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Deferred for reports

Brian Taylor | 14:55 UK time, Wednesday, 25 June 2008

And he's back in the room. Great visit to Germany, thanks for asking.

Lectures in Bonn and Dusseldorf. Intriguing to find that my brief post on Monday, simply signalling my absence, nevertheless prompted a flurry of responses.

What are you guys like?

Two little thoughts from Germany before I move on. One, that the people I met - admittedly a self-selected group - were fascinated by developments in Scotland.

I won't pretend they were up on the latest from the subordinate legislation committee. But they get the concept that there is an intriguing debate under way here; one that may have an impact upon state/substate politics elsewhere in the EU.

And, a bit more tangentially, upon the EU itself.

Two, the sight of German flags attached to cars everywhere - plus a few Turkish banners - in anticipation of tonight's European Championship match.

Brave politics

So what, you say? So this. I am assured this outburst of emblematic display would not have been so widespread only a few years ago.

Young Germans in particular, it would appear, are more comfortable with their own patriotism.

So back to Scotland. Have I returned to brave new politics? Scarcely.

Today's developments include Phase 53 of the Wendy Alexander story. The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee at Holyrood has found that Ms Alexander did, indeed, break the rules in failing to register, timeously, donations to her campaign to become leader.

They voted by five to two to endorse the finding of the Standards Commissioner that these donations, although accepted by the campaign and not Ms Alexander personally, should count as gifts and should thus have been declared to Parliament in her role as an MSP.

The two dissenters, one might reasonably surmise, would be the two Labour members of the committee.

Ms Alexander's defence, read out by the convener Keith Brown, was that she had taken every step to discern whether these donations should be registered with Holyrood.

Any sanctions?

She had written to the relevant parliamentary clerks who had consulted Holyrood lawyers and declared, in writing, that such donations did not require to be registered.

On learning the standards commissioner, Dr Jim Dyer, took a different view, Ms Alexander registered the donations.

The committee will meet again on Thursday to consider what sanctions, if any, should be applied.

If this were a court, we would probably say that they were seeking a social inquiry report before pronouncing sentence.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:35pm on 25 Jun 2008, Maurice_Minor wrote:

    What is going to happen to the Standards Committee Clerks who gave out what turned out to be wrong advice? And will there be an inquiry into who leaked the findings a week and a half early? My understanding is that only Mr Dyer, Ms Alexander, the (SNP) Convener Mr Brown and (SNP) complainant where privy to the report's findings. It shouldn't take long.

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  • 2. At 3:43pm on 25 Jun 2008, minceandmealie wrote:

    How very inconvenient that Labour does not control this committee. That has been the normal method for keeping the lid on stuff up until now.

    The toothpaste is starting to come out of the tube.

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  • 3. At 3:45pm on 25 Jun 2008, karin wrote:

    If this were a court, we would probably say that they were seeking a social inquiry report before pronouncing sentence

    And about time this woman had her knucles wrapped. She is an msp and leader of labour in the scottish parliament and supposedly has a massive intellect SHE SHOULD KNOW THE RULES.



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  • 4. At 3:45pm on 25 Jun 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Brian - Your use of the phrase "Phase 53 of the Wendy Alexander story" suggests you are now finding the whole matter "tedious" or "boring" - always the last refuge of those who know they're losing the argument.

    Of coures the phrase also has the all-important quality of being capable of being described as an innocent attempt at humour. The writer can always claim they were "only having a little joke" and so anyone who dares critisise is easily dismissed as being devoid of a sense of humour.

    But there are many members of the Scottish public who find the "Wendy Alexander" story neither tedious nor humourous.

    In fact, there are many ordinary people who regard the way in which Alexander has broken the law (which she publicly admitted), and now parliamentary rules, yet so far has escaped any meaningful punishment, as not a joking matter at all.

    The preferential treatment she has received erodes the very foundations of decent law-abiding behaviour that holds society together.

    I suspect there are many people, including many who suffered undeserved punishment at the hands of the law, who look upon Alexander, and people who attempt to minimise and excuse her behaviour, with utter contempt.

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  • 5. At 3:45pm on 25 Jun 2008, Remember_1820 wrote:

    Aye, she's guilty alright.

    We said that a long time ago.

    It's disgraceful that she should be exempt from keeping to the new laws that she was involved in setting up, desite all the thousands of pounds of our money being spent on educating her, and all her party, on the new rules.

    The Labour party have just proven that they are not fit to govern.

    She should be incarcerated for her sins, but I don't mind keeping her as the Best Wee Recruiting Sergeant for the SNP, as she's doing such a marvellous job at it.

    Westminster are insisting on keeping control of elections in Scotland.

    Just so that they can make an erse of it all again.

    Without that control what else is there for them to do in Scotland ?.


    .

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  • 6. At 4:20pm on 25 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    How embaressing for Wendy.

    It takes a bigger person to raise their hands and admitt to their mistakes. Then it does to hide away and attempt to get away with it.

    If Wendy became our First Minister then would she attempt to mislead the public over her Parties mistakes while they Govern?

    Her credibility has been lost over the months of being in Opposition and I am sure the vast majority of the public would show more respect if Wendy just accepts the consequences.

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  • 7. At 4:27pm on 25 Jun 2008, Mr_V_Smith wrote:

    The only thing more boring and predictable than the storm in a teacup that is Wendygate, is the army of hyper-nat bloggers bombarding this (and every other forum in existence) with their tedious line in pre-approved party propaganda.

    We get it. You want independence, you don't like Labour, and you have been briefed by your party HQ to bore us all into submission by posting the same stuff on every single topic, on every single board, every single day.

    That is not how you are going to win any referendum on independence. People are rather better informed than in the good old days of WWII when propaganda was rather more effective due to a lack of alternative sources of information.

    Personally (speaking as someone who doesn't vote Labour, and who is not opposed to - though remains to be convinced of the merits of - independence), I will not become more likely to vote SNP / for independence just because 75% of all posts on any particular forum come from a small army of uber-persistent SNP bloggers. Your arguments have to be rather more convincing, and less know-it-all-ish and overtly aggressive, than is often the case in these fora.

    As to Wendy? Let it rest. It is a storm in a teacup. She was given incorrect advice by independent civil servants while contesting an internal party election in which she was the only candidate. She made no personal gain, and this is hardly one of the great political scandals of our time no matter how much you desperately WANT it to be. Just be thankful that the rules are now clarified for all (including, presumably, some of your own SNP MSPs who have seemingly "forgotten" to declare much larger sums that they personally gained from local authority payoffs).

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  • 8. At 4:43pm on 25 Jun 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Thomas #6 - when was the last time you can remember a politician caught red-handed who did the decent thing, admitted they made a mistake, and really suffered the full consequences that an ordinary member of the public would undoubtedly suffer in the same circumstances? I can't remember a single example, ever.
    Politicians are only interested in lining their own pockets.
    And the only interest they have in the likes of you and I is as a great source of free cash for investing in that nice, profitable, second home in Edinburgh that they can sell when they get voted out.

