Nova Caledonia

Politics, Prose, and Pish

Often when people talk about the economy, they want to obfuscate, or they don’t really know what they’re talking about — 21 oktober, 2015

Often when people talk about the economy, they want to obfuscate, or they don’t really know what they’re talking about

My post on Medium

The thing about the Aristotelian world-view, as perfected later by Claudius Ptolemaios, is this — and they don’t talk about it much — for predictions of planetary positioning on the night sky, it’s really accurate. I wanted to say this first, to get to the point, through a round-about point about economics at the end of this post.

When the Copernican model of the universe was proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus, the Earth centric model was far more accurate than the Copernican one. The Aristotelian one was more complex to calculate, yes, but it was more accurate.

If your intention was to map the seasons for harvests, or position your ship on a map using the stars, then clearly anything that was less accurate was bad. In those cases, the Copernican model was a degradation of usability. A large part of the resistance against Copernicus ideas was that it was less useful.

But, here’s the thing. As an explanation of how the heavens worked the Aristotelian model was utterly bonkers. It wasn’t correct in any shape or form. The Aristotelian model required that the planets were fixed to perfect spheres made of crystal, and oddities in orbits were explained that each sphere had extra, mini spheres attached to them. To accurately account for the movement of stars and planets, one had to account for dozens of spheres, mini-spheres, and so on.

I wrote another post for my Medium blog, which you can read here.

I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, and that’s why Scotland will be independent — 18 september, 2015

I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, and that’s why Scotland will be independent

When I was fifteen years old, and when we had moved back to Scotland after many years of living elsewhere, my dad took me and my brother to Glasgow. We put the car in the city centre, and then went out to where he had grown up as a middle child of five. When we came to where we were going, he looked around. “Looks even worse now than it used to”.

My dad was the first of the family to go to university. He’s the only one of his siblings who did. My auntie lives there, in that place where we visited, with all the social problems the place brings. One of my uncles is dead by drink. My aunt is an alcoholic, and has two teenage children who are struggling in school, and she has seen off three husbands who were more or less useless to her.

I posted this on my blog. Maybe it’s interesting here as well.

So Corbyn won; now comes the difficult bit — 13 september, 2015

So Corbyn won; now comes the difficult bit

Owen Jones has long argued that Corbyn winning the leadership election is only the beginning, and that the more difficult task lies ahead. I think that he is right, and unless Corbyn can overcome some nasty drawbacks he will be undermined, and his destruction will be used to discredit the wider left.

The obvious obstacle is going to be the mainstream media. They are, en masse, quite hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. Even more leftist magazines like The Independent and The Guardian are hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. The right-wing press will be predictably hostile. The BBC in general follows the newspapers’ lead, and will report on an agenda set by them.

In that situation, a Jeremy Corbyn administration will have very few friends, and will face the same problem that we in the independence campaign here in Scotland faced. There is no mainstream outlet for the new administration, and the Corbyn leadership will be expected to constantly react to a steady stream of bile from the newspapers.

Let us not underestimate how much bile. Anyone involved in the independence campaign should know exactly what I mean, but also know this… it will probably be much worse. The Labour Party is one half of the establishment. It has now inverted itself into quite a subversive force. It has indeed, like Cameron said, become a threat — but to the establishment that the party used to uphold and defend.

What needs to be done by the Corbynistas, and I say this as someone who is not one, is for them to build up a parallell media structure, and to do it fast. Corbyn supporters must quickly decide on select websites according to their tastes. Then they must extend those websites to facebook, twitter, instagram, whatever.

For us in the independence campaign, we did build those websites. For instance, for the broad left of the Greens and the SSP we had Bella Caledonia. For the nats we had Wings over Scotland. For arty types we had National Collective. For newshounds we had Newsnet Scotland. All of these were different, and had different angles, and different audiences with different tastes. And each had different hopes and dreams for the kind of independent Scotland they wanted — but they were quick rebuttal units for smears and fear.

BBC could broadcast a scare story to our pensioners, then Bella Caledonia or Wings over Scotland, or National Collective could publish a corrective that our pensioners kids or grandkids — who were online — could read. Down at the pub, people could then undo the damage of the BBC scare to some degree. Since the engagement was so large, and politicial interest so high, rebuttals often worked. It didn’t always, though.

