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Blunt speaking

Brian Taylor | 14:18 UK time, Thursday, 11 June 2009

The language is a little more restrained than during the evidence sessions.

But still the Public Audit Committee doesn't miss in condemning what they believe was obfuscation by the civil service.

According to the convener, Hugh Henry, the difficulty in prising information from senior civil servants amounted to a "discourteous and obstructive" attitude to the committee.

During the hearings themselves, Mr Henry was somewhat blunter. His committee, he said, had heard nothing but "bullshit".

The inquiry was into a potential conflict of interest involving the finance director of Transport Scotland, the quango which handles transport matters for the Scottish Government.

Guy Houston held shares in FirstGroup while the extension of that company's rail franchise was under discussion.

MSPs say that Transport Scotland "seriously mishandled" the issue. But they go considerably further.

Mr Henry is furious with civil servants, notably Sir John Elvidge, the Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government.

The convener says his committee had to drag details from the government officials: information which sometimes turned out to be insufficient or plain wrong.

The advent of a Scottish Parliament has put added pressure on the civil service.

Previously, they could expect to appear relatively infrequently before the Westminster Parliament. Now they are regular guests.

Does all this matter? Yes. Why? Because, as the audit committee stress, parliament can't do its job of scrutiny if it is thwarted by officials.

There is, perhaps, a clash of cultures here.

Civil servants thrive on elegant circumlocution. Politicians like to think they have a blunt, populist approach.

But these are serious criticisms, with serious intent. They will, we are told, be treated in that light by Sir John and his team.


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  • 1. At 2:34pm on 11 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    Now! this could be extremely interesting! at this early stage I'll register a light conflict of interest comment.

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  • 2. At 2:34pm on 11 Jun 2009, handclapping wrote:

    If you take this and your last together, is it the Civil Service that has infected the politicians and it'll do no good to reform Wastemaster without reforming the Civil Service?

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  • 3. At 3:32pm on 11 Jun 2009, StroszekBassist wrote:

    Nice to see standards and levels of decency are being upheld at the BBC. After the surprise of hearing "bullshit" on my TV at lunchtime, I'm glad to see there is no attempt to mask the word on your blog either. Censorship is a load of bullshit, of course. Can we now expect to read reports describing how "shit" certain policies are? Perhaps how MSPs are "talking a load of pish"?

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  • 4. At 3:33pm on 11 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

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

  • 5. At 3:39pm on 11 Jun 2009, oldmack wrote:

    There has always been a Yes Minister culture for a great number of years within the civil service in the United Kingdom.
    So why on earth do our M.S.P.s find it difficult, the fact that the civil service in Scotland arrived from Westminster is and was known to a great number of the population, but apparently our M.S.P.s did not know this.
    Was it not a civil servant, that when briefing Donald Dewar regarding the cost of the New Parliament Building, mentioned £40 million?
    Such levels of misleading briefings are commonplace, witness the information that led to the resignation from office of one First Minister, as well as the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
    Just the same as the Fees Office at Westminster, misleading information and poor briefing which is leading to so many great and worthy Members taking the painful decision not to stand at the next General Election.

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  • 6. At 3:57pm on 11 Jun 2009, spartans11 wrote:

    So basically Holyrood is functioning better than Westminster, by holding civil servants to account. Good point Brian

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  • 7. At 4:42pm on 11 Jun 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    We all know that it is the Civil Servants who run countries; not the politicians, who are only there to take the blame when Civil Servants mess up. I wouldn't have it any other way as good governence, of a country, could not function if the politicians had to run things as they might have to change every four to five years. There would be chaos.
    However, it is very disconcerting to see that Civil Servants are obstructing their 'masters' from looking into the details of their (Civil Servants)work. We, the people (through parliament), give these Civil Servants huge powers to deal with our money in our national interest and in return we award them (the higher-up Civil Servants) with well paid, secure jobs, good pensions and a knighthood or so. What we don't expect is for them to have their snouts in the trough as well. When will all this stop? Either that, or give me a chance to have my snout in the trough as well! Or, better still, let's have no trough in the first place.

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  • 8. At 4:46pm on 11 Jun 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 4 greenockboy

    'When making a comment, ask yourself; If I was undecided would my comment give me reason to reconsider? '

    Good comment.

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  • 9. At 4:49pm on 11 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    #6 But we still need to end the unsackable gold plated pension culture for civil servants and start looking at accountability at appropriate levels - The minister must go!! cry when there is a foul up just emcourages complacency - hence there arrogant? attitude towards the committee.

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  • 10. At 4:52pm on 11 Jun 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Well I have to say I've often suspected that the Treasury is populated by ex City of London types whose loyalty is more to the Square Mile than to their country...... But of course even Ally Darling told the FT that he didn't believe in economic patriotism.

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  • 11. At 5:00pm on 11 Jun 2009, euroscot wrote:

    Holyrood has a public audit committee?

    Perhaps it should help to address the G20's concerns. The grouping thinks that the worldwide financial collapse was largely the result of loose regulation.

    Almost half the world's wealth was destroyed. And the cost to every British taxpayer is reckoned at nearly £5,000.

    Holyrood could surely take the initiative here and investigate what prevents the public's financial watchdogs from barking. Maybe the political process insisted on 'light touch' regulation. The Fraser and Crerar official inquiries certainly hinted at this.

    A thorough inquiry might have wide lessons and help to restore Scotland's reputation in finance.

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  • 12. At 5:03pm on 11 Jun 2009, nine2ninetysix wrote:


    "The advent of a Scottish Parliament has put added pressure on the civil service."

    Then the demise of Westminster will take it back off and they can concentrate on Holyrood.

    The last thing we want or need is more civil servants, especially those who have inflation proof pensions.

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  • 13. At 5:07pm on 11 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    I've no doubt that the committee are sincere in their criticisms but this story was covered weeks ago, complete with the industrial language.

    There has been a couple of these 'committee headlines' these last few days, it seems to me very lazy jourmalism to simply take these statements and promote them to the days biggest political news item.

    The 'committee headline' yesterday was the equal wage story for council workers. That committee was chaired by the well respected (ahem) MSP Duncan Macneil. I heard an interview on the subject on Radio Scotland and the representative of the Union concerned who basically conceded that the issue was well on the way to being resolved with 26 councils having addressed it and the remainder having implemented mechanisms to catch up.

    If the Scottish electorate are to be force fed stories that are no more than moans from Unions, Committees and Unionist politicians then we don't need highly paid pundits employed at the BBC.

    Let's see some of the same coverage and scrutiny applied to stories like the Dunfermline sell off, Jim Murphy's misleading statements and his breach of confidentiality when an alternative bidder was being condidered, a claim made by Jim Spowart and one that was simply ignored by our media.

    You'll already be penning your blog in time for Calman's official recommendations to the Unionists next Monday, Scotland keeping half of her income tax revenues. Let's see some proper insight here, simply writing 'The SNP say ...' won't be good enough. Oh, and pease DON'T present Calman's proposals it as though it is the only option on the table - remember he is only there to advise Unionists, there are at least 36% of us who will propose something quite different.

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  • 14. At 5:13pm on 11 Jun 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    #4 Greenockboy, hard to disagree with your argument. Another interesting story is brewing on Robert Peston's blog regarding that fine, upstanding financial institution known as the West Bromwich Building Society. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

    I was disappointed to see that System 3 is no more. I might have shed a tear but I was too busy eating lunch (it's noon here in North Carolina). When I campaigned for the SNP in Edinburgh East in the 1980's we used to joke that System 3 got its name because it only interviewed three people per survey. I was out leafleting with another SNP member in a housing scheme and we bumped into a sole Labour leafleter. I had a momentary flight of fancy - all we needed was a System 3 pollster and the headline would be "SNP on course to win Edinburgh East." Of course, it was completely fanciful. It couldn't happen could it? Quite an absurd idea, really but dreaming is nice. Oh wait, the SNP do hold Edinburgh East don't they? In fact, he's a cabinet secretary, I believe. Dreams do come true.

    Another dream I'd like to see coming true is civil servants being able to defend themselves. Anyone can use crude words to get a few headlines but civil servants cannot defend themselves publicly, if they are to retain integrity. It then comes down to the departmental ministers to defend them. I trust that, when they do, equal space will be given to such defence?

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  • 15. At 5:16pm on 11 Jun 2009, 123geronimo wrote:

    The "elegant circumlocution" is a major issue. Civil servants need to stop talking around things and get to the point. Would the issue be that some of them would lose their jobs?

    The Scottish and UK governments/oppositions say that efficiency savings need to be made. Perhaps calling a spade a spade would get things done quicker, cheaper and more accurate. Maybe our politicians could learn this to. You say that "Politicians like to think they have a blunt, populist approach", yeah they would like to think so. In the UK there is still plenty of hot air (elegant circumlocution as you would say) blowing around our elected representatives.

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  • 16. At 5:35pm on 11 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Of course, when Calman's proposal to the Unionist parties is officially announced then the Scottish media will round on the proposal.

    Well they did when LIT was suggested and the 'difficulties' in collection were routinely headlined as reason not to bring it in. How do you work out a 'Scottish' taxpayer, etc, etc.

    Brown has apparently ruled out putting the proposals to the Scottish electorate in a referendum, so only Scottish Unionists are to be allowed to decide Scotland's future.

    That is not acceptable.

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  • 17. At 5:54pm on 11 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Goodness, I would have thought that Holyrood voting in favour of an immediate general election might just have deserved to knock the 'committee headline' off of the top spot.

    The BBC in Scotland think differently apparently.

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  • 18. At 6:52pm on 11 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "One man's 'elegant circumlocution' is another man's 'bullshit'".
    Sir Humphrey Appleby, GCB, KBE, MVO, MA (Oxon).

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  • 19. At 7:13pm on 11 Jun 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    All I can say is thank goodness Mr Henry is no longer Education Minister. His interview was simply embarrassing ... "they are hiding behind semantics", "using vocabulary"!

    Damn the mandarins for their extensive vocabulary, it is clear Mr Henry's is in need of some work.

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  • 20. At 7:16pm on 11 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Labour gala fails to sell out

    Anybody looking for a free gig!

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  • 21. At 7:31pm on 11 Jun 2009, macgilleleabhar wrote:

    It pains me to disillusion you as it is rather like saying there is no Santa but , brace yourself my lad,BBC now stands for Brown's Broadcasting Cronies.
    It is rumoured in the local pub that McCrone himself may be one of them which would have to be verified by a Peh eater or similar.

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  • 22. At 8:29pm on 11 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    Here's an item for you to comment on Brian
    Go on - try something new
    LOTHIAN MP Jim Devine has been given the backing of his local constituency party as he battles to hold on to his job.
    Around 50 members of Mr Devines constituency party gave him their unwavering support at a meeting when he was grilled on his expenses claims.

    The MP has denied any wrongdoing over his expenses and has even asked police to investigate his Commons expenses in a bid to clear his name.

    Mr Devine faces his toughest week in politics as Labours star chamber the National Executive Committee (NEC) is to scrutinise his expenses next week and will determine whether he is fit to stand as a Labour MP for the Livingston seat at the next election.

    At the centre of the MPs questionable claims is the rewiring of his one-bedroom London flat, for which he claimed £1,257 paid in cash to a bogus company.

    Explanations for Mr Devines claim of £2,326 for joinery work, which reportedly included 66 metres of shelving, have also been contradictory. Last week the MP told the Evening News the industrial shelving was installed in his London flat by his local pub landlord and longtime friend, Tony Moran, who travelled to London to do the work.

    The money for the shelving and other joinery work was claimed from Mr Devines Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) for office costs, and not from his Additional Costs Allowance for second homes, which he said was cleared by the Commons fees office.

    But Mr Moran has reportedly since said that he did not fit any shelves at the MPs flat and, according to sources at the constituency meeting, Mr Devine also told them that the shelves were not in his flat, but in the basement of a pub in Blackburn thought to be Morans Turf Bar.

    He also allegedly told the meeting he was being evasive about the shelving because he was using them for local Labour Party campaign leaflets and boards, which he said was against House of Commons rules.

    Mr Moran has since been unavailable for comment despite several attempts to contact him.

    The MP also reportedly said he was willing to pay the money back for the shelves at the meeting and wants to carry out next weeks NEC meeting at his London home to prove the electrical work was actually carried out.