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  • 9. At 4:54pm on 25 Jun 2008, minuend wrote:

    Lest anyone forgets lets recount; Wendy Alexander broke the criminal law, her guilt was admittted by her party, she escaped without charge, she was allowed to protest her innocence whilst blaming others for her own wrong doing.

    Well done to the Standards Commisioner for pursuing this matter, but we have still to see a suitable punishment to fit this crime.

    Also, what suitable punishments should be meted out to the Electoral Commission, Scotland's police and juidical system who simply failed to carry out their regulated duties on this matter?

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  • 10. At 4:58pm on 25 Jun 2008, freedjmac wrote:

    Poster 7's final paragraph is pretty well spot-on with respect to 'weebendy' though his final sentence however is probably libelous!

    Like it or not, weebendy has benefitted from considerable incompetence on the part of civil servants and I doubt that she'll even get a decent rap on the knuckles.

    The real story this week, however, is just why has weebendy's second pronouncement on an independence referendum just completely failed to generate media interest??

    I've posted before on the need for Labour MSP's and genuine supporters to have a real leader at Holyrood. This is not happening with weebendy and Scottish democracy is not well served by that position.

    The silence is almost deafening. Should we read that as reflecting that her 'supporters' in the press now know they would be backing a lost cause??

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  • 11. At 4:59pm on 25 Jun 2008, Colkitto wrote:

    I feel another whitewash around the corner.

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  • 12. At 5:00pm on 25 Jun 2008, wee folding bike wrote:

    Mr V,

    "She was given incorrect advice by independent civil servants while contesting an internal party election in which she was the only candidate."

    As I understand it, from listening to Wendy herself, she actually asked if other candidates had declared donations. They had not because there were no donations. Had she asked something like "I've got these donations, should I declare them?" then she might have got a different answer. She is seeking to blame officials for her disingenuous approach. Using others as a human shield is a common Wendy technique.

    This stands alongside her donations which were set just under the radar and paints a picture of someone who is not worthy to be in her current position far less to be First Minister.


    However bored you become with this "storm in a teacup" if we stand quiet in the face of it then all we will hear is Jackie Baillie saying how great Wendy is and the press repeating her cry of vindication.

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  • 13. At 5:22pm on 25 Jun 2008, Trimm Trab wrote:

    Mr_V_Smith you obession with the Nats has you completely missing the point.

    She has proven with this entire affair she is not fit to run Scotland or any other country. Which is exactly the position she is trying to acheive.

    Instead of coming out at the start and putting her hands up she tried to weasel her way out of it.

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  • 14. At 5:26pm on 25 Jun 2008, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    #7 Mr Smith

    Why should pro-independence comments in particular be 'party approved'?

    Seems to me that's the one thing they're obviously not!

    And should non-political party members not have an opinion on independence?

    Opinions of other colours are also available here, and are quite often repeatedly expounded by even smaller 'armies' of posters.

    As for Wendy, it is not online bloggers who are giving her a hard time, nor the SNP, nor even the general public, but her own breach of regulations which apply equally to all members but whose rules were set up by her own party!

    And unlike the unsubstantiated remarks you've just made, she at least admits the evidence is against her.

    So far, though, she has got off lightly, and it is only just that she is held accountable by the appropriate parliamentary body, if not the public.

    However, as most of us evidently appreciate the 'sterling' job she's doing for 'the cause', we can only hope they're not too harsh on her, and long may she remain leader of the 'opposition' in Holyrood.

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  • 15. At 5:50pm on 25 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    I see someone wants Wendy to have her "knucles" wrapped (sic). She'll be coming out fighting then?
    Why are we all blogging here? The streets are filled with people getting seriously worked up about this. Get out and join your local demo.


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  • 16. At 5:52pm on 25 Jun 2008, Peter_Fife wrote:

    This continues to be of great concern especially when Wendy Alexander is considered Scottish Labour's best; what standard of leader will replace if she is currently considered the cream of Labour's Scottish Politicians?

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  • 17. At 6:04pm on 25 Jun 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    #7 Mr V Smith

    '' Storm In A Tea Cup'' this is not.

    1997 Mohammed Sanwar
    1998 Derek Draper
    2000 JackCunningham
    2001 Peter Mandelson

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  • 18. At 6:13pm on 25 Jun 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    #7 Mr V Smith


    '' Storm In A Tea Cup'' this is not.

    2002 Keith Vaz
    2003 Tony Blair
    2004 David Blunkett
    2005 Stephen Byers
    2006 Tessa Jowell
    2007 Jonathan Powell
    2008 Peter Hain

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  • 19. At 6:17pm on 25 Jun 2008, freedjmac wrote:

    No 15 Brigadier.

    Gonnie get it a rest, brig man??

    You seem incapable of posting unless it's to demean/mock another poster!!

    So someone wrote 'knucles' instead of 'knuckles' - does not change/diminish his argument one iota!!

    Your constant 'putting down' of other posters on this blog serves only to discredit your 'unionism' If your posts are the best 'unionism' can offer, then the union you support is in dire straits indeed!

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  • 20. At 7:08pm on 25 Jun 2008, peoplepowerparty wrote:

    # 7 - Mr Smith

    Whilst I can understand your annoyance at the agressive and hostile arguments put forward by a lot of posters on this forum (both 'unionist' and 'nationalist'), it is sad to see that you have chosen to join their ranks with an equally irritating tirade!

    As regards the other point you make (storm in a teacup), I think you are completely wrong on that.

    1. Wendy Alexander DID personally benefit from these donations - it is just plain ridiculous to suggest that anyone receiving money to help them further their career had no personal benefit.

    2. The point of declaring gifts etc is to allow us to monitor and police the personal and business interests of our politicians and those who seek favour from them and the parties they represent. It is not all about us knowing how many free dinners they all get. Try to look at the bigger picture here.

    3. Conflicts of interest and poor standards in public life are nothing new. We can go back to the Thatcher government to see examples of politicians with their snouts in the trough in modern political times. Wendy was one of those who were 'swept to power' on a manifesto that was all about eliminating sleaze and having open and transparent political system.

    4. Does a leader of a political party really have to ask a clerk if they should register a gift? My view is that, if she did ask, it was driven by a determination to find a reason for not registering. Any normal person, with nothing to hide, would have just registered the gifts!

    5. Since being caught breaking the law, Wendy has been true to form and blamed everyone but herself for this. When my team screw it up at work, I get hacked off and say a few bad words. But after the bad words have come out, I then accept the blame for the issue as it is my team, working under my leadership and direction. Why is the Leader of one of this countries main political parties exempt from adhering to basic ethics and standards? Is this not Scotland? She acts like we are in Thailand, the Phillipines, Zimbabwe or some other mickey mouse democracy where politicians can stick two fingers up to the people who elected them!

    I, for one, do not want people like this holding leading posts in Scottish public life. I do not care which party they come from. She is a devious, manipulating person who has responded to this whole affair in a totally unacceptable manner. For the good of the country, she should go.

    This is not a storm in a teacup for those of us who are fed up with thirty years where political sleaze has been allowed to become perfectly acceptable!

