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Frustrating smears

Brian Taylor | 14:45 UK time, Tuesday, 14 April 2009

And so the UK Cabinet is coming to Glasgow this week. Stand by for a barrage of e-mails and blogs.

Apparently, the controversy over Damian McBride's thwarted smear campaign is causing a "huge amount of frustration" in Downing Street. I bet.

In fact, I can just hear G. Brown mouthing: "This leaves me hugely frustrated." Or words to that effect.

The peripatetic Cabinet was designed to display the Brown effect reaching those parts of the UK that others couldn't reach.

It was designed to show a ministerial team in touch with opinion and concerns outwith London.

In particular, it was designed to offer reassurance that Team Brown is getting on top of the economic crisis.

Instead, the run-up to the Glasgow gathering has been dominated by a squalid little tale of subterranean malevolence and incompetence.

"Frustration" doesn't quite get there, does it?

PS: The last time the British Cabinet met in Scotland was in 1921 when Lloyd George broke off his Highland holiday and summoned his team to Inverness - including Winston Churchill, then MP for Dundee - to discuss an emergency which had arisen with regard to Ireland.

One year later, in 1922, Lloyd George lost his Premiership. And Churchill lost his seat.


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  • 1. At 2:58pm on 14 Apr 2009, handclapping wrote:


    Far more worrying was Murphy's response to Wee Eck's suggestion of a joint session to thrash out the best economic response to the downturn in Scotland, viz we have excellent communications!

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  • 2. At 3:22pm on 14 Apr 2009, dubbieside wrote:


    There are a couple of points about this "public meeting"

    Where is it being held? How does anyone without a Labour party membership get to be among the 300 audience?

    If it is meant to be, as you say,

    The peripatetic Cabinet was designed to display the Brown effect reaching those parts of the UK that others couldn't reach.

    It was designed to show a ministerial team in touch with opinion and concerns outwith London.

    it is quite clear that it has failed already.

    This is just another Labour Party political stunt, with an audience filled with Labour placemen and women.

    Brown will get asked such hard questions as, why are you a financial genius, and why are we so lucky to have you as PM?

    The BBC and all the tame "journalists" will report it was a great political event and all Browns loyal subjects in North Britain love him so much.

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  • 3. At 3:23pm on 14 Apr 2009, caltonite wrote:

    This week's visit to Glasgow is a very tired gesture by a very tired government. The e-mail fiasco had all the hallmarks of a government which has run out of steam and ideas. Heseltine's words this morning about Brown's ability to lock stable doors long after the horses have bolted rings very true. Brown was in charge at the Treasury and let the banks get into the state that has now left the country in one heck of a mess. Now he's supposed to be clamping down on smear politics, after his closest aide de campe was rumbled. The old Glasgow cry of "It wisnae me, honest"! will no longer stand the test of scrutiny in Brown's case. He is a busted flush and should resign.

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  • 4. At 3:47pm on 14 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    Another consequence of the seminal 1921 UK cabinet meeting in Scotland, which, for some reason, has been omitted from BT's account, was, of course, the founding of the Irish Free State. Is the present UK government likely to be aware of this?

    Answers on a post card, please, to Brian Taylor, c/o the anglo-saxophone.

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  • 5. At 3:52pm on 14 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Surprised that more has not been made out of the refusal of Broon and his "Cabinet" to meet with their Scottish Government counterparts (they are on their patch after all), even just two hours or so at the end of the "normal" Cabinet proceedings would have done the job.

    #1, absolutely Jim Murphy screaming abuse at people (be they elected officials or foreign countries) is hardly "communication". Then again, for Labour "communication" = propaganda, as can be seen by the MPs "communication" allowance on expenses.

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  • 6. At 3:56pm on 14 Apr 2009, minuend wrote:

    Gordon Brown's response to McBride's smear campaign from No.10, "a big boy did it and ran away" is not convincing.

    Messers McBride, Watson and Draper were acting under Brown's orders. This is the way that Brown works, he has previous you know, by getting his paid henchmen to do his dirty work.

    I'm sure that Glasgow will be a real hoot for Brown and Co, as everything Brown touches turns to dust these days.

    Not even Glasgow is a safe hiding place for Brown and Labour.

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  • 7. At 4:05pm on 14 Apr 2009, HudmaToungue wrote:


    It would not matter what part of the UK this Government came to! They would get the same response - Call a general election and let the people have their say

    It a tired, sad looking government, that is doing exactly as the Tories did following their 18 years of being in power

    1997 was suppose to bring a new beginning, but like ALL politicians - they failed to deliver

    Good luck to Brown & Co in Glasgow, its probably the last place in the UK that can definately say with some conviction that the Blind will be leading the Blind!

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  • 8. At 4:48pm on 14 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Why would people think anymore of this government in Scotland just because they paid us a cabinet visit? How thick do they take the ordinary voter for?

    Besides the socialist republic of Glasgovski is hardly a challenging anti-labour atmosphere.

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  • 9. At 4:50pm on 14 Apr 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:


    The only frustration for GB and co is that they got caught, on this occassion.

    How many more incidents have gone undetected.

    Labour spin was always in question though, wasn't it.

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  • 10. At 4:50pm on 14 Apr 2009, Wyrdtimes wrote:

    I wonder if Mr Brown will be mentioning his compulsory voluntary work scheme while he is in his homeland.

    Oh! I remember - Education is a devolved matter (rightly so) and it won't apply to Mr Brown's constituents or anyone else in Scotland just the English.

    Strange how he didn't mention that when he was announcing this "British" initiative.

    How odd that the BBC failed to mention it too eh?

    Do us all a favour Brian - ask Mr Brown why he never mentions "England" when he is announcing schemes that only apply to that territory.

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  • 11. At 5:14pm on 14 Apr 2009, irnbru_addict wrote:

    Just listening to Frank Field MP on Radio 4. He's virtually laying the blame for the e-mail scandal at Gordon Browns door. Talks of Browns "dark side".

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  • 12. At 5:25pm on 14 Apr 2009, newsjock wrote:

    Welcome back, Brian. You're long overdue !

    When you are off on hols you really have to think of all your Bletherjunkies, who need a minimum of one or two shots of blether a week to keep them sane.

    Perhaps in future you could write one or two of your timeless blogs, which one of your erudite colleagues could post for you at pre-ordained times.

    This is MUCH more important than the Broon Gang's road show, which is just costly window-dressing.

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  • 13. At 5:58pm on 14 Apr 2009, Richard wrote:

    deanthetory said

    "Besides the socialist republic of Glasgovski is hardly a challenging anti-labour atmosphere."

    This is the Galsgow that returned an SNP MP at the recent by-election?

    Nonetheless, it is hard to see how this jaunt is going to help "Duff Gordon" throw off the stench of terminal decay that surrounds his government. Perhaps he'll use the visit to announce his resignation?

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  • 14. At 5:59pm on 14 Apr 2009, MrsTrellisNorthWales wrote:

    To quote from Frank Field's blog today:

    "Week after week MPs have been turning up but with almost no serious work to do. There is the odd bill to be sure. But there is no legislative programme to speak of. Even the debates that are put on to fill in time are ones that deny MPs a vote. The whole exercise is vacuous.

    Labour MPs are left staring into the abyss..."

    So much for Brown's trip to Glasgow for the Cabinet. Isn't this really party political election campaigning paid for by the taxpayer?

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  • 15. At 6:05pm on 14 Apr 2009, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    #5 King Alex is a dab hand at shouting at people too. I suppose you don't mind that tho, seeing as it's him?

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  • 16. At 6:26pm on 14 Apr 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    Gordon Brown regrets Damian McBride got caught this time - sums Labour up.

    There is obviously no low to how low Labour will stoop.

    It almost gives me a sense of righteousness knowing that I will never again vote for a shower of rogues.

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  • 17. At 6:38pm on 14 Apr 2009, rossmcl177 wrote:

    Brian, There's a question nobody has asked the Labour leadership this week: if you get a chance to quiz Mr Brown about this, ask him: "will Damian McBride ever work for the Labour party again?" Because thats the thing with these 'resignations' - the offenders disappear for a few weeks or months and then miraculously reappear with a different job title but doing the same job! So thats the question to ask if you want to know if Brown has really disowned him. I suspect the answer will be less than a straightforward 'No' (which is what it should be).

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  • 18. At 6:52pm on 14 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #15, hardly on the same scale as condemning European neighbours/friends&allies as insolvent, while his boss leads us all down the tubes to Britain's second attempt at a Great Depression.

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  • 19. At 6:53pm on 14 Apr 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    Let's have Brown on the Jeremy Kyle morning show , on the lie detecter. It would probably blow the fuses. Brown has reduced the Prime Minister's office to the same level as the participants on the aforementioned show. " It's frustrating " he can't get on with "saving the world " because of it. I bet it's even more frustrating that he got caught. As for the cabinet meeting in Scotland, is this to show that we're part of the UK or is it to make us feel better about paying through the nose to fund the London olympics with North sea oil ?

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  • 20. At 7:19pm on 14 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    13. obviousalias

    How much do you want to bet that labour will recpature the seat at the G.E.? Its a protest vote, and SNP support has fallen from the formarly heafty highs of 34% in westminster opinion polls to (according to YouGov on Polling Report website) 27% since January.

    Id say the SNP arent as popular as was the case during the by-election and labour support is tough and generally unwavering in the Glasgovski republic of labourite socialism.

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  • 21. At 7:23pm on 14 Apr 2009, inmykip wrote:

    I wonder what is stopping Gordon Brown from apologising for the actions and behaviour of one of his (albeit now an ex) employee? As head of the Labour party he should immediately make a public apology for his minions behaviour, he should not seek to distance himself by saying he had nothing to do with it, the buck stops with Brown in this case and if he has any common decency he'll make the apology.

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  • 22. At 7:51pm on 14 Apr 2009, MartinOfBothwell wrote:

    Most hated Government ever?
    Most hated Party ever?
    Most hated PM ever?

    I remember dancing in celebration when New Labour won in 97. More fool I. I abandoned Labour for good in 2003 and have voted SNP ever since.

    I just don't understand how ANY decent human being can continue to support this utterly criminal and immoral party. How do they justify it to themselves? Can anyone explain this? What's in it for ordinary people?

    At the next election I'll be dancing again, but it'll be on the grave of New Labour. How I yearn for the moment.

    Here's hoping for more than a few "Portillo" moments. Watching them fall, one by one will be delicious.

    Gordon Brown, Jacqui Smith, Harriet Harman and Jim Murphy for starters please.

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  • 23. At 7:56pm on 14 Apr 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    I noticed that Brown when referring to things like the nasty plan to cast aspersions on Mrs Osbourne's mental state and Nadine Dorrier's fidelity that he chose to refer to them as "unsubstantiated allegations" rather than what they were, smears.

    Unbelievably in the midst the mire he was STILL spinning. How very Gordon.

    I barely sighed when the story broke and BBC Radio Scotland opened the cupboard marked tame pundits and pulled out former labour spin doctor Lorraine Davidson to say the equivalent of " move along, nothing to see here, Gordon is safe."

    Thank heavens for the English News, their cupboard must be considerably larger as it contains a whole variety of pundits and some of them aren't even on message.

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  • 24. At 8:29pm on 14 Apr 2009, Independista wrote:

    The real surprise to me is that there IS surprise. Both Labour and Tories have been at it OFFICIALLY for years, as I point out in my blog Labour and Tory governments colluded for years, to smear and discredit the SNP. The excellent BBC Alba documentary Diomhair shown earlier this year did not elicit a single comment from our Scottish media.
    Says it all does'nt it?