    He has become an embarrassment, said a senior Labour source. Its like dealing with a seven-year-old who makes up excuse after excuse.

    He put some evidence forward regarding the allegations through a letter from Mr Moran saying he did do work for him. He asked for support from the constituency and he got it, but lets see what the NEC does. They will want concrete proof of his claims. If he doesnt provide it hell be out.

    Mr Devine refused to comment on what he said at the constituency party meeting, but said that all the allegations were outrageous. He added:

    No-one stood up and objected to what was being agreed and everyone had a say. I am innocent of all these allegations.

    Edinburgh Evening News:

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  • 23. At 8:46pm on 11 Jun 2009, wilddog wrote:

    Could you explain why First Ministers questions is cut short by BBC and we can't see it on Iplayer the same day, I have logged on to STV Politics and watched the whole programme in the last hour,BBC will have to up their game or is it being a bit anti SNP.It only got a bit exciting at the end when Mr PPI/Kerr got to his feet then was cut off come on Brian lets see the whole show on BBC,at the end of the programme why do you always have some anti SNP person on.

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  • 24. At 9:24pm on 11 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Comment 23 - FMQ's coverage on BBC website

    First Ministers Questions, until recently, appeared as a link in the politics section. Someone will have been tasked with ensuring it is there.

    That it doesn't appear in the same manner and timescale as previously means that the person previously tasked with doing so no longer does. He/She has either forgotten or has been instructed not to do so in the same timely manner.

    Comment 22 - Jim Devine

    The Mr Moran in question is said to suffer from arthritis and is not able to carry out any joinery work. The company that carried out the electrical work and supplied the bogus invoice was ibitially said to be an individual recommended to Mr Devine by someone in a pub. Mr Devine is said to have claimed not to know the man, that he may have returned to Ireland or may even have died.

    Mr Devine apparently stated that the meeting you refere to was his first opportunity to put his side of the story.

    Two things to say about that remark:

    Firstly he has been repeatedly offered an opportunity to appear on air and explain the claims.

    Secondly, hitherto there has been no side to any story, only expense claims that Mr Devine had made, the details of which are now in the public domain.

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  • 25. At 9:53pm on 11 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Anyone looked in the pub cellar for some heavy duty shelving?

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  • 26. At 9:54pm on 11 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Sorry to be a bit off-topic, but frankly there's nothing meaningful to add on this thread.

    Has the "Preview" button disappeared for users in the UK? It has for me in the past hour or so and I wonder if it's anything to do with the other changes on the BBC website today which prevent expats from seeing the regular BBC home page and News Home Page.

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  • 27. At 10:08pm on 11 Jun 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #26 Brownedov
    Nope, still Previews

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  • 28. At 10:12pm on 11 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #26 Brownedov

    Your question is as interesting as Brian's thread!

    The preview button still appears here.

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  • 29. At 10:17pm on 11 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Why Brown will get caught out this time around

    "The internet is the perfect medium for lie-detecting. Channel Fours Fact Check and our own Brownie series are but two ways to give ample space to scrutinising lies. So Browns strategy bulldoze a lie through the protestations of a few Tories and journalists may this time fail him."

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  • 30. At 10:51pm on 11 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Communications minister Lord Carter is latest to quit the Government - according to the Times. Never heard of him I have to say, but Lady Bracknell and losing parents comes to mind!

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  • 31. At 11:19pm on 11 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #30 oldnat

    Lord Carter of Barnes

    Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Culture, Media & Sport (since 7 Nov 2008)
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (since 7 Nov 2008)


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  • 32. At 00:09am on 12 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #27 handclapping &
    #28 oldnat

    Thanks folks - I feared that might be the case. Looks like it's to do with bugs in the "apartheid by IP number" introduced today to separate us "foreigners" from dear old Blighty. If bored here, take a look at The Editors: Changes to international pages, which was activated this Thursday afternoon.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 33. At 07:09am on 12 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    For those still insisting new Nuclear stations should be built in Scotland.

    Click Here

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  • 34. At 07:18am on 12 Jun 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

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

  • 35. At 08:54am on 12 Jun 2009, coineach watson wrote:

    No: 11 comments are incorrect:

    "Almost half the world's wealth was destroyed. And the cost to every British taxpayer is reckoned at nearly 5,000."

    The wealth has NOT been destroyed, all that has happened is that it has been (mis)appropriated by the International Money Lenders and Ally Darling is borrowing (OUR) money back from them to refinance the amounts that they say we have "lost". Then we are asked to pay interest on the "loans".
    Basically it is FRAUD - started away back in the 14th and 15th Centuries by the Gold Merchants and carried on today by the banks with their Fractional Reserve Banking scam. They lend out imaginary money - money which simply DOES NOT EXIST. They must have about 8% of the money they lend out in HARD CURRENCY - money which has been deposited to cover fro people anting to withdraw on a daily basis - they THEORETICALLY use this 8% as a basis of their calculations and then lend out 12 1/2 times that amount in loand which they charge interest. Say a person deposits £1,000 with a bank - he will get about 2% interest/annum = £20. The bank can then lend out 12 1/2 x £1,000 = £12,5000 (as they have the 8% required (i.e. £1,000) under the Fractional Reserve banking rules). The bank then charges about 8% interest on the £12,500 = £1,000 per annum. What a nice little earner - interest on non-existant money. I AND MANY, MANY ECONOMISTS AROUND THE WORLD WOULD CALL THAT FRAUD.
    I wonder if G. Brown and A. Darling will receive many "non-executive directorships or other Directorships from financial institutions when he leaves parliament "for services rendered" as most other retiring chancellors of the Exchequer have done in the past???? Time will only tell.
    Mutual Building Societies however can only lend out a portion of their deposits (by law) so the money is actually safer with mutuals. Remember a few years back when a lot of mutuals became banks and offered shares - a BIG CON TRICK - so they could get more money from imaginary loans - lending out money that they did not have. Little or no regulation for G Brown and associates, so we know who to blame for teh financial situation we have now - allowing the PRIVATE banks to run amok.
    Please note that the reason why America is in the mess they are in is because of thE Federal Reserve Bank - A PRIVATELY OWNED BANK - independant from the US Government which controls US finances for PRIVATE GAIN. They have never been audited nor paid tax for 59 YEARS!!! The bank was constituted by sleight of hand on 23 December 1913 and was instrumental in causing the great depression in the late 1920s in order to "further control" the US economy.
    JF Kennedy tried to stop the Federal Reserve Bank in April 1962 by issue of Executive Order 11110 by the scrapping of the Federal Reserve Note (US Dollar currency) and introducing a new currecny - Government Treasury Notes backed by Silver Bullion held by the US Governemnt. The FED certainly did not like that and we all know what happened to JFK some 5 month later. Immediately after his assassination all Government Trasury Notes were withdrawn from circulation and the FED continued. Makes one wonder what was actually going on ..............
    If you don't beleive me - check it out on the Internet - it is all there.

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  • 36. At 08:56am on 12 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Sir John Elvidge is only the latest person to wear the nionist's 'Resign Now' badge of honour. One member of the committee in question is currently issuing forth statements saying that Sir John's position is now 'untenable', step forward Labour MSP George Foulkes.

    The committee in question contains five Unionist MSP's Foulkes the other two prominent Unionists being Nicol (I smell sleaze) Steven and Murdo Fraser.

    As I have already pointed out, these criticisms were reported some weeks ago, the only thing that has changed is that the individual at the heart of the issue (Guy Houston) has stepped down from his role.

    So, basically we are witnessing the resurrection of criticisms that were already reported, this time though the focus is being placed on Sir John Elvidge. The BBC in Scotland are again happy to cheerlead for this current campaign which is based on nothing more than dramatic headline grabbing statements from the committees chairman Labour MSP Hugh Henry.

    Now, why the subtle change of tack in order to focus on Sir John Elvidge's position?

    Well, Sir John provoked ire amongst Unionists both at Holyrood and at Westminster some months ago when he stated that he was answerable to the Scottish Government at Holyrood and not Westminster. He has also noteably backed the SNP in recent Unionist inspired accusations against Salmond and others. In short, sir John is clearly not one to be pushed around and is willing and able to stand up against Unionists.

    In recent weeks we have seen media campaigns against Fiona Hyslop, Kenny MacAskill and Alex Salmond - we now see a campaign against Sir John Elvidge. Brian Taylor has been more than accomodating when writing his blogs and has very helpfully penned pieces that help to generate awareness of the campaigns.

    The generic criticisms by the committee of the civil service is one thing, however the use of the committees report in order to mount an attack on Sir John Elvidge bears all of the hallmarks of a Labour inspired campaign. That this old story has remained in the top spot on the politics page of the BBC says it all really.

    Labour set the agenda for news in Scotland, Brian and the rest of our media have to get out of the habit of being led and should start thinking form themselves.

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  • 37. At 10:16am on 12 Jun 2009, euroscot wrote:

    In response to #11, #35 suggests in essence that we should not attempt to restore Scotland's reputation in global finance.

    Holyrood takes a similar position. The parliament started on inquiries into the failings of the public's financial watchdogs long before the global financial collapse, but strangely didn't pursue them.

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  • 38. At 11:20am on 12 Jun 2009, googlehoo wrote:

    Politicians accuse civil servants (or anyone) of circumlocution, or as it was so inelegantly put 'bullshit'.

    Pot, kettle, black

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  • 39. At 11:23am on 12 Jun 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    morning all ,Greenock boy, another way to look at this is, with some "commission" making it's findings public on Monday are the unionists and their journalist lackies ,not just getting their retaliation in first?
    I await the commission's findings with interest but I am looking forward even more to witnessing who can put the most spin on it!
    Have the lib dems been shafted again? do labour still want to give away what limited powers Holyrood has at the moment? and what do the tory's want to actually do?
    Monday will certainly be a day for a seat Brian , the amount of spin will be phenomenal.

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  • 40. At 11:47am on 12 Jun 2009, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    All you people posting indignantly about those marvellous civil service pensions make me laugh! You don't know what you're talking about! An ordinary CS will be lucky to come out with a pension of £5K pa after 30 years of service!

    If you want targets for your pension-related ire go after the Senior Civil Service, not the plebs at the bottom of the pile.

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  • 41. At 12:43pm on 12 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    The Calman Commission was merely a kneejerk reaction to the SNP winning the 2007 Holyrood election, everyone knows it. Basically it was the Unionists way of creating a diversion, a means whereby the agenda could be changed.

    The electorate had sent a message that they were not happy with the current set up and the SNP had galvanised enough of them to ensure that this time the media could not ignore it. So, in a panic the Unionists cobbled together this commission and along with the media started shouting 'LOOK OVER HERE !!'.

    Now it's time to 'see the beef' as it were. As I have said before, Brian and every other pundit/journalist at the BBC will give Calman's advice to the Unionist parties the full 'razzamataz' and hype, so to will our press.

    However, at some point the dust will settle and the electorate will see two very different proposals for a future Scotland. One will be pushed by the media and Unionist parties, some more powers. The other will be pushed by the independence movement, headed by the SNP.

    Remember that Calman is simply a group of Unionist minded people giving advice to Unionists parties, one of the group could be 'reluctant-expat' for all we know. They have no more authority nor relevance than 12 independence minded people from this forum putting forward arguments for independence.

    The media will try to present any proposal as though it has authority; watch out for the following:

    'Holyrood to get new income tax powers'

    instead of:

    'Calman advisesUnionists to offer tax powers'

    Of course, as someone else says, the tax powers leak may be a red herring and a bit more may be on offer. That would give the media the opportunity to run riot and suggest that Calman has been really radical by exceeding 'widely held' beliefs.

    Roll on Monday.

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  • 42. At 12:47pm on 12 Jun 2009, LondonHarris wrote:

    This is the blog piece recognising that MSPs' mostly talk BULL-SHIT as everyone already knows that we have been waiting for the chance to comment on.

    For, as Scottish Politics is at the best of times a mixture of Football and One-upmanship of self opinions, today we read in a cross over approach to all things Football that Scottish Lib-Dem Leader at Hollyrood Tavish Scott IS saying that Ministers shold be "Highlighting" the importance of the Pay Television Competition surrounding the DEAL with the Irish owners of Setanta.

