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Alexander 'tugged in two ways'

Brian Taylor | 17:59 UK time, Sunday, 2 December 2007

I have not spoken to Wendy Alexander today. She is confining her comments to a written statement.

However, I have spoken to several other individuals in Scottish Labour - close to the controversy, on its margins or simply observing with bemused horror.

I believe that Wendy Alexander is tonight tugged two ways. Instinct, personal integrity and perhaps the long-term interests of the Scottish Labour Party tell her to quit.

Loyalty to the Prime Minister - who is facing the biggest crisis of his short leadership - pulls her the other way.

(The SNP tonight expressed that issue another way, suggesting that Wendy Alexander was being used as a “human shield” for Gordon Brown.)

Put simply, if Wendy Alexander is obliged to quit because of an unlawful donation of £950, where does that leave Mr Brown’s deputy Harriet Harman who is facing questions over a donation of £5,000?

That dilemma explains why there were prolonged and fraught discussions today before a relatively anodyne statement was issued in Ms Alexander’s name.

In that statement, she denies “intentional wrong doing”, arguing that, once the full facts are known, she will be exonerated.

These fulsome facts, she says, will be disclosed to the Electoral Commission. Further comment would be “inappropriate”.

Next key moments? The Labour group of MSPs meeting on Tuesday. Consideration - and an opinion - from the Electoral Commission. An investigation by the police - in response to a complaint lodged by an SNP researcher or, more substantially, if and when the commission alerts the constabulary.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 06:24 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

This is absolutely ridiculous. I have no idea how Wendy will survive the next couple of months in parliament. No one will listen to her over the din of laughter.

Yet again Scottish Labour feel totally shafted by London Labour.

  • 2.
  • At 06:24 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • bert wrote:

Of course she denies any intentional wrongdoing, just as she and other members of her party denied everything else this past week until being forced to admit otherwise when evidence of their lying was brought out.

As has been pointed out, this isn't a wee misunderstanding, this is a crime and as such criminal action should be taken. That at the end of this affair there could be criminals in Parliament would be a national disgrace, though no surprise. It seems to be one rule for politicians and another for the rest.

Watch this space. In a few months Comrade Gordon will be a shadow minister again! The fact that he, nor the others who have already been shown to be liars, will resign speaks volumes for their personal integrity

  • 3.
  • At 06:31 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Alistair wrote:

Harriet Harmon and Wendy Alexander should both resign immediatley. There are better, stronger and more worthy people within the Labour Party who could do both of their jobs. By remaining in post they are causing further embarrassment and damage to the Labour party. I personally resigned my membership of the party as I felt while those two remain in post and the party continues to be in such a mess because of it then I could not morally continue my membership. They are elected members of parliament breaking laws (which their own party brought in) while making laws. It's not right. I will not rest until both are no longer in their posts.

  • 4.
  • At 06:41 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Pendragon wrote:

Ms Alexander's refusal to resign speaks volumes about The UK Labour Party's attitude to the Scottish People, when it can be clearly seen that they regard the Party's Scottish Leader as no more than a Human Shield for Gordon Brown.

  • 5.
  • At 06:44 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • S Laing wrote:

It seems that the politicians and the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland do indeed think they are above the law. Here we are days into this with more information filtering out and still no resignation. Can Wendy Alexander not do the decent thing and resign, then let Scotland get back on track without the diversions of illegal political activity, lets leave that to London, they are so much better at it

  • 6.
  • At 06:45 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • S Laing wrote:

It seems that the politicians and the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland do indeed think they are above the law. Here we are days into this with more information filtering out and still no resignation. Can Wendy Alexander not do the decent thing and resign, then let Scotland get back on track without the diversions of illegal political activity, lets leave that to London, they are so much better at it

  • 7.
  • At 06:45 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • A.Bartlett wrote:

Wendy Alexander has broken the law and should stand down as Scottish labour leader as her integrity is now zero. Harriet Harman and Peter Hain at Westminster are in the same position and should also go. If Gordon Brown does not expedite this he is not fit to be prime minister.

  • 8.
  • At 06:45 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

She apologises for "the damage done to the Labour Party", but what about the damage done to democracy and trust in the political process?
I hope the mole who revealed the Brian Ashcroft list will keep up the good work until she can deny no longer.

You are right Brian about her being manipulated by Brown. Being his protege comes at a price---willingness to ditch all your principles

for the greater good of maintainig GB in office.

She also said "she still had a contribution to make to the lives of fellow Scots". She is correct, we can all do with a laugh. I look forward to her appearance in Parliament next week!

  • 9.
  • At 06:46 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Fraser Brown wrote:

Sorry, but in the interests of the entire political system here the lady has to go. It seems there are three option here. Either she says, 'A big boy done it and ran away' or 'I done it' or 'My team done it without letting on to me'. That means she is either daft, or devious, or downright incapable of running anything. She says she has something to give Scotland: forgive me if I decline to accept it.

  • 10.
  • At 06:54 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • John Leven wrote:

Brian

One of the reasons Labour lost in Scotland was because people saw them as London labours lapdogs in North Britain.

It would appear that they have learned nothing, the people of Scotland do not matter, Brown must be protected at all costs. He is a dead man walking anyway, so it is time for Labour in Scotland to show some backbone for the first time in ten years.

Alexander and Brown are finished, and so are Labour unless they have the guts to get rid of them.

At first ministers questions, if Alexander raises a question about openness, honesty or integrity is it protocol for Alex Salmond to fall about laughing before he attempts to answer.

P.S. On TV on Friday the only thing she did not do in her short statement was suck her thumb and say a big boy did it and ran away.

  • 11.
  • At 06:55 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Another point.

She refers to "fulsome facts", presumably in the belief that fulsome means complete or comprehensive. You know however that the proper meaning is excessive or insincere especially in an offensive or distasteful way.
Should someone tell her?

  • 12.
  • At 06:57 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Ken wrote:

This woman must go and go now. The 'woman of principle' in the Section 28 debate and now, where are those very principles?

It is a sad fact that jack would be better back than this woman whose only interest is seelf interest - certainly not the interest of the people of Scotland.
Integrity - can she spell the word?

  • 13.
  • At 07:05 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • bob barclay wrote:

WENDY should stay as leader of the labour party in scotland. it is only press after her blood.she is by far the best leader we could have. as for her personel character no better reference can be than the late donald dewar how i know would not have appointed anyone he thought was not suitable for the big jobs he gave her.

  • 14.
  • At 07:10 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • john duguid wrote:

NEW LABOUR policy do what you want say sorry then carry on as if nothing serious had happened

  • 15.
  • At 07:12 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Sair Fecht wrote:

Well Brian, as far as Wendy Alexander goes and that of the wider Labour Party or for that matter politicians in general....I don't care whether it is 2 shillings or £5000 Scots Pounds this is a matter of trust! If they can't abide by the law then I am certain they are not fit to run the country.

  • 16.
  • At 07:20 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • G.Hill wrote:


“Alexander to continue as leader” That Wendy, so soon, has such enormous doubt cast over her leadership in UK national news, must have labour supporters in Scotland utterly bemused. Wendy’s appointment was largely designed to draw a line under Jack McConnell’s electoral failure and arguably benign rein as labour leader. Labour supporters must be wishing the wee-est best Labour leader in a kilt, were still at the helm. Seriously though, I think Gordon has lost touch with his Scottish brethren. Because he needs Harriet Harman to stay as his deputy, the Scottish Parliament has to put up with Wendy “toughing it out” as leader of the opposition? The Scottish people will not forget quickly how our parliament was used like a pawn to save GB and Harriet. The lessons Wendy claimed to have learned from the delayed announcement of the SNP victory on 4th May, was the need for humility and to have greater respect for and stay in touch with the feelings of the Scottish electorate. To play around with the electoral commission rules’ looking for loopholes and backdoors so soon after the election surely shows gross disrespect for the rule of law and by extension for the people of Scotland, whose trust labour had planned to win back? Whether this was due to Wendy’s ignorance or not, the whole debacle is still characteristic of the party around her. Perhaps not next week or even next month, but ultimately the people of Scotland will give their verdict on the donations scandal. If you are still leader Wendy, please don’t insult us with the trust and respect thing as part of your manifesto, we’ve heard that one before.

  • 17.
  • At 07:26 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • david adams wrote:

It seems as far as the Labour Party ignorance of the Law particularly ones which they have introduced is perfectly acceptable. It is illegal and dishonest. From a Government which has introduced so many knee jerk laws without thinking them through this adds selective amnesia bourne out of desparation for funds from anywhere.

Anyone who has had to navigate the hurdles introduced under the guise of anti-money laundering will understand the hypocracy of the Government when it comes to money for their politcal coffers.

  • 18.
  • At 07:26 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • scotleag wrote:

There are 47 SNP msps. Odd, on the face of it, that a lowly researcher should make a complaint to the police. Why such reticence when none was displayed over "cash for honours?"

Could it be that the SNP - which made no declarations whatsoever to the Electoral Commission for their own most recent internal elections have skeletons of their own rattling about?

Alex Salmond is uncharacteristically quiet about this. Of course he could dispel any worries about his own party by submitting the financial details of his own leadership campaign.

I am surprised he has not done so already given that he surely has nothing to hide.

Has he?

  • 19.
  • At 07:55 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • conway wrote:

New Labour is a busted flush...its time to abandon the "project" take the flack,regroup and reorganise just as the Conservatives did.
Please please BBC (BRIAN)its time that you took your head out of the sand and realised that Scottish politics is fast moving and brutal .
New Labour no longer have the right to run Scotland,in the future we are going to have Conservative,Lib Dem,SNP and if they get there house in order Labour Governments running Scotland.
And we will benifit from it.

  • 20.
  • At 08:46 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • PMK wrote:

Wendy wont be allowed to go by Gordon even if she wanted to. The scariest thought for Labour north of the border must be, if she goes: who wants the job?

  • 21.
  • At 08:47 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • gordon w wrote:

This just seems to be a reinforcement of what most people think of politicians in general and that is, most of them will seek and take the opportunity to fill their pockets whilst in power. Difficult to see this changing no matter how much politicobabble goes on in the next few weeks.

I don't really need my political representative to be holier than thou - they just need to be honest.

  • 22.
  • At 08:47 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

It's time that Wendy Alexander does the decent thing. At least one person should do the right thing. It makes me embarassed to have ever supported Labour.