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  • 21. At 7:23pm on 25 Jun 2008, kaybraes wrote:

    You should have taken Wendy with you to Germany Brian, a few big jugs of Germany's best might have helped her come up with a reasonable excuse for not being able to understand the rules Labour MSPs could ignore prior to losing the last election.Now she'll get a wee slap on the wrist and a stern telling off so she doesn't infringe "get caught" again. It's all irrelevant anyway, most of our parliamentarians are probably swinging about on the margins of the rules while they line their pockets.

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  • 22. At 7:29pm on 25 Jun 2008, tammienorrielass1 wrote:

    Despite the spats between bloggers, one thing seems to have escaped them - or 53 of them if Brian has been counting- and that is why on earth did this 'breaking of the rules' get to so many phases?

    Why?

    With every twist and turn, it seems as if Wendy is trying to demean the facts. If it had been swiftly dealt with and punished,as it should be, as she should have known the rules if she was aspiring to higher office, this belittles the Parliament. It's as if this office to which she aspires is of little importance some sort of irrelevance.

    If this is the attitude over the whole thing, that it is in the 53rd phase, is she really suitable for the position to which she aspires? If she cannot find out and follow rules, can she be trusted to be an example to the country? Can she represent the country as a 'shining' example?

    Well no thanks - she does not represent me and I suspect an awful lot of others. This long-drawn out process has done nothing to improve her situation either, bringing other offices into the 'distrust' situation. You cannot have the integrity to govern on tainted goods. She should bough out quickly as she should've done MONTHS ago.

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  • 23. At 7:29pm on 25 Jun 2008, warblers wrote:

    How unfortunate for Ms Alexander that the Labour membership of the Standards committee does not have the same strength as the Labour influence on the Electoral Commission.

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  • 24. At 7:32pm on 25 Jun 2008, lionalibaba wrote:

    Are we the public going to see these letters or is it going to be like the unseen e-mails that JB said had been handed over come on Wendy Bring Them On

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  • 25. At 7:34pm on 25 Jun 2008, peoplepowerparty wrote:

    Another point before I go off to have my tea.

    I have worked for many companies where I have seen managers dismissed from their job, losing their income, pension etc, because they were caught fiddling their expenses, often for no more than 50 quid!

    The reason that they were sacked was that the company (in my view, rightly) took the view that, even if it was a mere pound that the manager took, the trust had gone. They did not want to employ people whom they could no longer trust - and definitely did not want them holding management positions within the company.

    Many people found the policy of dismissal unfair. Watching friends and colleagues lose their 55k a year job over a 40 quid discrepancy was hard to do!

    But it happened, and more than once!

    You see, these things are never about the money - it is 100% about the integrity and ethics of the individual. When you blow it and the trust is gone, you go!

    Ah, the good ol' days when people had to play by the rules!

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  • 26. At 7:40pm on 25 Jun 2008, SilentHunter wrote:

    How many more 'go's is this reprehensible woman to be allowed to make up a story that is even remotely credible?

    I agree with a previous poster saying that the 'ho hum' approach of Brian Taylor rather makes it look like there is some political bias creeping in here.

    If there were any 'investigative' journalists left in the Scottish Media; then we might have got to the bottom of this New Labour shenanigans.
    Unfortunately, they all seem content with the cosy 'lunchtime O Boulez' lifestyle which contributes only to their 'girth'.

    Perhaps we need some 'leaner, meaner' journalists shining a light into the murkier dealings at the Scottish Parliament.

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  • 27. At 7:41pm on 25 Jun 2008, peoplepowerparty wrote:

    #21 - kaybraes

    It is not irrelevant. If they are all at it, then they should all go!

    It is time for the public to kick the estbalishment in the hee-haws and make them all live by the same rules that we have to.

    I know us poor folk are supposed to protect the rich, but their are limits.

    If every single MSP was caught breaking the law/fiddling like this then I would get rid of them all.

    This should not be about getting rid of Wendy because she is a 'Labour scalp'. It is about cleaning up our Parliament and getting rid of those who show no regard for the laws and regulations that exist.

    Thankfully, we are nowhere near as bad as the sleaze in Westminster, but we still have to stop Alexanders and others from bringing their toon cooncil approach to regulation into the Scottish Parliament!

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  • 28. At 8:16pm on 25 Jun 2008, Soundseed wrote:

    Wendy Alexander is a prime example of why the nats are doing relatively well: the opposition is completely feeble and useless because all the heavyweight Scottish political talent heads South, leaving assorted low quality flotsam and jetsam to represent labour, liberal and conservative voters.

    And while we are all getting worried about the Islamic radicalisation of young people, a friend of ours popped by tonight expressinng serious concerns about the nationalist radicalisation of her daughter... too young to be married, drive a car or drink, but old enough to be trained to hate the English, the Union and anyone who supports it.

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  • 29. At 8:46pm on 25 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 30. At 8:47pm on 25 Jun 2008, I'm not Paranoid, they ARE all out to get me!!! wrote:

    #19, freedjmac

    If you're going to have a go at another poster, at least make sure you understand the post.

    Blah , blah, blah about "knucles", but you ignore "wrapped" - which was, after all, the important element of brigadierjohn's post.

    Or could it be that you didn't see the error, which says everything about you.

    ---

    See, it isn't nice to criticise other posters! And it isn't clever!

    Let's discuss the issue(s):

    Wendy Alexander took a course of action in contravention of the law, thereby committing a crime - a criminal is not fit to be First Minister, and Scottish Labour must realise (for their own survival) that the party will be unelectable as long as she is the leader.

    But who would want the [non-] job?

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  • 31. At 8:54pm on 25 Jun 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Soundseed:

    1. The Nats are not doing "relatively" well. They are doing spectacularly well.

    2. Wanting independence for your country does not equate to hating the people of any other country, or supporters of the Union, or the people who support the Union.

    3. I only hope your friend's daughter isn't exposed to people who are capable of twisting reality to the extent you have just demonstrated.

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  • 32. At 10:17pm on 25 Jun 2008, boogieeck wrote:

    lord knows, I hav no brief to defend the idiot Labour party who have created a dependency culture and overweaning nanny state and in doing so made the proponents of breaking up the greatest nation this planet has seen (that will be the Nats) seem plausible, but if you take advice from the authoroties, and they say its a No. then when you get rival advice that its a Yes you publish, then I would hope that is a solid defence. If I ask a traffic warden to remind me what one yellow line means and he says you can park here, I do not expect said plod to book me gleefully 5 mins later.

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  • 33. At 10:27pm on 25 Jun 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    This says it all.

    "He concluded that a fair-minded and impartial observer would consider that the interests could influence a person acting as an MSP or give the appearance of prejudicing that person's ability to act impartially."

    As we expect all politicians to act with honesty and integrity the only option open is to sanction her to remove the potential suspicion from all other politicians.

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  • 34. At 11:00pm on 25 Jun 2008, rog_rocks wrote:

    I hate to use this phrase but;

    THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM IS...

    GUILTY!!!


    The insidious purpose of this law in the first place was to stop successful Scots abroad supporting their own country.

    The excuse given by Wendy was merely that, an excuse, shown by the fact that the crime was committed months before the alleged bad advice was even given.

