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Goodwin's goodies

Brian Taylor | 11:43 UK time, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Look, I'm as angry as anyone about the be-knighted Fred Goodwin. Having recently reviewed that stupendous, innovative financial product that is my endowment policy, I can top most folk on teeth-grinding fury.

But anyone else out there think that the continuing debate over Goodwin's pension is being used to deflect attention from the inutility of our wider efforts to counter recession?

It reminds me a little of The Crucible. A community unable to do anything much about its prevailing social and economic environment sets out on an increasingly frenzied search for a particularly burnable witch. (And, yes, before anyone points it out to me, I am fully aware that Miller's play is itself a parable of modern times.)

Right now, we have sundry politicians who are beginning to suspect that - in the short term, at least - they can do the square root of zip about the economic crisis.

Longer term, they can act - as witnessed by the PM's efforts at G20 and the FM's economic forum today.

But, more generally, there is a sense of short-term futility, a sharp whiff of fear. And suddenly, the most pressing objective becomes to deprive Fred of his moolah, to strip him of his title and, who knows, to tar and feather him at the Mercat Cross.

Yes, Lord Myners, the city minister, looked rather sheepish to say the least as he attempted to explain to sceptical MPs why he had not known the details of the Goodwin goodie bag.

Yes, the deal sanctioned by the previous RBS board is "outrageous", as his lordship declared. Yes, public anger is justified.

But the more it goes on, the more I'm inclined to think it is at least in part a substitute for action. With George Osborne leading the charge, politicians outbid each other to find more scandalised responses.

When they're not doing that, our politicians are blaming each other for sleeping on the job while the merry financial casino was roaring wildly.

We had the latest today with Labour's Andy Kerr branding Alex Salmond "king of the spivs", arguing that he favoured light regulation.

Not sure that is entirely a wise route for Mr Kerr to pursue - given that the UK (Labour) Government's Treasury had a somewhat more significant role in financial regulation. Mr Kerr might care to remind himself who the Chancellor of the Exchequer was during the relevant period.

Perhaps we might urge all our politicians to ease up on fighting the skirmishes of the past decade. It would help save their strength for the global financial war to come.

Still, at least the Financial Services Authority has announced that it is to impose tough new constraints upon the banking sector. Doesn't it give you a warm feeling inside?

What's that noise in the distance? It sounded eerily like a door slamming. But wasn't that also the derisive whinny of a departing horse?


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  • 1. At 12:18pm on 18 Mar 2009, myheavens wrote:

    Fair comment Brian, yes Goodwins position is extremely anger provoking. However in the bigger picture it is but a side show and one that deflects from the proper concentration of effort. I also think you are spot on about short term solutions. Would it not be good to see some vision emerging something that would give us a sense that we are moving towards something, rather than away. The less said about the increasingly shrill Mr Kerr the better.

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  • 2. At 12:27pm on 18 Mar 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    "What's that noise in the distance? It sounded eerily like a door slamming. But wasn't that also the derisive whinny of a departing horse?"
    And would that horse be black? The once and former proud emblem of LloydsTSB now buckling under the weight of HBoS while being flogged mercilessly by both the markets and government for doing their dirty work for them...

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  • 3. At 12:57pm on 18 Mar 2009, Joe wrote:

    While there may be little that politicians can do in the short-term, the astute among them will recognise that, in the absence of robust economic recovery, the public would settle for a head on a platter.

    There is a real sense that while we wait for the recovery, justice should be being served.

    If I acted in a way that led, fairly directly, to the bankruptcy of a single person or company, or a house reposession, I would feel quite rightly that I had a whole lot of serious trouble coming my way. To have played a quite central role in the destuction of large parts of the economy really should be met with more than an argument about whether he keeps his pension or not. It should be about whether or not he keeps his liberty.

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  • 4. At 1:13pm on 18 Mar 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Completely agree. I felt from the first the odious goodwin was being used as a scapegoat. But the answer for Scotland's financial sector lies in independence. It would provide Scotland with a chance to establish something much more sane than the present system.

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  • 5. At 1:20pm on 18 Mar 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Brown ally says PM should apologise.

    When the real criminal is eventually brought to justice and convicted for all his past crimes will the easy targets take their part as being willing accessories to this charge and not be used as a diversionary tactic.

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  • 6. At 1:21pm on 18 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Godwin is simply being used as a scapegoat and a distraction by team Bwown (which is why it gets so much dutiful coverage by the BBC). After the Tory talk of freezing the licence fee expect the beeb's backing of Labour to become as explicit in England as it is repeatedly made clear in Scotland, by Glenn Campbell and others/.

    Yes Godwin was and massively overpaid and with hindsight clearly underqualified; but so was/is calamity Broon.

    I would be nice if the UK Govt. were actually trying to do something to reverse the economic situation rather than scapegoating a couple of bankers whose institutions they didn't quite have the guts to nationalise.

    Govt. ministers have now admitted they didn't ask about Godwin's pension, or indeed very much else ... this demonstrates the absolute incompetence of Labour in power (after 12 years!) as well as the greed of banking execs.

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  • 7. At 1:24pm on 18 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    IMF: Britain will be the last major economy to get out of the recession?

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  • 8. At 1:24pm on 18 Mar 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Thinking of departing horses and a', d'ye reckon The Economy can afford tae save the planet?

    Or is that another misplaced horse?


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  • 9. At 1:44pm on 18 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:'re spot on about the impotence of politicians in the near-term to do much about this. Although there has been the very considerable influence of the banking meltdown acting as a double-whammy to an overdue cyclical downturn, these events are, to a large degree a matter of psychology rather than reality. In essence, assuming that the banks do start lending again (on a sensible basis) the recession will be over when we unconsciously and collectively decide that it is over. That may well coincide with the point when news editors decide that they wouldn't mind a change in journalistic emphasis..but who knows.

    In the meantime, most government initiatives are simply outrageously expensive PR exercises where "something is seen to be done!" The alternative of just toughing it out is seen as "not caring about hard working families" etc etc.

    As we come out of this it will be interesting to see how the balance of regulation is struck...assuming that Alec S will be a convert to heavier regulation (the man has a turning circle to beat even a black cab). Most of the headline problems facing the country, be they financial probity, terrorism, yoof binge-drinking etc are already extensively covered by legislation and regulation. The issue lies in proper enforcement rather than in the drafting of punitive new rules to pander to the latest moral panic and to be "seen to be doing something!"

    Let's hope that reform of the banking sector is conducted in a sober manner once the dust and lust for revenge has settled (notwithstanding the fact that several noble knightly bankers clearly should face prosecution). It is likely that if existing rules are actually enforced and the regulators aren't drinking pals at the same clubs, then those rules will probably go a long way towards meeting requirements.

    Those lusting after heavy regulation should look no further than the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act...a well intentioned piece of legislation enacted to protect investors in the wake of the Enron and Worldcom affairs. The requirements of the act were so onerous that international companies scrambled to de-list from the New York Stock Exchange and move elsewhere. The dear old Law of Unintended Consequences is likely to make yet another of its regular appearances in a battered economy near you soon.

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  • 10. At 1:49pm on 18 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    I'll have leave The Brains Trust here to sort out the Goodwins and the badyins because the fat Lady is singing..

    It's time to say goodbye, folks. Indulge me in a few reminiscences:
    When I first joined I was deferential to Brownedov and oldnat, who seemed like the elder statesmen of something I had never attempted before. Gradually they morphed into Statler and Waldorf!
    Quite a few others conjured up mental pictures:
    Bighullabaloo (remember him?) always flouncing out - definitely Rik Mayall in the New Statesman.
    Bluelaw, greenockboy, sneckedagain and dubbieside: The Wild-eyed Bunch. Beyond parody. And redemption.
    Aye_write, pattymkirkwood and disgustedDorothy: Dale Winton, Graham Norton and John Inman.
    Thomas Porter: Oh dear. Thomas could only play himself in my movie.
    Ed Iglehart: Our own "Uncle Tom" American.
    Neil Small: Captain Sensible.