    However, given the FACT that many People in Scotland cannot even afford the cost of the price to go too Football Matches, and while under our current Laws we ALL MUST Pay for the price of a TV Licence in the form of a Yearly Tax to watch any TV Channels "On the Box" other than the BBC, then WHY OH' WHY is Tavish Scott investing in the "Importance" of Pay TV ahead of scrapping the current un-fair TV Licence.

    Today, if the BBC wants to prevent anyone from Viewing their Channels then why don't they just scramble their TV Signals like YES, Pay TV Channels do, and then at last just perhap the money that People are being forced to Pay Out for on un-wanted Channels can be diverted by the Payee to a PACKAGE of the Services that best suits THEIR requirements, instead of putting People in Prison for Non - Payments of Government Licence Fees to Pay for TV Channels that they DON'T wish to View.

    Tavish Scott therefore instead of talking BULL-SHIT should address himself to the WHOLE Issue of allowing the Public to Pay for the TV Services, and Packages of THEIR CHOICE, and SCRAP the un-fair TV Licence.

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  • 43. At 1:13pm on 12 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Just had a peek at the letters in The Herald and lo and behold, who do I see with a prominetly positioned letter attacking the SNP.

    It's our old friend, erstwhile Labour activist, Mike Dailly from the Govan Law Centre.

    Regular readers of the blog will, by now, be aware that Mr Dailly has an unerring ability to appear on the BBC during the campaigns for elections. Mr Dailly is also prone to attack the SNP on these appearances, appearances thoughtfully provided by the BBC in Scotland.

    Mr Dailly's letter highlights the plight of those on low incomes who are in danger of losing their homes. Dailly points out that they can be compelled to pay back legal aid costs for cases they have won if their house is deemed to have increased in value, or they made a capital gain, in saving their home.

    Now, the principle of Mr Dailly's stance is one thing. However I am forced to ask why he made no such song and dance about this legislation before the SNP came to power.

    It is reasonable to assume that people were in danger of losing their homes before the SNP won the 2007 election and before Gordon Brown wrecked the economy. I am just puzzled that Mr Dailly seeks to highlight the issue now.

    Of course it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that a by-election in Springburn is imminent.

    Finally, perhaps Mr Dailly could tell us if he supported Gordon Brown's de-regulation of the banks and the lending policies that caused house prices to escalate to the extent that many people are now faced with re-posession.

    Faced with this, what party would Mr Dailly advocate voting for?

    Maybe someone will write a response letter to The Herald and ask him these questions.

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  • 44. At 1:23pm on 12 Jun 2009, post_meridiem wrote:


    We clearly have an expert on "BULL-SHIT" here, although not on Scottish politics, obviously. A refugee from the NR blog, unless I miss my mark, as one can tell by the inelegant and limited vocabulary.

    Uninterested as I am in this thread, can it be that I have missed reference in BT's piece to Tavish Scott, football or the television licence?

    You appear to be off-topic, old boy, as well as out of your depth. Away you go now and learn to be pertinent instead of impertinent.

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  • 45. At 2:13pm on 12 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #42 LondonHarris

    As well as being off topic, it may have escaped your notice but broadcasting is a reserved matter so it doesn't matter what Tavis says, reponsibiliity for the tax on TV viewing rests with Westminster and not Holyrood.

    That said, apart from being the wrong forum for your outburst, the point you make:

    "Today, if the BBC wants to prevent anyone from Viewing their Channels then why don't they just scramble their TV Signals like YES, Pay TV Channels do, and then at last just perhap the money that People are being forced to Pay Out for on un-wanted Channels can be diverted by the Payee to a PACKAGE of the Services that best suits THEIR requirements, instead of putting People in Prison for Non - Payments of Government Licence Fees to Pay for TV Channels that they DON'T wish to View."

    is not without its merits.

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  • 46. At 2:19pm on 12 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    greenockboy re your 43

    You must remember what Scotland was like pre the 2007 election. The place was utopia, no one was ever evicted, the schools were well built and solid, the roads had no potholes, no prisoner ever escaped, we had loads of council houses etc.

    Is is a Nulabour fact that this stopped in May 2007, after that date utopia fell apart, and if the correct government had been elected it would not.

    Labour must think we have as short a memory span as they appear to have, I think they have even forgot Wendy.

    P.S. Who is your candidate for "must resign because of failure to -----" (fill in the blank) My money is on the transport minister because a bus was late in Govan yesterday. The law center said this was a disgrace and should not be tolerated.

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  • 47. At 2:36pm on 12 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Populus Poll on voting intentions. Again the numbers are tiny, and polls do not adjust for demographic features within the sub-GB regions, so the data for vote split between the Unionist parties is meaningless. Interesting numbers for all that - Of those certain to vote

    Pro Independence : SNP - 42% ; Green - 3% = 45%
    Anti Independence : Con/LD/Lab/UKIP = 52%
    Other (including pro Independence Socialists = 5%
    (error in total due to rounding to whole %)

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  • 48. At 2:42pm on 12 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    #40 GlasgowGooner
    Fair point - I would not want to disparage normal hardworking families who are getting real help from NuLiebour in these times of global difficulties.
    However the bosses ie Senior civil servants seem to be constantly seeking parity in pay with industry whilst at the same time are unsackable, avoid performance appraisal and receive inflation proof, final salary pensions at age 60. In the meantime they are only responsible for trying to spend money wisely not actually create it.

    This comment does exclude people with real responsiblity at the coal face eg social workers, teachers, police, fire, etc and their immediate line managers - but any responsibility for outcomes seems to disappear about 3 rungs up the ladder - when was the last time a director of education was asked to resign over falling teaching standards?

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  • 49. At 3:30pm on 12 Jun 2009, LondonHarris wrote:

    Re: 44 post_meridiem.

    Well I see that we have another defector from the NR Blogs right here with us whom by his own account is clearly a Wordsmith, as I am quite sure I will find any of your comments also bluntly speaking as equally as boring as YOUR impertinent.

    But as always, I will defend your Rights to have your say even if I don't like your comments.

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  • 50. At 3:40pm on 12 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    If the Scottish Government gives money - can the "Setanta" games thus subsidised go on Freeview?

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  • 51. At 4:06pm on 12 Jun 2009, LondonHarris wrote:

    Re: 50. Aikenheed.

    There is some merit in your way of thinking, because Freeview could be made more targetted by UK Regional divisioning of Programming so that Scottish football matches can be seen "In the Clear" and un-scrambled while this regional option for Setanta may be harder using a Sky - Box due to the wider foot-print coverage of TV Signals.

    The Question now is of course, is rightly as you say, for IF the Scottish Government doe's give any up front Public money to Setanta then by this recourse this Channel doe's becomes partly Public owned and therefore would be seen as being a whole or partly funded Public Service Channel.

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  • 52. At 4:06pm on 12 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #48 Aikenheed

    "when was the last time a director of education was asked to resign over falling teaching standards?"

    What makes you think teaching standards are falling?

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  • 53. At 4:15pm on 12 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #47 oldnat

    Interesting, oldnat, but where did you get the details? No data links seem to be available currently on the Time, Populus, UK Polling Report or Political Betting websites.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 54. At 4:23pm on 12 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    #52 oldnat
    Scotland seems to be slipping down the inetrnational tables for literacy and numeracy - so what's the cause? - senior managers like directors of education won't be held to task will they?
    However the general point is that senior people in local and central government, Quangos, NHS, BBC and the like seem unaccountable for outcomes.

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  • 55. At 4:26pm on 12 Jun 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    Mmmmm - civil servant does job he is paid to do and is criticised by Labour MSP with vocabulary of a three year old....

    The Finance director concerned wouldn't happen to be an SNP donor perchance, or previously worked for a company whose boss has donated heavily to the SNP?

    No, that could not be your 'sylthie toad' of a meandering point could it?

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  • 56. At 4:36pm on 12 Jun 2009, LondonHarris wrote:

    Re: 54 Aikenheed.

    On the matter of your general point in question, for the sole reason for all this unaccountability in Public and Government Service outlets is ALL DOWN to a culture of a refusal to "Rock the Boat" within their respective Administrations for FEAR of losing their Jobs.

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  • 57. At 4:45pm on 12 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    53 Brownedov

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  • 58. At 4:51pm on 12 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #54 Aikenheed

    Any analysis of something as complex as education measured by snapshot tests is too difficult to be simply described as "teaching standards dropping". The most recent external analysis suggested that the problem in Scottish schools related primarily to the seemingly intractable difficulties caused by severe inter-generational social deprivation. Schools are only part of the answer.

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  • 59. At 5:02pm on 12 Jun 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 55

    All Civil Servants should be held to account by the democratic process. The answers and behaviour in this instance are appalling, accountability is important. The man in question should not have to resign, he should be sacked. He has forgotten the first principle of civil service he is there to serve the public. Clearly in this instance he has failed.

    As to the merits of what he is hiding, because clearly he is hiding something, that is the function of parliament to find out the facts.

    Wrongdoing in public contracts needs to be stamped out, legitimate contractors suffer and lose money due to dodgy deals and so does the taxpayer. We seem to be so accustomed to it we just accept wrongdoing.

    This whole issue needs sorted and I would have expected the FM to publicly support the committee.

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  • 60. At 5:07pm on 12 Jun 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 50,51

    I am a football fan, while the demise of Setanta is bad news I would be horrified if the government put a penny into this. In the current climate the public finances don't allow us to save an Irish satellite broadcaster.

    This should be quashed pretty quickly. The real story here is the 9 clubs who stupidly put a bid for the same amount from SKY in second place. these are the buffoons who need to be asked to explain themselves. But this is a problem for football, not the taxpayer.

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  • 61. At 5:17pm on 12 Jun 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 58

    I agree with much of what you say, there is lot more to education than exam results. However the truth of the matter with education is that a lot of extra investment has been inputted in the last 12 years, with little checking to see if we have made a good investment.

    For example funding of nursery places for 3 &4 year olds. The first of those are now leaving school. Are we seeing better educated children leaving our schools? I don't think so. So we should be questioning that investment.

    Every school seems to have a plethera of support staff, this should be a good thing as it is targetted support for those who struggle academically. Is this investment producing results?

    Finally the McChrone deal, I know it can't be undone but teachers should be challenged to show the benefits for the deal. I find it difficult to see any.

    Education is the only way to garuntee equality of opportunity for young scots. But we do need to question the way forward to ensure the resources are applied for best benefit. We should not be scared to say an initiative has not worked.

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  • 62. At 5:40pm on 12 Jun 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    It seems that the civil service versus politicians thing cuts both ways:

    By the way, keep reading to the end of the article. I have no love at all for the British National Party, but they have every right to put their views and the electorate has every right to vote for them. There is only one way to stop the BNP and that is to run the country in such a way that their policies become irrelevant. You cannot legislate them out of existence.

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  • 63. At 6:02pm on 12 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    #58 Oldnat
    Accepted - however if it is a complex problem then it can be solved in parts - if standards are deemed to be falling where is the outcry aimed at? - Teachers, headteachers and the current politician in charge - everyone else in between gets passed over - if Directors and other senior people were also held responsible in terms of pay reviews linked to performance (with social influencers factored in) there might be more of an impetus to getting rid of incompetent teachers (probably only about 1% of the total), reward and incentivise good teachers and PPI schools would be designed and built with consultation with teachers and head teachers which I don't think they are at the moment etc etc.

    Beat the teachers and sack the Minister in charge makes life very cosy for those in between.

    I also think it is very dangerous ever to say this is a complex problem, seemingly intractable, therefore NOTHING can be done.

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  • 64. At 6:16pm on 12 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #57 oldnat

    Thanks for that - I hadn't realised that it was a delayed release of the May poll. From a quick glance, only the answers to the "reform" questions seem to have much currency. Interesting that 53% of Scots [UK 56%] think PR would be an improvement and even more so that 55% of Tory voters also think so compared to only 50% of Labour voters.

    Oh, and by the way, they've brought back equality to expat bloggers although IP apartheid continues on the rest of the BBC site.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 65. At 6:50pm on 12 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #61 northhighlander

    One of the great tragedies of the first period of devolution was that New Labour had a determination that all public services could be improved by top-down target setting and central management. It was largely a disaster as public services were forced to concentrate on meeting targets instead of delivering services.

    I note that the new Health Secretary for England, has announced that the policy was wrong and is set to remove it. This isn't a pro/anti Union argument, but Labour introduced a disastrous policy and imposed it rigorously.

