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Fiona Hyslop

Brian Taylor | 13:48 UK time, Friday, 8 May 2009

Ever feel the world is out to get you? No, of course not.

There is a distinct dearth of conspiracy theorists among contributors to this site.

However, perhaps the Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop might be forgiven a slight sense of paranoia. That is, if she pays overmuch attention to the views of her political opponents.

For they are quite definitely out to get her.

The pack has decided that Ms Hyslop is the weak point in Alex Salmond's team - and is moving in.

For the Liberal Democrats, Margaret Smith says that the Education Secretary has provided "more evidence that she is out of her depth" over the issue of class sizes.

For the Tories, Margaret Mitchell, speaking in a Holyrood debate, blamed Ms Hyslop for indiscipline in Scottish schools.

And what of Labour? Emulating Gordon Brown - whose appearance on YouTube was such a notable success - Iain Gray has chosen the avenue of a video diary to pile in.

A former teacher, Mr Gray assesses the mid-term performance of the Cabinet, awarding lamentable marks all round. However, he reserves his sharpest criticism for Fiona Hyslop.

She gets a zero, a lunchtime detention and a visit to the Headie.

Now it takes courage for a Labour leader to use the device of marks out of ten, given that Wendy Alexander was widely derided for awarding herself a maximum score. (Note to respondents: the word "courage" is used here in its ironic "Yes Minister" sense. As it was the last time I used it.)

But Mr Gray thinks he has found a target. He even blames Ms Hyslop for the decline in the number of those studying French and German. Is he suggesting these be made compulsory?

That aside, Ms Hyslop may feel she is able to withstand an assault from the two Margarets and Mr Gray.

However, education policy is perhaps proving particularly fraught for the Scottish Government. The policy of lower class sizes in early years is meeting resistance - and questions as to its efficacy.

Opponents are challenging the extent of the school building programme. Universities and colleges are voicing concern over funding. Students are grumbling about financial support.

Twas ever thus, I suppose.

But Opposition parties plainly reckon that Ministers can be successfully targeted over a perceived lack of response in the field of education.

Partly, I guess, the concerted attack on Fiona Hyslop reflects the relative strengh of her Cabinet colleagues.

For example, opponents consistently fail to trip up the likes of Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney.

As for Alex Salmond, it would appear that they are reduced to throwing paper clips at him.

Comments

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  • 1. At 2:21pm on 08 May 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Correct me if I'm wrong , I'm sure someone will, but I think French language classes are compulsory in Scottish secondary schools, at least up to standard grade level.
    Soul destroying for the poor teachers!The young have the same disinterest in languages as the population of the UK as a whole.
    We tend to find that foreigners can speak two or three languages , one of which is usually English so we don't need to bother.
    Other than that , if we shout at them loud enough they'll get the message.

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  • 2. At 2:28pm on 08 May 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    "There is a distinct dearth of conspiracy theorists among contributors to this site." Why would you make a comment like this Blian? (as if we expect an answer!), and why, if you're making such observations do you not respond to any of them? Seems you're just good at stirring it and running away sniggering. Is this blog just used to gage depth of feeling and opinion trends? Or am I just being a paranoid conspiracy theorist..;)? Why is it not just the BBC political forum/blog? you're obviously no good at it anyway. Not once have I seen you engage with anyone on here.

    I said to a rather "senstive" freind once "You think everythings a bl**dy conspiracy". He relied, "well evrything is a conspiricay"

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  • 3. At 2:39pm on 08 May 2009, LilywhiteMcLenin wrote:

    Fiona Hyslop and her party may have many faults but at least she appears interested in the subject, the track record of New Labour former teachers in charge of education is hardly one of unparalleled success (Morris? Peacock? anyone?)

    Maybe Ian Gray would be better off keeping schtum on the issue as his colleagues in the cooncil in Glasgow shut down popular local schools, has shut down adult learning opportunities for vulnerable communities in the city and presided over the unmitigated disaster of sinking schools built under PPP/PFI schemes to the benefit of big businesses that own them?

    I can but wish I suppose......

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  • 4. At 2:39pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #1 Diabloandco

    The requirement for a compulsory modern language was dropped by the previous administration (though it is still encouraged).

    The problem lies with the target setting system devised by Labour pre-devolution, and implemented by the 200 Education Act. Secondary schools and LAs have a statutory responsibility to "improve" educational standards according to a limited set of measures originally created by HMI for the Tories in the 1990s.

    These include the % of the roll passing at least 1, 3, or 5 Highers. Not all exams are equally hard, and a school would technically be acting illegally, if it were to encourage pupils to take subjects that they were more likely to fail.

    Additionally, HMI measure the effectiveness of subjects by their pass rate in exams. Schools are encouraged to present pupils at a level they are likely to pass, instead of encouraging them to aim high, and risk failure.

    If Fional Hyslop is to be criticised, it should be for not taking the entire Labour target setting system - with its dumbing down consequences - and consigning it to the dustbin immediately.

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  • 5. At 2:46pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    re my #4

    The Education Act was, of course, in 2000. While it sometimes seems that Labour have been around for ever - thankfully that isn't the case.

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  • 6. At 3:00pm on 08 May 2009, minuend wrote:

    The global business language is English. Learning German or French in that context is a bit pointless.

    When you consider that most popular holiday destination for Scots is Spain, and Spanish is more widely spoken than either German or French it make more sense for Scottish school children to learn a language they would actually use.

    hasta la vista

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  • 7. At 3:03pm on 08 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Detention for you Brian as you have forgotten the "PS".


    Johann Hari: Dear God, stop brainwashing children

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  • 8. At 3:03pm on 08 May 2009, ScaraBraeSingleMalt wrote:

    Brian, I had a wee smile on my face regarding the "courage" statement in brackets. I for one got did not get the real meaning on the previous occasion you used this word due to my not reading your post correctly. Hmm, does that make me a member of the Labour party now, or maybe the Tories for being so short sighted and wearing blinkers?
    Surely the Tories should harass the Labour party for what has been seen as a CfE fiasco. For those unaware, CfE is Curriculum for Excellence. This was apparently started by Jack Mconnel, although I have my doubts as to whether CfE came before Clintons Journey to Excellence or after. Either way, one borrows deeply from the other. What is my point? CfE is a Labour initiative that was a program for education to incorporate cross curricular learning and teaching within what was to become the new 3 to 18 framework and intiated in August 2007. CfE was put back and put back and put back and put back again because no-one really knew what JM and Labour really wanted or hoped for. I do not believe that the current minister is to blame and would also say this for Tories or Lib Dems to be honest, as CfE was thought up and given as a matter of fact policy. CfE was to enable teachers to incorporate external and self learning into lessons to create a more appropriate learning environment. The problem, however, begins when other teachers do not share this point of view as they see CfE as something else. For me, CfE is not dificult to understand but it can become more complicated the older pupils get and although I say I understand CfE, I know for a fact others would disagree with my sentiment as they have a diferent view. Many teachers and LA's simply do not understand CfE and the current cohort of pupils don't either. I believe confusion stems from the previous Labour administration and no-one else. Miss Hyslop has taken the reins and does speak about CfE but their are many who simply answer "eh?" and then others argue about creativity.
    In regards to school behaviour, there is a direct link with school uniform and enforcing homework as extra learning and school discipline. Do a simple google search and you will find evidence, I don't have time or inclination to do this for you - CfE actually encourages you to research for yourself, so why not do your own work? I recall Labour initiatives dispelling various school attributes such as uniform and homework by the previous administration and Captain Pugwash, oops I mean Tommy Sheridan. I think the probolem with ex teachers going into politics is they want to change the world, starting with education and all of a sudden, their remit takes on the "this happened to me so I make sure it won't happen to you" malarky. Mr Gray may very well hand out marks out of 10 but within this all inclusive CfE and AifL (Assessment is for Learning) community of learning and active, responsible citizens, maybe Labour and the Tories should be a bit more wise as to the witless words they bandy about. Sure Miss Hyslop should be more proactive in terms of school discipline but I sincerely recall it was indeed Labour who took a great deal of the swipe away from teachers (and I do not mean the belt, I am against hitting heads and hands).
    Although, I too am waiting for the day when class sizes are brought under control. Its not class sizes, it is who is in the class. You won't like it but this is true: there are pupils in mainstream education who cannot fit into the pace of education and are held back or hold back. Is this a fair system? Parents rights must be revoked when the childs rights to an education and learning are harmed. Ultimately, the folly of the current system really does lie with Jack McConnel and Labour. Their vision was good in theory but their practice was often an un-necessary shambles of over speant budgets and an education system with a new arm (int highers!) that no-one really thinks is useful but are a srop gap until the next (un)necessary.

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  • 9. At 3:04pm on 08 May 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    I think it is strange that Labour and the Libdems are attacking Hyslop over the very educational policies they put in place.

    Then again over in the Glasgow Herod I note that Ian Bell is now comparing Elmer Fudd of Labour with 'rope a dope' and musing that no one is missing Tavish.

    As for conspiracy theories the one that runs routinely on your blog, Brian, is the screaming Union bias shown by the Scottish media against the SNP - especially BBC Scotland and the Hootsmon.

    The BBC will mention a poll that does not support the underlying trend - such as yesterday's Times poll yet ignores the poll that is showing a pretty consistent 42% of Scots wanting independence within the EU rising to 52% if the Tories are elected in 2010. Yet the BBC and Scottish media outlets consistently refer to the 23% for independence from May 2007 as the proper figure. More confusingly Angus Mcleod in the Times, just three days before the Times poll on independence, estimated the swing from Labour to SNP in Scotland was in excess of 20% if all indicators were taken into consideration. This can only be happening if the SNP are winning the argument for more independence from Westminster based on their performance in Holyrood.

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  • 10. At 3:12pm on 08 May 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Good stuff Brian, your cheeky digs at us all did make me chuckle! And I loved the reference to Mike Rumbles hitting Salmond with a paper clip - he'll need a sharper weapon than that to harm Eck!

    Hyslop does seem to be getting more than her share of attention. I suspect you are right that she is perceived as the only minister they have a hope of damaging.

    I read an article a while back in which somebody claimed that to get class sizes down to the promised levels would cost around 500m GBP for extra teachers. Now I wonder, where could we get our hands on that sort of sum? Anyone have any ideas...?

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  • 11. At 3:16pm on 08 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Fiona Hyslop has had a difficult time as education minister.

    While it is true, and must be admitted that the teacher-pupil ratio has not got worse under Hyslop's watch. However it is equally fair to point out that over the last two years the SNP government have failed to meet its set manifesto target, to reduce the amount of pupils in every classrooms. But let us, while pointing out such failure equally balance with the fact that there is still two years left for it to get sorted.

    BUT.

    As oldnat, and AW have previously pointed out to me, why the obsession with the pupil-teacher ratios, the numbers of pupils to each classroom? Should the educational priority not be to modernise our comprehensive schools buildings? Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, across the entire country indeed we are finding schools in dire need for repair and in some cases rebuilding. This is where the; now exceptionally limited; monies for education in Scotland should be directed towards.

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  • 12. At 3:19pm on 08 May 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

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

  • 13. At 3:20pm on 08 May 2009, skint wrote:

    Correct me if I am wrong but dont the local authorities determine how many teachers they employ etc. Laungages have been a problem for many years now, during the last government our local school couldnt get French or German teachers as the Labour controlled local authority said there was a shortage of languages teachers but the then Labour Education minister said there was a glut of language teachers - still didnt get a teacher.

    School class sizes are also dependant on having suitable accommdation available but as PFI schools have run away with education budgets then.......

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  • 14. At 3:24pm on 08 May 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #4 oldnat -
    "If Fional Hyslop is to be criticised, it should be for not taking the entire Labour target setting system - with its dumbing down consequences - and consigning it to the dustbin immediately."
    I agree, wholeheartedly . . .
    As a (Small, primary) School Governor; I'd just like to pass on the opinion of my/our head teacher with regard to standards in education. His belief is that standards should be measured by the performance of the teachers not the pupils.
    Teachers are already assessed, in school and by external inspectors. Lessons are evaluated. This, including comparisons against previous performance and other local schools/colleges should be the standard by which education is measured.
    Good schools will have good teachers and vice versa. However, schools in 'disadvantaged' areas will not necessarily be seen as providing a 'disadvantaged' education if their teachers perform to raise the abilities of their pupils.
    Pupils should be tested; they need to be in order that the school can best plan their future education. However, results of these tests only need to be used 'in school' - they shouldn't be the measure by which pupils (And, by extension, schools) are assessed.
    Setting standards by teachers' performances, as well, should see an end to this invidious 'teaching to the test'. Evaluating a teachers performance on the basis of how much they deliver will encourage staff to broaden their approach, not narrow it to whatever happens to be on the curriculum this week.
    If Fiona Hyslop wants to really make her mark as an educator; I'd suggest this would be an excellent way to do it.

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  • 15. At 3:30pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop does appear to be the limping sheep that the wolves have decided to pounce upon.

    However local councils are responsible for the the education budget for the area, and thanks to the SNP's historic agreement, councils are now flexible financially and allowed to act independently from the Scottish Governments request (although they are suppose to still work towards their promises).

    Before we pin the blame on the Secretary we should consider the council, that councils problems that they may consider a priority in handling and what is the overall picture of education in Scotland.

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  • 16. At 3:31pm on 08 May 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    If the only gripe the Grayman can make stick to a member of the Scottish Cabinet is the fact that kids don't want to learn a language, I'm not convinced.

    I read, write and speak German & Japanese relatively fluently - but neither of these languages I worked particularly hard at untill my early to mid 20's.

    I speak a modicium of french that helps in West Afica immensely and a smattering of Spanish that most people who go on holiday to spain can identify.

    It's all up to the individual and in my case, languages didn't interest me until after I left school, had been through college and decided I wanted to travel.

    Stop making it compulsory for kids to take French or German and instead offer a choice in optional languages - that way you might just see kids enrolling in the langauages that interest them and most probably excelling in them.

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  • 17. At 3:38pm on 08 May 2009, Richard wrote:

    It seems to me that all the Unionist parties are going to need a campaign against the SNP to trumpet. As the stench of corruption, greed and disfunction from Westminster grows ever stronger, the need for something (anything!) to divert attention will grow equally.

    Personally, I think Gordon should hand the keys of No 10 to Joanna Lumley, who can be caretaker PM until an election can be called.

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  • 18. At 3:42pm on 08 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Goodness, could I just ask for some respite from the (ever amusing!) quibs and satirical word play if it isnt original? I mean we've already had 'Glasgow Herod'... its just pretty unfunny.

    Sorry for being a wee bitty of a sour grape

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  • 19. At 3:51pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    It was great to see Nicola Sturgeon wiping the floor with Iain Gray in front of the whole nation on Question Time last night.

    Gray had a few of his own "Joanna Lumley" moments and he looked like a naughty schoolboy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

    If it's "weak links" you're talking about Gray certainly fills the bill.

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  • 20. At 3:54pm on 08 May 2009, salmondella wrote:

    #2 waitingformyman

    "I said to a rather "senstive" freind once "You think everythings a bl**dy conspiracy". He relied, "well evrything is a conspiricay""

    Your friend wouldn't be the "boy" from "Greenock" would it?!

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  • 21. At 3:54pm on 08 May 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Brian

    I think Fiona Hyslop may find some comfort in the Denis Healy retort to Howe, "Like being attacked by a dead sheep"

    The big problem both the Labour and Lib Dems have is that while they would like to forget the eight long years they were in office, but not in power, the vast majority of voters do not.

    Nearly all the policies they criticize were put in place by them, and the SNP, while not achieving everything they have set out to do, are making a decent job of sorting them out. We are also only two years in to making up for the eight wasted years.

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  • 22. At 3:54pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Brian Taylor has not a word to say about how the UK government ministers' expenses scandal affects the electoral credibility of all Labour MPs in Scotland.
    Not a single word.

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  • 23. At 3:55pm on 08 May 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #13-skintybroko - you are correct it is left to every individual council to work out how many teachers they employ and how education is run in their wee kingdom. the problem is, the snp are now finding out why the labour party HAD to have ring fencing . Left to their own devices our district councils don't use the moneys available to them in a sensible way .
    bring education out of the control of councils and place it under the control of the Scottish Parliament which would produce a standard level throughout the country and many other benefits!
    Sid

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  • 24. At 3:57pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

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

  • 25. At 4:00pm on 08 May 2009, newsjock wrote:

    For once, let's cut to the nub of the issue.

    The Government only has a finite budget. Therefore only up to a certain maximum can be spent on any area of responsibility.

    If education policy is wobbly it needs to be firmed up, but we cannot improve all pre-school, primary school, secondary school and university education simultaneously AND make subsistence grants available to advanced education students.

    Why do we need nursery schools ? Proper parenting should give children an adequate start to their education prior to primary school age.

    As for a drop in French and German language education - let's get back to basics and teach pupils clear, concise English first.

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  • 26. At 4:03pm on 08 May 2009, U13791988 wrote:


    No doubt Brian, the next topic of debate will be performance of Iain Gray or Gordon Brown? Aye right!

    Typical of BBC that when there is Labour sleazzze on the go, like the expenses snouts in trough, it decides to focus on artificial stories about others. We saw this earlier in the week with Trident and public buildings.

    What will you journos do when the good ship independence arrives in port? There will not be enough room for you all in Jacks villa!

    TDBs

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  • 27. At 4:04pm on 08 May 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    The education portfolio really is a poisoned chalice: if results improve, it's because the exams are getting easier; if results decline, it's the administration's fault.

    Of course, education is - or should be - about much more than examination results. Most of the fabric of the schools estate is in dire need not of 'repair and make do' (which is almost invariably favoured by local authorities) but of 'knock it down and start again.'

    (I do realise that the distinction between capital and revenue spending lies at the heart of some of the decisionmaking process, and the ideological insistence of successive governments pushing PFI/PPP has only entrenched indebtedness well into the 21st century.)

    --

    Labour (who control the councils responsible for the greatest part of education expenditure) should be careful that, in launching criticism for matters which are locally-determined, they don't end up getting what they apparently wish for - the nationalisation of pre-tertiary education, run directly by the Education Secretary.

    As in so many areas of local authority control, the Councillors simply aren't up to the job of overseeing the delivery of a quality service.

    And it is devastating that those least able to defend themselves (children and the elderly/infirm) are most exposed - through the Education and Social Services delivery mechanisms, respectively - to the limitations of Councillors' abilities.

    Like Social Services, Education is innately political but it is far too important for petty politicking.

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  • 28. At 4:07pm on 08 May 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    #18

    Deal the story, deanthetory:

    Please don't tell me you're yet another derekbarker incarnation!!!!

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  • 29. At 4:11pm on 08 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Frankly, who really cares what Iain Gray (spelling?) thinks of pretty much any area of policy ...

    It is now abundantly clear that the Scottish people don't care to listen to him; since in poll after poll he scores worse than the hated Tory's leader Bella, and worse than Wendy "10 out of 10" Alexander in more recent polls!

    The man is a complete incompetent, and his job relies wholly on another similarly under-qualified individual with an inexplicably inflated ego - residing in Downing Street.


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  • 30. At 4:24pm on 08 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Meanwhile, in a magical far away land where individual get their employers to pay for Sky TV and house cleaning out of their expenses,

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/please-go/

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5293257/MPs-expenses-Telegraph-reveals-Gordon-Browns-payments-to-brother.html


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  • 31. At 4:37pm on 08 May 2009, skint wrote:

    #27

    "Like Social Services, Education is innately political but it is far too important for petty politicking."

    Couldnt agree more

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  • 32. At 4:37pm on 08 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    When Disraeli told my Tory ancestors; much to their then alarm; that

    "the first consideration of a minister should be the people's health. Pure air, pure water, the inspection of unhealthy habitations, the adulteration of food, these and many kindred matters may be legitimately dealth with by the legislature"

    He illustrated that there are grounds for real and substantial government and parliamentary intervention. The social reforms needed may not be the same as then, but Disraeli's principal point holds firm- the the governing ministers must, and can directly intervene to improve and strengthen the lives and quality of life of the working classes.

    Therefore in line with the ideological traditions of Tory Democracy I call for the SNP to be reforming, lets see a mass school building and modernisation scheme in the public sector- not only to solve the greater problem for our education system (that the schools in many cases are in need of urgent attention), but it can be a employment creating keynesian style measure to help the contructon firms. Directed by government we can launch a keynesian style boost that will make the so-called labourites sick with envy!

    1. such a scheme will create employment- getting the policy of a committment for full employment back in the centre-ground of British politics
    2. It shall breath new life into the state comprehensive system, with modern schools, internet access, better playing field provision etc.
    3. it will stimulate an economic boost in a way possible under currenbt devolutionary powers, and may avoid the worst of Labours economic depression for us Socttish people.

    Thoughts?

    p.s. I've tryed to be radical and One Nationist in my leftist conservative thought.

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  • 33. At 4:42pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    "Like Social Services, Education is innately political but it is far too important for petty politicking."

    From this to this "Please don't tell me you're yet another derekbarker incarnation!!!!"

    Many councils are under SNP control.Have the teachers adopted the SNP mantra, "blame all others" next you will be calling for a return to the belt(aka) strap. All in all your just another brick in the wall"

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  • 34. At 4:42pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 35. At 4:47pm on 08 May 2009, edinchris wrote:

    It does surprise me how many people think the SNP government are doing a good job. They are not doing a good job. Not even close. They have been in power two years and in that time have done very little apart from moan about Westminster. They are made to look competent by the fact that there are very few good opposition MSPs to take them on.

    As for Fiona Hyslop, some of the criticism she is getting is unfair. I don't think for example she can be blamed for pupils not taking French and German. The recent OECD report that showed Scotland's Education system in a bad light was conducted in 2007, before she could reasonably have been expected to do anything about it.

    However, there are some things that she (or at least her party) can rightly be blamed for. Let's look at two of their manifesto commitments:
    1) We will match the Labour school building programme brick for brick
    2) we will wipe out all student debt.

    While the first promise was naive in that after scrapping PPP, they were never going to come up with another system to pay for school buildings, the second commitment was completely daft! Luckily for the SNP, they can blame the economic crisis and Labour's cuts for not achieving their manifesto commitments, but I have no doubts that they could never have met those commitments anyway, crisis or no crisis!

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  • 36. At 4:52pm on 08 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Good grief, where did this come from?

    Can it be that there is more bad news to be deflected from Labour?

    This must surely be the most brazen and clumsy attempt ever by anyone to somehow create a story from nothing.

    The pack is closing in? It is indeed Brian, but the drooling barking hounds you hear are not the lamentable crew who's woefull lack of credibility you are trying to enhance. The real story is the ferreting out of their fox holes those Labour MP's, and other Unionist counterparts, who have been engaging in what David Cameron calls "Casual Corruption".

    Global himself is implicated in this sorry episode that calls into question the intergrity of the whole Westminster mechanism.

    Brian has not enhanced his reputation with this truly awfull diversionary piece - stay on topic indeed !!

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  • 37. At 5:07pm on 08 May 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    20. At 3:54pm on 08 May 2009, salmondella wrote:
    #2 waitingformyman

    "I said to a rather "senstive" freind once "You think everythings a bl**dy conspiracy". He relied, "well evrything is a conspiricay""

    Your friend wouldn't be the "boy" from "Greenock" would it?!

    *****************************

    hehehe lol no.
    :-)

    Whats wrong with greenockboy? I find his posts quite honest and unpresumtious, also lacking in spite though quite passionate at times. And does'nt give the immpression that he is just trying to be clever for the sake of it. I respect that.

    Not too familiar with your posts yet, but I hope your comment was made with humour?

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  • 38. At 5:09pm on 08 May 2009, msSupertramp wrote:

    There is a distinct dearth of conspiracy theorists among contributors to this site.