    Of course there were villains like me: ExPat was truly wonderful. Not always fully accurate, but never missed the mark. Hours of laughter reading the outrage he provoked! Sorry.
    Likewise Anglophone. He knew where the soft spots were. And what about Derek Barker? If I needed lessons in wickedness....

    But the people I liked best had humour and good manners. It's always nice to be savaged politely by a funny guy.

    To those who offered nothing but bile and hatred.... well, you know who you are. And what you are! Wipe the froth away and get a life.

    So that's it. Goodbye.

    No flowers please. Donations, if desired, to the RNLI.

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  • 11. At 1:51pm on 18 Mar 2009, compoundspirit wrote:

    The Goodwin issue is important and not just a distraction. Obviously Goodwin was not responsible for everything. However he has a huge symbolic importance in making serious mistakes and then actually benefitting in a way other employees would not have done-they would have been fired.
    The significance goes beyond this though as well, and strikes at the whole deification of business leaders which has occurred over the last 20 years. The witchhunt analogy is not helpful. Those persecuted did not deserve it. The pursuit of Goodwin and others-as long as it not an episodic spasm may be important in focussing on responsibility and accountabilty. Shame is not what it used to be . Maybe it will come back. That might be a good thing.

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  • 12. At 1:51pm on 18 Mar 2009, petermacduk wrote:

    Mr Taylor has hit the nail on the head. Whilst Goodwins goody bag is an ongoing irritation filed under "surely not", discussion of it is takes up valuable time of those that could, or at least let us hope could, be spend it better elsewhere.

    One can only speculate as to the possibility that this is a story continuing to be spun by politicians and regulatory bodies hoping their chorus of "look! fire!!" will distract us from the shortcomings of some of the others players involved.

    PS. Echoing the post parted pony comments, the Council of Mortgage Lenders recently hosted its "1st annual responsible mortgage lending conference" ( ). I am astonished their communcations department released that to the wild proudly proclaiming it as the 1st.

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  • 13. At 1:54pm on 18 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    4 Bluelaw

    Like what exactly? Is this one of those Swiss Cheese arguments that a) an already independent Scottish Banking sector would have made none of the mistakes by the selfsame bankers operating within the Union. Or b) that in a post recessional independence environment, the remains of said sector will suddenly be transformed into a altruistic friendly society, collecting and disbursing its largesse on the basis of social need.

    Whether you support independence or not these types of argument are lazy and facile. To actually go for an "Aye" vote, independence supporters are really going to have to do some work on the questions of "how" rather than "why" (unless they're Aberdonians of course, where they should work on the "Fit" rather than the "How" ;-))

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  • 14. At 2:03pm on 18 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Exactly the same discussion is taking place here in the USA (my plane was overbooked, so I'm still here) about bonuses for the AIG executives - but with this interesting twist.

    AIG placed their riskiest operation in London (where the regulation was weakest), and it was that operation which brought AIG down. That many of the bonuses are going to London staff, who caused the problem, is not going down well here!

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  • 15. At 2:06pm on 18 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    6 PattyMKirkwood

    Patty...we're in agreement for once. The level of personal competence amongst some Labour Ministers is laughable. Sadly, with the advent of the professional politician, rather than the type who enter politics after a working career of some sort, this type of cluelessness can only get worse.

    Kids now decide on a political career in their teens, work to get into the right university and emerge as freshly minted activists to work their way up through party structures. It seems that the party offering the fastest advancement is often the deciding factor in choosing a political persuasion. From the age of 18, aspirants are already working at avoiding entanglements that could see them on the front page of the Daily Express in 20 years time. They emerge into mainstream politics with a no particular skill beyond avoiding be held responsible for any sort of decision...hence the perfect nickname of McCavity for Gordon Brown.

    Nobody who has either had a career and/or a mildly eventful life could make it in politics now!

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  • 16. At 2:31pm on 18 Mar 2009, newsjock wrote:

    I assume that our governments, both UK + Scotia, have considered civil prosecutions for professional negligence for the" banking high heid yins" for bringing their financial institutions to bankruptcy?

    If not, why not ?

    Instead of running their banks on sound economic lines, their "modus operandi" has been very similar to that of a turf accountant.

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  • 17. At 2:38pm on 18 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Here we go, the Unionist side has definitively led us into economic disaster. Yet (apparently) it is those who back independence who must provide definitive stats, despite the Unionists - with all the power of the state behind them - cannot. Double standards?

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  • 18. At 2:45pm on 18 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #15 Anglophone, this is a novel situation! Professional politicians are the scourge of the old fashioned "public service" tradition; when someone with real world experience brought their expertise to government.

    Everyone knows my political affiliation: so for me the ultimate example of this trend are the Alexander clan of Paisley ... I am sure you can identify your own!

    Also, a few old battlers who have led such "interesting" lives remain.

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  • 19. At 2:58pm on 18 Mar 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    @10, this is all wrong. Weren't you supposed to get strangled with the last copy of The Daily Record?

    Ah well. Situation vacant:

    Wanted , comedy unionist with fake military bearing for outraged postings, general nat bashing and stalking off in high dudgeon.

    Trawling experience helpful but not essential.

    Apply within.

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  • 20. At 3:01pm on 18 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #13 Anglophone

    In the Doric it's Fit and Foo.

    Also in Scots demotic "How" (or its variants) means "Why" - which made it very difficult to teach discursive essay writing in answer to a question that asked "How did .....?", as Scots pupils instinctively interpreted that as "Why did .....?)

    However, for all (though it's very technical, and I found it hard going), the Turner Review on the banking crisis has been published. The Guardian has a useful summary. Essential for anyone trying to make sense of this business.

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  • 21. At 3:11pm on 18 Mar 2009, googlehoo wrote:

    Re #16 Newsjock

    "if not, why not ?"

    What? make company directors accountable for the failures of 'their' companies ?? you'll be expecting politicians to be responsible for their decisions next ..... outrageous !

    and just one of the reasons why the politicians from all sides are a bit nervous about this step


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  • 22. At 3:15pm on 18 Mar 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #13 Angloloon :-)

    "To actually go for an "Aye" vote, independence supporters are really going to have to do some work on the questions of "how" rather than "why" (unless they're Aberdonians of course, where they should work on the "Fit" rather than the "How" ;-))"
    Looks like you're getting the hang of us furrybooters :-)

    Would have to agree though, to convince me to vote yes, I would need to be convinced that there are real benefits to be had in real issues. For example:

    Will schools and hospitals be better funded?
    Will public services be improved?
    Will we get a more streamlined, representative and responsive form of government?
    Will we get a more equitable system of taxation and will less of my tax pounds/euros end up being wasted on unneccesary bureaucracy and more spent delivering the above?

    If I can be convinced that the above list (which is by no means exhaustive) is a likely outcome of independence, then I would be prepared to vote yes.

    Note that I only ask for this to be the likely outcome. I don't ask for guarantees because this is the real world and guarantees can't be given and, if they are, they would be worthless.

    If, on the other hand (and I suspect this is where northhighlander is coming from), all that is likely to be achieved by independance is more of the same old same old that we currently 'enjoy', the only difference is that it is Holyrood that is making a bureach of things rather than Westminster, I have to say, I would be less inclined to vote yes.

    The pro-independance movement need to start work demonstrating that things can, and in all probability, will be better in an Independant Scotland because that is what the ordinary person is interested in.

    I honestly think that the average person reall doesn't worry too much about where the decisions are made, what they worry about is how those decisions affect them.

    What the pro-independence movement need to do is to start work to convince as many people as possible that a Holyrood government in an independant Scotland would make 'better' decisions and govern better than the current arrangement does.