  • 23.
  • At 08:51 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • dr.james smith wrote:

The constabulary are alerted, the quicker they get Wendy and Co. into the nick the quicker we clean up Scottish Politics.

regards

  • 24.
  • At 08:56 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Eirian wrote:

In my experience few salaried politicians show a great interest in fund-raising - their interest is mainly in spending whatever is raisedon their immediate campaigns irrespective of the medium term financial impact on their party. Whenever parties schedule discussions on raising money whether by increasing membership fees or other means, most salaried politicians withdraw to discuss more interesting topics.
I am unsure how probable it is that the commitment of the many goes much beyond signing whatever letter of appeal or thanks that is prepared by their assistants. In consequence I think it more probable that recent events have arisen from neglect rather than complicity.
Hopefully the consequences will stimulate such salaried politicians to pay due attention to how money is raised as well as in its spending. They should be embarrassed since they have allowed these circumstances to arise. It is the fault of the major British parties that the Electoral Commission allows expenditures far in excess of the amounts that most parties can raise. Indeed the level of expenditure permitted in an Assembly Regional List election was set at a level beyond that which most parties could raise in most regions - never mind the commitment to spend in individual constituencies.

  • 25.
  • At 08:58 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Uncle wrote:

This donation may have been against the law, but it was a minor infraction and it was not intentional. Everyone knows that. Yet the SNP has mounted another smear campaign using specious police complaints to harrass its opponents.

These politically motivated police investigations, at huge public expense, are the real scandal. The police have better things to do than be manipulated by any political party in this way.

Ms Alexander's days may be numbered, but the method of her removal is an insult to Scottish democracry. So is having a minority SNP government that does not represents Scotland's people behind it. Anyone who has ever believed in SNP 'integrity' has only to look at their behaviour now.
What s sordid, squallid lot.

  • 26.
  • At 09:04 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • patrick tracey wrote:

she should resign, whether she did it on purpose as her letter and the convenient size of the donation suggests or if it was done in complete ignorance which few believe,the law was broken. the amount of money involved is irrelevant,Labour mp`s seem to be more prone to breaking the law but less adept than other parties at covering it up, Its as if they believe that the law does not apply to them, I am retired and have never voted, perhaps before i die i will find a politician who is worth voting for, i wont hold my breath.

  • 27.
  • At 09:05 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Robert wrote:

Innocent until proven guilty .. wasn't that the old saying.

Let the police do their job

  • 28.
  • At 09:09 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • A. MacLean wrote:

I firmly believe that WA will not resign yet due to the pressure from GB. Putting simply if WA goes so does Harmen and GB, the domino effect.

Comment 1 mentioned Labour think they are above the law, actually it is worse than that Labour know they are above the Law.

  • 29.
  • At 09:17 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Derek wrote:

Help me out here Brian. Is it just the laws pertaining to party funding that polititians are entitled to ignore as and when they chose or does the same apply to other laws too?

As those posters outside the Benefit Office say: No ifs, no buts. Fraud is a crime. I wonder if a benefit claimant caught fiddling £950 in undeclared income would get away with it? No chance.

  • 30.
  • At 09:20 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Sam McCubbin wrote:

It is beginning to appear that there are laws for the common people of Scotland and there are laws for politicians. Wendy Alexander has fallen foul of the law that was designed by labour to disadvantage the SNP and to plead innocence now is beyond belief. She has been caught with her hand in the till and an example should be set by the police and the Scottish justice system. If this offence had been carried out by anyone of the common people of our country then they would have been hung,drawn and quartered. This smells of corruption similar to that of Westminster. If this is allowed to go unpunished then Scottish law will suffer and politicians in the labour mafia will have "beat their own system" We the Scottish people cannot allow that to happen.

  • 31.
  • At 09:24 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Gavin Neilson wrote:

Do any of our politicians actually have personal integrity. Even if they do does it exist in sufficient quantities to fight against their self interest?

  • 32.
  • At 09:32 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Jimmie wrote:

The Alexander team are making two substantial miscalculations. One, they are confirming all the SNP have ever said about the "Unionist Parties" in that they take their orders from London and London interests come before those of Scotland. Two, the big lesson of Watergate for every politician since 1973 has been 'make a clean breast of everything as soon as you can'. In other words, avoid the corrosive drip drip of further speculation and events. In any event, it can only be a matter of time before Alexander goes and most everybody knows that. The Scottish Labour Party’s interests are not being served. When that dawns, there could be a significant shift of support to the SNP and, possibly, the LibDems.

Incidentally, I don't get it about it being "just £950". Criminal offences have been committed with guilt seemingly obvious. The value of the illegal payments would be reflected, if at all, in the sentence after a guilty plea.

  • 33.
  • At 09:32 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Mike R wrote:

So loyalty to Broon exceeds instinct & personal integrity? What about loyalty to her broad constituency i.e. Scottish Labour, her Paisley constituents & (as leader of the opposition) her fellow Scots?

Henry McLeish knew when to fall on his sword, it's about time for Ms. Alexander to follow suit.

  • 34.
  • At 09:35 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Bill McMenemy wrote:

"Not waving but drowning."

  • 35.
  • At 09:43 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • john murdoch wrote:

Just goes to show that they are all human. where would these people enjoy their current conditions in any other employment. Its just a gravy train,i notice a distinct absence of members during debates which are germain to the good of the public. No one with any malim would give up a good job like they have. in general anyone who can make it outside,doesn,t join the club...

  • 36.
  • At 09:56 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • R Dalrymple wrote:

I am considering robbing a bank. I estimate I'll get around £90,000 from this endeavor. All well and good you say, but, there is always a but, what if I get caught?

The idea of 'doing time' has been praying on my mind somewhat. I have however come up with a stratagem that should allow me to sleep a little more peacefully.

If upon leaving the bank I am apprehended by the long arm of the law, I have decided I shall release a statement to the media that will go as follows:

"This has been a terrible day, for which I can only offer my sincerest apologies. I would also like to inform the police, and the bank, that I shall be reviewing my behaviour with the utmost fervour. It is with this in mind that I have set up an 'Independent Inquiry' to try to bring to light why this appalling eror of judgement happened. The Inquiry shall be led by my mother, who I assure you is of the utmost probity and could in no way be described as biased. To those who would accuse me of 'systematic failure' I would like to say I have never before tried to rob a bank. Once again I would like to apologise to everyone involved and would suggest, in the interests of all people, that we sit down and talk about how we can enforce the rules so that collectively we rob fewer banks. Obviously the thing I am most sorry about is being caught, the Gite in the South of France will have to wait. Damn!"

My main question is - Will it stand up in court?

R Dalrymple

I cannot understand why she is still in place.From a Scottish perspective it would be better if she resigned,why should she be used as a pawn for London Labour?

  • 38.
  • At 10:06 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Vince M wrote:

David McLetchie, you will recall Brian, clung onto office and said he would tough it out. One may say this was with a similar arrogance to Wendy Alexander.

However, while the Tories lost an able and good leader, it is fair to say, the allegations against Wendy are far more serious than a good few dodgy taxi fares.

It's not about the size of the donation, rather as you have rightly pointed out it's the principle; breaking the rules & electoral law. Saying you broke the law by incompetence is no defence.

Moreover, its having your team ('your team') mislead or lie twice on the key issues; and the fact there is evidence showing you knew all about this.

It's truly awful for a leader of the official opposition to be in such a mess.

Wendy must do the decent thing.

  • 39.
  • At 10:20 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Scamp wrote:

Wendy Alexander should resign not just as Labour leader in Scotland but also as an MSP.

I bet Gordon Brown is wishing he'd held that election now.

  • 40.
  • At 11:00 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • John Ferguson wrote:

Brian, please get some perspective when discussing Wendy Alexander. It's not 'personal integrity' or the 'long term interests of the Labour Party' that's preventing her from resigning. Wendy's clinging on for pure self interest and nothing else. If she was a person of integrity she would not have accepted Paul Green's donation. You've written before about her formidable intellect. It obviously deserted her when she was typing her thank you letter to Mr P. Green, Jersey!!

  • 41.
  • At 11:14 PM on 02 Dec 2007,
  • Eddie wrote:

Don't you think that following the meeting of the Labour MSP's on Tuesday would be a good time for the resignation?

It will mean she can go before Brown has to face PMQ's at Westminster, where her hanging on might be used as an example of how Labour leaders ignore the Law and have no honour.

It will also mean that there will not be time for the momentum to build (in the absence of the shield) for Harriet Harman to go, before PMQ's.

Yes, Harman may have to go in the days that follow - but it is perhaps all designed to get Gordon Brown through the next PMQ's, and limp on to the Christmas recess with as few resignations as possible.

  • 42.
  • At 12:13 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • P Thomas wrote:

The only honourable thing to do is resign for breaking the law. I think it's the word "honourable" that Miss Alexander finds so hard to come to grips with.

  • 43.
  • At 12:15 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • James Willis wrote:

Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that Ms. Alexander should have resigned before now I think that the big issue now is how to deal with donations to political parties and political funding generally. I do not believe that politcians should be able to vote public funds for the purpose of financing their own political ends nor, at the other extreme, would I wish to see the UK descend to the USA position where access to obscene amounts of funding are a condition precedent for any political activity at a senior level.

May I offer an alternative. If there was, for the want of a better term, a Parliamentary Bank, subject to the supervision of the Electoral Commisson, which all political parties and individual politicians were required to use exclusively for their financial transactions, then all donations would have to be lodged at that bank, and the lodgements, as well as the disbursements, of donated funds would be subject to the scrutiny of the Electoral Commission ,or Auditors appointed by them, in order to ensure compliance with propriety and electoral law, but with necessary confidentaility maintained.

If all donations lodged were accompanied by a declaration signed by a senior party member or individual politician to the effect that the donation was compliant with the regulations then scrutiny, even on a test basis, by the Electoral Commission would be a relatively easy task.

Of course, the politicians might not like this suggestion. You know what they're like!

  • 44.
  • At 01:49 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • John Gerome wrote:

Circumstances in which donations are specifically invited just below £1000 to avoid a legal requirement for disclosure, neither bolster claims of actions in "good faith" nor a denial of "intentional wrong doing".

By her statement, Wendy Alexander does not deny "wrong doing", but merely denies that it was "intentional". I imagine large numbers of those found guilty by our courts would claim the same.

To my knowledge, the courts are not persuaded to exonerate wrong doing by responsible adults, merely because they claim it not "intentional".