Corbyn supporters must quickly build similar structures. That is how the media can be overcome. The one lesson we in the Scottish independence campaign learned is: the mainstream media is very strong, and there are demographics that online media don’t penetrate. But we could reach enough people to flood the interwebs with talking points and rebuttals, and that made its way into the national debate. The media is very strong, but it’s very shallow. There are, these days, ways around it.

Originally published on my Medium blog

When the Butterfly rebellion claims the Labour party — 23 augusti, 2015

When the Butterfly rebellion claims the Labour party

If Jeremy Corbyn wins, it will be the first time a major party in a major European democracy falls victim to the process that’s going on in the rest of Europe. That is, the process where old, tired, and complacent social democratic parties are undermined and expelled from power by popular resentment on the left. Now, we’ll just have to think of a new name to go with Pasokification. Maybe Corbynification? What happened here is sufficiently different to warrant a new name.

In the rest of Europe, because of the electoral systems there, popular revolts happen through new parties. People become tired of one party, and flood to a new one, abandoning the old. This is what happened to the Greek social democratic party Pasok. When it lost credibility, some people formed Syriza, and when the supporters of Pasok became aware of Syriza’s existence, they flooded to it. Pasok, a party who once commanded majority support in Greece, now struggle to keep its nose above the parliamentary hurdle.

On the continent, it is far easier to displace the established order. In the UK, it’s not so easy. In May 3.8 million people voted for an insurgent party on the right, UKIP, but it sill only managed to keep one seat in the House of Commons. It actually lost one seat despite the number of voters. The Green party of England and Wales captured 1.1 million voters, and only managed to retain its single seat in Brighton. For Ukip that’s an electoral share of 12.7 %, and for the Greens it was an electoral share of 3.8 %. Almost 17 per cent of the voters share two seats in the House of Commons. Compare that to the SNP, who on 1.4 million votes got 56 seats thanks to their regional concentration. New parties in the UK are wasted votes, and go nowhere, which makes political change that much harder.

However, the same forces that brought us SNP, Ukip and the Greens, are now at work within the Labour Party, and by all measures it will completely transform the party. The old leadership is tired and uninspiring. An obscure backbench MP has become the unlikely lightning rod for change. Money, people, and enthusiasm has flooded into the Jeremy Corbyn campaign.

It seems that the contest is already over, bar the shouting. In two years, the politics of the UK will then, to paraphrase Alex Salmond after the defeat in the Scottish referendum, have ‘changed utterly’. What started as an existential clash between independistas and unionists in Scotland, continued over in an utter rout of the Labour party here. But, a loud and credible protest about austerity took place on national media for the first time and people loved it, and that will now end in a crescendo where one of two major parties, the Labour party, become something completely different from what it was just weeks ago.

The Common Weal activists Robin Macalpine coined the term ‘butterfly rebellion’ just before the referendum when people still hoped we’d win the vote. Well we didn’t, and the worm that was the Labour party kept eating away at the rotten apple of the union. But now it appears to have pupated, and on September 12th, nearly a full year after the referendum, a butterfly will emerge from the husk of the old Labour party.And it will be the spawn of the same ideological rebellion that nearly made Scotland independent.

England and Wales are waking up, and the tide will splash over Scotland too — 8 augusti, 2015

England and Wales are waking up, and the tide will splash over Scotland too

An unelectable politician simply doesn’t draw the crowds that Jeremy Corbyn does, and the cries of anguish from the centre-left and the liberals probably have more to do with wishful thinking than any sense of Realpolitik.

If those people really were real-politicians, they would get rid of Cooper, Burnham, and Kendall, who inspire no one. They would look high and low for a charismatic politician like Tony Blair. Insisting on Burnham, Cooper, and Kendall give further proof of the insular madness gripping the right of the Labour party and its friendly liberals.

Their anguish is more impotent squealing because they see their power-base slipping away from them, and they can do nothing about it but try and convince non-involved voters that they are right.

This is, most likely, the main reason for their insistence that Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable. It is all they have now, and their only chance to maintain power is to convince enough of the labour voters about this.

In a way, it is highly amusing. Us in the Scottish Greens saw our party grow to three or four times the size over the course of a few weeks after the referendum. The SSP saw the same. The SNP also grew explosively. It was seen as positive, that the electorate was engaging in politics, and joining political parties.