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  • 25. At 8:31pm on 14 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    There are political leaders who lay out the broad strategy, concentrate on that and leave the implementation to their colleagues and employees.

    There are others, who are obsessed with the detail and want to micro-manage everything.

    From all accounts, Brown is one of the latter.

    It would be reasonable to assume that the first type of leader could have an employee who was "out of control" and doing stupid embarrassing things which the leader knew nothing of.

    It would be incomprehensible for any micro-managing leader not to have approved the detailed strategy of everyone working within his own office.

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  • 26. At 8:38pm on 14 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Had to break my self imposed exile when I saw the following headline on the main BBC Scotland website.

    SNP ad 'cost more than Slumdog'

    I have complained to the BBC for the wording of this headline, here is my complaint:

    This complaint is regarding the headline used on a BBC web article based around a Labour criticisms of an advert that promotes the 2009 Homecoming celebrations.

    The url of the web page is:

    The headline reads:
    SNP ad 'cost more than Slumdog'

    The advert is NOT an SNP advert, it is an advert for 'The Homecoming' - no more no less.

    The advert did NOT cost more than the movie Slumdog Millionaire, the quotation marks are no excuse for using FALSE Labour claims in the headline.

    If we should see adverts for the London Olympics are we to see headlines from the BBC stating that they are 'Labour ads'?

    Partisan reporting of this nature from the BBC breaks the charter they are supposed to adhere to.

    As a licence payer I demand that this headline be amended or an apology issued.

    The BBC complaints site can be found here

    I'd like to take this opportunity to ask anyone who is fed up with this kind of media propaganda to visit the quirkynats website wher they will find that they may be able to help in redressing the balance.

    Two further points regarding Brian's latest offering, which unsurprisingly seeks to play down the significance of 'smeargate':

    Does Brian know where Brown and his cabinet will be meeting in Glasgow? I am led to believe that 300 members of the public can attend but as yet the location appears to be secret.

    Small point, but on this evenings BBC Radio Scotland news (16:20 ish) the political correspondent described Damian McBride as Scottish and a Celtic supporter - what relevance did either have on the subject of lies and smearing?

    I'll check this message later in case it's moderated and I have to re-send it in smaller chunks.

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  • 27. At 8:39pm on 14 Apr 2009, Tom wrote:



    "How much do you want to bet that labour will recpature the seat at the G.E.? Its a protest vote, and SNP support has fallen from the formarly heafty highs of 34% in westminster opinion polls to (according to YouGov on Polling Report website) 27% since January.

    Id say the SNP arent as popular as was the case during the by-election and labour support is tough and generally unwavering in the Glasgovski republic of labourite socialism."

    In all fairness it would be highly foolish to make such predictions. Glasgow, and much of the East are dominated by Labour. If the SNP do choose to defend Glasgow East, then it would be a difficult battle.

    It is, however, not impossible. Although much individuals will allow their opinions over parties to be formed by the party leaders and the national policies which the party promotes, we do forget that locals will re-elect popular MP's who have shown dedication.

    If the current SNP MP shows themselves as a champion to the locals, then we will see a return by Wee John.

    But it does work both ways. Despite Labour being unpopular and in the bananas with much of their policies, do expect to see much of their MP's return at the next election.

    The SNP also could never form a UK-Government (unless invited by a larger group), if the Conservatives promised close co-operation with the Scottish National Party, then perhaps the Scottish National Party will be able to attract all those who do not wish to support Labour, or support them by default out of fear of another Tory Government?

    It will be an interesting election, but also, were the Conservatives as confident of holding Scotland as they once did?

    If Labour were to retake Glasgow East, it is important they manage to win back more, or the same numbers of votes as the past elections. If the SNP do continue to make gains then perhaps in 50-odd years we will witness the SNP holding an iron grip over Scotland?

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  • 28. At 8:45pm on 14 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Watson Calls in Carter Ruck 2 down just 2 to go before the bunker is clear and we can look forward to a GE.

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  • 29. At 8:54pm on 14 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    My previous comment was rather lengthy, so I'll re-post a section of it.

    I'd like to take this opportunity to ask anyone who is fed up with Scottish media propaganda to visit the quirkynats website where they will find that they may be able to help in redressing the balance.

    Just go to the 'General Discussions' - 'Getting our message across' area and read the comments.

    We have very capable people offering to contribute, everyone can play a part no matter how small.

    I don't want to add a link in case it is moderated, just google 'quirkynats' and you'll find the site.

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  • 30. At 9:00pm on 14 Apr 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    Jim Murphy speaks in half truths and double dutch.

    His role - as secretary of state for scotland is to do what exactly? Further the interests of Scotland, right?


    Further the interests of Scotland within the european framework?


    Further the interests of Scotlland within the framewor of the UK? ... Possibly... but


    To Further the interests of the Labour Party in Scotland?


    If the secretary of state for scotland actually cared about scotland, looking for alternatives to the council tax, energy security, rural development, education, law and judicial review would all come under his remit. It doesn't - he isn't interested. He is there as a loyal attack dog of Brown's - to show face for westminster and decry Holyrood ideas with

    "ye cannae dee that!"

    Tell me, did anyone know who the secretary of state for Scotland was during the Lib/Lab coalition years? ....?

    I don't - I assumed it had been scrapped. the last S of S for Scotland I remember was a TORY one - and that was Ian Lang.

    The post is irrelevant and is only there to stir the NATS up and pontificate on Westministers authority. A waste of money and essentally it undermines the democratic legitimacy of Holyrood.

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  • 31. At 9:01pm on 14 Apr 2009, irnbru_addict wrote:

    #17 rossmcl177

    Part of the whole point of this is that McBride didn't work for the Labour Party. He was a civil servant, paid for by us. I have no doubt that the Labour Party will look after him - union job or a voluntary organisation.
    Just remember how Donald Dewars spin doctor, John Rafferty got set up with a nice wee earner after he was forced to resign for lying to the press.

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  • 32. At 9:06pm on 14 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #20 deanthetory
    "How much do you want to bet that labour will recpature the seat at the G.E.?"

    I wouldn't write Mason off too quickly, Dean, if I were you.

    You never know, but having a constituency MP who actually works for the locals might just appeal to them. It has happened before.

    More importantly, the mid-March YouGov poll was at the peak of Brown's bubble after his speech to Congress and just before the solid waste products collided with the air movement device over the failed gilts auction, more expense scandals and the G20 damp squib. Even then, I'm not convinced that YouGov's Scottish weightings are realistic.

    It's now less than two months before we'll have the European Parliament results, which will give us some real national results on which to chew.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 33. At 9:24pm on 14 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    #26 greenockboy

    My contribution to our impartial Beeb -

    "Your story on the Scottish Homecoming
    carries the headline "SNP ad" Do you intend to be consistent, and label every output from the UK as "Labour"? Are we to have the "Labour Olympics" or "Labour Health Education ads"? If not, then why are you simply peddling a Labour Party line for output from the Scottish Government.

    I don't suggest that you are institutionally pro-Labour. I do suggest that you are institutionally pro- UK Government."

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  • 34. At 9:27pm on 14 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    #32 Brownedov

    I have to take issue with you -

    "having a constituency MP who actually works for the locals might just appeal to them. It has happened before."

    No, that hasn't happened before for Glasgow East voters - unless you go well back in the 20th century ;-)

    (I know that wasn't what you meant).

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  • 35. At 9:40pm on 14 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #26 greenockboy
    and another

    As an inhabitant of these Isles I and many others are sick and tired of the way the BBC shows its blatant bias continually attacking the SNP by publishing Labour spin.

    This advert is an advert for the Homecoming 2009 and not a party political post. If an online apology is not published then this matter will have to be taken further up the chain as we licence payers are not all in the pockets of Nulabour.

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  • 36. At 9:42pm on 14 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    re #14

    Labour MPs Frank Field, and Parmjit Dhanda are devastating on the moral vacuum that is Brown's Government.

    Interesting that Labour MPs are far more condemnatory of their own party than Brian and other Beeb journalists.

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  • 37. At 9:46pm on 14 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #34 oldnat
    "No, that hasn't happened before for Glasgow East voters"

    A fair cop, Dr Board. I'll put on the hat with the big D on it and sit quietly at the back of the class a while.

    As you surmised, I meant to write: .... having a constituency MP who actually works for the locals might just appeal to them. It has happened before, elsewhere.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 38. At 9:50pm on 14 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    As always Craig Murray has an apt comparison with Brown's denial of any knowledge.

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  • 39. At 10:03pm on 14 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    If you didn't see Ian McWhirter's rather journalist biased article against the blogosphere, you can link to it via J. Arthur MacNumpty's blog, and the attacks on McWhirter's article

    No doubt most of us here will continue to follow Brian's blog (at least he writes extremely well), but there has to be a serious question over the value of the output of any traditional journalist - moderated as they are by editorial policy.

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  • 40. At 10:03pm on 14 Apr 2009, dubbieside wrote:


    The BBC have printed the Labour propaganda just as it was sent to them, no need to edit, no need to check your facts, no need to ensure the headline is accurate.

    Why do we have to pay Browns TV tax for this state run propaganda machine?

    I have no doubt Pravda West (Herald and Pravda East (Hootsmon) will faithfully reproduce their copy of the Labour press release just as it is sent to them.

    Just when you think Labour cannot get anymore desperate, ad costs more than Slumdog! you could not make it up.

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  • 41. At 10:13pm on 14 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    #37 Brownedov

    I've had pupils like you before, who promised to keep quiet but ........


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  • 42. At 10:35pm on 14 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    The Brown cabal motto: smears, not ideas

    "Red-on-red action,” muttered a third. “These e-mails are the minutest tip of the iceberg. For years and years and years it has not been the Labour Party’s political enemies who have been on the receiving end, it’s been people in the Labour Party."

    Says it all "dicktatorship".

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  • 43. At 10:55pm on 14 Apr 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    The ads cost about the same as Eric Joyce MP's expenses over this Parliament.
    We can all play silly games.
    Lets have some other comparisons, folks

    How pathetic can Labour get? Not a hint of a policy or a sensible comment about anything since they got turfed out.

    I am deeply concerned that the BBC seems to think this pap is worthy of headlining their news output. It's top item on Ceefax Scotland and no doubt will be on the late night BBC news.

    We now see the real Gordon Brown exposed. "Values" my ar*e. "Moral compass" my a*se. We know of these supposed attributes not because of any evidence of them but only because we are constantly told about them. All of GB's political career has been marked by totally unscrupulous, self-seeking and self-serving
    behaviour masked by carefully chosen soundbites. He has viciously destroyed all who have stood in his way, plotted continuously against his own leader and his team and he is now stone dead. Labour are losing the next election by a growing margin and there is no way back.
    This has given the multitude of sworn enemies he has in the Labour party the green light to destroy him and they are doing so with a gleeful enthusiasm. The Tories may be happy with Brown's current troubles. Not half as happy as huge sections of the Labour party tonight however.
    Things can only get better!

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  • 44. At 11:34pm on 14 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    #43 sneckedagain

    At the next GE for the UK, how many canvassers/leafletters will Labour be able to mobilise?

    More importantly, since NuLab abandoned the Labour Party membership in order to raise their propaganda money from the rich, how much cash will they have for 2010?

    Is a political party like a normal business - you have to cease trading if you are insolvent?

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  • 45. At 11:56pm on 14 Apr 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    #43 Sneckedagain

    What about Labour's cost of the war in Iraq?

    What about Labour's cost of the war in Afghanistan

    What about Labour's cost for Trident

    What about Labour's cost for PFI.

    What about Labour's Damian 'attack dog' McBrides salary for the past 10 years.