Sadly, Wendy Alexander appears to be yet another Labour politician in recent times, who seems to think that they should be above the due process of law.

It is critical for all of us that this is not accepted and excused in the guise of realpolitik. Only swift, impartial and independent action to punish wrong doing will demonstrate that the law applies to us all - even Labour politicians.

  • 45.
  • At 02:44 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Archie Andrews, Edinburgh wrote:

If Wendy is determined to see a complete annihilation of her party in Scotland she is certainly going the right way about it. The people of this country are now losing patience with her and if the police will not do their job by prosecuting her criminal acts then the people will see to it that she is forcibly removed from power at the next general election. The SNP must be wringing their hands with glee as they watch her and her cronies self-destruct. And let's face it, is there a decent person who wouldn't now say "good riddance" to Wendy and her like?

  • 46.
  • At 06:18 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

To be honest, I'm sick of hearing about it at the end of the day it is £950 we are talking about, I'm more worried about gaping holes in the Scottish Governments finance bill, which seems to be taking a back seat because of all this controvesy. The sooner the media drop this and get on with real issues affecting the scottish people the better.

  • 47.
  • At 07:03 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Chris Smillie wrote:

I'm not a Labour supporter but, come on, this is ludicrous. Resigning due to 950 pounds from someone based in Jersey?! Just get on with your job. This is non-news. Nobody cares except journalists.

  • 48.
  • At 07:07 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • J R Patel wrote:

Agree with S Laing - I unintentionally speed and many other people do other things unintentionally AND I and others have to abide by the law, what is it that allows MPs to think that the very laws they dream up and pass do not apply to them?

  • 49.
  • At 08:30 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Peter, Fife wrote:

The picture you paint of the dilemma the Labour Leader finds herself in vis-a-vis Labour in Scotland and Labour at Westminster is a logical extrapolation which I think many of us suspect is a true reflection of the wider relationship between Holyrood and Westminster not just in this instance.

Wendy is the autonomous Labour Leader in Scotland provided Gordon approves of her policies, her decisions and her appointments, hold on a minute?

Wendy remaining in office is untenable,
Wednesday Alexander is full of woe
Wednesday Alexander she must go!

  • 50.
  • At 08:44 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • James W McCurry wrote:

This law was enacted to hurt the SNP but ironically it is Labour which has been caught with its hand in the till. It was £950 to avoid a declaration. I want the police to go further than party funding and start looking into Labour MPs/MSP bank accounts. Thank God the days of a Labour run Scotland are well and truly over.

  • 51.
  • At 08:48 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Quentin Durward wrote:

The words 'did not intentionally' are getting good use.

Is Wendy or Scottish Labour trying to put it about that unintentional wrongdoing in a matter like this can be excused?

It just comes across as sticking two fingers up to the electorate.

Really disappointed by this approach: no wonder kids these days are disillusioned by politics.

She should go, which is a pity because I think she is smart and could have become a good leader. Too late now. Mistakes like this are unacceptable.

  • 52.
  • At 08:50 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • James Willis wrote:

Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that Ms. Alexander should have resigned before now I think that the big issue now is how to deal with donations to political parties and political funding generally. I do not believe that politcians should be able to vote public funds for the purpose of financing their own political ends nor, at the other extreme, would I wish to see the UK descend to the USA position where access to obscene amounts of funding are a condition precedent for any political activity at a senior level.

May I offer an alternative. If there was, for the want of a better term, a Parliamentary Bank, subject to the supervision of the Electoral Commisson, which all political parties and individual politicians were required to use exclusively for their financial transactions, then all donations would have to be lodged at that bank, and the lodgements, as well as the disbursements, of donated funds w
could be subject to the scrutiny of the Electoral Commission ,or Auditors appointed by them, in order to ensure compliance with propriety and electoral law, but with necessary confidentaility maintained.

If all donations lodged were accompanied by a declaration signed by a senior party member or individual politician to the effect that the donation was compliant with the regulations then scrutiny, even on a test basis, by the Electoral Commission would be a relatively easy task.

Of course, the politicians might not like this suggestion. You know what they're like!

  • 53.
  • At 09:03 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • sacrebleu wrote:

Typical of the arrogance of the West of Scotland Labour mafia - remember Jim McCabe, leader of North Lanarkshire Council SMOKING in his office? Was that unintentional law-breaking?

  • 54.
  • At 09:07 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • John wrote:

It has always been my understanding that ignorance of the law is not a defence or does that only apply to we mere mortals? It also begs the question why are members of Ms Alexander's team so ignorant of the law in this matter?

  • 55.
  • At 09:27 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • john wrote:

where does one start? First, Labour say a "rule" has been breached. They won't accept they have broken the law. So much for being tough on crime, etc. Then London Labour steps in to prevent Scotland sorting this out herself. Now we will have a slow decline instead. Perhaps it's too much to say that what's wrong with Scotland is London, but certainly one of the things Scotland needs to get rid of is the Labour Party

  • 56.
  • At 09:54 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Dunc from Selkirk wrote:

If she can't run her own finances, she isn't fit to run Scotland.

Alternatively, if she knew about all this then she is both a liar and a crook and isn't fit to run Scotland.

Either way, she's got to go.

Scottish Labour dying is one of the most positive things to come out of devolution. Hopefully the current Executive failures will do the same for the SNP and we then might be lucky enough to get a party who's policies will actually work in charge.

  • 57.
  • At 10:00 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • James wrote:

If the Public, the Media and fellow party members are discussing your political future simultaneously, it follows that you don't have one.

  • 58.
  • At 10:09 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • PMK wrote:

Wendy should go. From the point of view of the opposition this seriously limits their ability to scrutinise the new Government's proposed budget. Personally, I think this is probably a good thing - as it means less money wasted on Labour's particular ticks.

Can you imagine Wendy Alexander standing up at Holyrood and asking probing questions on any matter of finance ever again? No - she would be laughed out by Tory, Lib Dem (and some of her own) as much as by the Government benches. Considering she supposedly wants to champion "fiscal federalism" this party funding blow is decisive. Her little remaining credibility has gone, if she stays it will not be in her own interests or those of the people of Scotland - it will be solely for her London-based master (GB).

In response to those saying this is primarily a matter of party finance generally which shows the system needs reformed: what utter nonsense! The rules are more than sufficient if the parties stick to them and if they are properly enforced. A number of individuals in the Labour Party (both north and south of the border) have made a choice to BREAK THE LETTER OF THE LAW. I do not find it credible that in the post cash-for-honours Labour Party the chief fundraiser and Wendy Alexander's team were unaware of the law. Quite simply, if they were why were they allowed to hold such positions within the party? As pointed out by others, ignorance is no defence for us mere mortals - why should the law apply differently to politicians?

Labour's incompetence in government seems to have spilled over in to equal incompetence in opposition. Again, the most scary thought for "Scottish" Labour must be who would replace Wendy?

  • 59.
  • At 10:20 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • kenneth baxter wrote:

This is wrong how can a leader of a political party that breaks the law turn around and say that they did not know what they did was illegal. I have no respect for such moral cowards. If the average person on the street broke the law the police and politicians would be the first to say ignorance is not an excuse. Yes the fact she did not know should be taken into account when passing sentence but to say I am above the law because I did not know it was illegal is wrong.

  • 60.
  • At 10:21 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Mike Walker wrote:

Stop getting at Wendy.

She's fulfilling Gordon Brown's promise of change and no spin.

Labour politicians have eventually resigned in the past when their position sbecome untenable.. Wendy is changing that. She's staying on to ensure her party becomes unelectable.

Gordon said no spin.. well she cannot lie cos if she told the truth she'd resign so she pleads sub judice.

SO much for whiter than white politics.

Doing their best to destroy the Labour Party. Keep it up. Each day in power means a bigger loss at the next General Election.

  • 61.
  • At 10:37 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • HughB wrote:

This reminds me of the "No Ifs, No Buts" advert on the TV recently about benefit fraud.

  • 62.
  • At 10:43 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Bob Weir wrote:

If we did not 'intentionally' exceed the speed limit or overstay our parking meter, we still get 3 points or a ticket. Sorry, Wendy, ignorance is no defence. Time to go. It looked like the SNP were to be the end of Labour in Scotland, now it looks as if you could be responsible.

  • 63.
  • At 10:44 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Salmondwinsagain wrote:

PLEASE PLEASE STAY - u will be a constant reminder of the sleaze and corruption of Nu Labour and this illustrates perfectly why U were kicked out of office.

  • 64.
  • At 10:54 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • ayrshireman wrote:

No one has mentioned one big factor which help keep Wendy in her job....the dearth of talent within the top ranks of the Labour Party in Scotland. Look at the alternatives - Margaret Curran, Pauline McNeil, Tom McCabe, Andy Kerr? Gie us peace. Wendy may be damaged goods (and basically a bit second-rate), but, as they say, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man (or woman) is king.

  • 65.
  • At 10:55 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Jim Torrance wrote:

I would like Wendy to stay -She is just terrific! - I would also like Steve McLaren the England team manager to stay! he is terrific too.

  • 66.
  • At 10:58 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Brian (no, not that one) wrote:

Well, I am largely apolitical and not a supporter of either Labour or the SNP, but I have been following this story with interest.

Isn't it funny how the political world works? Wendy Alexander accepts (either wittingly or unwittingly) a donation of £995 from a non-UK resident. This is to support a leadership campaign in which she is the only candidate. Law broken? Yes, it looks like it. Harm done? Well....not a great deal, since this was an internal party election in which she was the only candidate.

Alex Salmond makes a series of pre-election promises which, many argue, are uncosted and unrealistic. Writing off student debt, reducing all class sizes to 18 in primary 1-3, first-time buyers' grant etc. This was in a national election to see who forms the Scottish Government. The SNP win, in a very tight race, possibly due to support from groups like students, parents, and potential first time buyers. Just a few months after being elected, all of these pre-election "commitments" are written off completely, or watered down substantially. Harm done? A considerable amount, with students, parents and potential first time buyers now feeling cheated.

Yes, it looks like Wendy Alexander's campaign team broke the law, and someone has to be held to account. But who will be held to account for the broken promises which helped to put Alex Salmond into the post of First Minister? Surely keeping promises which got you elected is just as important - if not more important - than proper accounting procedures in intetnal party elections?

  • 67.
  • At 11:02 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Simon Lamb wrote:

£950?!?