How different it is that when it happens to Labour, and they double in size, it is a cause for alarm and panic. Which gives the third and final proof that most of the squealing from the labour right is that they are losing control.

That is what is behind their sudden scheming, and the persistent rumours that the leadership election will be cancelled, or that there will be an immediate coup.

Because, as I said at the start. An unelectable leader simply does not draw the crowds that Jeremy Corbyn does. There is something going on among the voters, and it is a continuation of what went on here in Scotland.

Scotland woke up, politically, a year ago and everything changed. England and Wales are waking up too now, and the consequences will, likely, not be less dramatic down south.

What remains to be seen is how it will affect us up here. Unlike the professional commentariat, I will make no attempt to predict the election in 5 years, but I don’t think I’m alarmist if I caution that the tide rising in England and Wales now may very well make us up here quite wet too.

The revolution still isn’t televised, but it will be on Twitter and Facebook — 4 augusti, 2015

The revolution still isn’t televised, but it will be on Twitter and Facebook

At the height of the drama around Greece this June, the former Prime Minister of Poland, and current President of the European Council, said a prophetic thing.

“I am really afraid of this ideological or political contagion, not financial contagion, of this Greek crisis,” he said. “For me, the atmosphere is a little similar to the time after 1968 in Europe.”

Having fresh memories of the referendum, and the general election campaign, here in Scotland, it is hard to argue that there’s something in the air.

In Ireland, Sinn Fein is now polling at 21 per cent of the vote, and is neck and neck with the two main parties of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Who comes to be the biggest party after the general election, expected no later than next spring, is anybody’s guess.

Podemos still polls in the twenties in Spain, despite the growth of a new insurgent party, the Ciudadanes. Syriza still, despite the Norther Europeans best attempt, commands a big lead. If there was an election now, Syriza would have even more seats than they do now, and they wouldn’t have the right-wing party Anel as junior partners.

The SNP smashed Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats here at home, and now down in England there’s open rebellion in the Labour party when it looks likely to elect a British Pablo Iglesias in the form of a long-suffering fringe MP.

Things are in the air. Like Donald Tusk said: “For me, the atmosphere is a little similar to the time after 1968 in Europe.” If true, this time it would be a 1968 with internet and social media. It would be a 1968 with instant mobilisation. The revolution still will not be televised, but it would be on Facebook and Twitter.

When we become independent, let’s be truly independent and have our own free currency — 16 juli, 2015

When we become independent, let’s be truly independent and have our own free currency

Unionists would like us to think that Scotland is all about oil. That is not the case as we have a diverse economy ranging from raising potatoes in the Highlands, in Fife and in the Borders, to textiles which still employs upward of 20 thousand people in the country.

In between these extremes we have construction, whiskey, financial services, electronics, and software. Tourism is a big factor too, with 3 per cent of our annual GDP generated by that industry. In total Scotland has a GDP per capita of £45000.

The GDP is a bit of a blinder though because while Scotland is distinctly average in that respect, compared to our European neighbours, the GDP per capita in North and East Ayrshire is €16.200, which is comparable with the poorest of the French overseas territories.

The key difference between the UK economy and the Scottish one, if that separation can be made, is that Scotland is an exporter of goods, while the rest of the UK is an importer. This has consequences for our economy.

The most famous commodity we sell is, of course, the oil. But that is a trade denominated in dollars, so it should be a source for foreign hard currency reserves. As per usual, that is not a benefit we’re seeing much of as the headquarters of the oil companies in these isles are located south of the border. The foreign currency ends up there, not here.

We also sell whiskey, which is another iconic Scottish export. We also export electricity, electronics, and aeroplane parts. I’ll remind you that one of the biggest selling computer games franchises of all time is Scottish – Grand Theft Auto. So, we make things, and then we sell them abroad.

Naturally, Scotland also has a large services sector, particularly in banking. But even that can be said to be export driven. We are certainly not big enough to house such a large finance sector on local business. It is a global service industry. Unfortunately it too is located in London these days, although the accounting shows up on the Scottish balance sheet as we’re part of the UK.

Like I said, this has consequences, because we’re tied to an economy based on importing goods. Whilst Scotland would dearly need a currency that made our exports competitive on the global markets, the key to the much larger UK import economy is to have a high value currency that makes imports cheaper. That creates a glass ceiling for our economy.

