Irv hits a nerve


From Bella Caledonia 


Who’d have thought it?  The man perhaps most famous for penning those charming scenes in Trainspotting, like the one where Mark Renton plunges himself into a toxically shit-stained and shit-encrusted public toilet in pursuit of some opium suppositories, or the one where Davie Mitchell has an accident with some befouled bed-sheets in his girlfriend’s kitchen and splatters her and her parents with excrement and vomit, has written one of the most thoughtful, honest and persuasive articles recently about the Scottish independence referendum on September 18th.  (He’s all for independence, by the way.)  A link to it, as it appears on the Bella Caledonia website, is here:


Among the things Welsh takes issue with is the assertion – commonly made by politicians in the Labour Party – that voting for an independent Scotland is a betrayal of working-class solidarity among the member-nations of the United Kingdom and the only way the working-class cause can be served is by those nations sticking together.  A welder in Glasgow, the old argument goes, has more in common with a welder in Liverpool or Newcastle than he does with a stockbroker in Edinburgh, so why corral that Glaswegian welder off with the Edinburgh stockbroker through the creation of a new border?


Welsh recalls how a dozen years ago he got involved with the dockworkers’ dispute in Liverpool, which “took place to the complete indifference and embarrassment of the Labour Party, who would rather have had everybody just go home.”  Near the end of the dispute, he found himself in discussion with the dockworkers’ leader Jimmy Nolan, Liverpudlian writer Jimmy McGovern and heavyweight American intellectual Noam Chomsky – Nolan told Chomsky that “they had far more support from Larry Bower’s New York longshoremen than the UK Labour Party or senior Trade Union officials like Bill (Lord) Morris.”  So borders, and indeed oceans, are no barrier to working-class solidarity.  And you needn’t expect much of that solidarity from Labour these days.


Actually, I’d suggest that a Glaswegian welder has more in common with an Edinburgh stockbroker than he does with the leading lights of the Scottish wing of the Labour party in their later careers – careers that invariably see them end up the House of Lords, where they’re entitled to don ermine, claim 300 pounds a day and give themselves such extravagant titles as Baron George Robertson of Port Ellon, Baron George Foulkes of Cumnock, Baron Jack McConnell of Glenscorrodale, Baron Michael Martin of Springburn, Baron John Reid of Cardowan and Baroness Helen Liddell of Coatdyke.  Yes, such veterans of the alleged People’s Party bear more resemblance to Lord Snooty in the Beano than they do to the members of the working class whose votes helped them board the gravy train in the first place.


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