I think Wendy Alexander clearly deserves a prison sentence for this heinous crime. What a mammoth sum of money, think of all the extra balloons she was able to buy or the fancy colours she could afford for her rosettes, its an affront to democracy.

It might possibly be the most devastating scandal Scottish politics has ever seen!

Can we get back to business now perhaps. Personally I hope she doesn't resign as under her leadership Labour would be deservedly guaranteed another term outside of office.

  • 68.
  • At 11:19 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

The impression I have taken from a lot of the reporting about this story is of journalists truly appalled and angry. The thing is their reactions are almost what one would expect if these incompetent attempts at fraud had been committed by one of their own family. On the Politics show yesterday Brian Taylor's sense of anger, disbelief and disappointment was palpable.

Not being a fan of Wendy and New Labour I share only their anger. I don't feel let down so much as vindicated, I never trusted them or expected any better.

  • 69.
  • At 11:19 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • talorthane wrote:

Brian

I wonder if you could answer a question or two.

Should there be a forced by-election (or more than one), what would be the process?

I think I'm correct in saying that in the case of a Regional seat, it is simply a case of electing the next contender on the list, of whichever party wins the by-election. (Although how these votes would have effected the aggregate vote for the region seem to be overlooked.)

However, what happens in the case of a Constituency seat?

If that Constituency seat is won by a different party, does that have an effect of the Regional seat for that area?

Of would it be a one-off contest along first-past-the-post rules?

And if there is an effect on Regional seats, will voters in that constituency have the opportunity to also re-cast there regional votes?

The case in point is Glasgow Cathcart.

If a by-election in the Cathcart constituency seat was won by the SNP under FPTP rules, then they would gain one seat overall.

However, if the rules were that this vby-election had an impact on the regional vote, then the SNP could win an additional Constituency seat, but then lose one of their 4 Regional seats, meaning that they would gain none overall.

But if the Cathcart voters were to re-cast their Regional votes, then it is conceivable that the SNP could gain a Constituency seat, and keep all of their regional seats, and (though much more unlikely) potentially gain another Regional seat.

However this last point may become significant if, as the current saga unfolds, Wendy Alexander has to step down (not only as Labour leader but) as an MSP, and if (as some suggestions have indicated) David Whitton and Jackie Baillie are implicated. If all three had to step down as MSPs, this could have dramatic implications for the regional vote in the West of Scotland region.

Are the current rules capable of dealing with such a situation?

  • 70.
  • At 11:57 AM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Munro Ross wrote:

Ignorance of the law is no excuse and I agree with John Gerome that many people found guilty of breaking ghe law did not intend to break the law. Surely if this is to be a valid excuse then can anyone in court facing chrages not use it to get off.

Also why has Tom McCabe not resigned his position as he has admitted the law was broken. As to Charlie Gordon as he got a donation from the same source Philip Green for his campaign if he is an honourable man then he should resign as an MSP.

The only question the police and the Electoral commission need to decide given that McCabe has admitted the lwaw was broken is who face charges - Alexander? McCabe. Gordon, Labour party or all and perhaps others.

It is sad that a once great party shows such contempt for the law.


  • 71.
  • At 12:08 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Mark Scampion wrote:

As with almost every political scandal of note - cf. Henry McLeish - the actual transgression is relatively minor and (having accepted the relevant punishment) the politician's career could have continued all-but-unaffected... but it is the invariably cack-handed coverup which brings about downfall.

Wendy Alexander should visit her local police station and make a clean breast of the matter; indeed, she should have done so a week ago.

Inasmuch as she does not currently hold high office - and is unlikely to hold any governmental post for over three years - she might have anticipated a punishment such as would have enabled her to continue in post.

Expressing a determination to defend the legitimacy of her acceptance of the donation - despite acknowledging it was from a ineligible donor - shows such a lack of good judgment that Wendy Alexander is now doomed: it can only be a matter of time before she goes, and the longer she drags this out, the poorer will be her reputation.

As for Ms Alexander's Scottish Labour colleagues, they must now consider whether they continue to be prepared to endorse someone who acts against the interests of their party (and future electability) simply because it is inconvenient to a member of another elected body.

  • 72.
  • At 12:22 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Dan Ritchie wrote:

Are we surethat Ms Alexander is aware of the statement she issued? She doesnt seem to be aware of anything else. ie the law, honesty, public opinion.. the list goes onnn

  • 73.
  • At 12:23 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • js wrote:

this is a shocking disregard for the law. everyday in scotland people are jailed for petty theft while politicians north and south of the border seem to be able to get away with such blatant infractions. i have absolutely no faith left in the scottish parliament, the scottish justice system or the scottish media.

  • 74.
  • At 12:24 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • iain morrison wrote:

Its not just Wendy, its McCabe, Baillie, Whitfor, Crabbit Cathy and Gordon too.Aiding and abetting a criminal in crime is a criminal offence also. 6 by-elections methinks.

  • 75.
  • At 12:30 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Kevin Ferguson wrote:

How big a crime in the scale of things is this?
Are we talking parking ticket or genocide?
I suspect it somewhere between letting your dog foul the pavement and not having a TV licence.

Even politician are entitles to be innocent until proven guilty. If it can be shown that she wilfully and knowing broke the law, then resignation is the only course of action. If it was an oversight or mistake then none of us are prefect.

Let’s have the investigation before sentencing by the hysterical lynch mod of journalists and opposition pundits please.


  • 76.
  • At 12:35 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:

As you are perefectly well aware Sir,
"ignorance is no defence under the law".
To think this "country" was at the heart of this thinking 300 year ago.
How far have we gone back as a nation Msss Alexander?

  • 77.
  • At 12:43 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Olaf wrote:

So if I get caught speeding today but I say it's unintentional I'll get off with it?

Where is the Scottish Yates?

  • 78.
  • At 12:52 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Graham wrote:

Did Ms Alexander confirm that all contributions made to her campaign, were legal? I thought the statement "Ignorance of the Law was no excuse" still held!

  • 79.
  • At 12:53 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • James in Japan wrote:

If Wendy stays, she will be a lame-duck leader of the opposition in Scotland. For GB (and the Labour machine) to enforce this so that the deputy leader doesn't follow suit is so sick.

The sooner that we have complete independence the better. Westminster controlling Scotland NO MORE!

  • 80.
  • At 01:05 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • George Hunter wrote:

It beggars belief, the arrogance of politicians today is breathtaking. The law has been broken. However, the Labour party seems to think that by offering a couple of sacrificial lambs the masses will be appeased. (No doubt 'the lambs' have been told that they will be welcomed back into the fold and given good jobs in a couple of years).
Harman, Alexander and all others who are likely to be investigated should resign now and accept any punishments coming ther way.

  • 81.
  • At 01:05 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Steve Killearn wrote:

I had my bottle of bubbly on ice yesterday....what a let down.....the Wendy house didnt collapse as I thought it would.....however once she has bought Gordon the time he needs it surely will. I only hope that useless brother of hers follows soon after his scottish election attempted swindle back fired so beautifully. The only down side of Bendy Alexander going might be that Wee Eck might get some competition and have to work for a living....specially at 1st ministers QT. Wendy is/was a gift to SNP and a PR disaster for Labour. Let battle commence!

  • 82.
  • At 01:05 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • William Mooney wrote:

Has Gordon Brown missed another trick here?

He could have showed some decisiveness and said "What has happened is illegal and totally unacceptable, and those involved should consider their positions". Instead we get what appears to be another dithering decision.

Instead he's now locked into keeping people in positions to protect himself while making a mokery of the party and wrecking its electoral prospects.

  • 83.
  • At 01:07 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • gordon from ayr wrote:

Did anyone notice David Cameron's response to Andrew Marr yesterday morning when asked about Wendygate? This was a nice easy ball bowled without pace or spin from AM, inviting Cameron to hit it for six, but instead he mumbled about not knowing too much about it.

From a guy who aspires to be the next British PM this was a display of ingnorance on a grand scale. At least the present incumbent recognises Wendy and Harriet are part of the same problem.

The only winner in this is Wee Eck, as Labour in Scotland is finished and a Tory in Downing Street with no interest in Scotland can only benefit the SNP.

And another winner this weekend? That's right, Big Eck!

  • 84.
  • At 01:09 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Tuloch Gorum wrote:

I recall reading somewhere a quote that came from the Nationalists at the time of the Hamilton West by-election. It was something along the lines of "there is a shiver on the Labour benches looking for a spine to run up." How applicable.

  • 85.
  • At 01:11 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • BrianMcL wrote:

Re Hugh B's comment about the benefit fraud adverts.

Perhaps if benefit fraudsters simply followed Gordon Brown's lead and asked for enough taxpayers cash in return for promising not to break the law in future the problem could be solved easily.

  • 86.
  • At 01:13 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Colin wrote:

Alexander must stay. That will ensure that New Labout are kept out of office for the length of her tenure.

  • 87.
  • At 01:14 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • John Gerome wrote:

Circumstances in which donations are specifically invited just below £1000 to avoid a legal requirement for disclosure, neither bolster claims of actions in "good faith" nor a denial of "intentional wrong doing".

By her statement, Wendy Alexander does not deny "wrong doing", but merely denies that it was "intentional". I imagine large numbers of those found guilty by our courts would claim the same.

To my knowledge, the courts are not persuaded to exonerate wrong doing by responsible adults, merely because they claim it not "intentional".

Sadly, Wendy Alexander appears to be yet another Labour politician in recent times, who seems to think that they should be above the due process of law.

It is critical for all of us that this is not accepted and excused in the guise of realpolitik. Only swift, impartial and independent action to punish wrong doing will demonstrate that the law applies to us all - even Labour politicians.

Democracy demands adherence to the rule of Law, and without the rule of Law, there can be no Democracy.

  • 88.
  • At 01:17 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Bill McMenemy wrote:

The Clash this time:

"Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know"

  • 89.
  • At 01:18 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Sandra wrote:

Surely Wendy and Harriet Harman are two different cases? Wendy broke the law by accepting a donation from someone not on the electoral roll. Why the alarm bells did not clang when she wrote her thank you note to Jersey, is a mystery. Harriet accepted from what was to her a known donor who was on the roll, but her team should've known that this was a front for Abraham, even if she did not. It does seem strange that she alone did not know, but she did check. They are both in a black hole, but it seems Wendy's is deeper, but she is not the first Alexander under a cloud. What about brother and That Election fiasco?