London’s and Westminster’s aim for the cheapest possible imports make our exports non-competitive. There’s only so much we can do to make things and sell them because our currency prices us out of many markets – or makes it more difficult to convince others to buy our things.

For some goods, like whiskey, it’s less of a problem because whisky is seen as a luxury that’s not that price sensitive. For other industries, it’s a huge problem, because they are competing on pennies against cheap third world companies. For all industries, it introduces a cap on our economy. Unless we deindustrialize completely and become an import and service economy like England and Wales, the economy will be artificially depressed because the things we make will be too expensive for foreigners to buy.

Other problems arising from the union with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland contribute to the economic glass ceiling. The concentration of land ownership, for instance, makes our tourism industry needlessly restricted. Unless the 500 or so owners of the private land in Scotland agrees to tourist development, it won’t happen.

Politically we’re stuck under an insane economic policy pushed by the Tories that goes something like this: in order to be friendly to business, we need to pursue an economic policy that make it so that most customers can’t afford to buy anything. With the recent budget, the Tories have embarked on impoverishing a quarter of the electorate, which of course will have contractionary effects.

We already see that with rises in unemployment. After a general election campaign where the central theme has been about belt-tightening and further austerity, it is not a great surprise that employers either hold off hiring new people, or that they let people go expecting a downturn.

It is, of course, economic madness – and therefore it is maddening to see Scottish unionists continue to argue for staying in the union. If they, as the poll studies after the referendum about independence said, mainly voted no for pragmatic economic reasons, then it was irrational to vote for a continued union.

But this tendency was helped by the SNP’s caution when they pushed for currency union, the monarchy, Nato, and European Union membership. In hindsight, they propagated for independence light. I understand why they did it, and we acquiesced to the plan with just a little grumbling here and there. On the whole, we went along with it, and I think in hindsight that it was a mistake.

I think that it was a mistake for us in the other yes-parties to agree to this line for the sake of unity in the yes campaign. However, the Better Together campaign would have attacked perceived disunity as harshly as the Currency Union plan. I can hear Alistair Darling thundering about ‘chaos’ and ‘shambles’ as clearly as I can hear his demands for ‘Plan B’. I don’t know if us pushing for an independent currency would have made any difference to the outcome thus.

It convinces me that in the next independence referendum, we must absolutely have the currency sorted. We should state categorically and firmly that we will use the UK pound in a transition period, and introduce a parallel currency – the Scottish Pound – at the same time. Both should be legal tender in an independent Scotland for the first five or ten years. Gradually, as the Scottish pound stabilises, we move more and more of our economic weight over to the new currency.

For the first years we introduce point taxes on exports to build up the necessary currency reserves. We are going to need 30-40 billion Scottish pounds in reserve. The bigger the reserves, the more stable the currency will be, but gathering that amount of money will take time unless the point taxes are introduced at an extortionate level which will wreak havoc with our exports.

This is a doable plan, so let’s forget about currency union next time we vote for independence. Let’s have a firm, solid plan for our own currency. Only with our own currency can we shatter the economic glass ceiling that the UK pound puts on us. Oh, and let’s expropriate a fair chunk of the land from the feudal lords in their castles. Let’s make titles as much of a joke in Scotland as they are in the rest of Europe.

We have what we need to become a nice, prosperous manufacturing nation once we become independent. Collectively, we are clever and resourceful. We’re also blessed with a patch of land that’s abundantly rich. Right now, in this union, all of that is pushed down, repressed – not least by our own habit of thinking we’re not good enough. The Scottish cringe has a price tag which is a non-optimal economy.

If we break free from the union and the cringe, we can be pretty awesome. But only if we abandon the SNP’s caution and do what’s needed to be done – become truly independent instead of relying on a foreign head of state, a foreign lender of last resort, and a foreign monetary policy. We can do this, then.

The European Union bullies its small members, so I’m leaning toward Scotland leaving the EU when we achieve independence — 27 juni, 2015

The European Union bullies its small members, so I’m leaning toward Scotland leaving the EU when we achieve independence

While I can still be persuaded that Scotland should remain a member of the European Union after the inevitable independence in 10-15 years tile, I am more and more leaning toward us staying out of the organisation altogether.