    This person is unfit for office, she should be removed and a by-election held to find a suitable replacement, preferably belonging to the Scottish party.


    Given the revelations revolving around the recently unearthed McCrone report; the scandal, lies, robbery, and oppression unleashed on Scotland and its people, aided by prominent Scottish labour politicians, over the last 34 years and still held under a smokescreen by their Mass Media Brain Washing Machine;

    I would say that Wendy is merely the tip of an iceberg.

    In this case the Bendy one could possibly be seen as a trunk. Indeed the trunk of a much bigger elephant in Scotland's room;

    Labour!!!

    This massive elephant stretches a long way and has been trampling Scotland into the ground for a very long time!!!


    Junior General John and your poor misguided souls, you suggest that Scottish Nationals have a “chip on their shoulders”?

    Heh! Our problem is much bigger than that!!!

    We have an ELEPHANT on our shoulders!!!

    And I for one look forward to getting the weight off;

    Roll on 2010!!!

    Good luck to the standards commission tomorrow in making a start!!!


    Lets not mention Wendy's pal :)

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  • 35. At 11:44pm on 25 Jun 2008, Neo-unionist wrote:

    As I understand it, Ms Alexander was already in breach of the rules with regard to the undeclared donations at the time when she sought the advice from parliamentary officials. Therefore, the unsoundness of the advice received does not absolve her of responsibility for breaking the rules, although it may be taken into account so far as the continuance of the breach is concerned unless it is considered by the committee that further enquiries should have been made.

    I am afraid that the circumstances are such that the public will quite conceivably expect there to be some form of sanction in this case, although not a severe one. It would, therefore, probably do Ms Alexander no good at all politically to be let off scot free.

    For her sake and for parliament's sake, let justice be done and be seen to be done. Then we can move on.

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  • 36. At 00:14am on 26 Jun 2008, oldbuthopeful wrote:

    It is a great shame that most of these blogs are filled with partisan comments, many of which contain nothing new or informative.
    The facts are, that a politician failed to register interests within the prescribed timescale, she should have known, ignorance is not an excuse. The type of advice asked or how it was framed is not relevant as she asked her question out with the prescribed time-scales. This makes her in breach of parliamentary rules. The rest is largely irrelevant.
    I believe there has to be a sanction taken against her, there is precedent where the committee have taken significant action against transgressors, to fail to do so on this occasion would bring the whole process into further disrepute. When compared to the scenarios unfolding in Westminster it is good to see just how a modern parliament works.

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  • 37. At 02:01am on 26 Jun 2008, candre wrote:

    I’m left wondering what was the point of Brian mentioning the latest on BendyWendy. He hasn’t added any meaningful comment or insight, as we should expect from BBC Scotland’s political editor.. He has merely rewritten excerpts from the news story and attempted to trivialise the issue as do her supporters.

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  • 38. At 03:20am on 26 Jun 2008, candre wrote:

    Mr_V_Smith

    Much as you, other BendyWendy supporters and hyper-slab bloggers, presumably briefed by your party HQ, would like to trivialise the issue, it is no "storm in a teacup". It is one of many spills from the cauldron fired by Labour sleaze, and recognised as such by many ordinary Scots other than "hyper-nat bloggers" .

    It is indeed because "people are rather better informed" that they can recognise rule breaking, manipulation and whitewashing by the likes of Wendy Alexander and Labour’s cronies.
    It’s a matter of record that by the time she sought "advice" she was already in breach of the rules, rules created by Labour, and she admitted breaking the law. Ordinary people, including many former Labour supporters, believe she should not go unpunished!.

    And we haven't even touched on the Scottish Industry Forum scandal, the Braehead sleaze, her constituency office funding, the Paul Green fairy tale, etc.

    PS
    Just loved her comment that she had always acted "with the utmost faith" at every stage. Yes, faith in getting away with it all!

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  • 39. At 05:17am on 26 Jun 2008, clootiedumplin wrote:

    The average age of the bloggers on here must be about 5. Politicians are supposed to be ethical? in what galaxy?
    Only in a Mickey Mouse democracy would politicians give two fingers to the people? WHIT?? Have you been paying any attention to what "they" say, and what "they" actually do?
    Let Scotland find out if the SNP is any better, at least then they will have no-one else to blame.
    Any of yooz guys ever come to New York look me up, I've got a bridge you should see.

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  • 40. At 07:27am on 26 Jun 2008, Caledonian54 wrote:

    What Wendy's every dwindling band of supporters don't get is that this issue has nothing to do with the Nats putting the boot in.

    The real issue in Scottish politics right now is that we're all sick to the back teeth with the Labour party and its arrogant assumption that rules are only for the little people and don't apply to them.

    The SNP is where it is, not because they've successfully made the case for independence - although they're certainly getting there - but because they provided a credible alternative to the institutionally corrupt Labour party who got used to lording over us for too long

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  • 41. At 08:39am on 26 Jun 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    This again?

    I do love all this righteous indignation. One poster is calling for Ms Alexander to be incarcerated.

    Yes, because at a time when we over-populated jails and violent criminals walking away with community sentences we should be sending a zero tolerance message to politicians who failed to declare donations.

    Please, a bit less vitriol thank you.

    This has been blown out of proportion and it
    is tedious, despite what some bloggers here claim.

    A majority of the population don't care what happens to Wendy Alexander, I hate to break it to you, but a majority of people don't take any interest in politics and a fair number probably wouldn't be able to tell you who she is.

    So, you understand why all this gnashing of teeth looks more politically driven than real outrage.

    However, I do agree that Ms Alexander should go. I have never taken to her. While it may be impolite to say, I can't really accept a politician that talks as she does, I like my representatives not to lisp, call me prejudiced, but it's just the way I am. I also believe they should have some warmth and personality, Ms Alexander has neither in my experience.

    And as people as said, Ms Alexander broke the rules, and when you break the rules, you should be punished. Her continual evasion of the issue and production of excuses just irritates me. To my mind, she is no leader, and certainly should not be the leader of a major political party.

    Oh, yes and while some may not like this little snipe – apostrophes are your friend, please use them.

    And a spell is never a bad investment.

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  • 42. At 08:45am on 26 Jun 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    Well, don't I look silly, a spell checker is never a bad investment.

    Reading over a post before pressing "Post Comment", as I just proved, is a good idea too.

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  • 43. At 09:38am on 26 Jun 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    Brian says:

    "Young Germans in particular, it would appear, are more comfortable with their own patriotism."

    Quite a nationalist thing to say, Brian. They often hint that everyone is innately patriotic, but non-nationalists harm themselves by repressing this feeling.