    What about Labour's expense claims, second homes etc.

    What about Labour's salary as Scottish Sec for Jim 'attack dog' Murphy.

    We really don't need to take any lessons from Labour on costs.


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  • 46. At 11:57pm on 14 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Smears have been going on since politics was invented.

    However, to use someone who appeared to be paid out of the public purse to create them is inexcuseable.

    Slightly off-topic. I met up with a friend of mine for the first time in years. She lives with her husband and kids in Canada.

    A strong patriot, I asked her what she though of the Homecoming.

    The response was "the what?"

    So, we have an ex-pat living in Canada, someone who is in regular contact with friends and family back home, keeps up to date with local news. But did not know about the Homecoming. I was rather surprised.

    So much for the Sean Connery advert.

    More people IN Scotland seem to know about it than outside.

    I'm in agreement with you snecked by the way re the cost etc. But it has not been very effective apparently.

    Why they did they not use the Internet? For half a million they could have had banner ads all over the place - social networking sites for starters.

    Good idea, but totally the wrong approach.

    The SNP needs to research a bit methinks. And Labour have jumped on them to try and distract attention from the smears.

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  • 47. At 11:58pm on 14 Apr 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    Another of Brown's attack dogs is the Scottish branch of the BBC.


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  • 48. At 00:23am on 15 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    OK the death of Ian Tomlinson happened in London, not Scotland but Michael Meacher - another prominent Labour politician is yet another Labourite condemning where Brown's government has brought the UK.

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  • 49. At 06:19am on 15 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:


    "Why they did they not use the Internet? For half a million they could have had banner ads all over the place - social networking sites for starters."

    They did.

    I am actually in the U.S. so people in contact with me are maybe slightly more likely to know about this, but I know 6 individuals who will be visiting Scotland in the to years end, and 4 Americans who will be living their for a year. 3 of those first 6 are going essentially because of homecoming.

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  • 50. At 06:43am on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    Since the Conservative Party apparently expects Gordon Brown to apologise for something he didn't do, probably didn't know about until about the same time as the rest of us, and wouldn't have sanctioned even if he had known, can we now expect 'Call Me Dave' to spend all of the time between now and the next general election apologising for everything dubious done by anyone even tangentially connected to the Tories at any time since their formation?

    He might just about be finished with the case of Jeffrey, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare by Christmas...


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  • 51. At 06:52am on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #44, oldnat

    How much cash will Labour have for the next election?

    Well, if they've got any sense, they will spend not one penny of it, and let the Tories throw squillions of pounds down the drain (bankrupting a political party sounds like fun!).

    How many people actually vote according to ANYTHING that is said by a candidate during a campaign (unless the individual commits a grievous faux pas which LOSES votes)?

    Any candidate wanting my vote would be best-served by staying at home watching the telly, i.e. staying out of my way (I don't like being harragued in the street on a Satuday morning, nor the fake interest of canvassers) and letting me make up my own mind.

    Labour's best policy would be to announce that running the country is too important, ministers don't have time to spare to campaign (because they are working so hard in all our interests), and then plead to be allowed to continue to put right the wrtedched wrongs that have landed us where we are now.

    Who knows, if we don't have to put up with their smug sycophancy every day, we might forget (for just long enough to cast out ballots) just how horrendously bad the whole sorry shower are...

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  • 52. At 07:11am on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    Sorry for the typos in my #51.

    That's what 27 hours without sleep will do....

    (Ah, the joys of being a mature student with an assignment due by 10am this morning.)

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  • 53. At 07:42am on 15 Apr 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Then perhaps Crawford you should concentrate on the assignment and not on blogging!
    I was astonished at the BBC trying the
    " well politicians have been doing this forever " line, really spinning for the labour party.
    Yes , tales are told about opponents but never have I heard of utter lies used by advisers in Government to smear the others.
    If a nasty story is true ,then hell mend them but to have the deceitful , lying and cruel smear coming from the top of Government is unbelievable.
    This drivel about tightening up the rules for the civil service spin machine is just that DRIVEL.
    Surely those with a moral compass should be aware that being called " honourable " in parliament is supposed to declare certain standards are taken as read?
    Surely the Labour Government has not sunk to such a low that it no longer understands the words integrity , honour and honesty?

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  • 54. At 07:45am on 15 Apr 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    I echo the sentiments of #22.

    This entire island is infected with Labour sex scandals, sleaze and financial corruption. I am no longer able to contain my anger, Oh how I long for election day !

    Gordon Brown rendevous in Glasgow should be met with peaceful public protest.

    Labour: (Short) Change Is What We Do.


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  • 55. At 08:03am on 15 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    One 'black ops' operator down (for a while). I wonder how many more they have waiting in their backrooms getting ready for the general election.
    Just an aside, did anyone really expect the Secretary of State for Scotland to be anything other than a nicely paid job for someone who was a loyal supporter of which ever party was in government in the UK? Expecting a party politician to be honourable and dedicated to their posting is just a fantasy. It would be nice if they were, though.

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  • 56. At 09:18am on 15 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Odd that this website's Slur MP condemns No 10 'cesspit' doesn't give us the letter itself, whereas the Thunderer has an interesting Handwriting analyst Elaine Quigley goes inside Gordon Brown's unconscious mind, where you can also download the letter to Ms Dorries in PDF and judge Duff Gordon's handwriting for yourself.

    There's also a link to the letter - but currently not working - on their Commons link to Damian McBride smear site is red rag to David Cameron, which also confirms what's known in blogosphere, but which Aunty doesn't seem to think we need to know, to the effect that the site [a WordPress blog] was set up last November by one Ollie Cromwell using the House of Commons as his address.

    Presumably, Cameron or Grayling have already written a formal request to HMG to get WordPress do confirm the telephone number and e-mail address used to create the site, so that the honourable member or, perhaps, the dishonourable apparatchik can be identified.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 57. At 09:28am on 15 Apr 2009, cassandrina wrote:

    The PM show on radio 4 is asking for a leading question to be addressed by them. Guidelines are also on the PM website.
    The cut off date is early May and I would suggest that people enter the competition asking.

    "Is the BBC politically biased?"

    If there are enough of this one question it will be difficult to avoid it, though I will not be holding my breath.

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  • 58. At 09:28am on 15 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    I have just watched the BBC Alba programme 'Diomhair'. Take note Brian of independent journalism. Do you think that you can claim to have reached the pinnacle of being your own man, or are you just owned?

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  • 59. At 10:08am on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #53, Diabloandco:

    "Then perhaps Crawford you should concentrate on the assignment and not on blogging!"

    Just to clarify, visiting this blog was my 'reward' to myself for putting the assignment to bed.

    Imagine that, folks!

    The thought of your random ramblings was what kept me going during the darkest period - along with coffee (no other stimulants, honest!).

    Rather reminiscent of a chilled lager awaiting a certain group of servicemen and women in Alexandria...

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  • 60. At 10:18am on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #58, gedguy2

    BBC ALBA is a shining example of what an independent Scottish broadcaster could achieve; independent, that is, of London broadcast interference rather than any reference to political separation.

    Of course, like most Scots, I don't have the Gaelic and would be lost without the subtitling.

    I do wonder how Gaels feel, having virtually all of their (non-children's) programmes subtitled in another language.

    Given that, by definition, everyone able to receive BBC ALBA has access to closed subtitles, why use open subtitling?

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  • 61. At 10:26am on 15 Apr 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

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

  • 62. At 10:40am on 15 Apr 2009, timepassescarmichael wrote:

    This is like a rather horrible little snowball that is sent tumbling down the side of a slushy and muddy hillside. It will probably melt away eventually but there will be an awful sight of debris left behind.

    For a long time there has been a problem for Labour in regards to their credibility. When they were in power, of course, they could pretty much say what they liked about Scotland, because they set the agenda. If Scotland was wee and daft, then Scotland was wee and daft, and wee daft places should be governed in a paternalistic manner. If big, ol' Westminster wants nuclear weapons, then nuclear weapons are good. Iraq, good. Privatisation is modernisation, good. Well, they were evidently just building themselves a house of cards, and getting thoroughly carried away with their flimsy constructions.

    The thing about Labour politicians from Scotland is they are both callous and sentimental in equally damaging measure. Just think of Jim Murphy trying his best to endanger a Scotland football team and yet whenever he is drawn on the issue, all we get are misty-eyed mumblings about how much he loves to support Scotland. 'The best wee country in the world' is the same wee country that is a parochial back-water on the periphery of Europe, if Labour are to be believed.

    So, these emails point to something deeper regarding Labour and the way they get their message out. I remember the front-pages of the Labour supporting tabloids on election day and, particularly with one, momentarily forgot that it is supposed to be a democracy in which I live. People can only be subject to such exaggerated lies for so long. Spin only works when people are prepared to be spun. Perhaps Labour over-reached with their negativity, they were too callous, and their spin is shown to be what it has always been, just a bullying distortion. It's about time Scotland left Labour behind, leave Labour with their Tory pals, leave them to their tribalism with the Tories at Westminster, it's all Labour are interested in, all they have ever been interested in.

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  • 63. At 10:49am on 15 Apr 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    lol, my disallowed comment at 61 was an analysis of Broon's handwriting.

    I forgot for a moment I was on the BBC.

    Sorry chaps. Gordon is great, labour will lead us into the light, move along, nothing to see etc etc

    ( will that do? Ed)

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  • 64. At 10:49am on 15 Apr 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Crawford McNeil

    Trusting naivety
    The notion that Gordon Brown didn't know what Damian McBride was up to is absolutely hilarious.
    That's what McBride is employed to do and he has been Brown's right-hand man and confidante for over a decade doing spin to destroy Brown's enemies, most of them in the Labour party.
    The enemies are tumbling out of the woodwork now to get their sweet revenge.

    The question now is when will Brown throw in the towel and take an epic slaughtering at an election.
    Things can only get better.

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  • 65. At 10:57am on 15 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 60 Crawford_Macneil
    Being a non-speaker of the Gaels (much to my embarrassment) I can only thank BBC Alba for for the English subtitles. By the way, I'm a supporter of the English language (though you might not think so with all the spelling and grammatical errors that I have tendency to make). The good thing about the English language is that it is a mixture of old German (old Scottish is closer to English than the English language is, with a mixture of Belgium. Well, certainly in Dundee) and the Latin languages.

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  • 66. At 11:12am on 15 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    I see Sir Gus has said the McBride affair was a "serious breach" etc etc.

    Talk about stating the obvious.

    An election must be on the cards soon. We are getting a Gvoernment that is being rather decisive with its responses these days. Well, apart from the expenses issues that is.

    #49 patty

    What I meant was that it could have been targetted better. it would be worth social sites such as Facebook being targetted. The costs would be minimal (which might shut up a few critics) and the audience potential is massive.

    #64 snecked

    You are correct that GB knew what was happening. All political parties look to dish the dirt. It's just the methods vary. But Labour got caught big style.

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  • 67. At 11:46am on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #64, sneckedagain:

    "Things can only get better."

    That's what we all though in 1997, and we were WRONG.

    Unless the Tories ditch 'Call Me Dave' and let Mekon-lookalike William Hague take over as leader (with Kenneth Clarke as putative Chancellor), then I would far rather Labour stayed in power after the general election.

    Better the de'il ye ken....

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  • 68. At 11:53am on 15 Apr 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    Talking about frustrating smears, and re #26:

    Just looked up some interesting numbers from Labours past:

    The Wark-Clements documentary about the Scottish Parliament cost £820,000, or at least that's what has been declared (a waste of money by Labour).