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  • 23. At 3:26pm on 18 Mar 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    To use Gordon Brown's favourite way out of sticky situations "it's time to move on ". Goodwin's got the cash and he's keeping it , why should the taxpayer now fund court cases by money grabbing lawyers trying to retrieve it. This will probably cost more than Goodwin got away with, knowing how the gentlemen of the law profession inflate their worth. Goodwin is a handy scapegoat to take the heat off the incompetents who allowed the banks to get into the state they are in. Now the banks are going to be faced with a mountain of regulation , which if it's drawn up by this useless government will be full of loopholes and will at the end of the day probably be voluntary,like the laws governing failed immigrants, who are "expected " to leave the country after being refused entry.

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  • 24. At 3:29pm on 18 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    1997, highest unemployment since (ignoring the additional hundreds of thousands subsequently hidden on incapacity benefit and the like).

    "Things can only get better"?

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  • 25. At 4:11pm on 18 Mar 2009, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    Brigadier , much as I loved Mr Inman , I do object to you casting him in MY role!
    So why the bowing out?
    You think you've spent enough time trying to wind us up?
    You are seriously not coming back to play Pompous Pilate?
    3 questions in a row I am beginning to sound like a certain poster on the Herald site , my apologies!

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  • 26. At 4:16pm on 18 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #22 Fit Like?

    You are really only asking two questions here.

    1. Will Scotland probably be a wealthier country after independence?
    2. Will Government probably be better and more efficient?

    As an initial response, I'd suggest

    1. Yes (though we do need to see the economic data from the recession year(s) to be sure.) The 2005 data on the economy (during the boom) was quite clear, Scotland (with 75-90% of the oil resources would have been the 3rd richest country (GDP) in Europe, with no oil at all it would have ranked 10th= along with Germany and Finland.

    What we don't know is how much of that wealth was created by the financial sector, compared with the UK's and other countries financial sectors. All financial sectors have taken a massive hit, but the UK will have taken the biggest, as the Ciy of London was one of the largest financial sectors. You'll remember a number of Unionist posters, during the boom, boasting about how much the City brought into the economy.

    If Scotland has done less badly than the UK as a whole during the recession, then the economic case is absolute.

    2a. Will Government be more efficient? There are obvious ways in which it will - even if we did no restructuring, and simply gave control of the reserved powers to Holyrood.

    No need to have MPs, or Lords. No need for the Scotland Office. No need for nuclear weapons, or large armed forces to fight interventionist wars. No need to have the massive administration of Whitehall. No need for the duplication of services by different councils.

    2b. Will Government be better? I'm fairly cynical about politicians of every party, but one thing is clear. We are most likely to see an incoming Tory Government for the UK. It will represent the majority of the UK constituencies (if not voters), and most of the Tory seats will be in the South and South East of England. That new Government will reflect the needs of that part of the world (indeed as the existing Labour Government does). Their decisions are not likely to be "better" for us. We still won't have a UK Government which will allow Scotland to take a different line on taxation (local or otherwise).

    Also remember that we are talking only about the reserved powers coming back to Scotland -

    constitutional matters
    UK foreign policy
    UK defence and national security
    fiscal and economic policy
    immigration and nationality
    energy: electricity, coal, oil, gas and nuclear energy
    common markets
    trade and industry, including competition and customer protection
    drugs law
    elections and the registration and funding of political parties
    some aspects of transport, including aviation, railways, transport safety and regulation
    employment legislation and health and safety
    social security
    gambling and the National Lottery
    data protection
    firearms, extradition and emergency powers
    medicines, abortion, human fertilisation and embryology, genetics, xenotransplantation and vivisection
    equal opportunities
    treason, treason felony and misprision of treason
    regulation of time zones and Summer Time
    Sea fishing: Regulation of sea fishing outside the Scottish zone (except in relation to Scottish fishing boats).
    weights and measures: Units and standards of weight and measurement. Regulation of trade so far as involving weighing, measuring and quantities

    Which of these do you think are NOT likely to be run from Scotland?

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  • 27. At 4:17pm on 18 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #10 brigadierjohn

    You've said goodbye, so I'll reply
    Cos if I don't, it's rude, that's why
    oldnat and Brownedov were not fools
    But I think you broke your own set rules
    Humour and good manners, said you
    But applied to yourself, it wasn't true
    So long, farewell, you're on your way
    Lest you leave again, another day ;-)

    I'm off now too to mump and groan
    I'd rather talk to Anglophone!

    (Sorry A, it just rhymed - I'm not here.)

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  • 28. At 4:35pm on 18 Mar 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    But anyone else out there think that the continuing debate over Goodwin's pension is being used to deflect attention from the inutility of our wider efforts to counter recession?

    Not exactly Brian. Sir Fred is being offered up as public enemy number one, but I think it is rather to deflect attention from: (a) the staggering sums of taxpayer money that have been dished out; and (b) the government on whose watch this mess has happened.

    Next to the hundreds of billions, if not trillions of pounds that the taxpayer is on the hook for, Fred's millions are small beans. But hey, everyone loves a villain. Let's focus on him instead.

    And a thought for the baying mob who would like to see the law changed retrospectively to claw back Fred's pension. Would you really trust the government (particular this government!) with this power? Which other laws might they seek to retrospectively change once Pandora's box was open?

    Oh, I'm sure soothing "safeguards" would be put in place to prevent abuses, just like with the anti-terror legislation (puzzlingly applied to Walter Wolfgang, Iceland and now photographers who happen to get the boys in blue in shot). But ask yourself: what did you do legally today that you'll be retrospectively punished for tomorrow when the law changes? Frightening. Last one out the country switch off the lights!

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  • 29. At 4:42pm on 18 Mar 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #10 so long buddy! RNLI eh? You wouldn't be implying that we're all at sea here would you?! ;o)

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  • 30. At 4:46pm on 18 Mar 2009, Sutara wrote:

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

  • 31. At 5:03pm on 18 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #10 "I'm going now ... here is a selection of my favourite insults, and to those who do nothing but insult: ... get a life".

    Is it possible brig is following his own advice in his grand departure?

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  • 32. At 5:07pm on 18 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    10 Brigadierjohn

    So farewell then BrigadierJohn
    Fellow target in a world of bile.
    I loved your stuff (except for the rather patronising stuff about women)
    And even thought you were a retired military man,
    For quite a long time.

    In the words of one of Scotland's finest chanteurs
    "Don't leave me this waaaayyyy!"
    How can I hold the ground when I can no longer
    Form a square?
    I never shoot until I see the whites of their eyes
    Assuming they have any.

    Anglophone (age 17)

    Bet you're back within the month with batteries fully charged. I did stay away for a while when I got frustrated because logical and knowledgeable argument was futile when dealing with zealots (not everyone of course)...but I found that if you just scan the page for something crass you can have hours of fun. See you soon!

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  • 33. At 5:11pm on 18 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    22 FitLike

    Years of practice. An English friend who married a Buchan girl conducted his wedding speech to respective families with subtitle cards for each group...OK you had to be there!

    Too much time spent listening to Scotland the What? I'm afraid;-)

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  • 34. At 6:01pm on 18 Mar 2009, rickyross wrote:

    Aye Sir Fred may be part of the problem but it is time to let go of that particular part. Harriet Harman was talking thru her a--- when she was on the Andrew Marr prog the other sunday. "He will not get away with it blah blah" Aye right. No lengthy court cases on this please.
    He should also just keep his Knighthood they are pretty worthless since Blair took office. He gave them out like toffee.
    The year 2002 will always be dark for me as that was when BOS was given to the Halifax and was doomed from thereon in.
    Llyods were pretty well forced into the HBOS problem this year. When all this settled and FSA sort out the regulations can we just have the BOS back please. Also it would be great for that auld minister who started TSB to be allowed to stop spinning in his grave!

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  • 35. At 6:09pm on 18 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:


    The "wild eyed bunch" I have never had such a big compliment since Douglas Fraser called me and about half of his dwindling readership cybernats.

    The compliments just keep on coming. We must have you worried. Or maybe you just do not like people who question your pearls of wisdom.

    I do not like the bias shown on an almost daily basis by the BBC. I like even less the fact that I have to pay Browns propaganda tax. If that offends you, too bad.

    Will you be missed?