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  • 44. At 10:19am on 26 Jun 2008, tamO wrote:

    Well Mr Taylor, So back to Scotland. Have I returned to brave new politics? Scarcely. Well please this is a new politics a labour Leader in Scotland put in her place for rule breaking now that is a new dawn . See the media and unionist witch hunts of the SNP will come to nothing if the other unionist parties shy away from giving her what for, Otherwise the committee will lose credibility with a good part of the Scottish people, And Mr Taylor What then when nationalist walk away from committees because they are just unionist set-ups

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  • 45. At 10:44am on 26 Jun 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 46. At 11:07am on 26 Jun 2008, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 47. At 11:42am on 26 Jun 2008, Archytype wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 48. At 11:44am on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    This sounds like a lot of "sound and fury signifying nothing" Wendy A has certainly broken some rules but it seems to point to the whole mess of party funding in general rather than some outright corrupt conspiracy. Most politicians rely on donations, it's a fact. This is not really on in a proper democracy and can only end up in the mess that panned out in the US where political patronage is openly bought and sold at campaign time. It's time for credible political parties (i.e. properly constituted and with a minimum threhold of support) to be funded, thriftily and equally from the public purse. Let the argument win the day!

    The question of allowances is more complicated. Being an MP, MSP or whatever (maybe not an MEP) is a demanding, responsible job. Salaries are always controversial and are therefore kept artificially low to appease resentful voters who have a limited understanding of managerial pay scales. The difference is made up with generous allowances that allows the MP/MSP to compensate what they have lost versus "private practice". It's a little smelly but the only way that you can attract at the calibre of people required. I'm fairly relaxed about this, but I do get irate when you see naked abuse, such as the Derek Conway affair. I think that the alternative would be to make the Holyrood problem (over-promoted ex party officials) or the Westminster problem (career politicians without discernable life-skills or experience) far worse than it already is.

    PS: Sorry Brigadier, I realise that I just finished a sentence with a preposition!

    PPS: Looking forward to the Thomas Porter random sentence rebuttal machine. Very Nu-Labour circa 1996 I fear.

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  • 49. At 12:00pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    Brian - Young Germans, it would appear, are more comfortable with their patriotism.

    This is probably true. My German friends and colleagues tend to be in their 30 - 40s and are anxious not to express any overt signs of partiotism. Mercifully, younger Germans do seem to have found a positive patriotism, taking pride in the modern Germany and its achievements.

    Above all else they have managed to foster a patriotism that is not based upon despising their neighbours. Quite refreshing really!

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  • 50. At 12:02pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    48 Anglophone

    In the spirit of complaining about myself I realise that I used the words "naked" and "Derek Conway" in the same sentence. I would like to apologise if I have spoiled anyones lunch or upset any children who may be blogging.

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  • 51. At 12:18pm on 26 Jun 2008, sailorjimagain wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 52. At 12:31pm on 26 Jun 2008, minceandmealie wrote:

    Anglophone
    I wonder if you could give a current example of a patriotism that is based on despising your neighbours? I haven't encountered this lately in Scotland. Indeed, it is quite notably the case that the unionism versus nationalism debate is pretty much an argument between Scots and Scots.

    We can certainly share an appreciation of positive patriotism. Such an attitude certainly wouldn't include decrying your own country as being uniquely incapable of goevrning itself, despite all evidence. You wouldn't hold a position like that, surely?

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  • 53. At 12:39pm on 26 Jun 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    Yes, Anglophone, didn't anyone tell you?

    If you are pro-union you obviously hate Scotland; because only those in favour of independence love it.

    Surely you've seen enough of these blogs to know that?

    If not, there are plenty of SNP supporters who are happy to tell you.

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  • 54. At 12:42pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    52 Minceandmealie

    A current example??...ohhh let me think. I suggest that that you simply trawl back (avoiding nucler submarines) through these blogs and you'll see it oozing out all over the place. It's ugly and it's real.

    Sorry...got lost in your triple negative in the second paragraph and I really don't want to open that tedious arc of debate yet again. What do you think about MPs/MSP's pay and the question of declaring donations?

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  • 55. At 12:43pm on 26 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Minceandmealie: Sorry to intrude on another question, but have you ever visited the Balkan states? Fiercely patriotic people who detest some of their neighbours.
    I'm just struggling to remember anywhere similar, where hatred (OK, antipathy) is based on old scores, old wars, old religions and indeed old ideas of patriotism.
    You couldn't help me there, could you?

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  • 56. At 12:46pm on 26 Jun 2008, sailorjimagain wrote:

    Who are you people? The standards of blog here are pretty juvenile to say the least. We have blatant 'winder's-up', ant-this and anti-that. Plain ignorant and equally plain stupid.
    Having said all that; there are a few of you out there who really do seem to think for yourselves and are not so brain-washed that you can still separate fact from propoganda.
    We even have someone referring to 'The Union' as the greatest 'country' the world has ever known. Would this 'country' be the one that constantly refers to all things as 'English'? or is the person in question in fact referring to England? Snide, school - person (must be PC) remarks about the SNP to not hide the fact that the so called 'Union' has always been an unequal one. If the 'Union' had been so successful there would never have been any real need for an SNP- like organisation - real or immagined. The approximate quote of 'as ye sew - so shall ye reap' comes to mind. As for all you brain-washed political party -animals out there; I have another quote for you: 'forgive them for they know not what they do'.

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  • 57. At 12:55pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    53 Blackivar

    In truth I only hang around this blog because it is such fun winding up mono-dimensional zealots. But I'm really not trying to do that today as I have an important piece of work to finish.

    I'm very fond of Scotland, I even used to live there in my 20s which is probably why I take an interest in all this. A number of my oldest friends are intensely patriotic Scots, of the positive kind who have a keen sense of identity in terms of culture, literary and scientific achievements, landscape and tradition. They don't wallow in a sense of victimisation and manage to have a positive attitude to other citizens of these islands. They even take holidays in England sometimes. That probably makes them traitors or "deniers" or something but there you are.

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  • 58. At 1:00pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    56 Sailorjamiroquis

    Thanks sailor, you neatly proved my point with no further effort required. Keep taking the little green pills.

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  • 59. At 1:04pm on 26 Jun 2008, sailorjimagain wrote:

    Is it me? or is this person 'Anglophone' guilty of self-love based on an irrefutable, unswaying belief in personal perfection?
    Here's another observation which I'm sure you will all forgive:
    There are probably upward of 150 million people in Europe who still have vivid memories of WW2. While I would not detract from the happiness of german young people and their pride in an obviously talanted nation - I would remind everyone and them that it was just such pride that Adolph Hitler used to launch his despicable brand of politics. In quoting german happiness and pride - a little thought should be given to the memories of those still living.
    Politically or religeously enspired hatred are the ones that cause wars. Usually it ends-up with the 'big boy' bullying the little one. England or any other country in the world has nothing to fear from an independant Scotland unless it is the fear of losing that which they feel superior to.

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  • 60. At 1:07pm on 26 Jun 2008, bawsupoantheslates wrote:

    Wendy Alexander is guilty...that I i think has been established.

    A fitting punishment for this 'crime' would be for her to do some community service, maybe help re-lay the pitch at Fir Park with some murderers, or better still, help oversee some of the health and hygiene problems at our hospitals, Jackie Baillie could help, see as she was so keen to defend her.

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  • 61. At 1:10pm on 26 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Blackivar:

    I've not seen any comments that accuse the Pro-Union group for hating Scotland at all.

    I think someone is telling porkies to make the Nationalists seem a nasty bunch.