  • 90.
  • At 01:20 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Craig wrote:

An adaptation of an old Bob Dylan song seemed appropriate:


You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it
You said you'd never compromise
With Alex Salmond, but now you realize
He's not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

  • 91.
  • At 01:33 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Ross wrote:

Oh dear. Poor Wendy isn't as perfect as the rest of the saintly citizens contributing to this blog.

Get real. It's a storm in a tea cup.

I am no Labour supporter but if Wendy gets the chop we will all suffer with no credible alternative to lead labour and battle against the SNP and their crazed drive to take Scotland crashing on to the rocks of independence.

The SNP will cost us all far more than 950 quid.

Get over and and move on.

  • 92.
  • At 02:00 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • djmac wrote:

Surely, the Scottish Labour is now 'dead in the water'??
This is not just about the single donation of £950. It's also about:
1. The other £16,000 for a leadership campaign which never existed.
2. Where did THAT money go?
3. If the campaign did not exist, and none actually took place, then is the soliciting of funding for a non-existent purpose tantamount to FRAUD??
4. She has all but admitted her guilt - 'unintentional' just says 'I DID IT but honest guv, it was a big boy who forced me into it and ran away' (just ask duggie).
5. She has lost three key advisers in a matter of three months.
6. Her ability to properly assess those she employs appears to be non-existent.
Not 'if' but 'when'!!

  • 93.
  • At 02:00 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • bill Lloyd wrote:

I think Mrs Alexanders defence of 'I can't be guilty because I didn't do it deliberately' might well come back to haunt her, if ignorance of the law now means not guilty I think our judicial system is about to fall apart.

  • 94.
  • At 02:06 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • robbierotton wrote:

Scotland deserves better. Where is your integrity and honour Ms Alexander?

How can YOU serve the best interests of the people now?

I say to Scotland - demand only the best - get rid of the rest.

  • 95.
  • At 02:13 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • bobst wrote:

I think Wendy Alexander should do the scottish people and all Labour supporters a favour and resign immediately and not reduce the credibilty of her office any further in her bid to support Gordon - (her brother did not do such a good job of that neither).
Maybe Jack was not such a bad lad for labour after all. The problem is Labour has no one to replace her - very sad she was their only choice

  • 96.
  • At 02:16 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • walt wrote:


What were her comments on McLeish?

I would like to see if see supported him now in the event of time he has been cleared of the doings he was reported to have undertaken.

Also she claims it was thought that the donation was from a british based company do we have his UK base. Again if so why write back to jersey [clarity to give benifit of doubt].

If political leaders are wrong doers they must stand up and lead as we would be expected too. As she has not, it is seen as a must that Wendy waves goodbye. Lowly people who dont get tax returns in on time for even the smallest amounts as penalised by the government. Shout in the street, charged with breach of the peace then die in police custody. In the past she has helped to write rules that do so, Can we now sight this as case history if she does not get investigated, fined or even prison sentence and her fund manager has he been arested for breaking the law. Wwhy do the police not arrest her put in the cells until eveidence has been shown to clear her. This was not given to the mountaineer that recently died not for fraud, breaking the law but "shouting" is that a crime? if so a heavy price to pay.

Others have said one rule for some I await the outcome and see if we let them run loose and tag them or bag them

  • 97.
  • At 02:17 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • david stuart wrote:

the infamous hand cash back conjuring trick


1.the trick-you return a cheq you accepted-banked--wrote a letter of thanx too.

2.the deception-you find someone in the audience--willing to write a cheq for £950 .you need to use slight of hand so £1000 cheq wouldnt work.

3.the switch-unknown to the person in audience--his cheq will be declared under a false alibi.

4.the illusionist-she knows it took slight of hand-to accept and return cheq.but like every magician-once illusion is sussed your finished.

  • 98.
  • At 02:24 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

You know that Wendy and her supporters are struggling to defend the indefensible when Jackie Baillie tries to play the discrimination against women card. This is a well worn appeal to the sisterhood to stick together and attempts to encourage the brotherhood to put heart before head.

  • 99.
  • At 02:54 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Sarah wrote:

Am I jsut being stupid but.....

Why when she ws unopposed in the election for leader of the Scottish Labour party did she need any donations for an election campaign?

  • 100.
  • At 02:54 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Jimmie wrote:

Brian,

The heartening thing about the past few days is the huge outpouring of horror from people across the political spectrum at the actions of Alexander and Brown and their various cabals. There is hope left for the country that such sleaziness is patently and so universally unacceptable.

As for the political dimensions, I cannot see for the life of me that the refusals to resign of Mendelsohn, Harman, Whitton, Gordon, McCabe and Alexander is in the interests of the Labour Party. This would seem to be a huge miscalculation by Gordon Brown. For this not to prove fatal is going to require a recovery of miraculous proportions

  • 101.
  • At 03:00 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

I think I will walk into the nearest bank to rob it and then claim to have had a mis-understanding of the law. if senior Labour politicians can get off with this excuse so can I !

  • 102.
  • At 03:30 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Craig wrote:

A Song adaptaion originally written by Neil Young:


I used to see you on every T.V
Your smiling face looked back at me.
I used to see you on every T.V
Your smiling face looked back at me.

Then they caught you with the boy next door,
People's money piled on the floor,
Accusations that you try to deny,
Revelations and rumours begin to fly.

Now you think about reaching out
Try to get some help from above.
Now you think about reaching out
Try to get some help from above.
Reporters crowd around your house.
Going through your garbage like a pack of hounds,
Speculating what they may find out,
It don't matter now, you're all washed up.

You wake up in the middle of the night.
Your sheets are wet and your face is white,
You tried to make a good thing last,
How could something so good, go bad, so fast?

American dream, American dream
American dream, American dream.

Don't know when things went wrong,
Might have been when you were young and strong.
Don't know when things went wrong,
Might have been when you were young and strong.

Reporters crowd around your house.
Going through your garbage like a pack of hounds,
Speculating what they may find out,
It don't matter now, you're all washed up.

Why on earth is anyone serious even talking about resignation? All that happened is that a minor mistake was made and the campaign accepted a donation which it shouldn't have. It's hardly the end of the world. It's just an accident.

  • 104.
  • At 03:53 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • BrianMcL wrote:

Anybody else think that First Ministers Questions might be a bit like Angus Deyton's last couple of Have I Got News For You appearances?(assuming she's still the leader)

Bet she's glad the Alex hasn't got around to getting all those extra police yet.

  • 105.
  • At 04:01 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Bill McMenemy wrote:

The Bard has it covered again!

Julia:

"...Now, trust me, 'tis an office of great worth,
And you an officer fit for the place.
There, take the paper; see it be return'd;
Or else return no more into my sight."

Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act I; Scene ii)

  • 106.
  • At 04:01 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • john wrote:

Brian, you now have over 100 postings. This is the biggest feedback you have ever had. People are following this story, and it will not go away. Wendy's hopes to tough it out simply aren't going to work as the public will not let it. What happens the next time the opposition quiz the justice secretary on crime? Will Wendy have to declare an interest when it comes to debating police numbers? The only way out for her is throught he door marked 'exit'

  • 107.
  • At 04:01 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • T.Bickle wrote:

Have the "questionable" contributions been returned? If there were a statory provision that illegal donations had to be repaid with an equal penalty to the exchequer (or perhaps it should be a tenfold penalty) maybe certain politicos (and their wee helpers) would take their legal obligations more seriously. The current culture seems to be to sail as close to the wind as possible -- and hope that you get away with it.


  • 108.
  • At 04:02 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • robbierotton wrote:

If I am caught speeding tomorrow can I simply set up an equiry, presided over by myself and other offenders, to raise the limit; meanwhile refusing to comply with questions from the police whilst the enquiry is undertook?

Can I also plead ignorance of the law as an excuse to avoid investigation?

Thought not!

  • 109.
  • At 04:17 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Derek McPherson wrote:

Why is everyone so keen on hounding poor Ms Alexander out of a job? I find it both tawdry and petty. Incidentally, can I use this space to assure the arresting officers and the Procurator Fiscal's department, that I was wholly unaware that it is illegal to consume large ammounts of alchol prior to driving a vehicle on the public highway. I remain concinced, however, that I will be completely exonerated of knowingly breaking the law.

  • 110.
  • At 04:26 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • lankyscot wrote:

There's some good reasons to take a few deep breaths here.

Say what you like about intention, it still matters, because fiscals don't always prosecute, even when technical guilt is obvious, if it's disproportionate and public interest would not be served. Lots of crime is committed and prosecutions not brought, plenty of unwitting and confused first-time criminals are let go.

1) What did the Alexander team believe about the donation? If the picture is one of genuine misapprehension, and/or confusion are we looking at a finger wagging to do better, or the full monty of sheriff courts, arrests etc?
2) If they thought it was from a UK company, did they take reasonable steps to check it out? For example they would hardly be expected to employ forensic auditors on a campaign this small.
3)What was it reasonable for Wendy herself to check out?
4)And finally - where is it in the scheme of things? Who are the victims? Was anyone hurt? Actually this is the thing that may hurt Wendy most, because of the public example, which means discretion is less likely.

But to say that there is no nuances here is simply wrong.

So why don't we all have a nice cup of tea, and wait for the Crown Office (not under Labour control anymore) to do its job unhindered.

  • 111.
  • At 04:39 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Highland lassie wrote:

If either Wendy Alexander or Hariet Harman had any integrity they would resign immediately.

Scotland is now being seen (and is) the "human shield" for for Gordon Brown.

It is about time we had some really six o'clock straight politicians representing us. The trouble is that many of our politicians are now in for what they can get out of it instead of what they can put into it. Where has dedication gone?

UK Governments should be transparent in every respect.

I only hope that every one will take all that has happened over the recent days into account when next we are called on to vote.

  • 112.
  • At 05:01 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • reb ben wrote:

how is this any different to the cases of archer and aitken (albeit on a smaller scale), surely fraud is fraud and ingnorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law?

there's no justice!

  • 113.
  • At 05:09 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Alex Dunn wrote:

Can Wendy Alexander help me? I have just received a speeding ticket for an inglorious 33mph in a 30 zone. I am led to believe that because I wasn't fully aware of my speed I am now innocent. Is that the case Wendy? Furthermore, the Police claim that they sent me the fine 2 months ago but the paperwork was only brought to my attention by my wife(who's filing system is better than mine)about three weeks ago. I believe this now means that I can regard the fine as being issued 3 weeks ago. I would be grateful to Wendy for helping me to clear this muddy issue up for me and look forward to many years with a clean licence.
AD

  • 114.
  • At 05:10 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Scamp wrote:

The reason Alex Salmond and the SNP are generally are not saying much at the moment is that a) it's all now down to the Electoral Commission and presumable the police and b) it's very impolite to intrude on private grief.