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  • 36. At 6:17pm on 18 Mar 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Still, at least the Financial Services Authority has announced that it is to impose tough new constraints upon the banking sector. Doesn't it give you a warm feeling inside?


    So long as its not regulations thats going to make the 70's look deregulated by comparison!

    So no it doesnt make me feel warm at all inside- after all we are seriously being expected to trust the people incharge when things went wrong to set up a new framework? No, they all wholly inept.

    Lets just let the Liberals Vince the Cable write the future "new imposed constraints" after all- he's the only one of the political and financial services lot i'd trust right now to do it.

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  • 37. At 6:43pm on 18 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Re #10 re the brig's comments.

    Brownedov and I should really be flattered!

    The role of Statler and Waldorf was to heckle every aspect of The Muppet Show (which is not a bad description of Westminster).

    Thanks brig.

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  • 38. At 7:37pm on 18 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #29 forfar-loon

    I completely disagree. It is not so much that things will change, or not (they might), but that we will oversee them.
    Where the decisions are made is the real point.
    Independence is not about patting ourselves on the back for doing a better job. It is about getting to the point of us doing the job in the first place.

    Your argument is an excellent red herring that could stop people voting for independence if they "buy" into it (pun intended).

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  • 39. At 7:43pm on 18 Mar 2009, enneffess wrote:

    26. At 4:16pm on 18 Mar 2009, oldnat:

    Good post.

    Bit worried when it comes to drugs, alcohol and gambling. I don't do the first two (apart from the odd nurofen) but I do like my weekly flutter on the Lottery and occasionally the football.

    I don't want the nanny state situation in Scotland. Too many politicians like to tell us how we should live.

    As for having no Upper House, a teeny bit wary of this. I think we should have some sort of oversight of Parliament, since some MSPs still behave like it is Westminister. Although getting rid of outrageous expenses would be a start.

    Time zones is the bogeyman for business. Every year, some non-entity of a South East MP raises the motion of the UK gong to Euro Time, which would effectively have Scotland and Northern England plunged into darkness until after 10am in winter mornings. The only options would be either to change to follow suit or change standard business hours for many companies to ensure smooth trading. Glasgow has a host of call centres, many which run on standard business hours for the UK. (I know the industry pretty well).

    Defence really worries me. Nuclear weapons aside, there are a lot of Scots currently employed in the UK Armed Forces, and the Forces are always a prime target for cuts. You can bet an English Government would target "foreign" service personnel for redundancy first.

    Staying on topic, how many people here, if they had on offer what Fred has, would give it up? Not me for starters. The Government and the media needs to leave him alone. Taking back his pension won't do anything for the current crisis. And to go down a legal route will cost the taxpayer and only benefit lawyers. What's happened has happened, s now leave it.

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  • 40. At 8:31pm on 18 Mar 2009, stulaing wrote:

    Come on Brian, lead the BBC out of the Labour woods and lets start laying the blame where it deserves to be laid.
    Thereafter roll on the next UK election, I feel a few Michael Portillo moments coming on....

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  • 41. At 8:34pm on 18 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #32 Anglophone

    "I found that if you just scan the page for something crass you can have hours of fun"

    Absolutely true! - which is why I occasionally venture onto NR, and frequently onto MM.

    Of course, I (like you) find crass suff from one's "own side", but normally choose not to attack it.

    The brig started before me, and has gone off before, I'm sure he'll find that Mrs Brig is begging him to return to the fray before long!

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  • 42. At 9:19pm on 18 Mar 2009, GRhino wrote:

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

  • 43. At 9:48pm on 18 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #37 oldnat

    They were my favourite! Now which character would brig be? Oscar off Sesame Street?

    Stepping a-way from the laptop....

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  • 44. At 9:48pm on 18 Mar 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    Goodbye brig!

    I see you are leaving the field, hurt. Congrats to the nats on here who have tolerated you and faced you down.

    Make good use of your bus pass and get out a bit, take off your blinkers, and have a good look at our country. You might find some unionist dividends, but I can't think where.


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  • 45. At 9:55pm on 18 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    That Scanlon ejiit is at it again! Tories are anti-free prescriptions ... wonder what their elderly base would think of that if they ever heard it!

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  • 46. At 9:56pm on 18 Mar 2009, Sparklet wrote:



    "After entry there would be a major responsibility on HMG and on all political parties not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures or unfavourable economic developments to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community"
    FCO 30/1048 1971

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  • 47. At 10:04pm on 18 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

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

  • 48. At 10:25pm on 18 Mar 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Who was it that knighted Sir Fred and who was the other chap that was using him as an adviser? Anybody remember. Could his big payout be anything to do with these friends (until it became public knowledge he got found out)

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  • 49. At 11:13pm on 18 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:


    The brig has just got to be Captain Manwaring from Dads Army.

    Reluctant Expat Corporal Jones.

    I can just hear them "were a doomed, doomed a tell ye" its all Alex Salmonds fault.

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  • 50. At 11:21pm on 18 Mar 2009, irnbru_addict wrote:

    So, you're in a corner, you've got enemies all round, looks like your time is up. Except for one thing, you're allowed to phone a friend to help you negotiate your way out.

    Who ya gonnae call?

    a) Gordon Brown and Lord Myners
    b) Vince Cable and what's his name, you know, insect guy (cleg, geddit?)
    c) Posh Dave and Geordie Osbourne
    d) Fred Goodwin

    Having seen how he's personally seen off the forces of banking, government, opposition etc etc I must admit that in a jam, I'd put my faith (perhaps not my money) in Fred Goodwin to negotiate on my behalf rather than any of the half wits who shout loud and do nothing.

    He might be an unpleasant character but to paraphrase Myners, you have to admire his cheek!

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  • 51. At 11:28pm on 18 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    My #47 was a Doric Subterranean Homesick Blues! No swear words in it. Oh, well...

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  • 52. At 11:35pm on 18 Mar 2009, Al_Ford wrote:

    #27 aye_write

    It doesn't scan. Actually, if the truth be told, it reminds me a little of the verses that Sid James scrawled on the walls of Hancock's house to show that "Lord Byron lived here." Except that they scanned even though they were dire.

    Never mind. It's the thought that counts. And a very uncharitable one it is too. Still, I don't suppose the gentleman in question cares one way or the other. He will, of course, be back in any case, in some guise or another. I know a blog addict when I see one.

    But no, let us take the generalissimo at his word. It is the least that we can do, having failed so signally to appreciate him while he was among us. He is gone, and we are woebegone:

    "One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
    Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
    Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
    Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

    "The next with dirges due in sad array
    Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,-
    Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
    Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.

    "The Epitaph
    Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
    A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
    Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
    And Melancholy marked him for her own.

    "Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
    Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
    He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
    He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.

    "No farther seek his merits to disclose,
    Or draw his frailties from their dread abode
    (There they alike in trembling hope repose),
    The bosom of his Father and his God."

    (Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard)

    Rest in peace, Brig. We shall not see your like again. Don't call us. We'll call you.

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  • 53. At 11:40pm on 18 Mar 2009, MrCynical wrote:

    Maybe the plan is to tar and feather Gordon Brown. Then at least the animal rights activists would vote for him at the next election, because at this rate nobody else will.

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  • 54. At 01:01am on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #52. Al_Ford

    I don't know what "it doesn't scan" means. I wasn't taking my post that seriously.

    My thoughts on the brigadier are he just needed to prove something, hence his brash, 'can't help but take issue' stance. An indication of this was his inability not go straight to the top of the criticism list and use the harshest he could first. He wasn't gentle enough in his, he'd say, ribbing, I'd say attacks. He had to be on a higher level, but instead of using cleverness to show this, he used blunt forthrightness. So, you couldn't warm to him, like some others.

    I don't think he was that self-aware, like others, so I forgive him and wish him all the best. The reason he was so irked by me was that I saw his showy stance, shrank it and threw it right back to him, unaffected as I was supposed to be. Because he hadn't realised he was doing it, it made me seem overly touchy and, well, nasty, which I'm not.