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  • 62. At 1:25pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    59 Sailorjamiroquois

    Wooah, double the dose. You couldn't be more wrong on all counts. Delusions of personal perfection? Nice one!

    Anyway, the serious point I was making was about the patriotism of young Germans. It is the fact that it is so precisely unlike the crude racist nationalism exploited by Hitler in 1930s that makes it notable and reassuring.

    I have absolutely no desire to upset people of the wartime generation. Given that the conflict claimed the life of my grandfather and the sanity of my uncle I think that this would be little improbable. The very fact that modern Germany has turned out the way it has should surely be a matter of rejoicing for the people in this country who sacrificed so much!

    Can we get back MSPs donations?

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  • 63. At 1:34pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    61 Thomas-Porter

    Thomas, Blackivar doesn't have access to your sophisticated rebuttal software and was probably reying on good old-fashioned memory alone.

    I understood what he meant though. Any luck with the job hunt yet?

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  • 64. At 1:42pm on 26 Jun 2008, scottishpolitics wrote:

    Unbelievable Brian. You appear to think that due process and punishment should be brushed aside because of the amount of time it has dragged on for.

    Perhaps if the Electoral Commission had actually done their jobs properly and prosecuted admitted lawbreakers it would all be over by now and in a more satisfactory way.

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  • 65. At 1:52pm on 26 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Anglophone:

    I found several that suit me well. I am waiting for my father to return home so I can discuss with him what my options could be in future.

    Thanks for asking.

    Oh I know what Blackivar is talking about to.

    However, the SNP does not accuse others of hating Scotland because they do not share the same views.

    Similar to the story that if you support the SNP then you must be anti-English. Of course if you do a background check you will find several SNP figures to of been born and brought up in England.

    and apparently Blackivar is not attempting to spread the SNP in a bad light...?

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  • 66. At 1:59pm on 26 Jun 2008, minceandmealie wrote:

    Since you seem to have missed my point, I will have another go. The unionist versus nationalist debate is almost exclusively one between Scots and Scots as to how their country should best be run. To quote Michael Forsyth, no less, "We are sovereign within the Union and we can walk out any time we want".

    There might be plenty of winding-up, carping over details, or picking on typographical errors, but I don't generally encounter any racial or national hatred nor indeed all that much wallowing in victimization. (That last term did make me think of Wendy Alexander's surreal misogyny defence just for a moment....sorry.) There is a bit of rhetorical venom directed against the Labour party in particular, but that's politics. And what is it they say about pots and kettles again?

    I am very firmly for Scottish independence, and I am off to England for my summer holidays next week, as I have done for the last three years. I would happily give you a list of the great things that England has given the world, from London gin and Eccles cakes to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Thomas Payne's "The Rights of Man".

    But what has any of that got to do with the benefit or disbenefit to Scotland of being governed within the Union?

    If Scotland had become independent in 1979, keeping the £230 billion of oil revenues and avoiding the Thatcher sado-monetarist deindustrialization era, then Scotland would be a lot better off today than it is. That is pretty much inarguable. It is also true that the hardest hit areas over the last thirty years are the areas which still vote Labour. (I would see that as a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, but that is just an opinion.) The Labour MPs for Clydebank, Paisley, Baillieston, Motherwell, Coatbridge, Kilmarnock, Dumbarton, Airdrie, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline (etc) sat on their hands and willingly sacrificed the interests of their consituents in order to protect the Union.

    The 'fighting fifty'. Remember them? Are they proud? There, er, was an alternative.

    I think this is the Labour party's true and profound shame. I can understand why the Tories are unionists. But I simply can't explain why Labour, allegedly the friends of Scotland's poor and disadvantaged, are unionists in the first place.

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  • 67. At 2:08pm on 26 Jun 2008, Blackivar wrote:

    Oh, I forgot, one is menat to copy and paste previous posts on this blogs.

    Silly me.

    While Brian's blog doesn't seem to have fallen prey to the most extreme - the comments have been made on other blogs.

    See the Scotsman - you might be familiar with it Thomas - a thomasp seems to be a regular visitor.

    In any case I was merely commenting on Minceandmealie comments, that all unionist do is put down Scotland.

    I don't agree with that exactly - but there are those pro-independence supporters who extend his comments to the ones you find on the Scotsman.

    By the way, why do you insist on taking slights against nationalism personally?

    If an ethos can't stand criticism, it's quite frankly not worth having.

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  • 68. At 2:21pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    65 Thomas Porter

    Congratulations...I hope that whatever job you choose works out. Just don't accept the proof-reader position...it isn't you ;-)

    I promisd myself that I wouldn't get involved in this again but you used this "several prominent SNP figures were born in England, therefore they simply cannot be anti-English" argument more than once and I simply can't let it go as if it were self-explanatory.

    I don't see how this argument follows. Philby, Burgess, McLean and Blunt were all born in England but ended taking a pretty radical anti-English (British) stance. An extreme example I know. Many current UK politicians were born in Scotland and are routinely accused of being anti-Scottish or "part of the vast conspiracy" in these pages.

    I am perfectly prepared to believe in the earnestness of senior SNP figures and I haven't noticed much explicit anti-English sentiment expressed at this level. The problem is that this breaks down lower in the organisation and I would venture to suggest that the grass roots of the organsiation is very anti-English indeed. You are clearly a well bought up young man and may not have had as much contact with these people as others.

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  • 69. At 2:23pm on 26 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    This debate has acquired a fundamentalist religious dimension; no matter the subject, presently MSPs' finances, it always returns to and centres upon "Do you believe in God?" In this case, of course, we are addressing the literalist Gospel According to St. Alex. True believers are unflinching, even in the face of contrary evidence, whose very existence they deny. Heretics may as well ask the Catholic Chuch to sanction abortion or abandon faith schools.
    Timid pro-union philistines, even atheists like me, can feel the dilemma of Gideon (is it up to me to knock down the altar to Baal?)
    Then a wee voice says "Gaun yersel Gideon." Perhaps a Scots traveller to the Holy Land?
    So do we attack the latter-day Midianites? You bet! Can we win? Well, we can travel hopefully.
    The Promised Land is a far, far place for all of us.

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  • 70. At 2:24pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    It's only fair to point out that I am employed by the security services to destabilise potentially hostile political forces in the UK. I will have to break off now as I have not been paying sufficient attention to some other punters on my to-do list.

    So farewell Anglophone and hello Taz... wavering jihadist.

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  • 71. At 2:38pm on 26 Jun 2008, Fit Like wrote:

    Perhaps it's my imagination (or maybe it's just an outbreak of unbridled cynicism) but it seems to me that this blog is daily becoming more and more like the letters page in the Metro.

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  • 72. At 2:42pm on 26 Jun 2008, Woundedpride wrote:

    I am so pleased that they've got her, as they used to say in the old police movies, 'bang to rights' but it'll not have any effect.

    Some politicking behind the scenes, some public acknowledgement of wrongdoing from Wendy A and all will be forgiven if not forgotten.

    Such is the political culture of these islands. "Politicians up to no good? Of course! Isn't it a hoot...?"