  • 115.
  • At 05:11 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

A big mistake by Gordon Brown. He has now tied himself to the apron strings of Harman and Alexander.

It would have been far better to accept that the buck stopped with him, and for him to take decisive action by calling for Harman, Alexander and anyone else connected to these illegal donations to resign or face the sack.

Once Harman and Alexander fall, and they will, the fingers will point directly at Brown to go next.

  • 116.
  • At 05:11 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

To everybody who is saying that this is a trivial matter over a trivial amount of money, shame on you. This is about the integrity of our politicians and our trust in them. At the last Holyrood elections, our faith in them was almost completely wiped out with all the negativity and dirty tricks. Now we have the leader of the Scottish Labour party admitting that she accepted illegal donations but has not done anything wrong. What planet do these people live on. At this rate the turnout at the next elections will be hovering around the 30% mark because no one believes a word they are saying.

  • 117.
  • At 05:21 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • martin wrote:

She never meant to break the law BUT SHE DID.

If she would do it for only £950 then how can we ever trust her with the nation's financies at holyrood???

Answer is we couldnt. Also its the deceit, the cover up, hiding etc. She has proven she isnt fit for purpose.

Wendy, resign and do yourself a favour but i know you wont just like your brother.

New labour in Scotland are sunk either way now, no labour leader could come up to salmond's knees.

Oh and how is it with all new labour leaders at holyrood there have been financial scandals. Think about it.

Independence for Scotland is coming to a town near you sooner than you think.

Good

  • 118.
  • At 05:30 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:

I'm afraid it's the same for all of us; ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  • 119.
  • At 05:37 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • john wrote:

I am more concerned about Wendy Alexander and the admission of lack of attention to detail. We should remember she has an administration staff to sort and guide her through the day.
If Wendy has limited attention to detail,how does she cope with formulating policy and more importantly, convincing the people she has the skill to lead, and understand complex issues of goverment.
Finally how do we interpet unintentional, in relation to a person holding an elected seat in our goverment.
I sense this episode has informed the public, as to who is the real Wendy Alexander. If the labour party aspire to regain the trust of the people then the leader should display these sentiments in all that they do on behalf of their constituents and party.
Time for a change.
Alex Salmond has earned the trust of the people. A leason Wendy should take to heart.
Jack Reid

  • 120.
  • At 05:43 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:

wow 107 Posts and counting...this could be the greatest political slip-up since Neil Kinnock fell so ungracefully on the beach...

  • 121.
  • At 05:45 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Archie Andrews, Edinburgh wrote:

The answer is simple: everyone who has been fined for committing a crime when they really didn't mean to, can now claim ignorance as their defence. Our thanks to Wendy for providing that legal precedent. What about that crashing sound as the foundations of democracy and law-abiding society crumble? Well, it doesn't seem to bother Wendy, so why should it bother the rest of us?

  • 122.
  • At 05:45 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • red rob wrote:

i don't see how is this any different to the cases of archer and aitken, fraud is fraud and ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law?

if we are to have any faith in the justice system then there can be no exeptions

  • 123.
  • At 05:48 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Nick Lyon wrote:

Im sick to the back teeth of people talking about it "only being" £950. The law is the law, how far do you think the average person would get if he recieved that much money by lies and deception - aka fraud. Perhaps we could all do it and when caught plead ignorance.

New Labour are rotten to the core just like the union they champion.

The parliament should vote for a fresh Scottish election.

  • 124.
  • At 05:51 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • highlander 49 wrote:

Wendy Alexander can't just do what she likes,this is not party political,any politician guilty of breaking the law must be seen to be punished.

Also Donald Dewar did what T Blair told him to do and not always what was best for Scotland!!!!!

  • 125.
  • At 06:00 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Mike Walker wrote:

Wendy Alexander is an example to us all.

Of how not to behave.

If you plead guilty apologise, and resign you may be able to start again.

The way she is doing it, she'll be forced out. With no regrets.

As Renee from Ello Ello would say///

"silly woman"

  • 126.
  • At 06:21 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Dod Mckenzie wrote:

What a ridiculous situation. The Leader of the Regional Scottish Labour party breaks the law, but remains in post as this provides cover for a deputy in the London UK Labour party.

Have these people no shame?

Trying to extend the issue onto general party fundig will not wash either. Can you imagine a crinmal caught for theft, saying to the court, I did not really mean to steal intentionally and I think there are others at it as well!

C'mon, doi these people think we are mugs?

Do the decent thing and resign!

Mac

  • 127.
  • At 07:08 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • R Dalrymple wrote:

Some advice please:

I am considering robbing a bank. I estimate I'll get away with anything between £950 - £650,000 from this endeavour. All well and good you say, but, and there is always a but, what if I get caught?

The idea of 'doing time' has been praying on my mind somewhat. I have however come up with a stratagem that should allow me to sleep a little more peacefully.

If upon leaving the bank I am apprehended by the long arm of the law, I have decided I shall release a statement to the media that will go as follows:

"This has been a terrible day, for which I can only offer my sincerest apologies. I would also like to inform the police, and the bank, that I shall be reviewing my behaviour with the utmost force at my disposal. It is with this in mind that I have set up an 'Independent Inquiry' to try to bring to light why this appalling error of judgement happened. The Inquiry shall be led by my mother, who I assure you is of the utmost probity and could in no way be described as biased. To those who would accuse me of 'systematic failure' I would like to say I have never before tried to rob a bank. Once again, can I take this opportunity to apologise to everyone involved. I would also suggest, in the interests of all people, that we sit down and talk about how we can enforce the rules so that collectively we rob fewer banks. Obviously the thing I am most sorry about is being caught, The Gite in the South of France will have to wait. Damn!"

My main question is - Will it stand up in court?

R D

  • 128.
  • At 07:11 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Brian McHugh wrote:

I am wondering just how incompetent NuLabour could actually become...
___________________________________
99 Cave Road
Tora Bora,
Afghanistan,
ONO 123

Dear Mr Bin Laden,

Thank you for your 950 Pounds donation to the Labour Party, we look forward to your impending nomination for a Nighthood.

Your faithfully,

Wendy Alexander

Ps. loved the flowers xxx
___________________________________

... Nothing would surprise me any more with this lot.

  • 129.
  • At 07:12 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

If Wendy Alexander, Tom McCabe, David Whitton and Charlie Gordon are intent on pleading ignorance of the technicalities of the law, I understand 800 residents of Barlinnie intend to appeal their sentences on similar grounds.

Wendy might be bendy but the law disnae thaw.

  • 130.
  • At 07:13 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Ed wrote:

Ms Alexander cannot be exonerated -she is guilty.She has admitted her guilt. If the electoral commission do not refer the matter to the police, and recommend a prosecution, the commission should be disbanded - having lost any semblance of integrity.If the procurator does not proceed with the case then he should be forced to resign.

During the trial - the Labour politicians can then trot out their manufactured excuses.

Do you think Lord Hutton will be made a Scottish Law Lord in the nick of time?

Read this on another post - " Tell the truth and shame the Labour party "

  • 131.
  • At 07:14 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • TC wrote:

http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/12_01/LetteraddL0312_800x1064.jpg

Here's a link to the offending letter.

"We will earn their trust again...".

Good luck with that, Wendy...

  • 132.
  • At 07:21 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • john west lothian wrote:

To be honest as a labour voter im fed up of the clinging on by tyhe fingernails.

Labour used to have dignity.

This tawdry affaor can only end one way resign now wendy and at least save your own honour don't disgrace the party just to keep harmen in a job.

  • 133.
  • At 07:26 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

It's gone teatime on Monday.

WHY is Wendy still in her job?

I agree with Margo - stand aside for the time being, Wendy, and let the grown-ups get on with running the country.

  • 134.
  • At 07:29 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Mark, Easter Ross,Scottish Highlands wrote:

How can Wendy Alexander or Harriet Harman hope to survive? If you speed without intending to, you still get a conviction for speeding, a criminal record and points on your licence. Whether either meant to break the law their party introduced is irrelevant. Both appear to have accepted they broke the law, they should resign and be prosecuted. I wonder how Lord Watson feels? The Labour group at Holyrood were quick to dump him and ironically it is his successor Charlie Gordon MSP who appears to have helped little Wendy land herself right in it!

  • 135.
  • At 07:50 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • bert wrote:

The key phrase, and one which must not be lost in all of this:

Ms Alexander's leadership campaign team admitted accepting an illegal donation

The donation is illegal, they admit that, therefore a crime has been committed and legal action should follow. Deliberate or not it makes no difference to the law.

  • 136.
  • At 08:04 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Rab o'Ruglen wrote:

Wow 125 posts and counting. Thank goodness for the internet. The Labour-dominated media in Scotland can't hide the sense of public outrage on this one!

  • 137.
  • At 08:18 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

I have always found agreement with the wise person who stated that 'anyone who wishes to be a politician should immediately be barred on the grounds of unsuitability'. I personally support the cause of independence and will judge the present SNP government on results over the next few years. Whatever faults the SNP parlimentarians may have, or may prove to have in the future, the one thing I am reasonably sure of is that they see their future in Scotland and have a belief in this country's viability.
The Unionist parties see their future as subservient to Westminster.
My vision for the future would be to see an independent Scotland with independent political paries of all shades and funded only by membership subs and donations.

  • 138.
  • At 08:49 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • G.Hill wrote:

Read between the well-spun lines! The latest craftily worded defence offered by Wendy and her rear guard of desperate defenders is, she will be exonerated of any “intentional” wrongdoing. Surely this really says, “I am guilty as charged, but I didn’t mean it”. Hardly exonerated eh? The word normally carries the thought of some poor soul falsely accused, but later found completely innocent, aye right! Will it take an SNP campaign entitled “Wendy must stay” to convince her it is time to go?

  • 139.
  • At 08:52 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Ivan - glasgow wrote:

Wendy said on BBC Question Time in Glasgow on the 22nd November 2007 that "we dont always live up to our best instincts but we should be encouraged to live up to our best instincts" this was said in relation to actions in public life, ok wendy we encourage you, how things change in ten days, if it was the SNP or Torries they would have been destroyed by the tabloids.