    A break is maybe a good thing for brig, and despite himself he is admitting he knows it. I honestly don't think he meant to get into the snorrels he did with myself and others - it contradicts his own (cute for a grown man!) sense of status. If we would meet again for the first time, I think we would probably be friends.

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  • 55. At 07:37am on 19 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #37 oldnat
    "Brownedov and I should really be flattered!"

    Seconded, although I think you're being a little harsh on the Muppets, and I fear nightmares coming on where Miss Piggy metamorphoses into the Harperson.

    It's Ed who should be most offended, I think.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 56. At 08:32am on 19 Mar 2009, timepassescarmichael wrote:

    I had assumed it was common knowledge that Myners was a former banker himself, and, I believe, former colleague of Goodwin. When I casually relayed this information, thinking not too much about it, to one of my pals getting himself in a twist about everyone focussing on Goodwin, his jaw nearly hit the floor, and I half expected him to storm off and lay siege to the RBS building in sheer outrage. Needless to say, we just had a laugh about it instead, what else can one do when we survey this absolute mess.

    There's no doubt Goodwin is being pushed forward as a figure of public ire, but I don't think it has been particularly effective. If I'm right, some of the details of Goodwin's pension was leaked (?), relayed, to the press by Labour in order to divert attention from their bail-out of Lloyds Group, hoping to avoid headlines about more tax-payers' money being poured into failed organisations. Labour, however, didn't really seem to fully calculate that people, because people aren't idiots, are more likely to ask who agreed to this deal rather than simply respond as Labour expected, impotent rage and a few letters to the Daily Mail/Record/Telegraph.

    It has also created a strange sort of political game in which all politicians from all sides attempt to outdo one another in indignant proclamations of moral hightones. I found Murphy particularly amusing yesterday and I'm surprised that Labour are as convincing as they are with their pretendy indignance. I suppose, when it was your party's own Minister that agreed to the deal then Labour politicians have every right to muster pretendy indignance. Similarly, I never knew Kerr called Salmond 'king of the spivs' and I really can't figure the logic, not just because Scotland is a country that is unable to significantly influence markets, but also because, only a few days ago unionists were chuckling that Salmond was a novice. But then again, perhaps I'm not supposed to apply logic to Labour's proclamations of outrage, that seems to be the measure of things these days.

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  • 57. At 08:42am on 19 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:


    I'm sure you'll have seen the "new look" on NR's threads, and some of the comment about whether it really is an improvement. I'm not so sure on the "look", but a big redeeming feature is that I can now refer to Zürich rather than Zuerich and Málaga rather than Malaga, as well as my son's fiancée - previously barred from mention, poor soul. Better still, we can all use £££s and €€€s instead of GBPs and EURs!

    See dhwilkinson's #61 et seq on the New Look For BBC Blogs thread, and a big thankyou to Ed for flagging it.

    Can we have it, too, please sir?

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 58. At 09:19am on 19 Mar 2009, Al_Ford wrote:

    #54 aye_write

    Good morning, aye.

    I realise, of course, as someone who was not taking his own post all that seriously, that you were not taking yours all that seriously either.

    Shocked, stunned and gobsmacked, however, am I to find that you "don't know what 'it doesn't scan' means". Back to school, young lady. Hint: it relates to metrical structure. Don't call me back to ask what 'metrical structure' is whatever you do, or I shall have a fit and leave the scene in high dudgeon and low spirits.

    On the subject of the brigadier I have my own thoughts, naturally, but my approach to chaps whose style I don't care for is generally to steer clear. Simple but effective. It works for me.

    You really, honestly, truthfully, sincerely - cross your heart and hope to die - don't know what "it doesn't scan" means? Sorry, I am obviously from another era and have lived too long. I am away now to shoot myself. Goodbye, cruel world.

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  • 59. At 09:46am on 19 Mar 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #38 aye_write:

    Erm, I don't see the connection between your post and my #29 (or even #28). Mistaken identity?

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  • 60. At 10:09am on 19 Mar 2009, Al_Ford wrote:

    #56 timepassescarmichael

    "(...) perhaps I'm not supposed to apply logic to Labour's proclamations of outrage (...)"

    Oh yes, apply logic to Labour's doings. Endless fun to be had from that.

    Logic and politics are strange bedfellows, which is why they keep parting company.

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  • 61. At 10:30am on 19 Mar 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    RE 26 - Oldnat

    Wow, here's me thinking, "for gods sake, what do people need to hear to convince them?" Time after time after time, we hear people needing to know "how much money are we going to get?!" This really just demeans the actual meaning of being independant and if all we want from it is a few quid then we don't deserve it, it would then become as false to me as the UK is.

    But as usual you have taken the time and had the patience to point out the more non materialistic beneFITS, as well. With all due respect (to nat bashers), in my experience, we are totally different people from "Brits" and scots should encourage eachother to develop and pursue a direction of their own making and desire. So I hope we forget, soon, the reputation gifted to us of being penny pinchers, which SEEMS to cloud the vision of many and smothers their aspirations.

    see ya bigabrigadeer :)

    only read one of your posts, so not guilty to any great degree of being unpolite to you. But I can understand why others may have been. Cant' take it? Don't give it?
    It hurts sometimes I know...

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  • 62. At 12:02pm on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #59 forfar-loon

    "Erm, I don't see the connection between your post and my #29 (or even #28). Mistaken identity?"

    Ah, woops, you're right. I looked for who I'd meant to address and I couldn't see - I thought, hilarious, I've replied to a phantom post!

    But no, it was #22 Fit Like? that my #38 was referring to. But I think the moment has probably now passed ;-)

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  • 63. At 12:55pm on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #58 Al_Ford

    Al, step a-way from the shotgun...

    Right. No I didn't know. I thought maybe it meant something like "it doesn't compute". But no, you make reference to syllables in poetry? Well, then I'll never win.
    I'm no poet, and if I were I would surely break not follow the rules.

    Back to brig, in the cold light of morning it has dawned on me what was the point in his trying to prove his point, and I feel a bit bad :-P

    And back to scanning (if you can say that), there's probably things I know that you don't, but telling you them might also make you want to reach for that shotgun ;-)

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  • 64. At 12:58pm on 19 Mar 2009, waitingformyman wrote:



    So you rekon your a roman do you?

    knew it!

    Long live the empire!


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  • 65. At 12:59pm on 19 Mar 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #26 oldnat

    Pehaps the fundamental shortcoming with this blog is that it is political in nature and that, as a result, those of us who frequent it, be we pro-union or pro-independence, take an interest in politics. The same, I suspect, cannot be said for the vast majority of 'average' people out there in the wider community.

    While I take your point and I fully accept what aye_write says when she talks about the importance of self-determination and how it is what 'normal' countries do, and while most of us understand the differences between the concepts of soverignty resting with the people as opposed to resting with parliament, can the same be said of that silent majority of 'average' people? Do they even know, or indeed care, what those terms mean? I may be wrong, but I suspect the answer is no.

    And thereby is the nub of the problem for the pro-independence movement; the vast majority of voters in any independence referendum will be those self same 'average' people who take what they read in their daily tabloid as gospel.

    So, with that in mind, I suspect the point I was making in my earlier post can actually be distilled down further into a single question, namely:

    How will an independant Scotland be a better Scotland?

    For some people, that question will be financial. Let's face it, a lot of people (unless their party political allegiences are held so firmly that no amount of logical argument will sway them), will cast their vote depending on the perceived effect on thier wallets. That is a sad fact of human nature. For others, it will be about the social/political aspects like education, health service provision, policing and any number of the things you listed in your reply to my earlier post. For others still, it will be about the question os soverignty and self determination. But, all of those things add up, in the minds of the individual concerned, to how Scotland will be 'better' for them.

    Obviously, the old truism of not being able to please all of the people all of the time comes into play but, in a nutshell, the pro-independence movement have to be able to convincingly answer that question for the majority of 'average' people out there, and not just those of us who post here, to have any chance of success.

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  • 66. At 1:23pm on 19 Mar 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #38 aye_write

    Missed your comment first time around because of the mistaken identity issue (and here's me having never even set foot in Forfar; still, Forfar, Forres, fairly similar I gues...)