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  • 73. At 2:43pm on 26 Jun 2008, enneffess wrote:

    While no lover of Labour or Wendy Alexander, let's get things into perspective.

    Alex Salmond recently "bent" a few rules if I understand correctly. Should he also be removed?

    Just make all total donations by one individual or organisation greater than say £250 be declared publicly. At least then we would know who really was bankrolling the political parties.

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  • 74. At 3:11pm on 26 Jun 2008, makinghistory wrote:

    As a nationalist and supporter of independence I would like to make a couple of points in favour of letting wee Wendy off the hook this time.

    Firstly, as I have said before, constant mud-slinging has the effect of driving the general public away from engagement in politics. If we are to secure a genuine and legitimate consensus for independence we must try to engage as many Scots as possible in the debate.

    Secondly, the SNP should be continuing to build confidence and support through the implementation of sound policies that benefit the people of Scotland. We must defeat Labour in the war of ideas not by using relatively minor indescretions to slur opposition politicians.

    To put it in football terms - if the opposition tries to hack you down it is better to stay on your feet and put the ball in the net than it is to take a dive and look for a yellow card.

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  • 75. At 3:22pm on 26 Jun 2008, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    '...maybe help re-lay the pitch at Fir Park with some murderers...'

    A good suggestion, but surely grass would make for a better playing surface ;)

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  • 76. At 4:06pm on 26 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    Blackivar:

    "If you are pro-union you obviously hate Scotland; because only those in favour of independence love it. Surely you've seen enough of these blogs to know that? If not, there are plenty of SNP supporters who are happy to tell you."

    Since the SNP do not accuse those who support the Union as those who hate Scotland then how can SNP supporters claim that those who support the Union as those who hate Scotland?

    Cleary, the SNP and the 'SNP supporters' you saw make disgraceful comments are not actually SNP supporters since they do not represent the same views as the SNP?

    I take it personally because I am a Scottish Nationalist who support most of the SNP policies and don't want the SNP painted in a picture that they are not.

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  • 77. At 4:20pm on 26 Jun 2008, Tom wrote:

    68. Anglophone:

    The point I made was that if the Scottish National Party were truely anti-English then they would not recruit and trust Englishmen and woman in the Party.

    "Many current UK politicians were born in Scotland and are routinely accused of being anti-Scottish or "part of the vast conspiracy" in these pages."

    Quite true. England and Scotland share different views on certain areas and Scots (not always Nationalists) feel that these politicians should stick up for and represent Scotland. However, these politicians have a duty to serve the United Kingdom...not just Scotland...so they feel betrayed in some ways when choices are made in favour of other parts of the United Kingdom.

    I do admitt that there is a small minority who are anti-English within the SNP but the SNP do their best to keep them out.

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  • 78. At 4:32pm on 26 Jun 2008, freedjmac wrote:

    So we now have the result and 'weebendyb...' is to be banned for one day from Parliament, subject to ratification by the Parliament in September.

    If I heard the result on Radio Scotland correctly, the vote of the Committee was 4-0 with 3 abstentions, these being the Labour Party members one assumes.

    Given that Parliament is now in recess for the summer, this raises the intriguing question of just how a political party 'leader' can survive with this dark cloud hanging over her for the next three months.

    Can a one-day ban be a fatal blow?? It's not the severest of penalties but it's the 'ban' that will forever haunt her.

    Leadership election over the summer??

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  • 79. At 4:42pm on 26 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Minceandmealie #66: May I put it to you, without rancour, that if Scotland had become independent in 1979 we would have seen increased, and ever-expanding subsidies for deep mining, shipbuilding, the steel industry and others. But wages would have gone through the roof (Labour in charge, controlled by the unions) and they would still have been uncompetitive in world markets.
    Deindustrialisation would have been delayed, but was inevitable. Even if the SNP had been in control.
    Today, I must admit, we would have a better chance. When you recover from that shock, let me add that today's money - and more - needs to be spent on boring things like roads, pensions, drug rehab, etc. Contrary to prediction, there won't be much left for milk and honey.
    The rest of #66 is fine by me.

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  • 80. At 4:44pm on 26 Jun 2008, Fit Like wrote:

    68. Anglophone

    "I am perfectly prepared to believe in the earnestness of senior SNP figures and I haven't noticed much explicit anti-English sentiment expressed at this level."

    This, I take it is as opposed to Jack McConnell and his chosen stance of supporting everybody except England at the last football world cup in Germany a coouple of years ago?

    "The problem is that this breaks down lower in the organisation and I would venture to suggest that the grass roots of the organsiation is very anti-English indeed."

    This is very true but not isolated to the SNP. Scratch below the surface of the rank and file members of any Scottish political party (and indeed many people who don't support any party) and you will find that anti-Englishness to be there.

    It's a sad reflection of our supposedly 'modern' Scottish society that such an unfounderd and unsupportable (sporting rivalries, perhaps, aside) attitude can still exist.

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  • 81. At 5:08pm on 26 Jun 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Regardless of whether Wendy Alexander's ban is for one day or one hour, the fact that she needs to be banned at all proves once and for all that she doesn't deserve the privilege of working in Scotland's parliament.

    What sort of person do you want representing you in parliament? Someone who has been found guilty of breaking rules and laws, or someone who hasn't?

    And before the usual crowd of smart-alecs and apologists wade in with their false: "let him cast the first stone" response the answer is: No, I have never broken any organisational rule or criminal law, so I am perfectly entitled to "cast the stone" and demand a higher standard of behaviour from the likes of Alexander.

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  • 82. At 5:09pm on 26 Jun 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 83. At 5:35pm on 26 Jun 2008, ABDN_Col wrote:

    Agree #7...

    Could the Nat bloggers please do something more useful with their lives than saturating us with pro-nat propaganda (see hootsman blogs etc.)!

    I presume these guys are on the party pay-roll? If so, the SNP must have money to burn -- hope its all declared :)

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  • 84. At 5:45pm on 26 Jun 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    ABDN_Col

    You're blogging here too so I suppose it's safe to assume you have nothing more useful to do with YOUR time!

    And how do we know you're not on the payroll of some political party or other?

    Or is it just your mission in life to try to deny people their right to free speech whilst, naturally (!) reserving it for yourself?!!

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  • 85. At 6:19pm on 26 Jun 2008, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    A one day ban!

    Anyone interested should check out the timeline on Scottish politics .org.

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  • 86. At 6:34pm on 26 Jun 2008, Remember_1820 wrote:

    So she's to be banned from Parliament for 1 day.

    Hardly worth the bother.

    It doesn't put the The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee at Holyrood in a good light at all.

    That decision is a disgrace to the 4 SSP MSP's who were banned for a month, for a simple demonstration.

    Life sure is unfair, especially if you are not a member of the Labour Party.

    How convenient that this decision was made on the last day of the Parliament, giving everyone lots of time to forget all about her sins, in time for the new Parliamentary season.


    .

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  • 87. At 6:40pm on 26 Jun 2008, kaybraes wrote:

    Seeing you've been a bad wee lassie you can have an extra day's holiday with pay.This is in case you're ever (god forbid) in a position to be dishing out the punishments, and one of us gets caught. We hope you'll remember how good we were to you.Was this a waste of public money and MSP's time or wasn't it?