    Brian, as is often the case you have made my day, ably (and I imagine uncomprehendingly) supported by the usual sprinkling of "the media is biased against us" types from various view points. As long as media criticism of the govt of the day attracts allegations of bias my own paranoia is slightly soothed.....

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  • 39. At 5:11pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #36 greenockboy

    Excellent point. What a cheek the BBC has asking people to stay "on topic" when they insist on publishing articles about as far "off topic" as it is possible to get in regard to the important political stories of the day.

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  • 40. At 5:11pm on 08 May 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    #33

    You may have a lot to learn, db, but posting responses (or otherwise contributing) to a blog does not constitute part of the education process.

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  • 41. At 5:21pm on 08 May 2009, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    #35 'edinbucket

    There is a world of difference between a competent government and an incompetent 'shadow' government.

    It is not simply a case ticking boxes on manifesto pledges (in the first two years) but, more fundamentally, the ability to govern, whatever unforeseen events may arise.

    If you cannot discern the difference in two years of this Scottish Government, it is made pretty obvious by the contrast in leadership performances at FMQs each Thursday.

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  • 42. At 5:26pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    I think following my complaint yesterday we've seen the last of "derekbarker" and his other alias "gallantloneranger".

    He's set up a new account today called "colliery1" which I see some people twigged after a single post.

    What are the BBC doing to stop people who have just had multiple accounts shut down simply opening a new one?

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  • 43. At 5:28pm on 08 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    40. Older than the Pyramids

    I was asking for your opinion on whether we should have a major Keynesian school construction program, and whether the pupils per classroom is really not missing the point. I did not ask you to 'teach' merely discuss different possibilities on how to move forward our education system.

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  • 44. At 5:32pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #40
    Away and blow! ya roaster and speak in plain language, there's no need to play the snob card here.

    Constitute part of the education process! away and boil yer head, what are you on about.Who said anything about a constitution?.

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  • 45. At 5:38pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Regrettably, Douglas Alexander's moral education at school may have been deficient.

    He felt it appropriate to claim for his Renfrewshire house -

    1,340 GBP - Food for a year
    550 GBP - Bedding
    69 GBP - CD player
    210 GBP - Painting
    830 GBP - Carpet
    928 GBP - Chimney relined
    420 GBP - Garage doors

    Strange that. He attended Park Mains High School - which I always thought did rather well with educating its pupils.

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  • 46. At 5:41pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #41 Dougie

    "If you cannot discern the difference in two years of this Scottish Government, it is made pretty obvious by the contrast in leadership performances at FMQs each Thursday."

    Whats that meant to mean, that politic's is all about the FMQ's on a Thursday?. come on get a grip.

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  • 47. At 5:42pm on 08 May 2009, Daniel wrote:

    People are "out to get" Ms Hyslop because the SNP have failed to improve Education in the slightest since they came to power in 2007 - when Education was at the forefront of their manifesto.

    Classes sizes haven't reduced and trainee teachers finding jobs is like finding a needle in a haystack - there must be about 10 potential teachers to every vacancy. Labour could be blamed for making the package and perks "too attractive", causing many people for pursue a career in teaching, however, the SNP have done nothing to increase teacher vacancies.

    Surely, the creation of more (or bigger) schools would allow for reduced class-sizes and thus, give all the teachers without jobs and in training - permanent jobs.

    On a side note, I believe we need more work experience throughout school and further education to get the young people of Scotland (I'm only 26 btw). I only got 1 week of work experience (in 4th year of Secondary school) and it wasn't nearly enough.

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  • 48. At 5:53pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    newsjock:

    #25.

    "Why do we need nursery schools ? Proper parenting should give children an adequate start to their education prior to primary school age."

    It gives children a chance to socialise with others close to their own age group. It also allows the parents to work and that may also lower the amount of benefits claimed by the parents.

    "As for a drop in French and German language education - let's get back to basics and teach pupils clear, concise English first."

    I'd love to highlight this point although I am actually going to bring up something different!

    I am fed up with adults insisting that standards have fallen, nowadays children as expected to learn far more then what adults were to learn when they were children.

    I was told that in Primary 4 or 5 learning the times table for the year was the sole objective (this was about 25++ years ago), now my maths teacher at the time explained there were now over 13 different topics we have to learn!

    He also explained that we were somewhere in the top5 when compared to other places (I think in Europe) but now we are now in the bottom...

    Children should not be expected to learn many different topics but the main focus should be the basic such as timetables.

    University is suppose to be the place if you want to expand your knowledge further.

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  • 49. At 5:58pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 50. At 6:03pm on 08 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    Some people are attacking our dear Brian for not talking to us about the atrocious, but legal, claiming of expenses by our UK cabinet ministers, but to be fair to Brian (and you that I don't want to ;) ) he may have had this piece written before the Telegraph printed the story. In which case he may be forgiven. Being a great fan of Jim Hackett and co. I did get the 'courageous' word in the beginning and understood the context of which it was meant. Therefore I understand the irony that you have used this 'courageous' word in. To those who have never seen 'Yes Minister' or 'Yes Prime Minister' I susggest you go and hire the DVDs. If a civil servant used the word 'courageous', or similar, to a minister (Jim Hackett) it meant that he was making a serious mistake and the petrified Minister would immediately back track and leave it to the civil servants. Heaven forbid that politicians actually ran the country. They are only there to take the blame if the civil servants make a mistake. Their job is certainly not to run the country.
    Now back to the conspiracy...

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  • 51. At 6:16pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    colliery1:

    #46.

    "Whats that meant to mean, that politic's is all about the FMQ's on a Thursday?. come on get a grip."

    There was no mention or even a hint of a suggestion that politics is primary about FMQT.

    This is slightly embarressing on a topic based on education...

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  • 52. At 6:17pm on 08 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #45, good post oldnat, rather undermines all that "son of the manse", "moral compass" stuff we have been fed for so long.

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  • 53. At 6:23pm on 08 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Tony McNulty could face police investigation over MPs' expenses

    Looks like police recruiting is going to have to go up to meet potential demand on their manpower.

    #49. bighullabaloo

    Sign of spring as they hatch out, ignore is the best solution.

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  • 54. At 6:26pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 55. At 6:31pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Talk the talk but cant walk the walk, yes! the Salmond and the Sturgeon type, all hype and no action and the you cant touch us arrogance.Well! hold the bus, the pair are clearly big Blair fans as is David Cameron, all three stand guilty of big talk little action, had these been normal times then the nats would be in serious trouble with the electorate considering their failed manifesto. Swinney, Salmond and the Sturgeon are
    the real strings behind the failed education policies, poor Mrs Hyslop is the patsy, set up to take the flak away from the opinion mad Salmond and co. "HASTE YE BACK"

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  • 56. At 6:31pm on 08 May 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

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

  • 57. At 6:33pm on 08 May 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    #36 Greenockboy. Couldn't agree more.
    This is not a story!
    What about the nucleur subs coming to the Clyde! That's a story.
    Does Gray mark himself? No doubt he thinks he is a 10. Next time he is interviewed on TV/Radio can he be asked please. Can he also be asked about Glasgow schools.
    The BBC expect us to stay on topic but they come up with this lamentable mince.

    Freedom

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  • 58. At 6:34pm on 08 May 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    #50 Gedguy2

    I agree, give the man some time to put his thoughts into words.

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  • 59. At 6:34pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 60. At 6:36pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Instead of removing my posts the BBC should be taking action to stop people abusing the system by setting up multiple usernames.

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  • 61. At 6:42pm on 08 May 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    45. We await the release of other expenses claims.

    I remember a certain MP, MSP and FM previously claiming the following:

    £116,000 in MP expenses despite making just six visits to Westminster (almost £20,000 a day).
    £84,664 staffing his Westminster office
    £18,591 in "incidental expenses"
    £14,000 rent for a flat in London (cost to taxpayers £2333 a night - more than the Ritz)
    Only took part in 18 of 249 votes in the Commons, which breaks down to £6500 of taxpayers' cash per vote.

    We shall see what this individual has claimed in the past year bearing in mind that he has the worst voting record of any Scottish MP over the last two years.

    Anyone else noticed that he is also very quiet over this?

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  • 62. At 6:43pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #59

    Conspiracy Bighullabaloo, there's many a' man that wid take a bit ta ye@

    I'll just laugh and ignore the tory boy "dim but nice"

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  • 63. At 6:47pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #45 oldnat

    I can't vouch for Douglas but I can vouch for the decent education of pupils at my former school.

    I read the Reform Scotland report on Scotland's education system performance, which was base on fiver or more 'good' grades at S4 level. Apparently our system is 'failing' using this meausure in comparison with England and Wales at the same level (GCSE's) since devoltuion.

    On your earlier comment regarding pupils being presented at the level they are likely to pass, I have known people having to fight to be 'allowed' to sit an exam at a higher level than they had been told they were capable of, subsequently passing the exams with decent grades.

    Surely you discourage pupils from trying to achieve and set a precendent in life by following the current poilicy, a case of "why try if I'm deemednot capable, I'll just fail". Rather pupils should be encouraged to push themselves furhter and to instill a confidence of 'can do' rather than 'better not'.

    Better to try and fail than not try at all.

    PS Been over on NR's blog recently? Some of the comments are getting worse, a bit like Anglo's outburst last thread.

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  • 64. At 6:47pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    derek seems to be doing a lot of referring since he reincarnated as colliery 1 at 5.41 today. The gallantloneranger having decided that defending GB's expenses wasn't so gallant after all.

    That the lone ranger was fictional, and that Scottish collieries died many years ago, may tell us something.

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  • 65. At 6:48pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Aye! with "Haste" we do await the release of the quiet mans expenses.

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  • 66. At 6:58pm on 08 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    I'll say this: "colliery1" is every bit as barking as "derek" was (is)!

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  • 67. At 7:06pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #47 danielrae

    Apparently our education system has been on the slide since devolution, if you believe the Reform Scotland report and it's measure of a successful system.

    In many cases it's not that there are not enough vacancies, there's just not enough vacancies were people want to work.

    Creating larger schools does not necessarily lead to smaller class sizes, it usually leads to more people attending (particularly if it's past results are successful) the said school. In my own experience my school took pupils from a wide area, despite being the only high school for a fairly large town resulting in fairly large class sizes.

    With regards to work experience I disagree that high school would benefit from more. I would advocate further training in the form of college courses or apprenticeships after high school. Many pupils find it difficult choosing which subjects to take never mind knowing what they want to do after school, not with any degree of certainty. Hence taking vocational training or subjects at this age can force someone down a path they later wish to change.

    Similarly universities should be encourageed to provide greater practical training for undergraduates in their chosen fields, as all too often industry complains about the lack of ability of graduates. They may have all the theory 'nailed on' but cannot cope when having to apply it.

    The one thing my week of work experience (we're the same age) taught me was not to pursue the career I had in mind at the time.

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  • 68. At 7:12pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    61 Reluctant-Expat

    Selective analysis and quoting of stats is unproductive. Here are AS's figures from TheyWorkForYou.com

    Type, 2007/08 (ranking out of 645), 2006/07 (ranking out of 645), 2005/06, 2004/05 (ranking out of 659), 2003/04 (ranking out of 658), 2002/03 (ranking out of 657), 2001/02 (ranking out of 657)
    Additional Costs Allowance, GBP 14,130 (506th), GBP 21,883 (274th), 21634, GBP 20,815 (235th), GBP 20,333 (joint 3rd), GBP 19,722 (joint 1st), GBP 18,009 (joint 2nd)
    London Supplement, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
    Incidental Expenses Provision, GBP 19,808 (252nd), GBP 22,832 (161st), 19971, GBP 19,309 (joint 129th), GBP 18,799 (joint 13th), GBP 18,230 (joint 203rd), GBP 12,026 (464th)
    Staffing Allowance, GBP 89,809 (238th), GBP 84,481 (313th), 82463, GBP 68,623 (425th), GBP 67,043 (377th), GBP 62,789 (380th), GBP 43,200 (435th)
    Communications Allowance, GBP 2,222 (joint 548th), N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A
    Members' Travel, GBP 3,354 (542nd)*, GBP 22,857 (10th)**, 19365, GBP 27,966 (11th), GBP 28,574 (10th), GBP 28,372 (6th), GBP 19,869 (16th)
    Members' Staff Travel, GBP 2,522 (14th), GBP 3,821 (5th), 5342, GBP 2,422 (48th), GBP 4,683 (3rd), GBP 2,492 (30th), GBP 3,948 (5th)
    Members' Spouse Travel, GBP 294 (joint 264th), N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A
    Members' Family Travel, 0, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A
    Centrally Purchased Stationery, GBP 1,071 (joint 200th), GBP 2,063 (93rd), 1607, GBP 1,943 (111th), GBP 1,167 (196th), GBP 1,367 (195th), GBP 1,559 (joint 155th)
    Stationery: Associated Postage Costs, GBP 4,768 (80th), GBP 7,647 (joint 65th), 6412, GBP 6,222 (98th), GBP 3,552 (199th), N/A, N/A
    Centrally Provided Computer Equipment, GBP 1,255 (joint 257th), GBP 1,230 (85th), 1050, GBP 2,000 (joint 67th), GBP 2,000 (joint 60th), GBP 2,000 (joint 60th), GBP 2,000 (joint 59th)
    Other Costs, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
    Total, GBP 139,233 (416th), GBP 166,814 (9th), 157844, GBP 149,300 (27th), GBP 146,151 (13th), GBP 134,972 (15th), GBP 100,611 (87th)
    * Regular journeys between home/constituency/Westminster: Mileage GBP 958 (527th). Air GBP 2,396 (81st).

    Salmond was, of course, Party leader at Westminster or Holyrood during this period.

    You might want to compare his expenses with a Labour backbencher like Anne Moffat.

    Type, 2007/08 (ranking out of 645), 2006/07 (ranking out of 645), 2005/06, 2004/05 (ranking out of 659), 2003/04 (ranking out of 658), 2002/03 (ranking out of 657), 2001/02 (ranking out of 657)
    Additional Costs Allowance, GBP 23,083 (joint 1st), GBP 19,038 (419th), 20958, GBP 19,446 (335th), GBP 20,300 (201st), GBP 19,700 (joint 268th), GBP 18,000 (joint 63rd)
    London Supplement, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
    Incidental Expenses Provision, GBP 23,533 (77th), GBP 20,724 (256th), 28258, GBP 21,205 (5th), GBP 18,743 (joint 312th), GBP 18,234 (joint 1st), GBP 28,279 (44th)
    Staffing Allowance, GBP 88,292 (299th), GBP 80,003 (446th), 82441, GBP 68,244 (446th), GBP 66,083 (415th), GBP 63,788 (joint 346th), GBP 43,411 (431st)
    Communications Allowance, GBP 9,942 (joint 155th), N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A
    Members' Travel, GBP 18,670 (23rd)*, GBP 12,331 (121st)**, 15027, GBP 27,009 (15th), GBP 39,744 (1st), GBP 28,786 (4th), GBP 16,382 (47th)
    Members' Staff Travel, GBP 2,535 (13th), GBP 1,034 (joint 120th), 853, GBP 2,479 (41st), GBP 1,558 (joint 92nd), GBP 1,342 (114th), GBP 3,209 (11th)
    Members' Spouse Travel, GBP 242 (281st), N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A
    Members' Family Travel, 0, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A
    Centrally Purchased Stationery, GBP 74 (635th), GBP 291 (610th), 34, GBP 708 (400th), GBP 111 (642nd), 0, GBP 131 (640th)
    Stationery: Associated Postage Costs, GBP 690 (joint 597th), GBP 1,728 (457th), 225, GBP 1,454 (499th), GBP 378 (635th), N/A, N/A
    Centrally Provided Computer Equipment, GBP 1,194 (joint 336th), GBP 1,334 (33rd), 276, GBP 1,901 (joint 297th), GBP 1,901 (joint 293rd), GBP 1,624 (491st), GBP 1,624 (joint 413th)
    Other Costs, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
    Total, GBP 168,255 (23rd), GBP 136,483 (350th), 148072, GBP 142,446 (54th), GBP 148,818 (7th), GBP 133,474 (17th), GBP 111,036 (17th)
    * Regular journeys between home/constituency/Westminster: Mileage GBP 3,787 (233rd). Rail GBP 3,205 (278th). Air GBP 11,628 (28th). Misc GBP 50 (197th).
    ** Car GBP 2,240 (392nd). Rail GBP 1,816 (352nd). Air GBP 7,137 (67th). European GBP 1,138 (36th).


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  • 69. At 7:18pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    Reluctant-Expat:

    I believe it was Alex Salmond insisting Westminister follows the Scottish Parliaments method...

    I do not see another MP insisting they copy the Scots Parliament strict expences rules.

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  • 70. At 7:26pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #47 danielrae and #67 ScotInNotts

    Oh Good! I get to do a "now, in my day" post!

    No work experience then, but I did work 10 weeks every summer in a fishyard - that really brings home to you that you want to stick in at school!

    10 weeks? We didn't have longer holidays then, but you left school after your last exam to earn money, then went back after the Summer - strongly discouraged nowadays, because another of Labour's measures for deciding whether a school is "successful" is the staying on rates after compulsory education. Pupils who leave school then come back don't count. Strangely(!) middle class areas have higher staying on rates.

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  • 71. At 7:26pm on 08 May 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

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

  • 72. At 7:51pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #70

    I am surprised that you take a course to dicourage "Further education"
    surely the best policy there, is to encourage further education.

    Are you pressing a new SNP policy to eradicate the staying on at school bursary. So is that part of the hidden agenda cost that Alex refused to answer on thursdays parliamentary session.




    PS. the torygraph are saying that the expenses row affects all MP's

    18 votes out of a possible 249, I suppose that's just another ordinary maths count for the nats.

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  • 73. At 7:51pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    Reluctant-Expat:

    #71.

    Alex Salmond submitted what was asked, at least we never seen an attempt to block the Freedom of Information Act by going to court.

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  • 74. At 7:55pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    OldNat:

    Do you feel that pupils from my generation have more to learn and it's that failure to go into depth when it comes to topics that could be a main reason for 'falling standards'?

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  • 75. At 8:02pm on 08 May 2009, scottish_solstice wrote:


    BBC Brother Brown an assistant producer for Newsnight!


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5293459/Who-is-Andrew-Brown-Profile-of-Gordon-Browns-brother-MPs-expenses.html

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  • 76. At 8:15pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #72 colliery1/derek

    You really don't understand do you? Staying on at school is not "Further Education". Labour's measures for measuring school "improvement" encouraged to persuade pupils to stay on at school instead of going to more worthwhile courses in FE. What do you expect from a New Labour Party that openly adopted measures to further advantage the middle class?

    #74 Thomas_Porter

    Evidence for "falling standards" is actually pretty thin. That post devolution analysis that has been quoted is woefully poor on its use of statistics, and shows no comprehension of statistical error.

    I don't think it's anything to do with the curriculum or the body of knowledge - good exam setting adjusts for that. It's the baleful influence of Labour's incompetent managerial system of target setting that forces schools and teachers to do less well by their pupils.

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  • 77. At 8:24pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #72 Derek

    The 'staying on at school' bursary does not encourage further education, it keeps the benefit and unemployment stats down.

    Pupils that wish to stay on would do so regardless of whether they were paid or not, now that they are paid it's seen as a bonus. You stay on past the obligatory age if you wish to gain qualifications or have aspirations, not because you get £30 a week.

    Those that wish to leave obviously do not like the school environment and therefore require something else to strive for, perhaps vocational training at college. This would be preferable instead of using the school as a state babysitting service, diverting teachers, resources and time towards pupils that do not wish to be there.

    Instead of bribing kids to stay at school that do not wish to be there I thought you would have been advocating your apprenticeships, or do you want both?

    Simply put, the school environment may not be everyone's cup of tea, therefore we need an alternative and not bribery.

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  • 78. At 8:29pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #76

    Thats quite a strange outlook? you see 4th year pupils going from 4th year to 5th year is a process to further their education.

    Old etonian minds like your's always surpress the advancement of educating the poor! i guess it's some kind of college initiation, where fishy fingers grease the class poll. "outragious"

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  • 79. At 8:37pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #77

    For godsake Scot, of course people stay on to better their education, the fact that those from a less well off back-ground get a little help
    is fantastic and certainly not an obstacle.

    Look stop playing up to Oldnat pipe, he cant hit a birrel and is totally off tune.

    Do the nats want to end the 30 per week help for students that stay on at school.

    Do the nats want to be more selective in terms of who gets A' levels and who goes to college to be a plumber.

    Stop peddling your tory trip/trap tried and failed notion, please.

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  • 80. At 8:45pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    Colliery1 and ScotInNotts:

    "Pupils that wish to stay on would do so regardless of whether they were paid or not, now that they are paid it's seen as a bonus."

    It's actually there to support the pupil at school. The pupil will then be able to study instead of leaving early and entering into a career.

    It is also a bonus. I have friends who still receive 30 quid per week (the most, plus they receive more around holidays) but they also work part-time and by including only their part-time work they manage to rake in over 300 pounds each month. They also are still close to their father or mothers so financially they were stable either way.

    Then there would be me, I was unable to copy my friends because of my age and because of my parents it were assumed that they would support me financially.

    I can't afford college, it's not an option unless I had part-time work which was difficult due to recession issues.

    I would not have minded 30 quid per week to continue education.

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  • 81. At 8:53pm on 08 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #77.ScotInNotts

    On the button just like league tables a complete waste of resources in education and hospitals.

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  • 82. At 8:54pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    colliery1:

    #78.

    Like I said in my earlier comment. The 30 quid per week is aimed at the poor, but as I know for myself it depends on the circumstances of the people involved and my friends with divorced parents were able to exclude their father's wage (tends to be the largest) because of the sseperation and claim 30 quid per week.

    Then they still continued with their part-time work...

    But I would also say some people should not be encouraged to go to University. These days graduating from University is natural, it's expected and what you spent the past 4 years may never actually help you get the job you studied for!

    How many people are unemployed but have several degree's?

    It's pointless, ridiculous and has devalued higher education by encouraging such large volumes of individuals to go for it.

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  • 83. At 9:01pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #79 Derek

    there were already means tested bursary schemes in place to help children from poorer families. Are you telling me that all pupils duly hand over the £30 per week to their parents to help out their families circumstances ?

    This isn't an "SNP" policy, this is my opinion on the 'paid to stay at school" scheme.

    Please explain what benefit this has had on the education of Scotland's children?

    Do you honestly think that getting £30 per week would sway someone that doesn't want to be there, except to pocket the cash? Surely they would be better using their time doing something they actually wanted to do.

    Meanwhile we're paying students that don't want to be there and those that would have been there regardless. Instead would the money not be better to used to help the poorer students through the means tested scheme and not given to all students regardless of circumstances?

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  • 84. At 9:05pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    colliery1:

    #79.

    "For godsake Scot, of course people stay on to better their education, the fact that those from a less well off back-ground get a little help
    is fantastic and certainly not an obstacle."

    Again, slightly misleading because it does not go to only those who are from... less well off backgrounds.

    "Do the nats want to end the 30 per week help for students that stay on at school."

    Is this even a Parliamentry issue?

    I have never heard of a political party seeking to make and end to the allowance, which actually ranges from 10 to 30 quid actually.

    I don't like it. I was discriminated against because of it, and it's a reason why I never actually went on to college.

    "Do the nats want to be more selective in terms of who gets A' levels and who goes to college to be a plumber."

    There is nothing wrong with going to college to be a plumber. It appears that you implying that there is some type of difference between a person with A' levels and the person who might be sitting next to you going to college to learn a trade.

    If a person is comfortable and happy in their line at work, and this might be the men who take your rubbish out, to the people who sit on the check outs all day at Asda. There is nothing wrong with this, it should not be looked down upon.