The final act in the drama over Greece, as it touches on its relations with the Euro-zone and the wider European Union, is playing out. It is an act which is defined by the utter destruction of any idea of European solidarity and cohesion. From a wider perspective, we’re seeing the torpedoing of a pan-European dream.

It is, for instance, now inconceivable that NATOs article 5 has any further relevance in European affairs. After the Baltic states and Portugal have acted like the smaller boy in the school yard who outwardly displays extra cruelty and belligerence in order to impress the larger bullies, no Greek is going to go and die to defend Estonia or Lithuania or Poland against Vladimir Putin.

A Greece which has been eviscerated economically by the Euro-zone is not suddenly going to start to behave deferentially or loyally in the wider union. If German, Finnish, or Dutch national interest is more important than union cohesion, then so is Greek. Greece can, as an EU member, veto quite a lot of things which is of vital importance to the whole of the union.

Greece forced out of the Euro-zone is the first crack in the wider union, and the inevitable speculative drive against the weaker European members like Ireland and Portugal will further shatter the union cohesion. Guardian journalist Alex Andreou wrote in an insightful piece today that in 20 years time, Greece will be thriving, but the EU might not.

There is no doubt in my mind that in twenty years Greece will still exist and most likely be thriving. I do not say this because of glories of the past and ”cradle of democracy” arguments. I abhor romanticised nationalism. All that is in our distant past. I look instead at our present. I look at the solidarity grassroots movements, which have sprung up to provide medical care for people who can no longer afford it or shelter for the thousands of Syrian refugees coming through our borders. I look at the cooperative factories and restaurants which have been born to provide people with jobs. I look at how families have pulled together and at how relatively firm the fabric of our society has held in the face of five years of onslaught. These achievements are why I am hopeful about the future – not ancient history.

This is the cusp time for the European union, and the immaturity and incompetence of the present union leadership, led by Angela Merkel, is finally going to unravel the thing. That makes the United Kingdom’s decision to hold a referendum in 2017 about continued membership extra important for Scotland. And if I’m really honest with myself, I am becoming more and more confirmed as a probable Brexit voter.

This is for very leftist reasons that has all to do with democracy and the role of small nations within the fracturing union. We know that Ireland was bullied into austerity by the EU when it threatened to pull the plug on its banks. That happened behind closed doors, and never became a big dispute. Now the EU have done it again with Greece, with the difference that this time the bullying and ultimatums and the threats are done in the open.

Large countries are interfering in the democracy of small countries, and try to, through their sheer weight, suspend the sovereign will of the people of those small nations. Would that not happen to an independent Scotland too?

Our situation is not that of Greece. It is not even remotely like Greece. Unlike Greece, our economy is defined by making things. Whiskey, oil, fish, foods, manufacturing. We sell to the world, and we’re paid. Greece is a service economy almost entirely dependent on tourism.

It may be that because we, unlike Greece, are vulnerable to disruptions in our markets, that there is an economic case for staying in. This is the area where I can be persuaded. Maybe pulling out is too large a destructive act to actually do.

But there comes a point when you decide to endure pain in the short term in order to have a better life later. To fight cancer, even if the cancer at the time doesn’t affect the victim much, one can go on a chemo therapy which will make the patient very sick. But after, the patient will live a long life, hopefully. This is a situation where staying the course with EU membership could be more dangerous than going into economic chemo therapy as regards membership of the EU.

We already see how the EU treats its small members. Sometimes, it is better to tell the people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing that some values are too important to sacrifice. Democracy is such a value. And continued membership of the European Union may be a cancer on Scottish democracy which require the treatment of leaving it before that cancer kills democracy here too.

Just like with the conclusion many Scottish Greens such as I reached about the United Kingdom, that it is unreformable and actually goes in the wrong direction, one can realise that the European Union is not going to move to a more democratic, more open, more socially just society. And if that’s true, then the logic of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom because our political paths are diverging from the rest of the union applies to the European union too. That’s why I’m leaning toward Brexit.

Nobody is a revolutionary in Scottish politics if they say that Unionists are lying through their teeth — 15 juni, 2015

Nobody is a revolutionary in Scottish politics if they say that Unionists are lying through their teeth

With Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, having ruled out Full Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland, we have the biggest proof of the rowing back of the referendum promises made to Scotland in 2014.

