Salmond invades Dublin in pursuit of Glasgow’s Labour vote?

A couple of years ago we took a taxi from the centre of Glasgow to a friend’s wedding in Pollockshields. I asked the driver who was a Celtic fan (Rangers fans had taken beating the night before and apparently hadn’t shown that morning) what he made of Alex Salmond. “Ah, he’s a fly *……..”

Fly or canny, the SNP line has been the one coming through most clearly in the Republic’s media. Partly because that’s where Irish sentiment lies. But also because he knows how to tick all the right Irish boxes and when and how to take his chances. And his choice of the British Irish Ministerial Council was a stroke of pure genius:

Salmond was speaking shortly before the start of the British-Irish Council which is taking place at Dublin Castle, the seat of British rule in Ireland until the 26 counties of the Irish Republic achieved independence in 1922. The castle is a mile from the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, the scene of the Easter Rising against British rule in 1916. It was Britain’s violent response to the rising – the leaders were executed by firing squad – that helped trigger the Irish war of independence.

Salmond’s decision to draw a parallel between Scotland and Ireland, however obliquely, may stir a debate in Scotland, where sectarian divisions are still pronounced.

The first minister was warmly greeted by Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin’s deputy first minister, when he arrived at Dublin Castle

The semniotics for a party that still has to capture the Irish Catholic Labour strongholds of west central Scotland where almost pitch perfect. This is going to be a fascinating and epic battle which will likely involve all parts of the United Kingdom and the Republic.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Remember pitching for the Green vote can equally alienate the Orange vote, he can’t afford to lose either, and I think alot of Orangemen may be shocked to know how many of their Scots brethern vote SNP.

    As for drawing comparisons with Dublin, not really the time to be doing that.

  • “alot of Orangemen may be shocked to know how many of their Scots brethern vote SNP.”

    I think we all would given the Scottish Orange Order’s public opposition to the SNP in the past.

  • Los Lobos

    Nationalism, be it Scottish, British or Irish seems to debase politics on an ongoing basis. If true politics are about the “art of the possible” then surely the sight of Alex Salmond backslapping his fellow “nationalists” in Dublin today would ensure that we are going nowhere fast in terms of progressive politics that will take Ireland (North and South) into the 21st century. Or else we continue on as we usually do, fighting the battle of the Boyne or Bloody Sunday on a weekly basis, in the hope that our “Cause” will trumph the “others”! What was on display today wasn’t politics, it was positioning.!

  • JH

    Los Lobos

    What? SF have consistently been the most progressive party in the North by far. You only need to look at how they continually put large numbers of women into prominent, powerful roles.

    Ask the average Scot, of either persuasion, and they’ll say the same about the SNP. In my experience anyways.

  • Munsterview

    Just another wee demonstration of a skilled politician giving a deft master class in both obvious and sub-bliminal politics with a finesse that once again but highlight the Camron ‘bull in a china shop’ approach to the whole Scottish Issue to date.

    I do not know if there is any truth in the rumor that he begged Martin to use his influence with the DUP to get them to head up the Pro-Union campaign or that if they did, that the SNP were prepared to fund it?

    Gregory Campbell/ Sammy Wilson et al, your hour has come just get out there and show all on these Islands what you can do !

    Meanwhile this absolutely hilarious ( if somewhat vulgar) cartoon from Thursday’s UK ( for now) Independent newspaper sums up the current situation. It may be a little slow to load, but if you have a good sense of humor,( and you do not feel precious about the Tories) it is well worth the slight delay!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/

  • USA

    Drumlins Rock,
    I think you just like to hear the sound of your own voice talking, hurdles such as accuracy and facts don’t seem to bother you in the least. You are so wrong so often that I sometimes get embarrased for you, even though I know I shouldn’t.

  • ayeYerMa

    Well done for JH for the most hilarious post of the week! “Progressive” yer arse.

    Using women is nothing but Provo Sinn Fein playing their usual propaganda and PR game. The way they so patently intentionally put their more presentable female candidates right to the front seats in the Assembly right in front of the cameras (with the less presentable and the henchmen to the back) is so obvious and in your face that it comes across as pathetic.

