Opportunity for Opportunism

In his role as a paid blogger, i.e. newspaper opinion columnist, George Kerevan discussed (subscription required) the reaction to Alex Salmond’s addressing the solidarity march in Kilmarnock against the looming mass-redundancy at Diageo plants.

Elsewhere, Salmond has been criticized, notably by David Wyatt of Institute of Directors Scotland and Iain McMillian of CBI Scotland, for taking such a patently partisan position and queering the pitch he on which currently negotiating with Diageo management.

Under the tagline, “Sometimes it takes a jolt for sense to be seen”, Kerevan clearly approves of Salmond’s policy. As much as dislike Fish-heid McMoonface, both personally and politically, this animus is not so engrained that I would baulk at supporting an efficacious course of action recommended by him to keep the wolf from Kilmarnock and Port Dundas’ doors. If someone says something I agree with, I will agree with them.

I do not agree with Salmond here, both tactically and in principle. As I discussed before, Salmond has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in his desire to be seen as the slayer of the Diageo worm *and* getting one over on Westminster *and* stroking his ego live on television; all at the same time.

Yes, Anabel Goldie was there, representing Holyrood and the Scottish Conservatives; as was Des Browne, representing Westminster and Ramsey Street. But, neither are the First Minister of the Scottish Executive, required to adopt a detached and diplomatic approach.

And, most of all, even then neither stood on the podium with great bombast and:

[…] sent a message to “London boardrooms” saying: “Let’s have no more nonsense from anyone that these proposals are in any way socially acceptable to the people of Scotland.”

Yes, that is correct. Not only is this patently partisan, it is also blatently partisan. This became an opportunity, from the leader of a minority administration which seeks to appropriate the Saltire and symbols of Scottishness for itself, to present itself as defending Scottish workers from the inequities of London; whilst English workers are in no less precarious positions.

This is why I cannot abide sectarianism.

Marchers supporting the Upper Clydeside Shipbuilders, Glasgow, 1971

Elsewhere, Kerevan makes the reasonable comparison of this week’s rally in Kilmarnock with the 1971 rallies and work-in in support of the Upper Clyde Shipyards, which dissuaded Edward Heath’s Government from initiating the complete destruction of shipbuilding on the Clyde. Thirty seven years on, Yarrow and Fairfields remain operational and in receipt of Ministry of Defence contracts as well as others.

Then, however, Kerevan succumbs to magical thinking commonplace in an easy segue to sectarianism. In response to criticism of Salmond from McMillian, he writes:

I have a lot of time for Iain McMillian: in an economy dominated by the public sector, Scottish business needs a strong voice. Iain recently criticized me, in The Scotsman letters page, for saying the Clyde yards would prosper in an independent Scotland. Iain thinks they depend on big naval orders from a military establishment only the UK can afford. But Iain: the yards are only here because Scotland refused to accept what Westminster had to offer in 1971.

Talk about having your cake and eating it! Yes, George, events in 1971/2 dictated what form the yards were to take in the succeeding years, but history is not a series of easily compartmentalized events: there is a thing like interconnectivity. Had the local trade unions and populations accepted what Heath (not the same as Westminster) had to offer, what resulted would, by your own admission, have been negligible. Furthermore, the current Clyde yards *do* depend on defence contracts: whether or not they could diversify is another question, but not what you said.

I hope someone comes along to untie you from all these knots you are getting yourself into.

Note what terms Kerevan juxtaposes with one another, and which he does not. If one wishes to see all political machinations between Holyrood and Westminster through a prism of an aggrieved homogenous mass known as “Scotland” against a nefarious entity, dominated by you-know-who, known as “Westminster” with England and non-Scots not even meriting a mention, that is fair enough.

It is just that, with the implicit disregard of the pain and misery the manufacturing and industrial base experienced elsewhere in the UK, one cannot really call oneself a progressive.

Another fist-swingly offensive example of sowing sectarianism dissent came from the Fish’s mouth itself:

Alex Salmond ratcheted up the tension between the company and the Scottish public, saying: “5.1 million people want Diageo to change their minds.”

Once more, the thinking-man’s Roderick Spode declares that disagreement with him is not just wrong, it is inconceivable. Given his ability to consign everyone in the UK outwith Scotland to non-existence, does he really believe that no-one in Fife is secretly wishing for a relocation to come their way?

There really are some weird, reactionary loonies who think they are Left wing these days.

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One Response to “Opportunity for Opportunism”

  1. Diageo Response: Get Stuffed « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] it was not a scheme cooked up in “London boardrooms” to humiliate Scotland; and Salmond suggested, in between appearances on daytime political discussion […]

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