Sarwar’s “dismissive arrogance” condemned


  By Lynn Malone

Labour MP Anas Sarwar has come under fire amid claims he was dismissive, arrogant and showed contempt for Scottish people on BBC2 Scotland’s independence referendum debate, last night.

James Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow, Cathcart, claimed the deputy Scottish Labour leader’s comments and tone were seriously misjudged, saying:

“From accusing the Scottish Parliament of being undemocratic last year to discounting the people of Scotland’s hopes for a better country as ‘trivial’ last night, Anas Sarwar seems to have completely lost the plot.”

The first in a series, the programme came from Greenock and featured Mr Sarwar, alongside Scottish Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, actor Sanjeev Kholi, and journalist Alex Massie.

During the discusion, Mr Sarwar, a key figure in the anti-independence group, said: “…on the trivial point of this- the reality is the choice we face on the 18th of September is about what’s best for the people that live here in Scotland …and what we’ve seen from the nationalists is an attempt to make it a referendum on something else.”

The first question from the studio audience asked whether removing Trident would leave Scotland open to attack. Mr Sarwar remarked: “Nuclear weapons are bad, they’re wrong – it doesn’t make independence right.

“We’ve heard about Iraq- Iraq was wrong, it was a mistake- it doesn’t make independence right. The Tories are bad, the Tory government is a mistake- it doesn’t make independence right.

“Let’s talk about the kind of Scotland and the kind of society we live in and the kind of society we want to bring up our children in, and let’s not talk about trivial issues like we see from the nationalists.”|200{/youtube}</p> <p>Mr Dornan said Mr Sarwar's comments were clumsy and dismissive, adding: "These clumsy comments by Anas Sarwar display complete contempt for the people of Scotland's overwhelming opposition to the illegal war in Iraq.</p> <p>"Equally as arrogant is Mr Sarwar's total dismissal of the fact that Scotland gets Tory governments that it didn't elect and doesn't want.</p> <p>"Interestingly Mr Sarwar says nuclear weapons are ‘bad' – is he out of sync with his party on this massive issue?"</p> <p>The politician said the SNP and an independent Scotland would get rid of Trident but claimed the London Labour leadership and the Tory Lib-Dem UK government have committed to Trident being imposed on Scotland for another 50 years.</p> <p>He said: "This time last year Mr Sarwar promised to raise the level of debate from the No camp, but since then he has delivered the exact opposite; now plunging to new lows with this ridiculous statement.</p> <p>"Mr Sarwar should reflect on the fact of matter that his problem is that the Labour leadership supports the broken, undemocratic Westminster system which imposes the cruel bedroom tax, Trident nuclear weapons and Tory government's on the people of Scotland."</p> <p>It's not the first time Mr Sarwar has came under fire for his comments toward Scotland and Scottish people. Earlier this month calls were made for Scottish Labour leader, Johann Lamont, to distance herself from remarks he made in the House of Commons which were described as "offensive to Scotland."</p> <p>Speaking in a debate in which MPs voted to grant Holyrood the powers to hold a legally binding independence referendum, Mr Sarwar claimed the Scottish Parliament was "not a democratic place".</p> <p>The Glasgow MP attacked the Scottish Parliament saying: "We have a majority SNP government in the Scottish Parliament, but that is not a democratic place in the conventional sense.</p> <p>"It is a dictatorship of one man sitting in Bute house, who will do not what is in Scotland's interests, but what is in his own or his party's interests."</p> <p>

Mr Sarwar, who heads his party’s referendum campaign, made the comments despite pledging earlier to cut back on negative campaigning, acknowledging that it would not win over voters.

It forced Glasgow Kelvin MSP, Sandra White, to say she would be writing to Ms Lamont asking her on behalf of the Labour Party to apologise for his comments.

Calling the attack “an embarrassment for Labour” and “unpleasant”, she said: “… Anas Sarwar promised to raise the level of debate from the No camp, but instead he has done the exact opposite and plunged to new lows with this ridiculous statement.”