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  • 66. At 6:55pm on 12 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #63 Aikenheed

    I'm not in any fundamental disagreement with you. One thing which I hope will improve the performance of senior officials in local government will stem from the introduction of PR and the rapid demise of "one-party" states. As long as senior officials were tied to the protection of the party in power (because that was never going to change) that took precedence over improving service delivery.

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  • 67. At 7:35pm on 12 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    #66 oldnat
    Ah now that's a wee insight I hadn't considered - I've always gone along with the don't rock the boat 'cos it makes life easy theory - perhaps the move towards a more volatile voting pattern will make everyone look to their laurels!

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  • 68. At 8:14pm on 12 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #67 Aikenheed

    While I think the ideas behind "Leanomics" as opposed to "Poweromics" is rather trite, the ideas behind Leanomics "People take responsibility for adding value and continuously improving the situation for others (e.g. customers, communities, overall environment), based upon fundamental values such as trust, honour, responsibility and respect." does suggest an alternative ways in which the traditional public sector values might be enhanced.

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  • 69. At 8:28pm on 12 Jun 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Evening all - Anent OldNat's comments (post 65) - I've just finished this little gem:
    and can commend the approach by John Seddon and his people:

    "measurements drive behaviors"

    here's a way out the measure mad society - sign up for the free news letter and feel your hair rising on the back of your neck at what's going on in the government regarding measuring "performance"

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  • 70. At 11:41am on 13 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    #69 Thanks for that - looks interesting

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  • 71. At 3:05pm on 13 Jun 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 65

    I agree that the target based approach was taken too far. But targets were possibly required in the early days but targets should be used to deliver short term improvement and as such the focus needs to change with circumstances.

    My main point though is that surely the SNP should challenge some of theses policies, be a little more daring as improvements in services will need to be made without increasing costs. I don't want permanent revolution but surely some critical assessment of the last 12 years would be a good thing.

    The SNP seem to be carrying the NU LAB approach further as opposed to challenging the status quo. We need to embrace some new radical thinking to improve services.

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  • 72. At 3:35pm on 13 Jun 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    Brian, not much interest in this thread. I see no one mentioned this 'issue' at First Minister's Questions. However, Alex did brandish a document showing PFI payments until 2041. I can't find this document anywhere on-line and indeed it is not even mentioned in any media but maybe that is not surprisng. Does anyone have anything on this?


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  • 73. At 4:03pm on 13 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #72 hadrianswall

    There's an article on this in today's Herald

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  • 74. At 4:17pm on 13 Jun 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #71 north highlander- i would suggest if it can be proven that the price to be paid for the NHS ,for example, hitting their targets means that the front line staff needed to "hit the targets or tick the boxes" are out numbered 6 to 1 by the "auditors, the managers and the clerical staff" then the system is fatally flawed and must be changed urgently.Does anyone in our so called "political classes" have the gumption to admit it? or indeed do something about it?
    #72 Hadrianswall- the information you ask about should have been available since April when the information could no longer be hidden "off the balance sheet" .
    as to how much of the information the public would get to see will probably land on the desk of the freedom of information commissioner as an awful lot of people & company's don't want us to know how much they are ripping us off
    the unionists don't want us to know full stop, the SNP are obviously going to use it at a time of their choosing.

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  • 75. At 4:36pm on 13 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #74 sidthesceptic

    "the information you ask about should have been available since April when the information could no longer be hidden "off the balance sheet"

    During the outcry over MPs expenses, the Treasury quietly slipped out the news that, after all, PFI debts would not appear.

    Anyone surprised?

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  • 76. At 5:20pm on 13 Jun 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    #73&75 Oldnat, thanks for the links (I didn't see that Herald story when I first looked). What justification are the authorities offering for not making the information available. Sounds like the MP expenses all over again. I think this kind of accounting would be illegal in the private sector. I also think the audit commission should have some input. This may be another issue where freedom of imformation will need to be used to drag the information out.

    The Herald story mentions that Hairmyers hospital should have cost £68m, but we are been fleeced for £725m. There is no shortage of questions over this, but: -

    - who is making the money,

    - who signed off on a deal like this and thought it was Ok to pay £725m instead of £68m.


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  • 77. At 5:47pm on 13 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #71 northhighlander

    "The SNP seem to be carrying the NU LAB approach further as opposed to challenging the status quo. We need to embrace some new radical thinking to improve services."

    The SNP would like to alter the status quo! There is a lot of resistance to change within the education establishment - would you agree? The impetus for it, and the big stick that for some would be necessary in order to implement it, is offered (with a new dawn) with independence.

    A rigorous overview could then be undertaken, and so the good stuff is kept, and the crazinesses deal with. (Our education system is pretty damn good if you do that.)

    I don't think attitudes will change otherwise, without it.

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  • 78. At 7:06pm on 13 Jun 2009, salmondella wrote:

    In Scottish Futures we Trust .......aye write!!

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  • 79. At 7:13pm on 13 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #78 salmondella

    Very good! ;-)
    But, in the Scottish people we trust - that not sound normal? Independence is normal.

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  • 80. At 7:19pm on 13 Jun 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    good evening ,thanks oldnat, It was my understanding that they had no chance of wriggling out of producing the figures ,but have obviously found one.
    evening Aye- write, i simply used the NHS as it is what I understand the best.
    education is simply doing what the lawyers and the surveyors are also trying to do - protecting their cushy little numbers that they have had for years.
    unfortunately something far bigger than a rigorous overview will be required to sort this unholy mess out!

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  • 81. At 7:26pm on 13 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    salmondella re your 78

    No matter how long the Scottish Futures Trust takes to set up the wait will be worth it.

    I take by your senseless comment that you are happy that Hairmyres Hospital that is valued at 68 million pound, will cost the Scottish taxpayers 752 million pounds.

    Anyone with half a brain will conclude that these PPI/PFI contracts could only have been signed off by an idiot, what was his name again?

    If the SNP had been so stupid to arrange these contracts they would have been front page news on every Scottish paper and the EBC or LBC if you prefer.

    Now that everyone has laughed so much at reluctant/Derek/AM2/Scottish Unionist is this change of name permanent?

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  • 82. At 8:39pm on 13 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #81 dubbieside

    You really mustn't assume that the paucity of argument and the use of cheap/unintelligible jibes by these people indicate that they are one person.

    What is remarkable, however, is that given the roughly equal levels of support currently being shown for Independence and the UK Union, that this level of argument appears to be their highest point.

    Oh that they had a debater on their side, worthy of engaging with, but they don't. Never do we see the positive case for the Union being argued for. Rather sad really.

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  • 83. At 9:05pm on 13 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #82 oldnat

    "Never do we see the positive case for the Union being argued for."

    Could we not look to the arguments proposed by the small countries who are currently campaigning to be appendaged on to their neighbours?
    Oh, wait... ;-)

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  • 84. At 9:16pm on 13 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #83 aye_write

    Do you mean England?

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  • 85. At 9:19pm on 13 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    81. At 7:26pm on 13 Jun 2009, dubbieside:

    I live near Hairmyres, and the new build has approx 100 LESS beds than the old hospital, of which one block is used.

    The worry about all the PFI debt is who is actually responsible for paying for it should Scotland go independent.

    That will be a question raised when the referendum comes up.

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  • 86. At 9:25pm on 13 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #84 oldnat


    It's certainly the only one I can think of!
    Their MPs do sit over a black hole of an economy, and have expensive habits - bad combination ;-)

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  • 87. At 9:27pm on 13 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #85 Neil_Small147

    "The worry about all the PFI debt is who is actually responsible for paying for it should Scotland go independent."

    If you hadn't noticed, England has a lot of PFI schemes as well. Whether the Union continues, or independence occurs, we'll have to pay for it anyway. This is about bad governance under Labour and Tory - nothing to do with Independence.

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  • 88. At 9:34pm on 13 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #85 Neil_Small147

    Well, if PFI has got us into debt, which it seems it has, and it was the pro-Union government which delivered it, which it was, then is that an argument for not leaving that Union i.e. staying with the side that got you in the mess, or is it an argument for stepping forward, away from that circumstance, to a future where the Scottish people, represented by MPs looking after Scotland's needs, don't let that happen again?
    What do you think?

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  • 89. At 9:43pm on 13 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #88 aye_write

    You really must stop bringing logic and common sense into politics. Don't you realise that in a New Labour world you are only window dressing? You really need to leave the decisions up to unelected men. Just look at how well they've done!

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  • 90. At 9:47pm on 13 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Neil_Small147 re your 85

    Even though by all accounts Hairmyers is sub standard (I can only go by what I have read as I have never been to Hairmyers) the sad fact is as Oldnat says, we the Scottish taxpayer, will have to pay for Labours disgraceful mismanagement.

    However I do believe that this would be a price worth paying (painful as it will be) if all these contracts were seen by the Scottish public as a reminder of the Labour/Lib Dem administration (not a government as they only followed Westminster orders)and never voted for them again.

    If it hastens independence and we can use our own resources, instead of our pocket money, to pay of these debts, then even better.

    P.S. I have read that on some of these PPI/PFI contracts we will never own the buildings, after 30 years they remain the property of the PPI/PFI company. Does this apply to Hairmyers? If so it will be an even worse deal.

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  • 91. At 10:13pm on 13 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #89 oldnat

    Being female (and therefore good at window dressing ;-), I agree with everything Gordon Brown says - but look prettier saying it - that we North British are much better off abandoning logic and common sense (relevant only for men, obviously...) and staying with the Union, so we can feel more important ruining, sorry running a bigger country...

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  • 92. At 10:19pm on 13 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #89 oldnat

    Seriously. Un-elected men? Good we've got elected women in this government - Nicola Sturgeon heading up the clean up of the Unionists' mess...

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  • 93. At 10:40pm on 13 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #91 and 92 aye_write

    I am crushed, defeated, incompetent, inferior - just what the Unionists have always told me I am. You are strong, superior, powerful, but protect me - just as the Unionists have always told me you Brits are.

    Hang on. That's all wrong. Are you really telling me that the Unionists are wrong and that Scots are at least as competent as the Brits? I'll need to go and lie down for a bit to reconsider!

    (I can't believe that RE, derek and others must have been talking rubbish)

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  • 94. At 11:10pm on 13 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #91 and 92 aye_write

    Alas. It seems that the mods have difficulty in accepting that Scots and women aren't the supplicant inferiors that the propaganda paints us as!

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  • 95. At 11:25pm on 13 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #92 and #94 respectfully!

    What a ridiculous pair of false preachers, clearly unable to understand the progressive nature of building requirements and the scaling of budgeting.

    I suspect"instant karma" will hit both of them right in the face soon!

    Just what do they think the Scottish future trust Is?.

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  • 96. At 11:27pm on 13 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #4 oldnat

    Too blunt speaking for them, oldnat?

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  • 97. At 11:35pm on 13 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    90. At 9:47pm on 13 Jun 2009, dubbieside:

    I think it's true about the 30 year. There is a case in England (?) where a new primary school built under PFI was not actually required. The company in question apparently refused any suggestion by the council to let out the building for other use. In other words, the company only employs minimal staff for maintenance of the building and has a fat profit.

    But the big danger of pfi is if a parent company goes bust.

    I've never agreed with pfi. I AM in favour of bringing in private sector professionals on a permanent basis. But what is the point in a scheme where effectively the true costs can be hidden and responsibility is removed from Government?

    PFI is the one thing that might tie Scotland to the rest of the UK for a number of years economically, if not politically. Its not scaremongering against independence, but it is a serious issue that must be considered.

    Btw, the staff at Hairmyres are first class. Having regular use of accident and emergency I can vouch for that. (DIY and me do not mix well).


    Short aside. Hands up those who think that Lord Mandelson is effectively prime minister? And as far as I know there is nothing in constitutional law that prevents him being so for real.

    What exactly is "First Secretary of State"?

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  • 98. At 11:35pm on 13 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    At last ... weve found MP's '£2000 shelves'

    Phew I thought the taxpayer had bought nothing but it seems that they are in the pub no doubt to keep his "slate" on.

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  • 99. At 11:36pm on 13 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #89 oldnat and #92 aye_write

    You are having fun tonight.

