‘An Albatross! Cut the rope!’

(c) New Yorker

The 70s and All That

By Gordon Gibson

It was hardly remarkable that the right wing press (and other Unionist commentators) rushed, at the first whiff of industrial action, to drag out comparisons between the present state of the UK and the way things were in the 1970s. At the same time, I could not help but wonder how many of these self appointed guardians of Common Sense and Economic Probity were actually around at the time.

            Being suitably long in the tooth, I can remember those days very well. I was a newly qualified teacher. My family struggled to exist on what I was paid, my daughter qualified for free school meals and I had to seek extra sources of income. These varied from private tutoring (despite the fact that it contradicted all my beliefs about education), playing guitar in a pub (only once, not asked back), to working in London as a builder’s labourer during my summer holidays. I left teaching after two years for a job in a voluntary organisation with slightly better pay. Two years later I was back teaching, after the organisation where I worked lost its Urban Aid funding. Inflation reached 30%.

Photograph: Graham Wood/Getty Images

            Across the decade, UK politics were in a state of chaos. A surprise Conservative election victory in 1970 installed the Heath government. They were in immediate conflict with strong Trades Unions, mismanaged the disputes and lost power to Labour after two general elections in 1974. The Tories blamed Heath for being ‘defeated’ by striking miners, and Thatcher became party leader in his stead. The so-called ‘Winter of Discontent’ and Labour’s Callaghan premiership, savagely attacked across the media, paved the way for the first Thatcher Government in 1979.

            I cannot make up my mind whether today’s Tory media are afraid that Unions are regaining strength or are hoping that obvious government ineptitude may lead to the party throwing out Johnson, replacing him with someone even farther to the right. Or perhaps, with talk of ‘Union Barons’ and ‘impossible wage demands’ they are seeking to convince the British public that only the Conservative Party can save them from the ever-worsening economic situation.

            What seems clear to me is that neither a continuing Conservative government, nor a victory in the approaching general election for lacklustre Labour, will be able to steer Scotland away from the problems that now confront the UK.

            I am reminded of the cry of a former colleague in times of trouble: ‘An Albatross! Cut the rope!’

(c) New Yorker

4 thoughts on “‘An Albatross! Cut the rope!’

  1. In the 1970’s Scotland did not have an escape route from Westminster. It has now. It just takes people to vote for it. It can now.

    Different reasons. Different scenario. Devolution 2000. Independence 2023 on the horizon. Nearly 100 years since universal Suffrage. 1928. Worth the wait. Worth waiting for it. A better future for everyone, as long as it is won.


  2. Things are more open now. The internet. Devolution 2000. Different regime. Less chance of Westminster illegal actions being kept secret under the Official Secrets Act, The duplicity can come out, be identified and share.

    Iraq, Dunblane and Lockerbie kept secret for 100 years. Thatcher used the Official Secrets Act to high her illegal actions. Especially in her illegal, secret dealings with Scotland. Westminster criminality and lies. Exposed and held to account all the time. Westminster illegal, lies and corruption. People will not vote for it. The Tories on their way out now.

    In the 1970’s+ people in Scotland voted Labour to keep the Tories out. The. Lesser of two evils. Both it them just as bad.Now Scotland has a better Party to vote for with Scotland’s (world’s) interest at heart. A better situation and choice for voters/people.

    The unionists tried mucked up the Scottish voting system. STV Council. D’Hoult Holyrood. To give them unfair advantage. Devolution rather than Independence was supported by them. People have less chance of voting them out. They still manage to get rid of most of them and the damage that they do.


  3. People in Scotland organised for a better future. Brtter Representation. Break the illegal power of Westminster. Westminster breaking International Laws and the Laws that they make. Harming and killing people. They can be voted out now. It is just a matter of time For a better future. People power,


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