Podcast: Life as a nationalist MP in the Commons

David Linden MP, glasgow East

Last June was an unusually nervous time for the SNP. Riding high in successive post-referendum elections, suddenly majorities were shaky and canvassers were finding life tough at some doorsteps where folk had grown concerned about a Brexit-related indyref2.

Derek Bateman

David Linden was among those in new SNP seats – won in the euphoria of the 2015 UK election – with a lot to defend. The new candidate pulled through in Glasgow East, holding the seat by a squeaky majority of 75. A few months later he is scornful of Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and her 13 Scottish MPs and their performance since Theresa May’s hopeless June campaign.

So what now? How is life for a nationalist MP in the Commons as the Government party tears itself to shreds over Brexit? Linden arrived at Newsnet to discuss all this and more with our regular host Derek Bateman. And he is frank about what he perceives as weaknesses on the part of Scottish Labour leadership contenders, and the debate over Brexit itself. Asked about his role as an MP, he quotes the veteran nationalist parliamentarian Winnie Ewing: “We are there to settle up, not settle down.”

You can tune in by clicking on the audio file above, via your usual podcast channels including iTunes, or using our RSS feed: http://www.buzzsprout.com/57229.rss

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  1. Mr Linden says that the snap GE was called by Theresa May to ‘strengthen her hand on brexit’. I disagree with him. May had already a very strong hand for brexit with a healthy majority in Parliament, support from DUP and a political party in opposition weakened by infighting that gave her a blank card to trigger A50. The only think that seriously weakened ‘her hand’ was indiref2 because that would mean that Scotland’s assets could not be easily flogged as bargaining chips in exchange for favours for London banks and other foreign businesses in the SE and that would upset the wealthy tory donors.
    In my view the press and the three British nationalist parties in Scotland focused on the independence referendum so much because that was exactly what the snap GE was about: forcing Ms Sturgeon to take indiref2 off the table by thinning down SNP representation in Westminster as a desperate attempt to make the people of Scotland believe that they don’t want another independence referendum, even when the SNP was voted in Holyrood with the biggest share of the seats while carrying that indiref in their manifesto, so clearly not the case. The snap GE was therefore, once again, all about deception of the Scottish people: exactly as the BTogether campaign and ‘the vow’ were.
    If you look at the time line of events, it was only weeks after the Scottish Parliament voted for indiref2 that May brought up this snap election. The eyewatering hike in ‘social media’ expenditure during the month of March by the Secretary of Scotland’s office comes dangerously close too to the announcement of Ms Sturgeon of her intention to hold a referendum between Autumn 2018-Spring 2019. And of course there is the fact that the three British nationalist branches in Scotland did not focus on brexit at all during the GE. No, they focused on indiref2 and they worked in cahoots to unseat the SNP by fielding paper candidates, pouring money into some constituencies and even encouraging tory votes in some of them to unseat the SNP. Bizarrely, being this a GE, the three British nationalist branches had different manifestos to the ones presented by their main parties: it was clearly a combined effort by British nationalists to unseat the SNP and get rid of indiref2 what come may.
    It is, in my view, rather clear what this GE was all about: pushing indiref2 off the table because indiref is seriously jeopardising the ‘success’ of the English brexit machine. Further proof of this is the way Ruth’s 13 incompetents are acting towards brexit: they rather sink Scotland and drag their own constituents and neighbours into economic ruin by shouting like broken records against indiref and the SNP rather than having the guts to go against the English brexit machine, toxic for Scotland.
    By the way, has Ms May issued a written, formal answer to the official, written, formal request placed by the Scottish FM on behalf of the Scottish Parliament and therefore on behalf of the Scottish People for an independence referendum? I have looked through the press and I can find information about a verbal unofficial answer, but nothing about a formal, official, written answer to that request. It is almost as if May had her fist attempt at avoiding giving an answer by sending Mundell to placate us with his patronising waffle and when this did not work, she called that snap GE to make us forget about it? The thing is that this strategy did not work either, as the SNP has still a majority of seats. So, should we assume that Henry VIII’s powers resurrection by May and the power grab is her third attempt to avoid an answer? I think the SNP should seriously prepare for another GE before a Holyrood election. Because this is clearly the only route the British nationalists believe they have to beat the mandate the SNP has for another indiref until they can orchestrate the eviction of the SNP from Holyrood as the majority party, as I have no doubt they will relentlessly will work towards with the support of the MSM and broadcasters.
    I must admit I find irritating this continuous focus on indiref2 as the cause why people did not vote for the SNP in the last snap GE while ignoring the elephant in the room: what is the point to vote anymore for GE if you live in Scotland? On the 26th June 2016 the people of Scotland went to the polls and overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU. Their vote was dismissed, undermined, overruled and ignored by not only the Tories but also Labour and LibDems. Scotland’s vote was dismissed as if it was a second rate nation within this union. So why bother voting again? What for, to be ignored and overruled again by the MPs elected by English constituents? What England wants, England always gets, so what is the point?
    In 2015 the people of Scotland sent 56 SNP MPs to Westminster, that fought tooth and nail for Scotland and, as a matter of fact, acted as the real opposition to the tories. And yet, they were demonised by the right wing press and main broadcaster, diminished and overruled due to the disgusting partisanism of the British nationalist parties at Westminster. Scotland had over a 90% of SNP MPs and yet Trident was forced upon us, Brexit was forced upon us, a really toxic Tory government was forced upon us and we were dragged against our will to illegal wars. So, really, is there any point whatsoever for the people of Scotland to bother voting in GEs anymore when it doesn’t matter what we vote for because our voice is always going to be overruled unless cast ‘the correct vote’?
    I seriously think therefore the SNP must continue focusing on independence and more than ever, actually, because being closer to achieving independence is the only reason many people in Scotland can now think of when casting their votes in farcical GEs where England elects tory or tory lite governments for whom the only concern regarding Scotland is to remain in control of its assets.