    On the subject of window-dressing in connection with the recent ministerial reminder that hell hath no fury, etc., etc., my attention was attracted today to a rather bluntly written pamphlet published by the Demos think-tank, in which Dr Alan Finlayson, of Swansea University, states that those closely involved with Labour at local or national level may still imagine it to be the party of equality, the rights of ordinary people and community but that everybody else sees nothing of the kind. They see, he maintains, a party lacking such principles, whose leaders like to show off to celebrities (that they then appoint to the House of Lords), vie with each other for power rather than exercise it and manage property portfolios paid for out of the public purse.

    In the course of arguing that Labour has "starved itself" by cutting itself off from its own traditions, he says that recent electoral results in Scotland and Wales underline a transformation in UK politics but that it is also clear that the fall-out from the expenses row and the aborted attempts to remove Mr Brown from the job which he is obviously so much enjoying will continue to be felt for some time to come. Finally he gets to the point which I wanted to draw to your attention, which is that, while it may be that Mr Brown is safe in his job for now, charges over the way he runs Downing Street still linger: particularly the charge of sexism.

    Stephen Gummer, a researcher for Clwyd South MP Martyn Jones, has apparently written on the LabourList website that the party is "institutionally sexist". What are we to make of a Labour MP's researcher's claim that Labour is institutionally sexist? Well, Mr Gummer further writes, it seems, that "nobody with half a brain" thinks any of the points raised by Ms Flint were inaccurate. She said Gordon Brown had a male-dominated inner circle "we all know this to be true" and she observed the lack of women who actually run money-spending UK departments is now down to just one: Yvette Cooper. Despite Labours undoubted progress on gender equality, both the UK parliament and the Labour Party remain institutionally sexist, he insists.

    So, according to Mr Gummer, only those with "half a brain" will doubt that Labour is institutionally sexist. Whom do we know who might come into that category and may be expected to deny the allegations vehemently if not exactly coherently?

    "Who are you calling a liar! button head! hey! kid! did you need all your tory friends to back you up, hee hee hee

    look ya roaster! you couldn't make a case out of cardboaed."

    Recognize the style? No names, no pack drill.

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  • 100. At 11:38pm on 13 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Jim Devine's days are numbered if The Sunday Herald article is anything to go by. As clear a case of fraud as I have ever witnessed.

    The SOS are running a swine flu article that criticises Nicola Sturgeon - see, I told you so.

    I see that the mods have deleted a perfectly reasonable comment at number 4. They may wish to delete the identical comment on the previous blog then where it has been displayed for a number of days.

    I'll post it again tomorrow in stages to see what part broke the house rules.

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  • 101. At 00:05am on 14 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #99 frankly_francophone

    "...only those with "half a brain" will doubt that Labour is institutionally sexist. Whom do we know who might come into that category..."

    You are being generous tonight! ;-)

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  • 102. At 00:09am on 14 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #100 greenockboy

    "I'll post it again tomorrow in stages to see what part broke the house rules."

    In the past I've been up till 4 in the morning doing that - only to find the whole thing accepted! Good luck!

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  • 103. At 00:13am on 14 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    #100 greenockboy.

    The media will most likely descent on Sturgeon with regards to the wrong results of swine flu tests. No matter that the journalists are not medically qualified, or that mistakes are bound to happen.


    What on earth are the shelves doing in a pub????

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  • 104. At 00:17am on 14 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    From ConswervativeHome
    Tomorrow's Sunday Times suggests that the Tories remain stalled in Scotland:
    "The YouGov poll of more than 1,000 Scottish voters found support for the nationalists has almost doubled from 18% to 31% since 2005, up one point from April. But the Conservatives are toiling on 17%, down four points from April and on course to take only three of Scotlands 59 seats."

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  • 105. At 00:21am on 14 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #99 frankly- francophone

    Talk about being stiff on the sexist issue! just take a look at francophone

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  • 106. At 02:12am on 14 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    # oldnat

    And that's without a significant UKIP vote.

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  • 107. At 10:08am on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    The BBC in Scotland continue to give top spot to stories that are driven by the Labour party in Scotland.

    The latest:
    Teachers 'swamping job vacancies'

    The revelations that shelving, claimed for by Labour MP Jim Devine, is said to be in a disused pub cellar are ignored. The claim by Devine however does not hold water as the shelving in the cellar does not match the description on the claim.

    In short, the claim for expenses by Devine appears to have been fraud.

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  • 108. At 10:59am on 14 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Interesting poll on Calman in Scotland on Sunday.

    Is the Calman Commission an important step forward for Scottish Democracy?

    Yes 9%
    No 91%

    Mind you since we the taxpayer paid half a million pounds for a commission that told us that the oil price fluctuates is anyone really surprised.

    As oil will probably be at the 80 to 100 dollars a barrel range by the time of the next general election, the choice for the people of Scotland will be clear, "do you want Scotland to get 80 dollars a barrel, or nothing" now that is really a hard choice.

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  • 109. At 10:59am on 14 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #104 oldnat

    Thanks for the heads up on the new YouGov poll. In fact the Sunday Thunderer has two new YouGov polls: The Scotland one in their "Brown debacle puts SNP ahead" and a UK one in their "Half of voters say Brown is damaging UK".

    Neither is up on the YouGov site yet, but the headline figures are:
    Scotland: SNP 31%, Lab 28%, Con 17%, LibDem 16%, Other 8%
    UK: Con 40%, Lab 24%, LibDem 18%, Other 18%

    If NuLab can retain 28% of voters in Scotland, Electoral Calculus predicts they'll avoid meltdown with the seats going: Lab 29, SNP 16, LibDem 11, Con 3. The vagaries of the plurality voting system very much favours NuLab, of course, so the SNP need to take another 2% of the Scottish vote from NuLab to have the most Westmidden seats.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 110. At 11:13am on 14 Jun 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #107 The BBCs news frontpage seems to have these headlines that imply negative stuff about the Scottish government but when you read the story you realize that its a non story in that its just Labour trying to paint the SNP as failures. I watched FM question time the other day and its like tennis at Hollyrood with Labour and the Tories serving and Alex doing perfect backhanders to the back of the court. People wonder why Alex has that grin on his face but its obvious that they are doing things right and when Ian Gray or whoever asks a critical question they just get their own results from being in power used against them.

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  • 111. At 11:15am on 14 Jun 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    morning all , Greenock boy my reading of the article re the elusive shelves is that they have not been found yet.these shelves are magic they are supposed to have been in at least 3 different locations so far and we have yet to see them!! the problem we have ,it appears, is that neither lothian & borders or the met are prepared to get off their backsides and do what they are paid for!
    on the subject of teaching - the time has come to take education out of the hands of local councils ,who are obviously unable to do the job, with a very few exceptions,and control it from holyrood . that way we might get a uniform education system and we could reduce the cost by having no need for 20 + education chiefs and all their hangers on.

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  • 112. At 11:20am on 14 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Just when you thought that see had disappeared she is back spouting more rubbish about Calman.

    Probably not 10 out of 10 for this effort.

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  • 113. At 11:47am on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    In comment number 41 I wrote this:
    The media will try to present any proposal (by Calman) as though it has authority; watch out for the following:

    'Holyrood to get new income tax powers'

    instead of:

    'Calman advises Unionists to offer tax powers'


    This is the headline the BBC are today presenting to Scots:
    Holyrood 'should gain' more power

    Note the similarity to the headline I suggested they would run with!!

    The BBC article goes on:
    The review was set up to look at devolution 10 years on.
    Powers on speed and drink-drive limits as well as air weapons could be handed to Scotland under the Calman Commission review of devolution.

    .... and will also suggest some devolved responsibilities, such as food standards labelling, are handed back to Westminster.

    The commission was set up as a knee jerk reaction to the SNP's 2007 election win and the National Conversation.

    I would hope that each Unionist politician will be asked in turn what powers they actually support and how the Scottish people are to endorse them. As I have said, Calman is there to advise Unionists - NOT to speak on behalf of the Scottish electorate, he specifically excluded the views of those who wish independence from the outset.

    It could also be argued that the views of many don't know's have been ignored as there is certain to have been many amongst them who would have welcomed some input from the independence movement.

    The next step is to put pressure on Scottish Unionist politicians to hold a referendum to ensure the Scottish electorate can decide which option they prefer.

    At this moment Kenneth Calman speaks for around 36% of the Scottish electorate. As a result, Holyrood 'should get' only those powers that the whole of the Scottish electorate explicitly endorse.

    That can only be determined by a referendum.

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  • 114. At 11:52am on 14 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    A rather rambling article in the Sunday Herald from Tom Shields "In search of Scottish Labour's soul" is well worth a read, if only on the know your enemy principle.

    Having had a post removed for quoting a whole sentence of an article, I'll minimise direct quoting, but there's a particularly nice bit in the middle where Harris suggests that NuLab's "unnatural selection" has resulted in a "paucity of talent", and that Holyrood has been particularly il-served over this. How true.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 115. At 12:01pm on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Comment 111:

    The 'excuses' from Jim Devine have contradicted themselves from day 1. This is why it is so blatant that the media (Sunday Herald excepted) are deliberately suppressing this story.

    As I stated on an earlier comment, Jim Devine has thus far stated that the company who carried out his electrical work was actually one man he was recomended by someone in his pub. The man was described as Irish and Devine didn't know his name - he may even have died or gone back to Ireland we were told !!

    Now though, Devine has told his local Labour group that in fact it was this Mr Moran, local publican, who carried out the electrical work. This is the same Mr Moran who installed the shelves in Devine's office, no wait Mr Moran has arthritis and couldn't have done this joinery work.

    The shelves aren't in his office but are in a disused pub, in a dank and dirty cellar - only they aren't are they?

    The contradictory statements from Devine suggest only one thing - he is lying, and badly at that. The original circumstantial evidence now appears very real and verifiable - and the conclusion is that fraud has been committed.

    This isn't a case of parliamentary rule being 'manipulated' in order to maximise expense claims. This is altogether different and should be investigated in the same way that any person suspected of benefit fraud would be investigated.

    The Scottish media should be splashing this story all over the front pages and broadcast news - it deserves it. That it hasn't tells you everything you need to know about Scotland and the media within.

    The BBC will not report this story until Labour decide what spin is to be reported.

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  • 116. At 1:04pm on 14 Jun 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #115 No doubt Labour will be hopeing this story just goes away quietly. He should resign immediatly but wont as Labour dont want a bi election in case the SNP take it from them. Remember only Gordon Brown can get us through these times of financial struggle....... yawn.

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  • 117. At 2:36pm on 14 Jun 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    #97, Neil_Small147, I know Wikipedia is not exactly an authoritative source but it does have two well-written articles on "Deputy Prime Minister" and "First Secretary of State." The main difference is that the latter is a salaried position. So you're basically paying for Mandy to keep up with the laundry.

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  • 118. At 3:35pm on 14 Jun 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    Talking of "blunt speaking" did everyone see Guido's last blog where he sums up Blackburn's Britains got talent singing sensation and the Prime Minister thus:

    "One is famous on YouTube as a slightly bonkers Scot with tragic mental health issues and unruly hair, who ultimately loses and the other is a singer in a talent contest."

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  • 119. At 3:44pm on 14 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Brown will only go if:

    1. He cheeses Mandy off!
    2. He has a bout of (probably stress induced) ill health
    3. He suffers a scandal that contradicts his own self-perceived moral standing
    (4. Someone from NR's.....I won't finish that one!)

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  • 120. At 4:54pm on 14 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #119 aye_write

    You have put these in the correct rank order, I think. But the knife in the back will come when English Labour MPs of Cabinet/near Cabinet rank make the decision that their own seats are in danger if they don't get rid of this brooding Scot.

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  • 121. At 4:59pm on 14 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "The BBC has learned the Calman Commission's final report will also recommend MSPs take charge of setting income tax".

    A childishly-transparent attempt to dampen down the growing desire for Scottish independence - except when it came to the crunch I don't believe any Unionist government would have the balls to actually do it - if that isn't too painful a metaphor.

    They are just dangling tax-setting powers as a tasty "carrot" to prolong as long as possible their rapidly loosening grip on Scotland's sovereignty. If they ever work up the courage to actually do this they'll soon find people asking: "if the Scottish government does everything, including setting tax rates, why are we paying for another load of freeloaders at Westminster?"