  • 140.
  • At 09:28 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Bill wrote:

Wendy is wounded and
Wendy will walk
(time managed by the Boss of course)

There is a genuine feeling of public disgust at these revelations. Not just the media hype.

Don't public figures every learn?

How many politicians, from all parties, have resigned over errors, lots.

What a gift to SNP

I hope they don't make a mess of the finances - or they'll be out too.

  • 141.
  • At 09:34 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

Wendy still has something to give the people of Scotland...her resignation. My own donation to her campaign? A P45.

  • 142.
  • At 10:22 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • sacrebleu wrote:

So Gordy's answer is that we need new legislation! Duh, there's nothing wrong with the law we've got - if only the politicians who passed it would abide by it!

  • 143.
  • At 10:31 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

At the very least Wendy should have resigned her post as leader, even on a temporary basis to clear her name.
What no one has mentioned is the significance of who and why someone stabbed her in the back. Could it have been a disgruntled former employee, an ambitious colleague, or even people who were keen to spoil her St.andrews Day speech. A speech that was a clear attempt to lead the party to something resembling independent thought from UK Labour ...personally I think someone out there didn't like that one little bit (I wonder who?)

#46 + #47

I'm not a journalist and I very much care that our political elite at both Westminster and Holyrood are content to break the laws they write ... what sort of precedent does it set if we let them off so lightly?

There has been a clear breach of trust and confidence and were I there employer (oh! I am, and so are you) I'd see them out on their ear!

Regards

  • 145.
  • At 10:39 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • John J. Sheridan wrote:

Aha!

Is this where all you nu labour apologists have been hiding then?

I wondered where you all ran to when you failed to make an appearance at either the Herald or the Hootsmon.
Ran crying to the last bastion,Auntie Beeb did we?
Awwww the wee diddums.


No offence Brian, you are one of the few honest ones out there, and you need to work somewhere.
But you should be careful about the company you are keeping !

Come on back and enjoy the fun you lot, it's too dark in here!

  • 146.
  • At 10:55 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • ken kennedy wrote:

Its extreemly convenient for the SNP that this has came up now. Especially in Moray, it now seems that due to their freeze on council tax the 3 new schools and regional sports facility that were promised has to be cut to 2 new schools, nothing else. So much for meeting school replacement comittments brick for brick.

I also beleive that many of the students who were promised that they didnt have to pay graduate endowments have recently erceived letters reequeting payment for said fees.

the SNP are ripping off the people of Scotland and as far staying quiet over the whole wednygate affair, well if that is roseanna cunnigham being quiet then i would hate to see her with a drink in her, and of course the two SNP MSP's that decided to phone the police over the matter.

As for investigating all Labour MSP's personal bank accounts i couldnt agree more but lets just do it for all MSP's infact lets just throw caution to the wind and investigate all polticians personal details in all parties (except of course the SNP) and have a dig at how much money they earn and question every single transaction made over the past ... i dont know say 15 years.

ps your right wendy should go, the test of any government is how effective their oposistion is, and we cant decide how good the sNP are until they have effective oposistion

  • 147.
  • At 11:13 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • Wullie wrote:

Is it only me that finds that Scottish politicians embarrassingly lacking in vision and ambition?

All over the world leaders grow unaccountably and massively rich whilst in office. In Scotland we lose a First Minister because of £36,000 worth of undeclared sub-letting income. Hardly peanuts but it wouldn't get Silvio Berlusconi out of bed.
David McLetchie's £11,500 of mildly-dodgy taxi fares again, is not trivial, but was hardly a major boost to his earning capacity.
As for Wendy Alexander's £950 for her totally unecessary campaign, c'mon! She obviously broke rules that she must have been aware of but, for a sum that should tempt no-one but the desparately poor with nothing to lose!
Don't get me wrong, I don't want bent politicians, but if you're going to misbehave at least do it with some style so that we can be outraged rather than just embarrassed at your sad pettiness.
Still it could be worse - she could've got blind-drunk and set fire to some hotel curtains!

  • 148.
  • At 11:17 PM on 03 Dec 2007,
  • murdo wrote:

Just seen Newsnight Scotland. Did I actually hear Jackie Bailey say something along the lines of 'I don't think it's appropriate that these facts are put in the public domain.' What planet are these people on? Quite frankly words fail me.

  • 149.
  • At 12:05 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • J Macmillan wrote:

I am not up to speed on the rules governing politicians. Would it not be more appropriate for those breaking the law to be barred from any form of government instead of the tax payer having to keep them in jail?

  • 150.
  • At 12:09 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Craig M wrote:

I don't doubt that Wendy must know herself she has to resign, she must realise her credibility as a leader who would bring her much vaunted intelligence and eye for detail to the Labour leadership is now completely gone. She must realise that her continued presence in the Scottish Parliament debating hall will allow all the other parties to strip away to the bone what little dignity she has left. She is now a lame duck leader and in politics those sort of leaders don't last long......the same might be said for Gordon Brown.

  • 151.
  • At 01:10 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Iain More wrote:

The Law has been broken! Do we really need to write novel length responses to this issue!There is only one place for Law breakers and that is some time at the pleasure of Her Most Brittanic Majesty!There is something delicously ironic about that in Wendy Alexanders case!
I have not been able to do anything for the last 3 days as I cant stop laughing!
The last time I checked - ignorance of the law was no defense in the eyes of the law?
Help me stop laughing please!

  • 152.
  • At 05:55 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Keith Wilson McKenzie wrote:

Why is it that Politicans seem to think they are above the law? The law was brought in by this government, so surely the members of the ruling party have absolutely no excuse for hiding behind the reasoning that they did 'not intentional' break the law! This again stinks of old labour, wriggling off the hook to save their own skins. Please Wendy, do the decent thing and resign. For once show that you put your integrity above party following. Remarkable in a way that it was not even necessary to run a leadership campaign as Wendy was the only candidate. Just wonder how many further cheques just under £1000 are dubious? It is not the amount, it is the principle...or are we right to believe that politicans do not have any???

  • 153.
  • At 06:44 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

"I am confident when all the facts are known I will be exonerated of any intentional wrongdoing."

Is she really claiming ignorance of the law as a defence?...

  • 154.
  • At 08:22 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • RabD wrote:

Martin (#146), it certainly looks that way. Galling.

On a general note: I have always pegged Douglas and her as very ambitious and I think, because of their age, these scandals of recent months are bringing the worst out of them.

Both might want to be very frugal at the present moment in regard their plans for long-term political goals.

Digging your heels in for a conviction is admirable; digging your heels in to blunt a conviction is a disgrace.

  • 155.
  • At 08:37 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • BrianMcL wrote:

All this "cleared of intentional wrongdoing" nonsense is becoming really annoying. Nobody has even accused her of it so why do they keep banging on about her being cleared of doing something she hasn't been accused of? These continual protestations are almost taking on a Shakesperian feel! Cigar, anyone?

Also, I see that Labour are calling in the police. Not to investigate which crimes have been committed by Wendy's team, of course, but to find out who's leaking the information about it.

It really is stunning to see just how arrogant Labour are to think that it's going to be OK to help themselves to large chunks of taxpayer cash while telling us mug voters as little as possible about their crimes, even though they are using these same crimes as the justification for their proposed state handouts?

  • 156.
  • At 09:10 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • John wrote:

For the rest of us ignorance of the law is no defense. Why should it be so for Wendy Alexander.

  • 157.
  • At 09:48 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Roddy wrote:

The thuggish Jackie Baillie interview on Newsnight Scotland (or was it a monologue) is the clearest pointer that Wendy is finished.

  • 158.
  • At 09:57 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • R.Hitchings wrote:

This woman would send Scots Soldiers attack Iraq and Afghanistan... with lives and limbs lost while she has the freedom to be corrupt and lie about it... Disgusting Woman .. Disgusting Party... The only thing she's sorry about is .. Being Found Out.

  • 159.
  • At 10:14 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

This is what Wendy et al are asking us to believe.

We are the party that has complained about others’ dodgy money and has legislated to control political donations.
We knew the rules about donation limits that avoid public disclosure and financed a non contested leadership campaign that took those donations to the limit of legality.
As for the other aspects of the law, we only became aware of them once it was pointed out by a newspaper!

Aye right!

  • 160.
  • At 10:31 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • djmac wrote:

I listened to Brian's interview with Mr. Green on GMS this morning and it seems to me he has really pointed the figure at C Gordon MSP, who appeared to suggest that his donation had been 'cleared in advance' (ie was within the rules) and was completely personal whereas C Gordon had claimed its was from one Company, then later a completely different one.

Not so claims Mr. Green.

The due process of law must be allowed to run.
But there's a question for the Scottish Parliament and its Presiding Officer: Just what are the standards of financial and ethical integrity required of MSPs and do the SP/PO have powers to exit MSPs who clearly breach these standards/rules of engagement.

There are three prime candidates here, D Whitton as Treasurer, C Gordon as chief protagonist and W Alexander as Chief Overseer. The SP MUST insist that its required standards are upheld and should send out a very strong message to all other MSPs that this type of conduct will not be accepted from any MSP.

Perhaps some well-informed reader could response re the powers of the SP/PO in this instance.

  • 161.
  • At 10:33 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • George Wilson wrote:

Dear Brian,
The £1,000 limit should now be reviewed. How many other donations of £950 have been made illegally? ALL donations to political parties ought to be transparent.

Second, it's gross incompetence for full-time, professional politicians to be unaware of the basics of the law as it applies to their profession. This from a woman who wants to run Scotland!

Third, in resigning as 'spokesman for this' or 'leader of that', these people remain as MSPs. They ought to resign their seats. If they did, though, they'd miss out on the gravy train that the Scottish Parliament has become. The saying that 'power corrupts' is exemplified too well in the Labout Party in Scotland. Wendy Alexander should resign immediately.

  • 162.
  • At 10:40 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

The Scottish Labour Party is very special. Unique, in fact. It's so arrogant that it is now allowing, nay, encouraging someone who's admitted a criminal offence to continue as its figurehead.

As for Jackie Baillie, did anyone else hear the scrapes along the bottom of the barrel yesterday on the radio, as she tried to suggest that this was an issue of sex discrimination: 'There are still some people who don't like the idea of a woman leader'. Eh?? So does being a woman mean we should all excuse a criminal offence? Is she seriously trying to imply that if this had been Jack McConnell or Alex Salmond, the reaction would have been more muted?