    People choose to go onto benefits because they look down their noses on other opportunites.

    Your fanning the flames here...

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  • 85. At 9:07pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #79 colliery1

    Why would the "nats" care who gets A-Levels? - that's an English qualification!

    If you are going to post on an educational topic then you should at learn something of the basic structure of the Scottish Education System.

    As far as the EMA is concerned it applies equally to students staying on at school or going on to FE College. Your posts show that you have no knowledge of the system, and you simply misrepresent reality.

    Not a single country wants to lower the skills and educational attainment of its young people, but some - notably the US under Bush, and UK/Scotland under Labour - achieved that by ill thought-out, managerialist policies which constrained schools and pupils, instead of encouraging them to aim high.

    That's why I criticised Fiona Hyslop earlier in this thread - for not taking the whole structure of the 2000 Education Act (have you even read it?) and putting it in a bin bag.

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  • 86. At 9:08pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    The emerging pattern here, is, that those who support the nats also support the minority views.

    The SNP support tax cuts/ that's in the minority

    The SNP support cuts in education/ that's in the minority

    The SNP support Independence/ that's in the minority

    The SNP support high unemployment/ that's in the minority

    The SNP support the low wage culture/ tha's in the minority

    The SNP support selective education/ that's in the minority

    The SNP support lower tax for higher earners/ that's in the minority

    The SNP support the the minority of Scottish people.

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  • 87. At 9:09pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #83 ScotInNotts

    The EMA is means tested.

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  • 88. At 9:12pm on 08 May 2009, enneffess wrote:

    I'm more concerned about the standard of teaching in schools. It's not a criticism about the schools my children attend, but a general comment.

    It's difficult trying to reduce class sizes when local councils are closing schools. South Lanarkshire for example, and that is Labour-controlled (albeit with help from the solitary conservative councillor).

    The standard of teaching in my experience does not seem to have changed much despite multiple changes of government. But why can't the scrap targets and get back to old fashioned school inspectors? School is for learning, not market forces.

    Off topic, with the expense claims by the ministers, it was nice to see that at least one person was restrained - Hilary Benn, only claiming a minimal 150 quid or so out of a budget of 24 grand. Pity the rest didn't follow suit.

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  • 89. At 9:14pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #80 Thomas

    there are better ways than paying every pupil £30 per week regardless of circumstances. Those that require extra help to continue thei studies should receive it. I never received any subsidies as my parents were deemed to be able to afford it also. I also had part time work throughout my final two years of school and further education.

    As I said if you wish to continue studies at high school and you are from a poorer background means tested bursaries are a better way.

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  • 90. At 9:15pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    ScotInNotts:

    #83.

    "Do you honestly think that getting 30 per week would sway someone that doesn't want to be there, except to pocket the cash? Surely they would be better using their time doing something they actually wanted to do."

    The school decides if the pupil should receive or continue to receive the 10-30 pounds per week. If the pupil does not want to be there, and shows this in their work or attitude then the cash flows closes.

    "Meanwhile we're paying students that don't want to be there and those that would have been there regardless."

    There is no financial help whilst you attend Academy untill the 10-30 quid scheme came along. If your family was struggling by many would be forced to leave school to either attend college (which helps you financially) or go into full-time employment.

    The scheme was also there so the 'poorer' pupils could afford basic equipment.

    "Instead would the money not be better to used to help the poorer students through the means tested scheme and not given to all students regardless of circumstances?"

    It should be based on the individuals personal situation but I would have liked financial backing.

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  • 91. At 9:18pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #83

    Scot, please read what I said, of course it helps to sustain the weekly cost of living and is far much better than a poke in the eye.

    Students have the right to leave at sixteen, those who stay on do so to further their qualifications and those from poorer back-grounds accept the bursary as a helping hand.

    Dont tie yourself in knotts, take time out and think about your position.

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  • 92. At 9:23pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #82
    Thomas,The market has a duty to reflect the position of those who do go onto university however anyone with the talent and will to extend their education as far as university must find there is a place there for them.

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  • 93. At 9:23pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #86 colliery1

    Lying through your teeth about the SNP - that's in a minority!

    You exhibit the same level of honesty as a Westminster MP's expense account.

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  • 94. At 9:27pm on 08 May 2009, scottish_solstice wrote:


    There are limits on the level of education a student can study for to qualify for certain finances.


    Child tax credit rules state that child tax credits will run on until the age of twenty for kids from low income families.

    Gordon Brown introduced this in 2006, prior to this it was up to age 19.

    However, Brown also added a clause which states that any child who wishes to study for a qualification higher than an "A" level, NVQ level 3 or Scottish national qualifications" will not qualify for the run on of the benefit.

    The same conditions apply to child benefit.

    I wrote to my wet lettuce on a power trip Labour MP regarding theses rules asking for the statistics of how many 19 year old qualified?

    Still waiting!

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  • 95. At 9:29pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #85
    Olnat, it's an age thing, god! your so full of hatered, look in my days it was o' grades and Highers, change the name if you want but the idea still remains, that's additional better qualifications. got that etonian.

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  • 96. At 9:29pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #90 Thomas_Porter

    Prior to the means-tested EMA, there was the means-tested Higher School Bursary.

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  • 97. At 9:30pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    colliery1:

    #86.

    "The SNP support tax cuts/ that's in the minority."

    Could you please show evidence when the SNP have encouraged cuts?

    "The SNP support cuts in education/ that's in the minority"

    The SNP are forced to makes cuts because of the UK Labour Government. However the SNP have yet to decide where those cuts will be.

    "The SNP support Independence/ that's in the minority"

    You say so, but every runs into the hills when the SNP ask for a referendum.

    "The SNP support high unemployment/ that's in the minority"

    There is no party in history that will actually support high unemployment. Fair doos' their policies may increase it accidently but you really are a pathetic mess to make things up.

    "The SNP support the low wage culture/ tha's in the minority"

    Increase the minimum wage? To what? 10 pounds per hour? That's fair on the people who trained as plumbers, joiners and other trades to find out that the bloke cleaning toilets is earning almost the same amount as you!

    "The SNP support selective education/ that's in the minority"

    No evidence whatsoever.

    "The SNP support lower tax for higher earners/ that's in the minority"

    No evidence whatsoever.

    is there any evidence to support your conspiracies?

    And why, why do Unionists in particular on here believe that independence supporters represent SNP policy?

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  • 98. At 9:32pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #25 newsjock

    Why do we need nursery schools ? Proper parenting should give children an adequate start to their education prior to primary school age.

    Yes, because, with always having at one or two babies at the time, I found it remarkable easy to convert one corner of my living room into "the vets", have the road safetly officer round, have the sand and water out, bake, make a wall mural, act out a play for the parents, practice forming letters with the letter trays etc. etc.... Nursery just got in the way....

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  • 99. At 9:33pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    ScotInNotts:

    #89.

    "As I said if you wish to continue studies at high school and you are from a poorer background means tested bursaries are a better way."

    It's been pointed out that the system is already means tested, but I was explaining my experience with the system because I am the youngest here who lived through it only two years ago, and I know how the system works.

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  • 100. At 9:35pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #93

    How dare you suggest that I lie! take it back you old etonian Hypocrite
    you know it's the truth and stop putting all those false stats up. Do you think anyone takes those stats for real. Get real.

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  • 101. At 9:38pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    colliery1:

    #91.

    "Students have the right to leave at sixteen, those who stay on do so to further their qualifications and those from poorer back-grounds accept the bursary as a helping hand."

    Please stop claiming that the bursary helps those from poorer backgrounds, on paper, yes, but believe me it does not go to those who are actually poor.

    Your other comment #92.

    "Thomas,The market has a duty to reflect the position of those who do go onto university however anyone with the talent and will to extend their education as far as university must find there is a place there for them."

    That's fair to say, however University has been devalued over the years. Degree's do not take you as far as they used too, and I would prefer the system to encourage the young into employment for experience rather then ship them off to University.

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  • 102. At 9:39pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    All this stuff about EMA etc is nothing to do with the problems that Scottish Education has.

    There is a need to remove the dead hand of central imposition (actually what Curriculum for Excellence is all about), and move towards a system which actually motivates learning.

    Finland did exceptionally well in the international tables, after it got rid of its central inspectorate.

    A good modern model is available in Wales, where the Labour/Plaid Government have taken a fresh look at their needs, as they felt the freedom to re-examine their system distinct from an imposed Westminster model. Pity that Labour in Scotland can't see the faults that they put in place, and the SNP haven't been sufficiently radical to look more seriously at the Scandinavian systems.

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  • 103. At 9:46pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    derek

    You said "The SNP support selective education". That is either a lie, or demonstrates your complete and total ignorance. Take yopur choice.

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  • 104. At 9:47pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #97
    Thomas, I not suggesting your a nastionalist.

    Thomas the failed manifesto in class-room sizes and student debt is the minority failure. The public voted for these changes?.

    Salmonds failed LIT taxation plan, failed because it favoured the rich and not the poor?

    A freeze on the council tax is far more rewarding to the higher earners, it's a tax for the rich?.

    Independence has never had a majority poll?.

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  • 105. At 9:56pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #103

    The SNP lied to the public when they said they wanted to end student debt and have smaller class-room sizes, many of the public voted for those things, the SNP wont implement them, leaving us with the situation where only those who can afford university will do so, AKA selective education. (and there's more much more)

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  • 106. At 10:01pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #104 colliery1

    You are posting on a blog concerned with education. Yet you have made on average ten slap dash language errors in each post. Are you aware that this means no one is very likely to take the contents of your posts seriously or even pay any attention to them?
    (Discuss! ;-)

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  • 107. At 10:07pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #105 colliery1

    "Smaller class-room sizes"?

    Just all shuffle into the cupboard!

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  • 108. At 10:10pm on 08 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Smile

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  • 109. At 10:10pm on 08 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    colliery1:

    #104.

    "Thomas the failed manifesto in class-room sizes and student debt is the minority failure. The public voted for these changes?."

    The classroom issue is a success in some parts of Scotland, and failure in others. You have to accept that local councils can choose to place money into other priorities because the SNP gave them that felxibility.

    The student debt was a ridiculous policy to begin with. It deserved to be dropped, but the SNP still has reduced the cost of education for students.

    "Salmonds failed LIT taxation plan, failed because it favoured the rich and not the poor?2

    It failed because Parliament voted against it, and please explain how LIT favoured the rich instead of the poor? In my mind everyone who pays the same tax rate, the person earning the most will be paying more then the poorer person.

    "A freeze on the council tax is far more rewarding to the higher earners, it's a tax for the rich?."

    Explain?

    A person earning over 100k annually may not blink twice paying a couple of k for their council tax bill compared to the couple on a combined wage of 20k handing over 1k for their council tax bill.

    "Independence has never had a majority poll?."

    It depends on the question, the same could be said for the those who support the Union.

    I feel that both sides can agree that it'll be the Don't Know's who decide the future.

    "The SNP lied to the public when they said they wanted to end student debt and have smaller class-room sizes, many of the public voted for those things, the SNP wont implement them, leaving us with the situation where only those who can afford university will do so, AKA selective education. (and there's more much more)"

    Like I said above. The SNP have reduced how much students have to pay for education, some councils have had more luck then others when it has came to class sizes.

    I knew a teacher who went through University on her own as a single parent. Don't get me started on the last part of your comment.

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  • 110. At 10:13pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #105 colliery1

    So you are saying with a majority, the SNP would have deliberately not done these things? (Because they are mean, horrible and smelly? ;-)

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  • 111. At 10:15pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #87 oldnat #90 thomas

    I stand corrected with regards means testing when the payment should be made.

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  • 112. At 10:18pm on 08 May 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #104

    Havering stuff. There have been a number of polls in the last two years some showing independence in a minority position,some showing neck and neck positions and others showing independence in the strongest position including the latest one showing it ahead 42% to 40%.

    I won't even answer your rubbish about LIT (which has been deferred due to Tory and NutoryLabour opposition but will allow the SNP to fight and win the next election on it)except to say your remarks are so obviously stupid that it is impossible to take your posting seriously.

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  • 113. At 10:26pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #106

    What is your problem aye-write: are you sitting there marking these posts?

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  • 114. At 10:28pm on 08 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #83 derek
    You make it pretty clear that you have not found it necessary to improve your education and the content and level of your argument gives ample evidence of the bosses claim that youngsters come out of the education system without even basic skills. Labour has been in charge of education in Scotland for nigh on 50 years and what used to be world class is now even worse than the English. Yes the SNP are a minority, that's the system Labour set up but the problem is too great for party politics, unless you do something constructive to make the system better then you are condeming another generation to the sad sort of an apology for a life that you lead.

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  • 115. At 10:35pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #91 Derek

    I'm quite clear on my position, I don't think that paying pupils to stay at school is the way to go.

    #105 Derek

    The SNP have abolished the graduate endowment. Unfortunately I was the first year to become liable to this payment and still had to pay it, if only I had left in fifthe year aI wold have been in the limbo year between the last of grants and this nonesense. The graduate endowment, a celebrated policy of the Lab/Lib administration portrayed as a success as it wasn't tuition fees.

    No, they were, just by another name. We were told that you didn't have to pay a penny until you earned at least £10,000 per year and even then you only had to pay a bit at a time. Then when you come to pay you find out you can pay it all off or a bit of it, but the remainder is liable to ridiculous interest charges from the SLC, meaning that poorer students unable to pay all or any of it off had to pay more than the £2000. This usually on top of costs incurred from living away from home and from student loans.

    I afforded university through part time work and staying at home, unfortunately not everyone is able to do so.

    Tuition fees have become necessary not only to keep our universities competitive within the international community but also to cater for the drastic increase in undergraduates.

    All this has done has raised the number of people with degrees in various subjects flooding the work place with 'qualified' people. In past generations having a degree was a determining factor of being able to get a decently paid job.

    The graduate endowment was based on this premise as "we would reap the benefit from our degree" and be in a position to pay for future generations to have this benefit also. Didn't work for those with degrees and no job, still liable to pay mind you, until the SNP got rid.

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  • 116. At 10:42pm on 08 May 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    #105, colliery1:

    "and there's more"

    Well, Jimmy Cricket-soundalike, in the immortal words of a certain Ms Alexander, "Bring it on!"

    With every posting made (under whatever sobriquet or moniker), degenerative in spelling, grammar and logic, the argument becomes more lost.

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  • 117. At 10:44pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #113 colliery1

    Yes, I am. You have not passed! ;-)

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  • 118. At 10:44pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    my #111 should have read

    #87 oldnat #90 thomas

    "I stand corrected with regards means testing and when the payment should be made."

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  • 119. At 10:46pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #110
    No aye-write, I am saying that the reality is what it is and the STV voting system is what it is. Can I explain that the Scottish parliament was never meant to be about overall leadership.

    Are you happy that the tories manifesto is more prevalent within the Scottish budget than the SNP 's manifesto.

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  • 120. At 10:52pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #119 colliery1

    So you've answered your original post. Glad I could help ;-)

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  • 121. At 10:52pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #112

    Many people consider Thatchers most defining moment, was the poll tax, she was desperate to change the taxation system.

    It would seem that Salmond also shares those defining wishes with Thatcher, to change the taxation system.

    LIT taxation was a tax on the poor, if Salmond and the SNP ever get Independence, then they will have no choice but to implement their own taxation.

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  • 122. At 10:52pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #114 handclapping

    Bosses have been making that claim about the inadequacies of the younger generation since the days of the Assyrian Empire!

    If you talk to their secretaries (who have to correct their spelling and grammar) a very different picture emerges.

    On the basis of derek's knowledge and communication skills, he is a prime candidate for a senior position in industry!

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  • 123. At 10:54pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #119 derek

    Your lot didn't introduce STV into the voting system for the Scottish Parliament. They adopted a variant of the de Hondt system. Do try and keep up!

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  • 124. At 10:58pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #117

    aye-write, so what, Can you chamffeur a notch to within a thou? in fact could you change a light bulb.

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  • 125. At 11:02pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #121 Derek

    by that logic anyone that seeks to change the taxation system has ambitions to emulate Thatcher? Best leave it as it is in Labour land then.

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  • 126. At 11:02pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #121 colliery1

    if Salmond and the SNP ever get Independence, then they will have no choice but to implement their own taxation

    Gosh, you're right! Or.....government wouldn't have any money!!!

    It is lucky you came on here tonight ;-)

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  • 127. At 11:04pm on 08 May 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    I don't have kids and I don't plan to... so I don't care *;o)

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  • 128. At 11:07pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #116

    Yopur pretty obsessed with the English grammar Pyrods, We will keep an eye on yours and your elk.

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  • 129. At 11:07pm on 08 May 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #121

    Might I ask you to read the following. You obviously have no knowledge or understanding of the concept of LIT and the huge benefit it will be to the poor. I'm pointing you in the right direction in the hope that you will stop making a fool of yourself.

    "At present, about 75 per cent of the revenue of local councils comes from national government. A mere 25 per cent is raised and set locally. To make matters worse, the sole significant source of locally raised revenue is generated by the council tax; a tax introduced in panic by a Conservative government to rescue themselves from the greatest failure in taxation in our lifetimes - the poll tax. Council tax itself is now failing.
    Council tax is failing partly because it is expected to bear too great a burden, but also because it is a thoroughly unfair tax."

    "Council tax is unfair because it is completely unrelated to income. It operates under a banding system that puts a ceiling on what the richest pay and a floor under what the poorest pay. As a result, the poorest 10 per cent pay over four times more of their income in council tax than the richest 10 per cent.

    The poorest 20 per cent of pensioners pay nearly six times more as a proportion of their income than the richest 20 per cent of non-pensioners. In a year when state pensions rose by 2.6 per cent and council tax by 13 per cent, it is hardly surprising that pensioners have become the most vociferous opponents of council tax. "

    " We estimate that approximately 70 per cent of households would be better off or unaffected by the switch to local income tax. Those who will be better off will be the less well-off households now. For example, for a household on median income, and currently living in an average band D council-tax property, local income tax would save them some 460 per year. An equivalent pensioner couple on an income of just over 14,000 would save 1,080. Losers would be high income earners and some dual or multiple income earning households, but this is inevitable if one replaces an unfair, regressive tax with a fairer, progressive one."

    "Local government funding is in a crisis. Council tax simply cannot bear the demands being placed on it. A local income tax would be fairer, easier to collect and more transparent than council tax. It is a buoyant source of funds. For these reasons it is commonly applied across the world. It is time that it was introduced here."

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  • 130. At 11:07pm on 08 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #127 BoNG0_1

    That's the spirit :)

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  • 131. At 11:08pm on 08 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    MPs' expenses: Four ministers who milked the system

    "One former Labour minister said: "I object to your decision not to reimburse me for the costs of purchasing a baby's cot for use in my London home... perhaps you might write to me explaining where my son should sleep next time he visits me in London?"

    Did he not get sex education at school and that fathers have a responsibility when they become a parent and that includes providing for their offspring at their own personnel expense unless they can show hardship.

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  • 132. At 11:09pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #123

    I did keep up Oldnat, think about it.

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  • 133. At 11:13pm on 08 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #121 what exceptional hatred and ignorance you display!

    Here's a little snap of Thatcher with your presumed Hero one G. "Maggie" Broon,

    http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/09_02/thathbrownDM1409_468x404.jpg

    Enjoy.

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  • 134. At 11:16pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #116 Older than the Pyramids

    derek wants to "keep an eye on your elk". What have you not been telling us?

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  • 135. At 11:16pm on 08 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #126 aye_write
    Why should Governments have money? Look what they've managed with our money, bankrupted us. Let the soviets decide what money's needed. Power to the people.

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  • 136. At 11:16pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #129

    Look, Let me explain to you! the majority of MSP and the public opposed the" LIT TAXATION SYSTEM" it was nothing more than Thatcher economics and we all know that Salmond likes Thatcher, especially her economics.

    #114 Slapper, Mickey mouse has grown up a cow!

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  • 137. At 11:17pm on 08 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #127 BoNG0_1

    Their the ones who will pay for your pension every countries future lies in there offspring. Nulab have stolen mine and I suspect a lot of others as well.

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  • 138. At 11:17pm on 08 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #128, "You and your elk"

    http://www.bcguideoutfitters.com/images/photos/elk2b.jpg

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  • 139. At 11:18pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #124 colliery1

    aye-write, so what, Can you chamffeur a notch to within a thou? in fact could you change a light bulb.

    Aw! Yes, I have a voice ;-)
    Serious. I know there are machines that do the first (chamfer), and hubands that do the second! (Can't take it seriously ;-)

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  • 140. At 11:19pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #126

    We certainly wont have any money if Salmond remains in power.

    aye-write, we probably wont have any friends niether.

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  • 141. At 11:21pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #129 sneckedagain

    I think you misunderstood derek. When he said that "LIT taxation was a tax on the poor", he meant poor as in Labour MP. No sane person would see income tax as a regressive tax otherwise.

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  • 142. At 11:28pm on 08 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #132 derek
    So you're the one doing the keepie-up in the SNP advert?

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  • 143. At 11:28pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    OK, so aye-write and the Pyrod, think that anyone who doesn't spell nor punctuation right is not worthy. "SELECTIVE EDUCATION" from the nat pack again.

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  • 144. At 11:32pm on 08 May 2009, enneffess wrote:

    colliery1

    What is the point with your posts?

    You appear to be deliberately trying to wind people up. The last topic descended into a slanging match, and this one appears to be heading the same way.

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  • 145. At 11:35pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #139

    Cant take what seriously, your husband or your notcha?.


    #141 oldnat, that.s as bad as you get! wow! direct taxation?

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  • 146. At 11:38pm on 08 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #136 derek
    WoW! Hormone therapy or an op? Anyway pretty successful as you now seem to get PMT just like the reals. Is the colliery1 a prelude to you coming out as Lady Victoria?

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  • 147. At 11:40pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #142

    Did that mean something, HEY! slapper, dont drop down.

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  • 148. At 11:42pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #138

    Good picture, who is the killer?.

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  • 149. At 11:43pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #135 handclapping

    Why should Governments have money? Look what they've managed with our money, bankrupted us. Let the soviets decide what money's needed. Power to the people.

    A reply! No money then. We could be the richest country in the world ;-)

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  • 150. At 11:43pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #143 derek

    It's not that you are "not worthy" - just that you are so pathetically naive!

    How did you enjoy paying Gordon's cleaning bill, or Hazel's 3 houses, or Jack's Council Tax? Was it fun?

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  • 151. At 11:44pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #143 colliery1

    I'd say....a bit lazy ;-) ;-)

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  • 152. At 11:46pm on 08 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #144 Neil_Small147

    It's just derek. If you look at the reality of UK politics, one would despair. If you look at the relevance of BT's thread to the big issues, one would despair.

    derek at least gives some light relief.

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  • 153. At 11:46pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #140 colliery1

    we probably wont have any friends niether

    We don't have very many now - no one knows who/where we are!

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  • 154. At 11:53pm on 08 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #145 colliery1

    Cant take what seriously, your husband or your notcha?

    That gets a laugh!

    (My husband's notcha ;-)

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  • 155. At 11:54pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #150

    Naive to what oldnat, stop speaking in code. Naive to the dripping land of honey and the best education in the world because the nats have dropped Ireland, Iceland and Norway, for their new best friends, the Swedish and know that the nats have the swedish attention we will have a like for like education system and none of our kids shall start primary till thier 7. Naive oldnat........mirror,mirror.

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  • 156. At 11:59pm on 08 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #146

    PMT Jeez! slapper, is that past master tension or what?

    As they say in meerkat land TROTOFFSKI simple!

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  • 157. At 00:05am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #152

    Oldnat and the light relief squad.

    Neil read all the posts.