    So just as with the Devolution sop, what the Unionists stupidly believe to be another cunning attempt to "kill off" independence will in fact only further strengthen the case for it further. Sadly for these dim bulbs they haven't learnt anything from their first "mistake" - thus proving that "cunning" and "intelligence" aren't the same thing.

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  • 122. At 5:20pm on 14 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    PS to my #32

    3 days after the unannounced changes came into effect, there are now more than 600 posts on The Editors: Changes to international pages, almost all of them unfavourable, while auntie seems to be as entirely unconcerned about the situation as it is about the built-in unionist bias greenockboy, bighullabaloo and others regularly and rightly point out here.

    As a number of regular posters here [like oldnat and pattymkirkwood] are either permanently or regularly beyond the pale, I and others would appreciate your adding your own views on IP apartheid.

    [Actually I lie, since Dublin is now also outside the IP pale!]

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 123. At 5:28pm on 14 Jun 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #120 oldnat
    aye_write's 3 is impossible, Global is one of the Elect, in fact he is even more Elect than Calvin himself. I also feel your suggestion is impossible as, as I understand it, there are no MP's in the Cabinet except Global, all the rest are Lords. Anent which, do you know if life peerages can be disclaimed like Wedgie Benn and Sir Alex Doughlas Hume? I hope not, otherwise look for Mandy being appointed Deputy PM and cultivating the "friendship" of psycholgists and others interested in mental disorder.

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  • 124. At 5:31pm on 14 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #120 oldnat

    Well, bring it on! (Sorry! :-)

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  • 125. At 6:16pm on 14 Jun 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    #123, Handclapping, Mandy does not need the title of Deputy Prime Minister. The post of First Secretary of State provides him with at least as much power.

    It has already been mentioned, but what is Mandy holding over GB's head? Is the country heading for another Matthew Parris Moment?

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  • 126. At 6:17pm on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Just to see what provoked the ire of the moderatpors I am going to re-post comment 4 in three sections - starting here.

    section 1:

    As we see yet another Holyrood committee statement headlined by the BBC it is perhaps a good time to remind people why blogs like this are so precious.

    It alows us to post informative comment and highlight stories that might otherwise never be known.

    Responding directly to the likes of derekbarker may lead to a feeling of satisfaction but the blog can very easily become overwhelmed with comments that offer nothing more than low brow insult.

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  • 127. At 6:18pm on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Section 2:

    Here is a press release from the SNP that brings home the progress that we are making towards independence:

    [i]Independence poll [i]boost for SNPHome ? News ? Holyrood

    The referendum on Scottish independence is "there to be won", claims SNP business convener Angus Robertson.

    The SNP MP's comments follow publication of a poll by TNS-BMRB, formerly System Three.

    The results show 36% of Scots in favour of independence, while 25% are undecided and only 39% - compared to 50% in August 2007 - currently opposed.

    "This is a very encouraging poll, which confirms that support for independence and equality for Scotland is extremely strong," Mr Robertson said.

    "The 15-point gap in the summer of 2007 is now only 3 points, with an increasing number of people positive about Scotland's potential as an independent nation.

    "As this week's European elections show, voters want a strong SNP voice to speak up for Scotland and they are increasingly putting their trust in the SNP. With increased powers for the Scottish Parliament, we could do even more.

    "The SNP Government will bring forward a bill for a referendum in 2010 with a full debate on Scotland's constitutional future, and challenge the London parties not to stand in the way of the peoples right to choose Scotlands future. This poll shows that support for independence is high enough and strong enough for that referendum to be won."

    SNP MEP and Party President Ian Hudghton, who topped the European ballot in Scotland added;

    "This poll adds to recent polling showing that when people are asked if they want Scotland to be a member of the EU in our own right as opposed to being represented by the UK government the answer is positive. Voters want Scotland to have a strong independent voice in Europe, a result emphasised with the SNPs electoral success this week."

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  • 128. At 6:18pm on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Section 3:

    Make your comment informative, partake knowledge to the reader, be civil, highlight bias. If someone lies about you then refer the comment, if they insult you or become abusive then refer the comment.

    When disruptive posters are ignored they are starved of oxygen, they either change their approach or they disappear.

    There will be many hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who read these blogs but do not comment just as there are a large number of people who read letters in newspapers. Many of these people will form part of the 25% undecided's.

    When making a comment, ask yourself; If I was undecided would my comment give me reason to reconsider?

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  • 129. At 6:35pm on 14 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #126 greenockboy!
    Wow! Such as he! so what are you offering this blog.A one-way ticket to Independence, a social gathering of one way thoughts.

    Anyone that questions your way is the wrong way! come on greenockboy! your just another list of bad political publication, simply making it up as you go along.

    Will you apologise if the referendum on Independence is cancelled for 2010.

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  • 130. At 6:59pm on 14 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Here's an interesting new twist: "It's been a great day for Andy Murray, and British tennis"

    In tennis "As it happened" text updates the BBC always emphasises the names of the tennis players using bold type.

    So in the above sentence the words "Andy Murray" appear in bold type as do his name and that of his opponent wherever they appear in the report.

    I understand why having the player's names in bold type helps keep the reader orientated to the action in a static account of an ever-changing tennis game.

    However, in the above sentence we were also treated to the words "British tennis" in bold.

    Maybe somebody can give me a logical reason for emphasising the words "British tennis" in bold that doesn't carry with it the implication that we should all be taking pride in the "Britishness" of Andy Murray's success?

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  • 131. At 7:06pm on 14 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    If you haven't seen it, Will Patterson (under a pseudonym that the Beeb considers obscene for some peculiar reason) does a thorough analysis of the business in the Main Holyrood Chamber, and publishes it on Sundays.

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  • 132. At 7:12pm on 14 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    108. At 10:59am on 14 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    As oil will probably be at the 80 to 100 dollars a barrel range by the time of the next general election, the choice for the people of Scotland will be clear, "do you want Scotland to get 80 dollars a barrel, or nothing" now that is really a hard choice.


    While the price is likely to be there, it's not certain, and to base a budget purely on the price of a commodity is potentially risky.

    While oil is an obvious choice to show benefits of independence, you cannot give a speculative figure as part of a campaign. If the price drops significantly around the time of a referndum, then you are basically shooting yourself in the foot, and the media will jump on that argument. What you say is that 90% (?) of UK oil revenues would be Scottish. That has more impact. 100 dollars a barrel means nothing to most people. Higher prices mean higher fuel costs.


    125. At 6:16pm on 14 Jun 2009, Skip_NC:

    Thanks for the info. I honestly think Mandy is now running the show. Politically he is probably more efficient than Brown. Please note that I csnnot stand the man, just trying to be objective!

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  • 133. At 7:21pm on 14 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #130 Bighullabaloo
    Till such times as Scotland can declare Independence the union still exist.

    A. Murray, like all sportsmen will be glad of every piece of support he can muster at Wimbledon.

    Your not doing A. Murray any favours in suggesting otherwise.

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  • 134. At 7:26pm on 14 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #132 Neil_Small147

    Re oil prices. The IEG reports on this to Calman deal with this extremely well. In somewhat guarded language they excoriate successive UK governments for selfishly depleting a finite resource and thus penalising succeeding generations, instead of following SNP policy and having established an oil fund. Additionally, they point out that it is easy to identify the Scottish share of the Continental Shelf and to allocate the revenues to Scotland with the dual provision of an oil fund to save additional revenue when prices are high, and borrowing powers to cover the shortfall when prices are low.

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  • 135. At 7:51pm on 14 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:


    Any views on Mike Smithson's suggestions on Brown's future?

    "The Labour Party has finally reached a settled will on the future of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but it is not that he will lead them into the next general election for good or ill.It is that he will be replaced, at a decent interval and in a suitably dignified way, by the man he has just appointed Home Secretary..

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  • 136. At 8:30pm on 14 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #132 Neil_Small147


    Oil companies work their plans on the assumption that oil will only be at $40 a barrel. Between 60 and 90 is perfect, all work and projects on (with a lag time obviously).

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  • 137. At 8:34pm on 14 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #133 derekbarker

    Your "response" betrays such a twisted, mentally-warped reinterpretation and misrepresentation of what I actually said that it doesn't merit even a moment's serious consideration.

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  • 138. At 8:40pm on 14 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Card fraud probe targets 300 detectives

    "More than 300 elite Scotland Yard detectives are suspected of defrauding the taxpayer of millions of pounds by abusing their corporate credit cards, the Observer can disclose."

    Starting to make N Korea look more honest than the UK administrators.

    Time to jump ship before the sea floor comes into view.

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  • 139. At 8:40pm on 14 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #135 oldnat

    "Any views on Mike Smithson's suggestions on Brown's future?"

    Yes, my view is that anyone with as little respect for his own country as Brown can't possibly have any respect for himself and therefore deserves no respect whatsover from me.

    He's an irrelevance to Scotland's actual future which I imagine is arriving all too quickly for him.

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  • 140. At 9:07pm on 14 Jun 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    #138, cynicalHighlander, thanks for the link. As a former civil servant who travelled a bit (locally, it must be said) it was a monthly ritual to fill in the expense claim by hand and have it scrutinised & approved. Has anyone at Scotland Yard figured out that you can submit expenses claims via a secure internet connection nowadays? That would obviate the need for credit cards and it would all cost a whole lot less than paying out thousands in fraudulent claims.

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  • 141. At 9:27pm on 14 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    136. At 8:30pm on 14 Jun 2009, aye_write wrote:
    #132 Neil_Small147


    Oil companies work their plans on the assumption that oil will only be at $40 a barrel. Between 60 and 90 is perfect, all work and projects on (with a lag time obviously).


    That makes sense. Anyway, even if it is 40 dollars or so, if Scotland owns most of the territory the oil fields are in it would still be substantial in relation to population.

    8. At 8:40pm on 14 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander:

    There was a case in the RAF around 1992 where a serving officer made false claims for school fees of 6000 pound. He got off with a severe reprimand and stoppages of pay. Had that been a non-com rank they would have been discharged.

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  • 142. At 9:28pm on 14 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    135. At 7:51pm on 14 Jun 2009, oldnat:

    Gordon Brown resigns in November, Alan Johnson calls general election for March.

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  • 143. At 9:54pm on 14 Jun 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:


    I understand there was a Matthew Parris moment about 18 months ago but it was pulled at the last minute by the broadsheet that it was written for and all referencers of a certain nature removed rendering the article that was published nonsensical and vitually pointless except to claim that certain now unspecified but concealed aspects of GB's character had led to him being devious and duplicious.

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  • 144. At 10:11pm on 14 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 145. At 10:30pm on 14 Jun 2009, Peter1970 wrote:

    Breaking news.

    Derek Barker dies of swine flu.

    All Scotland rejoices!

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  • 146. At 10:30pm on 14 Jun 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:


    It is not wise to presume that those who profess to support Labour, LibDem or Tory are against independence. In a survey done of over 25,000 in the constituency in which I live a majority said they would vote yes in a two question referendum.
    We had over 2,500 responses (we use a Freepost return service and the responses were aninymous0).
    The breakdown by party allegiance on the independence referendum question was a follows

    Those identifying as

    SNP supporters 88% for independence
    LibDem supporters 52% for independence
    Labour supporters 64% for independence
    Tory supporters 19% for independence
    SSP 100% for independence (only three returns)

    I concede these returns, collected in 2006/ 2007 are unlikely to be matched in urban or industrial Scotland but I would think they would be substantially bettered now.

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  • 147. At 10:37pm on 14 Jun 2009, Jimmythepict wrote:

    144 Derek Barker,

    That comment was in such bad taste and so off topic it beggars belief.

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  • 148. At 10:52pm on 14 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    Peter you clearly represent the Nationalist and your fellow bloggers well! care to meet me before I go!....ouch!

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  • 149. At 11:00pm on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Re: Jim Devine

    Labour have decided that Devine will face a Labour panel tomorrow or Tuesday to discuss his expense claims.

    We can now expect a BBC Scotland headline along the lines of 'MP to be investigated', thereby focussing on the action being taken by the party as opposed to the very real and seriously questionable claims. The headline might even avoid mentioning Devine or Labour.

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  • 150. At 11:03pm on 14 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    145 Peter1970

    If only!