In fact, the debate since 2014 have been much about rowing back those promises, in an attempt to locate the centre political ground where it is eminently sensible and reasonable for the status quo to rest.

For the unionists, the centre ground must be where Scotland can only imagine doing things the Westminster way, and not change anything in a fiscally autonomous Scotland. In that place, GERS and IFS are relevant, and in that place GERS and IFS become potent weapons against the nationalists.

Over the months it has been interesting to see the media, the establishment, and the politicians struggle to get the debate into that centre ground spot where all this is true.

Regardless of whether it’s the BBC, or a debate in the Commons, or in a symposium arranged by some think-tank, the people are trying to frame the narrative to this narrow cage.

The basic truth of the debate since the referendum is this: the unionist parties lied through their teeth to get the no-vote; after the no-vote they are lying through their teeth to shift the centre ground to where the current status quo lies; and finally, since the general election they have been lying through their teeth to discredit the SNP based on their position on that centre ground.

The unionist parties are burning down the village in order to save it, to quote that saying from the mad days of the Vietnam war. And it’s not working because in the General election the unionist parties were wiped out. After the general election, it looks like the unionist parties will be wiped out from Holyrood as well with the SNP now on 60 per cent support in the constituencies.

I’m not complaining, though. Every drip of this brings independence closer. What are the SNP polling at now. Sixty per cent? The unionist parties aren’t doing a very good job of convincing the Scots of anything. Soon, those sixty per cent, or seventy per cent, will reach the conclusion that staying part of the union and getting those promised powers is incompatible.

The left can win elections, but can it truly win power? — 27 maj, 2015

The left can win elections, but can it truly win power?

“We haven’t chosen the terrain. We have inherited it. We have the government, but we don’t have power.” Those wise words were spoken by Salvador Allende to young activists of Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR) in Chile during the brief period when it looked like the left could win there.

‘Win’ is of course a fluid concept. Salvador Allende, for instance, was voted into office, but then the generals started to plot. Eventually, the generals would take power through a coup that would leave thousands dead. MIR would morph from a radical group to a paramilitary organisation that used violence to further its ends. Allende won an election, but never attained power. Or he gained a weak power that could be taken away from him by the generals.

Thus, winning elections is the easy bit. Right now, Syriza in Greece has found that winning elections doesn’t necessarily mean gaining power. It is not staring into the barrels of guns and cannons like the Chileans had to in the 1970s, but undoubtedly the reaction to their win has been fierce.

Pablo Iglesias, of Podemos in Spain, used the Allende-quote in this post in an article for the Jacobin magazine, and it’s there that I first read it. And he articulated the idea that form the theme of this post. In one of those ‘heureka’-moments one has sometimes, I found that it suited our situation here in Scotland too.

The SNP has won an election, but it is not in power. We Scottish Greens have gained a lot of members, and we’ll have far more muscle in the upcoming 2016 Holyrood election, and I have good hope that we can win an election. But the Greens won’t win power. I hope that the SSP too comes back to Holyrood because we need an explicitly socialist voice. It is the same for them. They may win the election, but won’t have power.

Allende’s words, and Pablo Iglesias, articulate something that I’ve intuitively thought for a long time. And that thought got an airing in an Owen Jones article here. Both we Greens (and the SSP) will operate on a chessboard where the pieces have been laid out by others. We inherit, we don’t create. The terrain is not ours. Many strands have come together to give shape to something I’ve mulled over for a long time, and now had crispness and firmness.

I stopped calling myself a socialist a couple of years ago. If I’m pressed for a label, I’d call myself a post-socialist. I’m still on the left, but I have far fewer reasons to lock myself into dogma now. One reason for that is that socialists have stopped telling the story of why they should win an election, as Owen Jones writes. They use jargon that people don’t understand. The left has stopped telling the story of what they will do with the power once they win an election. How will they handle the inevitable reaction?

Only by going into the deprived areas of Scotland, and only by going into the offices and factory floors of Scotland, and telling a concrete and simple story will the left truly win power. I don’t think we’re there yet, although we have proven that we can win elections. But that’s just the easy bit – the difficult bit comes now, after the election has been won.

And what will the story be now? And what story does it tell to counter the predictable reaction?