    Oldnat is showing off his unionist favour now! he wants to debate all the westminster issues, dont be fooled any-more, oldnat is a uionist to the core.

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  • 158. At 00:06am on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #155 derek

    Do you know the difference between the different sectors in Sweden. Do you know what Labour/Plaid have done in Welsh early education?

    Are you so critical of a Labour initiative in Wales that doesn't derive from Westminster?

    Have you bothered to look at what Rhodri Morgan is implementing?

    Aren't you just a little ashamed to be simultaneously ignorant and conservative?

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  • 159. At 00:06am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #146 handclapping

    Lady Table...

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  • 160. At 00:09am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #146 handclapping

    Lady Barman

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  • 161. At 00:14am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #146 handclapping

    Lady N Waiting

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  • 162. At 00:15am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #146 handclapping

    Lady OV Shame

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  • 163. At 00:19am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #157 colliery1

    oldnat is a uionist to the core.

    Yes he is! He would like to unify Scotland with its independence. (I know why you like him so much ;-)

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  • 164. At 00:22am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #158 oldnat

    Aren't you just a little ashamed to be simultaneously ignorant and conservative?

    oldnat! He doesn't know what it means! It's like asking a sheep to be embarrased about its wool......

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  • 165. At 00:25am on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #146 handclapping

    Lady Bets

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  • 166. At 00:26am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #146 handclapping

    Lady Mandown

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  • 167. At 00:28am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #158

    Oldnat your obsessed with other countries and historical facts, you consistantly look around the globe and try and match in Scotland to any successful foreign education system or like wise ( I happen to think that swenden does have an extremely good education system)however you also fail to recognise that Scotland unlike wales still has prescription charges and failing schools and of course we can only change that by legislating and working to change. If I wasn't so naive I'd swear you were Salmond himself.

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  • 168. At 00:30am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #146 handclapping

    Lady N Red

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  • 169. At 00:32am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    A link for you oldnat.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Sweden

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  • 170. At 00:33am on 09 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #160 aye_write
    No, he just lives in Newtongrange. Boom, Boom. He's hoping we'll mistake him for Scotland's favourite Ancient Monument!
    It stirred him, he's got a sense of humour then, hoping I'm a Trot.

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  • 171. At 00:34am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #166

    Lady godiva, would swoop it all for a fiver.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lady_Godiva_by_John_Collier.jpg

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  • 172. At 00:39am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #170

    Slapper, have you got your potted meat head on again.

    Get a pare of aye-write spec's, the all seeing eye sees it all.

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  • 173. At 00:46am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #172 colliery1

    I'm getting to see it all!!! ;-)

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  • 174. At 00:48am on 09 May 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    Tut tut, just where is the teacher to keep this unruly class in check.

    I'm sure he/she would not tolerate taunting in their class, no matter who it may be directed at.

    Now, all of you, get back to work!

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  • 175. At 00:50am on 09 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #172 derek
    It's fun to have a bit of craic. Well done, we've hardly discussed green glowing submarines, Westminster expenses or Scottish education at all, you've earned your 30 pieces of silver tonight.
    Good night, sweet dreams. 8-)

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  • 176. At 00:53am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #170 handclapping

    That went right over my head (get it now!)

    I'd rather have the trots than the Brits ;-)

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  • 177. At 00:56am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #176

    Did you get that receipt?

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  • 178. At 01:00am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #177 colliery1

    Bl**dy Brits ;-)

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  • 179. At 01:29am on 09 May 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    I've read all of these posts on this blog claiming that "it's not the SNPs fault, they only have a certain amount of money and can't do everything" or "it's not the SNPs fault, its Councils that are responsible for these things".

    Yes, clearly these two things are true, this is why all of the other parties did not make the sweeping promises that the SNP did during the election campaign. The issue is that the SNP PROMISED the electorated that they would do these things, bring class sizes down, end student debt, introduce first time home-owner grants, recruit 1000 new police officers amongst others.

    One of two things is the case, either they have no understanding of Government, or they intentionally mislead us.

    Every single Student Representative Council in the country has condemned this government for making promises, and taking votes, that they have now reneaged upon. There are a large number of students, a number of them who would not support the SNP normally, who voted for them because of this policy. I have family members who voted for the SNP because they thought they were going to implement their manifesto. This one example will have provided them with more than enough votes to win over the 1 SEAT majority that they currently have. Students are angry that they were lied to, they voted for the SNP because they were promised something in exchange which they have not received. They have every right to complain as a result and should not be told to "Grow Up". These education policies were abandoned by the SNP long before the economic recession kicked in, so for Fiona Hyslop to try and hide her deception behind such things is highly wrong, and none of us have any respect for her over it.

    Each and every one of the issues that they mislead the public on could quite easily have won them an extra seat.

    I reckon if the other parties have any common sense at all they will plaster the airways at the next election with lists of broken SNP promises, then whenever they have a debate refuse to engage with the SNP and simply say "Well what does it matter what you say, you're going to do something different if you get elected".

    If they campaign on a policy of actually keeping to their manifesto pledges, that will lose the next Scottish election for the SNP, easily.

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  • 180. At 01:48am on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #179 NCA999

    Do you understand the meanings of "1 seat" and "majority" in terms of the Scottish Parliament.

    Have you looked at the most recent opinion polls?

    If you are a student (which seems possible given the context of your post) do you expect to gain a degree on the basis of partial and distorted evidence?

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  • 181. At 01:50am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #179 NCA999

    People will look at the SNP's record on balance, and compare it with that of the other parties. So sure of that defeat now?

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  • 182. At 02:02am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #179 NCA999

    Good stuff! a very good assessment of the situation and extemely well put.

    Beware the bully mob, they will want to distort your piece.

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  • 183. At 02:12am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    181. At 01:50am on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:
    #179 NCA999

    "People will look at the SNP's record on balance, and compare it with that of the other parties. So sure of that defeat now?"

    What record? people are people and see it as it is, the SNP is not a responsible group and certainly doesn't hold any high ground as far as being truthful goes.

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  • 184. At 02:19am on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8041232.stm

    More filthy Labour piggies in the trough.

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  • 185. At 02:21am on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Phil Woolas, the Home Office Minister, claimed for items of women's clothing, tampons and nappies. The parliamentary rules only allow expenses which are "exclusively" for MPs' own use.

    Any comment derek?

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  • 186. At 02:22am on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #179, every single student in the country (who graduates) is 2,400 better off than they would have been under Labour or Tory. Liberals said they planned to do the same thing, but then again they introduced the graduate endowment in the first place.

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  • 187. At 02:27am on 09 May 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    #180

    I find it more than just a little amusing that your only response to my post is a semantic criticism rather than actually dealing with the points.

    I think each and every one of the SNP hack geeks on this blog know exactly what the phrase "1 seat majority" meant. Clearly I was typing fast and should have phrased it slightly better but everyone knew fine well what I meant.

    It's typical of the laughable way that some people behave on this blog that they look at every little minutia and scream "conspiracy, conspiracy" as if you honestly think that I typed up that post, not to make an argument, but to try and mislead you guys over such a little thing.

    Nonetheless since you care so much I apologise for my incorrect phrasing.

    Please now respond to the point I actually made about why it was so wrong for the SNP to lie to the electorate when writing their manifesto.



    #181
    My point was, and is, very simple. All of the people who voted for the SNP off the back of certain manifesto promises who have now realised they were lied to will probably not vote SNP again.

    Every single student union in the country has condemned them for misleading students. None will trust the SNP again with any policy promises come the next election.

    My local constituency in which a promised single issue policy was the main reason for a massive swing towards the SNP candidate, a promise which has subsequently been revealed to have been untrue, will be very unlikely to trust their local SNP candidates again with any policy promises come the next election.

    I don't know what the final result will be come the next election. I suspect that when the list of manifesto promises which the SNP untruthfully made at the last election are highlighted to the electorate it will be more than enough for them to lose 1 seat, but who knows, lets wait and see.

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  • 188. At 02:37am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

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

  • 189. At 02:39am on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #186

    Patty thats a brave statement to make, I await some students to shoot in down.

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  • 190. At 03:13am on 09 May 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    #186

    Every single graduate in the country is better off. This doesn't affect students at all.

    The Lib/Lab coalition abolished fees when top-up fees were being introduced down south. This directly benefited students.

    The SNP then, on top of this, promised to "Dump Student Debt" behind which their flagship policy was to end student loans. I actually don't think abolishing student loans and replacing them completely with grants is that great an idea for a government, but as students we all love it.
    Why? Because students on lower incomes, who rack up 20-30'000 pounds of debt in student loans have to seriously consider the implications when taking them out, often choosing to live on the bread line, or not eat at all for a few days at a time, in order to minimise the amount of loan they must take out. Such costs then cripple them upon graduation when trying to move to London to get a decent job as the costs are so high there.

    The SNP promised to scrap these loans, and got a large number of student votes for it. They lied.

    Maybe they have made some progress, but the point is this, perhaps all of the students who voted for SNP might have voted Conservative, Lib Dem, Green, Labour had it not been for this promise. Had we been told that their policy was only to look at the graduate endowment, something none of us care about as it's a comparitively small cost spread over years after you're graduating and earning, then we may have looked more favourably on policies from other parties.

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  • 191. At 08:46am on 09 May 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    Here's a conspiracy theory for you.

    Given the people of Glenrothes were aware of the impending Credit crunch, they voted in Lindsay Roy in the hope that one day they might end up standing behind in a checkout queue.

    This would then give them the ideal opportunity to say, "Hey Lindsay any chance you could slip these Tampons and Kit Kats into your basket."

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  • 192. At 09:23am on 09 May 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    NCA

    I couldn't give a monkeys about any parties manifestos! Please enlighten us with Labour's previous one and what it has implemented or not. The SNP have done some things and not others, so what! Any excuse for another SNP rant. Read the papers they're on your side - obfuscate, mislead is what they do. Blind and deaf. Away and talk to Derek and all his pals.

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  • 193. At 09:25am on 09 May 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    191 Voice

    Those voters deserve pity. This is what you get with 50 years of Labour education policy!

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  • 194. At 09:57am on 09 May 2009, enneffess wrote:

    157. At 00:05am on 09 May 2009, colliery1 wrote:
    #152

    Oldnat and the light relief squad.

    Neil read all the posts.

    Oldnat is showing off his unionist favour now! he wants to debate all the westminster issues, dont be fooled any-more, oldnat is a uionist to the core.

    ------------

    Oldnat, it's official, YOU are the "pretendy nationalist"!!!!


    :))

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  • 195. At 10:00am on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Benefit Fraud

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  • 196. At 10:48am on 09 May 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    194 Neil

    How come you know what Oldnat is but you don't know what you are yourself?

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  • 197. At 11:13am on 09 May 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #183 - given up trying to remember what you call yourself.
    name me a political party that has delivered every thing they had in their manifesto since the start of the Scottish Parliament?
    unlike politicians I only ask questions that I already know the answer's and I look forward to your spinned answer.
    I am away off out so you have plenty time to think up an answer. missing you already

    Sid

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  • 198. At 11:18am on 09 May 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #136

    Could I refer everybody to this post which is childish,incoherent, mildly abusive and total nonsense in any content that it may have.
    Might I suggest that everybody just ignores any posts from "colliery1" as to engage with them in any way undermines any point of us all debating.
    This presumably is a part of the compelling case for the retention of the union.
    The possibility that colliery1 may in fact be nationalist plant engaged in a campaign to sink the unionist case is an interesting thought.

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  • 199. At 11:35am on 09 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    NCA999:

    Perhaps we should also target the other parties for supporting spending 500 million pounds on trams?

    Afterall, it all comes from the saem budget, how much do you think the SNP could have done with 500 million pounds?

    It's easy to be a critic, especially when you have already decided to dislike a certain party no matter the circumstances.

    It's a shame really, but oh well...

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  • 200. At 12:13pm on 09 May 2009, inmykip wrote:

    #198 colliery1 and half a dozen others are just various identities for one derek barker a long time Labour poster of this blog, and derek barker is no doubt just a pseudonym for some poor misguided Labour supporter. Derek tries hard to score points againt the independence cause but invariably his attack is weak and his defence is weaker, he continually leaves himself exposed for the counter punch. How many times you been knocked out now Derek eh? Your earholes must be ringing the number of times they have been well and truely boxed on here. Sadly Derek longs for a return to the good old days of the one party state in Scotland, he hasn't caught on to the concept of democracy in Scotland, possibly he never will and much like the dinosaurs I expect Derek and his ilk to pass into history.

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  • 201. At 1:04pm on 09 May 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    198 - why would the SNP plant a numpty like colliery closed (by the Union / Unions)? Doesn't make sense when colliery's role is to disrupt the thread and detract from the actual issues such as:

    Just when will David Marshall be lifted for his iffy £500,000 early retiral illness and just what is Joke McConnell's role in Marshall's daughter's business and the 7K that changed hands?

    Why is there yet further delays on top of the previous delays to Edinburgh's toy tram set foisted on the Scottish Taxpayer by the Scottish Unionist parties?

    How long will Elmer Fudd last as leader of Labour at Holyrood in a week that has seen his debating style compared with '... a lady asking about a two for one margarine deal at Tescos' or 'an unerring victim of rope a dope'? Even the Hootsmon could not call Elmer's third place in the leadership beauty contest 'just a blip'. Why are the press not rounding on this pathetic excuse for a Unionist politician as he is a far easier target than Fiona Hyslop?

    When will Downing Street announce if Brown is going to take the hint from the near 60,000 names on the petition calling for Brown to resign as PM?

    How about the corrected headline - 'Clapped out nuclear subs to be dumped at Faslane' in 2015?

    There's a lot of work 'plants' like Colliery / Barking Deek have to do, by their facile comment, to try and stop the real issues that concern Scots from being debated.

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  • 202. At 1:06pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Attention Thomas Stand easy.

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  • 203. At 1:57pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Make them pay the money back, sack the spivs who let them get away with it - and put the thieves on trial

    "Politicians are now held in public contempt, and rightly so because so many of them have been exposed as liars and thieves. Trust in British democracy stands at its lowest point since the First Reform Act of 1832."

    With the state of the economy and the poor quality of politicians a general election can't be far away.

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  • 204. At 2:10pm on 09 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    The poster calling himself 'Colliery1' may or may not be the same poster who used the 'Derek' psudonym, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that there has been sudden increase in peurile, insulting and childish comments.

    In November, prior to the Glasgow East by-election, I predicted that the then Herald comment facility would see a suddent influx of posters with a Unionist flavour and who would post a steady stream of provocative comment. The comments would be short and would tend to 'attack' fellow posters rather than pur forward any point or advocate any party.

    This did indeed happen and we then saw The Herald begin to limit the articles that allowed online comments.

    The Herald then closed the facility entirely in order to introduce a pre-moderated facility. The other striking feature of the new comments site was that it was an independent entity. This meant that the articles being commented on did not feature the comments beneath and thus people had to leave the online newspaper in order to see what had been posted.

    Around the time of the Glenrothes by election I predicted three things:

    1. The Herald would, around March/April close the comment site completely.

    2. The English press would, around April/May, realise the dreadfull mess Brown had made of the economy and would go after him.

    3. The BBC site would be attacked by similar comments that led to the disintegration of The Herald site and that destroyed The Scotsman site a long time ago.

    The first two have come to pass, whilst the third is 'work in progress' if you like.

    Some people may also have noticed the re-appearance of stories that seem to appear on the Scottish media whenever Labour are in trouble, I've mentioned them before on this site. Discovery of personal data on a disk or PC, A Trump story, an education story, a council cuts story or a 'c-diff' story.

    Variations of all five have appeared in the Scottish media these last three days. The BBC have actually headlined two this last two days, 'crumbling council buildings', 'nurses handwashing', brian Taylor does his bit with this lamentable attempt at breathing life into a completely non existant story, I'm still at a loss to work out where he has picked this up from.

    I mentioned in an earlier comment that arguably the biggest story in Scotland last week was the decision to berth every nuclear submarine in here. This story was presented uncritically as some sort of Union benefit by every Scottish media outlet, there was no dissent.

    The 'casual corruption' of Labour MP's is getting massive coverage down South, so much so that it doesn't matter that the coverage is subdued up here. However, proposals such as the nuclear subs one, that have real long term implications for Scotland deserve some sort of scrutiny from our media.

    It's unbecoming to watch the BBC's senior political analyst trying to muster a campaign against an SNP minister - a campaign so bereft of profile that hitherto no other journalist nor contributor to these kind of blogs has noticed it.

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  • 205. At 3:35pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Forcing the break-up of Britain

    "The becoming of England is not currently being driven by a movement, or a party, for English independence. A general election in 2010 with a Cameron majority built on English seats yet minority support in Scotland and Wales will, however, create immense constitutional pressures."

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  • 206. At 3:41pm on 09 May 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #199 Thomas_Porter: Perhaps we should also target the other parties for supporting spending 500 million pounds on trams?

    Afterall, it all comes from the saem budget, how much do you think the SNP could have done with 500 million pounds?


    Congratulations Thomas! You've correctly answered the question I posed in #10, neatly bringing us back on to the topic of education (after myriad posts demonstrating a complete lack of education from our resident troll!)

    Now, for a moment picture yourself as a responsible, moral politician (this may require a considerable effort after the reports of the last few days!). Here's your choice: trams for Edinburgh or average class sizes reduced across the nation? Which is better for Scotland? (That is why you're a politician, isn't it...?)

    To justify Brian's conspiracy comment: I wonder if the opposition decided to push the trams scheme through, calculating it would swipe 500m GBP from the SNP government's budget thereby endangering their manifesto commitments? If the scheme runs into difficulties they can try to pin the blame on the SNP, all the while moaning that the SNP haven't fulfilled their promises. Simultaneously shifty and not the best thing for Scotland...par for the course for the unionist parties unfortunately.

    #179 NCA999:

    Oh dear, this old bedraggled canard yet again. Some reality for you to digest: Manifestos show what a party intends to do if (and only if) it has a parliamentary majority. If it doesn't (and remember, that's our fault for not voting for them in sufficient numbers!) then of course some commitments will have to go. Not through choice, but through necessary compromises.

    Your ire might be rather better directed at another party in the UK which does does have a majority, yet has nevertheless reneged on several promises. I await your fair and balanced explosion of indignation at New Labour with interest...

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  • 207. At 3:51pm on 09 May 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    The submarines are a gift to the SNP. It is an indication of how completely out of touch Nulabour and some of its elected representatives are in Scotland that they thought this would be accepted wildly as good news.
    SEPA's statement of last week was highly significant. It will not allow those with their hands over their ears and blindfolds to wilfully pretend to themselves that there is no danger from nuclear submarines and nuclear bases. And (horror of horrors)house prives in the area will plummet. I already have heard of TORIES in Helensburgh volunteering that they will be voting SNP because of this issue.
    I wonder if the Faslane/Couport area is registering eight times the national incidence of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other cancers that the Cowal area in South Argyll "achieved" when Polaris was on the Holy Loch.
    I have heard serious concern expressed by clergy in the area about an apparent epidemic level of such among police and service personnel around these bases.

    But we musn't grumble. Someone has pointed out that the taxi drivers will be well off

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  • 208. At 3:53pm on 09 May 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    I do find it a bit odd that brian has chosen Fiona Hyslop's difficulties in Parliament to blog on when we all want to talk about more intersting and more crucial things

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  • 209. At 3:59pm on 09 May 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Ah, the joys of the Beeb's wonderful blog software - you'll need to manually remove the spurious <br /> from the URL in my #206. Is it really beyond the Beeb to sort this out? Are the several billion pounds per year of license fees not enough? I blame Fiona Hyslop.

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  • 210. At 3:59pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

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

  • 211. At 4:04pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #207 Sneaky

    "The submarines are a gift to the SNP" I thought the nats were against nuclear submarines?.

    Well Sneckedagain! your full of surprises.

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  • 212. At 4:09pm on 09 May 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Trip, trap, trip, trap. Ignore the collier laddie, he is the pits :o)

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  • 213. At 4:09pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #209

    Sneaky! you probably find most things in life a bit odd!

    Now! stay on topic and stop being childish and silly, remember the topic is education and Mrs Hyslop.

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  • 214. At 4:18pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #189, its a provable fact and you may not like it, but it is more than has been achieved for students by any other party since devolution.

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  • 215. At 4:26pm on 09 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Here's another prediction:

    The 'casual corruption' involving Labour MP's, currently being highlighted by the press down South, will be very subtely twisted here in Scotland. I predict we will see headlines 'revealing' expense claims for SNP MP's, almost certainly Salmond.

    These claims will simply detail relatively low and perfectly legitimate (even by moral standards) expense claims. However the wording will be designed to give the impression that Salmond (or other) is on the make.

    For example 'Salmond claimed 5000 for hotel costs !!' or 'Alex Salmond named in expense 'fiddle' revelations'.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if Salmond's Westminster salary (2/3rd's forgone and the rest donated to charity) is subtley referred to in order to give the impression that he accepts the money.

    Of course, what should happen is that the practices of Salmond i.e. salary dnation and designated place of residence, should be contrasted with the very real administrative gymnastics performed by Labour ministers like Darling and Brown, who have frequently changed their 'main' places of residence in order to maximise the amount of cash they can claim.

    I suspect we'll get a flavour of what to expect when we see tomorrow's Sunday headlines.

    Heck, we may even get a 'Salmond under pressure' blog from our dear friend Brian who has shown that he has his finger on the pulse. Who cares if the pulse belongs to a comatose Labour party currently in intensive care. Any momentary twitching or flickering eye movement will be reported as a Lazarus type resurrection.

    'Alex Salmond claimed for fish and chips !!' - he also had a pickled onion !!

    PS

    Come on, admit it - how many of you are waiting for the David Marshall story to emerge?

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  • 216. At 4:28pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

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

  • 217. At 4:29pm on 09 May 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    colliery1 (and the various other posters who occupy the same vacant space) lambasts the SNP for not making good on all of its stated policy ambitions as laid out in its 2007 election manifesto.

    If he/she/? wants to be justified in such criticism, then encouragement should be given for all of the similarly bewildered to try a spoonful of sanity and vote in a MAJORITY SNP Scottish Government in 2011.

    THEN, the measure of the SNP's integrity will be represented (subject to the vagaries of the Barnett Formula) by the ability to make good on pledges to the electorate.

    Questioning why a minority SNP administration has failed to press through legislation to which that party alone is committed is about as useful as asking why Labour has failed to push through its Holyrood policies - surely it cannot be just because the party isn't in power???

    --

    A good choice of name though, colliery1, because most of the posts made under that alias have been The Pits!

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  • 218. At 4:29pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #190, None of "you" care about the graduate endowment because it doesn't exist anymore ... Labour and Lib Dem did not "scrap" tuition fees they stuck it on the end instead and called it the "graduate endowment".

    Please don't be so precious as to claim you are somehow speaking for all students, you have a clear agenda and you cannot even recognize the facts.

    Also, considering Labour (with only 1 seat less) has achieved almost nothing from their manifesto presumably that makes them bigger liars.

    Newsflash for you; the vast majority of people in Scotland expect big manifesto commitment because they are used to FPTP, thanks to the system introduced by Labour and Liberal it is near impossible to get a majority - all manifesto commitment cannot be met. (Have you heard of "politics" before!?)

    As to abolition of student debt, minus trams (500 million), minus cuts (500 million), minus council tax benefit swindle (250 million); you could find 1.25 billion toward just that if only Liebour had cared as to what was best for the Scottish people, rather than what was in their narrow, partisan interest.

    Never mind what happens you when scrap trident (don't replace it) and get rid of id card idiocy ... as will happen after the next election when it become apparent Britain cannot afford either of the above.