  • tuatha

    Osbourne’s threat that an independent Scotland wouldn’t be allowed to use Sterling sounds to me like “don’t insult me or I’ll kill myself”.
    Without even the last remaining drops of North Sea oil (just about adequate for Scotland’s 6M) feeding his Exchequer the only hard currency it can rely upon, it is really desperate time for Little Englanders.
    With the Continent’s counsels cut off (sic!), the last coal mines long flooded, having sold the pumps for scrap, an obese & ignorant population barely able to manipulate the SKY remotes and borrowing over a billion quid a day, I’m curious as to why anyone would want to be try to rule from Westminster.

  • Mick Fealty

    USA,

    You know the pack drill. Show up with an argument, or dont show up at all.

    DR,

    It won’t be negative vote swinger against the SNP. Those Orangemen you refer to have been there for a long time. The tactic is aimed at Catholic Labour hold outs who still think of it as the Kilts and Orange party.

  • lover not a fighter

    The catholic/Irish extraction labour vote is there for the taking at the moment. If Labour don’t get some sort of show on the road and Ed Miliband(not that I think David Miliband would be any better) is getting close to closing time.

    Where would/could this labour vote go.

    Tories; Extremely unlikely

    Liberal Democrats: Can’t see anyone voting for them.

    SNP; They have possibilities.

    So Labour has to make a resurgence in Scotland to keep The SNP in check. Are there any signs of this ?

  • JH

    Ayeyerma,

    Glad it made you laugh. Truth is, actions speak louder than words. Sounds like your idea of SF is about 20 years out of date to be honest.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not party political and there are things about SF that make me uncomfortable, but accusing them of not being progressive is pretty wide of the mark. Who else would have put a young person in as Belfast mayor? Or suggested taxing mobile phone masts to raise revenue?

    You might not like them, that’s one thing. You might not trust them and that’s another. It sounds like you might fancy one or two of them though :p

  • latcheeco

    Good question. Will ” You have bled with Coco, now bleed with me” be enough to bring the Tims into the schiltron?

  • “The semniotics for a party that still has to capture the Irish Catholic Labour strongholds of west central Scotland where almost pitch perfect.”
    Spot on Mick.
    Eating into that Labour vote in the West of Scotland for Holyrood elections was one thing, but convincing the WoS Irish Catholic vote to tick the box for independence is a tougher task.

  • Here’s another point from the Nicholas Watt article which might also be worth noting:

    The UK government was dismissive of Salmond’s invitation to Cameron and Clegg. Sources said that Salmond had declined to respond to an invitation from Michael Moore, the Scotland secretary, for talks.

    Is that not much the same response given to the other devolved administration in Belfast: “Talk to the Secretary of State”?

    Since that deal in February 2010, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister have been told they must initially raise any concerns with Secretary of State Owen Paterson. Before this, there was an expectation that Downing Street operated an ‘open door’ access policy for Northern Ireland’s political leaders.

    Putting junior in his place may, of course, be counter-productive; it can easily be portrayed or perceived as English arrogance.

  • Nevin.
    “Putting junior in his place may, of course, be counter-productive; it can easily be portrayed or perceived as English arrogance.”
    It exactly how it is being perceived by many in Scotland.
    Huge own goal from the Etonian at Number 10.

  • “So Labour has to make a resurgence in Scotland to keep The SNP in check. Are there any signs of this ?”

    lovernotafighter, this grumpy Scots leftie isn’t best pleased that the Labour party in Scotland is allowing Salmond to escape the consequences of SNP administration by talking-up the constitution:

    Over arching this erosion of the fabric of Scotland by the ‘no too bad SNP Government’ is the uncertainty of what separation will mean.

    So now what? How will this help us?

    A New Leader and a better focus on a narrative for a future that gives an alternative to independence.

    Focus on people’s lives. .. These things matter more than the constitutional obsession. The referendum will arrive when it arrives. Until then we need to expose the impact on real lives of SNP choices and take to task any and every attempt to blame them on someone else.”