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  • 151. At 11:04pm on 14 Jun 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    #143 Sneckedagain, How interesting. Here in North Carolina it is easy to miss the little tidbits like that. So far as GB's character is concerned, there is no smoking gun (so far as I am aware) and the rumours are so old that they've grown hair. It would be a brave person that would bring it into the public domain.

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  • 152. At 11:12pm on 14 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:


    Another over reactionist! the two main news channels are running with the same unfortunate news.

    The pict!

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  • 153. At 11:13pm on 14 Jun 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #146 - I fully suspect, sneckedagain, that the Unionist parties are fully aware of this and have, therefore, tried to head off any referedum at the pass.

    Despite the best efforts of the likes of Derek Barking and the Reluctant one (is "best efforts" the right words?), the Unionists are worried. The strategy of opposing everything SNP at Westminster has not worked for Labour. The strategy for opposing everything SNP at Holyrood has not worked for Labour. The strategy for opposing everything SNP has not worked at the Local Authority level (you'd think they'd start to learn). Labour are now entirely out of ideas and is led by incompetents at every level (although that king maker Mandy is starting to extend his tentrils in earnest).

    Auntie Bella may land the odd blow on Alex but still has an uphill struggle to make voting tory socially acceptable in Scotland. The English branch of the Conservatives could easily kibosh her efforts through simple arrogance or by playing to the vocal minority in England.

    As we all know, the LibDum are now an irrelevance in Scotland, they tied themselves to the Labour apron strings too long and now they have no idea what they actually stand for.

    The Calman report will be interesting for what it DOESN'T recommend as much as for what it does. By all accounts, there will be nothing radical in it, or at least nothing radical in terms of moving power north of the border. The big scare is of Westminster grabbing planning powers simply to remove the Scottish Government's ability to block the building of nuclear plants (and nuclear dumps) in Scotland.

    No doubt, though, the compliant media, along with our very own BT, will herald the report as the second coming, and all it's failings will be ignored in the clamber to praise it.

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  • 154. At 11:16pm on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Re: Calman

    Can anyone confirm that Calman's advice must go before Holyrood to be voted on?

    If so, then would it be possible for a party to put forward an amendment, say adding full fiscal autonomy or even stipulating that constitutional changes of this magnitude (containing the handing back of powers) must go before the Scottish electorate in a referendum?

    Thanks for any replies on this.

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  • 155. At 11:23pm on 14 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    149. At 11:00pm on 14 Jun 2009, greenockboy:

    If Labour's ruling exec had any common sense, they would expel him from the party.

    I wonder that, apart from the bias, some areas of the media are cautious what they say in case legal proceedings are brought.

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  • 156. At 11:31pm on 14 Jun 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #154 - AFAIK, greenockboy, the Calman report contains recommendations for changes to the Scotland Act. As such, Holyrood will have no power over it and that man of the people and defender of democracy, Gordie, will have the sole say in which of the recommendations (if any) are enacted.

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  • 157. At 11:32pm on 14 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    ForteanJo, it's only a message board, what ever you interpret as "effort"
    will have very little bearing with the real political world.

    Can I suggest you calm down and stop being so hysterical.By all means be critical and bold but remember, we are not likely to change much on this site.

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  • 158. At 11:45pm on 14 Jun 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #157 - Countering your nonsense hardly makes anyone hysterical, Mr Barking. And this site is all about debating Scottish politics and the exchange of ideas. I realise, by your own admission, that this concept is beyond your comprehension (hence the majority of your posts being "surreal" to say the least).

    As the old saying goes, with our thoughts we shape the world. If you don't believe that, are you really just a troll who only posts here to disrupt the flow of exchanges?

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  • 159. At 00:03am on 15 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    I certainly applaud your desire to be heard and of course raise the issue close to your own goals however I merely suggest ForteanJo that the "concept" of change lies within the parliaments of Britain.

    Apparently their was an SNP backed national conversation web-site that only managed to attract 0.0000001% of the population, maybe it's not the best way to carry your wishes.

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  • 160. At 00:10am on 15 Jun 2009, Jimmythepict wrote:

    152 - Derek

    Yes your comment got a reaction from me, revulsion.

    What was your purpose of posting a persons death from swine flu that we all have heard in the news and on the website on a discussion about civil servants and MSPs?

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  • 161. At 00:13am on 15 Jun 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    I'm looking forward to the Calman report. We can get back to talking about freedom.
    What is incredible is that the three Unionists parties can't argue for the Union as it stands. They know their arguments no longer hold water. So they fall back on that old tactic of trying to kill the nationalist fox. Why do they think this will work? They really are swimmimng gainst the tide. Is there anyone out there who supports the status quo?

    Lets hope the referendum happens next year.


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  • 162. At 00:25am on 15 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    Jimmy, It's a very sad but real situation that has the potential to worsen. Yes! it was off topic but in terms of seriousness and now! most critical progression, I'm afraid it will be a major issue.

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  • 163. At 00:36am on 15 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    #159 derek.

    If you must quote numbers, at least try and be accurate. Your percentage equates to 0.05 people, based on a population of 5 mill.

    The problem with debating on this site is that some people go to extremes, rather than trying to find some middle ground.

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  • 164. At 00:36am on 15 Jun 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #162 derekbarker

    It's sad, but it's nothing to do with politics. Try posting on this on a medical blog. Your attempt to politicise this is simply despicable.

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  • 165. At 00:36am on 15 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    Hadrianswall, Calman left opened Scotland's revenue means (monetary policy) what we have now! is whether Scotland wants to be what the SNP call more responsible in terms of fiscal control however if Scotland opts for the said control of over half it's taxation, then the block grant is automatically reduced (in other words the Barnett formula is dead)and Scotland must project and live within a responsible means of tax collection.I would suspect that such a dramatic shift would throw up arguments for and against, it's certainly something that will need plenty of thought and most probably a referendum on.

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  • 166. At 00:56am on 15 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #163, 164

    Neil you can hardly call for accuracy when your so confused about your political intent.

    Oldnat re-read your posts and Neil Small's, you both pay the highest regards to the SNP's handling of the swine-flu out-break.

    I believe it not to be a political situation on the other hand you and your comrades want to make it a political situation.

    What's it to be Oldnat and small Neil, time to come off the fence and make a real decision, do you's agree that the swine-flu situation is not political and Ms Sturgeon must make more of her position as Health secretary.

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  • 167. At 01:02am on 15 Jun 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    Neil, if you are going to quote words like accurate then for heaven sake get the population right!.

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  • 168. At 01:59am on 15 Jun 2009, Tom wrote:



    "Scotland must project and live within a responsible means of tax collection."

    It sounds like you have doubt in our ability as country to ensure we have a reasonable standard of living?

    Infact you are almost implying that Scotland will certainly struggle in terms of raising the amount of taxation to continue with the level of services we have.

    I am interested on hearing the type of taxes Scotland could be given responsibilies for, I am concerned, will this not cause problems because our budget will be decided by Westminister and our Scottish Government?

    If Scotland receives control over oil taxation, then surely Scotland should be given control of taxation over products such as alcohol etc because we have a product that can go up and down in price without warning that the ability to raise or decrease alcohol etc would ensure we can fill in the black hole in our finances quickly.

    I also see we may be given responsibilities over income tax. This will be something that our Scots Government would never use, why? Well why would we want to increase income tax and become incompetative then England?

    It's not on. Scotland deserves to have full control or none at all, why have one hand tied behind our back? It's simply going to become a problem and as usual we pay the price for the bickering.

    It should be simple. Everyone goes their own way and we instead pay a national tax that funds our national needs, then presto everyone is happy.

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  • 169. At 03:02am on 15 Jun 2009, mmarsattacks wrote:

    Writing as I am at the moment from Melbourne, a location currently not unconcerned with swine flu I feel compelled to report that there seems to be a distinct lack of anyone trying to make political capital from the situation here.

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  • 170. At 08:25am on 15 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    BBC slow to report on the Devine claims, they'll probably update the web page about 10:00 AM.

    Of course the calman advice to Unionist parties will be today's big story and it's only a coincidence that Labour have announced their 'investigation' into Devine now.

    On Calman, I listened to a so called interview on Radion Scotland this morning. Gary Robertson may just as well have let Calman have the floor to say whatever he wanted, so insipid was the questions. It is clear that the BBC have absolutely no desire to scrutinise this man.

    Calman was allowed to say at the start that he considered the views of "all of Scotland", a statement so palpably untrue that even someone with no journalistic training would have pulled him up on it.

    Near the end of the interview Calman was allowed to describe returns from North sea resources as "diminishing", again untrue.

    Now switch to the interview with Salmond, no need to elaborate but I'm sure you won't be surprised that a much harder line was employed.

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  • 171. At 08:51am on 15 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    #166 derek

    With regards to the swine flu situation, as with all events which come under "state of emeregency" legislation:

    Sturgeon is working with Westminster. But the events and responses are being managed by the politicians, but under advice from a wide range of professionals, with past events taken into consideration.

    The final political decision lies with Sturgeon, and if she calls it wrong then, yes, it is on her head. But so far the response appears fine. There is a huge danger of escalation if it is called wrong, just as there is a danger on unde-response.

    As to me sitting on the fence, why shouldn't I? I'm more in favour of the SNP leading the Scottish Government but not convinced on independence or unionism. No one should make a decision just because one side or the other thinks it is stupid. Many people are undecided.

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  • 172. At 09:16am on 15 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #156 ForteanJo
    "AFAIK, greenockboy, the Calman report contains recommendations for changes to the Scotland Act. As such, Holyrood will have no power over it and that man of the people and defender of democracy, Gordie, will have the sole say in which of the recommendations (if any) are enacted."

    That would be pretty much my own understanding of the "constitutional" position. Of course he'd have to get Murphy to push it through the House of Cards, but with the NuLab majority that should present few problems.

    In all probability, they'll cavil at letting the recommendations go through unchallenged and water it down even more. What it will clearly lack without the referendum that will doubtless be opposed is any democratic legitimacy. All in all, quite a good test of whether Duff Gordon's latest promises of reform and and accountability have any substance whatsoever.

    My bet would be that they don't, but it might be difficult to push through before the general election, especially if the unionists at Holyrood decide not to accept it en bloc but start squabbling over the details.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 173. At 09:23am on 15 Jun 2009, Sutara wrote:

    Civil Servants, and indeed local government officers, are like electricity. As we were taught at school many years ago (in my case at any rate), electricity will always take the easiest path.

    It's only when they finally "get" the notion that scrutiny and accountability is inevitable and unavoidable that they start doing business in day to day ways that anticipate their actions being externally scrutinised and then starting deivering 1) quality services and 2) value for the money that they get paid (from out of the public purse).

    If you look at any area of government whose performance has improved over the years it is basically as a result of those in that area coming to that awareness. That is the point when things change for the better.

    Whilst they think they can hide behind their officialdom and self-assessed importance, they rarely deliver outcomes or efficiency or effectiveness.

    And Jo Public has an important role in not letting them get away with such nonsense. Poorly performing civil servants and local government officers need to be dealt with and reported to MPSs, Audit Scotland, etc., etc and brought to book. Otherwise, they will just continue to perpetuate the same poor quality services.

    It's your taxes, so don't hesitate if you think things are out of order.

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  • 174. At 09:30am on 15 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #161 hadrianswall
    "What is incredible is that the three Unionists parties can't argue for the Union as it stands."

    Agreed, and the new climate of reform at Westmidden will make it much more difficult for them to push it through without asking the people either by seeking a new mandate or by the referendum they clearly don't want to hold,

    Thanks also for adding your apposite comment to the Changes to international pages thread.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 175. At 09:37am on 15 Jun 2009, Sutara wrote:

    RE various comments about swine flu.

    What might be a 'political issue' could be the extent to which the progress of the infection is probably being under-reported due mainly to 1) sufferers not bothering to contact their GP or NHSDirect and just dealing with it with 'over the counter' medications and rest and 2) GPs not bothering to test patients for swine flu and/or not reporting it.

    The issue of GPs not working through the pandemic - - might also become a 'political issue'.

    Also, the failure of the authorities to contain the infection does not bode well in terms of these same authorities dealing with a terrorist event involving release of viral/bacterial material.