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  • 219. At 4:30pm on 09 May 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    #212, forfar-loon

    Re colliery/Pits

    You beat me to it, which just serves to make my #217's appendix look weak.

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  • 220. At 4:31pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #216, loon is perfectly entitled to point out your utter irrelevance.

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  • 221. At 4:32pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #215 greennockboy

    "'Alex Salmond claimed for fish and chips !!' - he also had a pickled onion !!"

    He did! when was this, has he got a reciept, it maybe still stuck to his small hand. Wow!

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  • 222. At 4:36pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

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

  • 223. At 4:36pm on 09 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Can anyone else offer an explanation as to how comment 216 has come to be published?

    It starts with an inslut, ends with an insult and has what appears to be rambling gibberish in between. I hope nobody reports it, it deserves to be read by as many people as possible - it's just that bad.

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  • 224. At 4:36pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #212. forfar-loon

    "Trip, trap, trip, trap. Ignore the collier laddie, he is the pits :o)"

    Wiki

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  • 225. At 4:41pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #224

    And the point of that outrageous link was....well was what cynic!

    Stay on topic, why did the nats lie the the public about their education plans?.

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  • 226. At 4:42pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    SoS JM is being conspicuous by his absence from the media headlines or is he off on another freebie jaunt.

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  • 227. At 4:47pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

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

  • 228. At 5:04pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Isn't sad that the Unionist side doesn't even try to debate now and just spreads malicious lies!?

    Like #227, #225, #222 etc ...

    Question is why did Labour lie to the electorate (in a truly extravagant manner - you will be 5 grand worse off etc ...) and still lose? WIth the bulk of the "Scottish" media backing them too!

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  • 229. At 5:07pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    More New Labour snouts,

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8041232.stm

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  • 230. At 5:10pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #215, #221,

    And we are back to "Alex Salmond ate my hamster", with the mindless Labour drone repeating a story made up all of 6 posts before to mock his side's approach to politics!

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  • 231. At 5:10pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #215 greenockboy

    You'll find the Telegraph's analysis of Salmond's MP expense claims here

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5299733/Alex-Salmond-claimed-800-for-food-on-MPs-expenses.html

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  • 232. At 5:19pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    http://www.order-order.com/2009/05/coming-tomorrow-how-to-fiddle-2-million-on-expenses-tax-free-within-the-rules/

    Hoon!

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  • 233. At 5:22pm on 09 May 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    If MPs and MSPs are able to claim for so many ridiculous and extravagant items, what on earth do they do with their salaries?

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  • 234. At 5:44pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Because there's something in the air?.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-eRy2UrTvU

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  • 235. At 5:46pm on 09 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #231 oldnat

    According to that Telegraph article Salmond "claimed more than £1,700 in expenses for food in 2007/08."

    The same article states: "MPs can claim a maximum of £400 per month for food without having to produce receipts".

    Even with my rusty arithmetic, which is nonetheless probably still a bit better than Brian Taylor's, I calculate Salmond claimed £1751.50/£4800 = 36.5% of the maximum allowance for year 2007/08.

    And yet the article says: "questions will be asked why the First Minister spent so much (on food)."

    So, what do you think the "question" to Salmond will be? "Why have you only claimed a third of what you could have?"

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  • 236. At 5:47pm on 09 May 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Another pointless obfuscating entry by BT. What a non-story when you think of nukes on the Clyde. I'm pretty tired of tuning in here week after week seeing nothing but posters understandably and informatively railing against this blatant institutionalised non-coverage of Scottish affairs. I don't even bother reading to the end of BT's entries anymore and I now ignore the ad hom obsessed Unionist posters. There's a paradigm shift in Scotland and not just her politics. Ok so they're aren't out on the streets but times they are a' changing. But what do we get from our media. We get a load of feartie semantic drivel with the odd dirty trick thrown in. Scotland the brave? With regards our journalists what a depressing 'off-topic' lie.

    However, special mention to aye-write, Oldnat, Sneckedagain, bighullaballoo, Greenockboy, NorthHighlander and other notables. I've enjoyed reading your posts. Keep up the good work ladies and gentlemen and keep sticking it to them! We'll get our country back in the end. Scotland forever and ever!

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  • 237. At 6:04pm on 09 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #215 greenockboy

    "I wouldn't be at all surprised if Salmond's Westminster salary (2/3rd's forgone and the rest donated to charity) is subtley referred to in order to give the impression that he accepts the money."

    I red an article the other day that said Salmond donated part of his earnings to a "charity in his mother's name". That was it. No further information added beyond that.

    The reality is that Salmond "draws one-third of his £56,671 Holyrood salary. But he donates that third to a trust named after his late mother, Mary, to help community groups in the North East."

    In the first example the reader is left to ponder whether Salmond's mother is somehow the benficiary through a charity of part of Salmond's earnings.

    The vital clarifying pieces of information (i.e that Mrs Salmond is sadly deceased and that the money in fact goes to help community groups) was completely and no doubt deliberately omitted.

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  • 238. At 6:13pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #235 bighullabaloo

    Not being a "party animal", I could only speculate on what others might say about Salmond's MP expenses. However, since the Telegraph has no doubt put the worst spin it could on them, I thought it sensible to let people see them - as I did with the data from TheyWorkForYou that I posted earlier.

    RE will sneer in due course so I'll get in first with "Who ate all the pies?"

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  • 239. At 6:20pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

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

  • 240. At 6:24pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #236 bluelaw

    Well, thank you bluelaw!
    What a party it will be when we get independence ;-)

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  • 241. At 6:29pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #183 colliery1

    the SNP is not a responsible group and certainly doesn't hold any high ground as far as being truthful goes.

    That's quite funny - you've lied to point out that the SNP are "untruthful"!! (Though if deliberate, I think that would have been quite difficult for you..)

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  • 242. At 6:30pm on 09 May 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Whoops, I said northHighlander when I meant cynicalHighlander. Sorry Northhighlander but I don't care for your Unionism.

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  • 243. At 6:32pm on 09 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #238 oldnat

    "I could only speculate on what others might say about Salmond's MP expenses."

    No need for you to speculate. It was a rhetorical question.

    My #235 already makes the point crystal clear: Salmond spent a little more than a third of what he could have on food and yet the Telegraph is telling us "questions will be asked why he spent so much."

    Their big "revelation" is that Salmond took a soft drink out of a hotel mini bar!!

    The article states: "The Commons authorities 'docked' (Salmond's claim) by £9 because he had included drinks from hotel room mini bar in his claim."

    If the Commons authorities "docked" the £9 from Salmond's claim they must have done so before paying it to him. It doesn't make sense to "dock" a claim AND pay out.

    So what actually happened is Salmond never received this £9 at all. He was told he couldn't claim for it and, as the article itself later admits: "ended up paying the £9 bill".

    Good grief, the guy had a soft drink from a hotel mini bar, yet from the way this article makes it sound, you'd think he'd raided the Bank of England!!

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  • 244. At 6:38pm on 09 May 2009, enneffess wrote:

    230. At 5:10pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:
    #215, #221,

    And we are back to "Alex Salmond ate my hamster", with the mindless Labour drone repeating a story made up all of 6 posts before to mock his side's approach to politics!
    -------------

    Don't worry, this will account for the alleged claim by a Labour MP for pest control!




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  • 245. At 6:41pm on 09 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    I see some of these Labour MPs are already howling like stuck pigs after the Telegraph revealed expenses claims.

    If only these MPs would leap into action like that to help the people they claim to "serve"!!

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  • 246. At 6:47pm on 09 May 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    I can well imagine Eck racking up 400 quid a month on food, surprisingly low really ;o)

    Does anyone know if the allowance is purely for groceries as opposed to restaurants? If restaurants are included that 400 quid would quickly come and go at London prices. Food apart the costs for bedding look a bit high by Joe Public's standards, but not as high as Labour's Michael Martin.

    PS ducked out to the shops earlier, sounds like I missed a good strop in 216! Please reinstate it mods!

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  • 247. At 7:07pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #244, you could be right there Neil.

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  • 248. At 7:25pm on 09 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    I'm surprised the Telegraph hasn't "exposed" Salmond for not declaring that free paper-clip Mike Rumbles threw at him during FMQs.

    After all, it was paid for out of Rumbles' expenses budget and wasn't really Salmond's to keep.

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  • 249. At 7:40pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Poll: 68 percent think less of Brown because of expenses scandal

    At this rate they will be hard pushed to get into 3 figures next GE the times certainly are a changing.

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  • 250. At 8:14pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Pretty picture

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  • 251. At 8:14pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #249 cynicalHighlander

    Sample was only 500, so they won't have measured voting intention. UK Polling Report, however, anticipate at least one voting intention poll to appear in tomorrow's papers.

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  • 252. At 8:46pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Further to my #251

    A YouGov poll in the tomorrow's Sunday Times has topline UK voting intention figures of CON 43%(-2), LAB 27%(nc), LDEM 18%(+1) No more details yet. There is another BPix poll with Labour on only 23%, but since they don't publish the details, their polling is not reliable.

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  • 253. At 8:59pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

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

  • 254. At 9:06pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #251 oldnat

    I think by Monday it might be difficult to find 500 Labour voters as according to TB Mr & Mrs Balls are in for some unpleasant news!

    I wonder if Mr Roy is going to regret his change of occupation.

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  • 255. At 9:40pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #254 cynicalHighlander

    I doubt if Lindsay Roy has any regrets at all. He was in his last year as a HT, and due to retire on a good pension. He's had an easy berth with little to do since, and an additional MP's pension to come. I doubt if he's been on the fiddle - no need to!

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  • 256. At 9:56pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #255 oldnat

    That is a fiddle. He is supposed to be interested in making a difference, for others, politics...
    Typical Labour, institutionalised taking.

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  • 257. At 10:03pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

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

  • 258. At 10:05pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #256 aye_write

    Good point. I was thinking only of his MP expenses.

    As I said at the time of his selection, he might have been a useful MSP with his knowledge of Scottish Education. Down at Westminster, he's simply another clone to go through the lobby to vote as he's told on English matters.

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  • 259. At 10:09pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #258 oldnat

    Agreed. But Westminster is such a necessary institution!

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  • 260. At 10:10pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Gluttony! by the pie....aye.

    http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/article2206821.ece

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  • 261. At 10:16pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #259 aye_write

    It's probably something to do with the intellectual contributions from Labour's supporter :-)

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  • 262. At 10:18pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #260 colliery1

    You are quoting an article from the Scottish Sun. It is about Alex Salmond's waist....

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  • 263. At 10:18pm on 09 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #260, telly "star" famous for handling other people's excrement, "attacks" politician of standing in desperate attempt to get noticed.

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  • 264. At 10:19pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    The SNP at it again as they try and justify Alex Salmonds expenses and three wages.

    They try to justify that Alex only claims a third of his holyrood wage, then he gives it to charity, Wow! why on earth doesn't he claim the full amount and give it to charity?. the nats and the maths?.

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  • 265. At 10:20pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    MPs' expenses: Sinn Fein claimed £500,000 for second homes

    This is really getting ridiculous and shows that Westminster in all its historical glory should now be used as a tourist attraction and its present incumbents sent home, if they know were that is, to reflect on the publics report card get a proper job.

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  • 266. At 10:23pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #264 colliery1

    Alex only claims a third of his holyrood wage, then he gives it to charity, Wow! why on earth doesn't he claim the full amount and give it to charity?. the nats and the maths?

    I know. Why can't he be more like Labour and come up with a plan to put us zebedee-billion in debt!

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  • 267. At 10:24pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #262 aye_write

    And he doesn't even know the rules for MP/MSP salaries.

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  • 268. At 10:25pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #262 aye-write

    Thats right! waist, didn't annabel mention Alex's waist size last thursday
    at FMQ's.

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  • 269. At 10:28pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #267

    He must claim at least a third? why didn't he claim it all and give it to charity?.

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  • 270. At 10:28pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #268 colliery1

    Em, she likes him! ;-D

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  • 271. At 10:31pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #270
    aye-write, Are you saying it's wrong for labour MP's to abuse their expenses but it's OK for Nationalist leaders and MP's to abuse their expenses?.

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  • 272. At 10:32pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    So what type of expenses does Alex claim for his linlithgow home and his Banff & Buchan home?.

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  • 273. At 10:37pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #265 cynicalHighlander

    On the radio today, one Member justifying her expenses:

    "When I bought a new iron, I only bought a £15 one"!

    Just buy yourself a bl**dy iron, for goodness sake!!!

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  • 274. At 10:37pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    270. At 10:28pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:
    #268 colliery1

    Em, she likes him! ;-D" I am not surprised she like Em, (AS) he has implemented most of her manifesto. ;-A'

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  • 275. At 10:40pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #271 colliery1

    No, I'm not a member of the Labour party - I don't believe in double standards.

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  • 276. At 10:46pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #275

    OK, miss your membership! (Em) Sinn Fein, what next? could it be those sneaky nationalists MP's.

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  • 277. At 10:46pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #261 oldnat

    Yes. "It's a good idea having Lindsey and other such MPs doing nothing. It makes me look better." (Mispell it obviously ;-)

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  • 278. At 10:48pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #274 colliery1

    Whereas all (boo!) Conservative policies should just be banned...

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  • 279. At 10:49pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

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

  • 280. At 10:50pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #275 aye_write

    To be fair to all MSPs, the Scottish Parliament will begin online publication of all MSPs' expense claims, utility bills, travel and mileage forms.

    "This level of transparency will make Scottish politicians some of the most accountable in the world." says the journalist who forced the publication of MPs expenses through FOI.

    The contrast is between the democracy in Scottish politics, and the corruption of UK politics.

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  • 281. At 10:53pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #279 colliery1

    He's retired. He can smell of slippers and wear kippers if he likes ;-)

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  • 282. At 10:54pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #278

    Ah' could it be a communication break through, has the silver tongue beer monster! lite a beacon.

    Are you shouting for the left now?.

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  • 283. At 10:55pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #280 oldnat

    That's why I mentioned Roy and referred to MPs ;-)

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  • 284. At 10:59pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #282 colliery1

    I was mimicking you....

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  • 285. At 10:59pm on 09 May 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    Anyone know when BBC Scotland are going to an in depth investigation into the postal vote and missing polling register debacle at Glenrothes?

    How about the delays to the carrier program at Rosyth and on the Clyde that means no jobs have been created and many others on short term or laid off while trying to blame Lockheed for late delivery of the Raptor vstol aircraft ('No' says Lockheed's web site; all Raptor deliveries are on schedule and on cost?)

    How about the delays to the Type 45 program at Govan where Labour are blaming Raytheon while the Raytheon web site has nice pictures of the successful missile test fire on the Biscay Ranges?

    What about the continuing delay to the Unionist pet project that was supposed to harm the SNP in the shape of Edinburgh's toy tram set?

    Fiona Hyslop is small beer when compared to incessant stream of porkies coming from Labour and Westminster.

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  • 286. At 10:59pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #281 aye_write

    I'd rather smell of slippers than of Westminster!

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  • 287. At 11:01pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #281

    He is full of wiles and not bad at the golf to, so i've heard! I dont think he needs any support, in fact I am sure he needs no-one's support.

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  • 288. At 11:04pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #286 oldnat

    LOL! Yeah, I bet it smells of Brit ;-)

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  • 289. At 11:06pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #281 aye_write

    derek has discovered my secret. I am Sean Connery!

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  • 290. At 11:08pm on 09 May 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #272 - While Alex Salmond was certainly born in Linlithgow, I wasn't aware he still had a a home there. The Banff & Buchan home is his private residence, his main home and he can't claim expenses for living there.

    Looks like another smear attempt bites the dust, Derek.

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  • 291. At 11:09pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #288

    Aping around again aye -write I suppose you'd rather be a banana than an ape!..........ouch! (it's gone)

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  • 292. At 11:12pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Getting away with everything they can

    "Anyway, she spent £22,000 of taxpayers cash doing up her terraced house in Brixton. A new bathroom costing £1,460, a carpet for £980 and windows costing £5,610. As she explains to the fees office: "The basic situation is that this house was relatively cheap to purchase but requires quite a lot of work." This would be the house she lived in for five years before becoming an MP."

    "Banana Republic" or "A pigs Breakfast" and Balls is going to have to sweat a little longer.

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  • 293. At 11:12pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #290

    Why! if it aint ForteanJo, pistol packing nat cowboy! Yo there Jo, can you walk the walk.

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  • 294. At 11:12pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #285 slaintemha

    "Anyone know when BBC Scotland are going to .............."

    You jest, of course! That would require them to employ (and give the appropriate freedom) to journalists!

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  • 295. At 11:12pm on 09 May 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Oh dear, the unionists will have to find a new name for Salmond now..."Shrek" has been assigned to someone else!!

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  • 296. At 11:14pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #287. colliery1

    A golfer! Why didn't you tell me sooner? I can't trust his politics now...

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  • 297. At 11:20pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Tummy shot! 4


    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article5672170.ece

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  • 298. At 11:22pm on 09 May 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #293 - Supremely better than you can, Derek, supremely better. But then, pistol packing cowboys do have that advantage over village idiots, don't they?


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  • 299. At 11:25pm on 09 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Allow me to interject with a very real Scotland on Sunday headline.

    'Nats victory, independence and looming nuclear catastrophe it's Scotland 2014'

    An article based around a work of fiction apparently, so no change from this paper then.

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  • 300. At 11:27pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #290 ForteanJo

    As far as I know, Salmond still has (maybe now "had") a home in Linlithgow, as the Scotsman once ran a story about his claiming taxi fares from home in Linlithgow to the Scottish Parliament (presumably in his first incarnation there).

    The critical point is that the Scottish Parliament has always been more open to reforming its practices. McLetchie lost the Tory leadership through abusing claims for taxi fares, that were for personal, not Parliamentary purposes. McLeish lost the Labour leadership for going along with a Fife Labour Party scam to raise money from the open sewer of MPs Westminster expenses - that G Brown continued with!

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  • 301. At 11:27pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #293

    Supremely soup sucker! draw!

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  • 302. At 11:29pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #297 colliery1

    Good for Salmond - not allowing the woman is sexist - and he's trying to keep fit ;-)

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  • 303. At 11:32pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #300

    Doh oldnat! you spoiled my punch-line.

    The FM often does TV interview from his linlithgow home.

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  • 304. At 11:37pm on 09 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #303 derek

    You lack both punch and line.

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  • 305. At 11:41pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #304

    Got any tips then!

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  • 306. At 11:42pm on 09 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #300 oldnat

    That's a brilliant point oldnat - I'd forgotten.

    We have some control over politicians in Scotland, at Holyrood. We have no control when they are in London!

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  • 307. At 11:43pm on 09 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    As the actor said in 'The Long Good Friday' ... "more bad news".

    Hazel Blears in trouble:

    Registering her London flat as her second home to the Commons authorities whilst simultaneously informing the taxman that it was her SECOND home !!

    Result was that she paid NO capital gains on the sale of said property !!

    This one will be interesting.

    People - informative and constructive posts please, resist the impulse to out do 'Colliery1', leave him to it and ignore him.

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  • 308. At 11:51pm on 09 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #307

    Sack her! set the standards now! sack her first.

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  • 309. At 11:54pm on 09 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #306. aye_write

    This man can sit till he passes away! Thieves.

    Speaker: I want what is owed to me

    "Martin, a former sheet metal worker and shop steward, allegedly told a senior MP: I have been a trade unionist all my life. I did not come into politics not to take what is owed to me."

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  • 310. At 11:56pm on 09 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Here's an alleged quote from Labour MP Michael Martin, The Speaker - "I have been a trade unionist all my life. I did not come into politics not to take what is owed to me."

    Yesterday it emerged that he had claimed £1,400 on chauffeur-driven journeys, including trips to a job centre in his constituency and to Celtic Park, the football stadium.

    I should add of course that Fiona Hyslop is apparently under pressure - if you believe Brian Taylor that is.

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  • 311. At 11:58pm on 09 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Correction to 307:

    Registering her London flat as her second home to the Commons authorities whilst simultaneously informing the taxman that it was her PRIMARY home !!

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  • 312. At 00:09am on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #309 cynicalHighlander

    These are outdated minority attitides now, as Scotland dusts them off and prepares to regain her sovereignty. They are in the same category as drink driving - you just don't.

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  • 313. At 00:10am on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    311 greenockboy

    Conservative Home are calling for the Tory MP James Gray (never heard of him) to leave politics for claiming the 60 GBP cost of Remembrance Day wreaths.

    derek is calling for the sacking of Hazel Blears.

    Unfortunately, these are just cries of pain. All those who supported the English idea of Parliamentary Sovereignty have been complicit in allowing our people's rights to become subservient to the rights of UK politicians.

    Time to repatriate our sovereignty to our own Parliament - where we know how to deal with such people!

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  • 314. At 00:23am on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Aye-write a little link you might like to ponder over!

    http://midgie.list.co.uk/article/16389-aye-write/

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  • 315. At 00:36am on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #314 colliery1

    Yes, I know. Nice when things are named after you. Sorry you just got a hole ;-)

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  • 316. At 00:37am on 10 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #313 oldnat
    The YouGov is now online; %s C29 L28 LD10 SNP29 on a sample of 200. Don't tell deanthetory! But I think Fiona can stop worrying.

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  • 317. At 00:37am on 10 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    As predicted earlier:

    'Expenses row engulfs Salmond'

    Anyone prepared to argue now that we don't have a partisan media in Scotland? I'm prepared to bet that the BBC in Scotland will run with this.

    Incidently, the language used in the headline is overly dramatic - 'engulfs' indeed. Take a look at the previous articles into the very real 'casual corruption' involving Labour and see if it appears.

    David Marshall merits nary a mention for half a million pounds, HALF A MILLION !! but we have a major front page headline for 800 pounds, yes that's right 800 pounds.

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  • 318. At 00:42am on 10 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #314 derek
    At 6 quid a throw I'll have to stop reading her posts. At 7 quid for you youngsters you'll be even more bust than Global if you've been reading her.

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  • 319. At 00:53am on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #318 handclapping

    Look's like I got a hole(315) ;-) I'm saying nothing to the wife!nor the putter.

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  • 320. At 00:55am on 10 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #311 greenockboy
    Rest assured everything was done within the rules. They even ammended the Income Tax Acts 6 years ago so that they could get away with it scot free! Oink Oink

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  • 321. At 01:05am on 10 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    By the way, the author of the piece of fiction that spawned the headline:

    'Nats victory, independence and looming nuclear catastrophe it's Scotland 2014'

    is none other than the husband of that well known BBC journalist - Kirsty Wark.

    You may well remember that Wark accused the First Minister of "picking a fight with Westminster" when Alex Salmond accused Tony Blair of discussing Al Megrahi when seeking an extradition treaty with Libya.

    Westminster of course denied Salmond's claims and Wark argued their line when interviewing Salmond. An interview that resulted in a BBC apology as a result of Wark's 'abrupt' ending to the said interview.

    Recent revelations would seem to suggest that salmond was correct and that Westminster was ... er .... not !!

    I wonder, is Fiona Hyslop still under pressure?

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  • 322. At 01:07am on 10 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    re 320
    Of course with so many facing the prospect of "compulsory" relocation at the next GE, now last years curious change in the Capital Gains Tax starts to become clear. No wonder HMRC had to set up a special unit to deal with MP's taxes; staffed with people from the Commons Fees Office?

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  • 323. At 01:13am on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    One of my favourite betting scenes! tuti!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2ZpJkK-ZbM

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  • 324. At 01:13am on 10 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #313 oldnat
    I can't see what your problem is. Parliament is sovereign, which means it makes the rules. The fact that they have made the rules to suit themselves is just tough. Hahaha, I'm on my way to the bank, oh hang on, well I'll just get the taxpayer to bail out the bank so my money's safe.