    The original estimate for the Scottish Parliament was £40 million. The final declared cost was £431 million (another waste of money by Labour).

    The tram line being built in Edinburgh will cost around £450 million, and will probably cost a lot more than that once complete (another Labour waste of money to replace one, yes one, bus route).

    The PFI/PPP fiasco will cost billions over the next 30 years.

    So really, to complain about an advert for Scotland, not an SNP ad, costing £599,287, shows that Labour really are blind to their own past blunders.

    At least the Scottish add about a major Scottish event will help to bring in a few million of extra money, whereas the Labour pet projects will be hanging round Scotlands neck for decades to come.

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  • 69. At 12:05pm on 15 Apr 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    I must confess to being slightly bemused by this business of the "frustration" over the way this entirely legitimate story is distracting people from the wonderful work being done by Mr Brown and his colleagues to sort out the mess they got us into

    Can someone please explain exactly what action has been taken over the last few days?

    Or come to that how many announcements of bold initiatives have been pushed off the front page by the story?

    What, come to that, was Damian McBride supposed to be doing to help solve or ease the crisis?

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  • 70. At 12:09pm on 15 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    #65 gedguy2

    Such a rich language should produce a proliferation of native speakers who are uncommonly articulate. I am, however, 'gobsmacked' and indeed 'gutted' to find that it is not so. The English language, not least in the UK, is in a bad way, as George Orwell was already observing in 1946. He maintained that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes:

    "(the English language) becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers." (George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, 1946)

    Thus it is argued that it is in the interests of our political masters to discourage clarity of thought in political discourse and to that end to engender a decline in the quality of that discourse. Consequently, it is not surprising to find that political advocates of the constitutional status quo typically seek to disrupt rational and fluent discussion of radical constitutional reform rather than to contribute to it on the same level as those who argue in favour of "political regeneration" that might result in radical constitutional change that would threaten vested interests of the UK Establishment.


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  • 71. At 12:24pm on 15 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    <RICHPOST>[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]Journalists are to there to “speak truth unto power”. Not trade favours for tittle tattle, not report spin as truth."</EM><A HREF="">Subrosa</A> as she says "spin" is just there to replace the word "lie" which politicians do an awful lot of. </RICHPOST>

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  • 72. At 12:40pm on 15 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 70 Anglosaxophone
    I have to disagree with you there. As I mentioned earlier, English is a mixture of basically two languages: German and Latin, with a smudge of Indian, chinese and some slavic words thrown in for good effect. This is what I find so wonderful about the English language; it is always evolving.
    In my eyes it is snobbery to demand that such a wonderful language should remain exactly as it is forever. I am more than happy to speak to my English friends with a Scottish twang. In fact, I have told them that if I ever thought I was speaking with an English accent then I would rip out my own throat for disrespect. Sometimes I even have fun throwing in the odd Dundee slang word. (However, some of my family, when I visit Dundee, think that I have lost my Dundee accent. It normally takes me a couple of weeks to get back into the accent). I had the honour and misfortune to live in Liverpool for a number of years. I don't think that the Scousers would appreciate being told that they are not speaking English.
    Howver, you are correct in pointing out that national and local government tend to produce their own 'type' of English which is designed to confuse those who are not in 'the know'. C'est la vie.

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  • 73. At 12:47pm on 15 Apr 2009, mightychewster wrote:


    That would require our highly dedicated MP's to actually do some work wouldn't it?

    Much better to stick to the tried and tested

    "Global problems"
    "Best Placed"
    "We Are Listening"

    I agree though; there is very little interest in motivating political change within even a single party - let alone the change that is required across the entire parliamentary structure

    A true root and branch reform is needed - but I don't think I will see one in my lifetime!

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  • 74. At 12:53pm on 15 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    #59 Crawford_Macneil

    "Ice Cold in Alex" is one of my favourite war films.

    A modern version would be much shorter. John Mills would send an email asking for help. It would be intercepted, and the ambulance destroyed.

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  • 75. At 1:17pm on 15 Apr 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    this pathetic episode has indeed done exactly what the labour party wanted!

    no one has discussed the forthcoming budget or what that will mean for every single one of us

    nor has anyone discussed or even seen the figures for the PPP or PFI con

    with those 2 just the start.

    to use someone who was going to be out of a job shortly anyway simply shows what kind of guy Mr Brown actually is.

    are we to believe that someone well known to be a control freak didn't know these e-mails were being sent from his office?

    or is this just another failure to be added to an ever growing list?

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  • 76. At 1:20pm on 15 Apr 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    So what did Mr Brown THINK Mr McBride was doing in that little back room?

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  • 77. At 1:29pm on 15 Apr 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    patty#18 add to that list
    he asked the Chinese for 2 panda's!
    he obviously was not aware that St Mirren have got 2 that turn up for home games??
    why do we need more??
    obviously got his finger on the pulse as ever!
    see what happens when you rush to get to a destination first without thinking about what you are actually doing!


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  • 78. At 2:11pm on 15 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    #72 gedguy2

    While benefiting from the fact that it is a mongrel descending from two main linguistic families primarily (the Germanic family on the one hand through Anglo-Saxon and the Romance family on the other hand through Norman French mainly), the English of present-day usage in the UK may be argued to draw upon the available resources rather unambitiously on the whole so far as the general population is
    concerned and so far as much political discourse is concerned.

    In politics by and large nothing may be said now that Joe Bloggs may be expected to be unfamiliar with or in a way that may be difficult for him. This removes sophistication from general political discourse to a considerable degree. Political correctness demolishes much of what remains and vested interests trample upon much of what remains after that.

    In our language change is not ipso facto a problem. On the other hand the nature of changes that take place in usage, not least in political discourse, as a result of social, educational and political factors of one kind and another may be problematic. If Joe Bloggs had been educated in such a way as to raise the standard of English usage among the masses, standards of political discourse could still be generally high without prejudice to him. As it is, they have had to be lowered to accommodate him, to the considerable satisfaction of the UK Establishment and of the political class that exploits the lamentable limitations of our Joe.

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  • 79. At 3:18pm on 15 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 78 Anglosaxophone
    Being a 'Joe Blogs' myself, I was reared in that wonderful suburb of Dundee, in the fifties and sixties, called Kirkton, I would say that it should be incumbent upon civil servants and politicians to make their pronouncements, whether verbal or in print, in a language that is accessible to the mass of the people. The problem with many civil servants and major politicians is that they happened to be educated in the type of schools that would, most certainly, turn me away with a sneering look down their noses, unlike Brian who did his learning at the High School.
    Personally speaking, I am appalled at the language that they use and wonder if they are, in fact, speaking English at all. I suspect that too many of them are excelled at the exuberance of their own verbosity.

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  • 80. At 3:18pm on 15 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    The only relevance to us of "Smeargate" is whether or not Brown survives as PM.

    Westminster is wholly corrupt, and for that to be evident is no bad thing. However, whether that system is cleaned up or not is not the issue - we just need to get clear of Westminster altogether.

    Poll analysis suggests that a number of Scots support Labour, because somehow having someone from Scotland as PM "helps" us. Last summer, when polling was being done on who should be PM, Labour support dropped off significantly when alternative leaders (all English) were suggested.

    If Brown falls, then the SNP vote will rise seems to be the logical conclusion. In England, of course, if Brown falls, the Labour vote may not be as catastrophically bad as if he stays.

    Despite the likely low turnout, the June EU and English LG elections may drive the Labour Party into having to decide.

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  • 81. At 3:18pm on 15 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    FAO of mods etc. that is if you don't refer this one!

    The News and Current Affairs Code

    "1. Undue Prominence and Impartiality

    1.1 General
    The Broadcasting Act 1990 and the Broadcasting Act 1996 require the Radio Authority to do all it can to secure that any news given (in whatever form) in a licensed service is presented with due accuracy and impartiality. It must also strive to ensure that national services and national digital services preserve due impartiality with respect to matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy and that local (including regional) services and local and regional digital services do not give undue prominence to the views and opinions or particular persons or bodies on such matters.

    The Licence Holder may not express his views on such matters on his service unless those views directly involve broadcasting policy or developments (see Rule 1.5)."

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  • 82. At 3:19pm on 15 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Broon need not apologise, he "knew nothing about" what his HEAD OF STRATEGY was doing ... says a senior cabinet placeman.

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  • 83. At 3:23pm on 15 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 74 Oldnat
    That's only if the Americans were in the war.

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  • 84. At 3:31pm on 15 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    #83 gedguy2

    Who else would we be fighting for nowadays?

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  • 85. At 3:32pm on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    The Scots version of the Scottish Parliament website is a good example of an organisation TRYING to speak its audience's language.

    Not 100 per cent successful, because of dialectal differences, but good for a laugh nonetheless - just to see the attempt to transliterate an inherently verbal language.

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  • 86. At 3:49pm on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    Glad to see that STV gave coverage to the North Sea memorial service alongside that of the BBC, the latter with the one and only Brian Taylor at the helm.

    It is, however, disappointing that - throughout - it has been seen as a purely 'Scottish' disaster.

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  • 87. At 3:57pm on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #74, oldnat:

    '"Ice Cold in Alex" is one of my favourite war films.'

    It's in my Top 10 movies of all time; an ensemble piece of the highest order, with a brooding intensity and a credit to those both in front of and behind the camera.

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  • 88. At 4:08pm on 15 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Interesting the subject of the English language. But we ain't going to suddenly turn Scotland into a land of Gaelic speakers.

    But the Scots language reminds me of Gregor Fisher in Naked Video presenting the Outer Hebrides Broadcasting Corporation!

    But unfortunately English is a requirement due to business and air transport.

    Perhaps we should have a ned=speak version?


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  • 89. At 4:30pm on 15 Apr 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #88 Neil_Small147

    You'll be far too young to remember Francie and Josie in "Parliamo Glasgow". In the year of the Homecoming I remember fondly being invited to come to the land of the Sierra Morra overlooking the Costa Clyde!

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  • 90. At 4:34pm on 15 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re Greenock boy

    Are you saying you think the sum quoted for the advert was value for money?

    I don't. But hey why bother about that when you get the chance to rant on? The advert was commissioned by the SNP government. They should be asked to explain such waste.

    The electorate won't think half a million for one advert was good value though. But again hey who cares about them eh?

    There is a need to try to be sensible with public spending in these times, this is very wasteful and a disgrace.

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  • 91. At 4:55pm on 15 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    #79 gedguy2

    The nature of the society that we have inherited in the UK is such that there is, of course, a diversity of idioms that may be considered to be equally valid. This may make it difficult for some members of society to exercise their democratic rights effectively, unfortunately. In order for politicians to be held to account in a democracy, citizens require to be equipped to cope with the sophistication of the matters that need to be subject to public scrutiny. To reduce discussion of these to a level of simplicity which makes adequate
    scrutiny difficult, if not impossible, does no favours to the general population.

    If there is one thing that can be guaranteed to have an impact on Joe Bloggs where rational argument based upon verifiable facts might well fail, it is the political smear. Hence the shenanigans referred to in Frustrating Smears and the inevitability of the smear tactic in the Labour approach to political discourse, given the nature of much of that party's remaining core support.

    What the tactic in question lacks in sophistication it makes up for in effectiveness . . . until some horrendous apparatchik trips up over his two left feet and falls flat on his face, in which case the inevitable expression of 'regret' is issued, a head rolls, and then they all carry on as before, as that is what they do and will do until they fade away.

    General political discourse does not need any further dumbing down. On the contrary.

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  • 92. At 5:13pm on 15 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re the Homecoming

    As a scot who likes to holiday in the UK, I have just come back from a weeks Holiday in South west Scotland.