    The grumpy one doesn’t mince his words when it comes to Salmond himself:

    His arrogance (and inability to answer any questions) and bullying, bombastic displays have gone unchecked and feebly defended.

    A lack of a robust attack from any of the opposition parties has given him an easy ride.

    Have the SNP leader and the OFMDFM got rather too much in common? If the opposition can’t play a stronger role does the MSM need to lend it a hand?

  • “Huge own goal from the Etonian at Number 10”

    Not just the Etonian dimension, Phil, but the related Chipping Norton set – down by Hacker Lane! This sort of social and political remoteness was bad news for NI, especially in the early days of the Troubles; let’s hope it plays out differently in Scotland.

  • “convincing the WoS Irish Catholic vote to tick the box for independence is a tougher task.”

    Phil, I have had very little opportunity to view Scottish politics in action other than the sad sorry saga relating to the Rathlin ferry contract. The Scottish Catholic hierarchy in recent times has been angered by the behaviour of the SNP in government. Is that likely to be a factor in the constitution campaign?

  • Nevin.
    It is a well known fact that Catholics (mainly of Irish descent) were the least likely to vote “Yes” for Devo in 79.
    That Catholic irish community was the bedrock of the safest of safe Labour Westminster seats in Scotland.
    Salmond is very very aware of that historically very loyal Labour vote and has attempted to court it.
    There isn’t an obedient flock/neighbourhood vote anymore, but there is still some hesitancy among Catholics in Scotland to the idea of a separate Scotland.
    Salmond’s civic nationalism is making headway in a way the old fundamentalist SNP could not.

  • Graham

    Salmond couldn’t be happier if Cameron were twins. If he asks if you’re dancing you’re best to say no. And count your fingers if you’ve just shaken hands.

    The Bishop weighed in over the anti-sectarian legislation and was promptly finessed. Similar could happen with the proposals for same-sex marriage. How many people are really that interested in what any church hierarchy has to say these days?

    More cartoons here: http://wingsland.podgamer.com/?p=13706

  • OOPs I accidently went over the two URL limit at 7:36pm. Could the limit be eased up a little – in the interest of evidencing claims?

  • Graham

    Phil, do you think it was the Catholic vote, the west central Scotland vote or the Labour vote that was courted? Probably all three but why? I’d suggest that the one objective above all others was to break Labour’s dominance, which just happened to be be based in west central Scotland with a significant Catholic contingent. Other target groups have been similarly courted.

    The recent Scottish Social Attitudes Survey showed support for independence at 65% if voters would be £500 a year better off. Not a huge sum. For me, this demonstrates the fluidity of the vote and the concerns of those casting it.

    http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/politics/independence_support_rises_to_a_six_year_high_1_1991156

  • Manfarang

    Salmond will not be invading Burma nor meeting Aung San Suu Kyi anytime soon.Burma that Northern Ireland of the British Empire had its Scots. They ran the river boats. There are Anglo-Burmese with a Scottish ancestry.
    The SNP wants independence for Scotland but will it support an independent Karen state.
    The Karens have struggled for more than sixty years for an independent country against real oppression from their Burmese rulers.
    Scotland wants to play a world role so lets hear what the so called nationalists have to say about a part of the world they had strong connections to.

  • Georgieboy

    It seems to me Salmond has made a mistake (perhaps got a bit carried away when out of his element). It would certainly be wrong to equate the Labour vote with some supposed Irish Catholic bloc vote. He seems to have upset some folk in Ireland too, in various quarters. Maybe he’s made some sort of intricate calculation but it seems to me to be more the case that he should stick to what he knows about and not try to suck up to or try to rope in people in other countries.

  • Graham. Salmond and his cadre cut their SNP teeth in the 1970s faced with a Labour monolith built in the WoS on an Irish Catholic vote that had a tribal loyalty to Labour.
    If the SNP were to overcome Labour then they would have to “crack” that vote.
    Mick was entirely correct to attribute those motives to Salmond’s grandstanding in Dublin.

  • Graham

    I think we’re saying the same thing but coming at it from different angles. I’m out at that.