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  • 325. At 01:15am on 10 May 2009, enneffess wrote:

    276. At 10:46pm on 09 May 2009, colliery1 wrote:
    #275

    OK, miss your membership! (Em) Sinn Fein, what next? could it be those sneaky nationalists MP's.
    --------------------------

    Colliery1, I doubt there will be any. If there is, then I would expect some form of action to be taken by the SNP leadership.



    On the items that have been or attempted to be claimed, can anyone here please explain their importance to politics, since the claimants obviously do not see a problem:

    A wreath
    Bath plug
    Dinner set
    Food
    A 5 pence carrier bag
    Wallpaper
    Furniture
    Cleaner
    Television
    Video
    Mattress
    Pillows
    Bathrobe
    Gardening Bills
    New boiler
    Mock Tudor beams
    Toilet seat
    Fire damage (ever heard of proper insurance?)
    Hanging Baskets
    Pot Plants
    Rug repairs

    It's like the Generation Game Conveyor Belt. The only thing missing is the Cuddly Toy!



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  • 326. At 01:29am on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #325 Neil_Small147

    LOL Neil ;-)
    Mock Tudor beams!

    There was also a £15 iron.
    The wreath is for the death of Labour (I've decided.)

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  • 327. At 01:33am on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #325 Neil_Small147

    I think the "cuddly toy" will probably emerge. It will be the "cleaner" looking after the "second home" that the MP's spouse didn't know existed!

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  • 328. At 01:34am on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #326 aye_write

    My golf bag has a 9 iron and a wedge, but a 15 iron???

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  • 329. At 01:45am on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #328 oldnat

    You are a tee-se!

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  • 330. At 07:34am on 10 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    I have just been reading the 'Telegraph' about the MPs expenses. To be fair to the MPs who are being castigated all their expenses have been deemed 'legal' by the Westminster parliament. Whether the MPs mentioned are having their nose in the trough, as a lot of us believe, does not mean to say that they have done anything illegal.
    The case of the PM sharing a cleaner with his brother, and the monies paid to his brother, is miniscule for hiring a cleaner for two years. Unless, of course, you would want the cleaner to be paid even less than the small amount of money they would normally get. The real question is not the 'small' amount his brother was refunded but, 'Is the PM allowed, under Westminster parliamentary rules, to claim for a cleaner to come to his second home and clean his flat?'. If the rules state that it is allowed then this is a 'no story' and smacks of smearing. However, there are other cabinet members whose claims seem to be disturbing. Take, for example, the case of Barbara Follet who tried to claim GBP 528 for cleaning a Chinese needlepoint rug but the House of Commons Fees Office told her it was too expensive and gave her only GBP 300 instead. Again, it is not the amount of monies claimed for cleaning a rug but has she the right to do so? Obviously, the Westminster parliament believes that she has the right. Personally, I don't see what the cleaning of her rug has to do with the Westminster Parliament. It is not the MPs that the Telegraph should be going after, as they have not broken any laws or rules, but the people in the Fees Office who are allowing all this to pass. I'd be interested in finding out why she was allowed this cleaning bill.
    As to the BBC highlighting the article in the Telegraph about flats that the Sinn Fein MPs use when they are over here, on parliamentary business, the BBC know and have reported this in the past, that Sinn Fein will not sit in the house because they will have to swear an oath to the Queen. So, I don't know the point that the BBC are trying to put over about Sinn Fein who have the right, as any MP does, to claim legal expenses. The fact that Sinn Fein do not sit in the house is a political point, which the BBC are fully aware of, and not a 'sleaze' point, as the article was meant to be about.

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  • 331. At 08:56am on 10 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Another little tit bit from the emerging expenses scandal:

    Andrew Walker, who runs the Commons Fees Office responsible for MPs' wages and expenses, told Speaker Michael Martin more than five years ago that he must act to curb excessive claims.

    But Westminster sources say the Speaker told him not to meddle, and 'punished' him by refusing to speak to him for weeks at a time.

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  • 332. At 09:22am on 10 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 331 greenockboy

    Is Walker an MP or is he a civil servant?

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  • 333. At 09:26am on 10 May 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    "Flipper Hazel Blears and the £18k tax bill that never was"

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1179916/Flipper-Hazel-Blears-18k-tax-was.html

    Hazel Blears defence seems to be that the system is wrong due to the fact that the lack of security on this information has shown that her fingers have been trapped in the till.

    It appears for Labour that the system is only wrong when you get caught.

    How can Labour ever pretend again that they represent the working class.

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  • 334. At 09:49am on 10 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # A_Scottish_Voice

    Very interesting. In my mind that would constitute tax fraud, but the system that the MPs designed for themselves has made that legal. Therefore, I suspect that the taxman's hands are tied.
    This is our money and, yet, the MPs are showing a complete disregard for the 'letter of the law' while we, at the bottom of the rung, are pounced upon for the least infringment of the tax laws.
    Doesn't it make you sick?

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  • 335. At 09:52am on 10 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    One of the most interesting things emerging from the rubble that is now Labour and Westminsters now destroyed reputation is the contortions from the Scottish media as they try to avoid harming Labour.

    From the Scotsman on Sunday's easily predictable headline 'Expenses row engulfs Salmond' to Brian's now unintentionally hilarious blog, there can now be no doubt that there is an institutionalised reluctance to draw attention to stories that may seriously harm, however indirectly, the Union.

    Unionists have labelled such a view point as the rantings of 'conspiracy theorists', thereby dealing with the uncomfortable truths by ridiculing those pointing them out.

    Of course it isn't a conspiracy, that suggests a level of subterfuge and collaberation amongst people in an attempt at manipulating or engineering events or news. The truth is that every one of our media outlets operate within a kind of institutionalised Unionist agenda that basically rules the kind of scrutiny of Westminster or the Union as 'out of bounds'.

    It's so ingrained and many journalists are so conditioned that they probably aren't even aware they are doing it.

    Let's be honest here, we are now witnessing the biggest story in UK politics ever - bar none. The very institution of Westminster itself is being undermined through the sheer greed and chronic corruption of MP's from every London based party, and let's make no mistake, this is a Labour, Tory and Lib Dem problem.

    Of course Scotland has historically been overwhelmingly represented by Labour MP's, and thus, it will be these MP's who should be scrutinised in a Scottish context.

    The obvious candidate for scrutiny is the ex Labour MP David Marshall who's half a million pounds of expense claims was alleged to have been one of the reasons for his sudden 'poor health' and subsequent standing down from the Glasgow East seat causing the by-election won by the SNP.

    The revelations that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, Prime Minister and Chancellor respectively and MP's for Scottish constituancies, have allegedly contrived to alter their second/primary home addresses in order to maximise their expense claims should be the number one stories in the Scottish media - no question.

    As I listen to the Shereen Nanjani radio programme there is the obligatory discussion of a 'poll' that apparently demonstrates a drop in support for independence. The guests of course all agree with this and each add that the current economic crisis has strengthened the case for the Union.

    There then follows a discussion on the Al Megrahi case and the panel agree that Alex Salmond will have to make a "grown up" decision for a change and not just the usual "sound bite". The implication is subtle, but there none the less, that Salmond is less than grown up and prone to ake soundbites.

    Todays Politics Show will have as guests Alan Cochrane, Denis Canavan, Peter Mandelson and David Cameron - all Unionists, one a journalist and the others politicians from Unionist parties.

    Will they agree that the big story this week is Fiona Hyslop? I wouldn't be at all surprised.

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  • 336. At 10:07am on 10 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 335 greenockboy

    Well said. I have posted on this blog a few times about the biased tone of reporting in the media and I have called this 'Black ops'. I have warned that the closer we get to a refendum the more the media will 'suddenly' produce a smear which they will later retract, normally hidden away deep within their paper, when the fuss has all died down. The case of the 'zero' question is a prime example.
    Expect a lot more of this to happen.

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  • 337. At 10:10am on 10 May 2009, inmykip wrote:

    Westminster MP's whose expenses have been 'outed' seek to justify themselves by declaring their actions to be within the expense rules for Westminster and therefore perfectly legal. Did none of them for one moment stop to think if their actions were morally justifiable? Did none of them stop to think, am I exploiting the system? Am I exploiting the electorate? For some it certainly appears that morality and the concerns of those they were elected to represent form no part of their value system. Now that they have been exposed they seek to hide behind the law, let's hope come the next election that moral justice is done towards these people and they are 'removed' from the system they felt it was their right to exploit.

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  • 338. At 10:31am on 10 May 2009, enneffess wrote:

    #335 greenockboy

    Might be a bit strange coming from me, but your post makes a lot of sense. I'll admit that until recently, while I accepted a bias in the media, I was dubious about any sort of conspiracies.

    However, the expenses scandal has proved your points. This topic about Fiona Hyslop was a non-starter anyway. I have two kids at school and don't see any problems. Class sizes was always going to be difficult considering most councils are reducing the number of schools at the same time as restricting teacher recruitment.

    The expenses story is the biggest political scandal for many years, more so that there are so many MPs involved. What is even more scandalous is that the expenses are all "within the rules".

    The "flipping" has got to be the worst of the lot. A few resignations are in order here. Resignations as MPs, not just as Members of the Cabinet.


    #337 inmykip

    The problem is that while many people in general are criticising the expenses, they should also ask themselves what they would do in a similar position. And quite a few would probably take advantage of the scheme as well. Labour prior to 1997 were always criticising the Tories for various items of sleaze. Now look what has happened.

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  • 339. At 10:55am on 10 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 338 Neil_Small147

    'The problem is that while many people in general are criticising the expenses, they should also ask themselves what they would do in a similar position.'

    It is a fair point that you put but the MPs are elected to represent the needs of their constituency and, as such, they should treat this job as an honour, rather than a way to furnish their house or rip off the taxman/taxpayers.

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  • 340. At 11:03am on 10 May 2009, inmykip wrote:

    #338 you're presuming we are all guilty until proved innocent Neil which is too much of a generalisation.

    I'm not talking about what if's, I'm talking about what IS, the fact that these people have been exposed exploiting the expense system for their own personal gain. Surely these people are supposed to be above such acts? They lecture the electorate often enough about low moral standards when it suits them. If they have no moral values when claiming expenses then how can they have any moral values when running the country.

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  • 341. At 11:06am on 10 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #338 Neil
    re #337 No, not acceptable as an excuse. They are the people that make the rules. Parliament is sovereign, they have absolute authority. I think we can require a higher standard of probity and fairness in those exercising this great power on our behalf.
    The party system has left far too many of these people without a proper job to do. It has turned most MPs into red or blue puppets who have no purpose except to fill in their "expenses". After a GE 400 or 2 out of every 3 MPs should be told to go home to their constituencies and given 70 quid a day to "run" their constituency any way they like. They would be allowed to attend and speak in Parliament and cast an indicative vote if they wanted, but they would get no extra bunce. The remaining 250 would be busy and should get the same £70 a day for constituency work and £92,000 for their Parliamentary salary. Those of the 250 representing somewhere more than 60 miles from Parliament should get upto 39 non encashable first class returns there each year arranged by the Parliamentary travel office.
    If you are then a Parliamentary MP you are busy and being paid for it. If you are a Constituency MP you get the kudos and enough to run a part-time office to deal with constituency matters and you can still make your name at Westminster if you want to.

    Thank heavens for our Scottish Parliament, sovereignty in the people and a different way of doing things.

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  • 342. At 11:10am on 10 May 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #338 - "The "flipping" has got to be the worst of the lot. A few resignations are in order here. Resignations as MPs, not just as Members of the Cabinet."

    The problem we have, Neil, is that Blears feels perfectly justified with the dual status of her main/secondary residence because the rules are wrong. Never mind the fact that she helped put these rules in place. So we've no chance of seeing her resigning.

    I'm sure Duff would love to get rid of her, especially after the her criticisms last weeks ("Ya tube!"), but I don't think he'd risk it. He no longer has the absolute power base he used to enjoy and as the old adage goes, woman scorned and all that - the last thing Duff needs is making even more enemies.

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  • 343. At 11:30am on 10 May 2009, inmykip wrote:

    #342 if Blears knows the rules are wrong then why did she decide to exploit them for her own personal gain, no one twisted her arm did they to behave as she did? The rules certainly didn't demand she exploit them? Did they? So in her case the only thing that caused her to exploit the rules was her own lack of moral judgement and greed. She has no moral authority to represent the electorate.

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  • 344. At 11:38am on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    The YouGov poll for the Times shows the same lack of understanding of the differences between England and other parts of the UK. They included a questions on English education - the SATs - but asked it of the Scots (we've never had SATs), and the Welsh (who abandoned them).

    As always the Scottish sample is too small to have any significance but the polling prediction for the European elections is interesting for all that -
    SNP - 37% : Lab - 25% : Con - 23% : LibDem - 8% : SSP - 2% : UKIP, Green and BNP - all 1%

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  • 345. At 12:01pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #335 greenockboy

    "As I listen to the Shereen Nanjani radio programme there is the obligatory discussion of a 'poll' that apparently demonstrates a drop in support for independence. The guests of course all agree with this..."

    On Wedneday night's (06 May) Newsnight Scotland the Scotsman journalist Hamish Hamish Macdonell (there to plug his book on devolution) declared of the SNP's independence referendum bill: "They may not get the referendum and even if they did they'd almost certainly get defeated." (See at 17.36)

    Von Smallhausen responded: "right!" simply agreeing as if someone had just said "the world isn't flat".

    This is typical of what we get but I don't believe the Scottish people are in the mood to put up with it for very much longer.

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  • 346. At 12:03pm on 10 May 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    One of the things that has surprised me is the sudden disappearance of Jim Murphy. I suggested a couple of weeks ago that the lack of leadership and chaos that currently surrounds Downing Street would result in 'Honest' Jim hotfooting it North of the border to ensure a ready supply of 'Murphyisms' for our media.

    However he is nowhere to be seen. What conclusion we can draw from his sudden attack of stage fright is anyones guess.

    Of more interest is the long term implications for Labour in Scotland. No, not voting intentions - they will carry on as before with a small but steady erosion.

    The implications I am alluding to are those of recruitment. Labour are seen by many as a sure fire passport to power, influence and wealth. Many of their top Scottish politicians will have been drawn to Labour because of these attractions.

    Now we have a situation where power will be denied them for at least a decade, the top jobs will become ever more difficult to achieve due to the intrinsic anti Scottish sentimentand the mechanism that provided a ready access to public monies is about to be dismantled.

    Pay and conditions therefore won't be what they were and so recruitment will surely drop. Holyrood will become the main attraction for those who would have previously looked to London and Westminster. The result is that Labour in Scotland will gradually distance itself from Westminster as it seeks autonomy.

    The Iain Gray's and Andy Kerr's will disappear, their limitations, lack of authority and lack of courage will leave them vulnerable. In their place will appear newer, more radical and charismatic individuals who's first loyalty will no longer be London.

    The process will begin with Labour's complete destruction in England. Iain Gray will find himself marooned in Holyrood, no-one to tell him what to do and without the nous to lead. So will begin Labour incriminations and infighting .....

    The Referendum ..... Independence .... Scottish Labour rebirth and a whole new relationship with our closest neighbour and friend, England - who will have removed the worst of the cancer of corruption from her own parliament.

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  • 347. At 12:15pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    MPs' expenses: It's easy to blame 'the system' without taking responsibility

    "I see no evidence of contrition, either, in the Prime Minister, his Cabinet or his MPs. Son of the Manse? You must be kidding. What a wretched bunch of spivs. What a diabolical liberty. Isnt it time you were all leaving?"

    Is it any wonder why society is in the state it is.

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  • 348. At 12:20pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #346 greenockboy

    It'll be a cold day in hell before BBC Scotland takes an objective look at the fallout of this expenses scandal on Labour MPs in Scotland.

    As I said in my #22: "Brian Taylor has not a word to say about how the UK government ministers' expenses scandal affects the electoral credibility of all Labour MPs in Scotland. Not a single word."

    You see, whilst the Labour cabinet is collapsing under the weight of its own greed we're supposed to direct our attention to the "weak point" in the SNP and "stay on topic" like good little "mugs".

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  • 349. At 12:25pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Change of subject!

    Part Time Purcell

    "Fiona Hyslop has been trying to arrange "full and frank" discussions with Purcell given that Glasgow is the worst performing area in Scotland in terms of educational achievment but Purcell's Secretary replied to Hyslop with:

    "Due to the forthcoming by-election Councillor Purcell will now be unable to attend... as he has asked that I clear the diary for May"


    Party before childrens education is what Labour stands for.

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  • 350. At 12:32pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    But we knew the whole Westminster system was rotten to the core. None of this should surprise anybody.

    Even when they change the rules (as they will be forced to do) it's unlikely that they will go as far as Holyrood has already done. Other loopholes will be built in to the system.

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  • 351. At 12:35pm on 10 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #344 oldnat
    I think a sample size of 50 or less would not be significant but the Scots part of the YouGov was 200 odd. It certainly would not be accurate to the 3% of the overall poll, possibly 7.5% or worse but in Scottish Westminster terms it does seem to show what I've been saying for some time, that it's Lab + SNP neck and neck, Tory coming up on the rails and the LibDems going backwards.
    It would be nice if it were true; 28% and Global's out of Kirkcaldy! Ah, to dream. 8-)

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  • 352. At 12:42pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    I do wonder what Ms Hyslop thinks of Brian Taylor's "opinion" of her?

    Maybe we'll find out when Salmond makes Ms Hyslop his "minister for communications and media" in the independent Scottish government?

    I do hope so.

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  • 353. At 12:50pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

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

  • 354. At 12:52pm on 10 May 2009, WebPendragon wrote:

    I think that their can be little doubt that Ms Hyslop has been promoted a little further than her talents merit.Her career has been helped by her important role within the Party before it had any hope of achieving power,as well as her status as an early and loyal Salmond supporter.

    Sadly she is discovering that it is far easier to to pass clever criticism of those in power than it is to wield it effectively oneself.

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  • 355. At 12:56pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #338 Neil_Small147

    I am glad you see things that way Neil. You are realistic in that many people do take advantage if it seems they can, but even if it would be a flaw of other people aswell it still should be criticised - as it's no excuse (I'm sure you'd agree).

    Do you see Westminster as corrupt, as this system of MPs being sovereign will always lead to this sort of thing? Do you see that the Scottish system, of sovereignty with the people, is better? - look at those who went from Holyrood that oldnat mentioned earlier (his #300).

    Hope you do. You once wondered if the Scottish parliament was mature enough yet. To me, it seems more mature at the outset, because it is a better system. I'd rather have a better system to serve my country better. I hope you agree with me. (Back later.)

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  • 356. At 1:02pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    My #353 has been removed for pointing out that "suspicion is not knowing" in response to oldnat's #350.

    They really are getting quite desperate aren't they?!!

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  • 357. At 1:11pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    HMRC: MPs will be investigated

    "Finally, after four hundred and four years, the torture of the original Guido Fawkes is being avenged without resort to the rack."

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  • 358. At 1:29pm on 10 May 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Iain Dale has an interesting view on why we're all being directed to castigate Hazel Blears rather than Darling or Hoon: Is Number Ten Lining Up a Chipmunk Cull? Could it be that rumours of the demise of the Number 10 spin machine have been greatly exaggerated? It seems so.

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  • 359. At 1:49pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    The Speaker's scapegoat: Official who signed off MPs' expenses didn't even have accountancy qualification

    "One source said: 'Andrew did his best to keep control of things but it was an impossible job, and he was not really equipped to do it. He knew there were things going on that shouldn't be and drew them to the Speaker's attention.

    'The Speaker didn't want to know. His own expenses were coming under scrutiny and the last thing he wanted to do was draw attention to the issue. Andrew was told to keep his nose out and to turn a Nelsonian blind eye."


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  • 360. At 2:32pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Plans for an independent auditing body to validate MPs' expenses claims are expected to be approved on Monday, following weeks of damaging stories."

    1. About 400 years too late.

    2. It will never happen anyway.

    3. Even if it does happen it will be a whitewash job to make people think Mps have repented when they haven't.

    NO to an "independent auditing body"!

    Nothing less than a total gutting of the rotting carcass of "democracy" will do.

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  • 361. At 2:43pm on 10 May 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    and so the ostriches (sorry the journalists ) in Scotland try grimly not to mention expenses. it reminds me of the fawlty towers episode with the German guests.
    "don't mention the expenses!"
    "i mentioned expenses but i think i got away with it."

    if it wasn't so pathetic it would be hilarious.

    sid

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  • 362. At 2:45pm on 10 May 2009, hobec99 wrote:

    I am incredibly angry that the first action of the newly elected SNP after the last election was to lay off primary school teachers and increase class sizes when they had put a leaflet through my door only a few weeks earlier saying they were going to reduce class sizes. Apparently this policy doesn't apply to East Lothian.
    Fiona Hyslop should consider if she is in any position to deliver on this pledge and if she concludes that she isn't then she should resign.
    The education of our children is the most important thing that government can do for the future success of our country but it seems as if few SNP supporters take this issue seriously.

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  • 363. At 3:09pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Tory leader David Cameron has said the Scottish Parliament must respect decisions made on a UK basis, if he wins the next election."

    That's Cameron getting in his "You'll be poll tax guinea pigs if I say so!" message early.

    That old arrogant Tory "lord of the manor" spirit is alive and well.

    If Scots are stupid enough to let this public schoolboy try to annihilate them like Thatcher did then frankly - hell mend them!!!

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  • 364. At 3:17pm on 10 May 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #362 Hobec99- if ever there was a post that clearly showed why Education should be taken out of the hands of district councils and put under the control of the Scottish Parliament yours is it.
    i guess that is not what your post set out to do ,but thanks anyway!

    Sid

    PS . are you sure you don't live in Glasgow?

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  • 365. At 3:27pm on 10 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    #362.

    Your talking nonesense. An MP has little power over education, but you should look at yiur local council as they were responsible for education and more importantly how they spend money in that area.

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  • 366. At 3:48pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #359, cynical,

    Love that last link of yours,

    Sub-headlines,

    "Blair's £296,000 mortgage on home bought for £30,000."

    OK so we all knew that Blair was in it for whatever he could get, but this is quite telling about the supposed "hard man" of (again, part-time) Westmonster Labour Politics in Scotland,

    "Reid: £200 pouffe and £30 for a glittery loo seat."

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  • 367. At 3:52pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Unfortunately the SNP only represents 30% of the seats in East Lothian (as do Labour), no doubt the Lib Dems had some serious presents on their wish-list to share power, chances are (if claim made is correct) that this is an unintended consequence.

    Labour - 7
    Scottish National Party - 7
    Liberal Democrat - 6
    Conservative - 2
    Independent - 1

    At least its not like Glasgow where it is official policy to close schools and increase class sizes, rest assured that is what you would have gotten had the Labour-Fib Dem deal gone through.

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  • 368. At 3:52pm on 10 May 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #364 - "if ever there was a post that clearly showed why Education should be taken out of the hands of district councils and put under the control of the Scottish Parliament yours is it"

    I'm actually surprised that the government hasn't taken this step, especially since many believe that the LAs are dragging their heels on classroom sizes, closing schools, laying off teachers, etc. simply to frustrate the government.

    Interestingly, we had the reluctant postman and his alter ego, cauliflower ear Derek, castigating the SNP for centralising too much this time last year, an action that would hardly tie in with the government's independence credencials. Could this have been an attempt by Labour stoogies to pre-emptively attack any government move towards centralising education?

    It seems that education will be the main battle ground in the next elections. Labour cobbled the mum's vote at the last election, and some of those mothers might feel vindicated in their compliance with Labour propaganda. As Neil is always complaining about, the government must get smarter on these core issues or Labour won't face anywhere near the wipeout they deserve and could even sneak back into power with another round of LibDum backdoor dealing.