    Anyway, hopefully my # 65 makes where I'm coming from a bit clearer.

    I was trying, albeit not very successfully, in my earlier comment to put myself in the shoes of the politically apothetic majority who will be voting in any referendum.

    That said, while I feel that both of our points are important, but for different reasons.

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  • 67. At 1:51pm on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #66 Like?

    Sorry about the mix up.

    Yes, it's a bother. Hence my views now and then on web campaigning.


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  • 68. At 2:33pm on 19 Mar 2009, Al_Ford wrote:

    #63 aye_write

    Worry not. I changed my mind.

    I'm sure you are wise and knowledgeable. I, on the other hand, do occasionally forget which century I'm in, which is not good. Now I'm sounding like Dr Who. So, if you don't mind, I'll just step into this polis box and be on my way.

    Afternoon all.

    PS. Metrical scansion is no longer taught in schools? No, don't tell me. I'd rather not know.

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  • 69. At 2:54pm on 19 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    64 Waitingformymantosaysomethingintelligent about McZealot?

    It's sad to see the Brig bow out (though I bet he's back once his blood pressure gets below 180/130). If nothing else his presence gives balance to what would otherwise be a mutual appreciation society.

    In the meantime I will try to live up to his memory by poking sticks at silly ill-informed comments and the closet bigots who stalk these pages. It's tough but someone still has to do it and I think that I got just enough gas left in the intellectual petrol tank to give it a shot.

    I'll subtitle that for you....

    Kerrmmmonnyezzbaztazzahlltekkyezzahll! ;-)

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  • 70. At 3:37pm on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #68 Al_Ford

    "I'm sure you are wise and knowledgeable."

    Al, you are funny!

    "PS. Metrical scansion is no longer taught in schools?"

    No, it's metric and phonic spelling! I rest mai kase.

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  • 71. At 4:18pm on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #66 Fit Like?

    Actually I meant to add, making a show of what Scotland could be like, with positive discussion and proposals now, highlighting the choice that I spoke of, would satisfy both points.

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  • 72. At 4:18pm on 19 Mar 2009, waitingformyman wrote:



    Think that's your petrol tank fuelled by our oil you mean.


    'til seen be dry! but we'll still hae plintee.

    (strokes his big hairy ginger beard and shows his knap darleks)

    Keep quoting trash from the times, at least I have origional thoughts.

    So you don not refer to yourself as a roman when you compare us to zealots?

    I mean, I could listen to a blue if they had some genuine reasons for trying to convince us not to want to go. But you just think we are an inferior lost people - you just love to think that don't you. God your in for a shock me lado.

    P.S MY IQ has been calculated at 149.
    Oh, and 89, also 139 and 172. I like to think its 172. :)! RAL (Yes, I, a ofishil mensa interview/test) I blew them aff coz I found them pompisss.

    I seek out people like you and test it, but not on boards like this where you can hide behind fancy words, quickly looked up in the dictionary. But in a more leyman/non snobby way over a quiet sociable pint! I usually end up winning. But that's on home turf granted. That blooming long shanks, you'll pay for his sins yet....:) only joking, I have forgiven for that and want to turn the other cheek, but some kinda basic instinct tells me to cut and run when I can.

    Yes...keep it coming, as you say, al look back later after I've finished washin ma socks, but right now that's more important.

    Can't wait to see just how virtually brave you can be! And not only trash quoted from biased sources but your genuine personal reasons why you care for us so much that it fears you so to lose us. Not only scots can be brave you know.

    Yes the battle continues, will it be goliath or david who this space. Ok. I'll let you be goliath anglophony, that's fair? Please keep your gloves on though, I don't like the sight of blood.

    Long live the empire! Oh, sorry, forgot it died a long time ago....ah..pting! Think I've just realised exactly why you want to keep ruling us so much...nah sorry its nae gan to happen.

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  • 73. At 4:39pm on 19 Mar 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #69 Anglophone

    "I will try to live up to his memory by poking sticks at silly ill-informed comments and the closet bigots who stalk these pages. "
    That's fighting talk where I come from...

    Still, so long as you're prepared, in the interests of balance and fairness to be "poking sticks at silly ill-informed comments and the closet bigots" on both sides of the argument, I guess that'll be OK.

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  • 74. At 5:01pm on 19 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #65 Fit Like?

    It's not a shortcoming that those, not interested in politics, don't read this blog. Most of those who don't read it, and probably many who do(!), would be bored by what they would see as "angels dancing on the head of pins" stuff.

    But to your substantial point.

    The voter (normally apolitical) responds at election time to mood, feel (and other vague words) rather than to specific policies. These are largely created by the media's choice of what they report. Different people respond to different issues, as you point out, but getting the balance of these right in political messages is really marketing, not politics.

    Neil_Small, AW, and I - all SNP voters, none of us members - have frequently said that the SNP need to up their game in this field.

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  • 75. At 5:34pm on 19 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #39 Neil_Small147

    "I don't want the nanny state situation in Scotland."

    I couldn't agree more. I find it interesting that both right wing and left wing governments in the UK and USA have a compulsion to control our lives - instead of us controlling theirs!

    Left wingers wish to spend our money for us (because they can do it so much better than us!), while right wingers want to control our morals and values. The last few Tory Government's PMs and Education Ministers interfered mercilessly in the fine detail of the curriculum for English schools (even Michael Forsyth didn't let that happen here).

    Certain moral issues do need to be legislated for, and these are largely kept back as reserved powers. Abortion, human fertilisation and embryology, genetics, xenotransplantation, vivisection etc are among these, but I see no reason why Westminster is going to be any less of a nanny state on these. What is required on such issues is a wide national debate to influence the scientific, legal and technical considerations of the appropriate body. I'd rather that such decisions were made on the values of our society, than these being marginalised at UK level.

    The Upper House. I've always argued that the SNP are wrong on this. I would keep the number of MSPs the same, but divide them between the Lower and Upper Houses. The Americans developed their constitutional model of the House representing the "people", and the Senate representing the states, as an outcome of Scottish Enlightenment thinking. I'd like to see an updated PR version of that.

    I think we agree on time zones being better decided at Scottish level. I note from Wikipedia that "in 2004, an interesting contribution was made by English MP Nigel Beard, who tabled a Private Member's Bill in the House of Commons proposing that England and Wales should be able to determine their own time independently of Scotland and Northern Ireland. If it had been passed into law, this bill would potentially have seen the United Kingdom with two different timezones for the first time since the abolition of Dublin Mean Time (25 minutes behind Greenwich) on August 23, 1916."

    Clearly the Indian call centres don't have a problem working to UK business hours!

    "You can bet an English Government would target "foreign" service personnel for redundancy first."

    I think you are probably right. However, they would not be "foreign" unless they applied for Scottish citizenship! Obviously, we have no idea how many "Scots" serving in the Forces, would want to take out citizenship (at least while they were employed by the British Army!). No doubt, many would, and that would be the basis of the Scottish Defence Force. Others would want to stay as UK citizens (and probably a higher % than of the population as a whole). Discrimination against UK citizens because of their place of birth would be, of course, wholly illegal.

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  • 76. At 5:34pm on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:


    I am not waitingformyman, honest!

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  • 77. At 7:00pm on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #69 Anglophone

    There'd be more scrappy debate post independence, as there's no point in squabbling between ourselves 'til we get it. But then all your perceived zealotism would vanish too. You dastardly English rulers can't win!

    But I prefer to think of you as our pet English poster ;-)

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  • 78. At 7:48pm on 19 Mar 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #74 oldnat

    "the SNP need to up their game in this field"
    On that we are agreed.

    #71 aye_write
    "making a show of what Scotland could be like, with positive discussion and proposals now, highlighting the choice that I spoke of, would satisfy both points"
    It certainly would. The key to a successful campaign is to appeal to the voter on as many levels as possible.