She, Wendy and the entire Scottish Labour party are an embarrassment... rotten to the core.

  • 163.
  • At 10:40 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Bill McMenemy wrote:

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
Plato

Interesting to note that the police are involved trying to find the whistleblower and NOT the whistle!

  • 165.
  • At 11:48 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

If Jackie Baillie's performance on Newsnight, and it was a performance, is how Wendy Alexander is going to tough it out then she is going to have what's left of her credibility shredded in public.

Wendy Alexander should step down before every aspect of her life becomes permanently damaged by this matter.

  • 166.
  • At 11:59 AM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • drumour wrote:

A crime is revealed, the Labour leadership call for the police to investigate - Not the offence but the revelation!

Beggars belief this farce isn't scripted, Dario Fo would have been hard pressed to top this.

Leadership by example par excellence

  • 167.
  • At 12:00 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • S.T. Lauder wrote:

#3 Alistair (darling??)

I quite agree that there are others who could more effectively fill the jobs of both Wendy and Harriet.

Des Browne for one.

Regardless of which way the wind blows, there can be no denying that this whole affair has a distinctly odd smell about it.

  • 168.
  • At 12:28 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • John wrote:

"Ignorantia Juris Neminem Excusat"

Ignorance of the Law is no Defence.

  • 169.
  • At 12:32 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Cassandra Lee wrote:

If Wendy had done the decent thing and resigned on Friday she would have retained a modicum of respect from ordinary punters like me. It's this hanging on like grim death, insisting that because it wasn't intentional she is therefore exonerated, that generates nothing but scorn.

But hey, what do people like her care about respect from people like me?

  • 170.
  • At 12:48 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Dave "Boy" wrote:

Wendy Alexander may well step down and may well be prosecuted.....let the Police, Procurator Fiscal and the courts do their job.

Wendy Alexander and Labour may be many things but at least they did not deceive the Scottish electorate about all the wonderful things they were going to do in their manifesto....unlike the party in power.

  • 171.
  • At 01:07 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

Yes I agree with 157 above, that interview with Jackie Baillie was a disgrace!

It was clear that there is no genuine remorse for the criminality and if you listen to what her message was it was that Wendy is so talented and wonderful that even if she has broken the law, it's a small price we should pay to have someone so wonderful and without her our future is lost!

Well Wendy that's it i will never vote for you again, the lot of you are no better than common criminals.

  • 172.
  • At 01:15 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Disgusted Scot wrote:

Labour Liars. Thats about the only comment I can think of having just heard Green's (the donner) statement on Radio Scotland. How Alexander can think to continue to to not just lead the Labour party in Holyrood, but continue to be an MSP, beggars belief. Her statements seem to me to be as honest as 'There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq'. Alexander, Harrman and now Hain would not be out of place in the Duma

  • 173.
  • At 01:30 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Glenn Ford wrote:

This whole incident just epitomises why she is not fit for the purpose as head of the Labour Party never mind being a First Minister. It was a sad day for the Labour Party when she took the reins, McConnell was bad enough but it got worse with her appointment (where have all the quality labour politicians gone ??) I vowed then never to vote Labour again whilst she was at the controls. I knew it would only be a matter of time before she found a banana skin to stand on, but this has been an early Christmas present how soon that has been. This on top of the slaughtering she encounters every time she goes head to head with Alex Salmond proves she is out of her depth, out of touch and hopefully out as leader.

  • 174.
  • At 01:36 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • GrumpyOldViking wrote:

Why is there no honour in politics anymore? No wonder people don't vote!


  • 175.
  • At 01:43 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • cujimmi wrote:

I thought ignorance was no excuse in the eyes of the law. If the law has been broken she has to go!

  • 176.
  • At 01:46 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • david stuart wrote:

after the infamous hand cash back conjuring trick--things have moved on.

i present

chinese water torture cell

a socialist favorite

the trick--make everyone beleive your a tortured soul-wanting to stay on

the deception--make the audience wait in suspence--your still in control--make them gasp-feel sympathy for you.but you hav done this many times before.

the switch--behind the curtin--theres no risk but just waiting--listening to the audience as anxiety reaches it peak.

the illusion--you hav performed this since childhood--but only one performance away from tragedy


  • 177.
  • At 01:48 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Clive McIlwaine wrote:

I would not have believed that Labour could elect a worse leader than wee Jack but they did ! And that was before this nonsense with donations.
No wonder I, who had been a Labour supporter and party member for many years, chose to switch to SNP.

  • 178.
  • At 02:11 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Diana wrote:

Wendy Alexander looks ridiculous....and is making Labour look the same, whether it's Scottish Labour or British Labour. I don't buy how her staying protects Gordon Brown.

These politicians simply don't believe the law applies to them. They think they can talk their way out of their own 'administrative sloppiness' or 'mistakes.' Wrong, they can't. They weren't meticulous enough to check and follow the guidelines. When they're caught, they try to cover up and then have the gall to plead innocence and the arrogance to assume we'll believe them. The sooner you go Wendy, the sooner your party will recover.

  • 179.
  • At 02:35 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

I doubt it's just Wendy. Any party which has retained power for a long time gets corrupt whether it be in the 3rd World, London or Scotland.

Scottish Labour had 50 years to get its tentacles into Local & National cakes. There will be more entrenched corrupt leeches all over the country who will only be removed through retirement, a press battering or elections.

Anyone But Labour.

  • 180.
  • At 03:34 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • will wrote:

I wonder if I am alone in thinking this affair is the absolute nadir or Scottish politics. I voted for devolution, but had my reservations, believing (naively) the promise of consensus politics in Scotland. Yes there would be Labour, SNP, Tory, Lib-Dems, Greens and a whole host of other minor parties. Yes, there would be differences, but Scotland as a whole would benefit in consensus.

Eight years later it is a different story. Labour's contempt for the Scottish electorate is laid bare. The Nationalists claim all will be better if Scotland went it alone, and by the way what do you expect from Unionist parties controlled from, and following an agenda written by London anyway. The Tories and Lib-Dems are strangely quiet on the whole issue, perhaps because of their irrelevance in the present Scottish scene.

After the farce of the May 2007 elections, I thought it could not get any worse. Well, I was wrong. It has. I suggest we take a leaf of of Belgium's books. After six months it still does not have a government, and the country appears to be toddling on quite well without its politicians.

It's only a dream, but today I wish we could give it a try. I don't know what scares me most, a bankrupt political system with its heart in Westminster, or the possibility of an independent Scotland in the future, run by the same kind of people we find at Holyrood today

With much regret,

Will.

  • 181.
  • At 05:06 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • djmac wrote:

re 180, Will.
'The nadir of Scottish politics' will be if we, the electorate, allow our other elected MSPs and the corporate body of the Scottish Parliament to permit Whitton, Alexander and Gordon to get away with this.

However, I suspect First Minister's Questions on Thursday will tell us a few things about the 'will' of Parliament to tolerate this degree of law flaunting by these WAGs!!

  • 182.
  • At 06:34 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • willie46 wrote:

GB and WA son and daughter of the manse? don't make me laugh!!!

  • 183.
  • At 07:18 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Wendy et al are saying that it would be the easy way out if she resigned.
And so she is taking the difficult way .... hanging on to her job, her salary, her position of power. This is the hard thing to do?
Aye right.

  • 184.
  • At 09:34 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • T wrote:

#170 - You are missing the point. Election pledges of all parties are nothing more than a statement of intent, a wish list of things they would like to achieve in ideal situations. Failing to deliver them is not a matter of criminal law (whether or not it should be is another mater entirely). If the current administration is found to have substantially failed to deliver its manifesto pledges by the end of its term then it will face whatever 'punishment' the electorate decides to administer to it.

What the labour party seem to be doing is trying to deny that they have actually broken the law. Personally, I for one couldn't actually care if they have or not but the truth should be established and, if the truth is that the law has been broken, then they should face the full punishment available under law.

The same holds true for all politicians of any party, not just labour.

  • 185.
  • At 11:17 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Iain More wrote:

Dave Boy clearly thinks that it is okay to break the law of the land not to mention the other fact - The SNP might not be angels but they have not broken any laws yet that I am aware of and dont stand accused of being war criminals either! The SNP still have some way to go yet to catch up with the broken promises and bare faced criminality of the Labour Party North and south of the border!
So tomorrow if I run over a child because I was driving 30mph through a 20mph school zone - I will plead - I did not do it intentionally - it is all Charlie Gordons fault - well why not it seems he is taking the rap for everyone else already?

  • 186.
  • At 11:27 AM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Ed Gray wrote:

So it is not in the nature of the Labour Party to deceive anyone, right?

Wrong.

The supposed “people’s party” have shored up a virtual single-party state in Scotland for over 50 years, and in living memory have racked up a seemingly endless catalogue of sleaze, self interest and shady dealings, which have only become more prolific and endemic in recent years.

We are all too familiar with their negative Scottish election campaigns, funded by London money.

Now struggling in Opposition at Holyrood, this is their third scandal in only the past 6 months, including May’s election shambles and the string of internal resignations that have followed.

The original Self Preservation Society; every public move is a damage limitation exercise, rather than a clean breast of the truth. Witness the manipulative use of (the hapless) Wendy as a shield against the house of cards that is the Brown government.

Their mafia’s far-reaching tentacles have influenced the root and branch of our society for generations.

Hopefully what we are seeing now are the throes of their ultimate and long-deserved self-destruction.

Slainte

Ed.

  • 187.
  • At 11:05 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • will wrote:

Well, Djmac (#181) what do you think, have we reached the nadir? It looks like the perpetrators of this little affair got off lightly yesterday.

Will.

  • 188.
  • At 03:44 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • djmac wrote:

Will (187) Sadly you are right - the perpretators did get off lightly yesterday but (as said elsewhere) the WAGs (Whitton, Alexander, Gordon) are 'dead politicians walking'.

Time is on the side of the electorate - keep the faith!!

  • 189.
  • At 04:28 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Dave "Boy" wrote:

Ian More, #185

That's an interesting spin on my comments......just because I want to see due process happening, I am condoning lawbreaking?? I don't think so.

My point remains - let the electoral commission, the police and the procurator fiscal do their job. I don't see the value of these sorts of kangaroo courts which in the end could prejudice the chances of a fair hearing.

I'm glad at least we can agree that politicians of any shade are "no angels". I'm sure there are many skeletons rattling around the cupboards of every party.

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