    Given that this is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotlands greatest poet, I took the kids to visit Burns country.

    the exhibition is closed for redevelopment for the rest of the season.

    You really couldn't make this up.

    The homecoming is a good idea, but really poorly delivered. there were visitors form Australia there at the same time. They could not believe what they seen.

    Incidentally they had scots blood but knew nothing of the year of Homecoming. so they must have missed the advert too. Maybe after paying for the advert we couldn't afford to show it in Australia, another key market one would have thought?

    I enjoyed my holiday, but this will present a poor impression of Scotland for visitors at this key attraction.

    A bit more effort in organisation of the year of homecoming would have made for better results.

    It could be said that this is a good idea, good spin but little actually happening. A bit like nulab actually.

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  • 93. At 5:14pm on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #90, northhighlander:

    "The advert was commissioned by the SNP government."


    The advert was commissioned by the [Scottish] Government.

    The party in power is immaterial, unless you are suggesting that no government expenditure is permissible where the party in power's stance/policy differs from that of one or more of the opposition parties.

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  • 94. At 5:24pm on 15 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 91

    I agree entirely with your point.

    As some one who grew up in the Thatcher years, my experience of government has been the last Conservative lot, the current Labour lot and the SNP in Holyrood.

    So I have witnessed a steady deterioration in the quality of our politicians, in the integrity they display and the contempt they hold the electorate in.

    The smears scandal just adds to the woeful list of politicial scandals. I really don't know if I will bother to vote at teh next election, no matter what the party in power spin is the way they all go.

    While I would never accuse the SNP of such smear tactics, they are every bit as guilty of spin as any other party.

    I would at first like to see the end of Special advisors. This is a corrupt and discredtied role that should be performed by elected MPs. It now seems accepted that every party shrouds themselves in cronies when in government. It stinks.

    If the culture of spin, along with never accepting responsibility for mistakes continues then the public will continue to have less and less involvement in politics.

    We are all worse off for this, every party is damaged by continual spin, the electorate are tired of it and we need something different.

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  • 95. At 5:34pm on 15 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 91 Anglosaxophone

    'In order for politicians to be held to account in a democracy, citizens require to be equipped to cope with the sophistication of the matters that need to be subject to public scrutiny. To reduce discussion of these to a level of simplicity which makes adequate scrutiny difficult, if not impossible, does no favours to the general population.'

    On the contrary, Anglosaxophone, I think it should be the other way around. Politicians should stop speaking in their political twaddle and start talking in a manner suitable for us to understand clearly what they are saying. However, as you and I know, it is imperative to their trade that politicians speak a lot but say nothing. If they say nothing then they can't be held to account for saying something. The same with political documents that are for the public scrutinty; they are as obscure in their substance as one could possibly imagine. Again this is to allow them a 'get out of jail free' card. Hence the reason why politicians and civil servants produce a lot of work that is designed to be unclear to the general public; a bit like doctors and lawyers. Fair enough, when it comes to international relationships it is far better that politicians and civil servants don't actually say anything that might cause offence to someone who may be irritated enough to attack us or, worse still, not give us any contracts.
    Sadly, there are a lot of people out there who are just not up to mark when it comes to the educational standards that you profess we should all have. Some of it is to do with the education system but mostly it is to do with the fact that some people will just never manage to get up to that mark. Are we to just ignore these people? This is what seems to happen in this UK democracy.

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  • 96. At 6:28pm on 15 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 93

    Could this not also be reported as the SNP commissioning an advert with some of their favourite cronies?

    Would that be a lie? No.

    My point is someof the posters here would have been quick on the trigger had labour produced such an advert.

    Certainly the SNP in opposition would have been very quick and vocal on such a matter.

    This reeks of hypocrisy.

    Anyway my main point is that the ad is over the top and a waste of money.

    the whole homecoming thing is all about spin, being seen to do something while doing little if anything.

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  • 97. At 6:48pm on 15 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Was this money well spent?
    Government advertising spend breaks all records

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  • 98. At 7:21pm on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #96, northhighlander

    Many 'celebrity Scots' are SNP supporters, that's just a fact.

    I would tend to agree with you that the ad may be overblown and might not achieve its stated objective; I just disagree with your earlier suggestion that it is a party political issue in this particular case.

    More generally, I cannot recall the last government (esp. Westminster) which did not get into trouble for using public promotion funds in a partisan manner, but it is somewhat tricky to separate the policy of the 'governing party' (which it is pursuing in terms of its electoral mandate to govern) from the policy of the 'government'.

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  • 99. At 7:25pm on 15 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 97

    Absolutely not. I am sure some will be essential but no where near this amount. This is equaly disgraceful.

    Just further illustrates my point, all politicians are about spin.

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  • 100. At 7:26pm on 15 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #96 "This reeks of hypocrisy."

    Agreed, your post along with most of this manufactured outrage is a joke.

    A matter of weeks ago,

    Labour - SNP "not doing enough" to promote Homecoming,

    Margaret Curran, speech to the Scottish Parliament, - Homecoming 'was Labour's idea',

    "This is a welcome debate for a welcome initiative. Of course I would say that: as Iain Smith pointed out, the homecoming was devised and directed under—Iain will forgive me—the previous Labour-led Administration. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work done by Jack McConnell, who is with us in the chamber today. As First Minister, he was deeply committed to the homecoming project, which he drove very effectively. I am sure that we would be interested to hear Mr McConnell's views on how it is being developed now.

    We agree on the fundamental point that homecoming 2009 is a great concept and a fantastic opportunity. This morning's debate gives us the opportunity to examine the potential of homecoming for Scotland. ...

    Homecoming is essentially about promotion, connection and celebration. In Scotland, we have much to celebrate in what we are currently doing and in our heritage. I am sure that, at the 250th anniversary of Burns's birth, we will speak a great deal about his contribution to Scottish artistic and intellectual life. We must look beyond that, however, at the other examples of artistic endeavour and intellectual achievement that have made Scotland so proud over the years and centuries, alongside our great traditions of innovation and enterprise. I am sure that many members will talk about sport and whisky as we go through the homecoming year.

    We Scots take great pride in our ability to connect and to be welcomed across the world. We have a reservoir of family and friends with a true bond to Scotland. They will forgive us if we try to make something of that this year and to maximise their potential for us. The whole debate around tourism and the economic results of homecoming will come centre stage, given the present economic climate."

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  • 101. At 7:27pm on 15 Apr 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #96 northhighlander

    You could well be right about the Homecoming, the SNP inherited it from the Labour, so it could well have been designed from the outset to be all spin and no substance.

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  • 102. At 7:32pm on 15 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    The key issue most people have with how this is being reported by the - supposedly - impartial BBC: it was described as an SNP initiative (which is simply not true - Homecoming has been on the books since the last Labour Administration, as the above quote from Curran points out).

    The BBC appeared to be making this into a partisan issue on purpose, which the less intelligent Labour attack dogs (which is to say a majority of them) have now picked up.

    Support Scotland's tourism industry and stop the petty whinging.

    This is ultimately nothing but desperation to deflect attention away from the absolute moral corruption at the heart of Downing Street; and the upcoming budget, which will lay bare just how "broke" Britain is.

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  • 103. At 8:09pm on 15 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Hidden world of the political advisers

    "In 1996 there were 38 working in government costing the taxpayer £1.8m. In 2004 the number peaked at 84 and last year there were 73, at a cost of £5.9m."

    At least the advert is doing something positive which can't be said for the above clowns.

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  • 104. At 8:12pm on 15 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 102

    If you think most scots will think half a million for an advert is not the issue then you really are out of touch with life in Scotland.

    I really don't need links to prove homecoming was a Labour idea, I already knew that.

    The point is Wee Eck has waxed lyrical on this subject but done little. Spin, every bit as much as any nulab person, equally odious.

    I don't deflect at all from what is wrong at westminster, that is totally and utterly wrong. But don't live in a makebelieve that Scotland is radicaly different.

    But objectivity is rare in your posts.

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  • 105. At 8:22pm on 15 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    Take the coloured rosettes from their lapels come election-time, and you'd be hard pressed to tell (from what they say) which party any candidate represented.

    They are more concerned about trying to say what a particular audience wants to hear - as in Tony Blair having, at last count, eight "favourite song[s] of all time" (depending upon who asked) - and desperately trying not to reveal anything about themselves which might turn off even a single voter.

    They are all as bad as each other....

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  • 106. At 8:30pm on 15 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    re 103

    I suppose Ecks 9 special advisors are all exemplary civil servants as opposed to clowns?

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  • 107. At 8:59pm on 15 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #104 Objectivity is rarer still in your own! Enjoy your delusions that Gordon and his Liebour party are still credible with the public while they prepare us to hold out the begging bowl to the IMF.

    You may not deflect attention from other issues, but you just refuse to acknowledge the moral abyss centred in number 10 while focusing on 500,000 on advertising to promote Scotland's tourism industry.

    The second issue is one of efficiency alone, the first is one of malevolent intent directed from the very top of the political tree.

    Time to view things in perspective here.

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  • 108. At 9:00pm on 15 Apr 2009, Tom wrote:


    Oh behave, at least wait untill the Homecoming ends before you start to talk down the whole show.

    Heck, have you not learnt from our banking experience that by talking down our own instituations can land them in hot water?

    The cost of the advert is not expensive at all, but that of course depends on the type of income we expect to see from the Homecoming overall and the amount of extra visitors we have this year.

    If those figures are not high then yes, the advert was a waste, and the Homecoming was a let down, but have a little faith and wait till we know all the facts and figures before you rush in and make claims without actual substance and little evidence to actually back up with what you have to say.

    And also...

    Those Austrailains may have missed the advertising for the Homecoming. After all, there are potentially tens of millions of Scot's elsewhere in the world.

    Do you honestly believe any group can reach out to each one hundred percent of their potential targets?

    My, my, my... I don't know what planet you are living on, but it's certainly not here mate.

    Even Coca-cola, once their brand created a newer, better tasting flavour to compete against Pepsi (decades ago), despite all the money they put into advertising.. still 3 percent of Americans (or there targets) had no clue that a new brand of "better tasting" coke was about to be released.

    I suggest you read a book more often, preferably something covering history.

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  • 109. At 9:30pm on 15 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    re 107

    I will praise the SNP where it is deserved. Look back at my posts and you will see where things are done well I am more than happy to credit them.

    I have not voted Labour or supported them for a number of elections, not since 97 to be exact.

    I don't defend or support them for your information.

    You see objective people can look at issues, you look at my comments and because they don't support the SNP then I must be a Labour apologist.

    You display not a shred of objectivity on any issue. Your posts are always ultra nationalist.

    Re thomas porter.

    I do support Scottish Tourism, especially by Holidaying in Scotland. I detest Spain and such destinations and always support Scottish locations at least once a year.

    But really did we have to spend that amount for a simple TV advert? It isn't even that good.

    I have relatives in Australia who are proud of their roots and take a keen interest in all things Scottish. they see little promotion of the Homecoming.

    I suggest your own knowledge would benefit from reading Scottish History, a lot of Scots emigrated to Australia. Surely a target market?

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  • 110. At 9:33pm on 15 Apr 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    I see North Highlander has abandoned all attempts to pretend he is an impartial contributor. Wasn't deceiving anybody anyway as virtually all his posts come direct from Labour spins.