    I also must admit that I, for one, cannot really understand why it is being suggested that the risk of catching this flu remains very remote. As the virus has escaped 'into the wild', the rates of infection can surely only escalate as increasing numbers of infected and infectious people have more contacts with others in situations such as busses, trains, offices, shops and schools, rather than in relativlely controlled environments such as isolation wards or being confined to home.

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  • 176. At 09:51am on 15 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    The "final" Calman report is now downloadable from the Calman website here.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 177. At 10:14am on 15 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    I love it when predictions come true.

    The BBC are now headlining Calmans lukewarm proposals as .......

    RADICAL !!

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  • 178. At 10:50am on 15 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Holyrood should take charge of half the income tax raised in Scotland"

    Ha ha ha. Anyone who wants to see them for what they really are just has to read my #121 in which I got them (almost) spot on.

    As predicted not only don't they have the balls to give Scotland FULL tax-setting powers, but it turns out they don't even have the balls to give Scotland HALF tax-setting powers!

    Why didn't they just plump for one tenth of tax-setting powers transferred once every 100 years? That way it would only take 1000 years!

    What a complete and utter joke.

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  • 179. At 10:53am on 15 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Having looked at the Calman proposals in their entirety they look to me like a load of bu...., er, elegant circumlocution!

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  • 180. At 10:57am on 15 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:


    Yeah..yet another carrot on a stick.

    Insults the inelegence of a 2 year old. But hey that's all they credit us with anyway

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  • 181. At 11:10am on 15 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Calman proposals = a very transparent Unionist ploy to give Scotland the worst of both tax-raising worlds:

    1. Make the Scottish parliament fully accountable for raising half its revenue with one hand tied behind its back...


    2. Cutting the block grant from the UK government to pacify English MPs whining about Scotland being "unfairly over-subsidised".

    Thanks, but no thanks.

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  • 182. At 11:17am on 15 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    And they've got the cheek to call their report "Serving Scotland Better"!

    They still think we're too stupid to see what they're actually up to! Amazing.

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  • 183. At 11:23am on 15 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    I think the main problem for Calman was the fact that it was set up with the sole intention of kicking any further talk of independence or devolution max into the long grass.

    When it was set up, take a year to decide that no further change was needed, report to Holyrood, unionists vote to accept Calman principles in full, job done.

    The problem is that so much has changed in Scotland in the last year. A SNP MP in Glasgow, SNP riding high in the polls, and now out voting Labour in the Euro elections. Calman knew that little change would not do, so he needed to look "radical" though only a unionist could explain how doing half of something is radical.

    The problem now for the unionists is that it has now reopened the debate, at an even worse time for them than when they set it up.

    So Scots must decide, do we want to be powerless, as at present, have half powers that do not amount to much, or do we want real power to run our country properly.

    No mater what Calman proposes we can watch the money from the ever increasing oil price flow to Westminster, with no increase in our pocket money. Whas like us? no one, no other country would allow this to happen.

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  • 184. At 11:35am on 15 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Questions have also been raised about 66 metres of office shelving for which he charged the taxpayer more than £2,000."

    Questions may well have been "raised" but there is a distinct dearth of anyone providing answers!

    Why aren't the police investigating the possibility of fraud?

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  • 185. At 11:42am on 15 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Just another thought on Calman,

    How will it now be possible to alter the rate of income tax in Scotland? Were we not informed by our imperial lords and masters that it would not be possible to have different tax rates in Scotland.

    Not possible for Local Income Tax to replace rates, but ok for general income to replace some of the pocket money. Explanation please.

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  • 186. At 11:43am on 15 Jun 2009, spartans11 wrote:

    Sorry to change the subject for a minute but I just saw this on the BBC news, and I'm probbaly way behind you guys on this

    "Last week, Mr Devine received the backing of his constituency Labour party over the affair after being questioned by about 40 members of the group in an hour-long meeting."

    Surely there are more than 40 members in that constituency, in our area there's around 600 or so. How can that be presented as support?

    Calman is hardly radical, did I read it correctly? It offers revenue of around 10 billion? That's approx one third of the current Defence budget for the UK and less than a thirtieth of the Welfare budget. Either Scots are very lazy and don't work very hard or England is an economic powerhouse.

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  • 187. At 11:58am on 15 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "How will it now be possible to alter the rate of income tax in Scotland?"

    They're not suggesting changing the tax rate in Scotland.
    They're suggesting the Treasury cuts ten pence in every pound of tax revenue collected in Scotland.

    In "return" the Scottish parliament gets the very dubious "power" of raising the deducted money in some other as yet unspecified way!

    It's like saying to a lazy teenager: "I'm cutting your pocket money - if you want money go out and get a paper round!"

    Yes, I know. It's unbelievable just for its sheer cheek, isn't it?!!

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  • 188. At 12:11pm on 15 Jun 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Oh, how "radical" the last unionist ditch is! "Look at the shiny penny, ignore federalism or independence." They cannot say that of course: the "i" word is banned anywhere near their precious commission, as whatever imagined "solution" they come up with needs protected in a walled garden away from its true competitor.

    Also, I note as well that we are now allowed to talk about the "Honourable" Member from Livingston again - now the story can be safely hidden behind all the BBC agit-prop about how great the Calman farce is.

    Now faux surprise from beeb presenters when Gordon Brown backs Calman ... he wrote it after all.

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  • 189. At 12:17pm on 15 Jun 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

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  • 190. At 12:18pm on 15 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Yep, the BBC in Scotland ever predictable. They have again waited for Labour to issue a statement on Devine and then used the statement as the basis for their own reports.

    Here is their webpage headline:

    MP faces expense claims verdict

    For the third time, again as predicted, no mention of the party in the headline nor the name of the MP.

    Anyway, the BBC have now reluctantly published some of the excuses offered by Mr Jim 'Walter Mitty' Devine.

    "Mr Devine has said the electrician he employed to do the rewiring work at his London flat must have been trying to avoid paying tax, but now claims he told the Commons fees office about the false VAT number when he found out about it."

    Now it's getting better, the name of the person employed to do the electrical work was originally "not known" to Mr Devine, then was apparently the publican Mr Moran. Now it is a qualified electrician who may have been trying to avoid paying tax.

    Devine doesn't make clear if this is the same Mr Moran, the arthritic joiner who apparently fitted Devine's shelves in his own pub cellar.

    I wonder if the BBC will put two and two together and speak to Mr Moran, the 'arthritic tax evading publican handyman'.

    I also wonder how long Mr Moran will put up with this clear traducing of his reputation by a sitting Scottish Labour MP.

    Here's another prediction:
    the story will disappear from the BBC Scotland web page by tomorrow. It may even disappear sometime today.

    If this was an English based MP the papers would have been all over it like a rash, the MP would have been forced to resign altogether and plod would have been sniffing around.

    If this was an SNP MP then the same thing would be happening.

    Welcome to Scotland people !!

    Is Fiona Hyslop still under pressure Brian?

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  • 191. At 12:37pm on 15 Jun 2009, spartans11 wrote:

    189. At 12:17pm on 15 Jun 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote

    Thanks for the link. Wonder if my kids are advising Mr Devine, nah they'd come up with way better excuses. So not only is he ripping of this own expenses, he's willing to assist others to rip off HMRC. Truly an outstanding Honourable Member. This is probably the same type of politician who denigrates the youth of today for lacking values and morality.

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  • 192. At 12:48pm on 15 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Comment 185 dubbieside:

    How will it now be possible to alter the rate of income tax in Scotland? Were we not informed by our imperial lords and masters that it would not be possible to have different tax rates in Scotland.

    Not possible for Local Income Tax to replace rates, but ok for general income to replace some of the pocket money. Explanation please.

    See my comment at #16 where the other excuse used against LIT was that Scottish taxpayers cannot be identified easily. The Scottish media also widely reported this Unionist line, they won't report it now though.

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  • 193. At 12:52pm on 15 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #179 bighullabaloo

    "elegant circumlocution"

    I'm inclined to agree. At best it's little more than a collection of half-hearted attempts to be seen to be doing something whilst giving away as little as humanly possible before Glorious Gordon throws it, along with whatever toys he has left out of the pram. At worst, well, your "elegant circumlocution" puts it far more diplomatically than I could have managed.

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  • 194. At 12:54pm on 15 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Watch out people, I sense Jim Murphy being readied to parrot whatever line he has been ordered to by Westminster.

    No Scottish journalist will scrutinise this man's remarks, so it will again fall to individuals to do it online.

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  • 195. At 12:58pm on 15 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #187 bighullabaloo

    "They're suggesting the Treasury cuts ten pence in every pound of tax revenue collected in Scotland.

    In "return" the Scottish parliament gets the very dubious "power" of raising the deducted money in some other as yet unspecified way!

    I'm still wading my way through it but, assuming the above scenario came to pass, I'm trying to work out what the effect on pension tax-relief would be. Would the relief only be given on the Westminster half or would the overall combined income tax be elligible? If the latter, would relief on the Scottish part have to be paid for from the Scottish half?

    Whilst potentially lower taxes in Scotland may be welcomed by many, the unitended effect that it would have on pensions needs to be addressed or we end up with Scotland having to have a different personal pension regime from the rest of the UK and the existing regime is complicated enough.

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  • 196. At 12:59pm on 15 Jun 2009, dubbieside wrote:


    Am I correct to say the rate of income tax could be varied by the Scottish Government if this Calman proposal is accepted.

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  • 197. At 1:02pm on 15 Jun 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #191, absolutely spartans, makes you physically sick to think he is the supposed "replacement" for the late Robin Cook!

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  • 198. At 1:03pm on 15 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    New thread time, folks - surprise, surprise it's about Calman.

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  • 199. At 1:17pm on 15 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Comment 196:

    I agree with bighullabaloo that the proposal appears to be that Westminster will simply knock 10p off of the income tax rate for Scots taxpayers. If the SNP wish to then they can simply put it back on, thus ensuring their budget remains the same.

    Now, the radio interview I gleaned this from was on Radio Scotland this morning, and they were at the time discussing higher rates of tax, therefore, I may be wrong.

    What is clear however is that the Scottish media, in a rush to desctribe Calman's proposals as 'radical' are not exactly clarifying what the proposals are. It looks like the agenda is to convince the electorate that they are indeed radical, ragardless of what they are.

    As someone else pointed out, taxable threshholds can be altered by Westminster, thereby completely destabalising any moves on income tax by a Scottish Government. Salmond himself explained that on their own, these tax varying powers are virtually useless in stimulating the economy.

    Back to Jim Devine:
    The Scottish Sun have a piece online where a picture of the pub cellar is shown, it doesn't look good for Devine.

    The Daily Record appear to be unaware that a Scottish Labour MP is embroiled in a scandal. They have two lead political articles, one describes Calman's proposals as 'radical' whilst the other is headlined Salmond blasted by Labour over SNP's 'week of shame'.

    The week of shame is an apparent reference to the fact that PC and the SNP put forward a motion calling for an election at Westminster then supporting a similar motion at Holyrood. They're presenting it as voting with the Tories, completely missing the irony considering the Tories have saved Labour in more than one vote at Westminster in recent times.

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  • 200. At 1:17pm on 15 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Now it is a qualified electrician who may have been trying to avoid paying tax."

    If Mr Devine was aware that this electrician was trying to avoid paying tax it was Mr Devine's duty as a law-abiding citizen to report the electrician to the tax authorities.

    If Mr Devine was aware of it but failed to alert the tax authorities he is complicit in any crime that may have been committed by the electrician:
    "An individual is complicit in a crime if he is aware of its occurrence, has the ability to report the crime, but fails to do so. As such the individual effectively allows criminals to carry out a crime despite easily being able to stop them, either directly or by contacting the authorities, thus making him a de-facto accessory to the crime rather than an innocent bystander."

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  • 201. At 11:16am on 16 Jun 2009, bingowings87 wrote:

    #200, great to see your enthusiastic promotion of Mr Devine's duty as a law-abiding citizen.

    Do these duties apply to all alleged crimes or just the ones you disagree with (ref your rather stout defence of the criminal acts against Fred Goodwin's property - to quote - "Sir Fred brought this on himself and deserves everything he gets").

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  • 202. At 10:52pm on 16 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #201 bingowings87

    I didn't defend criminal acts against Sir Fred as you well know. I merely pointed out that he INSTIGATED the criminal acts himself through his own immoral behaviour.

    I'm not going to waste any time trying to get you to understand plain English.

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