish Parliament and a majority of pro-independence MPs in Westminster, is to undermine Holyrood as an institution. 

Read more – Andrew Smith: 10 thoughts on #GE2017 from a London-based leftie

Apparently, opinion polls are now more legitimate than a democratically elected government, according to the Tories.

Perhaps if Labour MPs and MSPs did not advise people to vote Tory in Scotland to prevent a referendum, the SNP may have won enough seats to prevent a Conservative/DUP government.

Tactically, it would have benefited Labour to accept that the SNP is the main anti-austerity party in Scotland and not campaigned with the intention of a resurgence in Scotland and splitting the anti-tory vote.

Democracy has always been an inconvenience to the neoliberal, free market, capitalist class, and now a large chunk of the next five years of Conservative rule will be dedicated to extinguishing the enthusiasm for Scottish independence. A process of de-democratisation is a tactic May’s backbenchers are all too familiar with.

Is it a complete misunderstanding of the social, political and economic climate? Or is it just an 'I don’t care'? 

I am not sure which is worse, but the movement to expose the Conservative party for what it is, whether you wear a red rosette or a yellow one, must continue if we are to help those whose struggles are about to get much harder.

Picture courtesy of Ron F.

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Tue, 06/13/2017 - 14:56

People voted Conservative because they think the #1 problem in Scotland today is the SNP's pursuit of the Neverendum.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 16:02

No doubt you're right, Maurice. It's a curious thing though, when a person votes to oppose one thing rather than support another. It kinda says "I've lost my way". And the way the polls ended certainly shows they're going a different way to everyone else. 60% of the seats. And that's without 16 and 17 year old's. It's not looking good for your neverendum hopes, Maurice. But look on it this way: if Scotland becomes independent you can then campaign to rejoin the rUK. And you can keep campaigning if you fail the first test. That's democracy. And I'm sure that that has actually happened to other countries. There are probably plenty who've left and gone back after reassessing. Plenty.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 16:08

60% of the seats but less than 38% of the votes. Independence is dead. They've even taken down the crowdfunding appeal for IndyRef2. They are, of course, keeping the money.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 16:53

I can see that you're afraid of what's happening in the real world, Maurice, but projecting the will of the minority onto the majority is the opposite of democracy. 60% is a fair bit more than 40%. It's half as much again. Look, it's like this: if you have 40 oranges and I have 60 oranges, it means that I have more oranges than you. I have more than half of the total oranges. I have 50% more oranges than you have in your basket. I'm assuming yours are in a basket. It could be a large carrier bag. Or two smaller carrier bags. It doesn't really matter. Look, the thing is that you have a minority of the oranges. Oh, and the other thing is that your 40 oranges have to be shared between the other children. I should've mentioned this at the beginning. Sorry about that. No, Maurice, I don't have to share my oranges. My oranges all belong to me. No, Maurice, you can't have any of my oranges. That's classed as being not fair. Now now, Maurice, don't get upset. This is all by the will of the people, remember.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 17:20

"60% is a fair bit more than 40%."

Correct. And therein lies your problem. Support for the SNP is now less than 40%. For independence to work - not just scrape by in a dodgy re-run of the referendum, but actually WORK - you need around 60%.

The will of the people is that we stay in the Union and the SNP get back to their real jobs at Holyrood.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 17:32

I can see that you're struggling with this, Maurice. But it's something that you need to come to terms with or you'll forever be at odds with how democracy works. Maybe concentrate on the oranges analogy for the time being? If you do that I'm sure that it'll eventually sink in. And just to pre-empt your most likely future points, I've pre-prepared some useful answers:-

No, Maurice, your oranges aren't bigger. The oranges are all the same size.
No, Maurice, there's no such thing as a "big juicy unionist orange"
No, Maurice, your oranges aren't magic oranges
No, Maurice, your oranges aren't sacred oranges either
No, Maurice, my oranges weren't grown in manure made from SNP shite

I hope that helps.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 19:10

If you wish to continue to talk about fruit, do so.

I'm going to talk about votes.

In 2014 we voted on independence with the understanding that we were settling the matter for a generation.

The SNP have since decided that they want a second bit of the cherry, and in this they are supported by around 1 million voters, give or take.

That is enough to reduce Holyrood into a useless entity, but it is only about half of what would be needed for independence.

They chose to frame the GE as an endorsement of their pursuit of the Neverendum. In response, they lost 21 seats. The "unionist" parties (Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems) received a 62.4 % overall vote share and greater than a 50% vote share in every constituency in Scotland.

The persons at odds with hose democracy works are the SNP and persons such as yourself.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 20:28

It's ok, Maurice, I know you're scared. If I were you I'd be expecting to lose the next one too. Once they tore up Gordon's vow that was pretty much it. Brexit just sealed it. But once it's done and dusted the world will still turn and life will go on, and the unionist parties will make the adjustment to being Scotland-only parties, and they'll start focusing more on Scotland, and maybe then they'll discover just how much they've got to work with and just what Scotland can do when it runs it's own affairs like every other country in the world. You too, maybe, who knows.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 20:45

There is no good reason to vote Conservative. Preserving the union is just an excuse as Labour and Lib-Dems are equally opposed to indy; this was about preserving personal wealth.

Those new Conservative seats are in affluent areas where people are not in any danger of suffering at the hands of an unstable right-wing government propped up by a few tartan tories.

If there is another GE soon, I hope SNP supporters out in the sticks vote Labour to unseat some of those Tories. Corbyn is the best antidote for this unpleasant plague of selfishness sweeping our country.


Tue, 06/13/2017 - 21:13

Brilliant, MikMac. Maurice and his Tory heroes are now busy counting their orange-men to see if they have more than anyone else.

We buy big 5kg sacks of oranges in Spain for €3, nice big juicy ones, very appealing, and cheap, and we certainly get more oranges in our sack than Maurice has in his paper bag. Though I don't know what we'll do after Maurice gets his Brexit and throws his oranges out with his orange juice. Still, Oranges are not the only fruit.


Wed, 06/14/2017 - 14:10

Scottish Labour are fighting a battle on two fronts and SNP austerity and misgovernment has done more damage than the Tories at the locallevel. Now we are in a situation where the Tories and SNP must avoid a general election at all costs to survive. UK or Tartan Tories,it is an irrelevance,they will do everything they can to make the parliament last 5 years


Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:09

Jings MikMak, you don't really understand how this seats/votes thing works, do you? I'll explain, without the use of oranges.To win an election, you need to be the party that gets the most doesn't matter how many seats you get, as long as you get more than anyone else. OK? Now to win a seat, you need to get more votes in that constituency than anyone else and again, it does not matter how many votes you get, as long as it is more votes than anyone else. Got that? However in a referendum it is a binary choice, seats don't count. In the referendum of 2014, the SNP needed to get 1,809,958 votes to win. Last Thursday 977,569 people voted SNP. Do the maths...why would you want indyref2, you would lose, for sure.


Fri, 06/16/2017 - 10:42

Geacher, *sigh*. On 08-Jun-2017 the population of the UK voted in a General Election, not a referendum. Do you see where you've gone wrong now? 'Mon the 'mocracy!

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