  2. I agree with these comments,that there is no point always out voted,this corrupt union is a complete waste of time, the sooner Scotland leaves the better, I am ready always ready. what is E.V.E.L needed for ? Was Brexit(a daft name) created to make the rich still richer,also to stop the E.U. investigating their tax avoidance,and tax havens and making Scotland worse off??

  3. It really is difficult to believe the SNP MP’s have not simply settled in to (quote) “my job” in Westminster. As if securing independence was ever simply a “job”. Following the comments above, it needs to be recognised that there is one major difference between the UK and Spain; Spain’s authoritarian and aggressive actions are being ‘justified’ primarily via its written constitution, whereas the UK has no written constitution and exists only in the way it was initially constituted, i.e. via majority votes of MP’s from each constituent nation. Hence it is and always has been perfectly legal, constitutionally, for a majority of Scotland’s elected MP’s to give notice to end the ‘union’ (insofar as Scotland is concerned) in the same way it began. Constitutionally and therefore legally a referendum is not, and never has been, a prerequisite for Scotland’s independence, and more especially any referendum which has an inherently flawed voter franchise, and/or a referendum dependent for its ratification by England’s 500 MPs and unelected Lords. The SNP majority of Scotland’s MP’s could give notice to end the union now, and there is nothing constitutionally or legally that Westminster could do about it. Similarly, any majority of England’s MPs could declare the union ended and England independent and there is nothing, constitutionally/legally, that Scotland could do about that. Those elected MP’s allegedly favouring Scotland’s independence should simply hold to and apply the law as it stands.

  4. Fake questions at PMQT, criticising the Scottish gov for broadband coverage.
    Alex Salmond would have been on his feet with a point of order against Bercow for allowing a fake question.
    The new lot of snp MPs sat and murmured…off camera. Win for Tory smear. Wakey wakey.

  5. One of the real blows of the 2017 election was the SNP’s squandering of its seats outside the central belt. Left us without Salmond and Robertson, real losses especially at Westminster.


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