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  • 369. At 4:06pm on 10 May 2009, Mallorquin wrote:

    It's such a shame that the people of the British Isles as a whole cannot/will not speak other European languages. Kids here in the Balleares learn in Catalan, but study English and Castellano from a very early age. Scotland, in preparation for becoming an independant European state should be addressing the issue. It's a courtesy to our European partners, sometimes difficult to know which language to teach, but a knowledge of any one does wonders for the understanding of their native tonque. I'd never heard of a subjunctive before learning Castellano and yet it does exist in English. As large numbers of Continental students need to qualify as English teachers because of it's global reach, it would seem logical to offer them assistant posts. Then even in the smallest primary, one day per week, everything could be taught in a European language. Very young kids have an inate ability to pick up language, soon they will be using it in the playground. I often hear children talking to each other in more than one language, switching from moment to moment with no difficulty. It would not be expensive, it would not rely on the retraining of hundreds of teachers too old to really get to grips with real spoken language. It would produce future generations prepared for employment across Europe as well as in domestic positions where langueage skills are required. So, if Ms Hyslop reads this, here's your get out of jail card!

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  • 370. At 4:27pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Just a thought! could the Scottish parliament turn out to be just a little mini me of the Dr evil parliament in westminster.

    character

    Mike Myers as Dr. Evil
    O' behave!

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  • 371. At 4:37pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #369 Mallorquin

    "So, if Ms Hyslop reads this, here's your get out of jail card!"

    Hard to believe you think there are idiots who acually believe Ms Hyslop actually needs a "get out of jail card."

    You must be totally ignorant of the actual mood in this country at the moment.

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  • 372. At 4:40pm on 10 May 2009, enneffess wrote:

    362. At 2:45pm on 10 May 2009, hobec99 wrote:
    I am incredibly angry that the first action of the newly elected SNP after the last election was to lay off primary school teachers and increase class sizes when they had put a leaflet through my door only a few weeks earlier saying they were going to reduce class sizes. Apparently this policy doesn't apply to East Lothian.
    Fiona Hyslop should consider if she is in any position to deliver on this pledge and if she concludes that she isn't then she should resign.
    The education of our children is the most important thing that government can do for the future success of our country but it seems as if few SNP supporters take this issue seriously.

    ---------------

    The Scottish Government did not reduce teacher numbers - local councils did, the same ones that are closing schools.

    Education should be controlled and funded centrally, but with safeguards to ensure local requirements are met.

    Too many councils have been selling off school land for private housing.



    369. At 4:06pm on 10 May 2009, Mallorquin wrote:
    My yongest's primary school does a French club. But English is a major langauge for business and other areas (air traffic for example). Better to ensure our children can speak, write and spell English first!

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  • 373. At 4:48pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Or have we become a more subservient society, given the recent blunders of our politicians. In todays society they can close a factory, that employs up to 2,000 people without one single demonstration against the action.

    Had confidence in parliament dropped so low 30 years ago, there would have been mass demonstrations and many people would be calling todays situation a revolution.

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  • 374. At 5:04pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Iceland Make Formal Complaint about Gordon Brown

    Is it something he said?

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  • 375. At 5:06pm on 10 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    The polls pointed out are interesting, and I entirely missed them (been entirely out of the loop for days). Despite their unrepresentative sample sizes could someone forward me a link to them? Might make interesting reading.

    Oh, and I see the feet are being kicked into D.C. early on this blog! His article about mutual respect for the decisions of Westminster and Holyrood is perfectly fair. And if the best some on this blog can do is talk of the community charge debacle from 19 years ago (yep its that long ago, just that irrelevant and unrepresentative of Goldies boys today) then the anti-tories out there must be rather pathetically desperate.
    I also ask all to note that D.C also conceeded that he could not impose certain policies upon Scotland due to as he admitted our lack of a clear democratic mandate from Scotland. Where is this Thatcher-anti-Scot jot that some are hyping up? People in Scotland will get a pleasant surprise when D.C is in power, as the hype and talk about the 'end of the world' scenario will only help us come 2014 after people of my generation (20-30 year olds) suddenly realise that its not all desruction, plunder and pillage up north!

    Cheers folks :)

    Oh and AW, not seen you on the blog for a while (maybe just me?)- good to see you back, all guns firing.

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  • 376. At 5:12pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #372
    Neil, I wonder if you support the closure of faith schools?.Do you think that only the most extreme should have faith schools, say like the muslims faith, and all other schools should be opened schools to all faiths.

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  • 377. At 5:18pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #370, the Scots Parliament is what we call "regulated", it was set up in a way that every expense must be recorded, there are no blanket categories like "food", "housing repairs" etc ...


    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23687469-details/Switchback+Hoon+built+£1.7m+property+empire+off+expenses/article.do

    Hoon makes 1.7 million via exploiting Westmonster rules, 1 million of which while he was defence secretary!

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  • 378. At 5:23pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Bye bye any Tory revival in Scotland!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8042617.stm

    Respect the will of the people: they don't want Trident, and they want a say on their constitutional future.

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  • 379. At 5:29pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #375 deanthetory

    You'll find the link to the poll at

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6256447.ece

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  • 380. At 5:37pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #375 deanthetory

    "Where is this Thatcher-anti-Scot jot that some are hyping up?"

    I think you'll find the "Thatcher-anti-Scot hype" is to be found in the current number of Tory MPs in Scotland = 1.

    That sort of "hype" speaks for itself.

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  • 381. At 5:37pm on 10 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    As to the comments made by David Cameron that, 'the Scottish Parliament must respect decisions made on a UK basis,' is all nice and fine. The problem comes when Holyrood disagrees with policies brought forward by Westminster. The prime example is going to be the siting of all the UKs nuclear weapons to Scotland. Legally, there is nothing that Holyrood can do about it as Defence does not fall within their remit. Also, if the Scottish people decide on independence (and this is still a big if) then this, again, does not fall under the remit of Holyrood but Westminster. Legally, Scotland can only get its independence if Westminster agrees to it.
    It seems likely that the Conservatives will be the next government of the UK after the next general election. Therefore, the Conservatives being a Unionist party, the position that the SNP are in at the moment versus the other Unionist party, the Labour party, will not change. I don't think that the Conservatives will allow another UDI (the last place being Rhodesia) to take place, especially so close to home. However, there is a very long way to go until that situation arrives.
    Don't think that when the Labour party loses the next general election our troubles will be over, I suspect that it will just be starting.

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  • 382. At 5:40pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Neil, after some years of HMI inspection on schools, the same pattern emerges every time. Schools in area's of poor health and high unemployment do less well than schools in more affluent area's.

    If you looked into the old mortgage rate's before the recession, you would find, that area's with good schools had higher house prices and waiting list for primary schools.

    You see, it maybe not so much the ethos nor the position of a school as to the health and employment around the school.

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  • 383. At 5:55pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    MPs' expenses: the legal view

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  • 384. At 6:01pm on 10 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Oh please, a unilateral declaration of independence! How utterly absurd, Scotland shall get independence when they vote for it (at the referendum vote, which is coming).

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  • 385. At 6:05pm on 10 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Apparently 52% of Scots think that D.C is doing well, constrasted with just a diehard 36%- net bad. So it appears that Scotland is hardly as anti-tory as in previous years.

    And 1MP doesnt mean a thing about anti-tory hype, aside for the fact that during 2005 it was effective at preventing progression to post-New Labour politics. Mark my words, Scotland shall return over 7 MPs for my lot. And advance in many other constituencies across Scotland, we shall be a more meaningful thrid place party than ever before.

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  • 386. At 6:12pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #385

    Dean, Ambitious! maybe! I tend to think that politics has failed the general public and confidence is at an all time low, we could even witness elections that return a turnout lower than 20%, hardly a mandate for anything.

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  • 387. At 6:15pm on 10 May 2009, hobec99 wrote:

    #365

    I don't think I am talking nonsense. Fiona Hyslop is minister of education.

    For the the first three years of primary education my daughter enjoyed a class size of 23. SNP in control of parliament and local council and class size up to 29.

    The difference between being in government and being in opposition is that you actually have to deliver on all those promises in your manifesto and take responsibility for the education of our children.

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  • 388. At 6:21pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #385 deanthetory

    "And 1MP doesnt mean a thing about anti-tory hype"

    Dean, when Scots vote in 1 Tory MP out of 59 seats that only means one thing: they don't want Tory MPs.

    That only "doesn't mean a thing" if you are living in a parallel universe where facts don't contradict reality.

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  • 389. At 6:25pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #387 hobec99

    "For the the first three years of primary education my daughter enjoyed a class size of 23. SNP in control of parliament and local council and class size up to 29."

    What did the SNP do? Insist another six children be drafted in to your daughter's class just to annoy you?

    Ridiculous.

    And please - not another one peddling the tired old lie that the SNP government isn't delivering on its manifesto promises.

    For the last time: manifesto promises are made on the basis of majority government not minority government.

    Plese don't go through all the same old tedious arguments about this again. It is just so utterly boring.

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  • 390. At 6:25pm on 10 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    DeanTheTory:

    I believe David Cameron is doing fine at the moment, however, am I a fan of the Conservatives? No, and I would never vote for the Conservatives.

    There's a difference here, the Labour party are doing terrible which is resulting in the Conservatives looking better because being in opposition is easier then Government, especailly at Westminister when a minority party rules all, so all problems can and usually do return back to Government.

    It's all possible Dean, but really over 7 MP's? I would have reckoned that around 7 MP's would be fantastic for the Conservatives, but you are actually insisting on more then that.

    Just becareful, overconfidence can be your biggest ally aswell as foe.

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  • 391. At 6:31pm on 10 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Nope bighullabaloo what it represents is a level of anti-tory voting which simply no longer reflective at all. Scots do not hate or fear the tories, that is hype plain and simple- especially since the yougov poll I'm reading right now puts my lot on 29%, Lab 28% SNP 33% hadly as if Scotland is rejecting Tories.

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  • 392. At 6:37pm on 10 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    hobec99:

    #387.

    "For the the first three years of primary education my daughter enjoyed a class size of 23. SNP in control of parliament and local council and class size up to 29."

    The Scottish Government has gave the councils flexibility over finances and some councils have been able to take forward SNP policy but certain councils, usually those with a history of poverty, well councils tend to move money meant for education into other areas of priority.

    Aberdeen City Council is in tens of millions of pounds in debts, but the SNP are in Government and control the council in Aberdeen, but do you expect the council able to take forward SNP policy despite the years of abuse by other groups?

    "The difference between being in government and being in opposition is that you actually have to deliver on all those promises in your manifesto and take responsibility for the education of our children."

    Yes, such nonesense here too. I disgaree because in the Scottish Parliament, no one party/group are in control of the Parliament and Opposition have the ability to take forward policies that the Government does not agree with. For example the parties brought forward plans for the Trams which the SNP did not want, and they spent over 500 million pounds, now that's 500 million less for the SNP to spend to complete their promises!

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  • 393. At 6:38pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #391 deanthetory

    "Nope bighullabaloo what it represents is a level of anti-tory voting which simply no longer reflective at all."

    And your proof for that is?

    Please don't wsate my time with some daft poll result.

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  • 394. At 6:39pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8042571.stm

    If anyone doubted what the Torygraph has been doing is right, then this may change your mind ... all it takes is a matter of days of embarrassing stories, and suddenlt everybody thinks the system is a disgrace (which it is) and needs changed (which it does).

    Dean, 7 Tory MPs from Scotland - I don't think so! Hatred of the Tories is one thing holding the shrinking Labour vote together. Cameron would be delighted with 2 or 3, if he has any sense. Assuming the next round of elections (European, British and Scottish) go as planned, the Tories could perhaps hope for such a breakthrough in Scotland c2014.

    We shall see. I certainly don't see any Tory politicians willing to predict anything quite so rash as that!

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  • 395. At 6:43pm on 10 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    DeanTheTory:

    #391.

    Is that poll for the Westminister Parliament?

    Please do not dig yourself a hole Dean, because when it comes to the election, despite the unpopularity of Labour you can expect Scotland to return a mid-sized amount.

    Polls are that, polls and are not elections.

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  • 396. At 6:43pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Well it's clear protest votes are of no point and you could'nt slip a fag paper between the three main parties in Scotland.

    I think people will just reframe from voting and go underground.

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  • 397. At 7:03pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    This is not a dig, it's just an observation.

    Now the Scotland has become the base for the entire stock of nuclear subs
    why hasnt the FM came out and voiced his anger at this situation.

    Why arent die hard nationalists screaming green murder over this issue?.

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  • 398. At 7:08pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #396 "refrain" presumably?

    Don't underestimate the public, many may well react to this whole expenses debacle rather differently - and make an active choice to engage politics for the first time in a while (since 97 for some).

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  • 399. At 7:10pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Sadly society is a reflection of greed and the truth about most things are,
    "it dont mean nothing unless you have a pocket full of pretty green.

    £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££

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  • 400. At 7:12pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Anyone else notice order-order's mysterious connection problems today, after is promised to post full details of the Hoon scam yesterday?

    http://www.order-order.com/

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  • 401. At 7:15pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #395, looks to me like a reference to a Westmonster poll, meaning the Scottish sample size could be anything between 50 and 250, and the questions prior to the main event (who would you vote for) will be worded in such a way to reinforce a straight "New (Old) Tory" - New Liebour choice.

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  • 402. At 7:16pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #398
    "Refrain" of course? however I think you should look at all the recent turnouts, pretty low and many local election struggle to get above the 30% mark.

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  • 403. At 7:41pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMg7H-GMxjA

    Trident's dirty secret.

    The reason why London-Labour think Scotland is "the best wee country in the world" ... for nuclear waste and trident missiles anyway!

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  • 404. At 7:58pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Bid to dissolve Parliament amid row

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  • 405. At 8:18pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    The Telegraph will be releasing details of the Tory misuse of expenses later this evening.

    The UK Parliament seems to intend to bring in external auditors. However, auditors only ensure that the money has been spent "within the rules". Since the rules themselves are the problem, and the Scottish Parliament has already introduced a transparent system that they are failing to copy, it looks like Westminster want to make only cosmetic changes.

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  • 406. At 8:41pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    For starters.

    Alan Duncan claimed thousands for gardening: MPs' expenses

    "In March 2007, Mr Duncan claimed £598 to overhaul a ride-on lawn-mower and then a further £41 to fix a puncture a month later."

    Mind you it might be the quickest way to his office.

    Hands up anyone to carry on the union.

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  • 407. At 8:43pm on 10 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Thomas & others

    I would agree that a more popular and normal Scottish Tory expectation is to gain somewhere between 3-5 MPs. This is true, however we are on target to win a predicted 3-5 on current (Yougov) polling averages (average since Jan)- and this far out of the G.E- I'd expect to see our share rise even higher, though you are right Thomas these are all just predictions and mathematical calculations- the only poll that really matters is the one on the day.
    Yet surely the fact that we are even seeing Scottish Tory polling showing a consistant level of support between 18-22% this must indicate that Scotland is changing the political values and sentiments that have been anti-tory; this next G.E. will not be a re-run of 2005, Dunfries and Galloway constituency for example was lost then due to an anti-tory tactical voting habit across all Scotland- my contention (feel free to disagre if you wish) is that this tactical voting against my party is no longer poilitically worisome, it is over.

    Oh and bighullabaloo- you can't just dismiss polling from sound polling agencies like that and expect to be taken seriously. They are not always accruate that is true, but they are damn good indicators with margins of error etc. The "daft wee" poll (as you call it) is a reliable source- Yougov, and oldnat found it and showed me it- so its hardly even my own propaganda. Just grow up (and if you are grown up wehy not try behaving like it?)

    Dean

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  • 408. At 8:47pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #405 oldnat

    See my #360 for a complete, detailed and accurate analysis of their proposal to bring in an external auditor.

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  • 409. At 8:53pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #406 cynicalHighlander

    Given the expenses scandals of the last day or two one really has to wonder: what sort of idiot would want to carry on being "governed" by this morally-corrupt Westminster den of thieves?

    Of all the countries in the "Union" - including England - Scotland is the only country where the people have a viable alternative to this barefaced ransacking of our tax money.

    Any rational Scot must surely see independence as the only sensible way forward from here.

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  • 410. At 8:55pm on 10 May 2009, Mallorquin wrote:

    371 bighullabaloo Thank you for your comment. As I live in both countries I have a fair understanding of the mood in Scotland at the moment. My wife was a primary teacher so I have considerable understanding of the resource issues and the "performance" culture. I regret that I failed to understand the point of your comment, I would be grateful if you would expand somewhat and possibly suggest your ideas of how to progress essential language teaching in the Scotland of the 21st century. You will rightly gather that I have a passionate interest in the teaching of language to youngsters. I have little time for political posturing and sniping, to which this site often descends. All our futures depend on sensible people making sensible decisions and then delivering them in a prompt and cost effective manner. I suppose that I should also declare that I will vote SNP in the future as I do not wish my country to return to being an experimental laboratory for the Tories, or worse being totally marginalised by their elite.

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  • 411. At 8:56pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #368 ForteanJo

    Labour cobbled the mum's vote at the last election

    Mums should know the only way not to clip their children's wings is by affording them the ordinary opportunity of living in a country where they can govern themselves. Not accepting the status quo, where, regardless of ability, they cannot.

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  • 412. At 8:58pm on 10 May 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    As to the Mother of Parliaments maybe one of Robert Burns less well known poems sums up the state of political whoring in Westminster:

    'The mair ye bang, the mair she squeals,
    And its hey for houghmagandie!'

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  • 413. At 9:06pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 407 deanthetory

    "Oh and bighullabaloo- you can't just dismiss polling from sound polling agencies like that and expect to be taken seriously."

    You can't make ridiculous claims about the number of Tory MPs that will be returned in Scotland on the basis of so-called "sound" polls and expect people to believe it. As predicted you have nothing whatsoever to back up your claim apart from your own fantasies.

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  • 414. At 9:10pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #410 Mallorquin

    Totally agree about the need for "immersion" teaching of modern languages - and the younger the better.

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  • 415. At 9:15pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #410 Mallorquin

    "I would be grateful if you would expand somewhat and possibly suggest your ideas of how to progress essential language teaching in the Scotland of the 21st century."

    Idea No. 1 - Vote for independence in Scotland so that our tax money isn't being squandered by a morally-corrupt band of thieves in Westminster.

    Idea No. 2 - Take the money the band of thieves is currently spending on feathering their own nests and we will have a lot more money to spend on education of all sorts - including languages.

    Idea No. 3 - Capitalise on our special relationship with the French - a race so often sneered at and ridiculed by the jingoistic English - to foster a much greater understanding of French, which is spoken around the world by around 90 million people as first language, by 190 million as second language, and by about another 200 million people as an acquired foreign language, with significant speakers in 54 countries.

    Not really very difficult to see how we could "progress" is it?

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  • 416. At 9:24pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    What happens in 2010?

    Be respectful in their self inflicted grief.

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  • 417. At 9:24pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #375 deanthetory

    Hi dean!

    Thank you. My interest was caught elsewhere but it seems I still like to blog ;-)

    I agree that there are some bloggers who are far too over reactive to the whole range of anything other than pro-independence posts, and this can have the opposite effect than persuading voters to be convinced of independence.

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  • 418. At 9:25pm on 10 May 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    bighullabaloo- yep thats right, opinion polls, electoral calculus predictions and polling averages its all just my fanasies eh? Your rather hollow.

    And my predication of 6/7 Scottish Tory MPs is hardly outwith the realm of reality or probability, for example, if we polled 24% on the election night, and the SNP got 29%, Labour 32% and Liberal 14% that would by the law of a Scottish general swing to 9 (yep 9) Scottish Tories. Now, in most polls since Jan has put my lot on at least 20%/21% so in what way is my statements of 6/7 Scottish Tory MPs fantasy?

    Your anti-tory bigotry is showing, better watch that, times are changing and you represent the past.

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  • 419. At 9:27pm on 10 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #412 slaintemha

    Did Burns foresee the greed O' man

    From the "green grow the rashes o'"
    "The war'ly race may riches chase,
    An' riches still may fly them, O;
    An' tho' at last they catch them fast,
    Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, O.
    Green grow, "
    "

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  • 420. At 9:30pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #410 Mallorquin

    "I regret that I failed to understand the point of your comment"

    Allow me make it crystal clear for you: anyone who read the above article and came to the conclusion that Fiona Hyslop actually needs a "get out of jail card" would have to be a complete idiot.

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  • 421. At 9:34pm on 10 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 384 deanthetory

    'Oh please, a unilateral declaration of independence! How utterly absurd, Scotland shall get independence when they vote for it (at the referendum vote, which is coming).'

    You may not remember the vote in 1979 when 1.23 million Scots voted for and 1.15 million voted against Scottish home rule, but I do. In a FPTP system it was obvious that the Scots wanted home rule, however, as the turnout was 63.8% and the Yes vote represented only 32.9% of the electorate Westminster decided that those who didn't vote were an automatic 'No' vote, so the Scots were robbed of their voting rights. So, please don't be offended when I take your words with the contempt that they deserve. How do you know that Westminster will stick by its word. It didn't do it in the past and it will use every sneaky trick in the book not to let Scotland go. Unlike Ireland we are not prepared to go the way of the Irish so, UDI is an option that we have. I hope we never have to use it as I hope that Westminster will have the decency to allow us to go gracefully.

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  • 422. At 9:39pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #417 aye_write

    "I agree that there are some bloggers who are far too over reactive to the whole range of anything other than pro-independence posts, and this can have the opposite effect than persuading voters to be convinced of independence."

    Oh for God's sake you're not STILL going around pretending how "understanding" and "morally superior" you are?!! Do us all a favour and park it somewhere else for a wee while. You really are a monumentally crushing bore.

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  • 423. At 9:42pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #418 deanthetory

    "Your anti-tory bigotry is showing, better watch that, times are changing and you represent the past."

    I am delighted that my "anti-Tory bigotry" is showing. I can't think of a better use I could put it to.

    The "past" is ably reflected by the facty there's only one Westminster Tory MP in Scotland. The future will be NONE AT ALL.

    When are you going to realise that the wheels have just fallen off your whole Westminster gravy train?

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  • 424. At 9:50pm on 10 May 2009, Mallorquin wrote:

    415.bighullabaloo
    Well then, it seems that we have no fundamental disagreement. French was my first modern language and I appreciate your sentiments. Perhaps you may be dismayed to have an "idiot" agrees with you. May I be so bold though, as to point out that Spanish is the first language of 350 million people and should not be neglected (ref Wikipedia)

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  • 425. At 10:01pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #424 Mallorquin

    "Perhaps you may be dismayed to have an "idiot" agrees with you."

    Not at all dismayed. You are hardly the first "idiot" I've managed to sort out on here.

    Not sure why you see Spanish as so beneficial. Just because it's spoken by more people than French? Because it's more helpful as a business language?

    On that basis you might as well teach Mandarin and be done with it.

    I spent four years teaching English and Business Studies in Singapore so I can tell you first hand it might not be a bad idea.

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  • 426. At 10:06pm on 10 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    DeanTheTory:

    #418.

    "And my predication of 6/7 Scottish Tory MPs is hardly outwith the realm of reality or probability, for example, if we polled 24% on the election night, and the SNP got 29%, Labour 32% and Liberal 14% that would by the law of a Scottish general swing to 9 (yep 9) Scottish Tories. Now, in most polls since Jan has put my lot on at least 20%/21% so in what way is my statements of 6/7 Scottish Tory MPs fantasy?"

    Your original estimate was to see a return of at least 7 Conservative MP's, you were expecting more. It was I, who stated that around 7 Conservative MP's would be a more logical and reasonable estimate.

    "Your anti-tory bigotry is showing, better watch that, times are changing and you represent the past."