    This is pathetic stuff from Labour but a measure of how sadly they totally misunderstand the political landscape they are now in.
    Do they seriously believe that Scots are going to stop supporting the SNP because of an advert aimed at 25 million Scots world wide which has cost a drop in the bucket? Labour aim all their effort now at the gullible, the naive and the ill informed. That is probably because that is all who are left voting for them now.
    Scottish Labour has made no pretence of mounting serious political campaigns or providing progressive policy positions. They have abandoned the informed and thoughtful elector and pump out this low level pulp in the mistaken impression that they may convince some voters to their cause, Anybody who finds this stuff sustaining probably doesn't know (or care)where the nearest polling station is.

    Lets put £500,000 into current context.
    Government revenue raised in Scotland DAILY is in excess of £10million.
    £500,000 is less than the gate money at a Rangers home match.
    £500,000 wouldn't pay a month's salary for the Labour goverment's special advisors.
    £500,000 is about five years of Parliamentary expenses for our most profligate MP.

    I note that the offensive and unacceptable pieces on this site and BBC Scotland Ceefax describing the Homecoming ads as "SNP ads" have been removed.
    Not before time and I know a large number of people put in enraged complaints.
    There are some people in responsible positions in BBC Scotland who don't understand their jobs or their responsibilities and who shouldn't be there.

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  • 111. At 9:52pm on 15 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    A load of Balls living up to his name by talking a lot of **it.

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  • 112. At 10:53pm on 15 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    #108 Thomas sums it up correctly:

    Wait until the Homecoming is finished. If it turns out to be a flop, then people will be entitled to criticise.

    The cost of advertising does not bother me. It is about standard for that form.

    However, they chose the wrong media format in my opinion. Far better to have had more in-depth Internet based promotion.

    Also, they should have researched the best selling daily papers in the target countries, and could have had an insert flyer in these.

    Newspaper advertising has been in terminal decline even before the credit crunch hit, and newspaper publishers would have cut deals.

    But the advert has taken place, so no point in debating it endlessly.

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  • 113. At 11:00pm on 15 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    #95 gedguy2

    Democracy presents us with certain fundamental challenges, which it is the duty of the democratic state to rise to. One of these fundamental challenges concerns the provision of the means by which the citizen can effectively exercise all of his or her democratic rights. The current relatively low level of general education in the UK is not inevitable. Nor is it a level to which political discourse can safely be reduced without damage to our democracy, as is, I think, apparent.

    It is, however, not just a question of level but of the character of education in citizenship. What we have in Scotland as a part of the UK is arguably what is to be expected in a state which is not founded upon a set of principles to which all its citizens can be expected to subscribe and actively support while being provided with the educational preparation necessary to facilitate the discharge of their responsibilities as citizens of such a state.

    If Scotland were to become independent, an opportunity would present itself to establish a foundation upon which could be constructed a genuinely egalitarian society such as is hardly conceivable within the UK. I hope that we can agree on that.

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  • 114. At 11:45pm on 15 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #109 northhighlander: I detest Spain and such destinations...

    A charming sentiment, straight out of New Labour's Diplomacy for Dummies (copyright Murphy and Miliband). Perhaps you've been hanging around Dounreay for too long northhighlander?

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  • 115. At 11:55pm on 15 Apr 2009, handclapping wrote:

    While the world and his wife are concentrating on the smears, I hope Global is working out a way to explain just how we went from a National Debt to GNP ratio of 40% to 80% in six months. Borrowings of GBP175 billion help of course (source FT), but what have they got for us with this money?

    Of course he won't have an explanation he's been too busy spending every waking moment thinking how to temper this trans-atlantis storm to the worker without a shirt on his back as he's been or is about to be laid off.

    But a Cabinet meeting in Glasgow is a wizzy idea and it makes us look effective and in touch. Party members only by invitation.

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  • 116. At 11:56pm on 15 Apr 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Anyone who doesn't realise what a breath of fresh air the SNP in reality are compared to the appallingly corrupt and arrogant govts since Thatcher came to power in '79 I seriously pity for their gullibility and stupidity.

    Smeargate and the London Police's totally undemocratic and murderous behaviour at the g20 demos should give any self respecting Scot continued pause for thought regarding the maintaining of this union. If you want more of that then keep voting for Unionist dictatorship.

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  • 117. At 00:02am on 16 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Prospects for a fourth span look bleak indeed.

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  • 118. At 00:31am on 16 Apr 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #117 forfar-loon

    Ah, but the new one is to be Cable-stayed!

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  • 119. At 01:03am on 16 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #109, now your claiming to be "objective" I see, hilarious ... do tell us another.

    Yes I have political opinions, and yes I am also honest enough to be open about what they are, unlike yourself.

    However, to jump into a forum (as you did) headlined about the sexist, class-ist slurs of the HEAD OF STRATEGY for Number 10 (a close ally of Brown's for years) and immediately start attacking the Scottish Government for trying to help the tourist industry proves you are anything but objective.

    As I said earlier, one is an issue of morality and whether the man at the top is worthy of the position; the other is one of simple efficiency ... (perhaps the money could be better spent, perhap not).

    In any case what is 500,000 when you look at the mess that was made of even DBS, nevermind the London Olympics (further budget overrun of 500 MILLION in the last couple weeks), Crossrail, Northern Rock etc ...

    You would do well to acknowledge the difference, rather than blindly attacking anyone who has the temerity to point out the gaping holes in your supposed "argument" above.

    Oh, and peppering your posts with the words "objective" and "spin" just makes people even more suspicious of what particular brand of snake-oil you are peddling.

    In any case, I have no further time to speak with the lunatic Brit-Nat Fringe.

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  • 120. At 07:20am on 16 Apr 2009, neebour wrote:

    Frustrating Smears ! I should coco.

    The bbc and its ultra obvious bias towards the unionist camp is breathtakingly abusive to a so called free democratic press.

    Yet again, on the website today in Scottish politics section there is a header "Scots nuclear stance criticised" quoting one tory and another liebour MP called Broon slagging off the Scottish govts position on nuclear power. He describes it as "the SNP's anti nuclear dogma". Well excuse me, but that's just one of the reasons that many people voted for them in the first place.

    This nu-liebour stance is a far cry from only a handful of years ago, which hopefully, will alienate a whole section of the voting population from the Greens to CND supporters and many others who were traditionally mainly liebour supporters.

    Underneath this article is story headed "Adding it up, the cost of (Scotlands) wind farm inquires are revealed." Well believe it or not it was the staggering amount of 70,000 pounds, a drop in the ocean, not even meriting a story apart from the fact that it gave the bbc a chance to bad mouth the government yet again. In fact how much did the skulls unnecessary trip to China cost, can anyone find out ?

    Unfortunately I'm out of the country at the moment otherwise wild horses could not stop me from going to Glasgow for Broon's masquerade that will tell all and sundry about the great job liebour has done for us over the years. Needless to say this will also be exploited by the unionist media to such an extent that most of the population will probably end up gagging !

    Does anyone know if there are to be any official or unofficial demonstrations ? As since the press is so bias this would be a good opportunity to show Broon and all the other Tartan Uncle Toms just what we think of them !

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  • 121. At 08:34am on 16 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 113 Anglosaxophone

    My education in the sixties and early seventies was in a Dundee comprehensive system. There were four classes in my year which were designed to produce tradesmen from the top classes and those who would sweep the streets in the lower classes. Acadamies were in place to rear those who would manage those from the comprehensive schools, produce doctors, lawyers etc. and, of course, the top private (public) schools would produce the people who would rule us to one degree or an other.
    It is all nice and fine talking about an egalitarian society (This seems to me to smack of communism. A great idea but it would never work because of the people who rule. My girlfriend came from the now defunct USSR and, from what she was telling me, it was anything but egalitarian.) but people are not all the same. We can't all be brain surgeons as some people just don't have the brain capacity to meet their exacting standards. Others will never manage to put up a level shelf on their wall as they don't have the natural skills to do so. You would be amazed at the amount of middle class people who just don't have the ability to turn a screw with a screwdriver. You may argue that it is all just a matter of training, I would have to disagree with that. I've met joiners (carpenters in England, where I reside) who have all the qualifications and no skill, whereas I've met 'chancers' on sites who are wonderfully skilled carpenters, but missing that piece of paper. Training and education does not make the man (or in A.W.'s case, women ) no matter how much we wish it to be. I'm sure that you, too, have met people in your profession who will never be able to step up to the mark and are 'carried' by their confidence and/or collegues. Education is the pearl of wisdom, but you can't throw pearls to the swine. (Mods be aware that swine are pigs).
    So, getting back to the main discussion between us, politicians should pitch their level of discourse to the common denominator, not to their own protection.

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  • 122. At 08:50am on 16 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Skeletor speaks his brains over at the Grauniad. Apparently he is going to be replying to any comments later on, so some of you may wish to add your tuppence worth...

    #118 handclapping: ;o)

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  • 123. At 09:42am on 16 Apr 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Not usually bothered about responding to the nonsense that plagues this board but....

    110. Sneckedagain: "Labour aim all their effort now at the gullible, the naive and the ill informed..."

    You've just described the core vote of the SNP.

    Bless you, snecked. Bless you, I say.

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  • 124. At 09:52am on 16 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    116. At 11:56pm on 15 Apr 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Smeargate and the London Police's totally undemocratic and murderous behaviour at the g20 demos should give any self respecting Scot continued pause for thought regarding the maintaining of this union. If you want more of that then keep voting for Unionist dictatorship.


    bluelaw, without meaning to condone the appalling behaviour of a FEW of the police, perhaps you could balance your opinions and make a comment about the minority of protestors who onyl want to cause trouble.

    These are the people who would want to start a riot anywhere.

    The police officer who shoved that man from behind is a disgrace, and should be charged.

    But think of the officer who hit the woman. Out of oider, yes, but should the woman who was possibly hammering him with verbal abuse not be charged with an offence as well? If she started shouting at a police officer on a saturday night in town she would be arrested.

    I'm all for peaceful protests, but the police are faced with a nightmare of scenarios. Riot control is not simple, and within a city rather difficult.

    The vast majority of protestors could have been left alone without any police escort. But unfortunately they are hijacked by the idiot brigade, and the police end up with overkill policing.

    Too often we only hear one side of the story. At least balance everything up.

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  • 125. At 10:08am on 16 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    I see Dolly has returned from exile!

    The McBride affair is a portent of the coming struggle for Labour’s soul

    "The ultra-Brownites have not lost the awesome self-assurance which marked them out at the Treasury. They tore up the Bank of England’s power to regulate banks (to calamitous effect). They devised a disastrous ‘golden rule’ for fiscal stability, which allowed Mr Brown to defy all economic wisdom by borrowing massively in an upturn. They concocted accounting tricks to conceal the extent of the consequent debt. In their own minds, they were masters of the political universe, intellectually superior to and politically tougher than the Blairites."

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  • 126. At 10:51am on 16 Apr 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    I have just read Browns propaganda piece in The Herald. Interesting that there are no comments allowed.

    Question to all journalists before you write how great a success this wonderful cabinet meeting is, can you ask Brown why we the Scottish voting public were never told where the meeting was to be held, why we were never told where we could submit our questions, why we were never told where we could apply for tickets to attend.

    This is once again democracy Brown style.

    Glad to see Reluctant-Expat resurface, and that the pretendy nationalist Neil_Small147 is posting his pretend to be fair and balanced spin again.

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  • 127. At 10:56am on 16 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this already but Labour's Lord Foulkes has been bemoaning the "peanuts" that our MPs are paid - George Foulkes: Expenses critics are a wee bit rich.

    I've duly added a new poll over at Brigadoon to gauge public opinion: Do you agree with Labour's Lord Foulkes that MPs deserve a pay rise? All votes most welcome.

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  • 128. At 10:56am on 16 Apr 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    thanks , loon#122
    i have read the piece and scarily can just hear Mr Murphy reading it .
    left a post , won't hold my breath waiting on Mr Murphy getting back to me.