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  • 79. At 7:51pm on 19 Mar 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #76 aye_write

    "I am not waitingformyman, honest!""
    Since you aren't waiting for him, I take it he's already home then? Either that or you've gone off without him... :-)

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  • 80. At 8:21pm on 19 Mar 2009, northhighlander wrote:


    Re abortion fertilisation,etc, why do you think Scotland wants or needs any different legislation from the rest of the UK?

    Where is the public desire for anything different?

    During the recent embryology bill where is any evidence that Scottish opinion was "marginalised"?

    Re the upper house I would agree that the SNP draft constitution is weak in this area. An upper house that is independant is a feature of any good democracy.

    Re the list of powers transferred back to Scotland: These will all require Scottish civil servants to administer and oversee. Given many of these activities are carried out in England on our behalf we will need our own. Then these civil servants will require layers of management. This will be less efficient than the status quo for sure. Like all other government reorganisations it will cost more.

    What about organisations like the BBC and the Royal Mail? How do we protect Scottish interests or do we just develop our own again?

    Rail Infrastructure planning. When the UK gets round to building High Speed Rail Links and England decides it need go no further than Leeds or Newcastle do we pay for building the line in England to connect Scotland? Or just not bother?

    Surely even the most ardent Nationalist will see some form of UK wide institutions will be required?

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  • 81. At 10:34pm on 19 Mar 2009, Morris_Norris wrote:

    #73 Fit Like?

    Expecting the Anglo-frown to poke sticks at himself is going a bit far, I feel.

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  • 82. At 10:52pm on 19 Mar 2009, Lily_Hammer wrote:

    #77 aye_write

    Give your pet a biscuit. He's chewing the carpet and making an exhibition of himself.

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  • 83. At 11:32pm on 19 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #79 Fit Like?

    No, I was! He wasn't home.

    Oh, and as for anyone else I was waiting for, I'm not now. I decided if I don't ask, then I can't be the unpopular kid that no one wants to play with ;-)

    On the subject of the things you mentioned, have you seen our new site?

    google 'quirkynats' (my link gets modded).

    There are some interesting discussions on Scotland's future beginning on there, and other stuff.


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  • 84. At 00:09am on 20 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #80 northhighlander

    "Re abortion fertilisation,etc, why do you think Scotland wants or needs any different legislation from the rest of the UK?"

    You are strangely ill-informed on this. The Abortion Act does not apply to Northern Ireland. Are you arguing that a policy determined in the other parts of the UK should be forced upon them? (Personally, I think they are wrong - but I have an aversion to imposing my own moral values on other communities.) Ask your fellow supporters what their views are, the next time you go to a Rangers game.

    "During the recent embryology bill where is any evidence that Scottish opinion was "marginalised"?"

    Oh, you are into semantics tonight. I didn't say that it had been, just that I wouldn't want it to be in this or similar issues.

    On the basis of your stance, why limit different attitudes to these difficult issues to a position within one political construct - the UK (or parts of it) - why not have a consensus view on xenotransplantation (OK, I don't know what it really means either!) in the EU, or EFTA, or the EEA, or the UN?

    It would be useful if you could suggest why the UK is somehow the "best" political unit for deciding these difficult issues (oh, and I'd remind you that even the UK doesn't think it's the best unit for abortion law).

    Civil Service. I'm surprised to see you arguing for an expansion of that group! Of course some will be required, but we are already paying for "our" share of the UK civil servants in the MoD etc. Whatever makes you think that the Scottish Civil Service (and its management layers) dealing with Defence would be larger than what we are already paying for the UK "Ministry of Aggression"? Any evidence?

    BBC - if you are happy with London-centric (or even Glasgow-centric) services then I'm sorry for you. Media has moved on from the Reith concept of monopolistic broadcasting in the 20s. In reality any SBC would do what every other small nation's broadcasting service does - provide an essential News and Public Service medium which is essentially focussed on national/regional issues while buying in programmes from the big providers. Have you seen how many of BBC programmes are bought in from independent producers?

    Post Office - Do you really want postal services in Caithness to be determined by a Government which is reliant on the needs of SE England? Yes, it will cost us more to provide the rural services that Scotland needs, but remember we are already paying most of these costs.

    Rail Infrastructure - And Roads! Do you realise that the A74/M6 link in England was partially funded by Scotland, even within the UK? Indeed, arguments over funding bedevilled this link while Transport remained a UK function - even when the (then) Scottish Office offered to provide most of the cost?

    Common projects between neighbouring countries are normal on mainland Europe and in the island of Ireland. You are making mountains of molehills.

    Yes, I'm an "ardent" Nationalist, but whatever leads you to imagine that I'm against "UK institutions" (though I'd prefer the term "agencies"). Such procedures are absolutely normal between countries with adjacent physical borders. Again, ask your NI mates about the cross border arrangements between Eire and Northern Ireland.

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  • 85. At 01:18am on 20 Mar 2009, U13879755 wrote:

    Goodwin should be made to choose between goodies and goolies


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  • 86. At 01:27am on 20 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #82 Lily_Hammer

    Laugh! I can't, the damn thing won't come to heel! I'm clearly not the Barbara Woodhouse of this blog ;-)

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  • 87. At 01:39am on 20 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #82 Lily_Hammer
    He's maybe just wanting you to rub his
    tummy ;-)

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  • 88. At 1:01pm on 20 Mar 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #83 aye_write

    Had a quick look the other night but my son was hogging the PC and by the time I'd managed to wrest if from his usurping hands and send him to his bed, and listen to his reading homework, the moment of political zeal had passed for the evening. :-)

    Can't access it from my work PC (I'm actually surprised I can access this site) so will take a proper look over the weekend.

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  • 89. At 2:05pm on 20 Mar 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    RE 76 aye-write

    No, for sure your not me, your a bit more passive resistant than I could ever be and I am the first to confess it. It dindn't really work for ghandi - not really? But I respect your angle of debate most definately, coz you play them at their own game, so far as I can see and you do a pretty damn good job of it. But I won't play that game, coz the time for titing and tating is over for me. Its a game that could go on for ever.

    But if I have completely missed your angle then why would you proclaim that your not me? Please respect the way I play the game.

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  • 90. At 2:35pm on 20 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    72 Waitingformyman

    I'm not sure that taking the mensa test until you get a good score is quite the idea;-)

    I did one once that was circulated by e-mail at work...I came out at 170 on the 98th percentile, but I know enough to think that the test was daft and proves nothing. I've always found people who either apply for or advertise their Mensa membership to be in the grip of a peculiar personality disorder and, I agree, desperately pompous.

    If you want to get a more accurate assessment I suggest Raven's Progressive Matrices. These are entirely visual and cancel out any potential advantages derived by maths aptitude, education, speaking English as a first language or, in your case, being unable to spell;-)

    I'd be delighted to have a debate with you on Scottish independence (secession)...test away with your Big Brain, but so far you seem a bit exercised about Edward Longshanks and I have this nagging worry that a face to face debate with you in the pub would involve a lot of spittle and looking at you from about three inches away!

    You're right, I do tend to mostly favour The Times...that snarling organ of class betrayal etc etc (because I find the Tory, the Guardian...too smug and the Independent...too rentacontroversy). Funnily enough, todays edition carries a piece by Gabby Logan in the run-up to the Calcutta Cup. The line is that the Scots hate the ifs or buts...but the hate is not reciprocated. Nothing is worse than unrequited hate and that the English should try to make the Scots feel better by hating them back again, just a little bit.

    I read your post and thought..."yep...she's got it right". Your highly intelligent piece is shot through with all the ways in which I'm supposed to despise you, hold you in contempt, desire to dominate you in every way. The trouble is, and I suspect this is what's putting your blood-pressure off the scale, is nothing could be further from the truth. Maddening isn't it?

    Beautiful day here. I'm knocking off to plant up my herb garden.

    Long may yer lum reek!

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  • 91. At 3:14pm on 20 Mar 2009, U13879755 wrote:

    Problems with the BBC's Maidenhead?