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  • 88. At 7:03pm on 26 Jun 2008, crazyislander wrote:

    My goodness! This blog has taken a bit of a turn towards the negative. Some of the postings have been quite improper, verging on the personal. As far as the subject is concerned, it always amazes me why Scottish Labour selected little Wendy as their leader.

    She exudes smugness without so much as a drop of humility. As a previous poster said, she is the SNP's best weapon. As to the matter of the 'Wendy Gate', the very fact that she had to ask for advice on the matter should have told her that the whole thing was, 'iffy'. She should have chosen the safe way by simply not accepting the dosh.

    She broke the Law in both spirit and fact. If we Scots are to have any confidence in our parliament, this kind of behaviour needs to be punished. Poor old Davie McLetchie and Henry MacLeish both fell on their swords and so should Wendy. And please, play nice people.

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  • 89. At 7:29pm on 26 Jun 2008, inmykip wrote:

    Wendy Alexander..........unworthy of trust or comment.

    Yes Brigadier I did watch the footie last night thank you, Turkey played very well but somewhat naive at the back. Germany, what can I say, looked all over the place but still come out winners, mind you I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Germany when it comes to football.......especially during penalty shootouts...........oh dear! I hope that isn't misconstrued by anyone...........still I'm not responsible for what other people choose to think.........they are!

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  • 90. At 7:30pm on 26 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Well, we could have burned her at the stake or drowned her in a ducking stool. I quite agree with the Nats... if you shoot one of them the others quickly come to heel. I hope Nicola's not next to blot her copybook.

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  • 91. At 7:31pm on 26 Jun 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Can someone explain what the point is of having parliamentary rules if when they are blatantly and arrogantly ignored the punishment is an extra day's paid holiday? What a joke!

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  • 92. At 7:40pm on 26 Jun 2008, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #73 - lowering the threshold for donations will not solve the problem, the infamous £999/£995 donations would disappear and be replaced with £249/£245s.

    On the other hand let Wendy off - one day is fine "wrong-doing" is acknowledged and punished and Wendy limps on to survive another day and carry on dragging the New Labour Project "but socialist" in Scotland down with her.

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  • 93. At 7:41pm on 26 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Peace be upon you, Wendy. Go, and sin no more.




    What a pack of jackals!

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  • 94. At 9:04pm on 26 Jun 2008, Fit Like wrote:

    #93 - Amen to that.

    If only...

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  • 95. At 9:34pm on 26 Jun 2008, uptownavondale wrote:

    "So what, you say? So this. I am assured this outburst of emblematic display would not have been so widespread only a few years ago."

    Brian - you have been mis-informed. I've been at many a football match in germany and young fans have always been fanatical and patriotic. Just look at some coverage from past tournaments. I'm sure the BBC has copies of the footage. This kind of remark is pretty patronising but I know how old school British journalists love to bring the war into everything. A continental journalist would never have made a remark like that.

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  • 96. At 10:19pm on 26 Jun 2008, elrond511 wrote:

    I agree.The punishment is not harsh enough so could I suggest it also includes being sent to bed without her supper on the same day. That should teach her . Could be worse though I see the recommended "punishment" inflicted on MPs of all parties who have been caught fiddling their allowances is to be provided with a pay rise commensurate with the amount of fiddling hitherto required. Hopefully this sort of enlightened thinking can be introduced into the Courts.Perhaps shoplifters brought before the once terrible bench should be awarded a daily allowance commensurate with the amount of chorried gear they nick out of Matalan thus keeping them fully stocked up with as many tenner bags as they could wish for. Better still could I suggest this forward thinking legislation be proposed by Kathleen Marshalls child parliament which is surely around the corner, its only a matter of time. For whom the Gods wish to destroy....etc etc

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  • 97. At 10:23pm on 26 Jun 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    InMyKip: Weren't Spain good? I hope they win it, especially in a penalty shoot-out!
    Would I misconstrue anything anyone said here? Moi?
    Actually I think Euro 08 was all the better for the absence of them and us. No gnashing of teeth at glorious failure, no fury at their commentators.
    Don't you just love the gap in the blog during the matches? Restores your faith in humanity, doesn't it?

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  • 98. At 10:34pm on 26 Jun 2008, elrond511 wrote:

    Having just watched the Scottish News my last comment should perhaps read " whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make hoarse ! "

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  • 99. At 10:53pm on 26 Jun 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #97 Yip Brig, Spain look to be the form team, but Germany are overdue a trophy..........

    #98 Awe Wendy's lost her voice, did she trip and get her foot stuck in here mouth?. No matter I bet Gordon Brown is sleeping easy tonight.

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  • 100. At 01:34am on 27 Jun 2008, cruiskeen wrote:

    But Brian, I seem to recall a BBC Scotland colleague of yours telling us that when she first wrote asking if she needed to declare these donations, she had already surpassed the time barrier for doing so?.

    Anyway, could you explain why she would have required any donations considering there was no competition?.

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  • 101. At 09:01am on 27 Jun 2008, elrond511 wrote:

    The vexed issue of what advice the unsurpassably intellegent Wendy was actually given on this matter is surely ( in the finest traditions of Yes Minister) dependent on what question was actually asked ! perhaps we should be told.

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  • 102. At 12:41pm on 27 Jun 2008, minceandmealie wrote:

    Brigadierjohn at #79
    If you are still reading this, I actually agree with quite a lot of what you say, as well. Really.

    Of course deindustrialisation would have occurred in Scotland without Thatcher, as it has in every western 'industrialised' country. (That term is becoming a misnomer, don't you think?) However, I do not believe it would have been anywhere near so cataclysmic as it was. Thatcher and her cronies didn't care if Scotland was left looking like the surface of the moon. Visit Holland, Denmark or Germany and you will find many firms equivalent to those lost here in the 80s, typically now having divested themselves of low added value activities and basic production, and concentrating on their know-how. They went through it far more sensibly; indeed Germany is still going through a wave of it, with the response being a gradual decline in real wages. Which is better than putting everyone in the town on the burroo. It didn't have to happen the way it did.

    There are a lot of problems in this country that need fixing, and I do not expect to find see milk and honey taps installed in my lifetime. But £300 billion and the rest will go a fairly long way; not to mention all the hidden transfers from Scotland to England (head office corporation tax, BBC licence money, etc etc).

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  • 103. At 5:16pm on 27 Jun 2008, I'm not Paranoid, they ARE all out to get me!!! wrote:

    #75, Richard_the_Rogue

    Everyone in the library is looking at me askance, because I just burst out laughing at your post.

    Top marks.

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  • 104. At 00:46am on 28 Jun 2008, rog_rocks wrote:

    "maybe help re-lay the pitch at Fir Park with some murderers"......

    "but surely grass would make for a better playing surface ;)"


    ......"Jackie Baillie could help" :)

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  • 105. At 10:12pm on 28 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Brian:
    I hope that you had a nice time in Germany!

    ~Dennis Junior~

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