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  • 129. At 11:04am on 16 Apr 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Reluctant Expat

    Nice to see you're reading my posts.
    The "core SNP vote" is now in charge.

    Whereas in England the Tories are about to beat Labour in Scotland I suspect we see the early stages of the SNP replacing Labour.

    When Brown loses the election there is the probability that Labour will be out power for a decade - or much longer. There is a real possibility that it will be out of power for ever.

    In historic terms all democracies have a centrist "Tory" establishment, a pragmatic grouping of those who hold power and wealth, which is opposed in the polls by radical movements which rise on specific policy objectives, achieve some or all of their objectives and then fade away.
    The real Labour party had achieved most of its core objectives fifty years ago.
    To gain and hold power NuLabour came to an accommodation with all the things real Labour opposed. There is no political reason anymore for the Nulabour Party to exist.

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  • 130. At 11:25am on 16 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:


    Thank you for confirming the validity of the following observation contained in my #70:

    "(...) it is not surprising to find that advocates of the constitutional status quo typically seek to disrupt rational and fluent discussion of radical constitutional reform rather than to contribute to it on the same level as those who argue in favour of "political regeneration" that might result in radical constitutional change that would threaten the vested interests of the UK Establishment."

    Bless you, Exultant Carpet. Bless you, I say.

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  • 131. At 11:38am on 16 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #125 cynicalHighlander

    Thanks for the entertaining link. Good to see that the Smeargate story still has legs, as Guido puts it, especially on a day when the knives will be out again for the fragrant jackbooted Home Secretary and Speaker Martin over the Damian Green arrest as we learn that not even the Home Office whistleblower is to be charged.

    For once, even the Sun takes a high moral tone with their The stink of a cover-up hangs over Downing Street, with knives also out for Tom Watson.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 132. At 11:46am on 16 Apr 2009, Edward2010 wrote:

    Hi Brian.I notice that all media, not just the BBC are not providing information on where the Scottish general public can meet the UK Cabinet. Why is this? Are you not embaressed by this? Looking at you piecelast night on the UK Cabinet meeting you did look a tad uncomfortable, were the shoes nipping?
    Fact is, and Im sure you will agree, it is a disgrace that the Labour party pretend to have a Q&A session with the public, when the public are not allowed to freely attend

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  • 133. At 12:11pm on 16 Apr 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    130. Do be serious. Sadly, any vestige of "rational and fluent discussion of radical constitutional reform" has long departed these boards. This site (along with the Scotsman and the dying embers of the 'National Conversation') is little more than a source of entertainment nowadays.

    However, there still remain a few forums on the net where such discussion is still possible, that thankfully have not (yet) been hijacked by the more excitable nationalists who cannot avoid ridiculous claims and comments. Forums where informed and mature debates on realistic progressions of the devolutionary system are conducted.

    Obviously, I have no intention of revealing their whereabouts.

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  • 134. At 12:14pm on 16 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #132 Edward2010
    "Looking at you piecelast night on the UK Cabinet meeting"

    Ex expats couldn't watch it live. Was that the 2m25s clip on this website's Cabinet gathers for Scots meeting? If so, I agree with your "uncomfortable", but I suspect that was more from the implications of what has happened to Irish broadcasting following the "emergency which had arisen with regard to Ireland" he mentions therein and above.

    Having had nothing yesterday, the No.10 website now leads with Cabinet meets in Glasgow story, telling us that Ministers will then take part in a Q&A session with the public in about 15 minutes time, but still giving us proles no information about where, who and how.

    Business as usual for Duff Gordon, I suppose.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 135. At 12:16pm on 16 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

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

  • 136. At 12:26pm on 16 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    PS to my #131

    The prospect of reading a post current awaiting moderation from the orignal and often entertaining Reluctant-Expat has reminded me that I should have caveated my posted by making it clear that although the Tories will clearly benefit from both NuLab banana skins covered therein, I do realise that in office the "official" Tories will be less bad than the NuLab ones only in having less experience of manipulating modern media. It is arguably the case that Scottish NuLab might benefit a little from scaremongering over a return to Thatcherism in the general election, but the effect on the 2011 Holyrood can only be positive for home rule.

    We may learn a little more with the European Parliament elections.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 137. At 12:28pm on 16 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:


    "Obviously, I have no intention of revealing their whereabouts."

    On dolly's hard drive!

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  • 138. At 12:30pm on 16 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    About this meeting of the UK cabinet in Glasgow and not being told of its whereabots, I hope that the reason that they have not told us is solely on a security basis. There are a lot of people out there who have already bombed us and I would not like to think that this may happen again. However, I suspect that it is not only the security question but also that Broon wants just the people there that he can control.
    Are you invited Brian?

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  • 139. At 12:33pm on 16 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Hot off the press:

    Brown apologises over smears

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  • 140. At 12:35pm on 16 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Cabinet meeting at Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre

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  • 141. At 12:36pm on 16 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    One quick question:

    Will Brian and the rest of the Scottish media have the affrontery to claim that the secret cabinet meeting was held in front of 'members of the public' ?

    Let's wait and see.

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  • 142. At 12:46pm on 16 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    #121 gedguy2

    While it is the case that I generally do not consider it helpful in these discussions to refer to one's personal circumstances, I think that it may be as well for me to confide in you that our conversation is reminding me of nothing so much as conversations that I have had with a valued political-activist acquaintance from Dundee, which I used to be familiar with because I spent some of my formative years not very far from it and took one of my degrees at Dundee Uni.

    The points that you make to me are, therefore, ones which have been put to me on numerous occasions and indeed from a perspective which you seem to have. My acquaintance had a disconcerting habit of assuming that I personally could not have personal experience of what he was talking about. He was, in fact, mistaken. One should never assume anything. Like many another, the fact that I am extensively educated owes nothing whatever to privilege, other than the privilege of living for a time in an area which, unlike so very many areas, had an excellent school which was open to all.

    By egalitarianism I do not mean communism. I mean genuine equality of opportunity for individuals to realise whatever potential they may have, accepting and fully understanding, of course, that we do not all have the same potential. The fact that we do not all have the same potential is not something to be regretted but is, on the contrary, to be valued.

    This, however, does not mean handing over the government to the street sweepers or publishing government documents in language predicated upon an assumption that we all have the intellect of street sweepers. This would not only be an unrealistic aspiration, if an aspiration is what it is, but it would be unfair to those of us who are not street sweepers and would simply not work due to the nature of the subject matter.

    As for politicians, pitching "their level of discourse to the common denominator" is what Labour politicians do by way of manipulating their core support. Certainly, it is the duty of the politician to communicate with all segments of the electorate. But that includes me as well as the street sweeper. Just as a skilled preacher will direct his or her sermon to
    the simplest among the congregation, s/he will simultaneously communicate on other levels for those who are capable of tuning in to these frequencies, as it were.

    Here, then, is one of the core challenges of democracy: accommodating the street sweeper on an egalitarian basis, which is his human right, without sweeping away what is of value in the state and in society. To reduce political discourse entirely to the lowest common denominator is to devalue it and open the floodgates to those who practise the black art of the political smear, which is an insult to the intelligence of us all.

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  • 143. At 12:49pm on 16 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #133 Reluctant-Expat
    "However, there still remain a few forums on the net where such discussion is still possible"

    I certainly note that there's nowhere to leave public comments on any official NuLab website. It's also no surprise that NuLab apologists like yourself seem to be entirely missing from sites like Unlock Democracy. Time to rethink strategy now that the secrets of the lobby system have been exposed, I suspect.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 144. At 12:58pm on 16 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:


    The fact that there are those who do not view the Labour Party devolution settlement as a satisfactory basis upon which the constitutional framework for Scotland should be constructed may seem to you to be something that does not deserve to be taken seriously, but that is your problem.

    Do be serious.

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  • 145. At 1:05pm on 16 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 142 Anglosaxophone.

    I would agree with you that it would be ideal in an ideal world if egalitarian ideas where the norm, however, we do not live in an ideal world and, I suspect, that we never will.
    As to personal information. I have nothing to hide because, sadly, I have nothing worth having. ;)
    Just to point out to you, I never said the LOWEST common denominator. Pitching your ideas to the street sweeper mentality is not the way to encompass all of the voting public.
    P.s. I agree with you about labour.

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  • 146. At 1:44pm on 16 Apr 2009, Edward2010 wrote:

    Just seen a clip taken in the meet the 'public' at the SECC
    What struck me was the number of suites!
    More suites than a Burtons shop window, would be apt
    'Public'audience is hand picked all right!, mostly MP's and Councillors
    Really surprised and some what disapointed that you Brian, sign up for this rubbish. There is absolutely no way you can call it public!

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  • 147. At 1:49pm on 16 Apr 2009, dubbieside wrote:


    Just watched the Scottish News. Brian said that Brown was taking part in a question and answer session with members of the general public. He did sprint past the general public part.

    Mind you this was the short lunch time version. Presumably he will have more time at 6.30PM to tell us how these "members of the public" were chosen, and how their questions were chosen.

    I have a funny vision of Labour spin doctors running round saying dont mention the emails, in a Basil Faulty voice.

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  • 148. At 1:57pm on 16 Apr 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    I spend quite a lot of time contributing to the Conservative Home page, mostly poking it with very sharp sticks and am allowed to do so. It took about three similar submissions to the NuLabour equivalent before I was barred. Says a lot about Labour.

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  • 149. At 2:04pm on 16 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    Kenneth Roy, trenchant as usual The end of authority?

    "The real badness is not on the streets; the real badness is not among the so-called 'ordinary people', the vast majority of whom go about their lives with innate respect for the feelings of others. The real badness is at the top, which reeks of it, and in the gutters below, where the guilty secrets lie."

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  • 150. At 2:05pm on 16 Apr 2009, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    The Evening Times states "People from local organisations, including businesses, schools, youth groups charities and the public sector have been invited to air their concerns directly to the Government."

    In other words, a hand-picked audience will ask a series of vetted easy questions.

    Public my a**e.

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  • 151. At 3:03pm on 16 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    #145 gedguy2

    By definition an ideal world is one in which we do not live, but ideals perform a formative function in the real world, nonetheless. Although they may seem to be no more than shadows on a wall, they are a powerful reality the effects of which are all around us, for good and ill, for those who have eyes to see.

    An egalitarian society is conceived of, certainly by me, not as one in which equality of opportunity is absolutely achieved but as one in which the maximum degree of realisable equality of opportunity is provided by the institutions of the state. As inequality of opportunity constantly tends to re-establish itself over time, no sytem can eliminate it completely, of course. This does not mean to say that a very large degree of equality of opportunity cannot be established and preserved if we are clever and wise enough to put systems in place which are well enough designed to achieve that.

    The reference to personal references merely concerned what I take to be the desirability of adopting a completely impersonal approach to public debate, but that is just a personal preference. I dare say that you have nothing to hide. I, on the other hand, . . .

    I acknowledge that you said "common denominator" rather than "lowest common denominator". That is the kind of debating-point misrepresentation that politicians get up to so frequently that it is evidently contagious. I am so pleased to find that we agree about Labour, incidentally.

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  • 152. At 3:25pm on 16 Apr 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    143. For the countless-th time, I'm no Labour supporter.

    There are more than just the Labour voters among the majority of Scots that are anti-SNP and its endless 'anything that might increase support for independence' publicity stunts.

    Voted for Labour in the 97 General Election (18 years is enough of any party) but otherwise I'm a Conservative supporter (small government, small Europe, low tax, pro-business, pro-private wealth creation, pro-enterprise, strong foreign policy etc.).