    You should tread carefully too, quite alot of the voters do remember the Conservatives quite well. Then you also have to fight against history, what have the Conservatives done in Scotland since the last time they were in power? Apart from the compromises between the SNP and the Conservatives, the Conservatives have done little... too little that shows that they have changed.

    Personally I see David Cameron wishes to change the party's image and I notice this in the loss of support from high rollers, but time will tell and then the Conservatives can show the public that they do care for Scotland.

    However, even 7 MP's will not be able to match the several hundred from England..

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  • 427. At 10:10pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #407 deanthetory

    I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but small sample size is not the only reason to be very wary of the "regional" data in polls like YouGov.

    They may give a reasonable indication of the SNP/PC support in Scotland/Wales, but the UK parties are weighted to give a balance across GB - not in the regions themselves. Hence, the comparative strengths of the UK parties within Scotland, cannot be extrapolated from these polls.

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  • 428. At 10:13pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5305293/David-Camerons-shadow-cabinet-drawn-into-expenses-scandal-MPs-expenses.html

    Paying for Tory MP's lightbulbs, gardening expenses and to do up houses shortly before selling them on the open market.

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  • 429. At 10:19pm on 10 May 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #381

    You are entirely wrong. Scotland gets independence when Scotland votes for it. The unilateral right of self-detemination included in the UN Charter, signed by UK, says so. Westminster's opinion will have no validity in this decision.

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  • 430. At 10:21pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 407 deanthetory

    From oldnat's #427: "The comparative strengths of the UK parties within Scotland cannot be extrapolated from these polls."

    So, this is the "sound and reliable source" you claimed in #407? Pitiful.

    You said: "oldnat found it and showed me it- so its hardly even my own propaganda."

    No, your "own propaganda" is taking the poll oldnat showed you and twisting it to suit your schoolboy fantasies of more Tory MPs in Scotland at the next election.

    Read the BBC's current top news story and tell me why you continue to support people who are robbing you blind and laughing behind their backs at you?!!

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  • 431. At 10:28pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #422 bighullabaloo

    By your logic (I assume you think your contributions are aiding the independence cause?), is derek then a great advert for the Labour party??

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  • 432. At 10:30pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #430 bighullabaloo

    If you were aware of the limitations of polling methodology that I outlined in my #427, then I'm surprised that you didn't highlight that yourself.

    I'd be obliged if you didn't use my posts to sneer at others. I disagree with dean on most things, but I prefer to have a civilised debate.

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  • 433. At 10:30pm on 10 May 2009, enneffess wrote:

    428. At 10:13pm on 10 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5305293/David-Camerons-shadow-cabinet-drawn-into-expenses-scandal-MPs-expenses.html

    Paying for Tory MP's lightbulbs, gardening expenses and to do up houses shortly before selling them on the open market.

    ----------------------

    There's a guy in the pub who'll cut his grass for 20 quid.


    This is getting worse and worse.

    Back on the game show theme.......

    The Price is Right and Within the Rules
    Who Wants to be an Expenses Millionaire
    The Flipping Postcode Lottery
    The National Expenses Lottery
    The Euro MP Expenses Lottery
    Sale of the Century - don't worry, we'll reimburse you for the lot
    Mr and Mrs Expenses
    Location, Location, Location, Location, Location, Location.......
    Strike it Very Lucky
    Blankety Blank Chequebook and Pen (insert amount here)
    Hell's Kitchen Let's Have a New One
    Ask The Family Who Can Claim the Most
    Bargain Hunt Up to 250 quid No Questions Asked
    Call My Bluff
    Countdown to the Next Big Break
    Dancing On Thin Ice
    Deal or Deal
    Double Your Money Twice
    Family Fortunes
    Fifteen to One Odds I Make A Profit
    Get Your Own (Expenses) Back (taxpayers excluded)
    Going for Gold (plated taps in the bathroom)
    Have I Got News for You
    In It to Win It
    Play Your Receipts Right
    See It, Saw It (bought it, claimed for it)
    Take Your Pick


    Who needs a gameshow when you are an MP.......

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  • 434. At 10:34pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #433 Neil_Small147

    LOL!

    My preference is "Take Your Pick" - to Westminster, and knock it down!

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  • 435. At 10:35pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #431 aye_write

    "is derek then a great advert for the Labour party??"

    Derek who? I got him booted off the board three days ago. Don't blame me for the fact the BBC allows all sorts of nut-jobs to sign up again using different user names.

    Everyone agrees derek was a spaced out troll. Many people here have explicitly agreed with and supported the arguments I make. Waitingformyman was just the latest of those.

    But I really find your endless carping on about nothing at all tedious in the extreme.

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  • 436. At 10:38pm on 10 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #432 oldnat
    "If you were aware of the limitations of polling methodology that I outlined in my #427, then I'm surprised that you didn't highlight that yourself."

    I did highlight it myself. In #393 I told him: "Please don't waste my time with some daft poll result."

    If you post information that helps me shoot down the lies of these people I'll use it as I see fit.

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  • 437. At 10:39pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #422 bighullabaloo

    You really are a monumentally crushing bore.

    Ah...it's jealousy?
    OK

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  • 438. At 10:43pm on 10 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    The BBC is eerie or is the bunker locked with a no entry sign, the Brown isn't being mentioned anywhere that I can find or has he succumbed to the s***e flu.

    To add to neils list: "$64,000 question?" then all the "Makeover programmes"

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  • 439. At 10:46pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #433 Neil_Small147

    Wow! Brilliant Neil. Thank you!

    (You watch a lot more TV than me ;-)

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  • 440. At 10:51pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #436 bighullabaloo

    If you post information that helps me shoot down the lies of these people I'll use it as I see fit.

    You can, but as oldnat inferred, you look like an idiot and taint the independence argument by your so doing. Let me explain - that would be a bad thing.

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  • 441. At 10:57pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #435 bighullabaloo

    Everyone agrees derek was a spaced out troll. Many people here have explicitly agreed with and supported the arguments I make. Waitingformyman was just the latest of those.

    You counter that derek is spaced out, with support from waitingformyman who is frequently incoherent (though I believe well meaning - she's done brilliantly for Byth! ;-) ;-)

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  • 442. At 11:01pm on 10 May 2009, Mallorquin wrote:

    425.bighullabaloo
    Choice of language will always be difficult for native English speakers. Whilst I understand the sentiment for Mandarin, it has the most unwieldy form of writing, which does not lend itself to computerised technologies, the Chinese themselves recognise this in their efforts to equip their population with English.
    Whilst I admire many things French, it seems to me that the Academie Francais is deliberatley stifling the growth of their language. It is a language well suited to the arts and diplomacy but is too inflexible and awkward for the business community. It is in fact declining in use, I believe that EU working documents are now solely in English. Spanish on the other hand, with a pure Latin base (save for some arabic roots) is fast adapting and it's use is expanding. The geographic areas where Spanish is used are among the least developed in the West and represent a huge opportunity.
    For business I would recommend English and Spanish, I don't believe that we will have to deal with Chinese who are not well educated and do not have an excellent command of English. How embarrasing to be extolling the language of our southern cousins whilst despising almost all their other institutions. At least Scotland is not falling into the Catalan trap by suggesting that our children are forced to learn in Gaelic as a sign of ethnic identity.

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  • 443. At 11:22pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #442 Mallorquin

    I wanted to move my school away from 1. French and 2. German to 1. Spanish and 2. French.

    I simply couldn't get any Spanish teachers!

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  • 444. At 11:41pm on 10 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #443 oldnat

    OK, no one else is going to say it, so I will. They didn't learn it at school! ;-)

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  • 445. At 11:43pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #444 aye_write

    Exactly right! Schools are often systems for cloning the teachers of 40 years ago!

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  • 446. At 11:45pm on 10 May 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Memo for bighullabaloo who has contibuted well on many occasions. Unnecessary rudeness rebounds. We have an untouchable case. We can afford to be generous to those who have not yet seen the light. When they are rude it destroys their case. When we are rude it does the same for ours. Remember, we are supposed to be converting our enemies, not pushing then further away. And I hardly think fighting with our friends does a lot of good either.

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  • 447. At 11:52pm on 10 May 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #443 oldnat
    No problem after the GE. Plenty of unemployed people well versed in Spanish practices!

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  • 448. At 11:57pm on 10 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #447 handclapping

    LOL - though probably slanderous of many of our friends in Spanish territories!

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  • 449. At 00:20am on 11 May 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Piping across America for the Year of Homecoming

    Never enjoyed languages and to learn a different one just for economic reasons is no justification to stress and make pupils feel inadequate because of their inability/disinterest. Language is part of ones cultural heritage and without it then one becomes one of a pack of the same rather than distinctive groups within a larger family. English calls snow either snow or sleet Inuits have about 8 words to describe snow all meaning different qualities of the same which dictates how they conduct themselves in their daily duties which could be the difference between life and death. I am off now or of, gnicht



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  • 450. At 00:22am on 11 May 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #435 bighullabaloo

    "Derek who? I got him booted off the board three days ago. Don't blame me for the fact the BBC allows all sorts of nut-jobs to sign up again using different user names."

    Wrong! again! advert? Is aye-write a brighter prospect than you? Baloo

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  • 451. At 00:32am on 11 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    #441 aye-write

    A space link................o'

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p79JKclG-oc&search=david+bowie

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  • 452. At 00:47am on 11 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    http://www.goodbyegordon.org.uk/

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  • 453. At 00:49am on 11 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    It aint what you do? it's the way that you do it?

    The SNP try and create 1,000 new police job by cutting 1,000 teachers jobs.

    This was way back in December 2008, how bad is it now.

    http://news.scotsman.com/education/Scottish-teacher-numbers--falling.4812829.jp

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  • 454. At 01:04am on 11 May 2009, oldnat wrote:

    My suspicions seem to have been confirmed about the innate corruption of Labour and the whole Westminster system "Labour plots to keep MPs allowances under wraps in the future"

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6262083.ece

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  • 455. At 01:56am on 11 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Salmond you've been captured! tell them about the holyrood way?.

    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/politics/Salmond-Replicate-Holyrood39s-expenses.5252549.jp

    Another U turn by MacAskill and the size of a jury!

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  • 456. At 02:05am on 11 May 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    Bighullabaloo, Scotlands space dream?

    http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/news/display.var.2507280.0.More_drugs_being_prescribed_for_depression_by_GPs.php

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  • 457. At 02:34am on 11 May 2009, U13954078 wrote:

    Another woeful story concerning the nat camp.


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8042621.stm

    Is the little so scary?.Looks like she has a Sturg eon the staff.

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  • 458. At 03:09am on 11 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Look at the shrinking Liebour contingent desperately trying to protect their hierarchy by deflecting attention away from the big story: Westminster is corrupt and broken, it is endemic.

    Look at the BBC duly obliging the ravers and ranters from John Smith House!


    The SNP (despite being a minority administration) is delivering and is popular; if you don't want to believe me look at the polls and you'll find the same thing.

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  • 459. At 03:35am on 11 May 2009, U13949775 wrote:

    #485

    The labour party were also a minority and formed a majority with the lib/dems. Why cant the SNP form a MAJORITY?.

    It's becoming ridiculous when the SNP are in government yet! the tories control the budget.

    Patty, are you not a bit disappointed that the SNP have failed and broken most of their manifesto.

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  • 460. At 03:53am on 11 May 2009, Tom wrote:

    #459.

    The SNP were unsuccessful in their attempts to form a majority because of the refusal by the other parties to also agree to back the referendum bill.

    The SNP have decided to become a minority administration. It has proven to be successful and the SNP wheel and deal their way with all parties.

    The Conservatives do not control the budget, however, the Conservatives are willing to compromise with the SNP to agree on policies. This is mature, and clever as the people they represent will benefit from the policies they voted for, unlike the Liberal Democrats and Labour who decided to vote the budget down, then run for the hills because the public do not see it sensible to block an important budget during a recession.

    If the SNP have failed then the Parliament would have passed a vote of no confidence, why have they not forced one through?

    The SNP have done well despite being a minority Government.

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  • 461. At 04:20am on 11 May 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #460 Thomas

    Alex Salmond on who want to be a millionare

    Alex has one question to go to reach the millionare mark.

    Chris Tarrant says to Alex' you've got one life-line left(phone a friend) Alex do you want to go for the millionare question.

    Alex, says YES! Chris I'll go for it.

    The question is! what type of bird doesn't/ repeat doesn't build it's own nest.

    a)a blackbird
    b)a robin
    c)a raven
    d)a cuckoo

    Alex says that's a hard one Chris, I dont know, can I phone a friend,
    Chris say, whats your friends name, Alex says John Swinney.

    Chris PHONES! John' hello John it's Chris tarrant from who wants to be a millionare! Ah, says John, right says Chris I've got Alex here, he is stuck on a question that could make him a millionare, John says right give me the question.

    Alex to John, Swinney what type of bird doesn't/ repeat doesn't build it's own nest.

    Before Alex give's John the options, John says thats easy! it's a cuckoo.

    Alex says Right Chris! that's my answer, It's a cuckoo.

    Things go quiet then Chris says that's the right answer, you've just won a million.

    Alex gets back to Edinburgh, he meets his cabinet in a pub, Mr Swinney is there of course.

    Alex says to Mr Swinney, how did you know it was a cuckoo
    to which Swinney replies, for god sake Alex, everyone knows that the cuckoo lives in the clock.

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  • 462. At 04:25am on 11 May 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #459, got your numbers mixed up slightly there?

    They have done nothing of the sort. In half the time for this parliament already half of the manifesto pledges have been met.

    The Tories hardly control the budget, they got a pledge on extra police (in the manifesto anyway) and that was about it first time round. The main reason the Tories get anything is because they are grown-ups and actually set out a position and negotiate, unlike the schoolboy stuff from the Fiberals and Liebour.

    The SNP can't form a majority because the Liberals and Labour are in an informal alliance waiting for their chance to form a government again ... considering how effective their leaders are they could be waiting for some time!

    Minority Govt. has actually been beneficial overall, you have a Govt. (for the first time at Holyrood) with a real sense of purpose, striving to achieve set goals; unlike the Lib-Lab mess that went before: where targets lasted 5 weeks ... and spin "abolition of tuition fees" (sticking them on the end) was at the heart of all.

    That sickness is gone now.

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  • 463. At 06:26am on 11 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

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

  • 464. At 08:33am on 11 May 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    Gordon Brown is now officially the most unpopular Prime Minister in the history of the Universe.

    Now that's no mean achievement.

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  • 465. At 08:38am on 11 May 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    Back on topic before going back off...

    Fiona Hyslop has never been one of my favourite Ministers. Vid posts passim from when she was Yartz minister. However, Education is truly a poisioned chalice. "Reforms" since the start of the Devolved settlement and indeed before have made a categoric backside of Scotland's Education system, driven by both Tory and NuLab "targets" in "achievement" and "assessment".

    However, when the Minister becomes the Story, time to go. She's not a competent "peformer" in front of or behind the cameras. Question is, Who ? Two candidates spring to mind, neither of who would probably be acceptable to the Party but who would enjoy the support of the People.

    Margo or Robin Harper ?

    On other matters.

    #407 Dean,

    Got to take against you here. There will be tactical voting in the GE and not just in Scotland. We've previously talked about the relevant constituencies here - East Ren, the two Edinburgh Seats, where the UK Tories will benefit. There are other constituencies where a Tory vote will be wasted unless it is cast for wither the SNP or the Liberals to remove a sitting NuLab MP.

    As a Tory, what do you advise ? Vote Tory on principle in, for example, Glasgow East, or Vote SNP to keep a seat out of the hands of NuLab and therefore increase the Tory "UK" majority ?

    The Tory party in Scotland has not climbed out of the morass that it dug itself into in the Thatcher years. Again and Again, you mistake a local "popularity" for Bella and the Scottish Tories In Holyrood as being indicative of a support for "UK" Toryism. It very simply isn't.

    Scotland will not vote Tory and it will be a worse situation for you realistically than in 92. If a UK Tory government tries to impose policies in the "reserved" areas that Scotland will not accept, then you merely hasten the day of Independence.

    NuLab is in for a categoric '83-style tanking. We all know that. Unfortunately, electoral inertia in Scotland always delivers them a majority of the MPs on a minority of the vote. But this time, it will be different in many ways.

    The Scottish electorate will want to give NuLab a beating, but this time they will only vote Tory to remove a NuLab MP, outside of the few weel-kent seats where there will be a "positive" Tory vote.

    You said, Dean, that you were watching the rerun of the 79 election a few weeks ago. I did too, but through very different eyes this time. One of the things that was picked up on in the talking heads at about mid-morning (79 time) in the coverage was The Scotland Problem. That even with 22 Tory MPs, there was going to be a problem in "governing" Scotland. Prescient words.

    Accept the reality. Scotland does not want Tory Rule again.

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  • 466. At 08:44am on 11 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    On the BBC website today:

    'Conservative leader David Cameron says MPs must say sorry over controversial expenses claims, as the focus of leaked claims turns on his own party.'


    How about saying sorry AND repaying the monies that were controversial?

    Ms Blears yesterday on the BBC:

    'The system is wrong. It needs to be changed.'

    Knowing that the system was wrong she still went ahead and claimed those expenses that she thought was 'wrong'. Somewhat hypocritical wouldn't you say.

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  • 467. At 08:49am on 11 May 2009, Mallorquin wrote:

    443. oldnat
    You will note that my proposal uses students as teaching assistants in the primary setting. The world is full of native Spanish speakers who want to improve their English and as native speakers have the ability to pass on the native language as it's spoken. No need to worry about the niceties of grammar, it all falls into place at a later stage. Actually pointing to a book and saying "please bring it to me" is so much more useful than endlessly chanting the conjugation of a verb. It's low cost and very effective when used with really young kids. Care would have to be taken with South Americans as their dialects can be quite different and will sometimes get you into trouble.

    cynicalHighlander
    If you had been in an environment where language learning was practical and enjoyable and had you started at an early age then your view might be very different. Chiefly because you would probably have succeeded. The point is that it is not an academic excercise, designed so that you might pass a written exam. This is about real communication with people, something you clearly enjoy and are more than competent in, in English.

    In all of this the issue is not about individual politicians and their strengths and weaknesses, it's about equiping Scottish children for what will be a very challenging and international future. An independant Scotland will be far too small to be an inward looking appendage to England. Our history is of going out in the world both in Europe and beyond. Scotland will have to re-align it's social and cultural links, Scots are respected on the continent, so let's build on that. rather than telling ourselves it's too difficult!

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  • 468. At 09:04am on 11 May 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Mallorquin , I liked what you said!

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  • 469. At 10:30am on 11 May 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #463

    The vote you refer to was on devolution which, of course, is merely a rearrangement of Westminster power over Scotland and leaves control with Westminster.

    A referendum vote on Infdependence will be subject to conditions decided before it is taken. The result will therefore be beyond dispute. It is inconceivable that Westminster could successfully demand conditions on a referendum that would invalidate the position of most elected representatives in the UK and the SNP would not accept a referendum which did not provide a conclusion on a simple majority basis or which is not guaranteed to produce a clear result.
    As original signatories to the UN Charter the UK's opportunity to play silly beggars with matters of basic democracy is completely limited. This is why they are straining to prevent a referendum happening at all.

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  • 470. At 11:10am on 11 May 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    How can anyone say Cameron is doing well. I think he's said nothing because he's a maggie in waiting. I don't trust him at all.

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  • 471. At 12:40pm on 11 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 469 sneckedagain

    I sincerely hope that you are right. I still have my doubts. Only time will tell.
    I'm a bit surprised that my posting was taken off after it was allowed on. I can only assume that someone complained. I'm still not too sure what it is that they complained about.

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  • 472. At 2:01pm on 11 May 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    Aye-write

    "You counter that derek is spaced out, with support from waitingformyman who is frequently incoherent (though I believe well meaning - she's done brilliantly for Byth! ;-) ;-)"

    Ooh, you're so gracious. But sorry if I'm not as obsessed as to use speelchekir. By the way, have you read some of your posts? - at times absolute gibberish and I'm not just talkin about the last couple of days. But I didn't want to stoop to the gutter and childishly attack a wee speelin erir. Coz I think you are so, so, SO well meaning. But your constant implying that I (or others who can't take to your fairlytale ghandi philosophy, which I used to respect untill you enforced it onto everyone - I think they call that facism or is it fashionism) react with rage, I find very, very pompisss and condisendin!!! You have absolutely no idea. I'm just going to observe the p*8h you come away with for a while. Oh, don't worry, I'm not running away, you'll get my response, oh boy you'll get it ok ;)!

    You really are a complete and total one...



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  • 473. At 3:41pm on 11 May 2009, The_Concept_Of_Mind wrote:

    The quality of (most of) the arguments above is woefully low ... No-one has even attempted to frame properly the Education question, such that there can be meaningful and relevant debate ...

    Further, the petty point-scoring and silly party-political jibes (particularly from The Usual Suspects) detract from proper discussion of the issues ...

    As for The Facts, they appear to be generally ignored (no doubt in case they interfere with the previously mentioned point-scoring and jibes ...) ...

    So, for those who can't remember or don't really care, this started out, miles above, with BT's analysis of the reasons behind the concerted attacks on FH ... Clearly, the real issue is 'Education', and what could be more important to the future of Scotland ??? ... Correct; nothing ...

    For me, the key questions are: -

    1. What are we trying to achieve ??? ... (What are the Objectives of Education Policy and the Education System ??? ...) ...

    The purpose of the Curriculum for Excellence (or, as Teachers commonly refer to it, Excrement) is encapsulated in the four 'Capacities', which can be tsken to be the overall Objectives for all children as they progress through the System; so a major part of the debate should be around the CfE and its implications ... I've seen it mentioned here perhaps twice in nearly 500 postings ...

    2. What is the role of the Private (Public) School sector in this debate ??? ...

    The Academic achievements of the private sector Schools are endlessly paraded as beacons of brilliance compared to the ever-worsening results from State schools, yet the truth is nothing more magical than simple statistics; bright people (who typically form the Professional and Managerial 'Classes') can best afford to send their children to private schools, with the mundane outcome that these schools get better grades ...

    3. How should the Education System be aligned with 'State', Catholic and other denominations ??? ...

    Here we start to dig into more troubled waters; the purist might argue that Religion has no part in Education, the other extreme might suggest strict partition (in Faith Schools) ...

    4. How relevant to Scotland are the Education Systems in other Countries ??? ...

    What can we learn and adopt ??? ...

    5. Should there be 'Streaming' or 'Setting' or discrimination or whatever you want to call it ??? ...

    We are NOT all born equal, and we are NOT all born into the same circumstances ... How should we, faced with this, design a System that nevertheless maximises the outcome for everyone ??? ...


    Of course, there are a million nuances, counter-examples and (God forbid) facts that can be marshalled in defence and defiance of my points - please let's hear them all and raise the level of the argument to the height is deserves ...

    I've tried to frame the debate in terms that hopefully can be used to generate insightful and informed responses; as ever, asking the right question is half the answer ...

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  • 474. At 6:10pm on 11 May 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #472 waitingformyman

    Thanks. I don't use a spellchecker.

    Did you intend your post to sound quite "rough"? If so, how do you see that as helping to win over the Scottish electorate to independence?

    You will be aware you are posting on a political blog concerning education. Why have you demonstrated a lack of regard for it?

    The majority of the Scottish electorate is quite sensible. Why do you see being non-sensible as a way to present to them?

    How would you react to your posts if you were a casual observer? Would you think "calm, reasoned, I can trust this person"? Would it be better to try and respond by not caricaturing yourself?

    Nationalists are shaking off any remnants of a long ago bad reputation. So why go backwards?

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  • 475. At 10:27pm on 15 May 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Idiot.

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