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  • 92. At 3:15pm on 20 Mar 2009, timepassescarmichael wrote:

    60, Al_Ford,

    Ah, now that sounds like a plan.

    I wonder, though, are Labour working on the basic premise that 'if you can't convince them, confuse them' ... I wonder.

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  • 93. At 5:10pm on 20 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #89 waitingformyman

    Thank you for your compliments.

    Re my comment, I'm sorry, It's a bit of a story, and I apologise, as I'm in no mood to tell it. No offence intended.

    As for playing anyone at their own game, I wasn't. I have no "powers" here but clearly you, Fit Like?, and others do. So I might do a brig....

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  • 94. At 5:27pm on 20 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #88 Fit Like?

    It's perhaps not your work. It was down for a while today.

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  • 95. At 7:09pm on 20 Mar 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "anyone else out there think that the continuing debate over Goodwin's pension is being used to deflect attention from the inutility of our wider efforts to counter recession?"

    Absolutely not. The reality is that "wider efforts to counter recession" are being used as a tactic to try to deflect attention away from the obscene greed, incompetence and immoraility of bankers like Sir Fred.

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  • 96. At 8:33pm on 20 Mar 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Brian, it is exactly as Vince the Cable said on Question Time this week- he asked the same question of is the Shred discussion being used as a scape goat. But he provided an accurate picture for us:

    one the one hand we have the "global economic recession" and the other the "evil bankers" (see Sir Fred)... but quess who is missing there- GORDON BROWN. The man guilty of perpetuating the disasterous new-rightist economic approach of Thatchers time.

    So Brian, yes- it is being used as a "smoke and mirrors" method to avoid- or at least reduce government responsibility.

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  • 97. At 8:38pm on 20 Mar 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    I cannot follow the logic of most Tory positions.
    They oppose the phasing-out of prescription charges on the grounds that those who can afford to pay should do so.

    This is stupid.
    It is those who can afford to pay who will already be paying - by providing the tax revenues that pays for the prescriptions for those who can't.
    I am not a Tory nor a vaguely rich person but if I was and I was paying my taxes to provide all sort of social benefits to the population I really wouldn't see why I should then pay again.
    I would certainly expect to have full benefit of services my tax is paying for.
    All benefits should be universal benefits. They are much cheaper to administer if they are and a sensible progressive taxation system takes care of the paying for them.
    Child benefit is a perfect example of this. Everybody gets it and it is included in totals of income for PAYE purposes so it comes back from the very rich in a totally painless way.

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  • 98. At 9:33pm on 20 Mar 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    97. At 8:38pm on 20 Mar 2009, sneckedagain

    "cannot follow the logic of most Tory positions. "

    I think you mean the logic of new rightist (thatcherite) tory policy possitions ;)

    I for one find their logic unintellegable too- but then I've been reading into super-Mac and the traditions of One Nationism.

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  • 99. At 02:21am on 22 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #91 Ed the chameleon

    You'll have disappointed the Brig as being out of your allotted Uncle Tom character if your email response was anything but: It wisnae me.

    If you're quoting Douglas Adams, mostly harmless might have been appropriate!

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 100. At 10:21am on 22 Mar 2009, waitingformyman wrote:


    Ooooh aye, ma bleed's jist bylin!

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  • 101. At 2:56pm on 22 Mar 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    re 84

    You very carefully avoid my point on Abortion. I don't see any evidence that the people of Scotland want a different law to that in force in England. There are many other issues where the population of the UK agree. Northern Ireland is a different proposition and one requires unique solution.

    Re your point on the EU etc, it is your kind not mine that wishes to replace the UK with domination from Frankfurt and Paris. Indeed it seems to be the mainstay of the Nationalist agenda.

    Also your reference to my attendance at rangers games can't say that any of those type of issues are ever raised, perhaps everyone is just happy with the status quo?

    Re the costs of Independance. Whenever this is raised nationalists respond in the same predicatble way. THis is a real issue, independance is going to cost serious amounts of money. The SNP argue for centralising local government admin services to increase efficiency and lower cost.

    But at a national level that argument is rubbished. I find that a little contradictory, to say the least.

    I know many in the nationalist camp find the BBC news reporting questionable, fair enough maybe it is. However it is recognised across the world for the quality of much if its output, the website we are on is held as being one of the best, I suppose we just thow it away? Buy more american TV shows?

    The communication revolution is already dumbing down TV output, without the BBC it would be worse.

    A postal service for the SE of England? A postal service for Edinburgh and Glasgow? Caithnes will feature low in both discussions.

    The SNP have shown what life in an independnat Scotland would be like, the Highlands will suffer worse than most. The new formula for health spending does not recognise rurality, the allocations on road funding don't either. None of the SNP list of new schools is built in the Highlands

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  • 102. At 6:31pm on 22 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #101 northhighlander

    Maybe you need independence for the highlands.......

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  • 103. At 7:05pm on 22 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #101 northhighlander

    Why all the banging on about new schools?

    I went to a school with buildings way over 100 years old. The only new bits were the science labs and a gym hall and yet I managed University entrance from there.

    It's the quality of the teaching that matters, first, last and always.

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  • 104. At 00:15am on 23 Mar 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #84 oldnat

    There is no point in answering any of northhighlander's posts. They are usually a collection of unsupported assertions insisting (straight out of the Labour cliche collection) that the SNP government is cutting funding for all sort of services when no such thing is happening and which he can provide no evidence for when asked to do so.
    In northhighlander's world everything has fallen down only in the comparitively few months that the SNP has been in power.

    What I notice is that the economic crisis is providing a benefit to Labour in strange way. It is obscuring the painful ineffectivenes of Iain Grey. They said Henry McLeish was no Donald Dewar and now thye are syingthat Iain Grey is no Wendy Alexander

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  • 105. At 3:05pm on 23 Mar 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 103

    To a certain extent you are right. However there comes a point when the quality of the environment does affect the results. It affects the recruitment of staff and the attitude and discipline in the school.

    So when your kids are taught by a series of probationary or short term contract teachers it does affect chances. Anyway it is about a fair deal. Investment should be spread around fairly within Scotland.

    Re 104

    Take a look at the posts I have made. Where the SNP are doing a good Job I am happy to recognise it.

    I am no Labour apologist, of course I can see that the last LIBLAB pact did nothing to help the situation at all. However the SNP are in government and they are the only ones that can do anything now, but have chosen not to.

    I work full time, I am not spending time looking at Google and finding sites that disagree with sites others have found. You can all do that for yourselves.

    I try to be objective, unlike many on these posts. Click on your own name and look at your posts. How objective are you in your own thinking?

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  • 106. At 6:37pm on 23 Mar 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Just in passing, can anyone think of any building being built now, which might be reasonably expected to be standing in good working order in a hundred years?


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  • 107. At 11:07pm on 23 Mar 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #106. Hesiodos

    "Not a lot" Paul Daniels

    Modern thinking is throw it away and buy a new (inferior) one. pass on!

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  • 108. At 01:32am on 24 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:


    Because I find I am feeling kind...

    Re fiscal autonomy:

    For a window on the story of should Scotland have fiscal Jim and Margaret Cuthbert (former Chief Statistician at the Scottish Office, and economist).

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    The UK Government has been consistent in its position that it should retain a substantial measure of fiscal autonomy for the UK in the European context, and regards this as being of paramount importance in steering and managing the economy.

    Contrast the UK government's position as regards Europe with the stance it has taken on taxation within the UK.

    Here, its policy is very much that of the level playing field. Central government determines what the taxes are, and has taken the position that the major taxes should apply uniformly throughout the UK.

    Is this position consistent with the aspirations of the different countries and regions within the UK to increase their competitiveness, and share, on some reasonably equal basis, in the growth of the economy as a whole? We argue that it is not, and look in some detail at Scotland’s economic performance to explain why not.

    We...argue that there is an underlying mechanism explaining a large part of this under-performance, and that this relates to the way the UK monetary union has operated.

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  • 109. At 01:33am on 24 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    re my #108

    Oops, wrong thread. Time for bed!

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