    When Labour took over, the UK had a steadily growing trade surplus, a steadily growing govt surplus, higher average growth, rapidly falling debt (which promptly started rising when Labour started their spending binge in 2002) and far lower personal debt.

    The Conservative mantra was 'Live within your means'.

    Sadly Labour (and clearly the SNP as well) prefer to not follow such a sensible economic path.

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  • 153. At 4:49pm on 16 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 151 Anglosaxophone
    Surely you are not trying to say that we, the subjects of her majesty, have as equal an opportunity to 'get on' as the upper classes? This society that we are forced to live in is riddled with inequalities from the top right down to the bottom.
    I'm sure that you are aware that there are many structures in place in our society where, unless you are 'on the square' you will not get the job, contract etc. as it will be given to those that are.
    Apart from that I tend to agree with your underlying sentiments.

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  • 154. At 5:15pm on 16 Apr 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:


    I think you'll find that the SNP is very keen to bring in a fiscally responsible regime but you obviously haven't been watching.
    It has already cut the number of Government departments by a quarter, cancelled all use of rip-off PFI methods and is building responsibly out of current funding where possible. It has given every council an above inflation settlement, has engineered a secondCounci tax freeze,has cancelled commercial rates for the majority of Scotland's small businesses. It has insisted on 2% per annum efficiency savings from Scottish Councils but allows them to reinvest these savings into more efficient services all this against the backdrop of the worst settlement for Scotland since devolution .
    There have been a large number of announcementsof extra money to sensible schemes so much so that my cousin who runs a medium sized business in Berkshire (and who became a Tory when he moved down there -shock, horror) said to me that he wished England had an SNP government as well.
    In our pathetic media John Swinney is the unsung hero of Scottish politics but the serious members of the business community are very aware of his brilliance.

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  • 155. At 6:42pm on 16 Apr 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    154. LOL. Many thanks to the SNP Propaganda Department for the response.

    By the way, re "all this against the backdrop of the worst settlement for Scotland since devolution"....

    ...Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this 'settlement' actually the largest ever?

    Larger than anything Labour had and over double the first budget of just ten years ago?

    And didn't Swinney make such a dire hash of the public accounts last year that a team of government accountants needed a month of juggling overspends and underspends to balance the books, identifying a tiny underspend....which Swinney then took full credit for?

    As for PFI; have the SNP yet initiated a single public works project, as opposed to continuing to take full credit for projects started by the previous lot? All prisons, hospitals, road improvements, schools etc. currently under construction were initiated by Labour, yet the SNP repeatedly announce and re-announce how THEY are bullding this and that.
    (Hang on, they have finally kicked off a road improvement scheme somewhere, haven't they. I stand corrected by myself on that count.)

    And we have yet to see the fall-out from such policies as scrapping student fees, denying universities of considerable income which has not been replaced by alternative funding. We also wait to see the results of scrapping the hospital car parking charges, denying hospitals of vital income streams. Again no replacement funding.

    Check the accounts, almost no change in these budgets.

    Then we have to wait for yet more budget cuts somewhere to finance the ongoing repairs of the Forth bridges now that the tolls, that made them self-financing, have been scrapped.

    Then we could examine the general economic awareness among the SNP demonstrated so spectacularly by Salmond's 'Arc of Prosperity'...just months before one country's total meltdown sent it running to the IMF...and then another's meltdown which has seen its economy contract by nearly a tenth, public salaries cut by 8% and it's unemployment nearly double in just the past three months.

    Then there was Salmond's recent comments that the "flow of resources is from North to South" apparently missing completely the almost #500bn (that's four times the entire Scottish economy) that was spent by the UK on propping up two of the biggest corporate disasters in Scottish (and UK) history in the past year.

    Then there were all the shrill cries from the nationalists that somehow the UK was to blame for Iceland's demise when the seized UK assets before they could be transferred to Iceland. How many other billions from how many councils, companies and individuals have been swallowed up by a bankrupt Rekjavik, never to be seen again?

    I wonder if 'economic ignorance' is a trait among the entire pro-independence crowd? That would certainly explain a lot.

    We could also regurgitate another hilarious Salmond gaff where he campaigns for the removal of "gold-plated banking regulation"....just months before a financial crash brought about by inadequate banking regulation.

    And yet more from Salmond ineptitude where he claims that Scottish oil revenues are being denied from Scotland.....just months before public accounts show that his budget in fact receives (and spends) Scotland's full share of oil revenues.

    It's frightening that our First Minister has so little clue as to the financial state of the country. Just what does he base his 'economic argument for independence' on?!

    Then there was the recent head-scratching among many, caused by Shrek's bizarre claim that he could provide funding "to help keep the Dunfermline Building Society as a going concern" despite it being clearly obvious to all (but him and the idiot who so spectacularly broke the company apparently) that the company was totally bust and, even in the best of times, could never service the massive loans needed to bail it out.

    Salmond claims to be an 'economist' and you think Swinney is 'brilliant'.

    Ho hum.

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  • 156. At 7:11pm on 16 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Unison figures.

    Scottish PFI/PPP contracts could be costing around £2.1 billion more than conventional funding. That
    is nearly 10% of the total cost of all Scottish PFI/PPP contracts. It is also close to the entire estimated
    £2.4 billion cost of ‘rent’ payments for the use of hospitals and other facilities in all the Scottish NHS
    PFI/PPP projects.

    Scotland said in the case of first generation PFI schools could be as much as 10% of total costs.*
    UNISON Scotland has previously estimated the sums wasted on PFI as £5.8 billion, taking into account
    the whole range of factors (see p7 paragraph in brackets re other extra costs) including higher
    financing. These figures show that is in fact likely to be an underestimate.

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  • 157. At 7:58pm on 16 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    RE 119 PMK

    Patty I for once agree with you. You are far better engaging in meaningful debate with the like minded ultra nats that display such incisive objective analysis on these boards.

    Your level of "debate" is usually typified by picking one aspect of a post and ignoring the rest, attempting to ridicule the position and then making disparaging comments about the poster while regailing all about how clever you are.

    Impressive. Glad I'm not one of your students.

    Re 116

    Another shining example of nationalist objectivity.

    Re 110 Wrong again

    I don't slavishly follow a party, blinded to all the things they don't get right. There is not a government in history that has not broken promises.

    So now I can pick whoever will represent my views best. It is a pity that more can't be a little objective.

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  • 158. At 8:07pm on 16 Apr 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 155

    The DBS issue was not he fault of the management, it is another unionist plot to thwart independence.

    The idiotic decisions made by the management were really sound seemingly.

    Alec and John are brilliant economists, when we are indepedent everything will be utopian.

    Just don't ask what it will cost, because they haven't a clue.

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  • 159. At 8:25pm on 16 Apr 2009, Tom wrote:



    "I do support Scottish Tourism, especially by Holidaying in Scotland. I detest Spain and such destinations and always support Scottish locations at least once a year."

    I know you would support our tourism industry, I was not suggesting otherwise but I was suggesting tat you tone it down untill we know the facts and figures.

    If the SNP are correct and a total extra 40 million is brought in because of the Homecoming, then... what's the matter?

    Too make money, you spend it.

    "But really did we have to spend that amount for a simple TV advert? It isn't even that good.

    It's a difference of opinion. I thought it was okay, not fantastic but I never thought it was terrible.

    "I have relatives in Australia who are proud of their roots and take a keen interest in all things Scottish. they see little promotion of the Homecoming.

    I suggest your own knowledge would benefit from reading Scottish History, a lot of Scots emigrated to Australia. Surely a target market?"

    I guess I have to explain why your theory is wrong.

    History, history is what happens in the past... but it does not tell us about the present or future.

    Austraila would consist of many Scot's, but your relatives do not represent every single Aussie out there. It's possible they failed to notice the advertising, but perhaps we ignored Austraila altogether, America has more Scot's afterall.

    But take a closer look at the Austrailan population. It's no longer dominated by Europeans. How many Asians will actually have a Scottish background who went to Austraila?

    Times are changing, mate.

    Look into the larger picutre, it would be interesting to know where exactly our advertising was aimed at.

    But you don't want to be one of those clowns... who for example use HBOS and RBS as reasons why Scotland can't be independent, because they failed while we were apart of the Union? Like the above for example.

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  • 160. At 9:34pm on 16 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    #153 gedguy2

    In response to your paragraph 1, I have said no such thing in my #151 or indeed anywhere else. On the contrary.

    I am gratified to find that you tend to agree with my underlying sentiments.

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  • 161. At 00:05am on 17 Apr 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:


    No doubt you'll be telling us next we have been served exceedingly well by successive UK governments in economic matters.
    Interesting that you think the people of Fife and the Lothians should pay bridge tolls while everybody else gets to cross their bridges for free.

    Of course the UK Labour Government was generous to a Scottish Labour Government by giving them an above inflation settlement every year - until the SNP came in when they gave a below inflation settlement.

    Actually inflation accounts for about 70% of the rise in Scottish government funding since devolution anyway.

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  • 162. At 10:10am on 17 Apr 2009, neebour wrote:


    No prizes for guessing which Propaganda Department you belong to then !

    Dire hash, denying universities, denying hospitals, economic ignorance, ineptitude, little clue, idiot and of course frightening, which is always used by people when they are scaremongering.

    I also think its a bit much when people use terms like "obvious to all", which you seem to do with alarming regularity.

    Someone posted earlier that we should all be wary of the approaching storm of spin and mud slinging, which many of us know will come at some point. Well I think its "obvious to all" that it already has.

    I laughed outloud when I read: I wonder if "economic ignorance" is a trait among the entire pro-independence crowd? That would certainly explain a lot!

    Maybe it should read: I wonder if "complete ignorance" is a trait among the entire pro-unionist crowd? That would certainly explain a lot. Its got a better ring to it I think.

    The campaign of mis-information, smears (as we already know) and character assassinations is well under way so get used to seeing a lot more of this kind of post folks.

    Once the rabid unionist attack dogs start, no holes will be barred, in fact I had to wipe the slavers of my computer screen.

    By the way, just which country exactly are you a reluctant ex-patriate of ? I think we should be told !

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  • 163. At 11:37am on 17 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 160 Anglosaxophone
    I was referring, though slightly tongue in cheek to your # 151 posting: 'An egalitarian society is conceived of, certainly by me, not as one in which equality of opportunity is absolutely achieved but as one in which the maximum degree of realisable equality of opportunity is provided by the institutions of the state. As inequality of opportunity constantly tends to re-establish itself over time, no sytem can eliminate it completely, of course. This does not mean to say that a very large degree of equality of opportunity cannot be established and preserved if we are clever and wise enough to put systems in place which are well enough designed to achieve that.'
    I hope that you didn't take too much offense to my posting. ;)

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  • 164. At 11:44am on 17 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Riddoch Questions - 17th April

    "• ‘SMEARGATE’ – the scandal refuses to go away after one of the Prime Minister’s top aides, Damian McBride, was forced to resign when an email he sent smearing senior Conservatives fell into the hands of a prominent blogger."

    Still a lot of unanswered questions re Watson, Whelan, Alexander and others.

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  • 165. At 12:57pm on 17 Apr 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Gategate: The scandal that the media insist on applying a certain suffix to all political upheavals.

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  • 166. At 00:16am on 18 Apr 2009, Anglosaxophone wrote:

    #163 gedguy2

    As I had not suggested that the UK is what I would characterise as an egalitarian society in accordance with the definition which I offered, your remark seemed to me to be not offensive but based upon a misapprehension. Now that you tell me that it was humour I shall look out for that in future.

    To take offence would be to take oneself too seriously. It's only blogging.

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